What I Did on My Vacation

Some of you are aware that I have a full time job that is NOT related to my art. AT. ALL.

So in February, I decided to take a week off and not go anywhere or do anything but work on my art and art related marketing. This was a big step for me, because while I’ve been involved in the art community for a few years now and see myself as an artist, I see myself as a part-time artist who can’t spend a lot of time doing art things. I have excuses galore!

My productivity isn’t anywhere near what it would be as a full time artist, but I think I did pretty well on my week “off”.
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I started off by going to several galleries in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Pittsboro with my sister (check out her blog here).

We visited Fearrington Village and took pictures of the Belted Galloways (rare breed of Scottish beef cows), Of course I only had my iPhone with me. I need to learn to keep my camera with me at all times. I always see things that are be “picture worthy” when I don’t have my camera.

We then went to a gallery in Pittsboro, Liquidambar Gallery, where many pieces of art were being auctioned for “Art for the Animals” – a benefit for the Carolina Tiger Rescue. (A place I need to go to WITH my camera!)

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Agh! My first official day off, and it’s a snow day. Snow isn’t unheard of in the piedmont NC area, but it was the only day this winter it snowed. The kids had the day off and spent the morning making a snowman that would quickly melt by early afternoon.

I had an appointment at the NC Crafts Gallery, and ended up leaving behind some magnets for the gallery to sell. The gallery is exactly what the name says– a great collection of art and crafts spread throughout.

I loved these watercolor paintings attached to panels here.

During my vacation week, I went to a few artist meetings, one that I’ve participated in for a while, the other I was recently juried into.

I also went into Raleigh which isn’t TOO far, but far enough to wait until I had a few other errands. I picked up my violet painting from the Visual Art Exchange where it was hanging for a month. I then went to Jerry’s Artarama…anytime I am in a 30 mile radius of this place, I JUST HAVE TO GO! Plus, if you check in on Facebook, you receive a 10% discount on any item. Not bad. After stocking up on a few things, I then went to “A and B Store Fixtures”. I talk about the place in this post.

On Saturday, I went to a pastel workshop that I was looking forward to for a long time (I talk about it here). It was great that I was able to bring home three small pieces. I promptly re-framed one of them once I got home.

OK, so it doesn’t look like I was THAT productive, but at the end of the week, I finished a malamute, a goat, a donkey, started an elk and a lesser kudu. AND I received quite a few interested emails from my revamped blog, facebook, and twitter accounts.

I’m fascinated by the daily activities of those who create art full-time and would love to hear how you go through your day!

Donkey: WIP

I’ve been working on my newest animal piece on pastelbord. As you’ve seen, I did this cow with charcoal and a kneaded eraser. (For you city folk, this is NOT the donkey…)

 I used vine charcoal only – which are the skinny ones on the left.

This eraser is my favorite…my progress stops completely if I can’t find one of mine…it’s called “kneaded” because…well, here’s what Cheap Joe’s says on their website:

“These erasers are great because they can last just about forever. Many beginning artists don’t understand just how great a kneaded eraser is because no one ever shows you how to use one.
But, here is a tip. These erasers are stretchy. This is great when you want to shape these erasers to fit into tight spaces or when you want to ball them up to eraser a swath a few inches wide. They are also kind of like silly putty in that you can shape them, then place them on an area that is a little too dark, press down and voila! You can instantly lighten an area and fix a compositional nightmare in an instant. But, here is the especially great part.
To clean these erasers just stretch them out, fold them over, stretch it again… and again. These erasers come out clean and brand new all over again. There aren’t too many art materials that are your friend and last practically forever.”

 They’re great stress relievers too. My kneaded erasers are usually pretty clean.

Since pastelbord has a rough surface, I also used a stump for the blending. The white of the drawing is the actual pastelbord surface in the cow drawing.

OK, so enough about the supplies. Let’s talk about the new piece I have. It’s a juvenile donkey from a reference photo I took while on vacation. I started off with a quick sketch…it’s different than regular sketching since I wanted to preserve the white of the surface. It’s pretty rough looking and reminiscent of a zebra.
 

 
I was mainly blocking in the values, but this eats up those charcoal sticks quickly! 

I added more texture to the fur and backgound.

  
 I played with this for a while, trying to get the right balance of background texture…I ended up using white pastel on the lightest areas.
 

I’m not ready to call it “done”, but ready to set it aside for a day or two.