Archive for the ‘Drawings’ Category

Today’s Affirmation:

“Life is sweet at its core.”

Maple tree symbolism: Balance, practicality, abundance, sweetness in life

May each breath you take today be infused with the sweetness of life. 🙂

Maple meditation 12-18-15

Trees are such spiritually sophisticated beings. I’m really grooving on them lately!

This piece started as a doodle. I had done some prayer work involving tree imagery for my friend Tanya English (a gifted healer, by the way, who does remote as well as in-person healings) a while back and she had an amazing connection with a golden Maple tree. She had asked me to do a piece of Maple art for her, but it didn’t come right away.

Then a short while back I started doodling on a long phone call, and this emerged. I hope to have time some day to use it as the basis for a watercolor. Tanya couldn’t wait, though, and printed it out as a coloring sheet!

Tanyas tree coloring


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I’m delighted to have recently taken on a wonderful new student. My 14 year old niece, Jenna, is a lovely girl and an amazing little artist. She came to me with a basic background in drawing, and about 2 (maybe more) years of oil painting lessons under her belt.

Jenna does wonderful abstract pieces, but I am a firm believer that developing a solid grasp of drawing fundamentals is an essential element in any artist’s education. Being able to draw really well from life means you can realize virtually any vision you can imagine. So, we’re gearing up for a lot of still life work this semester!

still life with plate and bottleI set up the above still life about 10 feet from where Jenna was working. The goal for this session was to pay close attention to proportions. I taught her how to measure the length or width of one object using a thumb or pencil held at arm’s length, and how to use that as a unit of measure to figure out the size of a neighboring object.

1 hour still life by Jenna Martin

1 hour still life drawing by Jenna Martin

Here is Jenna’s first attempt. It took her about an hour. She did a very good job and displayed a lot of patience on several occasions when she realized that some of her proportions were off, and she had to erase and re-draw.

I have to mention that the tilted plate was wicked on my part. Jenna did an excellent job with it given her level of experience.

Next, I asked Jenna to take out a new sheet of paper, and set the timer. She had five minutes to re-draw the still life from scratch. Here is what she did:

Student still life drawing 2

5 minute still life drawing by Jenna Martin

AWESOME! Her proportions on the 5 minute drawing were actually more accurate than the one she’s labored over for an hour, with very little erasing and re-working. The difference? A huge amount of observation. Plus, the time limit forced her to work more decisively and intuitively – which she could do successfully because she’d spent so much time looking at it and analyzing it in advance.

Most beginning artists don’t spend nearly enough time observing their subjects. Once you take the time to really get to know a subject, the actual process of drawing becomes much easier, as Jenna discovered today.

I think you could extrapolate this lesson to many areas of life, don’t you?

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Just a page from my sketchbook:

Peaceful Slumber baby portrait sketch

Sketched from snapshot of a friend’s new baby. She is precious! I have started to add an angel to the right and have the feeling more will show up. If they do, I’ll repost with angels (and scan it properly, too!)

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Graphite drawing - male hand

Male hand drawing #1

More hand studies from the animation illustration project. The male hand is supposed to appear more forceful.  I drew these pencil studies from reference photos I took of my son Isaac’s hand.

However his hands are fairly small and delicate for a guy.  I think a more robust model would be more appropriate for this particular project so I will be redoing these studies very soon.  (I tease him that he’d make a good large animal vet, remembering James Herriot’s comments about small hands being an asset for delivering calves.  Isaac has an aversion to slime so he’s not amused.  But he does have beautiful hands and they were fun to draw.  Isaac – if you ever read this, thank you! )

Hands are always a challenge and a pleasure to draw and I certainly don’t consider it a waste of time to have done these.  Who knows – they may find their way into a painting some day…

Pencil drawing - male hand

Male hand drawing #2

Male hand drawing #3

Male hand study #3

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Drawing of a female hand pointing up

Female hand sketch #1 - my left hand (from life)

Ask, and you shall receive!

I recently started asking the Universe to help me find a way to use my creative talents to support me financially. Not long after, Lance, a client for whose non-profit I had done a fair amount of editing in the past, asked me if I’d be interested in doing some illustration.

But of course! 🙂

These are some preliminary sketches for one component of an animated video.  It’s a pretty cool project – I can’t tell you much about it yet but I’ll reveal more as it reaches completion.

I did the drawings in graphite pencil on some old looseleaf stationary that we found in a building we own.  It is from the 50’s or 60’s and has this wonderful tooth and is a real pleasure to draw on.


Drawing of a woman's right hand

Drawing of my daughter's hand from a photo

Female hand drawing

This one was done from a photo of my daughter's right hand

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Young girl as elf

Clara as Elf, pencil, 11x17"

Portrait of young man as an elf, in elvish garb

Isaac as Elf, pencil portrait, 11x17"

For some reason I’ve been wanting to portray my kids as elves for some time now, and finally indulged!

I’m working on a watercolor now of my son in the same pose.  It’s nice that they’re old enough now to sit still for a little bit, but I’ve decided not to push it (so they’ll be willing to pose again in the future!)  The drawings were done from life, but I’m using these studies and reference photos to paint.

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