For the Love of a Tractor

I’m not Sherlock Holmes, but I do love to nose around and look at my Facebook friends’ photos. It is so obvious to me what they love. It isn’t the volume of images, but the moments they capture and share. I’ve sketched a bird,  a child, and a building. For the sake of variety and my whimsical nature, I chose this image for today’s post. I understand why a person would love a tractor. So much work shared to the rhythm of that engine. My boys loved getting rides in the bucket of Grampa’s tractor. It needs “Allis Chalmers”  painted on it. A small detail, but love is in the details, right?

A loved tractor

A loved tractor

Sketching and Cooking

I found this fun website of artists illustrating recipes. I entered a contest where the artist illustrates one ingredient used in three simple recipes. I got my entry in twenty minutes before the deadline. I’d like to have you think this is unusual for me. Here is my entry:

Carrots Times Three

                                                             Carrots Times Three

Our family loves carrots and Alaska’s are fabulous.

Illustrating recipes is so much fun. In fact, I’m planning on creating twelve of these and giving them to my daughters-in-law for Christmas using Blurb or some other site that prints books. That might mean I need to plan ahead a bit. Maybe a little more than twenty minutes. Please feel free to print this for your own use, but please, don’t share, post, or sell the image. Share this blog site all you want.

More Facebook Friends sketches coming. I’m looking at a photo of the most lovely farm. It’s almost finished.

Here is the website with the contest: They Draw And Cook

Sketching Facebook Photos-Stalking in a Good Way

I must have a stalker’s heart. My Facebook friends post photos which only tempt me to see more. More of that road trip. More of that family (oh, look! they have twins too!) More of that building project. More of those crazy pets. Some of those images reached out and grabbed me by the leg. Well, sort of. They spoke to me in one way or another. Usually it is the lighting in a photo that catches my eye. If it makes me catch my breath, it goes in the file. I’m not going to tell you what images are there, but judging by the contents, I’m eclectic.

This is the first one. My friend, Heather, feeds all sorts of birds. I’m jealous that she has Stellar Jays. She is only a hundred miles and a mountain range away, but those jays don’t live near us.

Stellar Jay Watercolor

Stellar Jay Watercolor

She feeds them from her hand and captured that expression with her camera. How could I not paint this handsome dude? I’m a sucker for electric blue eyebrows.

The next painting is on my painting table. I’m going to send a photo of the painted image to the “owner” and wait for a response. This one has to look just right or it is all wrong. Oh, to be a fly on the wall…

Stay tuned…

Painting Kids and Cars

Elijah

It is always an honor to paint a person. There is the responsibility to “get” the expression and put the eyes and ears in the right places, but there is a level of tender intimacy found when I look so long and carefully at just that nose, that ear, that personality. It isn’t the same as painting, say…cars!

Arizona Cars

These cars are all in Arizona. People drive golf carts around, too. I wasn’t sure what to put in the bottom middle spot. It would have been difficult to draw a small car across the gutter of the page. My friend, Elinor, suggested an Arizona license plate. Pretty cool idea, isn’t it? The page needed some text, so I added words from an old Country Western song. I sang it for my husband and he laughed.

Sketching a Lake Before Freeze-up

The lakes in interior Alaska have begun to freeze and the swans are getting ready to take the last flight out before their feet freeze in the ice. I stopped at Eureka Summit and sketched part of the Chugach Range. I could have used two more pieces of paper in this panorama to sketch what I was looking at through the windshield. Snow hasn’t fallen on lower elevations. The colors are from dry grasses and leaves.

Eureka Summit- Mile 130 Glennallen Highway, Alaska

Eureka Summit Mile 130 Glennallen Highway, Alaska

I’m going to post sketches available for sale on this blog and they can be purchased using PayPal. Message me if you are interested. The price will be in the title or it will be marked sold.

On Saturday I took four children to a birthday party fifty miles from our house. After I dropped them off, I escaped to a quiet lake nearby and sketched this view. A gentle breeze was blowing and birds were flitting about in the trees. It was marvelous.

Lake at Mile 143, 7" x 9" $50.00

Lake at Mile 143, 7″ x 9″watercolor/pen $50.00 (postage paid)

Waiting for the Blink

Portraits have been a love/hate relationship for me. When I’m painting them, time just flies by. The brush nudges a cheek into existence and with just a dot and swirl, there is an eye and I almost expect to see a blink. I often say, “Well, hello!” I honestly don’t know if other artists have this response. I don’t wait for it and I don’t expect it, but it almost always happens. That is the love part.

The hate part is that it might not work. This isn’t a problem unless it is a commission. In one commission, I had a parent ask if I could take off some fat and add some hair to her child. What child did she want me to paint? Another commission, the parent gave me a handful of photos and said to paint anything that moved me. I did. They said my painting looked just like the photo, but not like the child. “Can you make her look more like a monkey?” You meet all kinds.

This year I’ve joined some amazing artists from around the world in a special small group on Facebook. We post sketches online and the only obligation is to interact and exchange positively. We can’t just “like” an image. We are encouraged to say what works and what might need some tweaking. Sometimes there will be a challenge to sketch an “assignment” and they are always fun. Last week some of us sketched a portrait based on photos from their Facebook page. I chose Laura. This sketch took a little less than three hours from paper to “hello”.

"Laura" 10.5" x 7" watercolor

“Laura” 10.5″ x 7″ watercolor

Autumn in Alaska

Snow is creeping down the mountains in the North as the earth tips away from the sun. I find myself leaning toward the equator. Mornings are stunning this time of year as the golden aspen leaves sing against the brilliant blue sky.

Anthracite Ridge

Anthracite Ridge, behind our house.

Our greenhouse produced lots of beautiful tomatoes this year. I brought this clump in and sketched them. A red tomato just glows, doesn’t it? I didn’t try to stay in the lines with this one. It sits contentedly in my sketchbook, but I’ll carefully cut it out if you would like it. For sale here, on my Etsy site.

The last tomatoes from our greenhouse.

“How Do You Like Them Tomatoes?” 7″ x 9″ watercolor

Sketching the Change of Season

The Sketch Project was quite an accomplishment and your kind words of encouragement helped so much. Thank you for cheering me on. The sketches will be on display in Cape Town, South Africa during the month of October. They will return to Alaska, then finally land in Kihei, Hawaii where the buyer lives. Amazing how such a piece of art can get around.

Seeing that I was able to sketch every day with such great response, I’ve decided to sell one sketch a week. I haven’t done this before and I will admit I’m a bit nervous. I’m not nervous about sketching, but the commitment of getting the image up for sale on a regular basis. It isn’t really that big of a deal if I look at it one sketch at a time, so with that confession, I’ll show you this week’s sketch. This is an original and I’m not planning on making prints because that is a commitment I don’t even want to look at right now. Here is the link to my Etsy store if you would like to purchase it. I’m going to put it on Facebook tomorrow, but I wanted to give my blog friends first opportunity. I’m going to keep the cost low on these because I want you to have a chance to buy them and it will motivate me to sketch and sketch.

"South Fork Sketch" 5" x 8.5" original watercolor and ink sketch

“South Fork Sketch” 5″ x 8.5″ original watercolor and ink sketch

The leaves are turning and some have blown off the trees. Last week I took this photo.

Sept 20 1 web

Last of the Thirty Sketch Challenge

Finished! All 30 sketches are complete and on their way to Cape Town, South Africa, to be displayed there for the month of October. The booklet of sketches is on Ebay and the winning bidder will receive them when they return in November. Here is a link to see a thumbnail of all the sketches.

Down on the Matanuska River

Down on the Matanuska River

Clouds...because.

Clouds…because.

Day 29 web

Our fireweed signals that summer is over.

Our fireweed signals that summer is over.

Sketchpack

This gives you an idea of the layout and the size of the sketches. There are sketches on both sides. Each sketch is 4 inches wide by 3.5 inches high and they all fold into a small little packet!

Thank you so much for joining me with these sketches. Your comments are so kind and encouraging. Now I’m off on another project. You’ll just have to wait and see!