Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Toys!

I got two new art toys this past week! It is so exciting having new art materials and these new additions to my 'studio' are no exception. The first is a small sketchbook that I picked up from the sale table at a local art supplier. I have to admit that I really wanted it because of its' nice blue cover. This is a small, 5.5 inch square sketchbook put out by Global Art. It is hardbound with a cloth cover and opens flat. The cream colored paper is acid free with pretty good tooth. Called "Travel•e•logue journals" I liked the size, easy to drop into my bag and take along.

Which is what I did today. I tried it out with this week's EDM challenge #147, to draw something made of wood. I packed this sketchbook along with a wooden spoon from my kitchen and did this quick drawing while waiting for kiddo during one of her classes. I chose the wooden spoon because I enjoy cooking, especially this time of year. Soups and stews bubbling in a big pot on the stove, made from scratch and stirred by this wooden spoon. Keeps our family warm
on a chilly winter's day.

My other new toy is a Tool Turn-About that is sold by Pampered Chef. I had heard that these were nice for storing colored pencils, so when I came across a Pampered Chef catalog one day in the lobby of kiddo's dance school, well, you can imagine my excitement. I felt ready for a step up from my plastic plant 6-pack that I had been using to organize my colored pencil collection. And now that I have my pencils all organized in the Turn-About I am glad I made this particular studio upgrade. It has room for all my colored pencils and then some yet takes up much less space than my petunia 6-pack did on my small supply shelf. And it spins!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pumpkin Pie Memories

The EDM challenge this week was very appropriately to draw a favorite food. So here is my EDM challenge #146, Ken's Pumpkin Pie, done in graphite in my sketch book.
The challenge for me with this was was more about choosing what to draw and then finding the time in between preparing for the holiday and enjoying the holiday to make a sketch. But I did manage to get in this sketch before the pie was completely gone. I chose the pumpkin pie not only because our friend, Ken, makes delicious pies, but also because of the associations I have with pie and our friendship with Ken. We have been celebrating Thanksgiving with him for many years now. Making a pie has become a ritual as one of his contributions to the feast. It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving at our house without Ken and one of his wonderful pies!

Another ritual we have is to go out the day after Thanksgiving and select our Christmas/Yule tree from a local Christmas tree farm. No matter what the weather, this must be done. We trudge around in the cold among hundreds of fraser firs looking for the perfect tree to take home. Every year we are fooled by the size. The trees always look much smaller growing in the field than in the corner of our living room. This year was no exception. It was bitter cold. And the tree we picked is huge. Huge. And then there is the issue of our springer spaniel, Sammie. Also known as He Who Cannot Be Trusted. Last year as a puppy he spent his time in a crate when we were away from the house. Then this past summer he let us know in no uncertain terms, that he really didn't want to be in a crate when we were away. Now we have a ten foot tree in the living room where He Who Cannot Be Trusted has easy access any time he wants. Our plan, and it's the best we have come up with so far, is to place the very dreaded canister vacuum as a barrier around the tree when we go out. Sammie is very afraid of the vacuum cleaner. It just might work. I'll let you know.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Leaves in the autumn came tumbling down,
Scarlet and yellow, russet and brown,
Leaves in the garden were swept in a heap,
Trees were undressing ready for sleep.
-Author Unknown

Here's my EDM challenge #145, "A Tree in Autumn". It's with watercolor and colored pencil in my Aquabee sketchbook done from memory of a view I see almost daily when driving back home from town. Unfortunately my paper became a little too wet and of course my 9 x 12 inch sketchbook barely fits on my scanner, so I apologize for the poor quality scan.

"A Tree in Autumn" was not an easy task for me here this week. At the start of the week Autumn packed its bags and left our part of the mountains and Winter wasted no time moving right in. After a few days of cold drizzle we had snow flurries on Thursday and into Friday, temps in the 20s and winds gusting over 50 miles an hour. Ah, November. But on Wednesday all was calm in the late afternoon while driving home. With heavy blue-gray clouds overhead
the sun was low and casting a warm light on the surrounding hillsides and all the remaining russet leaves were glowing in the November light. That is what I tried to capture here from memory.

I love the colors of November probably more than any other month. You can see at the bottom of my sketch my color swatches in watercolor. Gray-blue skies, sap green hills waving ochre grasses, bare purple branches dancing beside fully clothed pines and russet leaves shining like a new penny in the low November light. As I was driving home on Wednesday with kiddo in the backseat, I was reminded of a poem we had read for her school work that described "russet" colored leaves. At the time I had given her an explanation of what "russet" was, but now we could experience the russet leaves in a marvelous glowing light.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I believe I've got it this time. Went back to "Nemcosky Art" for the header and added the more personal. "Ann's Notes from the Studio". Not that I didn't like "Ann's Art Journal", but after looking it over and realizing that lots of artists use 'Art Journal' in their blog title I wasn't entirely comfortable with that. Although 'Art Journal' is a great title as it states exactly what this blog is about, journaling the creative process, I did feel I should be a little more unique. Where as there are many Ann's, you have to admit that 'Nemcosky' is unique as far as names go.

Now I did wonder about the 'Studio' part though. In my dreams I imagine a large, well lit room with big windows and minimal furnishings, maybe even a nice fireplace and a cozy chair, and lots of storage space for all my art supplies to be ever so neatly organized. Hmmmm. . . My worn Webster's defines 'studio' as 1. An artist's place of work. 2. A place where an art is studied or taught.

Well. As you can see in the photo my little corner in our 3rd bedroom does qualify as this artist's place of work. Clutter and all. Living in a small house we have learned to adapt what space we do have for many uses. This small room is not only my 'studio' but also home to our computers and my daughter's art supplies and shelves of toys. With an air mattress on the floor it functions as a guest bedroom too. A closet holds all my sewing and needlework stuff, except for my current crochet project which you can see in the basket on the floor in the foreground right under my daughter's pants that need a button sewn on. Our kitchen and dining area is also a school room complete with a blackboard, a wall of bookshelves that serves as a library, science and craft center, oh, and we cook and eat there too. Somehow it all works.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

What's In A Name?

Doughton Trail II
watercolor pencil wash and colored pencil on paper
3.5 x 2.5 inches

copyright 2007 by Ann Thompson Nemcosky
click here to buy

Welcome to my ongoing identity crisis. You may have noticed that I changed the banner above from "Nemcosky Art" to read "Ann's Art Journal". Yep, that was me. You see, when I began this blog back in August it was intended for both me and dear hubby as a place to document our art. This was the reasoning behind choosing a name that would work for us both. But this has really been my blog from the start, so I decided to change the banner title to reflect that. I am encouraging dear hubby to set up his own blog for the sake of his wonderful art. Which goes back to the name thing. I'm terrible at picking titles, choosing names, and basically just making any kind of decision. Because of that it is not unlikely that I will change the name yet again when I'm feeling insecure about just what the heck it is I'm doing anyway. I still don't even know what I want to be when I grow up. Now how bad is that?

Friday, November 9, 2007

EDM Challenge #144 - draw something square

Here is my post for this week's Everyday Matters drawing challenge #144 - "draw something square". I really struggled over this challenge as anything "square" I came up with simply did not inspire me to sketch. I did find a little drawing time while waiting in the car for kiddo while she was attending one of her classes this week. Since I had these caramel candies left over from Halloween and making caramel dip for apples, I placed them on the dash and squinted into the low light of the late afternoon. I used graphite and colored pencil for this sketch. It did not turn out as I had hoped, but as it's already Friday evening and I haven't done another, there it is. What I am pleased with is that I am managing to put something in my sketchbook on a regular basis due to inspiration from the Everyday Matters group.

"If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." - Sir Ken Robinson

Saturday, November 3, 2007

At The Water's Edge - Finished!

At The Water's Edge
colored pencil and Neocolors on pastel board
6 x 6 inches
copyright 2007 by Ann Thompson Nemcosky

I believe this one is now finished. Although I reserve the right to make some minor adjustments, I'm going to let this rest a while. I think this is the most complex image I have yet attempted and I did enjoy working on this one. Now to get started on something else!

I have been fiddling around with the look of this blog. Like I don't have a million other things I could be doing! And no, I am not trying to confuse anyone, I just have trouble making up my mind when it comes to choosing a template and colors. Plus I thought I'd try adding an image to the header. I'm not sure how well it works this way, but I'm leaving it as is for now. What do you all think?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Take Thyme

I joined the discussion group, Everyday Matters, as I thought it would be the inspiration I need to start drawing with more frequency in my sketchbook. They have these weekly challenges, and this week's was to draw an herb or spice. So here is my entry for challenge # 143. This is a sprig of thyme, one of the last surviving herbs, from my woefully neglected herb garden. My plan was to begin with a graphite pencil sketch and then add color with my colored pencils. As I was drawing I became so involved with pencil shading and finding all those tiny little leaves that the colored pencils never appeared. It was fun to draw with just graphite again - haven't done that in a while.

And running through my head while drawing this sprig of thyme were all the associations I could think of for the word 'time'. Weird, I know. There's summertime, wintertime, nighttime, breakfast time, dinner time, time of day, all the time, overtime, out of time, time's up, end of time, noontime,playtime, nap time, standard time, time line, springtime, bedtime, lunchtime, last time, one time,
once upon a time, time out, time to go.

Back to the subject of sketchbooks, I wanted to share this book again, Art Escapes , by Dory Kanter. I just love the way she takes you through the creative process of keeping an art journal. Her book is full of ideas, methods, and helpful tips and her examples of art work I found very inspiring without leaving me overwhelmed. And she has great ideas for making kits for keeping all your art supplies organized and ready to go. I would recommend this book to anyone, whether new to the artistic process or more experienced and needing a jump start of inspiration.

And one final note for today, kiddo collected $50. last evening on her Trick-or-Treat for Food Allergy campaign! You know we are proud parents!


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