Sunday, April 20, 2014

Inspiration from Home

Feeling the call of the ocean I decided to go home for Spring Break this year. Inspired by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's new exhibit "Tentacles"  I have been drawing and painting cephalopods and other sea life. I desperately miss the blues and greens of the California coast. If you can't make it to California, I stumbled upon the MB Aquarium live camera feeds and enjoy putting them on to watch while a work in my studio.

I have been trying really hard to get better about sketching daily. This is partly for practice, but also for the fun of it. I need to practice my drawing and painting for improving technique and to ignite my imagination and creativity. I have been feeling so stagnant and the last few weeks of painting has been so freeing. I haven't enjoyed myself like this in a while.

Here is a taste of my practice drawings and study paintings from the last week.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Desert Cicada Work in Progress

With all the amazing feedback I have been receiving from my dioramas, I have been inspired to make more framed specimens. Cicadas have been on my brain a lot, as well as dragonflies. Shown above is the progress of some of the different stages of cicada creation this weekend. I've had a lot of fun experimenting with different materials and techniques when building this little guy.

First, I sketched out the entire cicada to make sure I had all the proportions right. Since I knew I was going to make the wings out of vellum, I had to figure out how to attach the wings while making it look natural. Deciding the best course of action for this was to make a back plate to sandwich the wings between. Before beginning the coloring process, I traced the veins of the wings onto the vellum with a sepia micron pen and set them aside for later. I have also found it faster to begin my projects by painting a gouache base coat of color before adding the color pencil details. After all the pieces are created I then fold, score, and curl the paper for a more realistic look. Finally, I glue it all together and mount it to a piece of bristol paper to frame.

I hope this helps answer questions, but doesn't dispel the magic of how I make my little creatures.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Delivered but not Done

All my little dioramas have been safely delivered to the Springs Preserve. I've been receiving the best feedback and compliments for them! I was asked to have back up boxes in the ready for when they start selling! Photos of the display have been promised and will share that with you as soon as I get them in. I'm trying to make a few boxes for my Etsy shop. I wonder what I should make first?

Any suggestions?

For now, this is a work in progress of the butterfly I started. This is about 3 hours worth of work so far.

Common Buckeye butterfly color pencil drawing

Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekend Project: Eternidad Cowl

This weekend along with all my ongoing projects, I decided to start knitting a new cowl. It is the first time I have had a pattern request I "drop stitches" on purpose. Believe me I was scared to death the first time I did so. Questioning the whole time, are you sure this is what the pattern is asking me to do? So far all is well and working out just fine. The stitches are very loose as I knit this weekend, because I am having the worst time with sweaty hands. Unfortunately the temperature decided to rocket into the 80's and my body is not appreciating the unseasonable heat. I figure it will all work out in the end since it is so hot here in the desert, a loose knit will be easier to wear when it is warm.

The pattern is Eternidad by Lisa R. Meyers. I'm knitting it with Yummy fingering super wash sock yarn from Candy Skein in a lovely Blueberry Cobbler. Here is a progress shot of what I have done so far:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weekend Project: Merriam's Kangaroo Rat

Been trying to complete the last few shadow box dioramas for the Springs Preserve this weekend. I am having the best time with my new little buddy. While looking through native wildlife of Nevada and Las Vegas, I came across the kangaroo rat. So beyond adorable! Although this is my first I don't think he'll be my last. These are so work in progress shots as he and his home are being created.

The kangaroo rat is made from a color pencil drawing and the environment is a combination of color pencil and gouache painting. I use a combination of bristol and water color paper to create my boxes. The paper not only handle the materials well, but is excellent for standing up to the abuse of the folding and bending. This is to create a more three dimensional life like look. 

Thanks for letting me share!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Elinya Shawl Pattern Completed

I've been incredibly sick this last week and haven't been able to stay awake for very long. Knitting in bed between naps and covered in cats has been the routine recently. I was able to complete the shawl yesterday and had to brag. I absolutely love it. I ran out of yarn for the picot bind off, but still delighted in how it turned out. The shawl has been wrapped around me ever since completion! It is so warm and comfy. The weather here has cooled off again so I have been able to enjoy wearing my new shawl. Thanks for letting me share.

Elinya Shawl

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Shadow Box Dioramas at the Springs Preserve

Been working on gluing and constructing the dioramas I've been working on for months. As promised, I wanted to show you what I have been able to do so far today. Two more weeks till they are available at The Springs Preserve here is Las Vegas. They are being sold in their gift shop. EEK! No pressure!

Snips and Snails

They are constructed from color pencil drawings that I cut out and fold. The backgrounds are created from gouache paintings on thick watercolor paper. It has been fun to see the evolution as I experiment with different techniques. I hope you enjoy them!

Hummingbird with Hibiscus

Hummingbird with Red Yucca

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Elinya: My First Color Work Knitting Project

I was about to start on a fun shawl pattern which would be my official first color work project. This pattern was sought out for the yarn I had in mind. Everything was set and ready when I won a beautiful skein of Cephalopod yarn in the luscious color of Green Huntsman. Needless to say, all bets were off. I had to knit this color right then and there! I dove into my yarn stash and found the perfect color to compliment this stunning green. I found my very first skein of Bugga from Cephalopod Yarns that I had won from a contest they had four years ago. Yes, I've been holding onto this for fours years trying to figure out what to make with it.

I'm in love with the pattern and the color combination! I don't want to put it down! I have so much to do this weekend and I want nothing to do with any of it. I haven't been this giddy about a project in awhile! Here is a sneak peek of what I have started.

Thanks for letting me share my excitement!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Radio Silence

Hi all!

I wanted to apologize for the radio silence and my absence recently. Things have been crazy with one catastrophe after another. I have been out of commission with having had surgery and then the hustle and bustle of the holidays. This weekend is going to be a shadow box making marathon for display and purchase for the Springs Preserve here in Las Vegas.

I'll be posting my progress and mess making soon. Thanks for you patience and understanding.

Take care!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Conquering the Plumbing Catastrophe

I've been in the midst of one plumbing catastrophe after another. My wallet being hit hardest in all of this. First my water softener died, sending resin beads throughout the house's plumbing shutting off the water supply. Which meant it all needed to be flushed, parts replaced and a new water softener. I had no running water for the week. There was one whole day of running water and all was well in the world until the water heater died. My body being jealous of the attention I was giving the house's plumbing decided to rebel in protest sending me to the emergency room with plumbing problems of my own.

Feeling I was back on track again, until the hot water stopped running in my kitchen sink. The plumber came out and said my kitchen faucet was completely corroded and needed to be replaced. $500 if I bought the faucet from them or $225 if I bought my own faucet. Feeling that was an absolutely absurd estimate, I went to Lowe's and picked up a faucet and decided to install it myself. I couldn't be more proud of how it turned out. I've wanted a new one since I moved into the house 5 years ago, but nervous I was going to break something and end up with a flood in my kitchen. I have really deep dual sinks and it is difficult to clean without a sprayer. I now have the spraying kitchen faucet that I have been yearning for, at a decent price and I did it all by myself!


AFTER with all the old corroded pieces.