Following the work of Arlene Steinberg

Would you have believed that this painting is done in colored pencils?
I am pretty sure I would have found that hard to believe a year ago.
I have coveted Arlene Steinberg for a while.
Her colored pencil work astounds me. This is my favorite one of all.
I finally purchased her book, Masterful Color
and it was worth every penny.
I admit, I am an art book junkie. Some books don't have a long shelf life,
but this one is truly amazing. In terms of teaching technique,
it might be my favorite. She uses a complementary color
underpainting in her works. It befuddled me for a long time.
Make something green before red?!
I am now a believer--I have not been happy with my previous
attempts at "serious" colored pencil works.
I will gladly say that I am PROUD of this.
This was taken in poor lighting, and at an angle...so the grapes and pear are squashed.
First of all--I am not a very good at drawing. 
These are simple shapes, but I am still proud that you can tell what they are!
As you can see, this is the complementary coloring part.
The pear will be yellow...so all the shadows are purple.
The grapes will be red, so the shading is green.
Second step...start adding the local colors (sorry for the bad picture)
Step 3...keep layering (the secret in colored pencil work: LOTS AND LOTS of light layers)
the local colors. This piece used about 15 different pencils.
The finished product! 
As you may see...I messed up on the shadows with the grapes.
Oh well, this was purely to learn.
Arlene does very specific tutorials in her book, 
so I can't take too much credit...but I learned a lot about her technique
from this one.
The best part? There are at least 4 or 5 left in her book,
and this is of course, the easiest one.
If you are at all interested in colored pencil as a medium,
check her out.

Also, I promise not to be so MIA. I've ignored my little blog.
This fall has introduced a lot of change in my life,
and the holidays are not so fun for me.
But the new year is soon...and I have to hope 2012 
will treat me better than 2011.
Which reminds me!!! Check out what online class I signed up for!
She even wrote a book that is coming out next spring!
This painting is just a small example of her amazing work.
I am so so excited. (In case you couldn't tell by all the !!!)
I am also so so scared. 
I know enough now that "learning" someone else's technique
is no guarantee that yours will look anything like theirs.
AND, her entire course and painting method is intuitive.
I do NOT do intuitive art work.
My brain shuts down when I try to just "go with the flow"
So, I am afraid of failing spectacularly.
But the price of admission will be worth it to watch her paint.
I am soooo intrigued!


Ballpoint Pen Mandala

This one was worked in spurts, 
sometimes going a week without touching it.
I painted the background with watercolors,
and did the mandala in two different ballpoint pens.
I feel like I may never ever feel very creative again.
Some of the spark is back, but it is sloowww,
and it is not linear.
Work is FINALLY going well, after over a year of 
crises. You know what happens when external
problems are over? You are stuck with yourself.
I'm not liking it very much, but the one saving grace
are the 2 year olds I work with every day.
They are frustrating at times, but oh so charming
and cute and loving.
I'm hanging in there, and keep on hoping maybe
I will consistently do some art.


Colored Pencil and Mandalas

There is a lot on mandalas on the internet,
about peace, meditation, healing.
I am not sure how much to believe, but I do know that
I can lose myself in creating the repeating patterns.

My interests are so off the wall. One week I want to do ballpoint pen art.
Another, colored pencil.
My acrylics gather dust, and then suddenly I will use them.
This painting is not finished.
It needs something, but I don't know what.
This picture doesn't do it justice--the colors glow off the page.
It just feels good to be putting color to the page again.


A blue bottle...started in orange

I've been studying lots of color theory lately.
The thing with colored pencils is, is that they are semi-transparent.
Like watercolors, you can layer colors and they all effect each other.
Something I've read a lot about for colored pencil paintings
is that by doing an underpainting in the complementary color(s)
first, it adds more depth to the final piece.
So...that is what I am trying to do!
Can you guess what color I aim for this bottle to be when I'm finished?


Colored pencil obsession

A bit of a blurry picture--sucks to live in a basement. 
I have been poring over books and forums (namely WetCanvas) on colored pencil.
The things that these artists can do!!

Bonnie Sheckter
This picture is on Ann Kulenberg's site. This is done in
C O L O R E D   P E N C I L
Blows my mind
There are some amazing colored pencil artists.
Just check out the website for Colored Pencil Society of America.
I am immersed in increasing my drawing skills,
learning color (yep, i've had fun making color wheels!)
and learning the versatility of colored pencils.
They are semi-transparent, therefore layering can become
a rich and beautiful result. 


Recent drawings

Slowly, over the past month or two,
I have been easing back into art-making.
ballpoint pen for marble, markers for border

I'm even exploring an idea, inspired by a quote from Law and Order:
"An eye for an eye leaves the whole word blind."
Beginning of colored pencil painting


The art of breakfast

I have come out of hibernation.
I am s l o w l y doing different art projects.
I can not tell you how GOOD it feels to 
want to rush home from work so you can draw, paint, dream.
I still need to photograph the few things I have done, 
and then I will post them.
Until then...if you do not know the artwork of
Danny Gregory, you absolutely must 
watch his drawing video, The Art of Breakfast
**Obviously if you do know and love Danny,
you clearly know you must see this video too**
It is beautifully shot (by his son), a piece of art in its own right.
To see Danny in his element is inspiring.
I hope to be posting much more often.


Feeling a little experimental...

I don't want to get my hopes up
that I am ready to dive into art making again,
but I managed to finish another journal page over the past few days,
and that is an accomplishment for me.
Inspired by Ray LaMontagne.
His voice and lyrics tap into the pain
and loneliness in a way no other musician has.

Is that sun ever going to break on through the clouds?
Shine down on all its glory onto me,
here upon the ground,
cuz I can't hear a sound except my own sad story
I get so tired staring at the wall
Weight so heavy and that mountain so tall
Is there no one who would catch me if I fall?
Its more than I could take
Wish I could fake it,
Pretend like i dont' know whats going on
Something's wrong; trying to hold on just a little longer.
Can you hear me?
Can you see me?



This is my brain/life right now.
I don't have many words.


Sketchbook Project 2012

Hi folks,
I've had a rough few months, but maybe see a tiny light poking
through the murky darkness I've been in.
What shocked me into realizing how much I was
spiraling was almost losing my job.
I've been at this company for 6.5 years.
I like everyone I work with, and it is a very good company
to work for overall.
I got written up TWICE in one week.
I have never been written up.
I cried and cried in my boss's office.
I thought that I was going to be out of a job,
and it scared the shit out of me.
My boss asked if I was suicidal (eep!!!)
She came and met with my therapist.
My boss is amazing.
She somehow believed in me when I couldn't.
She was willing to fight for me, stick with me,
when I could have been fired a long time ago.
I owe my life to her--and I mean that pretty literally.
So, for those who have been kind and sweet and
waited patiently for me to return, I thank you.
From the bottom of my heart.
I am oh so slowly starting to feel like doing art again.
Little things, in small increments.
Therapy has been a catalyst in inspiring me.
Listening to U2's "Running to Stand Still,"
(the entire song speaks to me)
I was inspired to paint this.
I brought it into therapy, and it took until the last 2 minutes
to show it. 
You know, its scary to show these vulnerable parts of you,
even if it is in painting form.
I explained that the river is the journey I'm on.
Its bumpy, and sort of dark.
The dark cloud pouring rain is how I feel most of the time.
And yet, at the bottom is this curious little bit.
Hearts. Hope. Light.
I originally was only going to do a small heart,
but ended up with three.
My therapist loved it.
She noticed how the hearts are connected,
that they may be smaller than the cloud,
but they still are a big part of the painting.
That the rain(tears) change once it hits the river.
Its funny how other people see what you do so differently.
My Nonni said that it is a bit "scary," but also       
  hopeful, like going from the unconscious to the conscious.

And, now onto the title of my post!
I gave up on my 2011 sketchbook, but I learned a lot.
I learned that I needed to pick a solid theme,
one where I knew I could keep a running idea throughout it.
"In Flight" didn't really work for me.
It was too broad, and I just did a hodgepodge of drawings.
Art House just announced the 2012 Sketchbook Project!!!
I now can pick out of any of the topics.
I now have a better idea of what I want/can do.
I now have more time to accomplish the project.
So, I signed up.
I'm proud of myself. I didn't deem myself a failure
because I didn't finish last year's.
I took it as a learning experience.
I am willing to try again.
If I don't finish it, then I don't.
But, I am starting 4 months earlier than before,
and I have a topic that I think suits me perfectly:
Fears and Tears
#1: I immediately thought of Tears for Fears, you know, the band
#2: This couldn't speak to what I am going through more perfectly.
I have so many fears, and the tears, well they come along with the territory.
What a great adjunct to therapy this will be.
I hope so at least.


30 Days of Play Winner!

You are the WINNER!!!!!
I will let Spooky know and have her contact you
Send me your e-mail address
to dawnraymond04atgmail.com


30 Days of Play

Hello friends.
Still in the trenches,
but I got a lovely offer from
Spooky to give away a spot
in her new Workshop!
Click here to read all about it.
The workshop opens this friday!!!
Please leave a comment if you would like to win a spot
in her Creative Sparks workshop.
I will pull a winner on Thursday evening.


Only getting worse...

Hey guys,
just a quick update since its almost been a month.
I am so tired of trying.
I got written up at work today, for substandard performance.
It is one step away from being fired.
How did this get like this?
How am I such a bad employee?
I'm so exhausted from crying,
and can't even turn to artwork when I feel like this.
My paints literally have dust on them.
So please, send me some good vibes.
My little man asleep in bubble wrap.


Thank You

I'm still in the dredges of crap, and haven't done much of anything,
BUT, thank you everyone who posts comments.
I don't always (ok...rarely) reply back,
but its not because I don't care.
Its because I'm lazy!!
(Its true)
I read all of the comments, and they make me smile.
So, know you ARE appreciated.


Not much art going on...

Just wanted to send a quick update
so you all don't think I dropped off blogland-I haven't!
I just have been stuck.
I think it is a combination of my stupid work schedule,
actually feeling things (unpleasant things) in therapy
(I hate feeling!!!!),
depression rearing its stupid head,
and way too much sleep.
Lets just say that this weekend all I did was sleep,
and then go to work. At 5pm.
I even cancelled my weekly babysitting gig,
the one thing that makes me truly happy is seeing those kids.
But I had bad dreams all night, and at some point took out
my mouthguard thingy used to prevent clenching of my teeth.
I woke up with my entire face feeling swollen, my teeth/jaw aching,
and a headache. Not to mention exhausted...at 10:00am.
I am a night person, but working at 1pm I don't think is good for me.
I can not get out of bed in the mornings to do anything.
I am lucky to be awake at 11. Usually 11:30-12:00.
I don't go to the gym, or get out of bed.
Then I get home late at night, don't eat dinner
because who wants to cook that late?
And stay up until 2ish, in which I eventually take an ambien.
I'm sorry if this is an overshare, but I feel constantly guilty
that I can't get myself to do anything--especially artwork.
I feel like I'm letting myself down, but also my readers.
You know, all 4 of you :)
The one nice thing about working late is that I have many hours
to do art, except it obviously can't be painting.
I've avoided that, but tonight I did work on my colored pencil project.
The magazine ad which inspired me
First work in progress
Second work in progress
Colored pencil is such a slow medium if you want to do it well,
and I am trying to do it well! 
I picked a difficult picture to try out for my first time...
but so far I haven't gotten discouraged.
This is all I can manage to do.
I just am so frustrated/mad at myself because creating art
is the first and only thing that I truly love.
Yet, I run from any commitments, 
struggle with creating artwork for anyone--which has only been my family,
and have zero discipline/motivation.
I feel as if I will never ever make this more than a hobby.
I don't think or expect to really be an Artist and make tons of money,
but maybe find a little niche somewhere.
How can that happen when I can barely do it for myself?


Post your Art on your walls

Two days in a row of posting!?
I don't know if its because I realized how much
I've been neglecting my art,
or the fact that I got up early today because of therapy,
OR because it was a good therapy session...
Either way, I came home and painted some more.
I looked through my very first art journal pages
and while I had less artistic knowledge,
they radiated true emotion and beauty.
Its been a LONG time since I've done that kind of art.
I think I miss it, and I think it was good for me.
So I hung up some of my old pages.
Sorry for the blurry pics, but my room isn't lit well
and I was too lazy to use a tripod. :)
It is wonderful to be surrounded by your own work,
work that inspires you, makes you smile when you see it.
If you haven't hung up your work (and obviously I did nothing fancy,
just used masking tape on old pages!), DO IT.
You won't regret it.


The Winter Blues

It seems all I want to do lately
is huddle under my covers
and do nothing.
The cold, gray days,
The fact that my (30th!!!!!) birthday is in a few days,
and my work schedule being all wacky, has gotten me in a funk.
I just would rather sleep than deal with life,
and my poor baby art journal has suffered.
In fact I haven't opened my paints
in over a month! 
Until tonight.
Maybe because it was 65 and sunny,
Maybe because I told myself all day I
WOULD paint tonight...either way,
I busted them out.
I was inspired by a lyric the other day and
actually felt like I wanted to put that image in my art journal.
Here is a pencil sketch in my moleskine.
My art journal page is in the making, so stay tuned!
In other news, I finally ordered Andrea's 'Zine.
This is just a small glimpse of her work.
The zine is just filled with awesome drawings,
words and colors. I seriously could pore over it
with a magnifying glass (and it is needed, since there are teeny tiny words)
for hours. I am so glad I have her work that I can
just flip to whenever I want to be awed.
This is sort of a horrible picture, because the left side
is super light, and that is where the light is,
and the right side is dark (and more blue).
BUT, I saw this ad in a magazine and just knew
I needed to try and draw it.
Why do I feel compelled to draw these detailed things?
I perservered, and erased...and erased, but came up
with a sketch I liked.
Then I thought that this was a perfect drawing
to really try out colored pencils.
Like, serious trying...no willy nilly coloring!
I transferred my sketch onto tracing paper,
and transferred that onto Bristol Vellum paper.
I've done extensive colored pencil research because it fascinates me,
and Vellum is a cheap and good paper to use with CP's.
Colored pencils is a s-l-o-w medium.
This part you see? A good hour and a half!
And I am just a baby beginner...but it is fun
and so different than any other medium I use.
I have to consciously think of my color choices
ahead of time, layer very lightly,
layer some more...
and then some more.
I thought this would be fun because of the lack of colors.
It is overwhelming when you have an entire rainbow
of colors at your hand, but don't really know how to use them.
This just requires grays, dark blues and white.
So, keep watching for updates on this.
That is, if I can get out of my winter blues


Giveaway Winner and Linky Love!

Hello, friends!
I'm so glad to see some new faces commenting. 
Each and every comment made my heart smile, so thank you.
Now: For the winner...*insert drumroll*
Woohooo!!! Congrats.
E-mail me at dawnraymond04(at)gmail(dot)com

Linky Love!!
Kelly Rae: Letter to Self: I've heard of Kelly Rae before, but was
re-introduced to her blog this week. Oh, the beauty and inspiration!
All I can say is, I wish I could believe like she does.
Violette: Her blog is full of color and magic and imagination.
Jane Davenport: Oohh..her blog is oodles of fun.
She uses color beautifully, and loves color pencils! 
My kinda gal :)
Kristin: Kristin from Journaling Saves
Lots of interviews and goodies on why journaling 
is good for the mind and soul.
Jane Davies: Lots of beautiful artwork and tutorials.

I'm thinking about doing a letter to myself,
to be opened at some time later...but it scares me.
What will I put? Dreaming is frightening,
mainly because I don't want to fail.


More drawing practice...

REMINDER: Only three more days left to 
leave your comment on the previous post 
and win "Art Stamping Workshop" by Gloria Page!!!

I pray that its just the winter and that
I am an extraordinarily lazy person...
because I have been sleeping SO MUCH.
Last weekend I slept, and worked on this painting.
I won't even tell you how many hours it took
to draw all those boxes in perspective,
and there are a ton of errors still!
I didn't color the inside of the boxes because 
I was sick of it at that point.
Still. I am proud of how it turned out.
This has been my next drawing project.
I've worked on this for awhile now.
TIP: Do your sketches on tracing paper. It is cheap and very erasable.
Tonight I opened photoshop and placed my sketch
next to the actual picture.
I think seeing them side by side (and on screen)
will help me correct some of the proportion/shape errors.
And this kitty sketch is only about 2 hours into it!
I know I am not really going to make the likeness of Jack,
but I DO want to make it look like a kitten.
Big ears, small adorable face.
We shall see.


Leave a comment, win a book!

I was thinking to myself,
"Self, how many people do you think read your blog?"
And I answered myself,
"Well, Self...I don't know. I have 25 followers, so at least 25 people do!"
But I also get comments from new people.
How did they find me?!

I've had this lovely book on my bookshelf, collecting dust.
This was HARD, as I am reluctant to let go of my precious books.
This was my first Art book.
My first foray into this crazy land of painting and journaling,
and loving (almost) every minute of it.
Gloria Page shows you how to make your own stamps,
and has MANY projects with awesome, upclose pictures
depicting all the different techniques.
Not only that, there are pages at the end of the book where you can
copy, enlarge, use to make your own stamps!

The only thing I ask of you is this.
Please leave a comment on my blog, and tell me how you found me.
And if you feel so desired (this is extra), tell me what you like or don't like.
I am genuinely curious.

I will have this giveaway open until next Sunday, the 23rd at 8:00pm.
I will then randomly pick out the winner and post it on my blog!!

Wooo! So if there are any lurkers, come out of hiding :)
Plus, I'll probably throw in a few little goodies here and there.



A stomach virus wiped me out for most of last week.
My "schedule" to finish my Sketchbook came to a screeching halt.
Art House actually extended the deadline to Tuesday,
but I am not sending it in.
My dear friend Sophie will be sad, but thats ok.
I learned A LOT through doing this.
See, even sickness preoccupied my sketchbook!
(I love my Canada Dry symbol)
I learned that I need to come up with a more focused plan.
I chose In Flight as a theme, with the idea
that I would show my journey through the art world in my Sketchbook.
Sounds good in theory, but means that I meandered.
A lot.
Eden performed spectacularly. 
I want to have more structure next time.
Either stay with one media, or do the same type of drawings...
I don't know yet.
I also know I am going to sign up for it earlier.
I signed up as soon as I found out last year,
but many themes were already gone.
Maybe if I find a theme that really calls out to me
I will be more inspired.
I also learned that it is OK that I didn't finish.
That may not seem like a big deal,
but for me it is.
I am quick to see myself as a fraud, a failure.
I was tempted to do that when I (again) didn't finish a project.
I decided that this was a great learning experience for me.
There are many pages I don't like, or are only half finished.
I just don't want to put that out into the world,
but I will be that much better next year!
I'm still going to finish the Sketchbook,
because there are many things  I do love about it.


Sketchbook Project Update

I had pretty much given up any hope that I was going to finish
my Sketchbook Project by the 15th.
I lost all steam after my trip to Kansas in September.
What was I thinking that I could do this?
This is dumb, who is going to see and care about this?
I did some stuff here and there, but left a lot of partially done pages.
These two drawings have been in pencil for months.
I originally did them because I was practicing drawing Legos
for a little boy I babysit for.
I was going to make him a painting, which has been sitting
half done for just as long. I sort of hate it.
Sophie, an 8 year old I babysit (little boy's sister) for
is my best supporter.
A few days ago she saw me working in the sketchbook 
and goes "Oh yeah! How many pages do you have left?"
I sheepishly looked at her and went 
"Ummm...a lot. And I haven't finished a lot of pages too.
There is no way I am going to get this done in time."
She demanded to see my Sketchbook, to which I obliged.
She marveled at my most recent drawing
My mom gave me this bizarre bird pen for Christmas,
so I brought it to work--and all the kids love it.
Sophie was amazed at how good it was and says,
"Dawn, you must be one of the BEST drawers in all of Virginia!
You have to finish this in time. You only have 9 days. Tonight
I want you to draw this pepsi bottle, and start finishing those pages."
Yep, all of this coming from an 8 year old.
She boosts my ego even though I know I am not even 
close to being one of the best drawers in Virginia!
So, I listened to Sophie.
When I saw her the next day, I showed her the sketch, which she loved.
Her next project for me to tackle was finishing ALL of my unfinished pages
(hasn't happened yet), along with drawing a Sharpie
and scissors that were on my desk.
I couldn't help but to listen and oblige.
Not finished yet, I still have to color it in.
Of course she gives me all circular objects!
Drawing circles in perspective (aka: ellipses) is HARD.
I then worked on old pages, because she asked so sweetly.
How can you let a kid down?
These spreads were unfinished since September.
We went on a Party Bus, and yes it did catch on fire
(not while we were in it),
and yes it did get caught up in a high speed police chase
(also not while we were in it).
I also got an entire beer poured all over me
by someone who was drunk and walking around a moving bus.
This page was inspired by a pair of hairbands
sitting on my bathroom counter that I 
found to be in an interesting pattern.
Funny the things that strike you.
This spread was fun.
I had previously Gesso'ed these pages,
and watercolor on top of gesso gives out an interesting texture.
The gesso is very non-porous. and I really like the effect.
That website is real! It has a step-by-step demo
on how to draw a marble and color it in with colored pencils.
Mine looks horrible in comparison, but I do like it.
I'm not sure if I didn't press hard enough,
or if it was the paper.
Lastly, I am trying to draw my cat, Jack,
from when he was a wee babe.
As you can see, its not very good!
Sure it looks like a cat...but thats about it.
Any seasoned drawers out there want to give me some pointers?
Also, while this is in my Sketchbook, I also am
drawing this for the Sketchbook Challenge
Each month for the year, this blog puts out a theme,
and you can make as many sketches that fit that theme.
They even have a flickr group!
It seems lots of people are participating in this challenge.
I really want to try and expand my drawing skills this year,
and I know myself well enough that I am going to need
a little motivation.
I so hope this is it. It looks like fun!