Matsuri – Japanese Festival

Character Study

Personally I am not a big fan of wrinkles, but when there are photographs or individuals with deep character lines they need to be captured in a drawing.  These lines have not developed overnight, instead they have deepened and formed through a life of experiences.  Just think of the numerous stories that might accompany the aged faces…


Matsuri  Japanese Festival – Nara, Japan

Quick Sketch in Charcoal

  Thank you to Florian Niessner for supplying the excellent photograph.

Japan is a bucket list destination for myself and one of my daughters.  Hopefully one day soon we will get to experience Japan’s beauty, culture, and festivals.


Tears of Love

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

                                                                                                        Kahlil Gibran

Love Tears

Last week our community lost an amazing woman.

  A woman of great Faith, Hope and Love.

These tears are for you, because I love you!


In the Art Room

It is always exciting to start a new sketch. Taking a white piece of paper and making it something more.  Allowing myself time to escape into a world where all the busyness of the week slips away…

Drawing Room

19 x 24 graphite

It all starts with drawing out shapes and lines. Sounds simple, and it is – really, it is.  Sometimes I will draw with my paper sideways or upside down, until all the pieces fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.  Once I am happy with proportion and layout I start adding the details (again looking for shapes as I shade).

This method of drawing, know as right-brain drawing, allows access to the appropriate  system in the brain – the visual mode of the brain. Known for being subjective, relational, intuitive, and free of time constraints it allows for creativity.  The left-brain mode is objective, verbal, numerical, rational, linear, and symbolic.  It is said that half a brain in better than none, but I think a whole brain would be even better.  Why not utilize both sides. 🙂


Little B

Even though the food and presents are always good, it is the time spent with family and friends that I look forward to every Christmas.  I love watching the emerging personalities of my nieces’ children.  Each personality is very unique and strong, it makes for an entertaining evening.   This sketch of Little B is from a photo my husband took on Christmas Eve.  I am not sure what she was doing or thinking, but boy is she cute.

Little B12 x 15 Charcoal Sketch on tinted paper

For this sketch I experiment with different methods of applying and blending charcoal – a definite learning experience.  I found the hair more difficult with this type of paper. Once the charcoal is worked deep into the tooth it is not easily removed to create highlights.  Mental note made for next time :).


The Incomplete Story

I enjoy people’s life stories.  Seeing this elderly woman made me wonder what her story might be. Drawn to her hand, I thought that it might make an interesting sketch.  Looking back I think it was the entire look and demeanor of the woman that intrigued me (or maybe an over active imagination).  I don’t think I got the complete story with this sketch.

As an exercise this sketch was valuable, and I guess that is part of the learning and growing process.  …now, time to move on. 🙂

The Photo

Charcoal Sketch  11 x 14


The Cooler Side

Banff, Alberta, Canada

…one of my favorite places to visit for many reasons:  beautiful breathtaking scenery for myself and my husband, quaint little gift shops for my girls, and an awesome candy store for my son.

12 x 18 Charcoal Sketch on blue-tinted paper

I am always amazed at the beauty that surrounds us, whether prairie or mountain, sky or earth, old or new – all you have to do is stop and look (or maybe I should say see). 🙂 Inspired after a trip to Banff I decided it was time to try sketch a landscape.   I have to say that it was an experiment and I never intended to finish it.  I wanted to know what effect black and white charcoal would have on blue-tinted paper. When I started the sketch I struggled with the cold feeling.  I really wanted to add brown tones to warm up the sketch, but refrained and I’m glad I did.  I enjoy the cool feel it created.  It fits with our week in Alberta – cold and snow! 🙂


Paper Probe

Is there a right or wrong paper to use for a graphite or charcoal sketch?  Lately I have come across charcoal art pieces done on a variety of surfaces (newspaper, paper bag, MDF, canvas…)  Each has a unique look and I am sure, and new set of challenges. Time for me to try!  Thought I would start small – see where it goes.


12×18 Charcoal Sketch

I did this sketch on textured, colored paper.  The challenge was the deep tooth of the paper.

I had to include this quote this week.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ”
Pablo Picasso

There was a lot of “dust” this week – the sketch was a great escape!