Resolutions? Phooey!

5"x7" pen and watercolor pencil
5"x7" pen and watercolor pencil

I was thinking about my art goals for 2009.   After wracking my poor little brain for a while I decided to just skip it.   I mean, I’ll just end up doing what I feel like doing.   Last year I only had three goals and I completely disregarded two of them.   I still did a lot of work that I am proud of and had my best year for art making ever!

I’m going to focus on my successes and not worry about improving or setting goals.   When I am encouraged and feeling good about what I am doing,  inspiration comes easier and I do good work.   So this year I’m just going to wing it.

Happy New Year everyone!  Thanks so much for all of your visits and to all of you who have linked to me!  I’ve received so many wonderful comments this year.  Knowing that so many of you like my pictures keeps me drawing and posting.  I hope the coming year brings everyone much love and abundance.


ATCs: More Self-Portraits

2.5" x 3.5"  markers and colored pencil
2.5" x 3.5" markers and colored pencil

I’m finishing up my swaps for the year and that last one I completed was a self-portrait swap.   It’s sounds so strange and big-headed to say that I enjoy drawing myself.  But what can I say?  I do.

2.5" x 3.5" ink and watercolor
2.5" x 3.5" ink and watercolor

I had to pretty myself up here for this drawing.  I’ve been called sir far too often over the past few months.  Not often, but just enough to bug me.  Fortunately the culprits have all been women, so I’m not that worried.

Having a Merry, Merry Time

2.5" x 3.5"  pen and watercolor wash
2.5" x 3.5" pen and watercolor wash

This has been a great season for me.  Usually I fall into major winter funks that always seem to coincide with the few weeks before Christmas.  This year is different.  Maybe it’s because I’m spending so much time drawing and painting.  All that creative energy flowing seems to push away any funky feeling.   It’s really so important to find time to spend on things you love doing.   Make the time.   It’s always worth it.

Here’s a little self-portrait artist trading card (ATC).  I like this expression a lot.  It seems to be somewhere between naughty and nice.   My husband was nice enough to tell me that I actually look like this.   What a nice guy!

More ATCs: Portrait Cards

2.5" x<br /> 3.5"  pen and markers
2.5" x 3.5" pen and markers

I’ve been doing my two favorite things: making cards and drawing portraits. I’ve been finishing up some obligations and making a few cards for gifts.  I really like the expressions that emerged on these.

2.5" x 3.5" pen and markers
2.5" x 3.5" pen and markers

One of the things I love the most about card trading is how excited and please people seem to be when my cards arrive.  Especially when I do a portrait of a family member.  I think it’s great that something I put together made someone happy that day. It’s so gratifying.

I love being an artist.   And I love saying that without a hint of hesitation.  Finally!

ATCs: Still Stretching

Oh my, it’s been a while hasn’t it? 

Here are some of the better cards I worked on last week.  I had signed up for a artist card trading game called a PAT  or Pick-a-Theme.  People are split into groups of five and each member picks a theme for the other artists to work on.  This can be a bit nerve-wracking sometimes because if you enter early you can end up in a group where people request things that you may have never worked on before.   This happened to me on this game.  The themes were PEZ dispensers (?!), dragons, outerspace, and monochromatic blue. 

I ended up doing better than I imagined on these themes.  I fortunately had an old PEZ dispenser shoved away in the back of a drawer (whew!).  I just drew the thing in my hand.  Not original or an artsy, but I liked how my drawing turned out and it got the job done. 

The outerspace theme really threw me.  What was I going to do?   I found some gorgeous pictures of the Milky Way in an old copy of Smithsonian.  I had no idea how to go about representing it.  Fortunately,  a kind soul had sent me some black illustration board blanks.  I knew I would have to use those.  After that, I threw caution to the wind.  I just looked around at what I had and just threw everything at it.  I splattered on some white acrylic with a toothbrush, then I tinted things with some scarlet ink I had about.  Then I started layering black ink marker, china white watercolor, some watercolor.  I just shut off the reasoning side of my head and went at it like I was in kindergarten.  I was having so much fun playing around I didn’t really care how it turned out.  Fortunately, when I felt finished, it looked like the Milky Way.   I had had an amazing time, felt exhiliarated and pleased with myself, and made a really cool card to share with someone.   I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the afternoon!

Portrait Swap with Cindy Gray

7x10  ink and markers
portrait of artist Cindy Gray

I completed another portrait swap.  This time with artist Cindy Gray.  I met Cindy through Blog Catalog and she suggested that we do a swap.  I was thrilled!  I had a lot of fun doing a swap with Ujwala so I jumped at the chance to do another swap.  You can read about our swap on her blog Draw the Line.  That swap was an artist trading card exchange.  Swapping with Cindy gave me a chance to work larger. 

Here is Cindy’s portrait of me.  Wow!

A portrait of Mellanie Collins by artist Cindy Gray
A portrait of Mellanie Collins by artist Cindy Gray

Cindy does lovely work.  Do click on the image to see it in more detail.  She works digitally, then prints it on canvas.  After the canvas is stretched and breathes a bit, she applies acrylic paint to build up texture.  You can read about her process here.  Check out her portfolio as well.

Thanks Cindy for a great experience.  Your portrait is in the mail.

Mysterious Ladies

His Ex
His Ex
ATC - pen and markers
40s Beauty

Here are two of my favorite artist trading cards from the stack I made last week. I’ve been making custom cards and drawing cards for themed swaps, but these I made just for fun. I traded the 40s Beauty on the right, but I’ve decided to keep the one on the left. I’m still admiring the job I did on the hair. I’m getting a lot of mileage out of my three gray Copic markers. I am starting to feel a little tight and cramped drawing these miniatures though. It’s time to take a break and do some larger things.

Another big project for me last week was organizing my blog list. I just put all of my blogs on Google reader and found that I am trying to follow 55 blogs! How did that happen? Fortunately it’s summer and most people aren’t blogging as often. But what am I going to do once all the vacations are over?! I’ve tried to reduce the number, but as soon as I drop one, I find another two to add. *lays head on desk*

“You Look Like You Have Indigestion,” he said.

water-soluble graphite pencils

That’s what a friend of mine told me when he saw this picture. You know, he’s right.

I like using these water-soluble graphite pencils. I’ve been using the Derwent brand. On this piece I used the HB and 4B pencils. I just love spreading that graphite around with a brush. I found this tutorial on how to use the pencils. I found it helpful.

Speaking of self-portraits, I was asked to include one of my self-portraits on A View In Your Mirror. This blog is run by Jan Verhulst with the goal of collecting self-portraits, by artists and non-artists, from all over the world and in any medium. If you are interested in participating you can submit an image of yourself and join the party.

Trading My Cards

Hi there everyone. Last week I started trading my art cards. It’s a blast. I’ve traded almost every card I’ve made. I made a few today. Here are two I made using my new comic book style:

Just a quick touch-up

I’ve already traded the one on the right. Minutes after I posted it, I had someone offer a wonderful piece for it. Is that cool, or what?

I’ve also been working on a portrait swap with Ujwala over at Draw the Line. I can’t wait to share that withMysterious woman you all.

Thanks for coming by and checking out my work. If it weren’t for your comments I wouldn’t have started trading these cards. So I am very grateful to you all.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. For all of you in the U.S. have a great Fourth of July.