Mom always loved to tell me when I was a "little" that I received my darker, olive complexion because we lived near an
Native American reservation.

 My eyes always linger on those fortunate to have skin the color of Copper, Burnt Siena, Umber, Gold Oxide, Bronze
with blushes of Crimson.  

Working in a large journal these two women spilled out and onto the pages.  My references are photos I have taken.

Watercolor paper, Stablio pencil, willow charcoal, chalk pastel........

Recycled post office mailer, gesso with lots of texture, umber acrylic wash, Stablio pencil, willow charcoal, 
chalk pastel.

Working on a very rough texture was a challenge, but I liked the final result....

Two little offerings from my very messy studio table.

Heart Thought: could it be for the better if the entire earth's population were a warm honey color?  Could there be more peace and less class division? Just something to think about.

Chinese Contemporary Folk Art

Many countries share a common love of folk art painting, sometimes known as primitive art.
 The cultures hold many similarities in their art, but also enjoy distinct differences. Generally Folk Art illustrates a specific story concerning the ordinary, every day living of the average person.
Chinese Folk Art is more theme oriented, telling a specific story or moral.
The following contemporary folk art scenes are painted by both men and women.

Embroidery is a long established art form in China.  It is mainly a female activity. The items embroidered are quite diverse and include robes, theatrical costumes, purses, shoes and alter cloths.  Some are so finely stitched that it can take 5-6 women several years to complete a piece.

 Usually a traditional Chinese medicine shop puts its medicines/ herbs in cupboards lined with tiny square drawers.  A dispenser would pull open the drawers to take out medicine according to prescriptions provided by doctors.

Floating in metal tubs the women gather the seeds of the lotus blossom. The Lotus blossom is a very common folk art symbol.

 In Asia many homes are self contained with their gardens, animals, shrines, cooking areas and living arrangements bound by walls.  These wonderful primitive paintings preserve a way of life that is slowly changing.

 A happy celebration of a wedding in Shanghai.
The household goods are on barges to be taken to the new home.

Neighborhood gatherings watching films.  
I don't think they are selling popcorn...but perhaps fried chicken feet! A true delicacy.

I love the clean, brightly painted, flat perspective of folk art.
No shading or highlights, just flat, bold colors with lots of tiny details. Usually the work is done on paper with paint similar to our gouache.

Heart Thought: you might enjoy sharing these images with your children or grandchildren. Let them make up their own stories, or try their hand at their own folk art incorporating their home and environment.

A Gaelic Prayer for Rebecca

I became acquainted with Rebecca but a short time ago, through her blog,recuerda mi corazon. 
If you don't know this gentle, gifted woman, you will wish her to be your best friend, just as I have.
Today Rebecca is in need of our prayers and heaven wishes for a full recovery from surgery.

Rebecca is Nature, Sky and Water. 

May this Gaelic Prayer bring Peace to her Heart.

Deep Peace of the running Wave to you

Deep Peace of the flowing Air to you.

Deep Peace of the quiet Earth to You.

Deep Peace of the shining Stars to You.

Deep Peace of the gentle Night to You.

Moon and Stars pour out their Healing Light on You.

Deep Peace of Christ,

the Light of the World to You.

Blessings to you dear, Rebecca
Count the stars to know how many send prayers and heaven wishes for your full recovery.

Why is Chinese New Year so fun for our family?
Perhaps because we have a daughter who taught school in Hong Kong, and a son and his adorable family who lived in  
Hong Kong and now Singapore.
What they love, we love.
What they find joy in, we find joy.
What they experience and do we.

Today our daughter Sarah sent photos from an outing she had with two of her children; exploring the color, preparation, excitement and festivities of 
Chinese New Year.

I think you will find it quite charming and colorful on the streets of Singapore.

Stall after stall of special fruits and vegetables.

Vendors with dried meats, especially duck

Globes of golden oranges, growing on trees, in baskets 
overflowing with Good Luck.

 Children wearing typical red and gold Chinese costumes 

Every fruit imaginable is dried, mountains of sweetness.

 Bakers work very long hours preparing the traditional treats. Mooncakes are my favorite.

The Year of the Dragon.

Thank you Sarah for today's little excursion.

Happy Lunar New Year

Chinese New Year

Those born in the year of the Dragon
are considered to be very fortunate.

Their sign is Prosperity and Courage

It defies description TO EXPLAIN what an ART JOURNAL is all about.
It seems that EVERYONE is working in his/her art journal.
For some it is a keeper of inner secrets and wishes,
others, a "diary of sorts" filled with the minutia of the day or weeks events, 
 a place to explore, confront deeper fears, let loose joy 
and explore.
It is WHATEVER that person wishes it to be.

For me an  "Art Journal" is simply a 
 a  marking down,
sketching, doodling, drawing the silly and the pompous, messing around with various mediums, trying new ways of approaching a subject.

...Loose sheets, purchased journal, matters not...
It is just good to have some decent paper around when inspiration jumps in.

Two weeks ago I joined the Faces: 101 Class given by Carla Sonheim. You patiently viewed  my little, teeny-tiny was great fun...but ever so small.

For me I need BIGGER PAPER!

Here are a few things I have done since.

Charcoal on 300 lb. watercolor paper, heavy use of fingers!
Really big piece of paper!

Journal pages/watercolor paper, two page spread. 
Handwriting, ink, pastel, acrylic, pencil

Heart Thought: did you ever keep a secret diary?  Mine was a sickly lime green with a bent latch that popped opened.  I remember writing in pure shock seeing a cousin smoking behind his home!     What did you write about? Think your diary was really a SECRET??????

I DID IT !!!!

Yes, I did. I completed Carla Sonheim's Faces 101 !!!
Not certain but this might be a first for completing an on-line class.
It helps to have just FIVE days.
Day Five was fun and challenging.
Here goes:

Not easy!!! We are drawing someone we KNOW!
Imagination work is loads easier.
Two hues of colored pencil.
Can't get away with erasing, when you use colored pencil!

The easier part of the assignment:
Stylized Faces.

This was loads of fun...I used charcoal but also some sort of unusual waxy feeling charcoal I bought years ago...have no idea what it labels!!! But it came in a box labeled, "Made in China."  The mysterious crayon is the light bluish gray...
I was going for a 40's look.....

The last piece a Free For All....

I call her Stash? Why? Before I was born, my parents decided that if I were born a HE, my name would be STASH!!!
So grateful I was born a SHE!!!

Collage on Stash Tea box....just a general mish-mash that was really fun and very fast.  Great idea to do a series and frame in mats with thin black frames.
Maybe another time.
Thank you Carla, for this "Silly" was a welcome change of pace and I learned that there are endless ways to approach a drawing, especially faces.
 I will definitely continue to work with our new techniques...and add a bit of "silliness" to the mix.

Carla's next class is Imaginary Animals.  

Charcoal on my fingers: sharon

Finger Painting with Imagination

If you are still with me on this little 
journey into Silliness....thank you! Hope a few sketches brought a smile to your face!!!
Today is the last day of Carla's course.
This afternoon I will complete the projects...and there will be a real silly factor in the conclusion.
However due to time constraints may not post until Monday.
Big deal, I know!
At least I will be able to say I completed the entire course and not stopped mid-way!
So here goes:

Out of respect for the class, I don't feel that I can say much about HOW I did these tiny sketches, but obviously I used graphite pencil. 
It was a really fun project....and what I like....using one's imagination, no photo references.

Now this was super fun...this is one little technique I will keep up with.
Actually want to share with my Funny Bunnies 1 & 2. They are just old enough.
I dubbed this "finger painting with imagination!"

I forgot to name the Lass with the Green Hair. She is my favorite.
 Out of all the little techniques we have worked on, I like best the ink dropper...and this one.
But who knows, there is today's lesson yet to explore!!!

Smiles: Sharon

It Just Gets Better, Not Easier

Our 101 Faces just get more fun, but fun often equates to being more challenging!
For instance:
I did endless continuous drawings, men, women...more than I would ever share!
Did I hear you say "whew!"
Never removing your pen from paper is like a  big puzzle, where does one put down the first piece?
I usually chose the wrong spot.
I will only bore you with one page.
The two faces that look smeary, well they are, using a water soluble marker I dampened the lines for the shading. 

 You can see that I didn't always make it in one swell swoop of pen.....
Ah, now we can look at subject and take pen off of the paper....much more in my comfort zone!!
This was a good project and will do again.
Definitely frees up the whole arm/hand movement, let alone the brain that wants to do it "its" way!

PS: my gosh, once enlarged and on a blog, you really really see your mishaps! But that gives one a learning point!  Right?

I Think I Can, I Think I Can, I Think I Can....

Whoa Bill, or should I say, Carla?
This is a whole lot of faces to do on
So here goes:
 Today the assignment was similar to yesterday.
Working from any photos we can find, we sketched the faces.
Not too hard, but we weren't to sneak peeks too often at the original source.  
Oops missed naming a few. I will let you do that.

Tried using colored markers. They really feel different! Once I stepped back from trusty black and white.
I actually rather liked the color. 

This was my favorite assignment until I messed it up big time!
Working with ink and droppers, scooting the ink around to make an impression.  My inks weren't quite the right ones, so got varying degrees of success???  
But then I blew it. I waited FOREVER for the ink to dry, then glued into my sketchbook. Thinking I would be clever and roll with a brayer to really glue them down...what I thought was DRY INK wasn't and so I did the BIG SMEAR TANGO!!!

But I still love the lady in blue, cranky lady in yellow..and totally ambivalent about the last two, sorry I glued into my book.
They will remind me to try harder.

This has proven to be a really big project. But fun!
Carla has new classes forming right now, if you are interested.

100 Faces....going forth.

I think I should offer my services as a 
spokeswoman for Carla.
Monday's assignment was so much fun.
We were asked to work on pieces of paper cut to uniform size.....I prefer for now to work in a large, watercolor notebook.

Eight pencil and watercolor faces

As long as I can,  I will label my faces....after about 75 I bet I use numbers, followed by letters!   LOL

Ink sketches from life using non-dominant hand.

I had no "live people" around me, 
so I found a magazine with exotically dressed women.
I found it easier to draw the faces with my left hand, than to do the hand writing!!!!!   Interesting, eh?

Oops, almost forgot. I also found it easier to do the non-dominant work in pencil than pen. I couldn't quite get the angle right on the pen, and my fine tip pen was getting a little dry. 
The top left face is the only one in ink.
Because I am using white paper, I loosely filled in the negative space with India Ink.

This was fun...thanks Carla.

101 Faces in Five Days....that is silly!

New Year's soul searching seriousness is now past, gone, over with. Whew! Made it to the NEW Calendar:)

I have my "string of words" to inspire me through out 2012.

....inspired by Patti Digh's book of similar title.

And now to have a bit of good ol' rollicking fun.

I signed up for a five day class with the fabulous illustrator and author, Carla Sonheim

You may have already purchased her best selling book:

This is such a terrific book that I gifted our very creative grandson with it.

Not sure what all we will be doing, but faces are the subject. And knowing how Carla loves the silly, whimsical  funny-bone in art, it should prove to be perfect for starting out the New Year with a silly-i-ness bang.

Carla asked us to do a little assignment prior to class today: draw some random is the baby-step of attempting  100!!!! faces.  I better sharpen my pencils!

My humble first homework assignment.

I promise to not post 100 plus faces these next days, but a few are sure to pop up....who knows I might be inspired to try for 200!!!  Remember Life truly IS a Verb!

Smiles: Sharon
Heart Thought: do you find a moment of silliness, fun- to- have fun in your day?

On the Other Side of 2011

Well that was a short night! Did you stay up
to see the sun rise?
Anyway, here we are on the other side of 2011...easy-peasy wasn't it?
I thought of a zillion things to welcome you into 2012, and still haven't quite narrowed it down....but here goes.

For starters a thought provoking quote that seems to be written just for me:

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin.
Real life. 
But there was always some obstacle in the way,
something to be gotten through first,
some unfinished business,
time still to be served,
a debt to be paid.
Then life would begin.
At last it dawned on me that
these obstacles were my life.
Alfred D'Souza

That rather sums up 2011 for me. 

If you are familiar with the author Patti Digh, this is my favorite of her many books.

Such an explosive title, one full of ever so many meanings and metaphors.     

Truly: Life is a Verb

Remember back in grade school underlining nouns and circling verbs in endless sentences?I liked the circles best as they indicated action, movement, forwardness, direction....

I love to read blogs the first weeks of January, as there is an astounding number of writers who choose ONE WORD for their mantra for the year. A word that is personal and speaks just to them.
I have also done this. 
Long and hard I thought about this "chosen word" to carry around with me for the year. Just too many choices, it was starting to nag at me and take the fun out of it.
Then I was thumbing thru Patti's book, and eureka I knew my word (S).
This year I am choosing a sentence... a string of words like pearls.

Life is a Verb....thank you Patti 
I can't imagine, at this point, just where this sentence will take me, but it will be an adventure with many new ideas, opportunities, friendships, creative endeavors, family experiences....a 'wellspring' of forward moving action.

Together let's all March Forward into Another New Year!

Doesn't matter if you go left or right.

Just remember that Life truly is a Verb!

May our paths cross often.
Warmly, Sharon