Monday, March 31, 2014

Ember is Today's DOG on MY BLOG 2014-03-31 17:26

I know animal experimentation is very controversial but it's not when your just painting a picture of them. I have been loving the alcohol ink paintings that I have been seeing several artist produce. So I went to Cheap Joe's, ordered a few, watched a few U Tubes and was anxious to try them out. I choose Ember, a Jack Russell Terrier because of the variations  of his fur and well, let's face it, he has great markings.

I drew out the picture... it looks more like a paint by number than a sketch. This amount of detail was a joke- One of the nice things about the inks is they do what they want - you deal with the outcome. They are very forgiving though, as you can continue to manipulate them until you get a result you like.

After using masking fluid I was ready to put in the background. I choose blue and green. Then I added browns, yellow and black to Ember's face.

What a mess! So I added more trying to manipulate the paints in some way to look like a dog. This was about the point where I thought maybe this painting is a scrapper. 

So I rubbed off the masking fluid in hopes that I would be able to recover this painting. I had to remind myself this was my first time using the medium and that it would require some practice.

Then I played with the colors some more, removing some with alcohol and adding paint in other areas.

Then I drew a few details in with an ink pen. I think I can go back and fix the right eye with some white ink - but alas the white ink, along with a few other colors is on back order so I'll have to wait until it gets shipped to me.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sonic is Today's Dog on My Blog 2014-03-27 11:45


Doing a black dog is very interesting.  To use just black color would make the dog appear very flat so they need some undercoat of color that will shine through a bit. Sonic began first as a purple dog. You can't see much of the purple now but it adds depth.

Nila Mani May is This Afternoon's DOG on MY BLOG 2014-03-27 11:55

With the temperature predicted to hit 61 on Saturday I felt a "Two Fur" was due for today. (Or at least two dogs)

Nila's owner, Kim tells the story of how she came up with the names Nila Mani May;

"And just a little background on her name.  I purchased her from a breeder in Virginia, Jewel's Shar Pei and I wanted to give her just the right name so I held a contest at work and with family for who could find the best name.  She is a blue Shar Pei and I knew I wanted to fit the color and the breeders name Jewel somehow into her name.  She was born in April but I purchased her in May.  I offered a $25 Best Buy gift card to the winner and got lots of great names.  When I saw her name I knew it in an instant.  There were actually 2 winners, a coworker and Katie.  The coworker came up with the name Nila Mani (knee-la man-ie) which is sanskrit for 'blue jewel' (although it is actually blue gem).  Then Katie added May at the end completing the name I registered her under, Nila Mani May.  Both the coworker and Katie got a gift card and I got many many years of happiness."

Someone asked me to post the progress of these drawings so I thought Nila would provide a good example.
I started the drawing using both bright dark blue and a pink tones to block out the darks and lights.

Then I added a grey-blue tone to quiet down that blue a bit and read more as a grey.  I added just a bit of black and noticed that Nila was getting lost in my background so I added a touch of green. 

At this point I got out my pencils and added some highlights and blacks.

To finish things up I blended a bit more to loose the rough pencil texture. I still wanted to leave some... A  few highlight, a signture and it's done.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Photographing Some Pieces with Steve 2014-03-22 06:47

Working with Steve Edwards today, getting photos of pieces I haven't had scanned. He was great if anyone needs a photographer: Steve Edwards Photography 815-519-0823

What Do You Think About my Antique Accordion File? 2014-03-22 06:49

Opinions please... I'm getting ready for the April 11 & 12th ArtScene. I usually have my prints in stands on the ground but this time I will have a table. I bought an antique,accordion file to hold some prints. Is it too funky and will it clash with the brass containers I put my cards in?

Friday, March 21, 2014

My Favorite Kind of Day 2014-03-21 07:22

This was one of my favorite days... just paint and paint and tell everyone I'm working. WAIT, I really am working! How lucky can I be? Past 5, time to add a glass of wine.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Roman is THE DOG on MY BLOG 2014-03-19 06:33

I promise you Roman it will get warm again. You will be playing in the sunshine soon.
Roman is THE DOG on MY BLOG this week. Thanks Kathy Larson for sending in his photo.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Happiness is Starting a new Painting 2014-03-18 16:28

Happiness is starting a new painting. In my minds eye it's perfect! "It will be my best painting yet. I'm so excited!" I can't wait. then I sit down and start to work... "Ghee, I don't know what to do, where to start." I calm myself. " Just look at the lights and darks- one color at a time... and don't mess it up." Still, the possibilities!

Help! My Studio Has Gone to The Dogs! 2014-03-18 10:49

It's been great receiving such a variety of photos. I've been enjoying the black dogs. It's been fun adding color under the black chalk to give texture and light differences to their coats. Sonic started purple whereas Roman has a lot of blue in his dark tones. Different things have interested me in the backgrounds too. I loved the deep greens in the grass that Franklin was sitting on. Roman is in a room with rust colored walls. ( I have some walls the same color in my house.)The rust color compliments his dark fur really well. He's interesting because he seems to be feeling the same thing as many of us as he looks out the window, ' Oh when will it ever warm up outside enough for me to run around in the sun?"  Keep on hoping Franklin, it's bound to warm up some day.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Franklin is This Week's Dog on My Blog 2014-03-14 07:13

                                                                    Franklin, pastels

Franklin was fun to do because of the different colors in his coat. I liked the bright green grass in the photo and had fun using it for a background. More dog pictures coming in daily. How about sending me yours? You could win a free drawing... it's not 65 degrees yet.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What To Take on A Short Weekend Trip? Here's Some Ideas. 2014-03-10 06:27

Going away for a week? The packing is easy. Get your art case out and pack it with as much art supplies as you possibly can along with some canvasses and watercolor boards. But what if you're just going for a day or two and your pretty sure you'll want to paint or draw?

Here is what I took;
- Pencil Case containing; Prisma Colors, Conte' Pastels and Watercolor Pencils
- Small Sketchbook (usually carried everywhere I go in purse)
- Small Pencil Case containing; drawing, ebony and charcoal, eraser, sharpener and sandpaper
- Traveling Watercolor Set
- Extra Brushes (I didn't use them)
- Watercolor Pad of Paper (already stretched )
- Small Watercolor Trading Cards

This was a Christmas gift from my husband a year ago that I hadn't used yet. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about cake paints and had always wanted to use them. LOVED IT! The paints were brilliant and very professional. The set had the same feeling as one of the paint kits I got each year as school supplies when I was in grade school. (Remember when you just painted because you had to and there were no worries about what it was or how it looked?) This is something that would fit nicely in my purse too, maybe with a few of those trading cards for mini paintings anywhere anytime!

I have a hard time painting in public sometimes. Sketch books are always great to pull out and loosen up a bit, letting my creative juices flow. If I still don't feel comfortable or "moved" I can keep on drawing.

I used almost everything. Next time I'll probably leave my brush case home, packing just my favorite. The sable brush from the paint kit was very nice and worked well for what I wanted.

What supplies do you pack?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Saddie is The Dog on MY BLOG 2014-03-07 04:59


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

It’s Still, True the Best Gifts are the Ones You Make Yourself 2014-03-05 09:36

For Christmas my daughter, Bethannie gave both my husband and I paintings. I was so excited!  As many of you know my first daughter, Samantha is a very talented and skilled artist who is pursuing a career as a graphic artist.  Bethannie is not in art but a very talented scientist.  For a long time I have felt that art and science are very closely linked.  I come from a very scientific family and have found science to be extremely creative. In fact, my Father, a nuclear physist, was one of the most creative persons I know.  (I like to think I got my creativity from him.)  Anyway, Beth has always been the scientist, not doing much serious art- although, man could she collage when she was in high school and her science window painting did win her science club first place during homecoming week. Now, she pours a lot of her creativity into her cooking which she is incredible at. (Where did that come from?) A few years ago, she did take a painting class from which I was given a Van Gogh painting that she copied.

This year she did her own interpretation of Margo’s (Grandma’s) Poppies. This picture has so much meaning to my family because my mother is no longer here and now the garage and poppies are gone too.  I love the freeness of this oil painting which she painted entirely with knives.  The colors are bright and it appears as if she enjoyed herself while doing this. I’ll hang this in my office near my “Beth Gogh”.

For my husband she painted a picture of me. It’s a beautiful portrait with some wonderful brush strokes. (I was younger then.)

This is the liyhograph Samanthat agave me as a Mother's Day gift one year.

People often talk about how to raise artistically creative children. I guess if you would ask me what I think, I wouldn’t have too many suggestions. I think it’s important that you expose your children to the arts.  They should be exposed to all sorts works of art and artist. Allow them to experiement. They should see you in the process and enjoying it. I have never felt as if I wanted to push my children into art. One thing that I do know is that children have to feel SAFE to express themselves artistically.  By safe I mean they shouldn’t be criticized or made to feel that their work is not good. They should be allowed to make mistakes and taught to view them as learning experiences. Some may grow up wanting to pursue their artistic talent and some may just use art as an outlet and a way to feel good or to relax.  Either way is fine. Just never forget to remind them that their art for Christmas/birthdays etc. always makes a great gift.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Doggone Sick of Winter- Pastel Challenge 2014-03-01 12:16

Who isn’t DOGGONE sick and tired of winter? But no worries, Spring will officially be here in only 19 days. Until it feels like Spring, I will do one pastel drawing of someone’s beloved pooch each week!  I will stop when Roscoe, Illinois' temperature hits 65 degrees.

So go find your favorite picture of your best canine friend and send it to me via email at and I will randomly pick one each week to draw. Please make sure the photo is close up and clear. I will post all drawings on facebook, twitter and my blog page along with as many dog photos as I can. When the temperature hits 65 I will stop drawing, at which time I will put all the names of the people whose pet I drew in a hat and have my wonderful husband draw a name. That person will receive their drawing in the mail as a thank you for participating. The rest of the drawings will be sold on my Etsy page, Jill Rae Finally Art. You are under no obligation to purchase the drawing if I choose to draw your dog.  (I'll be more than happy to email a copy of the drawing if you can't pull it off of facebook.)