Sunday, March 31, 2013

workshops, classes and more!

We keep our commercial presence to one monthly post so that we can share other opportunities to take workshops, purchase art or enjoy other offerings from all of us. Check out our workshops and  books. Thank you for being a part of the Sketchbook Challenge! It's an honor to share this journey with you.

Dion Dior

Dion offers a host of online classes and free tutorials on her website  You can keep connected with Dion through her Facebook Fan Page, Flickr, Pinterest, and Twitter.  Some of her current workshop offerings include:

Join Dion and 20 other teachers on a beautiful art journey into mixed media art journaling.  21 SECRETS is an online, self guided art journaling program where you learn, experiment, and be totally inspired by 21 talented, passionate teachers through 21 amazing workshops.  Click here for more information.


Join Dion and a host of other teachers on a year long, mixed media, art journey in celebration and honor of YOU. In Life Book, students receive a minimum of two full video based lessons, plus extra prompts, bonus lessons and inspiration from some of the art worlds most amazing teachers. Themed around self-development and healing, by the end of the year you will bind your work into a glorious journal; your Life Book.  Click here for more information.

Wisdom Circles is a beautiful 6-Part online art-journaling workshop where Dion will show you how to use a variety of art materials to create beautiful, meaningful, and deeply personal mandalas. Each part builds upon the previous, introducing you to some wonderful mandala and mixed media art techniques.  It is a gentle, self-nurturing, self-guided program that comes to you on a private blog with, video and PDF printable's. Click here for more information.

Jamie Fingal & Leslie Tucker Jenison will be teaching at Art & Soul, Portland in early October.  Here is the link about the workshops.
Jamie Fingal also has a line a stencils that are being released through Stencil Girl Products
Cloth Paper Scissors Video Workshop is out!
Visit the following page links to see a peek of the fun inside, to download, or to purchase your own copy.
DVD               SD Download              HD Download

Would you rather attend a workshop in person?  Kari will be teaching at the following locations in April & May~

Dublin, OH                  April 18-21          Artiscape
Virginia Beach, VA      April 24-28          Art & Soul
Dimondale, MI            May 3-5               Smitten Dust
Irvine, CA                   May 29-June 2     Create
Durfort, France           June 13-20           Ideas and Inspiration in France  *only 1 spot left!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Natural surfaces...plain paper!

Hi gang!  Kari McKnight Holbrook here- just squeaking in under the wire for this month.  I've been working on these all month and dislocated my collarbone and was unable to lift my camera, thus the tardiness and the unusual camera angles!

 I was wracking my brain for natural surfaces to sketch or paint.  I have so many wonderful choices in my backyard alone, and was spinning from the possibilities.  Yet I was REALLY in the mood for watercolors.  And REALLY in the mood for birds!  Don't know why, but I just went with it.  I've learned the art heart wants what the art heart wants!  When I try to do something I'm not that thrilled with, it looks it.

But, I was thrilled with birds,  SO I tried to find a natural surface to tie in to this months theme.  Then it dawned on me~  I haven't used plain watercolor paper in at least 2 years!  I usually always coat it with gesso, or paint, or texture medium or sprays or gel mediums!  And I almost never use plain watercolors without some sort of layering or stamping or medium.  It hit me!  I'm using watercolor in it's NATURAL state...well, okay, maybe it's a stretch.  But the birds were fun!  I sketched them out with a Pitt artist pen first, let dry 2 days, and then went in with watercolor.  When all was dry, I went back in with my beloved Signo Uniball white gel pen.                                                             

What fun it was getting back to natural!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Natural and Imaginary Surfaces

Jamie Fingal checking in.  Okay, I admit it - this was a 'challenge' for me, but then again this is The Sketchbook Challenge.  I think of myself as a whimsical artist, and not a realist in the way that I make my art.  So, I did make the attempt to draw palm tree trunks and a rock walk way, but then gave way to my own imagination, which is far more fun!
More fun with Imaginary Surfaces.  This is drawn in a Moleskin Storybook , which is the format that I am enjoying working in at present.  I carry it with me.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Video Tutorial - Natural Surfaces

Natural Surfaces - ROCKS

Hi, Dion Dior here, I've been loving the March theme "Natural Surfaces".  I've been playing around with all sorts of ideas and mediums and thought I'd share my little video tutorial where I give you a few tips on capturing rocks in your watercolor sketchbook.

Natural Surfaces - ROCKS

In this free video tutorial, I use the new Stillman & Birn Zeta Series Sketchbook, Sakura Koi Water Colors, Faber-Castell Water Color Pencils, and the Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph and Nexus pens. I show you that capturing the natural surfaces of rocks is a very simple technique that can be used for all sorts of surfaces.  A light wash is followed by some darker layering and then simple pen strokes--it's that easy.

Sketchbook Secrets - Rocks from Dion Dior on Vimeo.

Have fun, and don't forget to post your sketchbook pages in the Flickr group.

Natural Surfaces - ROCKS

Natural Surfaces - ROCKS

Thanks for checking in. xx

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Water, and Water Lily

Water lily ink drawing by Susan Brubaker Knapp
Susan Brubaker Knapp here. My challenge this month was to try to sketch water, another natural surface. The drawing above is about 7.5" x 10", and is based on this photo I took several years ago:

I did this drawing in a small sketchbook I take with me when I travel to teach, and worked on it over the past month. I printed out photographs of things I wanted to sketch, and took them with me so that I could work from them on the go. 

I used crosshatching (lines drawn in at different directions) to get at the ripples in the water, and the changes in value. But I don’t think I captured it. I definitely don’t have the darkest values in yet. 

It is helpful to look at the drawing next to the photograph and examine the differences in value. I am also considering adding color to the ink drawing, and using dark shades of color to increase the values where they are needed in the drawing.

One of the tricks with ink drawings is to use different drawing/shading techniques on things that have different textures. The water was rippled; the flower was velvety. To add shading on the flower, I used dots, which look softer than the crosshatching does on the water.


Here’s a detail shot of the leaves and the stems, which were underwater. It was tricky to make the stems look like they were underwater, and add just enough shadows. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Photoshopping Nature

Terry Grant, here. I am always looking for ways to recreate the textures and random design that Nature is so good at. Now that we can print our own papers and fabrics using technology, I love to play with photos of natural surfaces and bend and twist and recolor them to create new and exciting patterns.

The bark of a big old fir tree offers a wonderful and varied texture. Add Photoshop filters and it becomes something altogether new.

yes, this started out as the fir bark photo

This one is the ground, outside my studio. Bits of bark and pine needles.

 Moss—in great abundance and beautiful in itself

ooh, marbled!

This is a tiled repeat of the previous photo. I am planning to print on fabric, using my inkjet printer. It will also get printed on paper and added to my "collage papers" collection.

Rather than giving exact instructions** for filters and manipulations I used for these, I suggest you play with the filters in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Save your original photo first, then try out the different filters. If you don't like the look just "undo" and try something else. You never know exactly what you might end up with! But, I know from experience, that you can entertain yourself for hours on end with a simple "nothing" photograph and Photoshop.

**Because it is so unusual, I will tell you that the 3rd fir bark photo was made using the "texture" filter, choosing "stained glass" in the edition of Photoshop that I am using.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Through a Window

Natural surfaces surround us. I found the hardest part about this month's challenge was deciding what direction to take! 

As it's been a bit too cold and wet to spend much time outside comfortably drawing or making rubbings, I gathered a few natural surfaces inside.

I had recently visited a friend's studio where she was teaching a drawing class, and she had set up a still life for her students along with stiff paper windows to look through in order to find interesting compositions.

Inspired by her set-up, I thought I'd share the tip.  She taped the windows to the top of bottles, but I just held mine up long enough to rough in the desired composition and then added detail without the aid of the viewer.

I made three drawings, focusing on the antler, wooden mushrooms, and again the antler, respectively and looking for interesting shapes and relationships. 

I used a medium-soft pencil in a sketchbook made from watercolor paper. Unfortunately, the paper was too rough to effectively explore the different textures of the antler, wood, stone, and pinecone I had in my still life. Regardless, the exercise of using a viewfinder window to seek out intriguing details was fun and helped me focus my drawings a bit. No matter what your favorite medium is, try looking at your subject through a cut-out window and see if it changes your view.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Natural Surfaces from the Sea

from my sketchbook ~ beach treasures
from my sketchbook ~ Jane LaFazio
Jane LaFazio here. Even though I live just 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean, I don't walk on the beach nearly enough. I had the chance to do some serious beach combing recently and I brought back lots of natural surfaces for inspiration for my sketchbook.
from my sketchbook ~ beach treasures
from my sketchbook ~ Jane LaFazio
photo by Jane LaFazio
from my sketchbook ~ beach treasures
from my sketchbook ~ Jane LaFazio
lavender sage art retreat
photo by Jane LaFazio
from my sketchbook ~ beach treasures
from my sketchbook ~ Jane LaFazio
lavender sage art retreat
photo by Jane LaFazio
from my sketchbook ~ beach treasures
from my sketchbook ~ Jane LaFazio

Monday, March 18, 2013

Natural Surfaces: Frosting, Sugar, Plastic, and wire.

This is Frances Holliday Alford, reporting from Texas.

My nephew Sam will marry Katie Marie on Tuesday.  It will be a very small wedding, but I am already  in Texas in anticipation of the event.  This morning we had breakfast with a few of the immediate family members.  My brother, Trevor, Sam, and nephew Peter looked at me and without a word we all knew it was time for me to make another cake.  This one is a groom's cake.

When these now adult men were boys, I was known for over decorating cakes.  With their help, we created towering masterpieces which occasionally crumbled under their own weight.    So far, this one is holding up and with great luck will be delivered to the Salt Lick Barbeque in time for the rehearsal dinner.

After a trip to Michael's and the grocery store, we went back to Peter's house where Trevor and Carolyn and Peter and I started figuring out how to create this masterpiece.  Peter cut the sheet cakes into different shapes and we made liberal use of bamboo skewers to hold it all together.  We had no shortage of colored frostings, jimmies, tinted sugar and other embellishments.   We feel Gaudi would be so proud of our efforts.  

Trevor and Carolyn eventually left Peter and me to complete this task.  Peter's wife, Jessica appeared and helped us.  She attached Peeps to the sides and added some of the floral parts.  Fritz only watched.

We used all kinds of things to make this piece.  Pez dispensers, lavender flowers, yellow peeps and a special lattice work panel.  Red licorice sticks added length as did the plastic Ionic Greek Columns.  

We deliberated on stabbing in the half torso naked Barbie dolls to the piece but I found they were good at supporting the Greek Columns.  We frosted them and added pink sugar crystals in hopes that they would look like they were dressed.

The art of over embellishment is not for faint of heart.  The process is frightening to watch.  Peter and I soldiered on, knowing that we would continue to work on it until we were satisfied with the effort.  

If you are wondering what this has to do with our theme of Natural Surfaces, not much, I am afraid.

We are going to put the camouflage  excelsior around the edges of the cake when it is installed tomorrow.  Sam is an Army lieutenant and Katie will be one soon.