Friday, December 30, 2011

Quick Dinner Sketch

With the holidays in full swing, I have been hard pressed to find 20 minutes to sketch these days. But as this self-imposed 20 minute daily sketch challenge comes to an end for this year, I am determined to finish it up the way I began - sketching food! Drawing right in pen as our dinner was served, I had to be quick if I wanted to eat while the food was still hot. I love the spontaneous style of this, even though the colors of the food will have to be added in paint in a later session!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Treats

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We celebrated with family and food, and lots of wonderful treats and sweets. This slightly ambitious 20 minute painting is of a piece of Dutch almond roll, almond cake, and anise honey koek. All homemade and delicious, and only a sampling of the many varieties we had to enjoy. Watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8".

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Delft Ornament

The large and varied assortment of Christmas ornaments hanging around have been wonderful subject matter for 20 minute paintings! Every ornament is different (well, other than a couple of those colored glass ones). The blue glaze on Delftware is a very unique deep dark blue - but I think I captured it pretty accurately on this little ornament here. Watercolor, approx. 5" x 7".

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rainbow "Porcupine" Ornament

Decorating our Christmas tree are several of these really neat Polish "porcupine" paper ornaments, all handmade, unique, and very special. Since I enjoy using nearly all the paint colors in my palette in one painting, this was a perfect 20 minute challenge! Rainbow colors are so cheerful, especially on gray winter days. Watercolor, 5" x 6 1/2".

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Patterns of a Pizzelle

Pizzelles are most definitely one of my favorite cookies, whether it's Christmas or any other season. They can vary when you buy them at a store or bakery, but when I make them they are always going to be anise flavor - delicious. Out of the Christmas cookies I baked/painted this year, this was the most challenging cookie to paint in 20 minutes! All those little waffle-y crevices, the intricate flower pattern, the irregular "deckled" edges, its thin, wafery goodness... I might have to try painting one again. Of course, it will be a different pizzelle, because I ate the subject of this painting once the timer went off. Watercolor, 5 1/2" x 7".

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Quick Gesture Sketches

These party band members were a great subject for sketching. Unlike my usual 20 minute sketching/painting process, each sketch here probably took less than 3 minutes to do. I was hoping to quickly capture the essence of their high-energy fun performance. Pen, 3 1/2" x 4 1/2".

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Cut-Out Cookie

Another 20  minute Christmas cookie painting! This probably resembled a Christmas tree more in the dough stage than after it was baked, but since when was that ever a problem? Decorating cutouts is always enjoyable. Surprisingly, it was hard to complete this painting in 20 minutes. There was more detail than I first thought! Watercolor, approx. 5 1/2" x 7".

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Candy Cane Cookie

A cute little candy cane cookie painted in 20 minutes. This variety is one of my holiday favorites, I love peppermint flavor in pretty much any sort of sweet. Part of the dough is tinted pink and then the two colors are twisted gently together before baking, which is somewhat time consuming, but worth it. They get sprinkled with crushed up candy canes, though whatever doesn't stick to the top melts, and makes the cookies adhere to the tray (not a problem for me this time, as I used parchment paper on the trays). Holiday baking is the best! Watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8".

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cranberry Drop Cookie

The third of my series of 20 minute Christmas cookie paintings! (In case you were wondering, yes, my baking is getting done early - the cookies go in the freezer and keep perfectly until I assemble cookie plates!) This beauty is a cranberry drop cookie, a new recipe that is SO delicious I can't believe I haven't made them before. The cranberries stained the batter pink, making them so pretty, and perfectly festive. Watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8".

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gingerbread Biscotti

Here's another 20 minute sketch of a Christmas cookie, in this case, a gingerbread biscotti. Though the cookie looks a little overbaked, they taste absolutely perfect! I thought this festive napkin would be a good way to add some more color to the subject and it was a delight to paint the typography. Watercolor, approx. 4 1/2" x 6 1/2".

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Old St. Nick

Another bamboo pen sketch in 20 minutes, this one of a slightly creepy porcelain St. Nick figurine I brought out with the Christmas decorating. Most renditions of Santa Claus/St. Nick are a little disturbing to me. Their mustaches are always covering their mouths, and this one has no feet. Definitely a weird aspect of the holiday message. But I like using this pen very much. Dip pen & watercolor ink, 4" x 7".

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Peanut Butter [Christmas] Cookie

Why this particular kind of cookie (the peanut butter blossom) has become associated with Christmas, I have no idea. But if I do not make them as part of my Christmas baking every year, there is general uproar from the other family members. I don't have anything against them, personally (except for their overt sweetness and high calorie count), but they are not my holiday favorite. I loved painting it though! I've decided to honor each of the cookies I make this year with a special 20 minute portrait like this one - a special way to remember this year's holiday! Watercolor, approx. 4" x 4 1/2".

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Simple Gift - Shaker Boxes

This miniature stack of Shaker boxes (about 4" high) delights us each year as an ornament on our Christmas tree, and now it can delight me as a 20 minute sketch. I love Shaker-style anything, their aesthetic is timeless in its simplicity. Pen and watercolor, 4 1/2" x 6 1/2".

There is a quote ascribed to William Morris (the famous Arts & Crafts designer & erstwhile philosopher): "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” that I personally love, but at which the Shakers would have laughed. Every single item they owned, used and/or made was practical first, yet beautiful at the same time. They would never have had anything like "art for art's sake." Fortunately now we can admire aesthetics of all styles and eras and appreciate them simply because they are beautiful - Shaker-style included.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The stockings were hung... the chimney with care! Christmas decorating has been accomplished in my house. Now, we just wait impatiently for Christmas to arrive! I was pretty excited tonight to try out a new "toy" - a bamboo pen - for my 20 minute sketch. It was great, I love the variation of line you can get by holding it at slightly different angles. Plus, it has all the benefits of a traditional dip-style pen. Really great! It will become part of my regular rotation for sure. Bamboo pen (used with watercolor), 5 1/2" x 8".

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Interesting Clock Face

This was a 20 minute sketch where the idea was much more ambitious than the time allowed... I spent too much time drawing the neat number detail (pretty modern looking for 1820, I have to say) that I ran out of time to do justice with the paint. The general idea of the ship tossing on the waves and the scenery comes through though, I think. Clocks, especially old clocks, are an endless source of design inspiration! Pen and watercolor, approx. 4 1/2" x 6 1/2".

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wheel of Flowers

The nearly symmetrical design of this flower grouping was fun to draw and paint in 20 minutes. Purple is not a traditional color used in fraktur designs, but it really complements the yellow. I love doing these designs. I really keep meaning to embroider one sometime! Pen and watercolor, 5" x 5".

Monday, November 28, 2011

Floating Weirdness

Sometimes it just takes 20 minutes of doodling to get those creative juices flowing. I've been working on a couple projects in anticipation of Christmas and I think this developed as a way to get them out of my head for a little while. Fun and random. Pen, 5 1/2" x 8".

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving everyone! Though I could have rushed through it, I took a couple evenings to complete this painting of our family's Thanksgiving edible goodness. The richness of the food deserved equally rich color on the page. I have so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Little Buddy

Once in a while my little buddy finally sits still enough for me to draw or paint him. He didn't hold still the whole 20 minutes of the sketch, but long enough for me to capture his shape. While I painted him he snuggled next to me so I can't really complain. However, white fuzzy fur is not the easiest thing to paint in watercolor! Pencil and watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8".

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Ornament

I love to make and receive handmade ornaments, and enjoyed participating in an ornament exchange this past weekend. I hope the person who received the ornament I made enjoys hers as much as I will enjoy this little bird one made by another person! I think it made a nice subject for a 20 minute sketch. Pencil, 5" x 7".

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dinner Out

This sketch was drawn while waiting for our meal, and painted after the meal was over. Certainly not a 20 minute sketch, but not a laborious painting effort either. Unfortunately, while the food was very good, our service was slow as molasses or maybe even slower, so I had plenty of time to add details like our interesting chandelier. When you bring a sketchbook, you can make the best of time spent waiting in random places - a way to make lemonade out of lemons for sure. Pencil, pen and watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8".

Friday, November 18, 2011

Little Reader

I intended to paint this simple portrait but was enjoying the effect of the colored pencils as they were, so I held off on the water. I think the real challenge here was for the model - to hold the pose for 20 minutes! It's nice to be reminded to draw and paint people every now and then. Colored pencil, 5 1/2" x 8".

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Button Assortment

This was an interesting subject! The clear plastic buttons really aren't clear when you try to paint them... just like glass or cellophane or any of those items that appear clear or transparent at first glance. Perhaps next time I'll try this on a brightly colored background to give a completely different effect. 20 minute sketch - watercolor and watercolor pencil, approx. 4 1/2" x 6 1/2".

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Goin' Bananas

Even though things have been crazy lately, I've tried to fit a 20 minute sketch in as close to daily as possible. On these busy days, it's easier for me to sketch or paint whatever I have laying around than invent something. These impromptu still life paintings are often the most satisfying to paint, too, since I can immediately judge the "success" of my efforts. I was surprised to discover that I haven't painted a bunch of bananas in 20 minutes before, since I always have bananas on hand! Watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8".

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Red Pear 2

This pear had a beautiful dark red color I was eager to capture in 20 minutes. I never get tired of painting produce, I guess... most artists who like still life would agree. Watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8".

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pomegranate Fraktur

Something different for a fraktur design in 20 minutes, a pomegranate-inspired shape. This is a traditional motif, but not overly common. Fun to color! Watercolor and pen, 5 1/2" x 8".

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Woodworking Splendor

This is an excerpt from a travel journal page, and I'm sure it took me longer to execute than 20 minutes. However, I thought it does such a good job of explaining some of the details that make handcrafted furniture so unique. Granted, John Townsend is the cream of the crop of early American furniture, and my paintings barely do his work justice. But I take delight in knowing that there are still such master artisans and craftspeople out there, creating such awe-inspiring work. I am continually inspired by them!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Many Layers

Once again, in 20 minutes, I am dazzled by the complexity in such an ordinary natural object, the humble white onion. Besides the many layers that lie underneath its outer papery skin, rendering the parallel lines that radiate out from the roots to stem was necessary to get the spherical shape correct. I also love the balance of colors present, from pale peach to acid green to bluish gray in the shadows. Watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8".

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Time to fall back

Today we "gained" back the hour we "lost" in the spring due to daylight savings time ending. Clocks are neat visual objects, I love their sense of architecture. I could (and probably should) do a whole series of them as I never tire of drawing them. This one is an 1840's Gothic-revival style desk clock, from a book of early American clocks. Clocks of this era/style often had reverse glass painting on the lower section, usually flowers or neoclassical subjects, but this one had a bee skep with flowers, kind of unique. Pencil, pen, and watercolor, 4 1/2" x 6 1/2".

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Little Fashionista

Shopping is fun when you have a little girl in your life who loves fashion. I love doing journal-style pages and wonder why I don't do them more often! This cute outfit seemed like it had just enough detail to capture in 20 minutes. Pen and watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8".

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quiet Interior

A smudgy 20 minute pencil sketch of a quiet interior scene. There were some dramatic shadows playing on all these flat planes, but using a too-soft pencil as I did here caused them to fade into the items themselves. Next time I'll use pen! Pencil, 5 1/2" x 8".

Monday, October 31, 2011

H is for Halloween

A sweet little 20 minute illustration for one of my favorite holidays. Hope everyone enjoyed their Halloween night! Charcoal pencil, watercolor and water soluble crayon, 5 1/2" x 8".

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sunburst... flower

Not sure what this elaborate doodle is, but that's fine with me. An enjoyable drawing process, often I sketch in pen longer than I should and only have a few minutes left to add paint! Pen and watercolor, approx. 5 1/2" x 8".

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quick Book Painting

Tonight's sketch seemed finished after 15 minutes. Basically, my paint was too wet to add any more color, and since the subject is on the simple side, I couldn't think of anything else to add to this to stretch the time out a little. But enjoyable nonetheless! Watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8".

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Getting Spooky...

Halloween is coming! More pencil sketching in 20 minutes. The soft pencil works much better than paint or ink on this particular sketchbook paper, purchased because it was bound in a very attractive notebook. I love the eerie effect underlighting has on a simple object, making it somewhat creepier than usual. Approx. 4" x 6".

Monday, October 24, 2011

Little Butterfly

This small 20 minute butterfly sketch was inspired by several old (30's-60's era perhaps) crewelwork embroidery patterns. The purple, blue and green color palette is slightly different than the colors I usually choose, but they are cool and pleasing. Pen and watercolor, approx. 3 1/2" x 6".

Thursday, October 20, 2011

One for the price of two!

Since I didn't have the opportunity to do a 20 minute sketch for the last couple days, today I did a painting that took me approximately 40 minutes. That's double the time of my normal sketches, and I can really see a difference. More detail in the background, mainly - it's fun to have the freedom to add those bits of detail that often go lacking in a quick sketch. I am looking forward to the artwork to be created without a time limit in the upcoming year, though what challenge I will pursue then is still up in the air! Any suggestions?

Incidentally, this painting will be part of a charity raffle, and I hope the winner of the raffle will enjoy looking at it as much as I enjoyed creating it. Pencil and watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8".

Monday, October 17, 2011

Red Pear and Books

These books add a nice element to this simple still life with a red pear. I know now that the more involved my composition is, the less likely I am to complete it in 20 minutes, but I do keep trying. The contrasting colors of the pear and the book cover balance nicely I think. Watercolor, 5 1/2" x 7".

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fraktur Gift

Made for a special gift, I enjoyed designing and painting this fraktur-inspired piece WITHOUT the constraint of the 20 minute timeframe. Not only is it larger than I usually work in 20 minutes, I was able to add the details and color saturation I feel this style of artwork really needs. I love how it came out, and most importantly, the gift was very well received. Pencil, pen, and watercolor, 5" x 12".

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pencil Scribble Art

Some doodling with pencil for the fun of it here for 20 minutes. I was surprised that the time ran out before I considered this done. I admit abstract art is not my favorite, but I keep trying it. Creating without the pressure of making "something" is relaxing, can be inspiring, and gives you a good idea of how your tools or mediums work. Pencil, 5 1/2" x 8".

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall Apple Bounty

Apples are one of the many things I love about fall. They are so much crisper, tastier, and there are so many varieties available! I know I have painted apples in 20 minutes several times before, but really, they are never the same twice. I loved the green striping shaped almost like a star on this particular apple, and saved it from being eaten for a day or two just so that I could paint it. Watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8".

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Little Marshmallow Snack

Sketching in pencil has really appealed to me the last few days, not because I feel the need to erase any lines, but because pencil sketching sometimes seems more tactile, simpler, basic. After I've done watercolor and pen for a while, the simple shading effects you get with pencil can look fresh and new again. However, in a timed challenge like the 20 minutes I spent here, you have to be conscious of getting a range of values in as quickly as possible. Pencil, approx. 5" x 5".

Monday, October 10, 2011

Viney Overgrowth

Tonight I felt like drawing in pencil for 20 minutes, as opposed to pen or another medium. It's been a while since I just doodled in pencil but I still love the soft shading effects you can get with it. 5 1/2" x 8".

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Column Capital

Here's a rendering of a fancy Roman-inspired column capital out of a Victorian reference book. I thought 20 minutes would be plenty of time to get this drawn and some detail enhanced with paint, but the time flew by and this is as far as I got. Pen, approx. 4" x 6".

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lovely Eggplant

I bought these eggplants at a local farmer's market this morning intending to cook them up, but before that, I couldn't resist painting them. The gorgeous "eggplant" hue - that rich dark violet purple - was a delight to mix and paint. Each eggplant was a slightly different shade of the color, so capturing the colors correctly added to the 20 minute challenge. Watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8".

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tropical Fish

Small freshwater tropical fish are very affordable and fairly easy-to-take-care-of pets, and even though they are not a cuddly sort of creature, they do reward you with their own version of entertainment and calming nature. Occasionally they do attack and even eat other, but that generally means you picked the wrong ones to coexist in your tank! Though I had many different kinds of fish over the years, I don't believe I ever owned one of the above (a "twin band killie"). They sure do look beautiful in pictures and it was fun subject to paint in 20 minutes. Watercolor and watersoluble crayon, 5 1/2" x 8".

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Folk Art Tree sketch

I wanted to draw a tree in a more folk-art style here, with large flat areas to be filled with bright saturated color. This kind of design would probably translate well into printmaking or embroidery. I am always surprised that these style paintings fill up the 20 minute timeframe - I could easily work on this for another 20 minutes to get deeper color and more detail. Pen and watercolor, 5 1/2" x 8".

Monday, October 3, 2011

Peacock automaton

This 20 minute painting was completely inspired by another kind of art - very intricate metal sculpture. To be even more specific - a tiny clockwork automaton made over 100 years ago by Faberge as part of one of his amazing eggs. As I was drawing this from a photo I realized how intricately detailed it was. Just gorgeous. Pen and watercolor, 5 1/2" x 5 1/2".