still life


Tomorrow I take another step forward with today’s technology.

Pete's Measuring Spoons

Pete’s Measuring Spoons

I’m in Asheville, NC with my friend Pete.  He will create my first painting demos to post online.  I’m excited to add this additional reference for my students.  I’ll spend the day today preparing drawings for tomorrow’s shoot.

Sketchbook drawing:  drawn first in ink with fountain pen followed by watercolor.  I was testing how pushing the puddle works on the surface of a recycled file folder.  It is smooth and not as absorbent as the Rives BFK paper.  However, it behaves well and I like it.

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How do they do it?  Every Royal Riviera pear shipped from Harry and David is perfect in every way.

Harry and David Royal Riviera Pear

Harry and David Royal Riviera Pear

They arrive at my door once a year with instructions to guide me through their final ripening stage.  I am also instructed to devour them within ten days.  Nicole and I have no problem following the directions.  They are the perfect gift.  They come in a box, they fill us with pleasure and then they are gone, never to collect dust or take up space.  What lingers is another wonderful memory of yumminess, smiles, moans and groans of culinary pleasure.

Sketchbook Drawings:  Royal Riviera Christmas Pears – Drawn first with inkbrush filled with Noodler’s Black Ink, followed by watercolor.

Here it is, the recipe for the cookies I have made every December for the last twenty five years.

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Cookie Tins and Cookies (before dipping)

Festive Cookie Dough

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter or margarine softened (I use half butter, half margarine)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon almond extract

add about ¾ cup chocolate chips (or more) to batter.  Roll into crescents.

Use shortening (Crisco) to melt into chocolate chips for dipping (not too much or the chocolate will get drippy)  I think about a tablespoon or two per small saucepan of melted chips.

Stir together flour and baking powder.  Set aside.  Beat butter and cream cheese with electric mixer for 30 seconds.  Add sugar.  Beat until fluffy.  Add egg, vanilla and almond extract.  Beat well.  Gradually add flour mixture.  Cover and chill overnight or freeze up to 3 months.

If mixing without electric beaters or food processor, make sure to beat butter and cream cheese until extremely smooth and well mixed.

Roll into crescent shaped cookies and place on ungreased baking pans or pans lined with aluminum foil.  Bake 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes, just until slightly golden. (Depending on how fat your cookies are, it may take up to 15 minutes.)  They should still be soft when taken out of oven or they will be too hard when cooled.  Bake long enough that they don’t fall apart when dipped into melted chocolate.

To decorate, dip into melted Toll House chips with a bit of shortening added.  roll in jimmies or colored sugar or nuts.  Viola ! ! ! ! !

Double batch yields 210 cookies.  An 8” tin holds 46 cookies (for gift giving)

Enjoy!

Image: Cookie Tins and Festive Cookies before dipping – Drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor. An examaple of Exercise One Part Three (to be posted on the Tools and Techniques Blog on Friday … Part two posts at 9 am today)

Holiday housecleaning is long overdue.  I had planned to remedy that as soon as I awoke this morning.

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Whisk Broom and Dustpan

Instead, I spent the last seven hours continuing to fine-tune and fix glitches on the new website.  Finally, I get ready to clean ….. What do I do instead?  I do a sketchbook drawing of my whisk broom and dust pan.  At least I got so far as to carry them out of the cleaning closet.  And then…… rather than use them, I take the time to snap a photo of the sketch and post it on this blog.  Is there any hope for me ever keeping the house in order?

Sketchbook Drawing: Whisk Broom and Dustpan – drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor over a recycled painting page in my sketchbook.  Notice the wooden fence at the bottom of the page.  This was one of Betty’s unfinished paintings.  Thanks, Betty!  Your priority was painting, too.  You were, however, a better housekeeper than I am.

Turkey Buzzard Feather

Turkey Buzzard Feather

A month ago today Joanie suggested I create a new website with the capabilities I need.  I need a site where I can offer demos to remind my students how to push puddles of watercolor, draw with a dip pen and paint wet into wet….. among other fabulous techniques.  I need a website that presents simple, limitless galleries of paintings and drawings illustrating the diverse media, styles and techniques I use to express myself and the world around me.  I need a site where I can offer Color Scheme Game Template Kits, small paintings, online tutorials, online workshops, used art books and assorted used art supplies.  I need a site that is fun to visit, fun to explore and one that will be revisited over and over again.

I knew she was right…… I just didn’t want to start over again.  She convinced me.  That’s what good friends are for.  The new website is up and running as of late last night.  I will start filming my tutorials and demos in early January.  There are kinks to work out, but I love it.  Thank you, Joanie!

Please visit ChrisCarterArt.com at its new home and let me know what you think of it.  Visit the new blog on the site and subscribe if you wish.  The focus of the new blog is Tools and Techniques of Drawing and Painting.  I will post three times a week and suggest a drawing or painting exercise on a weekly basis.  I hope you like it!

Pen and Ink drawing of a Turkey Buzzard feather: An old favorite of mine

Drawings often deviate from the original plan.

Pressed Red Tip Photinia Branch with shadows, backlit illumination

The plan was to paint the drawing according to color value rather than color hue using illogical and discordant hues.  I began drawing with a dip pen using Diamine Ochre ink.  I wanted to see what variations of hue the ink would separate into when I added only clean water along the edges of the lines.  The flow of ink into the water worked beautifully for the dry, pressed leaves, more of a burnt sienna hue than an ochre hue. I followed the inspiration of the leaves rather than proceed with my original plan.  After painting the shadows and cell shapes the leaves looked flat and uninteresting.  I pale wash of aureolin with a touch of burnt sienna brought life back into the leaves.

I’ll give my original plan another try and post it on the Creative Color Blog later today.

Sketchbook Drawing: Pressed Red Tip Branch and Shadows, ink and watercolor.  Limited palette of aureolin, french ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.

At an early age, I became my brother’s barber to save him from my mother attacking him with this Craftsman Electric Hair Clipper.

Family Treasures No. 47, Craftsman Electric Hair Clipper

Instead of using the hair clippers to mow his hair, I pruned his hair with the Edward Scissorhands technique.  He was my only customer.  About thirty years later, using a new model of the electric hair clipper, my daughters convinced a good friend of mine to allow them to mow her hair down to a height of about three-quarters of an inch.  She loved it for all of about an hour and a half.  It took half a year for her hair to regain any sort of form or shape.

Family Treasures No. 47 – Craftsman Electric Hair Clipper: Drawn first with dip pen using Scribal Work Shop “Nessie” ink followed by watercolor washes and a few white lines using a Pentel White Gel Pen.  Limited palette of Aureolin (Winsor Newton), French Ultramarine Blue (Winsor Newton) and Permanent Alizarin (Winsor Newton).  This is an example of painting by color value rather than hue or color scheme.  I posted another example yesterday on the Creative Color Blog.  I’ll be teaching a Color Value Workshop at Village Art Supply in Santa Rosa, CA (along with four other workshops) at the end of January 2013.  To learn more about the method used to paint the image above, visit today’s post on the Creative Color Blog.

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