Wednesday, December 31, 2008


11 x 14 inches
colored pencil on pastel board
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

While last year was about experimentation with my art, this year I want to focus. Focus on simplicity. It's something I would like to do in all the parts of my life, from decluttering our home to decluttering my daily routine. I have been into so many things at once that I now feel the need for more concentrated focus as some things are just beginning to feel like distractions getting in my way. So my art goals for 2009 are are really quite straightforward. Most are some type of continuation of my goals from this past year, only distilled down to much more simple terms. Some I can implement right away, while others will require a longer process to get there. However, keeping focused should be a part of that process.

So here is what I have planned for 2009 -

~Continue with drawing practice and keeping a sketchbook including doing Everyday Matters drawing challenges.

~Study artists from history and contemporary artists that I respond to in relation to what I am trying to do with my own work. I have been working on a list of artists to pull from for this study.

~Develop works in a series. This past year I have been all over the place with subject, sizes, and process, (part of my experimentation). I would like to focus on working in a series this year.

~Continue with this blog, of course, but evaluate the various venues I have explored for sales, perhaps streamlining my efforts over time.

~Put together a gallery submission package. This has been on my to-do list for a while. Now with the economy the way it is I don't know just how practical it will actually be to submit work to retail galleries, so I am giving myself a little more time to work on this one.

~Enter 3 exhibits. Notice I lowered my expectations from last year? There were a couple of shows last year that I considered but couldn't talk myself into entering what with paying an entry fee, then the possible cost of shipping and framing, it can really add up. Entry fees alone can really eat up a budget. So three is the goal for this year.

The piece above is drawn from a photo I took while we were at Edisto Island last fall. There were some amazing clouds creating a lot of drama over the ocean. Sorry the image of my finished work isn't better but we have had some dramatic weather here the past couple of days, making photographing art a challenge, to say the least!

Monday, December 29, 2008

145 Days

That's how many days I worked on art this past year. I saw this idea last December on someone's blog, I'm sorry I don't remember where now, but thought it would be a fun way to track my time spent making art this year. So each day's square that is colored in is a day that I did something, worked on a drawing or even just scribbled a sketch in my journal. Of course there are a couple of days left yet this year, so I may color in another square or two before 2009 begins.

So here is my art year in review. Below are the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year.

1. Complete one finished colored pencil piece per month. I actually completed 17 colored pencil pieces, not counting ACEOs. Probably a few more than that but not all made it into my inventory system.

2. Complete one sketchbook piece per month experimenting with various media. Move out of my comfort zone here and play. I did fill one sketchbook and began three more. I did several works in pastel. I also started practicing with watercolor and did try experimenting with drawing in ink, oil pastels, and painting in acrylic with marginal success. No, you didn't see the results of much of this experimentation because that's what they were - experiments. And that was the point- to play. Besides, I don't know how long ago it was that I actually filled a sketchbook, so that was a personal accomplishment for me.

3. Work through the Everyday Matters drawing challenges working in graphite in my small
sketchbook. The purpose here to work on my drawing from life skills, gaining confidence. Did that. And that makes two sketchbooks I finished. Okay, I didn't do every drawing challenge and some that I did do I will never post. Although there were a couple that I completed from photographs most were drawn from life. I can't emphasize enough the importance of drawing from life and how that regular practice has helped me with my confidence with drawing.

4. Develop ACEOs for sales. Did that, too. I made 21 ACEOs for sales, many of these were drawn from life as well.

5. Enter six shows with colored pencil works. Here I didn't meet my goal. I entered only two exhibits, was accepted to one, and that piece did sell at the show.

6. Re-design and update my art website. I got this accomplished right away at the beginning of 2008. I also set up an inventory system for tracking my art work that has been working smoothly for me and has been very helpful this past year.

7.And of course, continue with this blog and posting as regularly as possible. Yep, I did that. Sometimes it seems I could make better use of my time than sitting here at the computer. But the rewards of keeping a blog have thus far exceeded the investment of my time. I find it motivating in that it helps me stay focused on working on my art and the support, along with sharing of ideas with artist friends, is so very valuable.

So how did I do? I am now working on a new set of goals for the new year that I will post soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

ACEO Winter Solstice
2.5 x 3.5 inches
colored pencil on paper
©2008 Ann Thompson Nemcosky
Click here to buy

Today marks the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. I always feel a sense of gathering in during the days leading up to the Winter Solstice. A need to prepare for long, dark, and cold nights and time for reflection on the year that is now nearly past. But the Winter Solstice is also a turning point, and so it is also a time for looking toward the year to come, to plan for the future.

I find it fascinating the many ways cultures all over the world have responded to this particular turning point in the wheel of the year. We have prehistoric sites with stone circles to mark alignment with the path of the sun. Many religions consider this to be a deeply spiritual time of the year, often incorporating light and the return of the sun, from the Chinese festival of Dōngzhì to the Native American Soyalangwul ceremony. Hannukah features a lighted Menorah. And the star on top of the Christmas tree recalls that bright Nativity Star over Bethlehem.

Coming home the other evening a drive through our neighborhood was a brilliant festival of light with all the houses lit up for the season. We chase away the darkness of these longest nights with lighted decorations, just like the bonfires of our ancient ancestors, calling for the return of the sun. So whatever your tradition, I hope this year's winter festivities bring you happiness and peace.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


There it is. I am now caught up with the Everyday Matters drawing challenges. This is for challenge #202, draw a cookie. These are some of the Christmas cookies kiddo and I made the other day, drawn with graphite and watercolor pencils in my journal. We made these using a basic cookie dough recipe I found in a magazine years ago and decorated them with sugar sprinkles. When you are 10, baking cookies is at the top of the list for holiday preparations.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Keeping it all together

Everyday Matters drawing challenge #201, draw a stapler. This was done with graphite and colored pencil in my 5.5 x 8.5 inch landscape format journal. I was using a small 5.5 inch square journal for all of my Everyday Matters drawing challenges. I filled that journal when I completed challenge #199. Now I am undecided just how I want to proceed, which sketchbook to use? As you can see, I did #200 in my Moleskine sketchbook. Now this is in my new, larger journal. What I do know is that doing these drawing challenges has been good for developing my confidence with drawing, especially drawing objects from life. Before starting on the Everyday Matters drawing challenges I would have been intimidated by drawing a stapler, or a figurine. Not so now. Oh, I'll figure out my sketchbook dilemma eventually.Marva, over at Pencil-Paper-Paint surprised me the other day with this lovely award. I have 'met' so many wonderful artists through the Everyday Matters group and Marva is very sweet to pass this award along to me.

Peggy Stermer-Cox, another fantastic artist, tagged me earlier this week. One of the rules is that I must list seven unusual things about myself. So my seven unusual things are:

1. I have a lot of gray hair. A lot. After coloring it myself for years I am now trying growing it out. It's a little scary. I might not be able to stand it. But it's kind of fun too, seeing this transformation. What do you all think - color or no color?

2. In between undergraduate studies and grad school I attended classes at the Art Student's League in New York City. Lived at the West Side Y for that summer. Going to the Art Student's League was one of the best things I ever did. Ever.

3. When I tell a new acquaintance that I homeschool my daughter they seem to usually assume one of two things about me. Well, I am neither.

4. My first paid job was at a plant nursery.

5. I really don't like lima beans.

6. Since my daughter out grew them I rarely get to nap anymore, but I still love taking naps when I can.

7. Background music in stores only makes me crazy and I can't wait to get whatever I am looking for and get out of there.

I don't really have people to tag or to pass the award along to (that I haven't previously awarded or tagged) but I will suggest that you visit the sites of these two terrific artists. It will brighten your day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


This is my drawing for Everyday Matters drawing challenge #200, draw something lucky. I'm a little behind with these but do plan on catching up to the current challenge, #202, very soon, I promise! This is a sketch of my little Laughing Buddha figurine that sits here smiling up at me from right beside my computer. He was a gift a from my daughter. Right behind him I have a card that reads, "everything is already ok". My Laughing Buddha was drawn with graphite and colored pencil in my moleskine sketchbook.

The Laughing Buddha is a representation of contentment and abundance. He is almost always seen carrying a cloth sack, which never empties. The sack is filled with precious items including rice plants symbolizing wealth, candy for children, food, or the woes of the world. He is also usually seen with a begging bowl to represent his Buddhist nature. According to legend, if one rubs the Laughing Buddha's great belly, it brings forth wealth, good luck and prosperity.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Merry Merry

Our holiday cards are finished and will be on their way in a day or two. This year all three of us took part in creating our cards. It was a fun family project. So here is the whole step-by-step process we did to make our works of holiday mail art.

First kiddo applied watercolor to paper in random color washes. You can see she enjoyed this part, paint splatters everywhere! You also get a peek of our kitchen/dining/project/school table with the world map and clear plastic cover.
Next we sprinkled salt onto the wet watercolor washes and watched the magic happen.
Then hubby carved potatoes to make stamps. After brushing the salt off the dried watercolors we cut them into the sizes we needed for our cards.
They were then stamped with hubby's holiday potato stamp designs.
Embellishments were added, letter stamps, silver and gold markers were used, buttons and bows. Each piece was then adhered to the front of a blank greeting card.
And it's a holly jolly season. Merry Merry to you!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Kisses

2.5 x 3.5 inches
colored pencil on paper
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky
Click here to buy

These holiday treats are a tradition at our house. There are few candies that are safe for kiddo because of her peanut allergy, but thankfully these are one kind we trust. Actually Hershey's has pretty good labeling practices. But as with any product it is necessary to read the ingredient label every time before we purchase it, even if we have bought that product 10,027 times already.

This drawing, like the ornament below, is done with Faber-Castell Polychromos on Strathmore 500 Bristol paper. These are fun to do. I have a few more holiday items on my list to draw. Hopefully I will get around to them before the holiday season has passed us by!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's the holiday season

ACEO Ornament
2.5 x 3.5 inches
colored pencil on paper
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky
Click here to buy

The tree is up and fully decorated. The stockings are hung and presents are piling up waiting to be wrapped and shipped off. Everyone is on their best behavior just to be extra sure to stay off the naughty list. And we have been busy making cards to mail. When I get all the photos uploaded I'll share our card production here with you. Next up is baking holiday treats. Yum! My favorite part of the season!

Friday, December 5, 2008


Everyday Matters drawing challenge #199, draw a toe, with graphite in my small journal. Well, you can't really draw just one toe can you? Plus my toes plan on staying warm in my slippers. So, no, I didn't actually follow the directions of the assignment. You can deduct points for that.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I've been playing around

Old Carriage Trail
4.5 x 6.5 inches
colored pencil on paper
©2008 Ann Thompson Nemcosky
Click here to buy

Not like that, silly. I have tried a new paper, (well new for me) and I really like how it accepts colored pencil. It's Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. hot press watercolor paper. For the piece above I used Faber Castell Polychromos, my preferred colored pencil to draw with on paper supports. This paper is very sturdy and took many layers without the little annoying spots catching pigment that I have run into with another hot press watercolor paper. So now I am eager to see how it does with my method of underpainting washes before applying dry colored pencil. Lots of ideas cooking here. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

and being thankful

The turkey and stuffing, marshmallow sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie have all been consumed. Company has departed. But when sketchbooks came out while dinner was being prepared on Thursday afternoon, I remembered that November marks one year of my membership in the Everyday Matters group. You can see my first attempt at an Everyday Matters drawing challenge here. For the image above I chose an orange and a handful of cranberries destined to become cranberry sauce to sketch in watercolor in my sketch journal.

So I just wanted to take a few minutes and mention just how thankful I am to have found this wonderful artists' community. There could not be a more varied and supportive bunch of artists as I have discovered during this last year among their company. And I have felt myself grow as an artist because of the inspiration they provide. So "Thank You" Everyday Matters folks, for all the time you take out of your busy lives to share your art, wisdom, and a bit of yourselves to the rest of us out here, showing that everyday really does matter.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving thanks

Apple I
6.5 x 4.5 inches
colored pencil on sanded pastel paper
©2008 Ann Thompson Nemcosky
Click here to buy

The last couple of days I have been in a cleaning and cooking frenzy preparing for our Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. As I was grumbling over picking up after kiddo and hubby-again- I realized that I do have so much to be thankful for. Family, friends near and far, that's enough.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Noodle doodle

Another Everyday Matters drawing challenge, #198, draw some noodles. This is graphite in my small journal. I love noodles. All kinds. These were left over from our dinner where they were served with my homemade beef stew.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I'm a little more out of it than usual this week. Fighting a cold/flu bug and generally just feeling like ick. Now as I was getting ready to do this week's Everyday Matters drawing challenge I realized I hadn't yet posted last week's, #197, draw a remote. So here it is, graphite in my journal. This remote is one that we have that no longer works. I don't know why we are keeping a remote that doesn't function. But it came in handy when I wanted to do the drawing challenge. You see, between hubby and kiddo I never get to use a TV remote. I have no favorite shows because I never know what is on. Our TV is usually on the golf channel. Or Hannah Montana. This is why I really don't spend much time watching television.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Something different

Low Country
8 x 10 inches
colored pencil on pastel board
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

I have heard that in order to allow something new to come into your life that first you must make room for it by clearing out the old. Makes sense to me. Otherwise where is that something new going to go? So I am preparing for the next thing by clearing out some of the things that may be in the way. My creative ideas need shaking up. Plus I am quickly running out of storage space in my little studio/cubicle where I make my art works. Sorting through my art works the other day I decided to try selling some of these pieces through a blog dedicated to sales. You can see what I have set up here at Ann Thompson Nemcosky. I plan to add an additional piece to sell every few days and I am sure it won't be long before it starts to fill up with art works. If you like you can subscribe to my sales blog so you don't miss any updates.

In the image above I tried a different approach with colored pencil. I acquired a nice set of Prismacolor Art Stix a while back (thanks Donn!) and tried them out with this piece. First I drew the entire image with the art stix on the pastel board, much like how I would approach a pastel painting. In fact, the process seemed almost the same as using pastel. Then I washed all the color with a solvent, softening some of the strokes and filling in all the texture of the board with color. Last, I drew over the image with Coloursofts, adding a few details and tightening it up a bit - but not much, I liked the pastel quality I had going. In fact, some areas I applied very little dry colored pencil. The whole process was quite fast, for a colored pencil work anyway.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jumping rope

Remember those jump rope rhymes? As I drew this for last week's Everyday Matters drawing challenge, (draw a rope) I tried but couldn't remember any of the rhymes we said as kids when jumping rope. So I searched the internet and found loads of them. A few I remembered, most were unfamiliar to me. I noted one I did recall on my journal page with my drawing of a jump rope. I also remember starched smocked dresses with short puffy sleeves, the kind with elastic that cut into my arms. Those dresses with Peter Pan collars and sashes that tied in big bows in the back. And bobby socks with stiff leather black and white saddle shoes. Remember those? It's a wonder little girls in the late sixties could play at all, let alone jump rope dressed like that.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Autumn's splendor

colored pencil on pastel board
8 x 10 inches
©2008 Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Here in our mountains the brilliance of autumn has now given way to the quiet colors of November. This is a sampling of the color we had just a few weeks ago, when I began this piece. All of the leaves and then some are now in our yard. We have a wooded acre with a small area carved out for lawn around our house. Just enough lawn to collect the leaves not only from our trees but probably many other leaves blown in from neighboring trees as well. Hubby and kiddo spent most of the weekend raking. I've been occupied with cooking and baking. Somehow, this time of year inspires me to make huge pots of soup, breads and muffins. A time of gathering in has arrived.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Blue skies

Woke up this morning with this song in my head.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A challenge

Everyday Matters challenge #195, draw a fork, graphite in my small journal. This was a tough challenge. Once I began I was immediately sorry that I chose a top view, getting the perspective of the curve on the fork was beyond me, so this looks a bit wonky. Kiddo was watching me work on this and I mentioned the fork was hard for me to draw. "That's why they call it a challenge," she replied.

We purchased this set of stainless flatware in January of 1998. Hubby and I eloped when we married in 1984, so we never went through the process of picking out china and silverware for a wedding gift registry. That was just as well. Those kinds of decisions are a real challenge for me. As you can see, it took me 14 years to decide on this pattern. Some decisions are easy to make, like should I clean the house or work on a drawing? No brainer. Draw, of course. But deciding on something like a silverware pattern that I will have to look at everyday. For years. Now that is a challenge. We were in Raleigh delivering artwork that January weekend in 1998 and spent the evening strolling through a large mall there. When I spotted this stainless set on sale I knew it was the design I could look at day after day and not grow tired of it. The pattern is called Tribeca. The design still pleases me. That and the fact kiddo was born nine months later leads me to believe the planets must have been lined up just right for me that weekend.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Old Autumn

ACEO October Leaf
colored pencil on paper
3.5 x 2.5 inches
©2008 Ann Thompson Nemcosky
Click here to buy

"I saw old Autumn in the misty morn,
Stand shadowless like silence listening to silence."
-Thomas Hood

Monday, October 27, 2008


Of the familiar. I am catching up here with Everyday Matters drawing challenges. Above is #193, draw a small part of an everyday object as an extreme close-up. My pine cone close up is with graphite in my small journal. Graphite is a very familiar drawing tool for me. I really enjoy sketching and drawing with pencil. So simple and direct.
And here is challenge #194, draw a baked potato. Again, graphite in my small journal. I love baked potatoes, especially with sour cream and chives. And potato soup, fried potatoes, or mashed, all good. Hubby doesn't like potato soup. Kiddo only eats potatoes in two forms, fries and tater tots. So here's what I had on hand to draw for this challenge. They really don't even resemble food. We need to start eating better.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Work to do

A couple more sketches from our get-away last week to the South Carolina coast. Above is a sketch I did while sitting on the beach. The weather was glorious, mid 80's, nice ocean breeze, a beautiful day at the beach. Sketched this in my landscape journal with brown colored pencil then colored with watercolor. Below are a few of the many shells kiddo collected, drawn with watercolor pencils and graphitints, then washed with water in my watercolor Moleskine.

Now that we are back in our mountains I haven't had much motivation for working on art this past week. Hopefully I'll get it together and have some new work to show soon. But I did take care of one very important responsibility today. I voted. If you are a US citizen make sure that you vote too. It's our job.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A get-away week

We have returned from a long weekend get-away to the coast, down at Edisto Island, South Carolina. Our favorite beach destination and always so relaxing that it is now difficult to get back into the bustle of our daily routine. Our week began with Kiddo's 10th birthday celebration. Then packing and driving southeast for a few days of sand and sun. And this was the week that I decided to take Nina up on her challenge to do a journal spread for a week, adding a little each day. Above is my week of sketchbook journaling. The autumn colored leaves in our backyard to the palms of South Carolina. Mostly watercolor with a bit of wrapping paper collage in my journal. The key to our beach cottage is included because of the morning we thought we had lost it on the beach, leaving us locked out of the cottage, only to find it after much distress in our shell collecting bag.
Our rented cottage was very cute with a wonderful screened porch across the front. This quick watercolor sketch is the view from that porch. My favorite spot to sit and watch the world not going by along the palmetto lined boulevard.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Apples ACEO
2.5 x 3.5 inches
colored pencil on paper
©2008 Ann Thompson Nemcosky
Click here to buy

This year we have lots of apples in our Southern mountains. Not so last year. A freeze the previous spring wiped out the entire apple crop in our region. However this year the apples trees are heavy with abundant fruit, and apples adorn the roadside stands and markets. I couldn't resist doing at least one drawing celebrating the return of our apples.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's that time of year

When I start thinking seriously about holiday gift giving. Oh, I know it's only October, but I do like to plan ahead. Mostly because I don't enjoy becoming overwhelmed at the last minute with too many gifts to buy and things to do. I have always been one to make many of the gifts I give, not only for the holidays but also throughout the year for birthdays and other occasions.

So I spent a good deal of time yesterday putting together some new items for my CafePress store. Here is a sampling of my two favorites. My colored pencil piece, "On The Forest Floor" as a framed tile and a twelve month wall calendar. You will have to visit my CafePress store to see all of the items I have available.

Each month in the calendar features a different colored pencil painting that I created during the last year or so. When I thought of making a calendar I wasn't sure whether I would have enough pieces for 12 months. Then I started looking through my images and realized that I had more than enough. Enough works to edit down (not so easy) to my favorites, one for each month.
I also opened a gallery at ImageKind. You can find the link on my side bar. This is something I had wanted to do for some time, having seen this service on other artists' blogs. So here are two of the four images I have available for prints and greeting cards at ImageKind. If there is a work of mine that you would be interested in purchasing as a print, please let me know by emailing me (contact info is at right in the sidebar) and I will be sure to add it to my gallery at ImageKind.

Edisto Dune
©2008 Ann Thompson Nemcosky

©2008 Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Friday, October 10, 2008

Time floats

Or maybe it's just me, floating through time. This is for Everyday Matters challenge #192, draw something that floats. My daughter's rubber ducky drawn in graphite in my small journal. Even though she is now too old for bath toys, we still have this hanging around. I found it in our laundry room. Somewhere along the line kiddo outgrew bath toys and they migrated to other parts of the house. I don't even know when that happened. While I was looking the other way she grew from toddler to girl. In a few days she will turn 10. Ten! Ten years gone by just like that. I wouldn't trade them for the world.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Basil and tomatoes

ACEO Basil
3.5 x 2.5 inches
colored pencil on paper
©2008 Ann Thompson Nemcosky
Click here to buy

Garden Roma Tomatoes
watercolor in Moleskine sketchbook

The last of our garden bounty. Our basil plants did very well this year. Our tomato plants not so much. Gardening in our mountain climate is a challenge. Short, cool summers and our southern clay soil make for tough gardening conditions. Among avid gardeners in our area, growing vegetables is a competitive sport. Our little patch of basil, parsley, and tomatoes doesn't even meet the local qualifications to compete. But I did make some nice pesto, enough to freeze a few batches. And last week we enjoyed a tasty tomato and basil spaghetti sauce. We have already experienced some rather frosty mornings so it's time to say goodbye to the garden until next year.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sigh. . . . . . . .

Everyday Matters challenge #191, draw some paper money
graphite in small journal


I have been woefully behind in acknowledging my appreciation for receiving all of these lovely awards from fellow bloggers. So here is my new collection of sparkly awards. Thank you so much!From Delph at Kazumiwannabe
From Terri at Life With Terri
And from Rachel at The Jacobite Rose (sorry it has taken me so long to post this Rachel!)

I am honored to receive these awards. And I appreciate everyone who takes the time to stop in and leave comments. As I plod along with my artistic ventures it is very encouraging to read such kind remarks, especially when I can get so wrapped up in my own little day-to-day stuff. As I have said before, keeping a blog for my art is very motivating to keep going, try out new things, and share in the process.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Virtual Sketch Date

Before I write anything else I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post. All of your kind and encouraging comments are greatly appreciated!

Now here is my entry for this month's Virtual Sketch Date. And my first time participating in this project. So I gave it a few tries. Then not sure which of my attempts to post I decided what the heck, I'll just post them all here.

First I sketched a cropped version of the image, a Tree Peony provided by Sharon. I did this one with colored pencils in my Moleskine journal.

Then I did an ink sketch in my watercolor Moleskine and splashed about with watercolors. Not being particularly thrilled with that I tried just watercolor, no preliminary drawing.
This one loses some accuracy in form but oh well. It was fun to play with this image.


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