Monday, June 28, 2010

Ice Cream Shop Chalkboard Sign

I finished the board for the Ice Cream Shop boys last night.  This puppy is about 5' wide and almost 4' high.  It'll go over their ice cream cake fridge.  If you are EVER in Penticton, you must go there.  The shop is called Ogo's (like Ogopogo, our parasailing lake monster here).  It's on Main Street, in the first block from the beach.  Not only do they have great ice cream and the best cones ever, but the shop itself is a wonder.  You just have to see it for yourself.

I'm excited to have this finished.  We'll drop it off this morning.  I can't wait to see Mike and Brian's reaction.  I hope they like it.  It's the reason I ordered the chalk ink markers, and hopefully it'll be the first of many boards I can do for businesses around town.  I'm lovin' these chalk markers.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

For my favourite triathlete - A Tri-Training Calendar

My friend M.E. is such an inspiration.  She does nothing half-way.  When she wanted to donate her long red locks for cancer, she had me shave her head down to the wood and invited the media to raise awareness.  When she got in to triathlons, she made the commitment to do ironman, and did it well.

I made this chalkboard triathlon training calendar for her birthday.  It's 2 ft square, and each square is over 2".  Should be enough room to schedule a workout or two.  How she juggles Ironman training, mommying, her business interests, volunteering and having time for friends and family is a wonder.  But, she does it all, and does it well.

That's her on her bike, and us yelling 'go red racer!' from the sidelines.  Now that she's gone from red to platinum, do we have to chant something different?  She'll always be Red Racer to me.

Happy Birthday M.E.  Sorry it was late.  Was waiting for paint to dry. xo

Friday, June 25, 2010

Chalkboard Calendars!

Over the past week or so my dining room has been a chalkboard making factory.  I'm doing a chalkboard for the local ice cream shop, and I thought I'd try to make something else while I had the blackboard paint/chalk markers et al.

These boards are 2x2 ft squares.  I did up four of them, and once I realized that the two cans of chalkboard paint I had were so different, I decided to use them to make calendars.  I like that there's no month or days in here; I can use it as a regular calendar, or if I'm doing some kind of challenge (like the yoga binge I'm currently on) I can use it to track progress.

The scene is the view from our living room last night.  I really wanted to try the chalk markers so I could get the ice cream project done, and the view was so pretty I just started doodling.  These markers are FUN!!  They're called Chalk Ink, and you can get them here.  They took about a week to arrive from Texas.  I know I missed the second friday with the darker paint.  Oh well, this one is just for me, so no biggie.  I've got another one done, but it's a birthday gift, so it's not going up here until after I drop it off tonight, just in case a certain someone is surfing the net on a friday afternoon instead of working (Yes, I mean you.  Back to work!).  It's fun.  I'll post it tomorrow.

I have so many ideas for these.  More to come.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My First Mural

There's a new daycare opening up in the basement of our office building, where my little studio used to be.  It's the wife of one of Greg's partners who's doing it.  She's having incredible murals painted all over the walls by a really great mural artist named Luke from Kelowna.  They asked me if I'd take a wall and do a piece too.  I said yes, and then after watching Luke go at the rest of the space got totally intimidated.  I put off starting it for about a week, and then finally yesterday I went in and took a look at 'my wall'.  It's in the kitchen, and she asked for a fat chef, and requested he be black, as they're trying to have a good representation of different cultures in these murals.  I did up a little sketch, and then dove in.  I really had no idea what I was doing, but Luke was helpful.  Most of this is done with good ol' wall paint.  I did a little modeling with my acrylics.  I don't think it's finished, but I got a lot further than I thought I would before my attention span expired.

I had no reference photo, other than my little line drawing.  The face needs a little work, and I may make his feet a little bigger.  Other suggestions welcome.
Also, can you tell he's throwing pizza dough, or does it look like some strange capt'n crunch thing on his hat??

Saturday, June 19, 2010


It's been a long time since I've had the acrylics out.  There's been an ongoing oil vs acrylic debate in my mind.  I've been invited to the Toni Onley Project in Wells this year, which is a very big thrill for me.  What happens there is a group of artists gather in this very cool little town that has more art galleries than people (almost true) and we work together, along with two mentor artists, to develop our artwork.  One of the artists ends up getting a show at the Penticton Gallery next year.  I didn't want to show up with my little bag of watercolour sketch toys.  It seemed to demand something a little more substantial.  But what?  The look and feel of oils is so lovely, but I'm not sure they're a fit with my 'paint it today, hang it tonight' approach.  In other words, I'm not that patient.  Also, I'm painting at home now, and I think oils would be too stinky in our little place.  And so I thought I'd give the acrylics another try and see if I like them.  I had mixed results using them in the past, but I had so much fun painting this!  I think one of the things that worked for me, which I didn't do before, is using a medium instead of water to paint with.  The other thing that worked was having sketched this same scene in crayolas recently.  They're so unavoidably vibrant, and I used that as a guide to keep things on the lively and clean side colour-wise.  I learned some things, did some things I'd do differently in the future, but ended up deciding that yes, acrylics are the way to go.  Good timing too since Opus is having their annual inventory blow-out right now.  I took the van up there and loaded up: canvi, paints, palette, gel mediums, modeling paste, and a mitt full of brushes.  Wa-hoo!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Weird Life Drawing Night

I had kind of a weird time at life drawing last night.  I think I was just in a very different head space.  I was feeling like my life drawings lately have been sort of 'all the same', and even though I've been thinking I'm capturing a more realistic slice of life than I was before, that it might be safe and boring.  I wanted to get looser.  And I wanted to get over my Payne's Grey addiction that was starting to creep into my sketches.  The results seem to be lacking in any accuracy,  and not yet loose enough to be worth it. There are a few moments I like though, like the warm reflected light under this one's chin and on her far arm.   I'm also trying to draw more with the paint rather than outline and fill.  Sometimes working, sometimes not.  The other thing I was feeling aware of last night is that when I spend this much time in art brain, I stop being able to communicate very well.  I get all tongue-tied and quiet and insecure, which if you know me you'll know is unusual.  I'm so deep into observe mode that I stop being able to express.  Not every time, but sometimes.  I wonder if that happens to everyone?
This red one was done during a particularly crashy and aggressive piece of music.  It's funny how those things filter in, probably a combination of how it affects both model and artist.  

These reclining figures were fun.  I think the weirder the perspective, the more I have to rely on observation rather than knowledge.  That's probably a good thing.  Didn't want to believe I was avoiding the foot that fell off the page in the lower one, and so there it is poking in at the top.  

This model is always so good.  She knows what'll be interesting, and really holds it well over the 20 minute poses.  

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Around My Neighbourhood Sketchbook Video

Here's another one of my little sketchbooks all filled up, this time from in and around my neighbourhood.  In fact, every scene in here, with the exception of The Cannery Building, is on my morning dog walking route.

Just click on the book front or back (or right here) and it'll take you to the youtube video version.   

The video how-to for making these little flip journals is right here

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Workshop at Kettle Ridge!

Day 2 of our Watercolour Sketchbook Journaling Workshop.  We moved up  to Kettle Ridge to work (play) in the sunshine and enjoy the amazing views.  Everyone made their own journal from a single sheet of watercolour paper (see how-to vid here).  We did a little session on different ways to keep or create white with watercolours, and then we scattered around the property to capture the view.  These two were smart enough to tuck into the shade of our big sign.  What a great group - thank you everyone who came out.  One thing we talked about was painting in public - what to do when someone is looking over your shoulder.  My suggestion was to try what I do: ask them if they themselves paint.  Odds are either they do or they want to, or they wouldn't have commented in the first place.  They'll be off on a tangent about what their own art experience has been, and the focus/pressure will be off of you.  Plus, you'll hear a good story.  I personally like it when people come up to talk.  After my first few times sketching in public I realized it's only the nice, polite and friendly people who approach. No one points and shrieks "You're no artist!  Go home!"   Never happens.   I'll post a local paint out soon, so we can go brave the crowds together.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Video: More fun with folding book - life drawing style!

Click on either the cover of my life drawing journal or right here to view my folding sketchbook on youtube.  I was going to scan the images and post as usual, but after the first session with one of these books, I realized that not only would they not fit on my scanner when they're folded out, but they're also much better viewed in motion.  So, there you go.  Music is me playing Jewel's 'Morning Song' on my guitar.  More to come, and if you're interested in making your own sketchbook like this, the how-to video for that is here, on youtube as well.  

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fun With Folding Book!

I'm having great fun experimenting with these new folding books I've been making (how-to video here)!  This was from my workshop at the Penticton Art Gallery on Saturday (finished later).
Next stop?  Sitting outside the Convenience Store on Main Street today - looking across at Grant King's, Mykonos and of course Nite Moves, where Austin worked while he was home last summer.

Here it is before the page gets flipped out, with a little peek at the Cannery Building sketch on the next page:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Another Workshop at the Penticton Art Gallery

A great  group came out for my Sketchbook Journaling Workshop at the Penticton Art Gallery yesterday.  This time I had everyone draw their own feet.  It worked out really well - they all did wonderful drawings, and then when we hit the Japanese Garden, they had the concepts clear and were able to dive in without hesitation and got some great results.  Fun!

I was working at Kettle Ridge earlier in the day and did this little sketch in one of my new sketchbooks as well.   I thought that using a crayon as a resist would give me the burst of yellow that I was seeing in the weeds.  Not so.  Needs a little work to figure out how best to show that profusion.  It's beautiful in real life.