Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pepper


Pepper
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

In addition to the drawing class I'm taking, I'm also trying to work my way through the book Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson. This exercise was to draw two peppers - one from memory, a second from an actual pepper. I'm not going to post the one from memory; one of the points of the exercise was to learn that our mental images of items are only symbols of the actual items.

Car


Car
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I think I may have mentioned that I'm taking a drawing class; if not, I should have, because it's been great. I'm taking it at a rubber stamp store called And Bear Makes 3 that is located in Moore, Oklahoma, and it's being taught by Elizabeth Johnson. Today was my last class. We were to choose a photo from a magazine of something we wanted to draw. I have no idea why I chose this; I think I might have thought it would be easy; I was wrong. Once I got into it, I discovered it was MUCH more complicated than I thought it would be. But I'm fairly satisfied with how it turned out.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien

John Wade has just lost a primary election for the U.S. Senate.  He and his wife escape to a remote cabin in northern Minnesota.  A few days later his wife disappears.  The story moves backwards and forwards in time.  Through flashbacks, we learn about John's difficult childhood, his love of magic, his service in Vietnam, and his political ambitions.  The author presents a variety of theories for what might have happened.  He also presents a great deal of information about motivations and how it is impossible to really know another person.  It was extremely well written, and I rate it 5 out of 5.

This was my first book for the Vietnam War Reading Challenge, my third book for the New Author Challenge, and the current month's selection for my book club.

Flamingo


Flamingo
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I had a lot of fun painting this guy and learning a little bit about flamingos.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Waiting by Ha Jin

This book was a National Book Award winner, and I honestly don't understand why.  I didn't care for the writing style, which I thought was awkward, and I didn't really care about any of the characters.

The story was set in China from 1963 to the 1980's.  Lin Kong was a doctor in an arranged marriage to a woman he didn't love.  He believes he has fallen in love with a nurse who works in the same hospital where he works.  He attempts to convince his wife to grant him a divorce every year for 17 years, and every year she agrees, then changes her mind when they appear in court.  But after 18 years, as an army officer, Lin can divorce his wife without her consent.

The best comment I've read about the book was by Scout on Amazon:  "Waiting" is an excellent title for this novel. I kept waiting for it to be over!!! 

I rate this book 2 out of 5.  This is my second book for the New Author Challenge.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Eventide


Eventide
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I enjoyed painting the sunset for my class - An Imaginary Visit to the Beach - so much that I wanted to paint it again in my regular journal. I'll write about it on the facing page.

Eventide


Eventide
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I loved painting this page. I had fallen behind in class, so I completed this page and the Beach Bugs page on the same day. They are on facing pages, so my comment refers to enjoying the sunset after spending (an imaginary) day painting crabs at the beach.

Beach Bugs


Beach Bugs
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

This lesson was intended to get us out of our comfort zone, and it certainly worked for me. But I really enjoyed doing this.

We are painting from photographs provided by Laure Ferlita, but if we were painting these guys on location, we wouldn't have much time. So this lesson was all about capturing a likeness of the crabs based on coloring and suggested anatomy.

Each crab was to be sketched and painted in 15 minutes or less, and I was able to complete my entire page in 45 minutes (except for the writing, which could be done after the crabs were gone).

It certainly isn't my best painting, but I was very pleased to finish it within the time frame. I also painted the shadows without sketching them in pencil first, which I almost never do.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rabbit Day 7


Rabbit Day 7
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I'm down to 16 minutes now. A long way from finished, but I actually got farther along with this one in 16 minutes than with yesterday's in 18 minutes, so I guess that's progress.

Rabbit Day 6


Rabbit Day 6
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

We learned shading today. But 18 minutes isn't enough time for me to draw and shade my rabbit; this is as far as I got.

Because I was frustrated in not getting even close to finishing her, I drew her again in another journal without setting the timer. I think I spent 30-40 minutes on her.


Shaded Rabbit Day 6 (no timer)
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

Friday, February 12, 2010

Brown Pelican


Brown Pelican
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

Lesson 2 from my Imaginary Visit to the Beach class from Laure Ferlita. This one was much more challenging than lesson 1, but I really enjoyed painting it. And Laure always has good feedback for improvement.

Rabbit Day 5


Rabbit Day 5
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

Yesterday was the first day I skipped. I've been drawing at night; I did this one in the morning and may try to do another one tonight to "catch up."

Rabbit Day 4


Rabbit Day 4
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I'm down to 18 minutes now.

Rabbit Day 3


Rabbit Day 3
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

New Author Challenge 2010

I've just decided to join the New Author Challenge 2010.  My goal is to read 15 books by new-to-me authors.  It's hosted by Literary Escapism, and you can read about the challenge here.  I'm counting the book I finished a few days ago as my first for the challenge - The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent.  And the book I'm reading now, Waiting by Ha Jin, will be my second for this challenge.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Rabbit Day 2


Rabbit Day 2
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

Second day of sketching my crocheted rabbit. Still at 20 minutes.

Starfish


Starfish
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I've started another class with Laure Ferlita - An Imaginary Visit to the Beach - just what I need this winter! It snowed a good part of the day today, although most of it melted by the end of the day.

Edited - I added a title to my page and replaced the scan with the new one.

Peony In Love by Lisa See

I was very disappointed in this book.  I loved Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by the same author.  I almost stopped reading it several times.  But when I read in the Author's Note that many of the events in the book were based in fact, I decided to finish it.  It was set in 17th century China after the fall of the Ming dynasty and Manchu invaders established the Qing dynasty.  I usually enjoy reading about other cultures and time periods, but I couldn't relate to the story at all.  Especially the main character, who became lovesick after meeting a man for a brief time 3 evenings in a row and then starved herself to death.  While it seemed improbable, evidently many young girls did exactly that in 17th century China.  We think of anorexia as a modern aberration, but evidently not.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Drawing Class - Rabbit Day 1


Rabbit Day 1
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I started a drawing class yesterday, and I think I'm really going to like it. The only down side is that it is an hour and 15 minutes from my house, it starts at 9:00 am, and I am not a morning person. But I made it to class on time and loved it.

One of the exercises we were given to do at home was to choose an object to draw, set the timer for 20 minutes, and draw it; then stop when the timer goes off. We are to repeat the exercise 3 days in a row, and on day 4 we are to set the timer for 18 minutes. Throughout the 4 week class, we will continue decreasing the time by 2 minutes every 4th day until we are down to 6 minutes.

I decided to draw a stuffed rabbit that I crocheted many many years ago - and here is my day 1 sketch. I did the whole sketch with a 2B pencil. We haven't learned shading yet - that comes next week. I'm fairly pleased with my first attempt. And I was able to finish it in the time allotted.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

This story is set in Massachusetts in the 1690's - during the Salem witch trials.  It centers around Thomas and Martha Carrier and their five children:  Richard, Andrew, Tom, Sarah, and Hannah.  Sarah is the narrator.  It tells a chilling story of superstition and fear, and is based on stories the author grew up hearing about her ancestor Martha Carrier.  I found the story particularly disturbing because it showed how easily a strong, non-conformist woman such as Martha Carrier could be convicted and hanged as a witch.  It was very well written and I rate it 5 out of 5.  This is my first book for the New Author Challenge 2010.