Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunrise Noise

Sunrise Noise
oil on canvas
6 x 6 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Here is # 53 of my 100 painting project. It is from a familiar walkway out to the beach from where we often stay at Edisto Beach, SC. I sure am missing those early morning beach walks these days. We have had a tough January here at Blue Bird Hill. I am celebrating this last day of January and happily moving on into February. And you know, February 2nd marks the half-way point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Yay!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wintery sketching

This is a view looking out my living room window. Even though this sketch is more than a week old, the view is still pretty much the same. Yes, the ground rises up from our house to the road, and then continues on up beyond that. Here in the mountains there is really no level ground. You may notice the bit of a leaning tree in the upper left of my sketch. After the terrible winter storms of last year, leaning trees are a fairly common sight still, in our area. This winter has been a little calmer, storm-wise, although we have had plenty of snow already. I sketched this scene with Neocolor II crayons, washed with water.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Now and Then

Now and Then
oil on canvas
6 x 8 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Here is #52 of my 100 painting project. This is a scene taken from a sketch outing last August. Yep, I am missing those summer days. At the same time, I want to savor every moment of the right here that is right  now. Just every now and then during these cold and gray winter days, a walk in warm sunshine would be so nice.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Comfort food

Sometimes it's just what you need. 

Chocolate chip cookies sketched in pencil and watercolor in my hand made sketchbook. I'm a little behind in my postings but hope to catch up soon!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A little scribbling

Daniel Boone Gardens
colored pencil on pastel board
5 x 7 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Here's a piece that I did last week using pastel board. It has been quite some time since I have used this support for colored pencil and when I found a stray pastel board while rummaging around my supplies looking for something else (naturally) I decided to have a little fun.
I first sketched my composition onto the pastel board with Neocolor II water soluble crayons. I wanted to keep the feel of the piece loose and impressionistic. I intentionally chose bold colors for this underpainting step, knowing that the translucent nature of colored pencil would allow some of this highly saturated color to influence the colors placed on top. After I had scribbled in my areas of color, I washed the Neocolor with water. Above is what it looked like after that step, when the washes had dried.
 Then I went in with colored pencil. I prefer Derwent Coloursoft colored pencils when working on sanded surfaces. They are softer than my usual Faber-Castell Polychromos. Because of their softness, Coloursofts behave more like pastel pencils on the sanded surface of the pastel board. An effect that I like. My only regret with the process that I used for this piece is that I wished I hadn't started with such a dark blue in the sky. I would have liked the sky to be a lighter value at the end, something I couldn't achieve once I had that darker value of blue in place with the Neocolor wash. Oh well. It was a fun piece to play around with. And I am happy that I had the restraint to stop before I refined to many areas with detail. I do like the impressionistic feel where the mark making is evident and left alone. Pictured above is the finished piece, same as at the top of the post. I hope you don't mind seeing these pieces in stages like this. I never know if it would be interesting to anyone else or not. I know I always enjoy seeing works-in-progress that other artists share and hope you do too.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mountain Trail

Mountain Trail
oil on canvas
6 x 8 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

This is #51 of my 100 painting project. It is a view from the trail near the Moses Cone Manor on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is a spot where we often return for hiking and sketching. There is something about the way the horizon unfolds from the undulating hills that makes this area very appealing to me. Living in the mountains you become acutely aware of the limited sky. Places like this, where the sky opens up, are my favorite.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Roots - finished

colored pencil on Rising Museum board
8 x 8 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Here is the finish of the piece I showed here as a work-in-progress last week. This was a fun piece to work on, yet somewhat like figuring out a puzzle, what with all the different textures and dappled light.
This is what it looked like once I had the composition filled in with all the local color. I was happy with this for the most part, but felt it was still a little flat.
So I upped the contrast in some areas by going in with black. Yes, the black colored pencil, lightly over some of the shadowed areas to punch up the darks. I believe this was the first time I have used black in a colored pencil drawing. I usually rely on the darks of various hues to create those near black values. But in this case I felt that I made the right decision. I also warmed up the sunlit areas with a cream color. So here you see the finished version, same as the image at the top of the post.

Now it's off to the next drawing, or painting. We are enjoying these quiet days before we get back into our usual school routine next week. And our house is still decorated for the holidays. Yep, need to get all of that sorted out and put away. The new year is here. I'd better get busy!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


That is my goal for 2011. Balance.
As a review, last year I embarked on a journey to make 100 paintings. I also planned to continue with drawing and sketching in my sketchbooks. I did find some time for visual journaling but from the start of 2010 through June I did no drawing, as I was driven with my 100 painting project. Which was all good. Until I realized that I missed drawing. So I stepped back a bit and looked at where I was in my 100 painting project (painting #56 to be exact) and saw that I had achieved what I wanted to do with paint. I needed a break. And a new direction to take that project. Plus it was so all-consuming.
So while I was mulling all of that over, I got out my pencils and picked up where I had left off the year before with a series of drawings. And I realized that by intensely focusing on painting I had become out of balance.
Just like my sketchbooks fill a need for visual journaling and working out ideas, each area of my art supports and feeds the other. I know that finding balance isn't necessarily a goal that is achieved, but more of a concept that I need to keep in mind, with regular adjusting due to one thing or another. Laure Ferlita, over at her blog, Painted Thoughts, has a wonderful post about The Power of a Word. She likened the word that one chooses to a touchstone for the year. I like that.
 Balance. My touchstone word for 2011. I hope to balance my various ideas with my art in such a way that I can keep my interests alive and the work fresh. I also need to balance my art-self with my mom-self, teacher-self, and my-self.

So what does all of this mean for me in 2011? Well, I do intend to complete my 100 painting project, perhaps with a new direction, perhaps even this year. I also plan to continue work on that series of drawings begun two years ago and then abandoned. I would like to see this become a cohesive body of work. And, naturally I will continue keeping my sketchbooks going as I do enjoy that practice of drawing from life. It's a lot to make room for, especially when I factor in my day job as a homeschool parent. Time is, after all, the most difficult thing for me to balance.

"If you find, in your own work, that ideas you didn't have room for at a particular time nonetheless lingered and arose later, you are coming close to an ideal creative state, one where creativity becomes a self-perpetuating habit. You are linking your art. Everything in your life feeds into your work, and the work feeds into more work." 
-Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

May you enjoy a wonderfully balanced and creative year in 2011!


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