Icicles

The toughest part about being an artist and promoting your work is the marketing part. I try to schedule my posts but sometimes I get behind and this is one of those times. The holidays add another list of chores to an already busy day. Taking 5 minutes to take a photo can be a challenge. These are the days when perseverance becomes an important part of my daily life.

I chose the prompt “Icicles” for today’s Art Challenge. I have been doing these on my iPad and I use the iPad the same way I would sketch it out on paper, but with a twist. I can use different layers to sketch out my subject and each layer has a different piece of the composite. The original gestural sketch doesn’t need to be erased, all I need to do is turn it off. I love creating art the traditional way but my iPad does make it a bit quicker.

This little reindeer character has been hanging out in my sketchbook and my iPad. Today he has a little bit of a frozen antler problem.

The next photo is my stamp carving for today.

It’s December….Again

December is such a busy month and I scratch my head when art challenges pop up for December. Especially when the list hits right before the start date so that you can’t prepare ahead of time. It almost seems sadistic.

Getting off my soapbox….Shannon McNab’s “Daily Sketch Challenge” prompts for December are very helpful and she encourages not spending a lot of time overthinking them but to use the daily prompt for inspiration to illustrate an idea. She is correct when she says if you were looking to create illustrations or art for the holiday season, there’s no better time to do it than during this season.

Christmas is the time of year when you feel the season in so many different ways…the festivities, the food, the visual celebrations of lights and decor, the music, TV specials and ironically, even the stress could be a source of inspiration. Watching Hallmark Christmas movies or listening to holiday music in July doesn’t really capture the moment or ambiance like the living in the season does for providing inspiration to create holiday art.

I discovered another prompt list called Carve December (that I need like a hole in the head) that I could probably incorporate with the Shannon McNab’s list. I am really excited about Carve December because carving stamps and having inspiration to do them is making me very happy. Stamp carving is fun and relaxing and I can do so much with my own stamps in my creations. I have already found that they make cute little gift tags.

Here is my Daily Sketch Challenge and my CarveDecember print.

On a side note, I need to pick up a red ink pad. This one leans toward pink.

Lili’s Christmas Parka

Absence

Absence 

You were the last thing

we wanted

You came to us

on a warm summer evening

Tiny and sick

dark as the night

We took you in

and you grew on us

You thought you were

a chihuahua

You ingratiated yourself

into our hearts

Soft and silky

svelte and lanky

A queen in your own right

Gardening with your company

Birds and mice brought

into the house 

There were those times

we pulled our hair out

You ate almost  

 a whole cake

But we loved you

You went to Florida 

with Erin

a companion and

a friend 

We enjoyed your company

during lockdown

Then one tragic day

you fell ill

No vet could save you

You were only five

We didn’t want you 

to go

But we had to let you

We feel your loss

every day.

Night carnival

I thought this was going to be a difficult subject to illustrate until I remembered that I sketched a few amusements over the years, most during the day. I referenced those sketches and sleeted the Tornado ride for this illustration.

I had a lot of fun doing this….

Witch

The fourth prompt is “witch” and it happens to be one of my favorites. Usually for Inktober, I work on my “Little Witch” series, which started back in 2018 as a desperate need to find ideas for postcards to mail to my mom.

(Mom was placed in Assisted Living back in 2018 for memory care. I mailed her postcards to give her something to look forward to and help her settle in.)

This year I did the “TheyDrawtober’s Cook” list and that’s what I sent my mom this year. I thought the food art would give her some memory triggers. I haven’t seen her since December 2019, thanks to CoVID 19 but occasionally my sister is able to FaceTime with us.

I have to admit it’s been hard to keep up the daily practice. She likes cats and always dressed as a witch for Halloween, so that’s where the idea for the “Little Witch” series came from. I do enjoy doing the “Little Witch” series and Inktober made it fun to use the prompts for the character.

Here is the Little Witch as a pre-schooler….as I mentioned yesterday, I might switch to watercolor; I actually used watercolor and the Arteza brush pens together.

“witch”

Haunted

I am still trailing the other October lists for now. As I write this, I have one of the Hallmark channels on TV to help with the holiday transition, even though I don’t want to transition yet. I’d love to wallow some more in post-Halloween, pre-Thanksgiving vibes and enjoy November for November.

It’s hard to transition in the State of “endless” summer. Autumn creeps slowly into my part of Florida. The overnight temps creep downward and daytime temps are around 80, for now. We actually do have autumn here and trees will lose their leaves. It’s very comical. One day the trees have leaves, and the next, they drop them like PJ’s dropped on the floor before a shower.

Today’s prompt is “Haunted.” I am trying to use the Arteza brush pens that I normally use for Inktober, but they aren’t performing very well on the textured Arches paper. I’ll probably switch over to watercolor on the next one.

Monster Self Portrait

This is another sketch in my “skull” sketchbook. I love this refillable journal. It’s black Italian leather and it was made by Innovative Journaling. It comes with two refills of Arches Text Wove paper. The nice thing about this refillable journal is that I can use the paper that comes with it, or make my own refill from paper that I choose. I love the black leather with skull beads. Perfect for my Halloween themed sketches.

Today’s sketch is based on my interpretation of last month’s Drawlloween list. The first day was “Monster Self Portrait” which, I think the intention was to make a monster self portrait of ourselves, but that light bulb came on and I remembered the Norman Rockwell self portrait. I recently did a sketch of Cary Grant and I laughed thinking about Frankenstein painting his self portrait but it looking like Cary.

Now that I look at this, I should have made Cary green, too. It Frankie more flesh toned. I don’t know why Frankie is depicted as green anyway. I like the version from “Penny Dreadful.”

This is just a sketch and hasn’t been polished digitally. But this is where a lot of my ideas start.

Frankie paints his self portrait…”
My Halloween Journal

Little Witch (on the side)

I did work a little on my little witch series while doing the “TheyDrawtober Challenge.” The food challenge took up more time than expected, and I wound up doing that challenge on Procreate and as you can see from last month’s posts.

In the meantime, monsters, witches and other beasties were sidelined. I have been debating on posting them in November, or holding off on them for now. Although it isn’t October, it is still before Thanksgiving, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to post a few fall themed sketches and maybe a monster here or there. There will be time enough for holiday posts after Thanksgiving.

Those of you who follow my Little Witch series might remember that Cleopatra (aka Kitty) passed away last year of an unknown neurological event right before Inktober. We were all grief stricken and it was hard for me to put a kitty in the series last year.

This year, there are two new grandkitties that my daughter adopted. Plus my son also has a diabolical kitty that I could add so kitties will be making a comeback. Cleo was found by my husband and I and was the family kitty even though she came here to Florida with my daughter. We all still miss Cleo.

So back to the story….

The Litttle Witch made some caramel apples. She put one out to have as a snack, and to see how they taste before packaging them up as gifts. However, the Dragonet and Toffee, the muted tortie kitty, have other ideas.

This sketch was done on Arches text wove paper in my refillable Innovative Journal . It’s black leather with skull beads. Really cool!

All Souls Day / Day of the Dead

This illustration was done for the “scary great” challenge on the “They Draw “ website. It is based on the Scottish Prayer:

“From Ghoulies and Ghosties, and long leggity beasties, and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord Deliver us.”

I did a painting over 12 years ago illustrating that same prayer and gave it to my husband. The original location was a cemetery in Philadelphia and it was a plein air painting that I started and converted to an illustration. That painting inspired the illustration below, but this one is a compilation of several cemetery sketches I have painted plein air over the years.

Some people may think it is a bit macabre that I sit in cemeteries and paint them. A cemetery is the final, unavoidable stop on our life’s journey. We can choose to avoid them, but cemeteries can be exquisitely beautiful, contemplative places where you can sit and enjoy nature. The whisper of trees and grasses blowing in a breeze, the chirps and calls of birds, crickets, cicadas, and the busy activity of squirrels and other creatures. Painting in a cemetery can be a mindfulness lesson of living in the moment…and enjoying it.

And usually, no one bothers you there, either. And they are quite beautiful this time of year.

The link to the website is below, should you wish to see I there and leave a comment or “Like” it.

https://www.they-draw.com/illustrations/19877-scottish-prayer

Or you can just enjoy it here….