Sketchbook Revival – Day 3 Session 1

My drawing hand was soaked in molasses this morning. I was molasses in January sloooooowwww drawing this morning and Joy Ting is a firecracker fast artist.

Turtle meet hare and try to keep up. Yeah, the pause button was my friend in this session.

In other news, we are all familiar with the 101 uses for duct tape. Well, my friends, Joy introduced us to two new uses for Legos: template for outlining squares/rectangles of sooo many sizes, and paint brush rest/holder.

“When I step on a Lego walking through the living room, it becomes mine.” —Joy Ting (

We started out doing small exercises inside frames…really quickly…under a minute. Well, I paused and gave myself a bit more time. My hand just wouldn’t move, and she’d gone on to her second frame when I had just one leaf in the top frame. I wasn’t getting lost in the detail, I was just not yet fully in attendance.

No legos here, so my frames were created using the base of my watercolor jar to create very imperfect circles.

She provided a reference photo that had a HUGE arrangement of flowers of all types. Good stuff. for the smaller sketches she focused on pieces of the whole photo. Mixing and matching as she pleased.

Her technique is very loose and layered, building in color and some detail but not getting hung up on creating a purely representational drawing. Lots of different art supplies were deployed on the page.

My main drawing was done with a colored pencil (following her lead). Then I moved on to watercolors, then some watercolor pencils to add depth and richness. I diverged from her instruction at this point to use a white chalk pencil to add in some highlights because it all looked muddy to me. To give it a little definition, I added small pen marks here and there.

My Critique: The center needed a single robust bloom. I shouldn’t have tried to add a green background. Love the little red buds and the orange berries. Love the unbalanced leaf arrangement, and it would have worked so much better with that solid center bloom.

In a happy coincidence, a close friend is celebrating her birthday today, so I added a bit of text and sent it to her. Kismet.

Looking at it again, I think I would have started with a watercolor wash (very light) on the page before I started sketching the flowers. Maybe leave a few white holes for the major bloom locations. Hmmm…

Pipevine Swallowtail Mixed Media

How do I know it’s a Pipevine Swallowtail? My 2021 National Wildlife Federation calendar titled “Treasures of Wildlife” told me.

It also told me the photographer’s name is Robert Day from Daybreak Imagery.

I respect their copyright despite the fact my use is not for profit, so I’m not going to show you the original photo. Instead, I encourage you to visit their online gallery. Richard and Sue Day are talented photographers so you’ll enjoy the visit. You may want to set a timer before you click through so you don’t lose too much time browsing.

Here’s the mixed media (iridescent watercolor, ink, and watercolor pencil) piece I made from it:

Pictured again with a little tilt for the light and iridescent paint to show off their shared talents.

I think I need to do a little reading about this butterfly. The University of Florida has a “Featured Creatures” page about them. Apparently that luminescent blue is an aid in mating.

Time to go to work. Have a great Tuesday!

Working vs. Sitting in the Garden

As much as I find satisfaction in maintaining my garden, I also relish time spent lounging in it.

Yesterday I worked hard digging back some spring blooming white anemones that were taking over a couple of my front beds. I planted a couple of friendship vines in the newly open space, and transplanted a day lily.

In the afternoon I sat next to the hellebore in bloom in my back yard, and did a pen drawing with watercolor.