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My friend the pencil!

My friend the pencil! (Drawn with dominant/right hand)

“A pencil is quiet, clean, odorless, inexpensive, and lightweight.  I can slip it in my pocket and take it with me everywhere – my secret friend.”  (Sherry Camby)

Years ago I taught art to elementary school students, and I reminded them that they were ‘safe’ from ridicule from their peers. All that I expected from them was that they try their best, and they were not to laugh at anyone’s attempts. How rewarding it was to witness the improvement from all levels! Awkward with their early drawings, some students worked on mastering their pencils, which were foreign in their hands. Other “naturally-talented” students had many more hours of drawing than the others and had found solace in their pencils and crayons. Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

The most important ingredient in being a good artist is practice! Practice, practice, practice! I was reminded of this last week, when Ruth, with her dominant hand in a cast, said that she’d try drawing with her left hand! I volunteered to include an additional sketch with my left hand each week in her honor. It was much more difficult than I realized! Although I draw well with my dominant hand, I am again at beginner status with the other!

Drawn with left hand…

Now look at Ruth’s powerful drawing of the rope!  (below)  She shaded the background, which brought the rope forward and gave it presence!  The edges of the rope disappeared, as they should!    Remember, this rope was not drawn with her dominant hand!  When discussing how well she mastered this drawing, Ruth mentioned, “…perhaps because I play piano??” 

(Note:  double click any of the images that follow to visit the posts.)

Ruth – At the end of her rope? No way! (Jots from a Small Apartment)

Tim and Mary Livingston are an amazing couple, and both are accomplished artists.    Tim found time after battling a fire to capture the essence of last week’s “Fire at the Mill.”   Even when there’s no fire, I’m amazed at how Tim (The Forester Artist) finds time to create art – and good art!   Great job, Tim!

From Tim Livingston: “Fire at the Mill”

Mary and Tim have also been posting a fun series about the turkey vultures that nested in a hollow tree at their home!  With this sketch, Mary has captured the freshness of the precious vulture chick.  Yes, it’s precious! Visit her blog (The Backdoor Artist) and see how they’ve been monitoring the nest and to find out what a wood duck and a turkey vulture have in common!

Mary A. Livingston

Anyone who follows Penny at The Why About This will not be surprised that she handles her pencil well!  Working from a music video, she has captured “…one of my favorite musicians Adam Hurst, with his Gypsy Cello… “  Penny added, “When you’re lost in the detail of a thing it is like absorbing a piece of life or nature – inhaling your vision within you and then laying it out on a piece of paper. Most relaxing and satisfyingly delicious sensation! This is fun, let’s keep doing this!”

Penny of The Why About This captures one of her favorite musicians with pencil.

Alastair!  Are you squirming? No, it does not look like a three-year old did that work!  I’m so proud of you!    How I wish we could shorten the distance so that I could give you two hours of instruction!  Two hours is all one needs to unlock many of those mysterious doors to the drawing world!  At times an adult student came to my classes and professed, “I have never drawn or painted in my life, but I would like to try!”   With each exercise or drawing, the beginning student makes amazing progress! Part is learning how to see, and the other is mastery of the pencil.

You did well!  If you haven’t started on a drawing for this Thursday, would you try to draw that medallion on the box?  Note how the very center looks like a plus sign;  draw the plus sign (negative space) and then those four little squares of negative space…  The rest should fall in place!

I predict you’re going to enjoy working on the detail.  You’ll probably find that after ten or so minutes into the drawing, you’ll have a shift of awarness and will see things you had not noticed earlier.  Don’t rush it!  I’m eager to hear your feedback!


Alastair’s First Pencil Drawing!!!

Although she has her hands full with a unique life on Isla Ometepe in Nicaragua, Debbie found time to draw a cultural pizza of preColumbian relics.  Debbie expanded on her drawing experience.  “I lost myself in my drawing I call Cultural Pizza, for in sketching the Pre-Columbian pottery shards I found on my daily beach walks, I lost my ability to talk and time lost all meaning. My perceptions of life turned inward looking at edges, spaces, relationships, lights and shadows, and gestalt (or perceptions of the whole).”   Visit her post for an expanded version.

Rewired and Retired In Nicaragua – Cultural Pizza

Modest Cindy knocked her first drawing clear out of the ballpark! These alphabet thumbnails, complete with delicate lettering, capture the essence of good drawing skills.

Cindy’s Humble Beginnings

Not one page… but two… and a third as well!

Cindy stated in Humble Beginnings, “Last week I opened a big can of worms.

Last week I admired a friend’s drawing. I mentioned that I should get back into drawing, as it is a skill that suffers with neglect.

She suggested we set a day, and each post our efforts.

I jumped at the opportunity. Who wouldn’t?”

Everyone, please visit Cindy’s blog and give her a big THANKS for inspiring these ‘community’ pencil-drawing posts!

Doris of The Terrain of Symmetry shows her skills with two drawings; one with her right hand and one with her left.  Doris states, “Lisa it is so interesting how you want to do something and your hand is not use to it, but I went wild with my left hand, I did two more drawings today. I started the butterfly in color but in Pointillism with color pens, like I did when I was in College. I have to thank you this helped me very much, I try things I had not in years, now I have so many ideas in my head. Thanks amiga!!”

Doris’s Butterfly with Dominant Hand

Doris’s ‘other’ drawing, still quite strong and striking! (Buen trabajo, amiga!)

Mary, of Pastels by Mary states, “Oh boy – I’m not sure what I got myself into, but I’ve joined in with Z of Playamart to draw for 30 minutes each Thursday.  I haven’t been drawing lately and decided it’s a good way to polish my drawing skills and discipline myself to pay attention and concentrate on my subjects – drawing always had a way of doing that for me.What I have posted here is just a sample sketch (5×7) to get a feel for the full-sized portrait drawing.  Next week I will start the actual drawing on a 9 x 12 Bristol Vellum surface.”

Mary, I am sure that your progressive drawing is going to be a stunner when you’re finished!  The sample sketch gives us a great idea of what’s to come!

Mary’s Sketch –

Pauline/Pommepal’s blog, Memories are Made of This, is rightfully named!  Presently she and Jack are dog sitting in Tasmania, and Pauline jumped right in with an assortment of views of Tessa.   She had qualms about hitting the ‘Publish’ button, but I am extremely impressed with her sketches!   ” I am not an artist, I love photography, it is quick and with digital you can take as many shots as you like, but drawing, now that takes time and concentration and careful observation …For my first attempt I have chosen Tessa, the cute little dog we are looking after at the moment. Not easy as you just get going and she moves,  “

Thanks, Pauline, for having the courage to join us!   Thanks, also, for sharing the drawing of the graceful palm trees.

Pommepal worked from life!

From Pommepal’s archivies…

Jack drew Henry, the other dog that he and Pauline are spoiling in Tasmania!  Jack has shared some amazing art since I’ve been following his blog, and I am pleased to see this sketch of Henry.  By shading the background, he brought the image of the dog forward.  Jack added, “Like the song, “you got me going you really got me going….” I am back sketching again they may lack the speed and accuracy of the camera but they are more entertaining. People are in too much of a hurry so a drawing is a novelty.”

Jack’s Sketch

Didier Galindo posted several sketches.  The first two illustrate what I often stress to my students;  one main difference between a professional artist and an amateur, is that the amateur stops too soon.  An beginner sometimes rushes through in order to see the finished work, where a seasoned artist has patience and doesn’t rush his/her work.  Now look at Didier’s drawing of the rooster; it’s well drawn.  Would you change anything or add any details?

Sure of his vision, he refines the original study and creates very strong new work of art.  One can tell that he did not rush this second piece;  his homework paid off, and the drawing is strong.

Note how Didier marries dark shading behind light areas and light shading behind dark.  Thanks, Didier, for joining us on WordPress!

Mary is another one of those multi-talented people who juggles many hand-eye tasks well.  A whiz in the kitchen and equally at home with fabric arts, she has reconnected with her drawing and painting skills.   “I love to create: to draw, paint and design crafty colorful objects.  When we retired to Ecuador the first thought in my mind was now I’ll have the time to learn and hopefully grow the little talent I hoped I had.”

When she posted this drawing of a sea turtle, I immediately pictured it in one of her strong colored paintings.    This is really nice work, Mary;  will we be seeing a color version in the near future?  A little birdie told me that someone else under your roof might be joining this drawing circle!

Miss Mary’s Tortuga!

Please follow the link from Mary’s tortuga to see several of her color-drenched paintings, The Rainbow Zebra and Jeanne’s Giraffe!  The zebra is surely the happiest zebra on the planet!

I’ve checked and rechecked the Timeout for Art posts to see if there are any that I overlooked.  Some of the pingbacks did not reach the post, although the links were in place on most of the submissions.  I’ve not been able to access most web pages in the daytime, due to continued internet problems, so forgive me in advance for any errors on this post!

I've more work to do!

I’ve more work to do!

In about 18 hours, I will post a new Timeout for Art to start a new thread for the next week.  Thanks to all who contributed this past week,  and I look forward to seeing new drawings and getting your feedback!   Sharpen your pencil, pull up a chair and join us – there’s plenty of room at the table!