Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Christian the Lion

I spent a week in Missouri recently.  I took along with me the book A Lion Called Christian by Anthony Bourke, John Rendell, and George Adamson.  I've loved the story of Christian as shown on Youtube for a few years now.  And I've watched each version of it many times.  So the story in the book was no surprise.  But there were many details in the book that I had not known before about Christian's relationship with his two legged friends.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  It inspired this journal page created with watercolor paint and Derwent water soluable sketching pencils.

The story of Christian the lion is set in the late 60's in England where two Australian young men purchased a lion cub from Harrods Department store.  Can you imagine?  They raised him for many months living in their home with them. The three of them loved each other dearly.  When Christian was around a year old, John and Anthony (Ace) transported him to Africa where George Adamson, of the Born Free story, helped Christian learn how to live free and wild as was appropriate for him.  The video shows the reunion when John and Ace visited Christian a year later after living as a wild lion.  He had not forgotten them.  Rather, he greeted them with hugs and kisses.

Here is one of the many videos about Christian.  There are better ones but this one tells the story well, and I love the addition of the Whitney Houston song.

Wind and Honey Creations

Friday, July 15, 2011

Where Bloggers Create 2011

Recently as I was engaging in one of my favorite past times, blog hopping, I stumbled onto My Desert Cottage and her upcoming blog party Where Bloggers Create.  I thought this seemed like such a fun idea.  I love looking into the studios of other artists.  I quickly added a comment that I wanted to join in.  It was not until the next day that I realized my comment had come a few days after the deadline to join.  But, to my surprise, Karen of My Desert Cottage added me to the party anyway.  Thank you Karen.  I'm so pleased to join the party.

My studio is not fancy and I do not have the freedom to rip
up carpet and go crazy with the design like I'd enjoy doing.  But it is the first time I've had a whole room just for my studio.  And I think the 2 full walls of second story windows makes up for any crazy decor plans I could come up with.

Some of these photos were taken a while back.  So you may notice a difference in a few of them like the blue cat pillow and then a pink cat pillow.  I recently created a video showing some of my studio for the Artful Gathering class that I have produced.  It is quite recent and I thought fit in here quite well.  So, I've included it too.

Our house was built in 1919.  This is an odd little room off of the larger room.  It is larger than a closet but still only about 6' x 5'.  And yet, it has a window and an old air conditioning vent.  hmmmmm.....   The only idea I have is that it was meant to be a nursery just off the master bedroom.   Any ideas?   Anyone know?

I am currently in Missouri on a trip.  I found an old wooden file cabinet at a thrift store that will replace these plastic drawers when I get home.  I am in need of these plastic drawers in the room where I teach kid's art classes.  So it works out well this way.  This window blind is usually up and the cats enjoy watching the squirrels run by on the window ledges.  But I had to close it in order to take the picture.

Again, had to close the blinds to get a photo.  This table belonged to my big brother.  When he left us to go fly fishing in Heaven, I took this table to create on.  As I use it I am reminded of how supportive he always was of my art.

I keep things that I love here....my favorite dolls as a child, children's books, a doll my daughter made by hand for me when she was only 9, and a stuffed skunk given to me by my father.  

And here is the video.  I won't even have to tell you that I am an amateur at filming.  It will be evident!  : )

And now that you've been in my studio, I will enjoy visiting yours.  What kind of tea will you be serving?  Got any cinnamon scones?

Have you ever wished you could learn to draw?  I teach drawing online through video lessons.  We are having so much fun and my students are amazed at how well they are drawing and how quickly they are progressing.  Come by and take a look at Wind and Honey Classes.  You can do it too!

Wind and Honey Creations

Friday, July 1, 2011

Zest-It! You're Going To Love This!

For all of you that love the look of blended Colored Pencils - Prismacolor or Derwent Colorsoft, or Faber-Castell Polychromos, or any of the other quality brands... For all of you that love it when your colored pencil looks like paint... And for all of you that have hands that ache when you are finished blending with the blending pencil...  Well, I've got great news for you!

I had read some about using solvents with colored pencils.  But my experimenting with the Prismacolor colorless blending marker yielded less than satisfying results.   And the other solvents I had read about have toxic levels that I prefer not to bring into my world.  One site said to use them with an open window.  Well, the seasonal opportunities for that where I live are very very small.  And then I found Zest-It products.  They have several products under this name including brush cleaners and oil paint mediums.  But the one I am so excited about is the colored pencil blending medium.  It is non toxic!  Well, they suggest you not drink it.  Oh.  Well, it does have a refreshing orange aroma.  But I don't think I'll be too tempted to drink it.  The other solvents I have looked at leave a residue on your drawing creating a non archival piece.  But according to the Zest-It representative, the Zest-It evaporates leaving nothing on your paper except colored pencil.  How great is that?!
Blended with a paper blending stump.

I was very pleased with the results I got when using the Zest-It and found it to be much quicker than the slow tedious process of blending with the pencil blenders.  And the icing on the cake was that my hand didn't even ache when I was through.

blended with the tortillion

I have posted my testing pieces here.  I used Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils for this experiement.  I first blended with a paper blending stump that I had touched into just a dab of the Zest-It.  It took very little for the whole project. I was pleased with the results with the blending stump.  It was smooth and filled the space well.  Then I tried it with a paper tortillion.  Although the results were not bad, it was not quite as smooth as the blending stump and it was more laborious to accomplish the blending.  Last I tried using a paint brush to dip into the Zest-It.  I expected this to be my favorite as I love using brushes with the Derwent Inktense pencils.  I love getting the color wet and then pulling it to create the effect I want with the brush.  However, I found that the color did not pull using the Zest-It with the paint brush.  It did seem to affect the overall color but did not create the smooth painted look that I prefer.  So I will stick with the blending stump, which is just fine with me.  I was quite pleased with it.  I have read the some artists like to use a Q Tip to blend it.  I think that would probably work well for large areas.  But it would not give as much control as the pointed tip of the blending stump in areas with more detail.

blended with the paint brush

I also piddled with the Zest-It with soft pastels and oil pencils and found it to work quite well with them too.

Zest-It is something I will definitely be sharing with my students.  They will love how it helps them advance more quickly in their colored pencil skills.

The only draw back for the Zest-It is that it is a company based in the United Kingdom and they do not, as of yet, have a distributor in the US.   (****See amended note below.  It is available in the US now)  The shipping I paid was a bit high.  But I ordered enough to last quite a while and decided that in the long run, it was still a good buy even after the shipping.  It took 2 weeks to get my package of Zest-It from England to Oklahoma.  Perhaps if there is enough interest shown in the US by colored pencil artists, they will establish a distributor over here.  That would be great!   Let me know if you try it or have any experience with it.  I'd love to see what you've done.

Want to learn more about drawing and creating your own pencil art?  Try out my online pencil art learning community at Wind and Honey Classes.  We are having a great time there and my students are progressing so well.   

****Note added 12-5-12   Zest-It is now available in the US.  You can see more about that in my post here.  Also I now have workshops at Wind and Honey Classes that demonstrate and teach the use of Zest-It.  Check it out.  There is usually at least one workshop current that utilizes this helpful tool.

Wind and Honey Creations

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