It is hard to believe that we are nearing the end of another week. Time seems to be going by so quickly this year. I can't believe we are heading into the last week of October already. Yesterday Keith and I took a nice long walk around nearby Eel lake and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was what one would call a 'typical' autumn day – overcast, cool, breezy and it even drizzled off and on a bit. The road we follow when walking that particular path is surrounded by woods, and the colors of the trees was stunning, with most of them still full of their leaves. It is truly a pleasure to walk when it is like this out and a great way to think things through and plan. I want to take advantage of every minute of these days.
The past couple days I have been in 'organizational' mode. This usually happens when I have some time in between projects. These short breaths of taking inventory, cleaning things up and making sure that everything needed is where it should be are so important to me and instrumental in my own creative process. I know many that don't mind working in a somewhat cluttered environment, but I am not of that line of thinking. I like all of my materials clean, neat and organized so that I can focus my attention on creating and not be distracted by hunting for things. I do have a story for you all about that though . . .
On Wednesday, I had the idea of sorting through my paint brushes and weeding them out. I do this about once a year or so, and I like to replace the worn brushes with new ones that I have purchased. I have a box of 'gently used' brushes that I keep for spares or use when I teach, and I also have a box of brushes that are brand new and unused, which are there to replace the ones that wear out. Last month though, when I began obtaining colored pencil supplies so I could create with pencils, I decided that my brush box that I purchased from Mary Kingslan Gibilisco would also work beautifully to hold my Prismacolor pencils:
So I ordered up another one and in the mean time, took my brushes out of it so I could put my pencils in it now to use them. I put the brushes in a box in a 'safe place' until the new piece arrived.
Long story short – the new box arrived early this week and I wanted to put my 'good' brushes back into their new home. That is what triggered my desire to really sort them out. But I couldn't find the box – the temporary home that I had given them. It was extremely frustrating to spend a couple of hours tearing through everything in search of my good brushes. Not only were most of these brushes in mint condition, but many of them were my more expensive tools – some costing close to $20 each! I had recently cleaned out and organized my supply closets and had gone through and labeled almost every box in them, but I was unable to locate the temporary home for my favorite brushes. Where could they be? Had I mistakenly thrown them out in my organizational frenzy?
After searching several times in the same closet for the brushes, I finally found them. In the closet, there was ONE box without a label. I had thought it was for some supplies that I had intended to use for embroidery. In fact, I was SURE that was what was in it. I was about to give up my search, but in desperation, opened the box 'just to be sure' that what was in it was what I envisioned and lo and behold, there were my best brushes. I was truly relieved, and angry that I spent an entire afternoon looking for what was literally right in front of me all the time. It really emphasized the importance of keeping things neat and tidy and in order. What a waste of my time! (Not to mention the FRUSTRATION!) The older I get, the more important it is for me to LABEL things! Being lazy about it will certainly come back to bite me! Lesson learned!
So yesterday I finished up sorting through my brushes. It is amazing how long I do keep them, as I am pretty good about keeping them clean as I use them. Some of my favorites are over 10 years old. But like most painters, we just never seem to have enough, do we?
I spent the evening finishing up my colored pencil drawing of a bee. This was the first time I have attempted what I will call a 'fine art' drawing using pencils. I created this piece using Fabriano 140 lb hot press paper and Prismacolor pencils. I used the Derwent Inktense pencils and blocks for the honeycomb background. The pencils for the bee itself is multiple layers of colors added on and then blended with odorless turpentine (Mona Lisa brand – it truly is "odorless") The brushing on of the turp allows you to blend the pencils and it rids them of that 'pencil' look. The results look more like ink or paint.
Here is the progression of photos for the project:
I began by creating the honeycomb background using the Inktense pencils and blocks and a honeycomb stencil. Once the Inktense is laid down, it is permanent and will not lift when applying subsequent layers. I began at the head. (Here is my reference photo that I used, too):
I worked my way down to the body and began the wings. At this point I am about 4-5 hours into the drawing:
And here is the 'finished' drawing:
I still may add some shading on the body, as suggested by one from the drawing page. It wouldn't require a lot, but the body is a little 'flat'.
Here it is again with the reference photo:
I am pretty pleased with it for a first effort. What I was thinking of doing is making a hexagon shaped scroll sawn frame that will resemble a honeycomb. That would finish it off nicely. I think the bee itself is about 5-6" big. You can see my hand in the above photo for size relation.
I really like working with the pencils, and I think on some level they may be compatable with some of my woodworking projects. I think that woodworkers may feel more comfortable using them than using paint on wood, and I am going to be experimenting on some applications in the near future.
It is thrilling for me to keep exploring new ways to create. Most of the creative people I know use several types of media in their creative processes. I think that these nearly endless resources offer a huge amount of opportunity to make unique and beautiful things, don't you?
Today I will be drawing some new scroll saw patterns. I also have some ideas for painting as well as needlework designs. There is always something fun and new to explore and I love how the different types of projects overlap.
I hope you enjoyed seeing this bee design. And I hope it inspires you to give something new a try.
Happy Friday to you all and happy weekend! :)
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"