Sketchbook Cover #9

September 10, 2016

Yesterday I turned off the internet in my house. Yep, even after a friend said “never, ever turn off the Internet!” But the thing is you really can’t turn it off because it’s pretty much available everywhere, either Wi-Fi when you go places or using data or a hotspot with a smartphone. And today I am  using my phone to make this blog post. I’m just using the mobile site through my browser, not an app, and so far it’s working alright. Although when I uploaded photos from my phone I had a hard time seeing the photos I wanted to share, until I realize where the little clear button was and how to navigate. Once I pretty much finished writing I switched to WordPress’s newest editor.

So let me get on with what I wanted to share. Over the summer I really did not create any artwork. I took a few pictures. But as far as painting or drawing or any digital art it felt like a pretty dry summer, in more ways than just the heat. So two weeks ago I went back to work, as school had started again and I am an assistant for an English language learners classroom.  At the same time something finally  started to come out of my brain in a creative way. Since then I’ve been wondering if starting back at my day job kept my left brain busy enough so that my right brain could get busy without being pestered by the left brains’ rantings about why I haven’t done anything all Summer. Yep, this thought  makes me sigh and laugh!

 So how this happened was that my sketchbook had started coming apart and I realized, oh, I hadn’t painted the covers of this new sketchbook. This is my ninth small sketch book that I have painted. You can see the others on my Flickr page. So that’s what I’ve been working on and I just want to share with you how it turned out. I use Copic Multiliners to draw the designs, Pitt pens on the inside and Zig Clean Color Real Brush on the outside to add color, and then  sprayed it with Krylon Kamar Varnish.

Pens used

Inside cover

Outside cover

The biggest challenge in using my phone to create this post has probably been adding the media and getting a cursor in the right place so it adds it where I want it to be. In the end I think I learned how to do it and hopefully I can do it more often as it’s not impossible and it’s definitely another option to using a computer to create a blog post. One of the best things about  making this post with my phone was that I was able to speak a lot of this text using voice texting and then edit. It’s always good to try new things.


Digital Painting Decisions

August 3, 2016

Digital Painting of my photographs is something I find to be quite a challenge but very enjoyable. Making a rendering of people is definitely the hardest for me for many reasons so I tend to stick to what I love taking photos of the most… flowers and nature.

When I start a painting I often have to make decisions right away about what style I want because I have to choose which brushes I will use. In other words, how far do I want to go with the abstraction of shapes and colors? Do I want it to be more realistic or do I want to push the boundaries and add different colors? In my own style I think I am somewhere in the middle between realism and abstraction, and because I am still trying to find my ‘go to’ brushes I really have a long ways I can go in pushing the limits of my digital paintings. I feel that way with acrylic painting as well, but there I definitely know that I want more abstraction. Clicking on a picture will bring up the gallery if you want to see the differences more clearly.

These sunflowers were also created by playing with brushstrokes and asking ‘what if I do this?’ The thing is, for me at least, I find it more enjoyable to play and experiment and not get bogged down in trying to make it ‘my’ style. Mark making is just fun! So why not try lots of them. Even though I usually prefer to keep the colors more the way they are in nature and love to blend colors and brushstrokes, I found that with the last two I really wanted the marks and shapes to be what stood out and not just the color. Although I do think the grey, green and yellow together are very pleasing.

So yes, there is a lot that goes into even a digital painting from a photograph. I use Corel Painter15 and am waiting for the latest version to come out very soon so that I can get last years upgrade as well. Until then I’ll keep taking pictures and having fun at giving some of them a very painterly look.

These images and more are available HERE


An Artistic Sense of Urgency.

July 25, 2016

Yellow Star Zinnia

This year is going by so fast! Nothing like getting near to the end of a month to make me think about how productive or unproductive I’ve been. (sigh!) Well, while there is still light, and into the dark of night, I still have plenty of time to work on a project, painting, taking or editing photos. When we work for an employer it is always good to have a sense of urgency to get things done. We want to show others that we will work hard for what they are paying us. I guess I think of it as a way of saying thank you to them for having given me a job and a way to have money to pay the bills.

But with my artwork my tendency is to be rather lazy in creating. This is probably true because there are not always immediate external rewards for what I’ve created. Yes, I need to create for myself but who would deny that they don’t feel some joy when you post your work on social media and people express some form of appreciation for their efforts. Yet… although I absolutely love seeing the images on the back of my camera or on my easel I know I do desire to have the reward of having my work hanging on someones wall.

The picture above is of a zinnia. I took this last night at almost 8 pm. The sun was gone and there I was taking pictures… as if maybe tomorrow I wouldn’t have that chance again.  And this is because I’ve learned to stop and take the picture when I see it, as next year those same plants will most likely will not be there.

Last week I told you about one artist that had inspired me with her online tutorial this past Spring, and today I would like to tell you about another, Danielle Donaldson and her tutorials offered through Jeanne Oliver’s website. If you click on her center picture that says ‘online creative network’ you will be taken to where Jeanne offers many different classes from different artists. http://jeanneoliver.ning.com/
Danielle’s classes combine watercolor with fun illustrations and are geared toward the beginner and even the more advanced. I am also enjoying her book Creative Girl. I like making little characters so it fits right with what I need for inspiration in my sketchbook. You can find Danielle Donaldson here.

With that… I am off to create something!


Connecting Islands

July 18, 2016

A Passionate Bee

Hello everyone! I’m back after another very long hiatus! I’ve been through quite a bit in the last couple years, but thankfully, nothing life threatening. Life just has lots of twists and turns and one has to deal with it as it comes. But we go to sleep and wake up and we do the best we can. Thankfully I have the Lord that guides me and carries me through the really difficult times. I am very thankful for His presence in my life. In that time I lived in 4 different places, had most of my belongings in storage, worked 3 different jobs and hadn’t been able to do a lot of creating. And this became especially true as I became a grandmother and was blessed with 2 granddaughters who are now 7 and 4 1/2 months old. What a joy that has been!  During all this time I have managed to keep photographing but have yet to print or show my photos. I think it’s my painting and drawing that has suffered the most. In fact I finally put them in a gallery and didn’t sell a single one. But I don’t worry. I know we all go through seasons. I believe in embracing change and hanging on until conditions are in my favor. Yep, I’m an optimist. Have to be. I have no desire to be sad or depressed.

I’ve also gone through a lot of soul searching with my art during this time of waiting. The ‘what am I supposed to be doing’ and ‘am I doing the right thing’ kind of stuff. I think those thoughts creep in the most because I don’t have room to work or don’t complete anything new or sell anything. But I just have to keep saying, “ok, what is next”? That way, when I have room will I be ready.

I also had completely ignored my blog because I just didn’t know what I wanted to say. Part of that searching meant I had to listen to thoughts that said I wasn’t an expert in anything so why bother trying to write a blog. But I figured that when my mind was ready to write again I would find a way to bring my thoughts back here.

Strangely, it seemed that having a website and taking my wordpress.com blog over to it seemed to bring my blogging to a halt as well and then all I was doing was paying too much just to have a place to share my links. So this week I redid my website to a free one, for now, until I decide if I want to connect my domain and I brought my blog back to it’s original location where I seemed to connect with people more. I guess I felt like I was marooned on my own website. I’m learning that I need to create my art life in a way I am comfortable with, and not because someone says that to be an artist you have to do it a certain way. I’m not too crazy about fitting into someone’s little box. So here is that new website. Let me know what you think.


Today, and in my next post, I want to share a couple of artist’s websites with you. These are  where I have done some online courses this past Spring. It’s part of my ‘staying upbeat’ strategy because their classes are very affordable and I simply don’t have money to waste.So the first workshop I did was one I was wanting to do for some time as I’m a big fan of her illustrations.


I did her Character Sketch Workshop and still hope to do Layers of Color. The other two are geared toward children.

It feels nice to be writing again. I’m glad to be back and hope to start making this a habit. Not because someone says I should post on certain days or a certain number of days to get noticed but just because, well, I want to share things with you and not stay on my own little island but be connected to others.


Welcome to my new website!

January 16, 2015

Doing this myself is certainly been a challenge! I use WordPress so it’s pretty similar to the way my blog was on WordPress.com but I still have a lot to do and will probably be making a lot of changes in the days to come.


Part 2: Where to show and sell your artwork?

October 25, 2014
Lookout Buckeye! There's a spider web behind you!

Lookout Buckeye! There’s a spider web behind you!

So as promised….part 2 of where I sell work online. Been putting this off for awhile as it’s so easy to forget all the things I want to do unless I put a big sign on my wall. I’ve added lots of links so you can see for yourself as well. I always try to share a picture with you that is current or relates to my subject and thought this little guy would be a good reminder that even when you post your pictures to remember to be aware of your surroundings and posting where your pictures are protected and resize for social media.

First I want to talk about Flickr, which is where I started putting my pictures online back in 2007. They were just from my little digital point and shoot but I loved them. Flickr has come a long way and so have I. They were purchased by Yahoo and I’ve seen an announcement that they have plans in the future to allow people to sell but so far I’ve only seen them saying that “you can now print from your pictures”. That’s very different… hmmm, perhaps that is what they really meant. Here  are their current guidelines and under ‘What not to do’ and then ‘Don’t use Flickr to sell’ they have more good info to stay familiar with. David Pogue wrote a review for the NY Times that is worth the read as well for those of you wondering if Flickr is for you. I had Flickr friends who did not like the changes and went to Ipernity.com which has a nice look as well.

The next place I started putting my work on was RedBubble after comparing it with Zazzle and CafePress. I didn’t do much with it, and soon I found Society6. I decided that I did like it and felt it was more a match for me, and honestly, I liked the fact that it was a company from my own country. Creative Cravings shares a nice tutorial for beginners that will help you get started.

But as so often has happened I got busy with working to pay bills and adding content pretty much got ignored. I really wanted to offer phone covers but I had the hardest time trying to figure out how to upload for the phone templates. There is a page there that tells you what size files but now how to do it, and I’ve been quite challenged in my knowledge of Photoshop. I’ve looked for help before but it wasn’t until last night that I finally put in the right question to Google and came up with a few good articles right away by asking “how to make templates for uploading to society 6?” Hope these help you: JIMIYO,  Shine On and from Andre Belaz on Behance. Now I didn’t have as much luck with that search on YouTube, which is kind of my go to since I learn best from videos. So if you know of one I would love if you could share with us in the comments.

Then last year I decided to try Fine Art America, which you can read about in my last post.

And finally this year I began posting to 500px. It took me a long time to commit as I suppose I felt a little intimidated by the excellent quality of of the photos I saw on there. I just needed time. Time to believe in myself and my work and to be prepared should I be ignored. And to tell myself that being ignored is not the worst thing in the world and I bet there is someone whose day, or moment might be a little brighter by looking at a lovely image. Well, what I found is that there are others who feel that way too and that there are many there who like to interact as well.

I really like the interface of 500px and how easy it is for others to see your work. Let’s say someone likes your work by clicking on the big thumbs up button or favorites it by clicking on the heart. Well, then all their followers will see that if they happen to be on the site around the same time. The UI is divided up into sections which you navigate and have other dropdowns to decide where you want to go. The mobile and desktop versions are somewhat similar and on the desktop you have the option of blocking adult content, which sadly there is a fair amount posted by photographers. They are also an evolving site as they learn what works and doesn’t but have been working to make it better. I would like to see them add a tab for blogs, but as it is, when you go to ‘about’ anyone can find all your links that you have posted . Here is a great review by SLRlounge

Flickr and 500px are also very easy to post to if you use Adobe’s Lightroom as you can drag and drop and ‘publish’, or choose old school and add them from your saved files. I’ve gotten into a kind of simple workflow by publishing to these two and then immediately saving in a file I call something like ‘Top Photos’ and then I can easily add from my hard drive file to FineArtAmerica/Pixels.com

The main thing I would recommend with any of these sites is to put a little time into your profile. I love to read about others. I see their pictures and my mind starts churning, “ooh where are they from, what do they do?” I’m always a little sad when I see that space empty. From one who has a hard time talking about myself and am shy in front of the camera I understand how it feels, but take 15 mins. and share. I can attest that it does get easier as you go. I put something on there and I didn’t explode…ok, I’m gonna be ok!🙂

There you go! Just a little bit of the marketing I’ve chosen to use! Whew!! Thanks for hanging in with me through all this as marketing is definitely not my strong point. Let’s get back to a lot of creating now!


Part 1: Where to show and sell your artwork?

September 10, 2014
Painted Dahlias

Painted Dahlias

Completed a new painting today of one of my photographs of Dahlias and then I made it available online to anyone who might want to purchase a print of it.

If you are selling or purchasing art may I recommend Fine Art America. You can start by finding beautiful canvas artwork here at my profile page: Karen Hernandez

I will post more ideas of websites for you soon, in hopes that it may help someone of you see where your work can be offered, or even where you can purchase amazing artwork. At FAA your work can also show up on Pixels.com and DesignerPrints.com, as they are also owned by FAA.

I’m first showing you FAA though as it is the main source for all of my work. Currently I have my my photographs and digital paintings but I appreciate that I can also put my original paintings and illustrations on there as well. They offer different kinds of prints as well as cards and phone covers, and I’m sure more is to come. I also appreciate that there are Community boards and Groups. FineArtAmerica.com makes it very easy to get started and then I just need to market my work.

They also have an amazing app, for the iPad, that let’s you visualize the art on your wall. Here is a list of their recent announcements where you will find more information on it:  http://fineartamerica.com/announcements.html

Marketing is certainly not my strong point, but I am learning and FineArtAmerica is certainly helping.