Taking My Time on the Indiana State Flower

The last state MrE lived in and I have not doodle the flower of is Indiana, and so I’ve drawn this doodle dedicated to the Peony. Some people may be unaware that Americans pronounce this particular flower differently depending on where they live. For the most part, I pronounce it PEE-uh-nee, but many southerns pronounce it pee-OH-nee. As for which one is the correct way, the answer is: yes!

I drew the outline of this doodle directly after I drew the Georgia Cherokee Rose drawing, but finished several others before coming back to this one. I didn’t quite have the colors I wanted for the flower itself, but I think the outcome looks tolerable.

Pinks and peach reign supreme in Indiana aapparently

Pinks and peach reign supreme in Indiana apparently

As of yet, I still have never done a proper zen doodle, but I did fill in the swirls with some common zen doodley type designs. They certainly do their best to compete with the very pink peony.

I think the next state flowers I’ll tackle are states where I have visited and spent the night. This is mainly western states, but with a few here and there tossed in for good measure. I guess that means I should do the national flowers of Italy and France too.

Critter Time

A while back, we came back from an evening out to find all the kitties sleeping on our bed

Caught ya!

Caught ya!

We then let Krypto out of her cage, and she too needed to be in on the action

Goofy doggie

Goofy doggie. Messy bed.

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Majestic Feet

I think that the Muslim and Hindu tradition of abstract patterns is what is driving the current tend in Zen Doodle. If you ever want to get some great ideas, search for henna designs. Henna has been made even more popular recently I think because westerners love the idea of temporary decorations. I confess, I would love to have some henna done professionally sometime in the future.

The contours of the henna design are not quite accurate to the shape of a real leg, but whatever. I will blame that on not doing any figure drawing whatsoever in more than six years, and also because it’s hard.

I think I need to do henna sometime. Its great!

I think I need to do henna sometime. Its great!

Feet are awesome, by the way, especially my feet, but unfortunately, these are not my feet. Although not even I would create a Facebook group dedicated to taking secret pictures of women’s feet (which I encountered on my search for cool henna designs). Creepy.

An Unexpected Benefit of the Doodle Project

Back in September, I drew one of the final birthday cards of the year and I was super pleased with the results. I discovered that I have improved crucially in an area that I did not anticipate improving in terms of art–composition. It is my belief that great composition often trumps technical skill or the quality of the materials used. It has always been something I have struggled with, since my artistic skills mainly reside in my copying ability and mixing colors. But drawing the preliminary sketches of this doodle, everything seemed to fall into place.

I am very pleased with this birthday card. If you are unfamiliar with the cartoon series, Avatar the Last Airbender, you should certainly consider watching it no matter what your age is because it is excellent. This card draws on images from the series with Aang’s arrow tattoos and the four elements: earth, air, water, and fire.

Master of all the elements...of art!

Master of all the elements…of art!

I was also able to use mostly high-quality markers, which does improve the overall look, I must admit. I love this card.

Sleeping Doggy

I just want to boop her on the nose!

Daww, she's conked out

Daww, she’s conked out

Implementing New Techniques and Media

Sunday is a great time for me to doodle. I cannot stress enough how much better church is for me, in terms of being able to listen to the speaker, when I have some doodling in front of me. On the Sunday that I drew the following, I decided I wanted to work on some fundamental techniques.

Hatching

Oh hatching, you and I are barely acquainted, We don’t particularly get along, but I would like to know you better. This doodle was done at the suggestion of MrE who said I should make shapes using hatching instead of outlines. I don’t know if this is what he was envisioning, but its a start at practicing the subtle art of crosshatch.

Rain and fronds and no outlines.

Rain and fronds and no outlines.

I think for a future attempt at hatching I will divide one page of my sketchbook into sections and make smaller studies.

Sophisticated Media

I am a Sunday-school teacher for the 3-turning-4 age group, which means the lessons are very simple and there is plenty of times for crafts. There is usually some sort of coloring activity, and I decided I should post my example. The lesson was about the importance of animals and what it means to be a good steward, although not in those terms since explaining what a steward is is difficult enough when speaking to an adult. Since no one can withstand the allure of a fluffy bunny, that is what we colored, using crayons of course!

I wish I had these exact colors in markers--that's the great thing about crayons.

I wish I had these exact colors in markers–that’s the great thing about crayons.

This was great fun, and the kids thought it was cool to see such a crazy bunny.

Crazy Colors and Intense Patterned Flowers

This doodle was made in the same vein as a previous example that was based on some awesome felt flowers made by another blogger. However, the background of this doodle is uniform and there are a fewer flowers. I did use a little more patterns within the flower shapes, and tried to use some different color combinations.

AHH! My eyes!

AHH! My eyes!

I completed the background before tackling the flowers several weeks later. It was kind of fun trying to create cool new color schemes for each flower. My favorite one is the green 8-pointed star. The flower in the lower left-corner is too dark, but now I know those colors don’t work particularly well.

A while back, MrE got a giant teddy bear at Costco so Krypto could play with it/gut its innards. That hasn’t happened yet, but Tony does like to snuggle up with it occasionally.

This photo makes Tony look like he only has one weird leg.

This photo makes Tony look like he only has one weird leg.

I’ve Got Georgia on My Mind

For my latest state flower doodle, I have chosen Georgia since it is one of the states where MrE has lived. Their state flower is the Cherokee Rose, also called Rosa Laevigata. There is an Indian folk tale concerning this flower, and it is said that they bloom the entire length of the Trail of Tears. It is a delicate and pretty flower, which called for a little different style doodle than usual.

Grey markers strike again!

Grey markers strike again!

This doodle was one of my more structured projects, and I even used straight edges and French curves for a few of the major details. Since the flowers are white, I thought it would be good to leave the other doodle shapes pale as well. I goofed on the of the flowers though, and used some white paint pen to cover it. The green leaves actually look much better in the photograph than they do in real life. Go figure.

Lazy Bones Kitty Cat

Since Georgia is famously laid back, today’s cute animal picture is Tony, chilling and waiting patiently for a tummy rub.

Feet up and ready for the petting to commence.

Feet up and ready for the petting to commence.

 

The Simplicity of Black and White

Working with colors is something that I have historically been hesitant to do because black and white is so much easier. Its been really great to work on my own understanding of color choice and balancing hues for an overall compositional effect. One of my biggest problems in art school was using too many colors that did not share a unifying theme between them. It is almost impossible to get black and white wrong (not that I haven’t done that too). So, just to see how far I’ve progressed since I started doing this doodle project, I decided to make a traditional-style zen-ish doodle.

Tried out some new patterns and of course, added paisley.

Tried out some new patterns and of course, added paisley.

Also, Kittens

Maybe one of these days I’ll take some inspiration from one of the adorable pets in my life. It has sure been fun having the kittens with us so we could marvel at their cuteness!

She's just so adorable. Why can't we keep all the kittens ever?!

She’s just so adorable. Why can’t we keep all the kittens ever?!

Toe Beans. Nuff said.

Toe Beans. Nuff said.

They are getting so big! They barely fit on the window ledge.

They are so big! They barely fit on the window ledge.

 

Flashback to Fine Art

I have plenty of doodles in the works, but I thought I would go back to an actual, real-life painting I did several years ago of a beloved doggy. My friend, who owns Gannon Grooming, lost her best puppy buddy, and I wanted to give her something to remember him by. Before I started doodling in my free time, my natural media was acrylic paints, which I used for this precious Cocker Spaniel. I took several photos to illustrate the process my painting go through.

1. Initial sketch (Not pictured. Use your imagination if you so desire)

2.Laying the Color Foundation

When I begin a painting, I like to lay down the first wash of colors for as much of the painting as possible, then go in later with darker or lighter colors, in some cases adding a dozen or more washes before the painting is complete. As you can see in this snapshot, the colors are muted and lots of canvas is showing through.

 

Early stages in my painting style

Early stages in my painting style

3. Adding Rough Darks

Here it is easier to see the brush strokes, especially in the fur under the chinny chin chin. I believe I was concentrating mainly on the nose and tongue, which is why they look more finished and life-like.

With my style, I like to lay darks, then use slight washes of near transparent creams or whites to scale back for the right hue.

With my style, I like to lay darks, then use slight washes of near transparent creams or whites to scale back for the right hue.

4. The Creepy Phase

There is always a point in a portrait that looks a little weirder than it should. This is that phase. I also have added some richness to the shadows if you can get past the empty eyes.

AHH!

AHH!

5. Details

The longest part of a painting for me is working on the details, which makes sense. Sometimes, the details are overwhelming. My mom can certainly attest to this since she still has a half-finished painting that I never got around to completing in her basement. It is complete enough to get the general idea of what it is, but the details were so subtle that I just couldn’t work on it any more. (Sorry mom! I’ll repaint it soon!). To me, the most important details are the eyes and expression. I could have left the painting like this I think, but that’s not my style.

Phew, no more soulless eyes. I love working on the eyes, since it makes the work come alive.

Phew, no more soulless eyes. I love working on the eyes, since it makes the work come alive.

6. Knowing When to Stop

It is important for me to accept that no work of art is going to be perfect. It can approach perfection, but not knowing when to stop will only lead me down a trail of misery and tears. There will always be something that I can look back and see that I Should have done differently, but as an old Vulcan Proverb says, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”

Happy Guy! Baxter makes a handsome pup.

Happy Guy! Baxter makes a handsome pup.

Every dog story ends in tears, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the unconditional love of the best friend you will ever have! Adopt from a local shelter or go give your canine companion a big hug and some peanut butter. If you would like to see more posts like this, let me know in the comments!

Inspiration From my Fellow Bloggers

Ever since I have started updating my blog regularly, I’ve become a little more immersed into the blog-o-sphere. This includes checking out stuff from around the web, and always being surprised when my blog is followed by a stranger (Thanks by the way, strangers!). On one of the first blogs I encountered, when browsed her work, mostly projects made of felt, I came across these beautiful and colorful felt flowers. (Check it out, seriously) I immediately knew I needed to do a doodle using these little gems as inspiration.

One thing I have especially enjoyed about searching for blogs for inspiration is seeing all of the talent and creativity displayed on the interwebs. There are all sorts of craftswomen especially, who are continuing in the proud tradition of generations of women who have gone before to make beautiful hand-made objects and art. Of course, there are some dudes too, and their work has just as much heart and soul, but in a less girly way 😛 .

Without further ado, here is one of my felt-flower doodles!

I told the original maker of these little flowers that they looked like jewels. I tried to duplicate that.

I told the original maker of these little flowers that they looked like jewels. I tried to duplicate that.

Of course, I also have some cute kitten pictures to share, I wish I could keep all of the kittens, and that they would stay kittens. I’ll have to do with my grown kitties instead and little foster fur babies.

Why would you wake us up?! You fool!

Why would you wake us up?! You fool!

Just guarding the front room from suspicious characters. And string.

Just guarding the front room from suspicious characters. And string.