Wednesday, October 7, 2020

She's a Good Egg....or Beginning Sketches

This blog is a bit about sketching techniques we all learned long ago....but might have forgotten about. This is my take on sketching faces, not necessarily how I do it now a days, but more of how I think about sketching and painting people.

I grabbed a couple of HARD BOILED eggs from the frig and took a sharpie pen and drew three lines on the shell. One vertical line and two horizontal lines, one about a third of the way down and the other a third of the way up from the bottom. 

I then drew outlines for two eyes, a nose and a mouth over the guidelines. Really simple. (Note: no eggs were harmed in the making of this model.....but I make no promises about lunchtime.)

I took a pic of three full face, one from above and a third three quarter view, and lined them up on my table. 

I took a sketch pad, and with my pencil I drew a rough egg shape, and sketched in the three lines for the eyes, nose and mouth......then I copied off the ROUND egg shape onto the FLAT pencil drawing how the eyes,nose and mouth looked. In other words I located on a flat sketch where I saw the eyes, nose and mouth on the 3D egg shape. 

I then went the other way and grabbed a piece of tracing paper and a few reference photos and traced the egg shape and lines over those photos. I then could see where the eyes, nose and mouth fell on the “egg head” sketch, and it took just a quick pencil line or two to have everything placed like it was needed.

All of this is a fun practice that either reminds us of things we've learned but might have misplaced in our busy days.......or might suggest a new way to approach your own sketching.

With a few practice sheets you can train your eye/brain to look at anyone in person or photo and automatically “locate” the eyes,nose and mouth in your mind. Also drawing a rough egg shape to show where you want your drawing to actually be on your paper keeps you from not having enough room to complete your drawing.

Bonus points: On the photo below of the Abraham Lincoln sculpture, trace off a egg shape and draw your locator lines at the eyes, nose and mouth. What's the first thing you notice about the shape of the egg outlines? (I'll answer that in the next blog post of this series)

Shout out to my uber talented husband, Frank Lyne, for the use of his lovely sculpture.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Walkies or Social Distancing on a Sunday Morning


11 x 14 inches acrylic paints on gallery wrapped canvas

Tho' it doesn't look it, this painting is inspired by another of my outdoor festival photos. It seemed to be a day for doggies......big doggies, bitty doggies....doggies in tutus! I liked the simplicity of this girl walking her pup in the bright sunlight. I wanted to capture the gestures of both the girl shepherding along her new pup pal, and the lovely dog who is obviously having a ball trotting along checking out all the sights and smells. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Idea Bounce, A Technique Talk blog post

Etruscan Girl
8"x10" acrylic paints on stretched canvas

This blog post chronicles how a visual idea can bounce from one person to another or even within just one artist's mind. And how easy it is to take a second idea bounce and make a new Main Character, even from a really old clay statue. 

In a recent fb feed, Tracy Barrett (author, SCBWI RA coordinator, dear friend) showed a photo she'd taken of a “Terracotta statue of a young woman: Etruscan, 3rdcent B.C.) in the Metropolitan Museum in NY

The first thing that struck my eye was the statue had chin length hair, rather than the usual long bound hair of that era. Her eyes looked HUGE, with a slightly “sulky” look to her mouth. Right then I began to “see” this young girl in modern dress. 

Based on yet another recent fb share, I remembered seeing some work by an artist that imagined what long ago folks might look like if depicted with today's digital media. 
So I thought I'd take a try at a “statue update” on this Etruscan girl, using my preferred “old school” media, paints.

The finished sketch looked similar to a image of Julius Caesar done by Becca Saladin at

I went on with the full painting you see at the top of this post. I added grown out, multi colored hair with blue tips, some lipstick and a t-shirt with suspenders.But looking at those HUGE eyes I wanted to try to go a bit anime. I sketched out my character, still with the sulky lips, and giving her wild blue hair, rose blush cheeks, generous nose and big highlit eyes.

I did this sketch combining acrylic paints and watercolor paints and pencils on watercolor paper. That way I could easily work in any direction that the drawing needed, without being bound by a single media's limitations.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Meet and Greet

Meet and Greet

11 x 14 acrylics on gallery wrapped canvas

This painting was inspired by a photo I took of a produce seller's sidewalk sign. Unnoticed by me at the time, in the background was this charming vignette of a young couple getting to meet and greet over tables of veggies and flowers

I loved the set up, but did extensive adjustments to the two main characters and the surroundings. Then I painted over and smudged a lot of the details I just can't seem to help painting! To enforce the sense of distance of the viewer from the encounter I added in the foreground a row of produce filled baskets, painted in sharp detail. 

I really enjoyed painting this vignette and working with the body language and gestures. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Memories of a Blue Market

Memories of a Blue Market

8” x 8” inches acrylic paints on gallery wrapped canvas

This small square painting tells my made up story of a couple meeting at an open air market, their afternoon flirtation, and their breakup.....all in one day. I painted the figures using the market setting and gestures from “real life”, but played with features and such to suit my story telling. 
I especially had fun painting the three “fool the eye” photographic images, making them look like they were “taped” to the canvas. They show a head shot of the guy the girl was flirting with, a candied image of her feeding him a cookie and then her view of him walking away at the end of the afternoon.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Fur Baby

Fur Baby
11 x 14 acrylic paints on gallery wrapped canvas

This painting called up the story telling side of my brain. At a recent out door fair, I saw a young lady carrying her perfectly healthy puppy, leash and all. Well that caught my attention, and I got to wondering, why would the puppy's owner be carrying her pet? Aside from the normal fun of carrying a wiggly puppy, I decided that she might have been carting the puppy to “save” it from another barking half-pint poochie. 
I painted this scene from my reference photos, playing with many festival goers appearances and lighting to “set” them all into the scene. I didn't have a photo of a yapping puppy on hand.....but it just so happened that our neighborhood had gotten a new canine resident. And that new little puppy decided that any pedestrian passersby, like Frank and me, were fair game to bark, bark,bark.... and yip yip at. So he ended up in my painting as the bitty yapping puppy.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

US Bank Celebration of the Arts 2020

My painting, Creek Tyme, at the US Bank Celebration of the Arts 
at the Kentucky Museum at WKU

Last night Frank and I attended the lovely US Bank Celebration of the Arts show 2020 held at Western Kentucky University's Kentucky Museum. It had been a while since we'd attended, and it has really grown! With over 150 artist entries and the public invited and with each artist bringing a plus one....or two....or three it was a BIG crowd. As always, the hard working staff at the Museum put on a wonderful reception. We so appreciate all the work that goes into pulling off an art exhibit of this size.

Oh.....and the best part of the event was Frank won 2ndplace sculpture for Reach!!


Here is a blog about the making of Reach

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Busy French Market

Busy French Market

11 x 14 acrylic paints on gallery wrapped canvas

This painting came about from a summer time visit to a farmers market. I wanted to play a bit with composition and “near and far” aspects of the busy market. 

I began with various folks in the market, capturing their gestures with broad strokes of colour and little detail, since they were essentially “background”. I loved the blue “French Market” umbrellas over the attractive veggie laden tables. I took many pics of the luscious veggies, and “stacked” them in my painting with the warmest colors (oranges, yellows, fire engine reds) in the forefront of the painting. Layered behind were less warm colors of onions and red cabbages. I couldn't resist adding in some little price boards with a bit of French. Choux is french for cabbage! 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

All The Angles

All the Angles

11 x 14 inches acrylic paints on gallery wrapped canvas

This painting came out of a photo shoot at the Clarksville Montgomery County Old Courthouse building. The angles produced by the gables and turret towers were were just too lovely to pass up. I got to play with “bouncing” sunlight, (cool on the top and warm in reflected shadows from underneath), when I worked on the statue of Blind Justice that stands atop a pediment on the roof. 

When I looked really closely at the statue's base I saw a flood light fixture. Well to my “bird sensitive” eyes (I am, after all, married to an avid birder.....), the floodlight looked like a red tailed hawk perched on the pediment overlooking the justice building. For whimsey's sake, I immediately painted in a red tailed hawk silhouette, imagining the hawk providing his vision for the use of “Blind Justice”. 

Friday, February 7, 2020

Market Colors

Market Colors
8x8 inches square acrylic paints on gallery wrapped canvas

This bitty painting, only 8x8 inches, was sparked by busy market goer, striding briskly thru the open air market. She had already gotten her market items, and was walking along with her little girl on her hip. 

I represented the swirl of market activity going by at a fast pace,with colourful paint blurs. Until you stop and look at a specific booth, the people and items for sale seem to be a colorful festive jumble. Just part of the charm of an open air market visit.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Balcony Seating

Balcony Seating

11 x 14 inches acrylic paint on gallery wrapped canvas

This painting grew out of a rainy grungy day that I really wanted to paint a pop! of a bright colour.

I had in my photograph stash, a photo of a grey unremarkable city building that had a awing over the rooftop and I let my imagination run amok with details. I added some people in the background, some greenery on the bitty balcony and a couple of lovely girls waving at a friend on the street below.
My favorite bit of all is the fun contrast of the orange facade against the contrasting pale blues of the doorways and the deep blue of the shadows in the rooftop awning. It sure brightened up my day....and I hope it does yours too!