The house we used to live in had a kitchen window overlooking a big back yard with shade trees and grass. It was like a mini Peaceable Kingdom with all sorts of birds, squirrels, butterflies, and lizards going about their business. Ducks and rabbits also resided there from time to time. And a few stray cats who were mostly “peaceable” but had to be monitored to make sure they didn’t eat anyone else in the kingdom. Sometimes as we looked out the window, the animals would stare back at us. One day the cat in this drawing decided to hop up on the window sill and have a closer look. I took a picture of her with my Android camera and worked directly from the phone screen image to create this portrait.
As I mentioned in a previous post, smart phone cameras are wonderful resources for artists. You can keep a whole gallery of images to work from. You can crop awkward compositions to balance them and you can use the edit features to get creative effects. I used a color enhancement setting on the photo for Stray and tried to capture the effect with my colored pencils.I liked the result but think it would have looked better on smoother paper.
Below is a small painting of the same kitty. Or a close relative.
Special occasions have a way of generating ephemera that either gets thrown in the trash or stashed away in boxes never again to see daylight. Art journaling is good for people who like to keep things like that. If it’s in a journal, it’s organized into a display that will more likely be seen than if it were packed up in a box or a file folder. The page above is about my recent birthday. It contains scraps of wrapping paper, cards and envelopes, etc., all collaged together and decorated with colored markers.
The one below has some leftovers from Valentine’s Day mixed in with gift labels and decorations from a couple of other occasions. Someone apparently celebrated with breakfast at McDonald’s on at least one of them.
In a previous post I showed the steps involved in creating this interlaced pattern. Eon is the result of going off the grid with it, skewing the lines to create a kind of flowing rhythm. I tried out some variations in line and then picked this one to finish with colored pencils. There are numerous ways it could have been shaded and/or colored. So many doodles! So little time!
As I mentioned in a previous post on doodling, you can find patterns all around you and figure out how to draw them by breaking down the patterns into basic components. This yields a step by step drawing process called a doodle algorithm. I developed the algorithm for Interlaced Pattern from the faintly colored background on a paper check. Below are the steps:
I used a dot grid to help draw this but it’s doable without one. After creating these steps I drew the finished one at the top of this post. I used that one to practice pencil shading and try out a new set of colored pencils.
Sock Creature purists may think that Sock Nerd is not a true sock creature because his body is made of a pot holder. However since the pot holder was made out of loops cut from actual socks, Sock Nerdwould, in fact, be a true sock creature.
Furthermore, although some nit pickers may object to Sock Nerd being referred to as a sock creature instead of a sock person, in my opinion nerds are actually creatures. (from outer space.) My opinion is, of course, based on close encounters with arch nerds (single-minded experts in a particular field) including some software developers.
It is perfectly obvious, however, that Sock Alien is definitely an alien, (note the antennae) although not necessarily a nerd.
Whereas the sock creatures in the previous posts were more original in form, the kitties above and below, were made using conventional patterns. In order to get some originality into them I appliqued hand dyed scraps on to them and embellished with embroidery.
In the 1960’s Pop Artist Claes Oldenburg began creating sculptures out of non-rigid materials such as cloth, plastic, and foam rubber. Think giant plush hamburger. This became known as soft sculpture and has continued to be popular. Google soft sculpture and you will come up with a myriad of results including how-to instructions for practically any kind of object.
My mushrooms are not as big as Oldenburg’s hamburger but they don’t take up nearly as much space.
In a previous post I introduced my new interest in creating sock creatures. Since I was recycling old socks for some of my creatures I started tie dying the the white ones to add color and originality. I also used bleach on old black socks to get some interesting effects. Milo was made out of some hand dyed socks as were the dress and hair of the doll below.
Below are a recently tie dyed / tie bleached batch of socks. It will be interesting to see what can be made from them.
These paper ornaments were made from toilet paper which had been draped all over a high school class room as part of a homecoming prank.
For those not familiar with the customs of American high schools, each year there is one special football game to which alumni are invited. Festivities include a formally dressed court, dances, and parties, etc. An unintended but fairly common side activity is a form of practical joke called “rolling yards”. This is the act of draping people’s property with rolls and rolls of toilet paper. It’s usually taken with good humor provided there is no serious or permanent property damage.
When my colleagues’ class room was “rolled”, it seemed a shame to throw away all that paper. So we bagged it up and recycled it into Christmas ornaments.
The process is simple: dip a wad of paper in some water and pack it into cookie cutters. It will dry into rigid shapes that can be popped out, primed and painted. Glue on a hanger and you’re done.
We made a lot of these, sold them to students and teachers and used the proceeds to purchase school supplies and uniforms for a child through Grace International World Outreach.
Moral of the story? Don’t get mad. Get busy. Have fun!
A few years ago I found a book kit at Books-A-Million called Stupid Sock Creatures. I loved the idea of creating oddball sock dolls and immediately began saving up old socks and gloves and buying new ones at salvage stores. However, I didn’t have time to actually make anything with those socks until a couple of years ago when I retired.