Sunday, March 29, 2009

Circa 1974: Earliest evidence of The Bean's love for paper.

Pop-Pop bribing me with paper

When I was little, I was always shy around my older relatives. I remember my Dad wanting to take a picture of me with my Pop Pop, and here he is trying to get me closer to him by bribing me with a tablet of paper- which didn't work. Then I distinctly remember my Dad promising to let me take a picture with his camera if I would just go and hug Grandpop. Somewhere there exists a picture of me hugging him, but I distinctly remember as soon as Dad snapped that picture, it ended the roll of film, thus ending my career as a professional photographer before it even began.

Which instead, launched me head first into the world of paper- to which I have no complaints, nor regrets.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Drawing at the Park on a Beautiful Day

Park Mandala 1

Some time last week, on an absolutely beautiful day, I grabbed my art supplies and some tunes and a box of Goober's (my snack) and drove out to the park to make a little art while watching the ducks swimming in the creek.

Sitting in my car, I first did this piece top in my Exacompta Sketch Book with paints from my Windsor & Newton Bijou Box and a Niji Waterbrush pen. As it was drying, I moved on and painted this next piece -

Park Mandala 2

Another watercolor painting, this time in my Clairefontaine sketchbook. As this one was drying, I went back and added the ink to the first piece with a Pitt Artist Pen- and when that one was finished, I came back and did the design on this second one.

Park Mandala 3

This last piece, also in the Exacompta Sketch Book, was first drawn with a single Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pen. When the design was complete, I added the watercolors.

The sunshine was certainly an inspiration to me on that particular day!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Congratulations Cara! And thank you all for entering my Original Art Giveaway!

From the 24 comments posted, the random number generator at picked Lucky #19!!! And that would be Anam Cara from the FPN! Yay Cara!!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Win an Original Piece of Biffybeans Art!

This is an original piece of art that I created back around March of 2007. It's on black paper - either Reeves or Strathmore - I can no longer remember. I drew it with grease pencils, (China Markers) which happen to work very well on black paper.

If you would like to win this piece of original art, all you need to do is to leave a comment on this blog post by Tuesday night - March 24th at 10:00 PM EST. Winner will be determined by a random number generator.

If you are an anonymous poster, you will need to leave your name and something to distinguish yourself, like; "Carol with the brown dog in Austin."

If you have any questions, please e-mail me at the link below the post.

Check back on Wednesday March 25th to find out the lucky winner!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Artist Love: The Tackle Box

Tackle Box of Art Supplies

Growing up as an only child with a father that loved to fish, I remember spending a lot of time with my Dad in the fishing aisle at the local K-Mart. While most of what I would see there held no interest to me, what child cannot resist the allure of The Tackle Box.

All of those glorious secret compartments to hold Lego parts, Barbie shoes, a stamp or coin collection, sea shells and rocks collected on a trip to the Jersey Shore...

Tackle Box of Art Supplies

I've had this box for a very long time- I think I bought it sometime around 1992.

Through the years, it's held a lot of different things. Ironically, the first thing I used it for was to hold art supplies, but that didn't really hold my interest at the time and they gave way to storing piles of embroidery thread that I used to weave a multitude of friendship bracelets.

The thread gave way to jewelry making supplies, and then it sat empty for a few years until I recently saw it sitting at the top of my closet. I realized it was once again time to put art supplies in it because they were starting to take over the house.

I'm the kind of person that likes to have everything I like to use in plain sight and within easy reach at all times for when inspiration strikes me, but with our tiny house, that's just not possible. And so once again, I've filled this box and it lives under the sofa, ready to be pulled out at a moments notice.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Frame Drum Mandala

Mandala on Remo Frame Drum

Leave something sit around long enough within my reach of a permanent marker and it's likely to end up adorned with a mandala.

Mandala on Remo Frame Drum

This is my synthetic Remo Frame Drum, and I used a Staedtler Lumocolor Marker to draw the mandala. I did this some time last fall, and seeing the green grass behind the drum has me itching for warmer weather...

Check out this quick lesson on how to play the frame drum by one of the world's best - Mr Glen Velez:

PS - there are numerous ways to play a frame drum, this is just one. I believe it's called, "Cafe Style."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Missing Mandalas

Squarish Mandala

I may always be drawing mandalas, but I'm still always surprised when I come across ones that I've forgotten about. These are two that I did a couple of months ago and actually photographed, but never got around to uploading. This first one was done on 12/30/08 - the day before my 40th birthday. I wonder what I was thinking when I did it? Was there any intention injected into the piece? If so, I can't remember. I know I was anxious about turning 40, and in fact, am still struggling with it a bit. I hit a milestone and I can't help but think about what I haven't done, instead of all the glorious things that I have accomplished.

Simply existing is not enough

This next one was done sometime prior to the first, but I can't remember when. I can remember doing it in two stages. The circular piece came first, and then everything else around it.

I love the note I made on it: "Simply existing is not enough. Movement and action is imperative to living life to it's fullest." How true. We spend so much time on peripheral things. Wasted time that we can never get back and will fully regret when our time grows short.

I really need to wake up and start living.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Want to try an exercise in futility? Try writing with a calligraphy pen.

Inks, Dip Pen and Mandala

I don't mean one of those chisel tipped markers from the art store, I mean with an honest-to-goodness nib holder/ metal nib that's dipped in ink then applied to the page.

It's about 5700 times harder than it looks.

Back in 8th grade, my art teacher gave an after school calligraphy class. I never wanted to learn any specific ancient script, I just loved using the pen for my own combination of printed/cursive script. The nibs I learned on were in fact chiseled - they would create a skinny horizontal line and a fat vertical one. Curvy letters like "O" were a glorious combination of the two. I've carried that lesson with me all of these years - writing greeting cards with a chisel-tipped marker and more recently, writing letters using a fountain pen with a cursive italic nib that gives the same effect.

So why go back to an old fashioned dip pen?

Because I'm obviously a masochist.

I've recently been playing with two different calligraphy sets. A beginner set from Cretacolor, and an advances set from Brause. I've found them to both have something in common- my inability to put ink to paper without blobbing it the hell all over the place.

I've tried using fountain pen inks, calligraphy inks, China/India inks and drawing inks on a number of different kinds of paper including; smooth, rough, absorbant, resistant.. Actually pretty much everything except for calligraphy paper.

My results have been quite varied. I can get some nibs to write well with some inks on certain papers, but the results keep coming out inconsistent.

Sennelier China Ink worked really well with the Cretacolor Drawing nib, but the pamphlet with the Brause set said not to use China/India inks with their nibs. (Probably because it's a shellac based ink and impossible to get off the nibs once dry.) It probably worked well for me because it's a thick ink and easier to control than a thin water-based fountain pen ink.

I did learn from the Brause pamphlet (the Cretacolor set didn't include a pamphlet) that you need to wash the nibs in soapy water before you first use them - that may be why I had such a hard time getting the Cretacolor nibs to work my first time around.

Now I understand the general principle to get these nibs to write. Dip the nib into the ink, wipe off the excess, and write. So why the big blobs? I'm still trying to figure that out. I'm wondering if it's possible that I should be using calligraphy paper for just this purpose, but my brain says that I should be able to use other kinds of paper as well.

So I've read the directions from Brause, but they are somewhat limited. I'm typically the kind of person that ignores directions, choosing instead to figure things out for themselves. I think maybe this time I need to drop some of that Capricorn stubbornness and do a little research before completely abandoning this project.

I by no means ever intended to master this art form with a single stroke, but with my previous experience I expected to at least be able to exhibit somewhat of a rudimentary ability...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Perfection at its core...

Perfection at its core

"Embrace the thing you fear most and break it down into the smallest manageable parts and conquer one step at a time. This will create momentum. Momentum feeds the next and allows you to break through your fears, your dramas, your bad habits and patterns until you are able to uncover your true self that is perfection at its core." - Jim Donovan

Read Jim's blog: Rhythm :: Ecstasy :: Evolution for more of the really good stuff.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Mandalas to Brighten Your Day!

Colorful Mandala Hand in Sketchbook

Neocolor II Crayons in an Exacompta Sketchbook

Watercolor and India Ink Mandala

Holbein & Daniel Smith Watercolors, Sennelier China Ink on Fabriano Hot Press Watercolor Paper

022607 Mandala - One of my favorites

Various markers on Borden & Riley Marker Paper

Mandala with Sanskrit Healing Mantra

Holbein & Daniel Smith Watercolors in a Cachet Watercolor Book

Mandala with Mantra (View Large)

Holbein & Daniel Smith Watercolors, Derwent Inktense Pencils, and J. Herbin Larmes de Cassis Fountain Pen ink on Arches Hot Press Watercolor Paper
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