Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Coloured Pencil Savings Tip a la Frank Spencer

TIP: You can save on coloured pencil cost by glueing a pencil stub to a new pencil with crazy glue. Once it is dry you can continue to use the smaller pencil and sharpen it normally.

I've read this suggestion from many well know established coloured pencil artists. I have used this tip once to use up an entire pencil of a discontinued colour. Waste not because you have not! I thought I'd try and save the remains of my "Sky Light Blue" pencil. I could still buy this colour. It's not like they've discontinued this one, but why buy a new one when I can just keep using the remains of this one after all?

Are you familiar with Frank Spencer from the 70's British comedy "Some Mother's Do 'Ave Em?" I am the female version of Frank.

The Crazy glue was jammed up in the tube. I cut off the tip after being convinced there was no other way to rescue it. If I bought another crazy glue that would defeat the purpose of saving money by not buying another coloured pencil!

I glued a kleenex to my countertop, two of my fingers together and the pencil to my left hand.

Luckily for me the glue actually acts more like a paint stripper on the outer paint of the coloured pencil and I was able to coax the pencil from my fingers. I pried my fingers apart to wipe the glue from the counter. I pried my fingers from the counter and painstakingly picked the kleenex now glued to my fingers, from said fingers.

I now had a disturbing problem. How to get the thick layer of now hardened crazy glue and sky light blue Prismacolor pencil paint from my fingers. They were hard to bend because of the glue!

I got out my sanding block. I sanded my fingers until the blue and glue came off.

I now have fingers that any criminal would envy. Smooth and fingerprintless. The crazy glue remained in the ridges of my print and I sanded them to perfection.

I threw away both the crazy glue and the pencil bit.

If you are one of the artists that suggests this method for saving on pencil costs to you I say,

Spend the $2 for a new pencil you cheapskate!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Cou Cou

This one is now up for sale in Aylmer at the bakery. The owner was telling us that a few people had not realized it was a painting and thought it was a photo. If it sells it will feel like I'm letting go of one of my babies. With portraits it's a bit easier because they look like they belong to someone else. With these, I'm giving away a wee bit of my creative self.
It's title is Peek-A-Boo. In Quebec it's listed as Cou-Cou which is peek a boo in French. Thank God for the owner who translated it for me and is allowing me to sell through her shop!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

She's Ripped:-0

I got farther on one of my previous paintings. Unfortunately I was using a kneaded eraser on it and lifted the paper with the pencil. C'est la vie. There goes 10 hours of work. Happens.

I asked Mr. P. if he could tell where the "accident" was. He couldn't, but to me it looks like a scab and it will always bug me. I'm starting over. I won't destroy this copy just in case. You never know what it will turn in to.

I've got 4 paintings on the go right now. I want to always have a few and work them simultaneously. Sometimes if you get hung up on one for a bit, working on another helps you to mentally work out the problem on the first. If you stop working on anything all together you stay hung up. At least in my experience.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Mr. Hunter - Line Drawing

I'm using black Stonehenge for this drawing.

At this stage I've taken the line drawing that I've done and put it on a piece of white transfer paper with the chalky side facing down onto the black Stonehenge paper. I then use a coloured pencil and lightly trace over the lines of my line drawing. Why a coloured pencil? So you can see where you've already traced on your graphite drawing. You don't want to press hard or you will score the paper making the drawing more difficult to work.

You will then need to erase the chalk lines as you start colouring so that no chalk remains. If you use coloured pencil on chalk it may lift at some point and remove parts of your painting.

It's challenging working on black paper. The coloured pencils don't show the same way as they do on white and you have to find what works. It helps to take a scrap piece of black and try different colours to see what they will turn into when put down on the black.

It also helps to remember that when you spray the painting with a workable fixative when you are done that the painting will probably darken. If you have used colours that aren't light enough they may not show up on your painting once it's sprayed.

Friday, 20 March 2009

I Smell A New Painting Coming On.......

Here's 4 of 4 with her new best friend. I've always wanted a pet tarantula. Mr. P. won't let me get one so I won't let him kill the little fellows you find around the house. A house isn't a home without spiders. They keep away the nasty things.

I got to hold hands with Annabelle the alligator today. 1 of 4 wanted a pet alligator until she found out that captive gators feed on rats. She's not lovin' them as much now.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Two Days Later

OUCH! When does the hurting stop. More importantly.....when does the mocking stop?

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Lesson in Safe Scootering

1 of 4 wanted to go scootering without a helmet.

1 of 4 had a serious skiing accident a couple of years ago that required surgery, a cast and weeks of physio to recuperate. I thought reminding her of that incident would assist her in seeing the necessity of proper safety equipment when performing sports. She didn't buy it.

I, being the fabulous mother that I am, decided to show her what would happen when you used a scooter without a helmet. It wasn't pretty. I had to hit the mud filled crack dead on at racing speed on a downhill pitch, which I did. I then had to make the scooter come to a dead stop so that I could fly over the handle bars, which I did. I then needed to take a couple of running steps to show that one could not indeed catch their balance when going at that speed, which I did. I then had to show her that you will fall on first your left knee, ripping it to shreds, on your right palm, and left side of your face, which I did. I then had to describe the intense immediate headache, pain from the scrapes while lying on the ground moaning wondering if your ipod has broken or has just shut down due to the shock of the hit, which I did. Don't worry, it wasn't broken. I was.

On the way past that spot again later she looks up at me with her mocking 13 year old voice and says,
"Does this place bring back fond memories?"

What did I learn?:
*40 year olds shouldn't ride a scooter without a helmet
*40 year olds shouldn't ride a scooter at all

What did she learn?
*Not a damn thing!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

What should I do next? I have many wonderful photos but none that jump out at me. Not that much would get done during March break anyways. I like to have at least one on the go.

I attended another coloured pencil workshop at Allison Fagan's studio. It was an open studio workshop of sorts. I got pointers on completing the water on the girl on the beach painting. There is always that one I guess.

2 of 4 is currently enrolled at the OSA. She is loving taking full time art classes. She finds it tougher than school but more rewarding too!

I went to pick 2 of 4 up yesterday at the end of the day. I went into the classroom and was looking at the conte drawings pinned to the wall. I scanned through them all trying to pick out the one I believed to be hers based on her style. I choose one, but my eye was drawn back continually to one other one. I was thinking to myself that the kid that drew that did an amazing job. It was an impressive and complex work. Beautifully done. Why the heck can't my kid draw like that!!!;-) Turns out IT was hers. I wouldn't have guessed it. I was impressed. She's come a long way in just a day.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Hopefully this one will be done within the next day or two. A bit harder to complete with March break in full swing.

Well I have to take back part of one of my previous rants. The individual that was trying to get a meeting with John Baird our MP, finally did. Hopefully now it will make a difference. The city still sucks, but maybe not quite as much as it did the week before last.

Friday, 13 March 2009

It Cost How Much????

I keep reading about how cost effective coloured pencil art is. That may be true in comparison to other forms, but I must say it's still not a cheap way to express yourself. I had a neighbour comment on how it was a nice little past-time and another provide me with a suggested price for my work. He though $100 dollars would be fair. Here's a quick look at the cost of doing a coloured pencil drawing in case you should feel the desire to get into this form of art.

Starter kit of Prismacolor pencils (24 set): approx $33
If you want the whole set of 120 pencils you're going to pay up to $239 depending what you choose.
Open stock pencils (which I buy) $1.60 + tax per pencil. (prismacolor)
Other brands are generally a bit more. Some are over $2 and I frequently use Faber-Castell brand as well.
Stonehenge paper: $2.50 to $12 depending on the size of paper you want. Per sheet.
Electric eraser: $79 to start. $10 for the re-fill box of erasers
Electric sharpener (trust me....there is no other way!) $40ish You really do need a good one.
Kneeded erasers $1.39 (these last quite a while though)
White plastic eraser: $1.00

Don't forget to add the tax on all the above items!

Subject: Then there's the cost of the photography. A good digital camera is the cheapest way to go because you don't have to first develop the film to see your pictures. I generally take about 100 photos to start of a subject if I can. Walmart develops for approx. $0.19 a picture. If you want enlargements they are $2 to $3. I work from 8x10's so I can see the small details of a subject.

You need an art desk (drafting table) and stool: $100 to $300 depending what you want.

Lighting: $30 per lamp

Something to hold your pencils on.

Framing: Time to mortgage your home or sell your children;-) On average for a 20x26 portrait done professionally with a double matt you are looking at approx $230 to $300 more or less depending on the frame you choose. For a small drawing with an inexpensive frame and single matt I've paid $79 + tax.

So, since I don't actually need to purchase everything every time what is the actual cost?

The example I will use is the painting called "Looking for Her Prince." The young girl holding a frog.

This picture had a solid blue background. It took 5 layers of colour and 6 hours to get it that way. (The final layer is done using a method called "scumbling" which is very time consuming.) It took 2.5 pencils to do this section alone. I would have went through a couple of brown, and peach pencils as well. The rest would have used up approx. a quarter to 3/4 of other colours. I use about 30 to 50 different colours in one painting. (If I use grey....there are 18 different prismacolor grey shades.) In her hair alone I've used probably 15 different colours.

You then have to look at the time factor. I've sped up of late, but even the fastest coloured pencil artist is still going to take 20 to 40 hours for a painting this size. The more detail the more time. What would you expect to get paid for a 40 hour work week? Would you work a whole week, full-time for $100 excluding the cost of supplies? Probably not.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Here's the one I'm working on now. I am finding the texture of the paper difficult to work with since I'm working on the rougher side of the "Stonehenge" paper as well as issues in working with wax, clay and oil based pencils all together. I suppose the challenges are what make the work interesting. It just takes longer to complete a painting.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

White Mocha and Kat Von D

Here's Kat Von D trying to talk White Mocha into a tattoo;-)

There are days where I actually do stay home and work around the house, on my art, or volunteer at the kids school. Today wasn't one of them.

Although I've never actually seen her show, I knew Kat Von D was coming into town to do a book signing and asked White Mocha if she felt like using public transit to get downtown to wait in line for eons to attend the book signing of a tattoo artist. I didn't actually think she'd say yes! We went, it was fun to ride a bus again like common folk, something neither of us do unless completely necessary;-) We did a tour of the art school and I signed up for my next course. So I guess technically it was a work related trip.

I didn't actually get a book. I guess I just wanted to see what someone looks like who actually gets paid big money to create art and who gets to draw on people for a living. I'm jealous.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Well I sent a kindly worded comment through the home page of the local city councillor for this ward, Alex Cullen. If you want to tell him anything here's his page:


Maybe you can let this person know that he needs to tone it down during these tough times when people are struggling. Footbridges and atheistic signage aren't worth discussion time with the current state of the economy. Fix roads, water, sewers and garbage pick up, keeping your nose out of where it doesn't belong. Find ways to lower taxes not increase them.

A funny story about Mr. P's cousin. He is a dead ringer for Mayor Larry. When he gets into a cab they greet his as Mr. Mayor. He was in a bar when two city employees walked in. They quickly turned and left and went to change out of their uniforms before returning. They later introduced themselves and said they did indeed think he was the mayor and didn't want to get caught in the place during working hours by him. Although I don't wish that I looked like the mayor I think that if I did I would use it to my advantage to get stuff done in this city. How cool would that be!

Mr. John Baird our local MP sent out more mail yet again today asking for comments. Funny thing is that I know of someone trying to get 5 minutes with him for about a month now and he doesn't have the time to spare. He's much to important to deal with the constituents directly. A busy guy like that can't talk to everyone who wants to speak with him. Mail him instead. I'm sure the letter box is right over the garbage can where he receives all his suggestions and comments.

After literally years of convincing people that they need to get out and vote if they want to see change I have decided that the people who don't vote are right after all. I'm done with voting. I will make an exception however for the local city politics. I want Alex Cullen out so bad I'll vote for my garbage can if it will boot his ass to the curb. I hope he runs for mayor as the rumours suggest. Then I hope he loses big time.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Today was my naked people class. My favourite model was working today. He's an older gentleman who is is top physical form. His muscles are quite defined and he holds a pose well without complaint.

It's no secret that I find drawing from live models extremely difficult. Usually I'm pretty much burnt out by the end of the morning. Today though, I could have kept on going. Not that I found it any easier, just that my focus was a bit better once I got into it. Maybe in part the weather was a help as well. It's warming up and the vendors are back out along the market selling their goods. They're about the only ones left with jobs in this city. I wonder what I could sell on the street;-)

There was a feeling of sadness looking down the street towards the AChannel media building. They let 30 people go yesterday and canceled the 6pm and 11pm news casts. I hear that the CBC may be next. More Nortel employees were let go again this week. Are there any actually left working for the company? I only know of a small few. That is if they haven't been let go in the last few hours;-)

Tax bills came out this week. Apparently we can afford the increase and want to spend it on frivilous things such as footbridges and expensive transit expansions. The road repairs, toxic waste and sewage spilling into the river (our drinking water source) aren't all that important.

I would like to personally pay for a ticket for my council member, Alex Cullen, to go to the moon. One way. Since he thinks an increase in taxes is a good idea during difficult times, maybe he would like to pay mine. You know.....I think I'm going to just send him an e-mail telling him just that.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

I lived through a big and nasty flu. I haven't been that sick in years. After being bedridden for a few days I'm stir crazy. Unfortunately it's minus a gazillion degrees out and outside is as unwelcoming as inside.

I was on my way home after picking up 2 of 4 at a party on Sunday. I found myself driving in Adventurers neighbourhood and decided to detour one street over to drive past her house. When 2 of 4 inquired about the quick turn I just said I missed her. It was nice to just drive by. She feeds my artistic monster who is a little famished of late. Her whole neighbourhood oozes artistic energy as does the adjoining one which is know for that. The only thing missing was warmth. Nothing inspires like a walk on a warm Spring evening though the heart of this artisic oasiss. There's even statuary to decorate should the mood find you.