Happy Cephalopod Week!

Today is the final day of Cephalopod week 2018! I couldn’t miss it so here’s a special Friday blog post!

CrayCuttle
Cuttlefish Stare, Crayola crayons

The cuttlefish is my personal favorite cephalopod, which is kind of like saying chocolate is better than pizza — I am so lucky to live in a world that has it all! All cephalopods are incredibly cool creatures! But if you absolutely HAD to choose, which would be your favorite? The always charismatic octopus? The cryptic nautilus? The huge-eyed squid? Tell me in the comments.

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Happy Father’s Day

I hope you had a wonderful time yesterday celebrating the father(s) in your life, whether he is your brother, friend, son, in-law, grandpa, or simply your dad.

I used Crayola crayons to draw this father bat-eared fox and his kit. Not only are they adorable with those huge ears, these foxes have heartwarming family dynamics. There are many other examples of wonderful fathers in the animal kingdom as well that are fascinating to learn about. Marmoset monkeys, for example, are extremely devoted to their young. The large Rhea bird is also a diligent father who looks after his chicks with great care. Do you know of an animal father who takes a leading role in child care? Tell me in the comments.

Two of Us and Four of Joy

Every year I like to make a crow and orca drawing for my beloved Nick’s birthday. This time I used Crayola crayons on a very small scale. This piece is only 3″ x 5.5,” the smallest crayon drawing I have made yet.

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Two of Us and Four of Joy, Crayola crayons

I love the back and forth of black and white, light and dark, in the orcas and crows. There are definitely challenges working on such a small scale because no matter how I sharpen the crayons, they apply very thickly onto the paper. By pushing myself to work within these constraints, I’m forced to embrace the medium and relax into whatever the crayons can give me. For example, the rough texture of the wax becomes unmistakable. Nick says this one is his favorite so far.

Take a look at the previous orca and crow themed drawings I made for Nick by clicking on this link.

A Griffin for Valkyrie Completed

I have a fascination with the often bizarre artwork found in Medieval manuscripts. Sometimes the creatures depicted are extremely ugly, other times there’s great charm to their awkwardly proportioned features and perplexing color choices. Look at the giant bird feet on this blue and gold one below. There’s an appealing flare and commitment to the style on that one that just thrills me. And look at the expression on the one in the top right corner. It could easily be the face of some hilarious meme. I love the patterns you can find worked into the griffin feathers on some of the drawings.

Examples of griffin art from Medieval manuscripts

 

It was with these key elements in mind that I undertook the task to recreate a Medieval manuscript drawing in the 3D medium of needle felted wool: strange color combinations, overt feather patterns, not-quite-right proportions, and an emphatically cranky expression. Capturing the expression was probably the most difficult part, but I think next time I shall endeavor to start with a larger piece. Working on such fine detail at that small a scale (this griffin is only about three inches tall!) was brutal. I think he turned out wonderfully cantankerous, however, and Valkyrie, the proud owner of this gift, was happy to receive him.

Manuscript Griffin, needle felted wool over pipe cleaner.

You can see the beginning of this diminutive magical beast on my blog post A Griffin For Valkyrie.

Sand Snake

One of the many blessings of our life is that the beach is only a short walk from home. I adore the ocean and the sand and the sea shells and the wildlife, even the smell of drying seaweed. I love it. One thing I do not delight in, however, is sand-filled wind. The gusts can make the sand hit you with stinging force. On such a windy day, I recommend you stay home! But if you do forge ahead, take a moment to shape the sand into the dangerous entity it is.

Nick emerges from the belly of the snake
Sand snake close up

Belly Painting

My twin sister is expecting her second child and to celebrate her pregnancy, I painted her gorgeous belly. I used the Proud Body Pregnancy Belly Painting Kit. She wanted a floral design and after looking through Pinterest together, we came up with this painting:

 

Working on an art project with my twin is a great feeling; working on art project ON my twin was tremendous fun! The little one inside kept moving, responding to my brush strokes. I have never done any body painting before and it was a challenge to work quickly enough that it wasn’t uncomfortable for all involved. Older Brother, only two years old, simply could not wait until it was done for cuddles.

Bentley the dog

My aunt has an adorable Cavalier King Charles spaniel named Bentley. Last time I visited her house, I was struck by his silky charm and started needle felting a portrait of him, but somehow the project got interrupted and the piece languished in my bedroom for over two years.

Now, here he is completed! And just in time for my aunt’s birthday as a gift from my mother.

He is made from needle felted wool over pipe cleaner. His eyes are plastic. He is only about 4 inches long and 3 inches tall.

My aunt called my mother after she received him in the mail to tell us she loves her miniature Bentley.

For my mother

For my mother’s birthday, and sometimes for Mother’s Day, I like to make something with her favorite flower, the sweet pea.

This year I also included her favorite thing to find on the beach: sand dollars.

SandDollars
Sand Dollars and Sweet Peas, Crayola crayons.

Drawn with crayons, I found it much easier to get that intense vibrancy of the sweet pea flowers than with other media. Those petals can almost burn your eyes, they are so bright! I also enjoyed making sand and water ripples with the play of light and shadow.

Did you know sand dollars are often purple while they’re living? Once they die, their skeletons get bleached by the sun and that’s why we see them as white most of the time. They also have millions of tiny wiggly feet! Watch this video on YouTube Live Sand Dollar Walking.

 

I love my mother. I believe I inherited my artistic spark from her. Even though she does not paint or needle felt, she is an avid knitter and seamstress. Growing up there were always fabric particles all over our house, bright bits of yarn, and the occasional stray pin. Beyond the example she modeled for me as a creative person pursuing her own artistic endeavors, she was and remains one of my greatest supporters. She always encouraged me in my art and still gives me kind words and genuine reactions to my work. Thank you, Mom, if you read this, for everything you have done to help me grow as an artist.

 

Here are some past pieces I have made for my mother.