Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tag, I'm It!

First though, here is my Everyday Matters challenge for this week, #156, draw something with steps. This was done in graphite in my small hand.book journal. This is of a set of stairs that belongs with my daughter's doll house. Several years ago hubby and I made this doll house for kiddo as a Christmas gift. I sketched the plans, he built it, and we both painted it. It is designed to look like our own house. We ordered the dolls, furniture, these stairs, and even the pets, like the little doggie perched on the steps in my drawing. The perspective in my drawing looks a bit wonky, but there it is.

Now, for having been tagged. This is my first time so please bear with me. I was tagged by Rose Welty, of Rose's Art Lines. Rose has a fascinating blog about her art and the artistic process. I always come away from her blog with something new to think about in relation to my own art.

The first requirement of having been tagged is to post five things you probably don't know about me. So here you go.

1. I am the parent that causes other parents to roll their eyes for being so neurotically over protective. Partly because I was 39 when kiddo was born. But because of her peanut allergy I am afraid for her life ~ every ~ single ~ day. If she ate one peanut it would surely kill her. Or even one fourth of a peanut. Or a hundredth. (How small is that?) If you touched a peanut and then touched say a table and kiddo came along and touched that same place on that table and then rubbed her eye, for example, she could have a deadly allergic reaction. I know this because I have read where this has happened to other highly allergic kids. (See peanut allergy.com) When I told her allergist that I am so protective that other parents roll their eyes he said, "Good." When he asked about school and I said we are homeschooling he said, "Good." Every day when kiddo is safely tucked in her bed at night is a wonderfully successful day. My name and the word "peanut" are the two things I am sure to hear across a crowded room.

2. Speaking of crowded rooms - they usually make me uncomfortable. I'm a shy person and a homebody. I love having visitors just don't make me go out and socialize. Or dance.

3. I don't like to drive. Because of this I drive a Subaru Forester. I had my first Forester for 9 years and recently traded for a new model. Nothing big or flashy for me. This is the car for people who don't like to drive. Really. It says so in the Subaru brochure.

4. I am spiritual but not religious. I took a survey on Beliefnet.com and my top match was NeoPaganism. Hmmmm. . . .

5. I have been married for 24 years to the same great guy.

The other requirement of having been tagged is that I am to tag five people. Please don't worry if you don't want to participate that's fine. Or if you have already been tagged and don't want to do it again, that's okay too.

1. Wendy Shortland
Wendy is a very talented artist from Sydney, Australia, that I met through the Everyday Matters group. I enjoy regularly reading her blog as she is always trying something new. Check out her fabulous watercolors and sketchbook drawings.

2. Rita Woodburne
Rita is a colored pencil artist from Canada that I got to know through Wet Canvas. She does awesome colored pencil drawings and her blog is always an entertaining read.

3. Nina Johansson
Nina is another artist I have come to know through the Everyday Matters group. She is in Stockholm, Sweden and creates wonderful art works with a variety of media but always with an eye toward drawing.

4. Jessica Stride
I also got to know Jessie's work through the Everyday Matters group. She is
from the UK and another mom/artist. Jessie does incredible things with color in her paintings. They just take my breath away!

5. Starr
Starr is my art goal buddy from the Everyday Matters group. This year anyone who wanted to participate could sign up for a goal buddy from the group. Goal Buddys were assigned at random and the purpose is that checking in regularly with a goal buddy will help you stay on track with your art goals for the year. Starr is from my home state of Ohio and is a very motivating Goal Buddy! She has been doing some terrific sketchbook drawings and I always look forward to checking in at her blog to see what is new.

And there you have it. The rules for tagees are that you link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog. Share five random facts about yourself on your blog. Then tag five people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. Don't forget to let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Now that wasn't so bad, was it?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Winter Skies

Winter Sunset ACEO
2.5 x 3.5 inches
colored pencil on paper
copyright 2008 by Ann Thompson Nemcosky

A new week and a new start on one of my 2008 art goals to create ACEOs. I have been practicing with this small format, and it is a challenge to work this small. Since I first discovered ACEOs I have been intrigued by the concept. Artist Cards Editions & Originals with the only requirement being the size must remain 2.5 x 3.5 inches. An affordable way for anyone to build an art collection.

This drawing is from a winter view off our back deck at sunset. I love the tangle of trees reaching skyward and the brilliant sky behind.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Now just where did the week go?

EDM Challenge # 154 - Draw a Lemon
graphite in small hand.book journal

I am really not sure what happened to the time this week. We had our daily homeschool lessons, we had snow and ice which resulted in sledding and a gunked up driveway and we had hot chocolate. I had graphic design proofs to send, emails to answer and files to create and deliver, bills to pay and groceries to get before the snow came. There were dance classes to drive to and library books to get for social studies work. And the usual laundry, meals to cook and house to clean. Pretty typical week really.

I did finally get around to this week's EDM challenge though. Draw a lemon. Lemons remind me of sunshiny warm days. It's 8 degrees outside right now. It's nice to be reminded that warm days will return in due time.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Draw something wrapped in plastic. . .

This was the challenge this past week for the Everyday Matters group. And a tough challenge it was too! It took me all week to decide on a subject and then gather the courage to make the drawing. I chose to do a tangerine in a plastic bag. (In case you're wondering what that is.) I'm not especially satisfied with the result, the subject seems pretty difficult to read. The problem is trying to see the tangerine 'through' the plastic bag and without just seeing the plastic. And of course not only does the tangerine have highlights and shadows but the plastic bag has all those wrinkles of highlights and shadows as well. Yeah, I got confused too when I was drawing it! (And I do apologize for the poor scans of these drawings. My little sketchbook is too thick for my scanner to close properly so every drawing scanned from it has that shadowed area. Oh well.)

On another note I did cross off one of my 2008 art goals from my list this week. I finally got around to setting up a gallery site for my art.
You can take a peek here- www.nemcoskyart.com
After checking out other artists' websites for inspiration I decided to go with a web site building service rather than creating my own from my old, out-dated web design software. It was very easy to set up and will be simple to keep up with down the road. And since becoming a web designer is not on my list of things to do this is all I need at the moment. Plus look at the time I'm saving for making art rather than struggling with building web pages from scratch! Yippee!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Still Life and Other Stuff

Onions and Garlic
colored pencil on paper
3.5 x 2.5 inches
copyright 2008 by Ann Thompson Nemcosky

I have been reading
Finding Your Visual Voice, A Painter's Guide to Developing An Artistic Style by Dakota Mitchell. This book is a perfect read for me right now. Although it says it's a 'Painter's Guide' I find the topics covered relative to any 2-D media as the subject of the book really is about exploring and discovering your unique visual preferences for image making. The author encourages the reader to look past what might be perceived as expectations of others and find what is truly your voice in art making. Also the book provides exercises to help the reader along in the process. I am slowly working through those. (If the above link does not work you will also find a link to this title in the side bar on the right)

I am often faced with the challenge of how I want to approach my art. From what media and in what 'style' do I find the most satisfaction. Reading along in "Finding Your Visual Voice" I realized that in the past my 'style' of painting usually reflected what I believed was expected from others more than what felt right to me. Not that I didn't get a sense of satisfaction from my working methods but the motivation to do things in a certain way were more from external forces than internally created by me. And I wonder if the painting media itself was part of that external force. Now that I am focusing on drawing I do feel more comfortable with the process. I enjoy paint, the look and feel of it. And the color possibilities are exciting to me as well. But drawing is more comforting to me at present. Painting was a very active engagement with the materials and process while I find drawing to be more meditative. And this is a quality I am more at home with at present.

It is interesting to me the ebb and flow of my artistic preferences over the years and how those preferences relate to everything else happening in my life. Another topic covered in the book, besides methods of working, is subject matter. Now the 'what' of my artwork has been remained consistent. In art school of course we covered everything. Lots of still life and figure work. But since leaving school I have for the most part focused on landscape images. I like the practice of drawing objects, as in the image above or with the Everyday Matters challenges, but I eventually gravitate toward landscape. Once finished with school and settled into domestic life with my new husband (the art professor) I remember doing some of my first landscapes in pastels. And I remember his comment, "what are you going to do with those?" So I put away those drawings and completed a new body of work on another subject that I actually did end up exhibiting and selling most of the pieces. They were all images of chairs. Then I did a fairly successful non-objective series of paintings. I tried various methods for interpreting landscape, color field images and such. Well, you get the picture. Now that I have returned to art making I am once again back with landscape as a subject. It feels right to me for now. So you probably won't be seeing any more still lifes, like the image posted above, from me for a while. Except for my Everyday Matters challenges of course. Which I need to get busy with right now!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Another Saturday

Here it is the end of another week and although I didn't get to everything I wanted to do this week I have several ideas at the starting gates. One huge chore I managed to accomplish was to organize all my files and images on my computer. Up until now I had no system for keeping track of art work images or design projects. So now I feel much better having a system in place that will hopefully help things go a lot more smoothly. And speaking of design work, it seems the jobs are piling up around here, keeping me quite busy. It's good and I know the work won't last but so long so I am holding many ideas I have for my own art work on reserve for when the design work ebbs again.

January is also a time when I re-evaluate where we are in our homeschool year. It's a half way point and a good time to revisit goals from the start of our school year and see where I need to focus more energy and add emphasis to areas that remain weak in kiddo's learning. And to marvel at the accomplishments that have been made to be sure those aren't lost in the shuffle. Much like my creative endeavors, homeschooling can become too much a routine and sometimes needs a good airing out.

Here I have two EDM challenges, #152, Draw a Nut, and #2, Draw a Lamp. These are both graphite in my small hand.book journal. As I work through these I can sense that even though I still have problems with perspective and proportion the drawing process is becoming easier for me. The lamp is one of two I have attached to my drawing table. Most of my art work time is at night, so good lighting is important. The acorn is from one of our oak trees. We had an awful lot of acorns in our yard this past fall. This little acorn has been sitting on the kitchen windowsill since then. There are no edible nuts in our house for obvious reasons.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


January on Rich Mountain
graphite and colored pencil on paper
6 x 6 inches
copyright 2007 by Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Here is my brief review of 2007 and new art goals for 2008. When transferring to my 2008 desk calendar I looked at my list of goals for 2007 that I had hastily jotted down last January and my art goals were to 'make art'. Yep. Just that simple.

Well. Here's what happened with that. Last year I received a set of 24 Prismacolor pencils
for Christmas. I had previously been doing graphite pencil drawings and was thinking it was time I returned to making art on a more regular basis after many years of doing very little art work. In fact, over those past eight or nine years I had completed only as many artworks. It was all hit or miss. Usually misses. But I wanted to get back to making art. Drawing with graphite was a method I settled on as that fit my life, with no studio space and very little free time it is portable and there are no timing issues. After spotting an article on colored pencil artists I was intrigued and put colored pencils on my Santa list.

So it was just about a year ago that I first tried colored pencil on the drawing shown above. That led to more research about colored pencil techniques and colored pencil artists. After having a few false starts trying to get back into painting over those years I had finally found a way to make art that fit my limited space and time. Although I enjoy drawing in graphite my background is in painting and here was a way to incorporate color into my work.

Purple Cone Flower
colored pencil on paper
5 x 7 inches
copyright 2007 by Ann Thompson Nemcosky

My research into colored pencil was exciting for me. I began practicing with this new medium. Last spring I discovered and joined the online group, WetCanvas, where I jumped in with the monthly challenges on the colored
pencil forum. I started keeping a sketch book again. After receiving a camera for Mother's Day I began collecting images for photo references. During the course of the year I set monthly goals for my drawing. One month I concentrated on flowers. Then trees and later skies studies. I began this blog last August and find keeping up with posting to be very motivating for keeping up with my art work. Then in October I joined Everyday Matters and began working on my drawing skills some more. The support I receive here and through these groups is so encouraging and I truly appreciate every bit of it.

Whalehead Sound

colored pencil on pastel paper
7 x 5 inches
copyright 2007 by Ann Thompson Nemcosky

So here I am. I did complete a good amount of art works this past year. Now it's time for setting art goals for 2008.

1. Complete one finished colored pencil piece per month.

2. Complete one sketchbook piece per month experimenting with various media.
Move out of my
comfort zone here and play.

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.

4. Develop ACEOs for sales.

5. Enter six shows with colored pencil works.

6. Re-design and update my art website

7.And of course, continue with this blog and
posting as regularly as possible.
Looking Up
colored pencil and Neocolor II on pastel board
6 x 12 inches
copyright 2007 by Ann Thompson Nemcosky

And that's it. I have the habit of setting goals too high and too many and then becoming overwhelmed into inactivity. So I have tried to keep these very reasonable considering I am also homeschooling my 9 year old daughter, keeping her active in various activities and still getting free-lance design work from time to time. I need the design work, well my pocket book does, and homeschooling is my primary job right now. But I am also preparing for the possibility that I just might be able to get somewhere with my artwork. That's plan A anyway. There is no plan B. Just another one of those impossible things I like to believe each day before breakfast.


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