Sunday, June 16, 2019

More Book Collages

Sure To Be In Demand 

Ask Your Big Brother

Both of these collages were made from vintage book parts. I am loving this process and the different ways that the books, titles and parts inspire me. 

And I am still practicing portraits. I love using the iPad to paint and manipulate sketches I import from my sketchbook.

Photography is also calling to me again. I am wanting to get out and experiment more with different locations and subjects. I'll always find beautiful subject matter at the nature preserve. Chasing hawks is my favorite pastime while I take my morning walks.

These are a few of the things keeping me busy right now. I am enjoying the weather, the walks and the inspiration! 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

2019: Year of the Collage

I just finished a wonderful class taught by Melinda Tidwell called The Fine Art of Book Collage. It involves deconstructing vintage paperback and hardback books and then using the parts in abstract collage. I LOVED it. This collage was made from mostly hardback books. It's called "From Betty with Love".

This collage is called "The Luxurious Life" and it's made from mainly vintage paperback book parts. I plan on making a lot of these. I have deconstructed tons of vintage hardbacks and paperbacks that I got free from the local library.

In addition I have been continuing with portrait drawing and painting. I've added digital work too since I upgraded my iPad. The three images below were done digitally. They printed out beautifully.

I have all of my portraits on my Instagram account under the name magpiestudiodesigns. I know it has been over a year since I posted and I've considered deleting this blog. I will keep it for now and post new work as I finish it.

I am taking a year long class called Year of the Collage from Carla Sonheim's website. There are different teachers every three months and it's all been very inspiring so far!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Changes in 2018

So yeah, it's been a while since I posted here. I'm debating whether to delete the blog and start over. We have an ANCIENT computer that makes it practically impossible to log on and that's another reason for the lack of posts. 

I've been mainly posting my art on Instagram under the name Magpiestudiodesigns. I'm working on getting an Etsy shop put together and selling some cards/prints of my work. Right now shopping for a suitable place that will print giclee prints. 

I did finish the 100 Faces project (120 portraits!). Still continuing with the theme under the hashtag #my2018wonkyportaits on Instagram. The photos above are examples of my latest posts. I have been doing some work with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil in the ProCreate app. I usually import my hand drawn sketches and tweak them digitally. That's easier for me than trying to draw straight on the iPad. So that's what's keeping me busy these days: learning more about ProCreate and hopefully getting a new computer this weekend. 

If I change blogs or begin a new one from scratch I'll post the link here. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Wonky Portraits Continued

I'm up to number 30/100 in my wonky portrait series. Been having computer issues so I haven't been able to update as often as I'd like. A new computer is on the horizon! Here are a few more of my favorites. It took an entire evening (in front of the TV) to ink in this hair. Similar to another portrait with intricate line work I did on the last post. It's very relaxing though to make tiny marks and form the hair. She is my favorite in this group. Here are a few more:

This is Miss Attitude! Ha! I just finished a class on Carla Sonheim's site with Lynne Whipple called Making Faces. We did a lot of exercises where you just let go and mixed it up. Those turned out to be the best faces! Like this one. It was a contour drawing where you look at the paper only a couple of times while you draw from a reference photo. It makes for wonky proportions and uneven features. That's what I was going for and she appeared. Doesn't she look thrilled?  :)

She was another experiment in letting go (something hard for me to do!). We were to once again draw from a reference and not look at our paper more than a couple times. Then we were to add cross hatching (x's) on the face where shadows would be. Makes for an interesting take . I added washi tape for her "dress". I love the wonky lines. And of course the hair.  ;)

This is too funny. The model in the reference photo was a female. I hardly looked at my paper at all while drawing her. So I ended up with this guy! Ha! I did the exercise again with the same model and it looks more like a female, so I'll call that one the twin to this guy. Anyway The hair and the jacket were all very tiny ink lines. The jacket took a few hours. But I like the result (looks like fabric, I think). So he is twin #1. When I finish his twin sister, I'll post her as well. She actually has the look I was going for when I chose the model. You never know what you'll end up with when you don't control your drawing. That's the point of the whole exercise!  :)

Hopefully this computer will last a little longer until we can get out and find a decent new one. I want to use it as long as I can but it's life is definitely limited!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

More Wonky Portraits

Proud to say that I'm right on schedule with my 100 Wonky Portraits project. I just posted portrait #28 on my Instagram feed. Here are a few more of my favorites. I'm experimenting with different papers, media and styles. The first one is ink and colored pencil on toned paper. This is one of the band members from Kings of Leon.

This is done with graphite and colored pencil. There is an app called Sketchy that is full of people posing for you to draw/sketch/paint. I chose this lady with the glasses to try. Hands are HARD to draw!

This is another model from the Sketchy app done in ink, graphite and colored pencil on toned paper. Did I mention that hands are HARD to draw?  ;)

Marilyn... done in graphite and colored pencil.

I took this pose from a fashion magazine. I loved her glasses and the expression on her face. She's actually leaning against a man's shoulder but I just wanted to draw her. This is done with watercolor, ink and colored pencil.

She's done in watercolor, ink and colored pencil. Laying on a blanket in the sun...

I love working with pen and doing intricate line work so I spent hours on her hair. Very relaxing. She's done in ink and colored pencil.

These little portraits are keeping me busy every night (I work on them while watching TV). I love this project. It keeps me on the lookout for interesting faces and poses. If you have an Instagram account, I have three (of course!). My art account is @magpiestudiodesigns. All of the portraits are posted there under the hashtag #100wonkyportraits. I'll keep posting my favorites here.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sketching Chucks

I couldn't resist sketching my favorite pair of Chuck Taylor's! These are my Warhol Chucks. :)

In keeping with my sketchbook practice I switched it up a bit and decided to try and draw these. It took a LONG time but I'm happy with it. This is ink, graphite and colored pencil. 

In my 100 Wonky Portrait project I am up to number 13. Here are a few of my favorites so far:

So I've been busy sketching away every day! I'm really hoping I can make it 100 days straight. Fingers crossed. Will post more from my wonky portraits next time.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Contour Drawing

One of the ways recommended for strengthening your skills is to start a project where you draw your subject repeatedly. There are a ton of projects on the Internet where artists pick a subject and commit to drawing or working with it for a set number of days (30 days, 100 days, etc.). I am starting a 100 day project for portraits.

Will I draw a portrait 100 days straight? I hope so (but probably not). But I will challenge myself to draw more portraits. The catch: DON'T stay in your comfort zone. Do something completely different, mix it up and see what results. You won't learn anything if you keep drawing/painting the same way.

Here is the first in my series. No I won't post every single one. But I really like this first attempt. I used the half-blind contour technique. You get a reference photo, place your pencil on the paper and slowly draw what you see. You only look at your paper when you have to move the pencil to another place in the portrait. Then continue with the drawing.

You end up with wonky lines, strange shapes and a completely different look than what you normally draw. I would never draw that wonky shoulder bump or the shape of her back intentionally this way. And certainly not the lips misshapen like that. But I LOVE how these turn out. You then look at what you've got and work with it. No erasing!!

For my next portrait I'll use the blind contour. You can't look at your paper AT ALL after you begin. It ends up really distorted and usually pretty cool.

So that's one of the projects I'm working on. I really want to challenge myself to see what I can come up with that is totally different from my usual way of working.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Portrait Sketches

Here are a few more portraits I sketched while taking Gillian Cox's portrait class. She taught us a lot about how to sketch from reference photos.

These are taken from my sketch book so the quality isn't the best. In class we were then supposed to work from our sketches and build a painting. I haven't done paintings of any of these yet but I'm really happy with the sketches themselves.

I did do a final painting in the class. I used an earlier oil portrait I had painted as reference and then painted another one. Here is the original painting I had done years ago:

Here is the new version this year (both done in oil):

I'm not thrilled with the photo. It's hard to photograph a painting! Ugh! But you get the drift of it. It's actually a lot more vibrant than this.

I would like to eventually start paintings on the sketches I've completed in class. I have to be in the right mindset to start a big project like that. So far, I'm still sketching small studies in my sketchbook.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sketchbook Skool!

Oh yes! I have entered Sketchbook Skool. I LOVE it! I'm trying to establish a regular habit of sketching every night. So far, so good. These are a few of the sketches I've done while in the classes. The top one is probably my favorite. It's a sketch of one of the teachers. She gave us a PDF of her using different expressions. I LOVE sketching expressions and had a blast with this one. :)

Here is another one I did and practiced sketching with only a little color added (with colored pencils).

Here's my calico cat while she was sitting beside me one night on the sofa.

I love creating little characters out of the top of my head. She popped up when I glued down the "hair" that I cut from a magazine. Even SHE looks happy with her new do! :)

I just started a new class called "Seeing" to get us to really look at the world around us. I can't wait to see what it brings forth in my sketchbook. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Memory Lane

I'm taking a couple of classes right now that use collage along with illustration. I love the concept and am learning a lot. I pulled together different images and effects to create this one. The street sign is an actual sign here in town that I ran across last week. The lade was pulled from an archive images file and the skyline was created digitally. Lots more in process..

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Little Combination

16"x 20", mixed media

This is a fun piece I did in Gillian Lee Smith's workshop. I'm now addicted to this process. You first make two pretty large drawings of two different people. I did a male and a female. Then you cut up your drawings into squares. You combine the two and assemble new faces from pieces of each drawing. After you've glued down the pieces, you then paint it out. FUN!!!

The top photo was the first of the combined pieces. I then added a hat and the drippy sweater. Male or female? Hmmm... I don't know. Whatever you want it to be.

Here is what I did with what was left over from the pieces:

I call this the sister of the first one. :) In this portrait I added a hat, and collaged a coat. Then made it all blend together. Also I played with proportion and exaggeration. I love the looks you get when you just experiment.

Definitely more of these in the works!

Sunday, February 12, 2017


 Working in my art journal. It helps to vent...Art is my therapy right now.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017