• Tag Archives practice
  • Saturday Six-Minute Sketch, Clothes Pin

    The idea is practice to improve my drawing skills.

    The whole idea behind my six minute sketches were to improve my drawing skills by regular practice without placing a huger burden on my time.

    My six minute sketches lately have been taking longer and longer.  Last week it took me 13 minutes and I still really didn’t feel like I was “done”.  However, I made myself stop because I knew it was supposed to be a six-minute sketch, not a six-hour sketch.

    I realized that the problem was that I have been picking things that were too challenging for six minutes, and trying to squeeze in too much detail.  If I want to pick a more elaborate object, I need to leave out details, so which would it be?

    Keep it Simple

    I decided I should Keep it Simple for six-minute sketches, and if I want to post more complicated sketches, I can do that on a separate post.

    Finish the drawing in Six Minutes.

    The goal of course is to finish drawing the object in six minutes.  The simplicity of keeping it to six minutes means that I know I can almost always squeeze it into my week.

    I know if I’m going to do this, I need to select my object carefully

    Select a simple object to draw.

    So, with all that in mind, I for today I selected a very common, uncomplicated object:

    Photo of the clothespin I drew.
    This clothes pin should be simple enough to sketch in six minutes.

    One thing I noticed, was that because there was more than one light source there was also more than one shadow, at the time I noticed two, but now looking at the photo I see at least three. Well my sketch only got two, because that’s what I noticed at the time.

    Here is the sketch I did in six minutes:

    My six minute clothes pin sketch.
    I was able to complete this sketch in the time limit, and even put in two shadows like I saw in front of me, the second shadow is faint and hard to see, but it’s there.

    So there was my six-minute sketch for this week!



  • Sunday Skies #2

    Well, even though I did decide this week that I needed to stop beating myself up over how I paint skies, I still do want to improve in that area.  So, I am continuing the Sunday Skies feature for a while longer, it is good practice for me in a non threatening situation.

    This week, I used the same reference photo as LAST WEEK.

    I’ll post it again so you can see the photo that was guiding my painting:





    Once again, I didn’t worry about the land features in the painting, though I did give them a little more care than I did last week.  But the land was still just silhouette, because my focus is the sky.

    Sunday Skies 2

    Well while there certainly is still room for improvement, I believe this week’s rendering turned out much better than last week’s.

    Just as a reminder, this was how I painted the same sky last week.
    sunday skies 1

    I think next week I will move on to using a different reference photo, perhaps one with big billowy white cumulus clouds… we’ll see.


  • Little Birdie — Saturday Six-Minute Sketch

    Wow, another week has gone by and its time for my Saturday Six-Minute Sketch once again!

    Today I selected for my model this little bird knickknack:

    bird six minute sketch model

    So, as usual for my six-minute sketches, I sat down, pencil and sketch book ready, put the model (the bird statue) in front of me, set the timer on my cell phone for six minutes, started it, and began sketching.

    Naturally, when you have a time limit you don’t know at the start how much detail you will be able to fit in, so you start with the most basic.  First outlining the general shape, then outlining areas within that shape that are most important (such as the head and wing), then you start adding in important features like the beak and eyes, and then if time allows, you add some shading and detail like feathers, etc.

    Here is all I managed before my six minutes ran out.
    Bird six minute sketch

    I know it isn’t perfect, but I am pretty satisfied with considering the time constraint.

    I always try to do my six-minute sketches from an actual model, rather than a picture, though there might be an exception some day if I want to try to sketch something that would move around too much otherwise.  Usually though I will pick a stationary object to sketch, because the main purpose of this is to keep practiced on drawing what I see, from life.

  • Ugg… Sunday Skies #1

    So, if you remember a few days ago, after once again struggling and struggling to get a sky in a painting the way I wanted it, I decided to start a weekly feature on this blog where I will try to do a sky, just for practice.

    In theory, doing it on paper, just for practice, and not making a part of real painting, should relieve me of some of the pressure of perfectionism, and allow me to just practice the sky.  In theory.

    Okay, anyway, here is the photo I used as a guide.  I told myself I wasn’t trying to reproduce the photo exactly, but was just looking at it to give me a rough idea of what I was going for.  I snapped this photo yesterday in anticipation of needing it today.



    Now, here is the painting I did for practice, note that the land elements are just black/gray silhouettes to indicate a horizon.  Also note, that I didn’t do a very good job on those clouds!

    sunday skies 1


    I was working on a very small piece of paper, and I actually think it might have been easier with a larger one, because I’d have had more room to work.   I see lots of problems with this sky… but it is still better than what I often get when I try.

    I will try again next week, perhaps from the same photo, perhaps from a different one.  after all, this is just for PRACTICE and DOESN’T need to be PERFECT!  Perhaps if I keep shouting that at myself I’ll believe it.

  • What’s a Good Artist?

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    What does it take to be an artist?

    Well, it takes a desire to create art, and the initiative to act on that desire.

    If you’ve ever drawn a picture, molded clay into a form you’ve imagined, glued paper scraps into a collage, or in some other way have designed and assembled a creative work, then you ARE an artist.

    What does it take to be a good artist?

    Some would say it requires a Bachelors or a Master’s degree in art, and yet one of the world’s most well-known and best-loved artist, Van Gogh, attended several different art schools with sporadic attendance, and didn’t actually graduate from any of them.  He also disagreed with much of what he was taught.  In spite of that, he produced a great number of treasured, beautiful works such as the two below.

    “Starry Night Over the Rhone” by Vincent van Gogh – Unknown. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.



    VanGogh-starry night
    Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


    Grandma Moses never went to Art School at all.

    1918 fireboard byGrandmaMoses
    By Grandma Moses [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

     In addition, there are, or have been many other accomplished artists with all levels of art education, from none at all, to those holding several degrees in different disciplines of art.  So, it would seem that educational level is not a valid indicator of what makes a good artist.

    To me, it stands to reason that a good artist is an artist who creates good art.

    So What is good art?  Answering that question, is of course,  impossible.  There are as many definitions of what is “good” art as there are people to look at art. Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes good art, from Jackson Pollock’s seemingly random spatters of paint, to Picasso’s distorted-looking portraits, all the way to pencil drawings so realistic they can be mistaken for a black and white photograph.  Such as the works in the video below, there are many different kinds of art, all “good” in their own way.



    In my opinion, the best way to decide if you are a good artist,  is to ask if your art is something that brings you satisfaction?  Not just in the creation of it, but in the finished product as well.  Do you look at what you’ve created and feel pleasure, or do you feel nothing but frustration?  Now, I don’t mean that when you look at your work you should see no problems, or see no room for improvement, but overall, are you pleased with your work even though you may still see some problems or areas you need to improve in?  If so, that is as accurate a definition of good art as any I can think of, so if you’ve created even one piece of art that meets that criteria, you are a good artist!

    In that sense,  I too can call myself a good artist.  There are many of my works that bring me pleasure when I view them.  However, not all of them do.

    Those who have followed my blog for some time are aware of how dissatisfied I often am with the skies in my paintings, and how even with the few that I am happy with, it was usually a huge struggle and challenge to get them to that point.  Any sky with more than a tiny wispy cloud in it is the bane of my existence as an artist.  The idea of plain blue skies in every painting also doesn’t really appeal to me.

    So, I’ve decided to tackle that problem the way I do every challenge I face as an artist.  I will practice, and practice, and practice some more.  I will look at the work of those I feel have mastered that element, and I will try to learn how they did it, I may even reproduce it (though not to claim as my own, just for practice).

    I will persist with this practice until I look at the sky in front of me, or at a photo I’ve taken of the sky, or even just imagine the sky I want, and render it in a painting to my satisfaction without hours of struggle and repainting.

    In order to do that, I’ve decided that once a week, I will paint a practice sky, it will usually be small, on paper, possibly as small as an index card.  One a week, until I no longer feel that a sky is an insurmountable challenge to me.

    No matter what day I actually do the painting, I will post it on Sunday, and call it “Sunday Skies”. I will begin this feature on Sunday, January 25th.


    Thank you for reading! If you liked what you see, please consider following this blog by entering your email address at the bottom of the page,  or follow me on Google+.   See the right hand column to follow in any of these ways! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you!

    Fine Art America is the place to go for unsigned Prints of all my Paintings.


    My Etsy shop is the place to go to buy my originals that I haven’t added to this site yet, I sell a few select prints there also, and there you can choose if you’d like me to  sign them before shipping!  Eventually I’ll move all of my fine art products to this page, and leave only crafts on Etsy, but for now my art is in both places.

  • Mushroom from My Mind

    Practice makes perfect, so they say.  I’m not so sure that’s true with art, since in a sense art is never really perfect, there is always some room for improvement.  So lets just say practice makes better.

    So anyway, yesterday I had an off day, I spent most of time updating information on various websites and such, and didn’t make time to do art in the morning.  I told myself it was okay because I was going to go to an artist league meeting and would start a new painting there.  Then a friend dropped by unexpectedly and stayed and talked for a long time, and soon it was too late for the meeting.

    Still, I wanted to at least do a quick sketch, I started sketching my tea kettle, but wasn’t really inspired by that so I stopped before I got finished with it.

    I decided that it was a good day to do a pencil sketch from my imagination instead of drawing from life, but I didn’t have much time left, I had only a few minutes before it was time to leave with the family for church.

    So I ended up doing this quick sketch of a mushroom, or is it a toadstool, or a fairy hut?  Well, mine was pretty plain looking, just a basic sketch, no dots on it, no colors, no frogs sitting on it or butterflies hovering nearby, but it was still a little touch of practice on a day when I would otherwise have not exercised my artistic muscle at all. So here is today’s sketch, more of just a little doodle.

    Thank you for reading! If you liked what you see, please consider following this blog with Google Friend connect, or follow me on Google+, or if you prefer, you can follow by email and get notified each time the blog is updated. See the right hand column to follow in any of these ways! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you!

    Fine Art America is the place to go for Prints of all my Paintings.

    My etsy shop is the place to go to buy my originals and request commissioned work. A few select prints are available here as well!

  • Word for the Year

    Have you noticed the trend on blogs of selecting a word for the year?  I have been debating what word I want for my year, it could be “create”, it could be “vibrancy”, both of those struck me as worthy of being selected… but instead, I am choosing a word that might come as surprise to many.

    That’s right, my word is discipline.  Why? Because its what I need in so many parts of my life.  I need it in the area of health and nutrition, I need it in the area of housekeeping, I need it in the area of spirituality, and I desperately need it in the areas of art.

    If I am going to improve my art and see my life as an artist grow, I simply must discipline myself to work on it regularly.  I love doing it, but so often I put it off, and don’t start.  I need to at least sketch four or five times a week, but preferably be working on more than just simple sketches and putting in time on my paintings, try new mediums, and learn new techniques.

    So my word for 2015 is Discipline.

    Thank you for reading! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you! Photography Prints