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Anniversary Present

Dear readers,

It has been a long time since my last post, but a number of unexpected things have happened that have kept me both from blogging and from artwork.  However, I am back again, and I am here to share with you something that I’ve kept a secret since I first thought up the idea back around March of this year.  My parents celebrated their 35th anniversary on September 13th.  Since it was a milestone year for them, I wanted to make some kind of artwork for them that would be meaningful.  I came across several beautiful poems that likened parents to the roots of a tree, the strong, steady foundation that holds everything together.  I liked that idea very much.  It inspired me to start working on a poem of my own, personalized to mean as much to my mom and dad as possible.  I had to work in complete, delicious, secrecy.  They are so involved in what I create and what I’m up to in my studio, so I had to go to great effort to keep this a secret.

It all started when I went to Junk Bonanza last April.  I went with my mom, but I had a secret agenda.  I wanted to find something with a 35 on it, or even letters to spell Happy Anniversary.  I knew it would be tricky to buy it when she was right there with me, but I was determined.

I came across a booth that had many small metal numbered tags, post office tags, cattle tags, you name it.  Under the guise of searching for “junk supplies for my sculptures”, I began to look quite thoroughly.  Luckily for me, my mom said she was going to move on to the next booth while I looked.  And then I found it!  A metal tag with a 35 on it.  And not only that, but above the 35 were the two letters H and W.  How perfect could it be?  H for Husband, W for Wife, and a 35.  Awesome!  Just so my mom wouldn’t wonder what I had bought, I purchased a few other little items so she wouldn’t single out that one tag.

And here it is.

024 CR 1

Early in the summer, as soon as the leaves were full on the trees, I went for camera walks, getting pictures of our trees to go with some sort of tree poem.  The tree that has the most sentimentality for our family is the enormous maple tree that is in our front yard, towering over our house.  It’s been a part of our lives for a long time.  My dad remembers stringing up a tire swing in it as a kid, and my brothers and I used to play in a tire swing from that very tree, and now, my parents’ grandkids have two tire swings hanging in that tree, too.  It’s a trusty old tree, complete with wooden board “steps” nailed onto it from my childhood.

As you can imagine, I decided that this was the tree to draw.  As I photographed it, I included the house, which was build in 1926.  My brothers and I grew up in it, and my dad and his brothers and sisters, and even his dad and his brother.  It’s got so much history and so many memories for us all.  I couldn’t draw that tree without this beloved house nestled beneath it, so my plans were made.

I started the drawing on June 17th.

The drawing is clayboard, just the second clayboard I’ve done.  It’s a big drawing, as I wanted it to be dramatic for Mom and Dad’s wall.  Keeping it very secret, I worked on it only when they were nowhere near, and I had to cleverly hide the drawing, the supplies, and all other evidence that I was working on anything in my studio.

Meanwhile, I spent several nights up late in bed, writing and rewriting the poem I wanted to give to them with the drawing.  I found some amazing tips on how to paint letters neatly on a wooden board, and I got started on that.  I mixed a couple of ideas I found online for sign-painting to get the result I wanted.  I painted the board black (just an old board that was in the basement…I sanded it fairly smooth first), and then printed the poem on regular printer paper in the font I liked.  I then took a white charcoal pencil and colored the backs of the papers generously.  After checking, re-checking, re-checking, and re-checking the alignment of the papers on the board (it took 4 sheets of paper to get the lettering big enough to fill the board), I taped them in place.  I then took a ball point pen and wrote over the words firmly, causing the white charcoal to transfer onto the wood.  When I lifted the papers, I was so surprised by how neat it looked!  I then took a cream-colored acrylic paint, diluted it quite a bit, and painted the letters using mostly a 00 paint brush.  It took quite some time, but I was really pleased with the result!

Ah, but the wooden sign didn’t take long at all compared to the drawing.  A clayboard is essentially an un-inked scratchboard…it is simply white clay on a Masonite board.  You add the ink (or paint or whatever else you’d like) yourself as you wish.  I used Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens for this project, using mostly brush tip for the application of inks.  Anything on the board that is not white had to be inked over first.  I used a variety of grays and blacks to get the desired values in this drawing.

The house part of the drawing was by far the most challenging.  I definitely do not have a mathematical brain, and all of these angles and corners and straight lines were certainly out of my comfort zone.  I spent many hours (days, even) with a straight edge and a pen, drawing and re-drawing all of those squares and lines and shapes over and over until I finally felt things were in place.  I then got to work building values, which was done using shades of gray pens.  The beauty of clayboard is that you can draw in the traditional sense, but you can push it further by treating it like a scratchboard.  You can take your X-Acto knives, your blades, your fiberglass brushes, and you can scratch away the ink.  It’s a beautiful thing! 🙂

I am happy to say that my parents were both completely unaware I was working on anything.  I never thought I could keep this a secret all summer long.  I was so excited to give this to them, and they seemed pretty excited to get it, too. 🙂

Anniversary Present

– The clayboard drawing measures 16 x 20 inches in size.  It is made with a set of Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens (the Manga set of 8), some other very fine pens for detail and texture, a couple of different X-Acto knives, a fiberglass brush, some other scratchboard tools, and steel wool to remove smudges or marks in larger areas.

– The wooden sign is made with just an old board that was in the basement (note the hole in the upper left corner), sanded, and painted with black acrylic paint.  White charcoal, printer paper, and tape for the lettering, and cream-colored acrylic paint for the poem.  I sealed the board with a satin varnish.

Ok, at long last, here are the pictures.  Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to photograph something this large without getting some shadow and lighting issues.  The photos do not do this drawing justice, but they were about the best I could do.  I did not take one single progress photo – I couldn’t afford any evidence to be found! 😉

The drawing.

001 EDIT - CR

A few close-ups.

016 - CR 017 - CR 020 - CR 022 - CR 023 - CR

The poem.  (Click to view larger.)

024 CR

And the finished, framed, and displayed artwork as it looks on the wall.

024 CR 2

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.  I love you both so much!

 
 

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Josephine

I’m skipping ahead to one of my newer sculptures.  I was having a difficult, desolate day a few weeks ago, and I knew that if I didn’t sink my thoughts and my focus into something creative, I would probably start punching walls or something like that.  Though I won’t go into details about the reasons for my feeling that way, I felt it was important to point out why this sculpture is near and dear to me.  It got me through a hard day and left me smiling and feeling that my anger has been released through a much needed creative outlet.

This is also a first for me.  I’ve done wire animals up to this point, but this is the first time I’ve attempted a human sculpture.  It was incredibly fun and I hope to make more like this one!  I’ve named her Josephine for two reasons.  First, I have two grandmothers (one great, and one great-great) with this name, and I also have a book character whose name is Josephine.

Josephine

– Measures 9 1/2 inches tall by 3 inches wide.

-Made with numerous kinds of wire, both steel wire and dark annealed wire of various gauges.  She has more embellishments than most, which made her interesting to assemble.  Her dress is made with a collection of metal flower pins that I purchased some time ago.  Under the flower “skirt” is a solid mass of wire, which was handy for attaching the pins with wire.  I bought a lot of 100 of these pins, not sure what I’d use them for, but knowing they would be great for something.  The bodice of her dress is an embellishment I got at an art store.  Her arms are recycled from a broken doll I had on hand.  The hat is an old pin which was a dated gold color.  I painted it to suit the sculpture, and sealed it with a clear coat to finish it.  Her hair is a long length of gold chain wound around to look like long tresses.  She stands on a metal base which was a piece of junk that a friend gave me, knowing how I love metal junk for my work.  Thank you, Jana. 🙂

Thanks so much for looking!  I hope you like this sculpture.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on August 5, 2015 in All Artwork, Sculpture & Mixed Media

 

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, dear readers!

As is my tradition, here is my annual Christmas drawing, and the finished Christmas card.

I’ve dedicated this drawing to my wonderful, creative aunt Diane, who, sadly, passed away last October.  I miss her so much that I almost skipped making a Christmas drawing this year because my heart was so heavy.  She died about the time I was planning to start this drawing.  But I decided to do the very best I could, because she was a great encourager of my artwork, and she would have been sad if she knew I wanted to skip my annual Christmas card drawing.  As you can see in the photo below, she loved getting my Christmas cards, and displayed them at her house every year.

Peterson Christmas 008 - Copy

This year’s drawing was quite involved and detailed, and those of you who follow my blog know how much I enjoy details in drawing.

The Magi

– 8×10 inches in size, drawn on Strathmore 500 series Bristol Plate paper.

– Drawn with Sakura Pigma Micron Pens, varying in size from 005 (primarily), 01, and 03.  I haven’t used these pens much, but the ink is a bit warmer, and it flows quickly from the tip, which is nice for deep darks, though it can feel a bit out of control sometimes.  But the quick darks that can be achieved make them a delight to use.

Magi 10 FINISHED CR

Here is the finished card.  We did something different this year by choosing to print the drawing on parchment paper, which really warmed it up nicely.

Christmas Card 2014 Face CR

Continuing with our tradition, my mom and I put our heads together to make the cards.  In the end, as usual, we are happy with the result, and though they require a lot of work, they are worth it.

The inside of the card.  The left side has the lyrics of the hymn “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus”, and the right side has a message that we created ourselves with some inspiration from other sources.

Christmas Card 2014 InsideCR

And here is the back.  In memory of Diane.

Christmas Card 2014 Back

Merry Christmas, dear readers.  Thank you for looking.

 
 

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Oscar, 1946 Commission

I have been keeping this drawing under my hat, as it was a commissioned piece, and I wanted my client to see it first.  This is a portrait she hired me to draw of her dad.  I am pleased to say that she liked the result.  Thank you, Clarice, for the pleasure of drawing your dad.  It was an honor. 🙂

This drawing, like the others in my Ancestry Art, is done on gray paper with pen and ink and white charcoal.  I like the feel of this combination, as it lends age to the drawings, making them seem classic and timeless like the wonderful photos I’ve worked from.

Oscar, 1946

– 5×7 inches on Strathmore Artagain tinted paper

– Drawn with Prismacolor Fine Line markers (sizes .005, .01, and .03).  Once the darks were put into the drawing, I brightened up the light spots with white charcoal.

Click to view this larger.

Oscar, 1946 WIP 9 FINISHED CR

Here is a short video showing the step-by-step progression of the drawing.

https://thecozyred.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/oscar-wip.wmv

If you’d like your ancestors remembered and honored in a drawing, check out my Ancestry Art page, and feel free to contact me at indee.artist.jen88@Hotmail.com.

Thanks for looking!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 4, 2014 in All Artwork, Pen and Ink

 

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Alfred and Nellie, 1947

Here is the second part of my Family series of drawings.  This wonderful photo of my great-grandparents, Alfred and Nellie, was taken in 1947, and I absolutely loved the casual, friendly look of them.  They seem so cheerful, don’t they?

New Macro Lens, Alfred and Nellie Drawing 017

It begged to be drawn.  So that’s what I did.

I recently bought a tablet of gray tinted paper, hoping it would be durable and hold up to my ink wash/marker style of drawing (such as the style I used for Georgia and the Tough Guys). Unfortunately, this new paper quickly wants to ripple when wet, so I had no choice but to stipple the drawing rather than do a more abstract style as I’d hoped. Still, the results were okay and I actually like the white charcoal with the stipple more than I thought I would. Happy accident. 🙂

Alfred and Nellie, 1947

– The drawing is 5×7 inches, and drawn on Strathmore 400 series Toned Gray paper.

– I used Prismacolor Fine Line Markers in sizes .005, .01, and .03 for the darks and the details.  Once I had the dark values in place, I applied white charcoal to brighten the highlights and breathe a bit of life into the drawing.  I blended the white charcoal some with a tortillian to soften the edges.

New Macro Lens, Alfred and Nellie Drawing 021 CR

Thanks for looking! 🙂

 
4 Comments

Posted by on April 17, 2014 in All Artwork, Pen and Ink

 

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Meet Bicker (My First Clayboard)

It is time, once again, to introduce you to a new book character.  You may remember Russ and Zeke from past posts.  Zeke’s book, Zeke’s Fate, is now available for sale.

These days, I am working on a prequel to Zeke’s Fate, which has a new set of characters, though there will be a few familiar faces from Zeke’s Fate.  In this prequel is a man who calls himself Bicker.  At first, he was to be a simple side character, but as I’ve written, he’s slowly, surely, become very much the heart of the story.  …I love it when characters take over! 🙂

This is also my first attempt at a clayboard.  What a fun medium!  It’s a lot like scratchboard, but instead of a wooden board covered with white clay and layered over with black ink, it’s just a board with the layer of clay.  It’s up to the artist to color/ink over the clay, and then the artist is free to scratch out details to their heart’s content.  It’s great!  Mistakes were made along the way, but I had a great time with this new medium.

Bicker

– 5×7 inch Clayboard

– To add value, I used Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens of mainly the brush tip size.  I used varying shades of grays and blacks to get some depth from the start.  Once I was happy with the mass of shadow and form, I used an X-Acto knife, fiberglass brush, and some other sharp tools to scratch out details.  Since this was all new to me, I went back and colored over the scratched areas several times, changing things here and there, to get the result I wanted.  The face, especially, required a great deal of tweaking and little changes before I felt that this captured the likeness of my fictional character, Bicker.  I did use a couple of reference images very roughly to get some ideas and inspiration, but for the most part, Bicker’s face is from imagination.  As much as I looked, I couldn’t quite find a face that felt like Bicker’s…so I sort of pieced it together.

Unfortunately, the image makes this piece look grainier than in real life.  I’m sorry for that.

Bicker (Finished)CR

Thanks very much for looking!  Stay tuned to hear more about the upcoming novel. 🙂

 

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Great-Great Grandma Georgia and Her Cat

For months now, I’ve had it mind to do a series of drawings from a collection of family snapshots that date back to the 1920s through the 1950s.  This amazing photo collection really gives a glimpse into the average daily life of my great and great-great grandparents and their families.  We even have a priceless casual photo of my great-great-great grandfather, James Ferris, who fought in the Civil War.  It’s a priceless collection, and I cherish these old photos.  The ordinariness of the collection of snapshots from this era add such personality and character to each face.  How can I stop at just looking?  I must turn this into a series of drawings!

So here is the first of what I hope are many drawings I plan to make from these photos.  This is my great-great grandmother, Georgia, sitting by a sunny window, with what seems to be a house cat.  If you’ve been following this blog for long, you know I am definitely a cat lady!  I just had to start with this image.

Great-Great Grandma Georgia with Her Cat

– 5×7 inches in size, drawn on Strathmore Artagain Tinted Paper.

– Drawn with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens of varying grays and black.  I used mostly the brush tips for this drawing.  Once the ink was all in place, I added some touches of white charcoal to the brightest areas such as the curtain, cat, and other areas.

Great-Great Grandma Georgia and Her CatCR

I’ll also include the original photograph.  Sadly, the likeness in my drawing isn’t great…I hope the next drawings work out better.  I simplified that area in front of the cat, but I believe that blurry patch between the cat and Georgia’s shoulder is actually a kitten. 🙂

Georgia and Cat

Thank you for looking!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 19, 2014 in All Artwork, Pen and Ink

 

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