Inspired by the Pink Ladies of New Hope (Sissy Stephanie and Carol), the moose paperweight that I drew yesterday and posted on the Creative Color Blog insisted on a chance to step out of the box and off the paper for a night out on the town.

Moose disguised as background

Stephanie and Carol at the opening of “Naked in New Hope” this weekend

The moose thought it best to dress up for the evening and traded its fur coat for the gorgeous turquoise background.  I’m not sure it will have as much fun as the Ladies of New Hope. We’ll see if it ever returns home.

Family Treasures No. 35, Moose Stepping Out

Sketchbook Drawing: Family Treasures No. 34 and No. 35 -drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s black ink followed by watercolor.

How could I have not realized that this wide-mouthed elephant was a pitcher and not a vase?

Another look at the China Elephant

I wanted to have another go at this oddity.  As I sat at the dining table drawing it again, Deb mentioned that the mouth looks like a spout.  Of course it does.  And the trunk looks like a handle, the better to pour with, of course.

Painting of Green China Elephant Pitcher: drawn first with pencil, followed by watercolor.  Family Treasures No. 12

Color Scheme: Extended Analogous

I certainly feel as if I’m popping Alice’s pills lately.  In the morning I work small and tight, in the evening I work large and wild.


Elephant Teacups, ‘Afternoon Nap’

Along with working small in the morning, I am playing The Color Scheme Game backwards.  I am looking at reality and deciding what color scheme that reality comes closest to.  I then alter the least amount of reality necessary for it to fit into a color scheme.  I am shocked at how uncomfortable I am with this process.  I will continue to play this way until it become second nature and I can wave the magic wand at will to create the images that are screaming to get out of my head and onto paper and canvas.  I need the facility to create both realism and abstraction along with complete understanding of color interactions.  That’s not too much to demand of myself!

Though fighting my way through my limitations is frustrating, once I break through, the joy of painting and drawing is doubled or tripled each time I reach the other side.  Naturally, there is another barrier in my way.  That only means that I’ll have even more fun when I get through that one.

I am having a blast!

Painting:  drawn first with pencil, followed by watercolor.

After another Sunday excursion to a flea market just south of Lambertville, NJ I’m the delighted owner of two small bronze animals and a handful of bakelite buttons.

The crocodile and the lizard, totems of West Africa

It was difficult to find treasures at this flea market.  Very little bargaining was going on.  Most of the vendors appeared to know the worth of their goods and were looking for healthy profit.  I don’t blame them a bit, but I find that attitude less than fun at a flea market.  I had already found my bakelite buttons and was about to call it a day when I practically tripped over an open zipper suitcase filled with little bronze animals; crocodiles, turtles, elephants and lizards.  I couldn’t resist playing with them and searching for variations among them.

After purchasing two, I asked the vendor to tell me the story behind them.  His name is Thierno and he was kind enough to write a few notes for me in my book.  In West Africa the crocodile is called Bamba.  The Bambako is the back or spine of the crocodile.  Bamako, the capital city of Mali, was built along a ridge similar to the back of a crocodile and therefore named Bamako.  The crocodile is a totem of the Bambara people from Mali.  The lizard is a totem of the Bubu people in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

Drawing: Very quick (I was running late this morning) ink drawing with fountain pen, followed by simple watercolor washes.

Watercolor portrait of Bambi and Buddy:

Watercolor Portrait of Bambi & Buddy

Thanks to the hours spent yesterday on the pencil sketches of the two greyhounds, I was able to execute the watercolor without tightening up too much.  I had become acquainted with the dogs by drawing more than just the position I planned for the painting.  By drawing them lying down, standing and sitting, my brain registered their unique body postures and allowed me to suggest them more loosely with the flow of paint.

Sketch on watercolor paper

A gift for a dear friend of the family.

Adopted Greyhounds, Bambi and Buddy

At one time I accepted commissions for dog portraits.  For a number of reasons I stopped about twenty years ago.  Now, I only draw or paint dogs that meet two criteria: I have spent time with the dog and I care a great deal about the dog’s owner.  When a pet meets both, I am able to approach the portrait with attention and heart.  The sketches shown here are preliminary studies for a watercolor painting meant to be a birthday gift for Jane, my father’s companion.

Pencil sketch, 'Bambi'