Tag Archives: fun

My New Dog Bites / pastel / after Roaring Dog / with photos


It’s a Chinese lantern in the Lanterns Asia exhibit at Norfolk Botanical Garden. This was fun to sketch at the garden between rain showers and fun to finish in bright colors on a rainy day at home. It’s good practice for your plein air artist to draw subjects other than landscapes sometimes. And it rains a lot around here.

That black sanded Mi-Teintes  paper is great because it holds so many layers of pastel. And the black adds drama to your subject. If you want to convey a mood, black paper could instantly make your subject scary or sad or elegant. I like to blend my 1st layer in with a blending stump and then put 2 more thick layers of pastel on top of that. IMG_2004

This is Roaring Dog lit up at night.

Here’s what the plaque says, “The Roaring Dog is a Chinese legend of the Erlang god which specialized in assisting the Erlang hunting and beheading a mythical demon. It fought against Sin Wukong in the journey to the Westlands assisted the Erlang god many times in fighting against other gods in the legend of Deification.”

When I was sketching it the tram went past and I heard the tour guide tell the passengers that the Chinese like dogs to look like lions. I thought how much fun it would be to make paper mache armor for a little dog and take it to the dog park and scare the big dogs! hahahahaimages (7)

This is the size dog I have in mind for custom made armor. He’s showing off his new leonine hair cut and learning to drive. wait, no, scratch the driving part.


Ocean Waves / charcoal and chalk


I’ve been hanging around on the beach sketching. Here’s the plan for my next big project. I’m going to use a technique of Matisse. I’ve always loved his work and recently read an article that reminded me of a fun project I tried in high school.

A few days ago when I went to the beach it was so foggy I could hardly see the waves 50 ft. away. Looking in this direction I could see the fence all blurry in the fog. Looking the other direction down the beach nothing was visible except gray mist. It was eerie. It was soft and muted. That atmosphere was inspiring. So now I want to try to represent fog. I want to make a real smooth painting using glazes. That last painting I finished of the Port Authority was fun working on a larger canvas and trying to get a panoramic view. So, I’m going to try to do the beach in the fog next, and do it big. It will be mostly gray, but I enjoy mixing my grays. I think they look pearly.

The thing about Matisse is that he sometimes put his paint brushes on a long stick so he could stand way back from his canvas. I did that long ago and it was fun. Also it’s good to stand back from your canvas so you can see it better. Now, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make a smooth painting if I tape my paintbrushes to yardsticks but I’ll try. It will eliminate the detail from the painting, so it will look more Impressionistic, but I’ll still use my glazes since getting the values right will help get the illusion of fog. I know I won’t get it right on the first try. Impressionists don’t use glazes, so I don’t know how they would represent fog. My painting won’t look anything like a Matisse either.

I can’t start a project like this without a solid plan for the waves, even though they will be covered with fog. I still need more practice drawing waves. I can’t go by a photo because of a teacher I had in art school. ( I’ll update my about page soon and tell that story since it had a big influence on me. ) That means, I’ll be going to the beach a few more times to sketch. And I’ll need to do a smaller paint rough before I start on a big canvas. This could take months because I’ll have to wait for foggy weather. We should have more fog soon, but not all the time, so I’ll also start on another painting and have two in progress, the fog and the swamp.IMG_1985


I did another tie dye t shirt


This one came out more colorful on the back. I’ll take 3″ off the length and cut a 4″ fringe then bead it on the bottom.

See those orange circles surrounded by blue? I did a little experiment. I put rubber bands over beads inside the shirt. Then I put orange dye on the little bead bumps I made. and then put squares of plastic wrap on top of the orange dye with more rubber bands so the blue dye wouldn’t flow into the orange. Then I scrunched up the rest of the shirt and banded it up and used the ice dye technique to add color to the rest of the shirt.

That was fun. I bought another t shirt. I might try to do more contrasting circles using beads and plastic wrap. I’m excited about how bright my shirts are coming out.

Square Peg Round Hole

The life of an artistimg_1842

Hey, Look! I’m an Abstract Expressionist now!

Do you ever try to fit into a situation and you know it will never happen? That’s my inspiration, my social failure. To all my social misfit, square peg, friends out there, let me know if you ever find a square hole, because I’m still searching. Then all of us square pegs can get together and mock the round pegs. hahahahahahahaha

Meanwhile, just goofing around with this “Artist Tile Set”, Studio Series, scratch and sketch squares that my daughter got for me. It’s a card painted black over top of colors, or black on top of gold or silver. You scratch off the black. It’s a little scratchboard.

At least my daughter is popular, with over 1200 followers on Twitter. She started the cute baby animal challenge and got tweeted from zoos and aquariums all over the country and Europe. Check it out! #sarahjanethill


Ocean In Motion / Exquisite Corpse / collage

I started this Exquisite Corpse  on the top half and Emma Lou Martin finished it with the bottom half and titled it.
I started this Exquisite Corpse on the top half and Emma Lou Martin finished it with the bottom half and titled it.

The Exquisite Corpse is a fun art game where 2 or more artists work on a piece and neither knows what the other artist did, because the 1st artist covers what they did except for 1″ in the center. The 2nd artist can see a few lines and colors to connect their half to what the 1st artist leaves showing. You never know if it’s working or not until it’s finished. Then the 2nd artist can uncover the whole thing and have a look. The 2nd artist has the more difficult part. You have to use your imagination. It helps if you can “think outside the box”.

Our Exquisite Corpse show is happening here in Richmond VA. in Sept. at Artworks on Hull St.

Exquisite Corpse, untitled

Sarmistha Talukdar did the left and I finished it on the right.
Sarmistha Talukdar did the left and I finished it on the right.

The Exquisite Corpse is a Surrealist art game where 2 or more artists work together on a piece and neither knows what the other did until it’s finished. so they come out all crazy!

Sarmistha started this one with the Teddy Bear and balloon on the left and covered it up except for 1 ” in the center for me to connect my lines and match colors. Then as the 2nd artist on this corpse, I had to imagine something to connect to the edge of Sarmistha’s side, without taking off the wrapping paper on her side until I was finished.  I did the side with Nature. On the 1″ of Sarmistha,s side I could see a touch of green in the cut out shape under the bear’s chin. That’s why I used green too. I found a gell pen at AC Moore that’s close to the color she has. And she used oil pastel too, so I used my oil pastels.

I think it’s an amazing coincidence that we both drew an oval on the top of the picture! I didn’t cheat by lifting the wrapping paper. Maybe we have ESP!

Sarmistha is a scientist for real! she’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dept. of Human and Molecular Genetics at VCU

This is an exquisite corpse I started for Henrietta Near to finish.
This is an exquisite corpse I started for Henrietta Near to finish.

I tinted an 8 x 10 board with blue acrylic and collaged some pretty and shiny paper on it. I’ll give Henrietta the same paper I used and she can add anything else she wants to on her half. Using the same colors or papers gives the corpse a continuous look to the halves. I covered my half except for 1″ for Henrietta to go by and marked “up”.

Helene Ruiz is having an Exquisite Corpse workshop at Artworks on Hull St. in Richmond VA. on June 18 6:30 to 9. I think it will be fun! If you’re interested in the Exquisite Corpse, join us!