Pictures In The Making

I felt I should try something a little different for this post.

I am currently in the process of trying to come up with at least 24 new designs before the end of the year. I need to do this because I have not drawn anything new since last year, and I need to refresh my inventory, so to speak.  I want to be able to send these designs to an art licensing company or greeting card company, and this requires many designs and only the best. So I’m going to really try hard at this.

Anyway, I just thought it would be fun to show you how my drawings come to life and to do the process in stages. This way you can see how the whole process comes together and how an idea comes to life.   I have many that are on the drawing board right now, but I will show you two that I am currently working on.

Since I have not drawn in such a long time, it’s almost  like starting from scratch.  I have to review all my colored pencil books and blending techniques, put on some music that inspires me, and just start drawing. And it’s funny, every time I do go back to drawing after a long period of time like this, it seems I improve on my technique, and that’s a good thing.

The first part of the process is first thinking of what holiday I should be drawing for, or what thought do I want to convey.  Then I start going through all my Norman Rockwell books, children’s illustrator books and magazine cuttings of people’s poses, etc., and write notes or jot ideas down. When a complete thought comes to mind, I draw this out on tracing paper.  When that is done, I ink that and redraw that onto bristol board ( a thicker paper).  Then it’s color time, and this is the fun stage.

I always color the faces or the skin first, because to me,  it feels like the object I am drawing is no longer flat.  It seems more alive. Many artists do this stage last, because it can throw off the colors,  but I just go back and darken the figure for balance if it needs it. It gets me excited the more realistic the skin looks on paper, almost glowing.

After this is done the way I want, I can almost envision what the colors should be around the figure.  Then it begins, layer on layer.  Usually starting the lightest colors to the dark, and the picture slowly comes to life.

So here goes.  I am already beyond the tracing paper stage on these two designs.  I am now in the coloring stage of the skin and facial features.  Doesn’t it seem like they just jump off the page!  They both still seem a little light in color here, but as I go, they will darken just a bit.

Baby Fairy In Meadow

Girl Hugging Santa

I will try to post another blog post in a day or so (I hope) showing you the middle stage.  Hope you’ve enjoyed this.  Now…back to drawing and everything else….Thanks.

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Life Is Not Measured

Here is another quote I had to illustrate awhile back.  I haven’t been able to illustrate anything lately, and it makes me very frustrated when I can’t draw.  I have to really make a schedule and put time aside to do this and soon, or I think I will go nuts! 

But anyway, I like the way this one turned out because the colors came out soft and it’s just a girl enjoying a rainbow.  I haven’t seen a rainbow in awhile, but when I do, (it usually happens in the back of my yard by the cemetery), I run around the house like a maniac and tell everyone to look.  It’s like I forget everything else.  And then, in a moment, it is gone.  Even when I take a picture of it I know I can never get the full effect of what I just viewed.  It never gives you that “awesome” factor of it just looming over your head, all these muted colors in the middle of nowhere!  Perfection!

Hope you see a rainbow soon.  Enjoy!  🙂

Life Is Not Measured

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far

Okay, this is going to be a little different.  I just came across my journal that I had written thoughts in of my children and how they are growing up so fast.  There are also writings about my mother and father, and how their passing away had affected me at the time . These entries were  mostly written back in the 1990’s.  There are even some poems from my teen years in this journal!  

I think I will be “brave” and share some with you now, and also in future posts.  Yes, I will be brave!

My mother passed away on March 4, 1993 at 54 years of age of complications from cancer.  Patrick was only 2 and Caitlin (her 1st grandaughter) was only 6 months old.  Knowing they would probably not remember her, and that she really didn’t get to spend more time with them, made it much more difficult. 

Anyway, this poem ,or writing, is sort of a sudden realization of how we were so much alike.  It actually happened as I wrote it.  Here goes:

This writing is titled “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far”.

*Somewhere, in the deep, darkness-far,far away,

A woman sits at her kitchen table.

It’s my mother, chewing on a fingernail and pondering what to write next.

The writing tablet lies there, anticipating the pens next scratches.

A page is half written.

What is she writing?  Thoughts? A letter to a pen pal far away?  A poem perhaps.

The table sits in total disarray.

There are papers and bills, keys and mementos from past occasions that she’s kept forever-much too precious to throw away.

Her steaming cup of tea is her only company-and she ponders -and she writes .

Look around the dimly lit kitchen.

Cupboard doors are left ajar.  Country Cows and assorted tins and things are hanging on walls and sitting on shelves.

This is her domain – her place to let her thoughts wander and be set free.

Her time…she can’t waste precious time.

And isn’t it funny.

I notice as I’m sitting here, I am pondering and writing.

It’s late at night, and my tea is sitting next to me – steaming.

It’s quiet and still.

This is my time. I have to write.  It keeps me sane.

My mind is cluttered too much during the day.

I write letters, thoughts and poems.

The light is dim and shining on my country cows and assorted tins,

and suddenly I realize how much I am just like my mother.

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, I remember, and I’m wondering if my daughters will follow suit.

It somehow makes me feel comfortable knowing I’m so much like my mother – and I can’t waste precious time as well.

For time waits for no one.

Not even for beautiful people like my mother.

Love you, Mom.   😦 Cheryl

Helen Keller

I have always loved Helen Keller. I remember in school I did a project on her ….twice!  I often try to imagine what it would have been like to be not able to hear or see.  I can’t though, really.  It’s too hard.  Then I think how much we all really take for granted and probably don’t even appreciate it.  The birds in the morning…it’s like coffee to me!  No, I can not even imagine.

I often think I could never live if I had no arms/hands…I have to draw.  It is in me, my release.  I would draw with my mouth or even my feet if I had to! We are just so lucky and we should definitely appreciate it.

I had done 4 designs for the local Lion’s Club here because it centers around Helen Keller, and so I designed these with her in mind.  They are her quotes and I pictured in my head what they would look like on paper.  Here is one.

Keep Your Face To The Sunshine

The Amish

To know me is to know I love anything to do with the Amish.  For more than 10 years my family has traveled to Lancaster, Pa and stayed for 6 days at a time… never wanting to leave.  It is peaceful and serene. The countryside…breathtaking.  I always thought I wanted to move to the country when I got older.  But country in RI is to be in the middle of nowhere and placed in the middle of hills and tall pine trees.  You cannot see the horizon as you can in PA.  There are a couple of main roads with traffic and lights, but you can take a side road, and  suddenly you are in the middle of paradise.

Every time we go there, we take a side road and travel up a distance until we are in the middle of never-ending farms.  We shut off the car, and you hear nothing!  Look up ! There are no wires over your head.  It’s so quiet, you can hear the rustling of the grass and  towering cornstalks.  The many meadow butterflies flit close to the ground, and  in the fields,there are cows grazing at every turn.  It’s beautiful.

What adds to the already peaceful and serene setting are the Amish people who ride back and forth in their black and grey buggies. They are pulled by sleek, brown horses.  The sound of their trotting is like music to me, and I open a window as we pass just to listen. The Amish people are friendly, but quiet.  The women wear bright dresses and heart-shaped bonnets and often go barefoot on hot summer days.  The men seem to never sweat in their heavy, black pants and straw hats.  You have to experience this to completely understand the feeling you have when you are there, and somehow,  you will never want to leave. 

The experience always makes me feel refreshed, and lets me feel I can go on for the rest of the year, until I go back again. As long as I can go back!

Well, it’s been about 6 years since we have gone last, and now even the kids miss it.  We had made close friends with an Amish family there.  They have a quilt shop on their property.  They have  a daughter of Caitlin’s age, and we  have eaten at their home, and  once, they even came out to dinner with us. Kathryn, the amish girl, invited us one year to her school house to meet everyone.  We went (at first hesitated) and realized “we” were the one’s being stared at and whispered about.  But they gave us gifts and asked questions and were so friendly.  I’m so glad we went.  We will never forget the experience.

The amish family was sadly one of the families that were affected by that awful Nickel Mines shooting.  Their grandaughter was the 13 year old Marion Fisher, and all I could do was cry.  I have tried to contact them since then with cards and such, with no response.

We are going to try to go this summer as a family again, before everyone here goes their separate ways with work and college, etc. We want to remember the feeling again.  The calmness and just enjoying nature and each other’s company in a less stressed environment. To be childlike again…and  also, just maybe,  we will still find that Kathryn will still be there.  We can only hope!

Amish girl, Kathryn, with cousin maybe 9 years ago