Archive for February, 2011

A friend of mine offered to lend me a book to me back when I was reading all those teeny bopper vampire novels, but forgot. No problem I eventually (as in a couple of days later) bought it myself. However several months later when she actually remembered, she felt really bad about it and despite my proclamation it was no big deal, forced several (a series) of rather large books on me that I hadn’t ever heard of.


I already had seven books I was planning to read (the last of the Jane Austens and a couple of vampire novels) and once I got through them I finally cracked open the first in the series. To my surprise once I got into the story I really enjoyed them. And then I noticed they were self proclaimed romance novels. Tauting sex and intrigue on the covers. (umm, hello … I don’t read romance novels.)

Well guess what, I liked them. Though I’d say they are pretty graphic. Not so much the sex parts (despite what the covers says) but the violence. The books are set around Claire Randall in the 1940’s who while visiting Scotland stepped into a henge (stone circle) and was transported back in time 200 years. The books are kind of non stop action where they befall one near death experience after another. Full of magic and mystery and a 1740 Scottish hottie.I’ll tell you no on the off chance one of you thinks you’d like to read them.

So I’m like how’d I get to this place of romance novel reading. Well my recent reading list has been vampire novels and they contained lots of young love for hunky men. And then I’m also reading all the Jane Austen books though technically she is more about angst.

Conversation with my husband when I was reading the first book.

A Breath of Snow and Ashes

Mike: SO is the sex as good as it claims

Me: Not really. I mean it’s okay but not quite the bodice ripper it portends to be. I think what makes the book seem so sexy is that he’s a hero. Women like a hero.

Mike: So women want to be saved
Me: No women want a hero. She killed a wolf with her bare hands, she doesn’t need saving. She needs a hero. Someone who’s equal to her greatness.
And let’s face it, that’s all any woman wants. A man who’s equal to our greatness.

Squidoo Lenses I Made About The Outlander Series And Those Vampire Novels
The Outlander Series

Vampire Academy Series
The House Of Night Vampire Series

I’m currently reading this book A Breath Of Snow And Ashes

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I often dream about horses. Mostly I dream about my horse (riding him or whatever) and lately I’ve been having nightmares about him being stolen or getting sick (but that’s a story for another time.) I also dream a lot about being at horse fairs. Kinda makes sense I suppose since I do so much of that.

So anyway I had this dream about a big black horse in armor. I’ve pretty much forgotten what the dream actually consisted of though, but what I’m left with is this snapshot in my brain. The image is very dark. Like blackness or night time with a black horse (as already stated) and he’s wearing a shiny pewter colored skull plate and fancy tack. Mind you I went to bed pondering that buckskin in fancy tack so that may have something to do with it. The big horse is looking alert and perhaps a little tense, but not frightened. In the snapshot in my mind he rolls his eye back to look at me.

That’s it. That’s what rolling around in my head and I think it needs to come out.

So above was my thumbnail so I could remember this because dreams have such an ethereal quality I needed to put in down on paper.

Yeah, I know. I figured that probably wasn’t gonna do the job so I took a more serious approach to it.

And the result was this drawing. Now I know he doesn’t have any ears or actually tack (his skull plate is currently being held in place by sparkly unicorn magic.) It is slightly closer to what’s in my head, but not quite which is why I didn’t finish it. However it’s enough to keep the concept alive.

And just in case anyone is looking at it going “that’s all wrong” I had no reference photos of any sort when I scribbled this out. Just me on the couch with a scratch sheet of paper and a pencil so be kind. For the moment I’m not sure whether I’ll start a new concept drawing (using actual reference photos) from which to create a painting, or try to tweak this one into matching what’s in my head.

Did I Ever Tell You Guys …

that I have been pondering for a long time starting a t-shirt line. I’m not really thinking about using my artwork mind, but I may if I actually get into doing it. I’m thinking about these cartoon-y horses that I draw on occasion.

Quite often when driving to art shows (or while at them) I doodle a few out and add some sort of witty slogan or saying underneath them. I’m thinking the graphic would be smallish maybe pocket sized. Depending on how my year goes (as in time enough to devote to this) and my self confidence level at the moment when I’m about to do it.

ME: (upon showing mike my horse in armor cartoon) Isn’t he cute?

Mike: Yes

Me: Wouldn’t you want to buy a t-shirt with him on it?

Mike: Ummmmmmm ……. no.

Good thing Mike is not my target audience.

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Well I finally finished off the tutorial on my Watercolor Pencil On Suede Board Page. I had pondered making this a completely separate lens but then thought it was such an obscure topic it would be best served by tagging it onto this Watercolor Pencil Technique Page especially since this painting was also done on suede.

Be forewarned there is a gratuitous advert stuck in so you’ll subliminally click on it and and find yourself in the wonderful world of amazonia and unable to resist temptation you buy and buy and buy stuff. (because once you click through it doesn’t really matter at all what you buy I get a teeny tiny fraction of that sale.) And then when something like 100 million of my faithful readers do this I will be rich enough to become Queen Of All She Surveys. and while I suppose technically I kinda am that now, what I currently survey is a brick gallery in need of tuck pointing, a fat gallery cat napping, a half drunk 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke and a floor in need of vacuuming. So yeah I have a ways to go there.

And so in my ongoing plan for world domination (Insert evil Bwa-ha-ha laugh … followed by much coughing) you may be seeing more gratuitous ads, but I promise they will be relevant (even if I have to make something up.)

How To Use Masking Film With A Watercolor Pencil Painting on Suede

The Masking Film Tutorial is on Page 2 I’ve created a summary of the tutorial here but for a more detailed explanation in both photos and words be sure to visit the lens.

The first step of course it to apply the film.
Since this painting was done on a very light (almost white) board it was pretty important to keep it covered so I wouldn’t track and smudge my watercolor pencil (or worse still my water soluble Inktense pencils) all over. So once having gotten the drawing transfered onto the suede I covered it. Masking film is actually kinda expensive and the day I stopped at my local Hobby Lobby they were out. But they had a roll of book covering laying there it it was like $5 so I figured if it didn’t work it would be no great loss.

Klear Cover Grip-Tac Clear Book & Document Preserver 12×20″ 2 rolls

That is what I used for this painting and it worked really well. It had enough tack to cling but removed easily enough. However once removed it didn’t really adhere again well at all. I have no idea if actually masking film would have. I imagine the suede fibers that were pulled loose with the removal of the masking film were a large part to it’s not being functional after the initial use, and I would think this would be a similar problem with any masking film. But I really don’t know for sure.

So at this point I took a sharp scissors and cut away the masking film for the area I wanted to work in. In the photo I have a large scissors and they worked fairly well but I later swapped it out for a small pair which worked much better in the tight spaces.

For the first bird I took a pen and drew (traced over the drawing that still shows through on the suede board) on the masking film using that as my guide. But for the following birds I just cut extremely carefully along the paintings edge. The pen made cutting the masking film easier but is not entirely necessary. Do what works best for you.

I painted in the one bird, sprayed it with a workable fixative and then moved on to cutting out the next bird. This is pretty much a rinse and repeat until I got all the way to the end of my 5 birds.

NOTE:The mask does indeed keep you from tracking color all over but it doesn’t prevent it seeping in under it. So you must be extra careful around the edges. I usually added water within 3/8 inch of the edge and then just scrushed it over to the edge as best I could. Even being very careful I still had some wisking issues.

Removing the masking film and cleaning up the rough edges.
As I said there was some wisking issues to these needed to be fixed before I could call the painting done. I pulled up only the areas of masking film that I was working in at a time and then replaced the film before moving on. It didn’t stick nearly as well but it was better than nothing.

All the finishing work was done with a very sharp dry pencil.

The masking film will remain inplace until framing at which point I will spray one final time with a fixative and pop it in the frame.

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So did anyone watch the most recent episode of Face Off? It was a very artistic challenge called Naked Ambition and I thoroughly loved it. The contestants were allowed to select a model who had been placed in front of several large (around 4 foot x 8 foot if I were to guess) photographs of various things like rain forest, city streets abstract art, that kind of thing. Their challenge was to paint the nude body of the models and create an interesting visual image to be then photographed and judged.

It was awesome. Frankly this was a much better challenge than those set forth by that Next Great Artist Show. The winner was an image where it looked like the woman was literally forming and bursting out of a pile of petrified wood. (See above photo – this is only a partial of the whole image) The artist painted it so believably that it looked like an optical illusion. Others did things like make their models look like bronze or marble statues which while somewhat believable in the photos I thought lacked the inherent artsyness of the challenge.

The reviews I’ve read on this shows have all been glowing and I think I’m pretty well hooked on it and I can’t wait to see what they have to do next.

Drag Race Anyone?
The other show of this ilk (though much much farther down on the classiness scale) I’ve started watching is RuPaul’s Drag Race. Okay I’ve admitted before I like bad tv and this certainly qualifies.

For those of you who don’t know this is a competition for up and coming drag queens. Bet you didn’t know that some folk’s aspirations for greatness is becoming a famous drag queen huh?

It’s kinda like a cross between Project Runway in that all the contestants have to create their costumes for each challenge (and that one of their Judges is a PR winner) and America’s Next Top Model in that it is a fashion and runway show combined with various challenges involving acting and skits (and that one contestant is the AMTM Makeup artist.) They get some big name judges like Lily Tomlin. All in all it’s slightly amusing and a tad bit shocking. It’s filled with high school level humor and some seriously bad make-up. What’s not to love.

The Big (as in huge) difference between this show and the others are the sponsors and prizes. Instead of Elle magazine, Covergirl Makeup or new cars and trips to exotic places. This show is sponsored by PaulandChuckTravel-dot-com and the big (pardon the pun) prize for the most recent episode was a pair (is it pair?) of handcrafted (because they provide nothing but the very best) ginormous boobs by a company called BoobsForQueens-dot-com. Thant’s right Boobs for queens dot com.

I can’t say exactly what my fascination is with this show … Perhaps it’s the fact that the contestant line-up reminds me of some of my relatives. (just sayin’) … so we’ll just call it artistic interest and leave it at that.

BTW I deliberately did not create a real IP address for Paul & Chuck Travel And BoobsForQueens because I really didn’t want the google traffic from those.

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I am a voracious reader and so it’s not surprising that I combined my love of horses with my love of books and created several squidoo pages geared toward the horse enthusiast. Many of the books contained withing these pages (with the exception of the children’s horse books) I actually own or have read.

Horse, a Portrait:
A Photographer’s Life With Horses

The Best Horse Books For Women
This page showcases a wide variety of horse books ranging from photography and art inspired books like the one shown here, to literary non-fiction works written by women trying to define the relationships and the experience they share with their horses.

Horses undoubtedly touch out lives and for many bring emotional as well as physical healing and balance to us.

Book Categories On This Page Are:
Exploring The Spiritual Side Of Women And Horses
Books That Explore The Magical Kinship Between Women and Horses
Women And Horses by Writers & Artists
Horse Short Stories
Celebrating The Horse Through Photography
Understanding Equine Communication
Women In The Horse Industry
Reader Nominated Books
Women And Horses Calendars

If I Had a Horse:
How Different Life Would Be

The Best Books For Horse Lovers
This page is a collection of horse books that is a slightly broader range of equine subjects over that of The Best Horse Books for Women page. While there is some cross over books between the lenses their are also substantially different.

The Book Categories Showcased On This Page Are:
Art & Photography Horse Books
Women And Horses
Books On Natural Horsemanship
Horse Novels

Horse, Follow Closely:
Native American Horsemanship

The Best Natural Horsemanship Books
When I first got my horse I invested a lot of time in learning about natural horsemanship methods. The concept of Natural Horsemanship is that instead of forcing a horse to do what you want, you convince the horse that you and he want the same thing. This was an idea that resonated with me.

I reviewed several of the books from own collection and added many other books from various Natural Horsemanship greats like …

Monty Roberts
Pat Parelli
GaWaNi Pony Boy
John Lyons
Clinton Anderson

Also I included books on Natural Horsemanship & Equine Communication

Dream Horses:
A Poster Book

The Best Horse Books For Children
If you have a horse loving kid here is a page jam packed with an assortment of equine goodies in the form of horse coloring books, horse poster books and horse stickers.

The Books Covered In This Lens
Horse Poster Books
Horse Sticker Books
Horse Activity Books
Horse Coloring Books
Classic Horse Stories
Horse Story Series Books

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The last two birds on the right still need some work and I’ve got to remove the masking film and clean up my edges. I’ll be glad to call this one done since between the storms (Yup was stuck at the farm again recently) it’s taken far longer to complete than I would have ever expected. It is what I wanted it to be though and I think when framed it will look fairly cool.

Next up is to start a horse painting so I can write my Apples ‘n Oats article waaaaaaay in advance of the deadline and totally blow Carol Eilers (the AnO editor’s) mind with my ability to be so responsible and adult-like in regards to my writing.

I’m thinking about that Peruvian with the fancy silver tack. I’ve had some issues arise around that photo (all will be revealed when I begin working on it … maybe) so I will have to rethink how to paint it.

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