I found this little ink doodle in my sketchbook. I keep returning to these fishes because they are so simple, but have funny little expressions, and so I painted them. Yes, I am a Pisces, but really this is about style rather than zodiac. I sweat over beautifully crafted artwork, learn more and more software, admire artists who seem to have their “style” figured out. Often my artwork morphs when I’m really grooving on another artist’s perspective. An unintentional “sincerest form of flattery” thing takes over, and my work doesn’t look like my work anymore, but instead a shadow of someone else’s great art. I’d like to be refined, have every angle and line be beautifully perfected, but the truth is…that’s not me. I’m messy. The splash of watercolors, the shaky, loose lines…the imperfections…that is who I am (and yes, art imitates life.) And that’s ok. If I’m not too full of myself here…there is beauty in mess too.
This is a page from my sketchbook that I colored and played with in Photoshop. Redolent of summertime and sitting on the porch, this is how you see my mind wander. I love sitting on my back porch and doodling my thoughts as they float through my head. I don’t get to go to figure drawing classes anymore, but when I did, I enjoyed exaggerrating features; so, here are my extra large and long feet.
I like the idea of this more than the execution. My inks just seem…stilted, not free and nice like my pencils. I’ll get there, though. One of my teachers told me that when we struggle with “style” or new tools that it means a creative breakthrough is around the corner, if only we keep pushing and practicing. So…I’m hoping for a breakthrough!
I do like the look of that little penguin running in the front. :)
This was inspired by that sentence, which is in the book The Goldfinch. It’s funny what will offer a little inspiration now and again…walking aimlessly, savasana (corpse pose in yoga-aka lying on the floor half-asleep: a favorite of mine), and reading usually works for me.
This was created using pencil and my nifty, portable Cotman watercolor set. I go back and forth about using inks…I’m a little too enamored with my pencil marks but like the permanence of ink. (Also, I’m better with a pencil.)
If anyone is interested, this is available as a print.
Another quote piece. I am having more fun with the different brushes in Photoshop; using some roller brushes gives some depth to this work, I believe. I don’t know what it is about trees growing out of people’s heads, as well as angels…I just feel it and make it. Developing my own iconography, I suppose, if I want to try and feel oh-so-smart. This one is a bit of the same as the Mr. Rogers piece I did a little while back.
Sometimes it is preferable to be the tortoise; slowing down to enjoy the view of life now, rather than dashing through it like a hare. That is why I draw. The action of drawing really causes me to slow down, and I am usually calmer after doing so. Now that I’m really looking at this piece, that fellow looks a bit like E.T., doesn’t he?
From my sketchbook, slowly learning and playing more in Photoshop. I hope wherever you are, you have time to slow down and enjoy the moment.
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The quick piece above was another exercise in scanning and coloring a sketch in Photoshop. Still, I just scratch the surface of possibility. Fun, doodled characters while listening to Herbie Hancock on lunch break. What could be better?
I don’t know what it is about this image that makes me giggle; perhaps the chicken with a uni-brow (does it count as a uni-brow if their eyes are on the sides of their heads?) or maybe it’s the background chicken shooting an egg out of her bottom. Or maybe it’s the lack of sleep. Who knows? As long as we’re laughing, hey?
Chickens were my inspiration after visiting my parents for the Easter holiday. My mom has become a backyard chicken farmer, and has just replenished her flock of two (down from four: R.I.P. Thelma Lou & Aunt Bea) with four more chicks. So, Helen Crump and Sweet Juanita will have Laverne, Shirley, Lucy, and Ethel join them in about 4 weeks; for now, the chicks live in cardboard boxes under heat lamps in the Florida room. This one’s for you, Mam!
This is straight from my sketchbook, which takes watercolor pretty well. Watercolor and pen.
This is further experimentation with the new Wacom Pro. It’s liberating and a trial at the same time. Liberating because mistakes are so easy to correct, a trial because sometimes I just want to reach into the computer to make something look “right.”
For now, this is a work in progress. I am trying to add pieces to my portfolio that incorporate hand drawn type.
Sometimes I feel I have bird nest hair. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” they say, but a bunch in your hair may not be beneficial. Just messy.
I was playing around with Photoshop, seeing if I could recreate my inky/watercolor style digitally. It’s a starting point, I guess. Happy Friday!
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Fun with office supplies.
Having some fun with some customized Photoshop brushes by Kyle Webster. I am really enjoying exploring more as a digital painter. After looking at my previous logo, I realized I didn’t really like yellow all that much, but I love orange…and foxes. Since my given name is a fun noun, I can’t totally discount it, especially as an artist. My favorite subjects to paint and draw are animals, so why not incorporate that into my “brand”? I like painting and getting messy, but cleanup after a drawing/scanning/Photoshop session is as easy as closing a laptop. And I feel my knowledge has grown a bit over the past year. This piece shows where I tested some of the brushes before using them on Mr. Fox up there, and includes the original drawing layer. I thought they added something to this post, but will not be on my final logo. Now I just need to play with type.
New year, new try for getting illustration and design side jobs. I’ve really got to work on being more professional, which means working on my “brand.” Logos for myself are where I usually get stuck. When doing research, I have found that most illustrators have one of their best pieces or characters over (or beside or under) their name in a unique font. Designers usually have either a clever, type-based logo or a slick symbol made of their initials; or, if their business has a name outside of their own, they play off of that. What does a “designistrator” do? A fun character with excellent type? Type only? Since my strength is character design, and my last name is Lemon, I thought I’d take the easy route and create a character specifically for my logo. At the moment it is still in sketch phase…tonight I will research type faces.
Please feel free to give suggestions, feedback, etc.
I’ve been infrequently posting, as I have been infrequently creating since the birth of our daughter, now 8 weeks old. Before she was born I had planned on making a piece of art for her room; as she caught us by surprise (4 weeks early), I am finally creating something. It will be a Christmas present! Her room started with owls and ended up more butterflies…there is an owl painting in there, but her bed stuff is butterflies. So…here are some more butterflies. ;)
These were done all in gouache on heavy Arches watercolor paper, perched on the end of the guest bed, while listening to the movie White Christmas coming from the den. Since Rosalee’s arrival, the studio/guest room has become somewhat crowded; I’m setting up makeshift studio areas wherever there is room! This piece will probably have a few more tweaks before being framed, but I wanted to share something new on this blog.
Happy weekend, and if I don’t get to post next week, Merry Christmahanakwanzikah!
Here is a second experiment into ink, gouache and watercolor media. I often talk about simplification in all things, even in my art. When I look at this, it seems so detailed, but the approach is quite simple. At least that is what it seems to me.
I naively thought that while I was on maternity leave, I would have more time to paint. Just call me “Naive Nancy.” All you parents out there, have a laugh at the green horn. However, it’s not all funny. I do have time while Rosalee is sleeping to play around with my paints and ink. To preserve what sanity I still possess, I must create art.
As you fine readers know, I am a visual artist. Painting, drawing, cartoons…they are shown here in hopes of drawing people in and sharing a visual dialogue. My husband is a very talented musician. He can play guitar, drums, piano, harmonica…he writes music and sings. Husband is one of those people who can pick up an instument and play it. We both love our respective arts, but we have never been so proud and unbelievably happy as when we created our child.
I realize that I have not blogged in almost 2 weeks, but it took the very backseat when RoRo was born 4 weeks early by Caesarean because she was breech! We had a bit of a scare in the beginning which required a week’s stay in the hospital. It was a trying time, but now she is home and healthy and hungry and GROWING. :)
She is the heart of us now (even the dogs are protective of her). Everything else in life isn’t such a big deal as long as Rosalee is in good health. We often stare at her in wonderment, because we did not know how capable we were at creation until Rosalee. It is truly an indescribably feeling, being a parent. She makes me want to be the best person I can possibly be.
I will continue to make art and blog about it, but Rosalee Saro will always and forever come first.
She is the prize flower in the garden of our hearts.
As usual, I appreciate all of you who follow me here at Lemon’s Tree. As soon as we get our routine down, I will be back at quick, artsy posts! Have a great weekend.
Not much…he’s rather shy. For some reason, even as a kid I have always had a fascination for foxes. I used to wear ears and a tail and demand that people call me “Kit.” I don’t remember why I did this; some say I was a weird kid, but I prefer the term “imaginative.”
This is the third in a series of canidae series. You can find this handsome fox and others on cards and iPhone cases and such in my Store, if you’re so moved.
Continuing the theme of Canines from a previous sketchbook post…
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This was “inked” and colored and tweaked from the last sketchbook post I made. I think it’s a pretty good start, but want to adjust the typography. I really enjoy learning Photoshop, and the Wacom is not as tricky as I thought it’d be.
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Oh, how I love October! We haven’t had to use the air conditioner for a while, and instead can leave the windows open. There is a snap of chill in the air, pumpkins and Halloween decorations begin to appear, and occasionally you can even catch the scent of a fire somewhere in the neighborhood. Autumn (when it finally arrives in Charleston) is my very favorite time of year.
The cat above is a bit serious-looking, but he is a Halloween cat, and they can be a bit grim. I painted this in acrylic on a 9″x 12″ canvas pad. I’m trying to loosen up in my animal portraiture. You can see more paintings of animals at my website, WWW.NANCYLEMON.COM
Our local art store, the Artist & Craftsman, is having a little contest/show on October 15th. The rules were to buy a 5″x5″ toned art board and paint it. SO, here is my entry. I can’t remember how I came up with a puffin, but I kind of like the results. It will be fun to be in an art show again.
The other day I decided to go through my collection of old, filled up sketchbooks to mine for ideas. I forgot that I made this one back in 2008 (?) but I really like it. Some of the entries made me laugh out loud, because I crack myself up. The book itself is made from recycled materials: a scrap of wallpaper from my grandparent’s house, cardboard, some of the pages have been Xeroxed on one side (which means I salvaged it from the office recycle bin), and the binding is dental floss (not used) and tabs made of paper grocery bag. How Earth-friendly can you get?? The fantastic old picture is from a stack that my teacher, Larry gave me when I was in grad school.
I am also including one of the spreads I found inside; next week I promise to have some new drawings. I’ve been a bit under the gun this week, and with late meetings, my poor blog and art got neglected.
Some days, I would enjoy very much just reading, and completely ignoring the papers and to-dos which threaten to pile up around me. I drew this in a tiny sketchbook, then scanned in and colored in Photoshop. Trying to stick to a limited palette is tricky, but I enjoy a challenge. Even though it still feels like summer here, I couldn’t resist the autumnal palette.
I really need to go through my posts and “gussy up” some of these illustrations for submissions. Maybe I could actually get some work if I showed them to art directors? We shall see.
Here is a portrait of one of my own. He actually posed like this after I handed him a biscuit one day…it was such a great picture that I decided to paint him. As usual, I tried to stay simple and get the “essence of Bandito” rather than dwelling too much on details. This is a mixed media piece on wood.
A friend told me all Bandito needed was a fedora to complete his 1920s gangster style. “M’yeh, see?” (I bet dog gangsters make toilet bowl gin rather than the bathtub variety…)
Apparently, military “style” is one of those lasting fashions. (According to Real Simple magazine, anyway.) I liked the photo of the model, so I drew a very simple-shapes oriented piece. I really like playing with the paring down of my style, as I seem to want to pare down everything these days. Maybe it’s an effect of the “nesting syndrome” during the 3rd trimester. Anyway, I like simplifying, and am constantly trying to derive maximum artistic impact with as simple a way I can create. Simple drawing, simple palette. The trick is to not be so restrictive that the art loses too much. I’m not use to being subtle in any area of life, so this is a constant struggle…one that I quite like.
Available as a print in the STORE.
Trigger is a Black Labrador Retriever who is the 4-legged child of my very good friend, Uncle Sam. (An actual person…not referring to the USA here.) The actual size is about 2′x3′, painted acrylic on canvas. I have really enjoyed painting these portraits lately, especially as the weather gets nicer, because my painting “studio” is on our screened in back porch.
You can find more of my work at http://nancylemon.com, as well as pricing and contact information.
So we’ll end this week of posts on an inspirational note. Practicing your art can only help you. Luckily I find time to do a little practice each day, whether it be drawing, painting, or learning something in the digital realm. What is your art? Whatever it is, I hope you can fine time to practice a little.
WoW, playing with gradients will really add a bit of dimension to a work! I should have had Rainy Janey for today’s post, as we’ve had flash flood warnings due to two days of torrential downpours and live at sea level. It has really cut the heat and humidity, thank you Lord. The picture above better illustrates what our Augusts are usually like in the muggy, buggy South.
Have a wonderful rest of your summer, wherever that might be, and whatever it feels like where you are.
Sometimes I am approached by friends or family to make pet portraits. I’ve also been commissioned to create favorite animals (that are not pets) such as a group of sea creatures for a child’s nursery. My work is not limited to pets.
I’ve finally buckled down and figured out a set price list for these paintings, which are made in acrylic on canvas. With the pet portraits, people usually send me a photo of their pet and I create a piece from that. With other animals, I usually find my own photo references and then create sketches from which to work.
Eventually, I’d like to offer prints of different animals in a personal online store if I can ever afford to buy a nice printer! in the meantime. For now, please check out CUSTOM Art, or prints of various art work can be found at my SOCIETY6 store.
The holidays are right around the corner…
I saw a lady walking by one day who had these giant purple glasses on, so she (and the copious amounts of rain we’ve had this summer) inspired this little work. To be honest, I miss the rainy days, as now it is like walking into hot soup outside. A good, stormy day would ease the humidity and maybe cool this place off a bit.
In all honesty, the idea of heaven to me is an eternal autumn. It’s truly my favorite season of the year, from the colors to the smell. The smell of the first fire in someone’s chimney or backyard and the smell of cold on the horizon. Oranges and reds and rusts and yellows, against the backdrop of a crisp, blue sky…it’s all just the best. Maybe it wouldn’t be my favorite if it was year-round though. Who’s to say?
As usual, this is hand drawn and colored digitally.
I feel this is self-explanatory. Books and reading and libraries always make me feel peaceful and happy. It’s always fun drawing these little spines, but goodness, I need to learn to draw bigger and then shrink them down! I will ruin my fingers and wrists if I don’t remind myself to do so. Happy Thursday already? Good grief. See you all next week! Happy weekend. Hope I made you smile.
This just made me giggle. I don’t use Adobe Illustrator very often, but am endeavoring nonetheless.
I am still trying to figure out how to utilize masking in Photoshop, but it still confuses me. However, if I can master the masks, I can really add depth and shading to my work.