Naomi's Creative Station

10 12 naomi creative space 51.jpg

Since June of this year, Naomi will express interest in drawing with crayons, (sometimes interspersed with chewing on the crayons, which makes me take them away for a bit...) and up until last month she would draw in her sketch book on the floor next to my desk.

{Naomi's sketch book}

Then at the end of August Courtney of a Thoughtful Place posted a round up of kid friendly spaces, and second image in her post sent me to Ikea to find the perfect "Lack"  table that would function as Naomi's work table.

Naomi now has her own spot, where she can sit and color. At all times there is a box that keeps her crayons and other bits, like the pine cone she picked up on a walk, and a sketch book on the table. I also hang drawings she does while at her babysitter's home.

It is so rewarding how sometimes I will hear ruffling of paper or some other small sound, and when I come to investigate, I find her sitting at her table, deep in concentration and intent on what is in front of her.

Inspiration Friday: Quotes about Beauty


{Rembrandt van Rijn, 'Old Man with a Walking Stick; Head of a Young Woman,' c. 1633-34, brown ink on cream antique laid paper.}

. No thing is beautiful. But all things await the sensitive and imaginative mind that may be aroused to pleasurable emotion at sight of them. This is beauty.
Robert Henri

. Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don't start measuring her limbs.
Pablo Picasso

. Artist are sometimes asked, "Why do you paint ugly and not beautiful things?" The questioner rarely hesitates in his judgement of what is beautiful and what is ugly. This with him is a foregone conclusion. Beauty he thinks is a settled fact. His conception also is that beauty rests in teh subject, not in the expression. He should, therefore, pay high for Rembrandt's portrait of a gentleman, and turn with disgust from a beggar by Rembrandt. Fortunately Rembrandt is old enough not to have this happen, and the two, the gentleman and the beggar, flank each other on the walls in fine places. but the lesson has not been learned. The idea still remains, that beauty rests in the subject.
Robert Henri

{Rembrandt van Rijn, 'Four Studies of Male Heads', c. 1635, brown ink and brown wash on cream antique laid paper}

{Rembrandt van Rijn, Beggar Woman Leaning on a Stick, c. 1628/1630, brush and brown wash on laid paper}

. That which is not slightly distorted lacks sensible appeal; from which it follows that irregularity – that is to say, the unexpected, surprise and astonishment, are a essential part and characteristic of beauty.
Charles Baudelaire

Back from Washington State


Pike's Place Market

Yesterday I flew back from Washington State, it was a whirlwind trip of visiting with members of my family that live there and some good friends from college.

Seattle was cool and dry, but once I got over the Cascades it was all white and snowy.

in Wenatchee
...from my sister's in Wenatchee...

along the Columbia River
...along highway 97 to Omak, WA. All the orchards look so cold and barren with the coating of white.

My parents live outside Omak, Wa in a tiny community called Riverside. One of the days while visiting I went on a beautiful hike up the valley behind their house {here are more photos}.

copying from Vanderpoel
While on the plane I continued to copy from my anatomy books. This image is from the flight home.

Today was all about catching up on sleep and sorting things out... Tomorrow I hope to be back on schedule :) Until then, have a wonderful evening, Liz

Another Anatomy Sketch



Here is another anatomy sketch completed on canson paper with charcoal pencil and a white pastel pencil. These two sketches focus on the cervical vertebrae of the spine and how they connect with the skull.

focus on cervical vertebrae

Tomorrow I am headed out of town for about a week and I am not sure if I will have internet access to post while away. I am bringing the Bridgman and Vanderpoelbooks with me so during down times I will hopefully be able to keep copying and stay on track with learning about anatomy.

Have a wonderful week, and see you soon, Liz

Anatomy Drawings: the skull and its muscles

skull - charcoal

skull and facial muscles

Today I spent time learning about the skull and the muscles of the face and neck. These drawings were copied from Joseph Sheppard's book Anatomy: A Complete Guide for Artists. This book has some clear drawings of the bone structure and the muscles, and it easy to learn from because of how developed the drawings are. A few days ago I was copying from George Bridgeman's book and found that the sketchy nature of his drawings to be too loose for what I initially need. I figure I will return to that book after copying from other books.

Also in the desire to share this experience with other artists I opened a flickr group dedicated to Human Anatomy. Being that I am unable to travel and study at an atelier, I figured the next best thing would be to learn from books and devise a self guided program while using the wonderful artist community found on the internet and on flickr for inspiration and motivation.

If you are on flickr please join in and add your drawings also!

Thanks and have a great evening, Liz

Beginning a new study project...

work space
{setup to start copying from Bridgman}

With the start of winter break at the Art League, this week I am beginning a new learning project to take advantage of the multiple days of uninterrupted time to focus on human anatomy. My goal is to intensively study anatomy and how it functions during this time to kick start a specific focus area to grow for the next year.

The plan it so copy from several resources and to share the process with you as the project progresses.

The books I am using as references are:

1. Anatomy and Drawing by Victor Perard
2. Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life
3. The Human Figure by Joseph Vanderpoel
4. Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters by Robert Beverly Hale
5. Anatomy: A Complete Guide for Artists by Joseph Sheppard
6. The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing by Anthony Ryder
7. Drawing Course by Charles Bargue and Jean-Leon Gerome

stack of figure drawing books

When planning this project I decided to use the order presented in the Vanderpoel book as my guide in how to sequence the study. So beginning with the head and its features, I will read and copy from each of these books, sharing with you the progress. The reason to work from so many different books is to learn from the various viewpoints, thus becoming familiar and comfortable with the different ways each artist presents the subject matter.

Anatomy book - focus on skull
Anatomy book - focus on features
{layouts from the Perard book}

So I began with copying from Bridgman'sbook, and during that time Slim insisted in sharing my lap with the drawing board, it made the drawing a little difficult, however it was particularly special having her purr and cuddle in my lap...

Working on a new drawing

on the drawing board
{on the drawing board}


Today I did not go to the NGA to work on the copy, instead today I stayed home working on a variety of loose end and I thought it would be nice to share with you a new graphite drawing that is still in progress.

This drawing was begun drawing from life, the roses have long since withered and faded, however I still think certain areas could be improved in value to strenghten the composition. So I am playing with it some, on Saturday I worked on some areas, darkening the values on some leaves and now it is leaning against a wall for me to observe it more to see if it needs anything else.

in progress

Here are a few close ups of the tools I am using. When drawing with graphite I prefer using lead holders and I only like using "Turqouise" brand lead, as it is the smoothest and most reliable level of hardness. I use 2H, HB, 2B, 4B, and 6B leads. This drawing is on handmade Twinrocker paper, Yale Wove Text weight. It is my first time using this paper, before I had been hesitant to pay almost $10.00 for a single sheet of paper, now I am converted, the texture of this paper is fantastic. The fibers are strong and durable, so you do not ruin the surface of the paper with erasing, even with a hard rubber eraser.

lead holders and supplies

{detail of supplies}
I use two lead holders usually, one that always has a harder lead and one that has a softer lead, that way I can go back and forth without changing leads every few moments. I like to use a kneaded eraser for most of my eraser needs, however there are times when I need something more powerful and that is when I use the fine grained rubber erasers, this eraser paired with the eraser shield helps me localize a specific area. It can be a real life saver, especially when you accidentally drop the lead holder on your drawing and it leaves a big ugly mark!
When drawing with graphite I try to work left to right, top to bottom, to minimize smudging, however in the later stages of a drawing where I am reworking and refining areas I find having a sheet of glassine is helpful as it will not smudge the graphite.

Some roses {a drawing}


20100719 Roses II dwg 15 x 22
{Roses II -- 15 x 22 inches -- Graphite on Paper}

This drawing was begun in July, and since drawing it I kept thinking it needed something else to complete the composition. So last weekend I pulled out a roll of tracing paper {from my architecture days} and started to pencil in a new rose bud to see how it would fit in. After experimenting some I realized that it would just complicate the simple relationship between the rose and rose buds that were already drawn.

So I am now satisfied with it as it is.

Have a good evening and thank you for reading,


Roses {A New Drawing}

20100620 Roses I dwg 15x22
Roses – 15" x 22" (38.1 x 55.9 cm) – Graphite on Paper


How was your weekend? Other than enjoying time with S. and Slim, my goal for the weekend was to complete something, anything… as I have been working on paintings that require patience due to the extended time required to complete them.

Friday evening I cut some roses and Saturday morning I began this drawing. This evening I finished it, working some from memory because flowers change rapidly and the rose bud is now open, where I liked it being only partially open in the drawing.

Tomorrow I am going to work on the painting with lemons. So it may be a few days before I have anything new to share.

Have a wonderful evening and thanks for reading.


New Drawing and a link


Graphite drawing of roses

{Claudio Bravo's Roses - graphite - 15 x 22 inches}

Hello and happy memorial day weekend!

Our weekend is going by so fast, that it feels like it be over too soon...

The drawing above is a copy of a Claudio Bravo drawing, I only focused on a portion of the original. Roses are a big challenge to me, the variety of form, the variations in value, and complex shapes all conspire to making it difficult to for me to simplify what I see enough to get it down on paper or canvas. So I decided to copy the master of beautiful roses {here is one of my favorite rose paintings by him} to learn a bit and begin to understand how utilizing value and line can work in presenting a very accurate representation of this complex flower. Part of my recent passion for roses induced me to plant three rose bushes near the driveway. I cannot wait until they flower!

Also lately I have been captivated by the recent paintings by Barbara Kacicek. Her ability to convey the rough texture of the stones along with the smooth skin of the pears is so inspiring. I like how hard the edges are in the painting, it almost makes it feel as if there is no air in the space of where the painting takes place.

New Portrait & a Drawing


20100409 Marie 12x19 dwg

Marie – 12” x 19” – Mixed Media
This drawing was completed last month in Robert Liberace’s drawing class. This technique uses sanguine and black verithin colored pencils and a white pastel pencil and it is drawn on prepared paper that has been coated with shellac thinned in alcohol. In class it is called trois crayon, however I have come to feel that is a bit pretentious as it does not use the traditional chalks historically used for drawings labeled “trois crayon”. When describing its medium in juried show applications I tend to call it mixed media as it requires three very specific and different mediums. This drawing was accepted into the Art League's May show
20100506 Phillip 24x18
{portrait study}
Phillip – 24" x 18" (61 x 45.7 cm) – Oil on Canvas

The above painting was completed in Danni’s portrait class over three periods. On Thursday I totally re-worked the face to get the color and facial structure more accurate. There was a point where I thought it was just not going to work out and that I should wipe it out, then all the sudden it came together. Funny how things work out…

Getting through...

ink sketches of arms
{ink sketches from Bridgeman's book}


Have you ever felt at times that the best thing to do is just to get through? Today was about getting through a list of painting and drawing objectives that were put on hold to get through the weekend...

Some of the craziness was from Saturday...

Where S. and I were up early to rent a "billy goat" lawn vacuum to tackle the several years accumulation of sugar gum balls that pepper our half-acre yard. We decided to try this out after spending most of the previous Saturday raking up these pesky balls and only getting through a quarter of the yard, we thought there had to be a machine that would make the task faster and easier... well, it turns out good old elbow grease is the way to go, because I ended up having to rake in front of the "billy goat" being pushed by S. This fancy machine just helped us from having to lean over and bag the sugar gum balls and used up gas to boot...

Today was full of art tasks, everything that was put on hold over the weekend. Including drawing with a steel quill pen, like the sketches above, and working on a 16x20 painting that was started in late February. This current painting needs a little more work in areas, and maybe a glaze or two... though I am hopeful that it is nearing completion...

WIP - detail of a painting
{here is a detail of the painting}

Lingering painting projects weigh me down some, I always look forward to completing a painting and starting a new project, so as a painting begins to be more complete the more eager I am to finish it. Today was a long day in the studio and tomorrow will be also, though hopefully I will have something new to share with you soon.
Until then, thanks for spending time with me and have a wonderful evening!


How are you on this Monday afternoon? DC is having a bout of cool gray weather, I am hopeful that the weather predictions of warmer and sunnier days starting Wednesday are true! Until then I will make the most of the time by working inside.

Yesterday was a gray day also and it dampened my desire to paint, so instead I decided to get out some different steel quill pens and experiment some.

20100328 ink dwg 1

20100328 ink dwg 2

20100328 ink dwg 3

These three drawings were copied from the Metropolitan Museum of Art online Works of Art database. I have such a high respect for asian art and their use of line.

Two more figure drawings

With all my time focused on painting and learning new techniques I have been a little behind in posting the drawings from Robert Liberace's drawing class. The first one is now completed, previously I had posted a work in progress image. Our model was from Brazil with beautiful olive skin and I was working on a creamy colored paper. Once I added some tone to capture here skintone value, the drawing came together. The drawing was completed over three class sessions.
20100129 seated figure
Seated Figure
{half sheet of guttenburg laid - general's charcoal pencils}
20100219 male torso
Male Torso
{ 11x14 inches Strathmore 400 Series drawing paper - general's charcoal pencils}

This drawing was a completed today in one session because of all the missed classes due to the snow storms that hit DC starting two weeks ago Friday. Our model had been scheduled for more sessions but due to class cancelations this is the only one that he is able to attend. The drawing started out as only a study of the arm and hand {hands are drawing obsession right now} and as the day proceeded I started to add more of the torso.

I have a few paintings in the oven and if things go well I will share them with you soon. Until then, have a nice weekend! Liz

From Friday a Work in Progress...

20100115 WIP figure dwg.jpg

Hello friends,

Sometimes I have such high hopes for working on pieces over the weekend, and then things get in the way {namely this weekend the pain due to my back injury got in the way} so instead I contemplate and read about art. Over the weekend I spent some time reading Robert Henri's The Art Spirit. Probably one of the most inspriation books out there in my mind, I have a friend who reads it every year on her spring vacation.

Here are some key quotes:

"A "still life" in great art is a living thing. The objects are painted for what they suggest, and their presentation has no excuse if it is not to carry to the mind of the observer the fancy they aroused in the artist." (pg. 82)

"ORIGINALITY: Don't worry about your originality. You could not get rid of it even if you wanted to. It will stick to you and show you up for better or worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do." (pg. 78)

I love this quote, because it affirms that you already have your voice, you just need to accept it and nurture it. Though getting guidence and some instruction does help in narrowing down the different ways to get where you want to go...

Which is why I continue to take Robert Liberace's drawing class, this is a work in progress of a new figure model. The pose is an interesting one, and probably hard to keep, as the model never gets back into it well after each break. So I am having to stick with my main impression of the pose and rely a lot on my understanding of anatomy, as the angle of the hips were constantly changing, which in turn alters the central line that organizes the torso...

{half sheet of guttenburg laid - general's charcoal pencils}

Best Posts of 2009


In reviewing 2009 and all the wonderful opportunities shared with you, here are the top 10 visited posts.

Thank you for joining me on this journey! Liz

} Figure Drawing - Charcoal and White Chalk

} Orchids Drawing

} Ranunculus Daily Painting

} Boston Sketchbook {Part 1} and {Part 2}

} {3} Summer Journal

} Apricots in a Rice Bowl Still Life

} Black Eyed Susan #2 {a daily painting}

} Workshop with Danni Dawson

} DC Sketchbook Entries

} A Quick Hello and a New Silverpoint

A Quick Hello and a New Silverpoint

12 2009 silverpoint.jpg
Seated Figure – 11" x 7" (28 x 17.8 cm) – Silverpoint on prepared Bristol

Hello Friends ~

I am stopping by for a quick visit before diving back into unpacking boxes, organizing bookshelves and closets. The movers moved all our possessions last week Wednesday and since then my number one goal was to get our kitchen in working order, as I am just about tired of having pizza for lunch and dinner.

The day before the movers arrived I took time off from packing to attend the make-up class for Robert Liberace’s drawing class. It was the best 4+ hours I spent all last week, drawing always takes my mind off of pressing tasks… This silverpoint was completed during the class. After the class I dropped by the house to air out and do some final cleaning. Moving during this time of year has been limiting all my yuletide cheer. Hopefully this will be the last week where most of my time is dedicated to unpacking…

How have you been? Are you prepared for the holidays? I am surely not – so far this year no cards, cookies or gifts have been prepared to be shipped off to friends and family. Now I need to run, but before I go here are some lovely images of the snow that fell this weekend.

Enjoy your day, Liz

Trois Crayons Drawing of Slim

11 2009 Slim trois crayons.jpg
Slim – Trois Crayons on prepared Canson paper –
half sheet, approx. 12” x 19” (30.5 x 48.3 cm)

Drawing has become my only artistic outlet lately. I go to the local library, power up my laptop and draw from photos. This one of Slim uses the trios crayons technique taught in Robert Liberace’s class and I think it really works well with fur.

Over the next few weeks I am going to be absent from updating this blog as the craziness of my home situation has just grown. S and I will be moving soon, so I am busy preparing for that and the holiday season. When it rains it pours.


Silverpoint Drawing and NGA Show

11 2009 silverpoint standing figure1.jpg
Standing Figure – 11" x 7" (28 x 17.8 cm) – Silverpoint on prepared Bristol
Hello Friends,

This is my first completed silverpoint drawing. It was finished last week Friday during my drawing class taught by Robert Liberace. I really love this medium, how line quality is so important to defining the form and values of the subject. It seems that silverpoint is very similar to pen and ink drawing and etchings in that once the line is laid down, it is pretty much there for eternity. Erasing silverpoint is possible but you risk messing up the tooth of the prepared paper, and also it will advance the tarnishing of the silver at a faster rate than it naturally oxidizes. A few spots where I touched up with an eraser and soften some lines have turned more red/green prior to the other areas, and it has only been five days since the drawing was finished.

Another value silverpoint has is the amazing deepness of value the delicate lines have, and this only gets better as the drawing ages. Robert had a few examples in class with some drawings that were only days old to over a year old, and the aged drawings had developed such a beautiful patina. I have never seen any of the old masters silverpoint drawings but I would expect they are fantastic.

By the way if you get a chance to visit the National Gallery of Art any time soon, they have a wonderful exhibit on French Drawings from their collection. I spent the most part of Monday in those rooms. Some of the highlights of the show was a Boullee architectural drawing, several beautiful figure drawings by Claude Lorrain, Antoine Watteau, François Boucher, and Jean-Honoré Fragonard. I have been spending time in museums lately because it is not possible to stay home and work in the studio because of the construction noises going on at our apartment building.

So over the next several weeks, I will continue to be somewhat absent from posting to this blog because of all the interruptions caused by the construction repairs. So far it has been exceptionally noisy from around 9am to 4:00pm, but yesterday lasted well close to 5pm. I made the mistake of coming home around four yesterday only to leave again. We are frantically looking for a new place to move in order to escape these intrusions. Now I have another thing to occupy my time while out of the apartment during the day.

Thanks for stopping by,