Friday, January 29, 2016

Worlds Easiest & Cheapest DIY Dog Toy

 Yep, that's it in the upper left corner.
Here's what you need.
One pair of clean (you'll see why next) track pant you no longer want.
Here's what you do with it.
1. tie a knot, nice and tight on the end of the leg.
2. cut off the extra. (you weren't expecting rocket science, were you???)
You're almost done.
Loading the toy. (this is the fun part).
Show it to your dog, then look at the toy, really look at the toy like it's the most fun thing ever. Look at the dog, sidewise even better, look at the toy. Open wide  and CHOMP the toy (remember, I said CLEAN pants), Yum, bite hard, look at the dog. The dog should be looking mighty curious by now.
Chomp again, yum! Give it a shake, yum! Tease your dog, and chomp & shake again.
And, when you're dog is really ready, (Sonic by this time had eyes big as saucers, and had is mouth open in an 'I want that, and I want to BITE IT' expression).
Toss the toy.
You're done, now you can make another. (oh, and make sure your socks are in the drawer. If you use a toy like this, socks are fair game)
So you can tell I'm pretty occupied still. Getting a bit more art done, but staying with the sketchbooks.  Upper image is the Moleskine sketchbook using pastel & pencil. And yes, I took him to the dog park to train on a 30 ft long line.  Stouffville has an awesome dog park, with a scenic paved (technically leashed) walking area around a reservoir (landscaped with trees), and two fenced enclosures for off-leash with double gate, and roofed sitting area.  I worked Sonic on lead outside the fenced area, and he was great with the two friendly dogs, and also good with an off-lead dog on the walkway.
Lower image shows a WIP in the Moleskine, using pen, will add colour another day, with my menagerie as the subject.  And a finished full colour work on Stonepaper (lower).

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Notes from the Sketchbook

"don't be afraid of the animals--they have beautiful minds"

Just another mini-sketch, with the tools of the trade.  Alas, Sonic found one of them, yum, can you see which one?

I finished my mini-book, Yay!  It is the first ever completed sketchbook without a single page ripped or torn out.  This is a milestone for me. As a treat, I bought myself a Moleskine sketchbook, but I had no time for art store shopping (re: Sonic) so I picked up the only blank Moleskine available at Staples, which is bigger. I will try not to be intimidated.  I was surprised at how parchment thin the pages are, but already tried my layered and scraped oil pastel techniques and it seems to work just fine. I'll leave every other page blank as a 'protector' page, and that way the translucence won't reveal the page below.
I'd give you pictures, but my camera is still in the shop, and I'm finding using my tablet to snap and post pics to be a bit of a pita.
Life drawing tuesday posts suspended too.  My 'art' days are Sonic days.  So much to train and learn, and I don't take well to changes. But he is doing really well, and my shyest (Simba) cat is just beginning to come around. Sonic is snoozing on the couch, apparently playing "101 Things to do with a box", plus 'don't stare at the cat", plus, 'no, you don't really need to go ballistic when you see the neighbours great dane walk by the window', plus, 'don't worry, the deep voiced throaty growly German Shepherd is not going bust out of that there garage' really tuckered him out. Much to learn and be learned.
On the fabulous front, Sonic was PERFECT at the nursing home this weekend. PERFECT.  Unbelievably perfect, so I he gets to join us on our regular Saturday rounds.  He was also pretty fabulous meeting unleashed dogs in the woods as long as he has a full 30 feet of long line to manoevre. Sonic is a dog that spent the first year and a half unleashed, leashes suck.
That's it for now.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Notes from the Sketchbook

Another page started during the Star Wars pre-show.

And another.

Purely Abstract.  Pure abstract art is always a great way to experiment freely with colour, technique and form.

This one is likely to change over time; will probably come back to it later.

The sketchbook is Stone Paper Terraskin, 3x5 inches, using sharpie markers, staedler permanent marker, oil pastel and more.

PS. new doggie is keeping me busy, more on that later

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Notes from the Sketchbook--The First Page & Onwards

The cover page. I actually did this month ago. I just could not get started. Blue pen.  Today I went back to it and added oil pastel, just rough things up.  It's a non-linear sketchbook. Start dates will not match finish dates.  If something doesn't work out, I'll layer over, even black it out (I have two blacked out pages thus far, waiting for the next step).  
This one is black fine liner pen, copic marker and oil pastel.  Yep, playing the numbers game again, because I couldn't think of where to start.
There was probably a dog in there somewhere...
This one got start in the theatre while I waited for Star Wars--the Force Awake to begin--seriously. I hate waiting for things, and I even more hate being a captive audience, so I brought along some toys. I first brought out my Android tablet, and my husband said, oh, your just like everyone else poking around on your device. Yikes, no! So I put that thing away and pulled out the sketch and a sharpie marker and work on 3 different sketches in the dim light of the 'pre-show'. Colours were added later.

BTW. Really enjoyed Star Wars. It was fun, and that's what I was there for.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Life Drawing Tuesday--New Male Model

We had a new model this week; the gallery is doing a great job in finding our inspiration.  Models and the poses they chose are an integral part of life drawing, one cannot happen without the other, and it is one of the best aspects of life, the synergy between model and artist.

I would think he would concur. He asked permission and took photos of some of our sketches. It is probably very interesting to watch all the differing interpretations of a pose that a group of artists come up with.

To be the model and creator of that pose, is probably a pretty powerful feeling.  

Posting this last pic as it was a materials experiment. The paper is stonehenge, and it was linocut misprint. I hate discarding good paper, so instead I overprinted with the roller until it was black (using the ink I would need to wipe off the plate anyway), and put it aside for life drawing. This one is oil pastel on matt black water-based ink.  I found it gets overworked very quickly, and is very intolerant of mistakes. You can't change or fix anything. You cannot increase a highlight after the fact.  It did, however, produce a fascinating range in layered colours. Jet black can be added in afterwards with black oil pastel. The size, 8x10, may have been part of the problem, being small for the combination of tools and subject.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Notes from the Sketchbook--Stone Paper and Oil Pastel

My current sketchbook is made of Stone Paper/Terraskin and it's a lovely chance to explore and experiment with it's properties. Using a sharpie marker or other marker, the ink absorbs and lays flat/stays put, but does not bleed through.  Oil pastel, ditto.  I really really like it, love it actually, especially with it's eggshell texture that is enough tooth to work but not distracting the way some pastel papers are.  The above sketch is #5.  I often have trouble making art, finding inspiration, or even 'wanting to'. One trick is just lay down random letters, numbers and symbols and take it from there. This one started in sharpie marker, then layered over with oil pastel, scraped back and more oil pastel. Colour over black sharpie fascinates me.
So, yep, another head scratcher, any word will do, better to make something than nothing.

This one actually began with the words Sass & Pizzaz; if you look hard enough, maybe you'll find them.
Another full on abstract. There's some Copic marker in bottom layer (bright yellow, hot pink). I'm trying them out for the first time.  Also, tried adding gold oil-based printing ink (gold blobs), but I didn't want to give them the time to dry, so I put was paper on top which squished them flat so I could move on to the next sketch.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dog Obsessed

Five more sleeps to Nino/Merlin/Votan/whatever name we come up with. Flight date is Jan 12th, a life drawing day; I'll likely end up drawing dogs instead.
I've finally started a sketchbook, a very tiny sketchbook, after deciding to take advice given to a friend who is too busy (literally) to make art. The advice is to make VERY SMALL ART. This sketchbook is 3.25x5.5 inches, stone paper/terraskin (more on that later).  Me, I have the time, but not the concentration because I am DOG OBSESSED.
Thinking up dog names, asking about dog names, reading dog forums, watching dog training videos on youtube, gathering leashes, & equipment, even finding an excuse to purchase a brand new bait bag (my old one is just a tad frumpy).
Yep, there he is again. He's a border collie mix (looks like a border collie with half-cocked ears and one blue eye, and he's already poking his nose everywhere.  I really really hope it all works out. Funny how revealing some of semi-abstract sketches can be.
And here he is, or 'there' he is, still in the Dominican Republic.  Five more sleeps.
& Winter did finally arrive in Ontario Canada, first cross-country ski excursion on January 1st.

And, erm, Simba's toy obsessed. I made a toy of feathers, duct tape, fishing line and a stick, and now he does nothing but sit and stare at me waiting for me to play (I made the mistake of hiding it under my pillow--once).
So there it is, notes from the sketchbook.  Art and life.


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