Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thinking about it

Sims Pond
Neocolor II and colored pencil on Arches HP
5.5 x 7.5 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

I didn't mean to take so long before posting again. Time flies by so fast these days. Thank you to all who commented on my last post. I really appreciate all of your supportive comments!

This is another of my mixed media studies using washed Neocolor II crayons and then dry colored pencil on top. The view is of Sims Pond, from one of our Parkway excursions last month. Doing these studies makes me want to paint. Just paint. And draw. I have lots of ideas lately, lots of works in my head that I wish didn't take so long to actually do.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Apple Time

colored pencil on Rising Museum Board
5.5 x 6.5 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky
Click here to buy

This is my drawing in response to Jeanette Jobson's apple challenge. I really enjoyed doing this still life and may try doing more sometime soon. I worked a little differently in terms of how I used color to show the form of the apples and was pleased with the result.

With my background in painting I was taught to create neutrals with complements to get the color to recede. And with my colored pencil landscape drawings I will typically use complementary colors to create depth and liven shadows. I recently read in the July/August issue of Artist's Magazine an article about the artist Colin Berry and his technique for creating his luminous still life paintings. In the article he explained why he doesn't follow that rule and instead uses neutrals directly. I was intrigued by his explanation and gave it a try here with my apples. It's a way of working with color, particularly when doing a still life, that I definitely want to explore further.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Autumn Equinox

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

As we step into Autumn I try to hold on to the summer sun just a little longer. This art card is from an image of the sunrise through the sea oats on the South Carolina coast of Edisto Island, my favorite place to catch the sun.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Coming into focus

colored pencil on paper
4.5 x 6.5 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

This is a drawing that I began quite a while ago, before I got sidetracked with things like making a planner and experimenting with combining watercolor crayons and colored pencil. All good stuff but sometimes I feel I am making little progress moving forward, just jumping around from one idea to another without direction. I do have a lot of ideas for works I would like to do. I just seem to be having trouble settling into one train of thought in order to explore each idea fully. I began this year with the concept of "focus" and that seems to be exactly what I am lacking these days. When I returned to this drawing determined to finish it up I was reminded of Georgia O'Keeffe and her flowers and what she had to say about looking, really looking at a flower. Having focus, if only briefly.

"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment.
I want to give that world to someone else.
Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower.
I want them to see it whether they want to or not."
-Georgia O'Keeffe

Monday, September 14, 2009


graphite on Strathmore 500 Bristol
4.5 x 6.5 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

This is what I worked on yesterday. Brandy was my aunt's little companion. Sadly, Brandy is no longer with us. But my aunt had Brandy for a very long time and I know she was very devoted to her little companion. I hope I have captured Brandy well enough with my drawing. I will be sending her off to my aunt soon as a surprise. And no, I'm not at all worried about her seeing the drawing here first as I am sure my aunt has no use for computers or the internet.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Homeschool Planner

Creative thinking at work or what I do in my "spare" time. A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a planner book to use for our homeschool lessons. I searched high and low but couldn't find anything that really offered what I need to plan our weekly lessons. And I am getting tired of loose pages of notes all over the place. I really wanted something that would keep everything together in one place. Now I sometimes get free-lance work doing book design so I figured I could just make my own. I wanted it printed on a little heavier paper than regular copier paper, and with a sturdier cover, so I called our local office store to see what they would charge for printing and to make it coil bound so it would lay flat when opened. That was pretty pricey so I started looking online at the print-on-demand services. I found that Lulu could do exactly what I wanted at a much more resonable cost. I have received my copy and it is perfect. I am impressed with the quality of printing, it looks great.

Sometimes people question our decision to homeschool, or even the whole idea of homeschooling as an educational choice. Our common experience of having attended school makes it very difficult to imagine any other way of learning. Initially our decision was based on Kiddo's severe peanut allergy. Our local school system had no experience with kids that have food allergies and they still have only one nurse for an entire system of eight elementary schools and one high school covering an area of over 30 rural mountain miles. But now, our decision means so much more to us. It has become a way of life, a part of our day-to-day that has a natural rhythm and flow. As I sit here typing this Kiddo is working on another computer doing her math lesson, on her own for the most part, a big step towards self-directed learning. A skill that will take her far.

“I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays, and have things arranged for them, that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.”
- Agatha Christie

For a while now I have been enjoying reading Zen Habits
, and was delighted with this article on the topic of education.

“Our culture lies. They say they want to encourage and reward individuality and creativity, but in practice they try to hammer down the pointy parts, and shame off the different parts.”
– Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle
colored pencil in 5 x 8 inch Moleskine sketchbook
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

This is my entry for September's Monthly Sketch Project, a building at Glamis Castle, the photo reference provided by Jennifer Rose of Fuzzy Dragons. Jennifer has generously taken over the popular Virtual Sketch Date and created the Monthly Sketch Project. Click on the link if you are interested in participating.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Something that has scared me

I know there are a lot of things in this world that are truly scary. Things that we should be frightened by. But these innocent looking fish are what I chose for Everyday Matters challenge #239, draw something that has scared you. (I found the photo reference on Wet Canvas, from Gallery318.) Sure, fish are supposed to be calming, beautiful to look at even, but they give me the creeps. I don't want to swim with fish. I do, however, enjoy eating fish. Just as long as someone else has done the hard work of catching and cleaning it beforehand.

Maybe it's because fish tanks were always a part of the doctor and dentist's office decor when I was growing up that I learned to mistrust fish. Or that when I was really young we had a small aquarium in our home, with guppies. The guppies quickly multiplied. I named each and every one "Charlie". Well, I was only 4 or 5 at the time. Then one of the original Charlies ate all the other Charlies. It was devastating. When Kiddo wanted a fish I made it clear that I would have nothing to do with its care. She was probably 4 or 5 at the time. So the Professor bought a small tank and a couple of gold fish. Kiddo was devastated when one of the fish died. Late one evening the second fish leaped out of the tank and I had to be the one that discovered it dead on the floor. How gross. Had to get the Professor to perform last rites for that one. Fish are just creepy.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Yet again

At Bodie Light
Neocolor II and colored pencil
approximately 7 x 10 inches on Arches HP
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

This is a view of a waterway through the marshes surrounding the Bodie Lighthouse on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Yet another in the experimental series I am currently obsessed with. There is much more dry colored pencil worked over the Neocolor II washes on this one than what I did with the previous piece. I am enjoying the process of allowing the work suggest what I do, as opposed to more closely following a reference. Colored pencil tends to be a very tightly controlled medium. Working this way feels like letting go of those constraints just a bit.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First aid

This is my drawing for last week's Everyday Matters drawing challenge #238, something you'd find in a first aid kit. This is what I always carry with me in my purse. It's Kiddo's Epi-pens, a few packets of Benadryl, and some band-aids. The Epi-pens are because of her allergy to peanut. The Benadryl is just in case, and I believe moms are supposed to carry band-aids. Every so often the Epi-pens expire and we get the prescription renewed. The old, unused Epi-pens are triumphantly thrown out. Such a relief.


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