Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Bit of Art and A Boatload of Frustration

I have a bit of art to share with you this morning and then I will clue in to what is happening in my little world. Maybe you will have something to say to help me get over it or maybe you even know the answer to life's little dilemmas.

First the bit of art - I am still playing in the Dutch book and I am using a book I found on sale for $3.99 at Schuler Books some time ago, "A Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers in North America" for reference.

When I was showing this one to Miss M the other evening, she was caressing some of my brushes - she loves the softness of them. She just happened to have a fan brush and wanted to see how to use it. So I spritzed a bit of watercolor that was in the palette and let her have a go at it. That is what the green and red strokes at the bottom are.

I am also working in my Rhodia notebook that I was given a couple of years to review - actually I was given two and gave one of them away on this blog in 2010. I sketched half a face in a doorway and am quite pleased with how it turned out (well maybe not the nose so much).

And the last bit of art in progress - four small sketches (about 4.5 x 6 inches each) on watercolor paper. I haven't decided if I will use Neocolor IIs, oil pastels, soft pastels, add some color to them, but will keep you posted.

Trying to do little girl faces to be recognizable is very difficult. I worked on Miss M's face for hours and finally gave up at 4:30 am and went to bed. You can see it is much darker than the rest of her. Fiddlestix! If you click on it you will be able to see the four sketches more clearly.

And I also tried my hand at a landscape with a cabin in it from a photo I got through a national park website.

I hope to get some work play in on these sketches today. I was up so late last evening because my LaCie drive that I just purchased is failing to do Time Machine backups to keep all my data safe. I went to the LaCie site and did some troubleshooting yesterday early afternoon, part of which advised reformatting and then zeroing out the drive which took all day during which time I couldn't use my computer. It didn't finish that process until late last evening, so just before turning in for the night, I set it up as my Time Machine back up drive. GRRRRRRR! I woke up this morning to the same error message I was getting before doing all that troubleshooting. I've sent an email to the LaCie support team to see what they can do.

I was so happy to hear that I could "fix" my pastel drawings with hair spray, but that has eluded me as well. First I bought the only kind of hair spray they had at the dollar store, but it was way too wimpy. The instructions on it actually suggested spraying damp hair before using a blow dryer and then adding more when hair had dried. The last time I was at Meijers, I purchased a can of Extreme Hold hairspray and tried that. No luck - if I run a finger over the artwork, I still lift color. GRRRRR!

I went through the drawer in the filing cabinet in my work room which holds my gesso and other Golden products to see what I had in there that might work instead of buying new fixative. I found I have Krylon Workable Fixatif, Grumbacher Matte Workable Fixative, and Grumbacher Matte Final Fixative. I don't know how old they are, but can't find an expiration date on any of them. If it ever quits raining and/or the humidity decreases a bit, I will take my Mi Teintes journal out and try one of these in the hopes of finally achieving success.

I didn't go to Zumba last evening as my stomach was a bit queasy - maybe all that frustration I've been holding in - and now I feel really out of sorts. I guess I will get on the treadmill in a bit and see if I can chase the blues away.

On a more upbeat note, I got a call from the library to say that a few of the books I'd reserved through MelCat had arrived and when I went over there I found that I actually had 6 books - all about either pastels or watercolor. There is one by Jackie Simmonds that I am absolutely in love with - maybe it will be my next purchase for my art room library.

Thanks for listening to all my complaints (if you actually read this far) and for all your support of my attempts at becoming a better artist. I hope you are having a great day and that you are finding time to be creative in your world.



  1. Well, I can't help you with your computer woes (I'm just glad I haven't been around to add to your problems with it), but I can tell you that I've been using Krylon Workable Fixative on my most recent drawings (age unknown, except it's ancient) and it works like a charm. Maybe after your experience I won't be buying hairspray to use instead after all. The can lasts for a long time (or maybe it's just that I don't use it very often). I think all of the ones you mentioned should work just fine! hugs, nancy ps Your drawings are fine - especially the cabin. Great perspective on it!

  2. I think you should stick with the Krylon, if you look around you might be able to find a store brand that will cost less. I believe hairspray will yellow and the spray fixatives are acrylic and shouldn't. Not only that but speaking as someone who used hairspray back in the ancient days, I think the stuff was different from what you get now.

  3. YOu have had some highlights and low lights in this page. I hope it has all passed over by now (and you are back to Zumba) , a few days later.

    I really like your drawings in the book - is the Dutch book about woldflowers, of just of reference book you are drawing from? I really like the way people go about drawing in books. I am working up to it! Many people have a fear of the blank white page, I find it hard to draw on written paper

    1. Actually, Alissa, I think the book's title translates to "We are Lucky". It is written in Dutch by Dr. Okke Jager, who is described as Dutch theologist/writer/poet.

      I had a hard time sketching the first picture; it seemed like I was defacing the book, but now am really enjoying adding to this text.


  4. Hairspray used to work, back in the bad old days when it contained all kinds of stuff that messed up the environment, but the manufacturers have been required to change formulas quite a bit since the '70s and '80s, with the result that I would not try it any more as a fixitive. Anyway, it was only ever a substitute if you didn't have anything else and were desperate. Go with a fixitive specific to your medium. (Not great for the environment either, BTW.)