Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day Twenty-One and New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year!  Today I completed my twenty-first sketch, yay!  Again, I turned to my albums for a topic, this time I chanced upon an album containing photos of our trip to Ireland about 16 years ago.  One evening we spent the night at a B&B in the city of Cong, County Mayo in Western Ireland.

After we had settled in, we decided to go for a stroll in this charming village noted for its fishing.  We were on the Riverwalk alongside the Cong River and we came upon this charming little duck!  I was lucky enough to capture an image of this little guy in quite an unusual pose.  We sat and watched him for awhile and as we started down the road again we noticed we had company, the little character had joined on us our stroll!  He actually followed us all the way back to our B&B where we turned and waved goodbye as he slowly departed.

Having come across this photo, I knew he was today's subject .....

Meet "Cong Duck"
and here is my Day Twenty-One Ink Sketch of "Cong Duck"

I can see I should have made his head larger, 
I can also see I have a lot learn about drawing animals, 
especially birds!

Happy New Year to One and All!
Karen Anne Brady

Friday, December 30, 2011

"My Girl" Day Twenty Ink Sketch Drawing

Years ago two very special dogs came into our lifes, Suzie aka Yellow Fawn and Dexter aka Moose.  They were anonymously given to my parents who eventually gave them to us and they became dear and precious members of our little family.  As far as we could discern they were in the Rhodesian Ridgeback family.

Thumbing through my albums today, I came across a photo of Suzie and it just called out to me as the subject of my Day Twenty Sketch.  Now, mind you, drawing animals is not something that comes easily to me.  I finally decided to challenge myself further in Brenda Swenson's 75 Day Sketch Challenge and at least attempt this drawing.  So here is

Happy New Year!
Karen Anne

Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Soldier Boy" Day Nineteen Ink Sketch

I am so enjoying going through my old albums!  Today I found a photo from 10/4/1993 and decided to sketch what I call "Soldier Boy"....

Try it you'll like it too!

Karen Anne

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day Eighteen ... Brotherly Love ....

I was looking though an old photo album and I came across a picture taken on Halloween in 1995.  It was of my oldest grandson (in his Daniel Boone outfit) helping my oldest granddaughter (in her Minnie Mouse outfit) put on her Mouse Ears.  The expressions on their faces captivated me and I wondered if I could possibly capture that in an ink sketch.  Without the assistance of a pre-drawing in pencil ... well, this was truly a challenge!

I guess you never truly know what you are capable of doing until you try......

Happy Day!
Karen Anne

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 15, 16 and 17 Sketches ....

Were you wondering if I had given up?  .... Nope, just had some scanner problems ...
for Day 15 I used a wood carving of two fish (that are sitting around collecting dust...didn't sketch the dust), for Day 16 I used a carved and painted wooden duck decoy, and finally on Day 16 I found a photo of my oldest granddaughter when she was a mere one year old...

"Day 15   12/25/2011"

"Day Sixteen    12/26/2011"

"Day Seventeen    12/27/2011"
Happy Holiday Season!
Karen Anne

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Days Thirteen and Fourteen Sketches

I barely had time to sketch thirteen and fourteen ... but I did!  Quick sketch time!  Day Thirteen is of a cowbell and Day Fourteen is a carnation bud in a bud vase (my grandson son brought me a bouquet of red and white carnations for my birthday and one of the flowers broke .. so voila!  subject of an ink sketch!).

"Day Thirteen  12/23/2011"
"Day Fourteen 12/24/2011"
"Merry Christmas Everyone!"
Karen Anne

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day Twelve - 12/22/2011 - aka My Birthday!

Day Twelve and what to sketch?  As I looked around the dining room, I spied Sister Celine's old school bell and decided upon today's sketch.  She was Jim's aunt and she used to teach school.  Though she has long since passed, she is brought back to memory every time I see her bell sitting atop my old oak sideboard. 

How many of you remember the days when it seemed every teacher had a bell and yielded it with frequency, especially when she wanted your attention?!

"Sister Celine's School Bell"
I'm really looking forward to when the days are not so filled and I will have more time to work on these sketches.  This challenge is great fun and I look forward to each day's new drawing, but I wish I had a bit more time so I could pay closer attention to details.

Til tomorrow,
Karen Anne

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day Eleven ....

Today we have been rushing all around ... to the post office, get driver license renewed, stop at the vets, across town to pick up special paper, over to the grocery and back home only to remember I still need to get busy on Day Eleven sketch! 

As I was putting away all of our purchases, I pulled out a little Sock Monkey ornament that I had picked up for the tree and thought "Ah Hah!  Day Eleven's subject!" ... who doesn't love a sock monkey!?!  Sock Monkey to the rescue!

Note to self:  A good time NOT to start a challenge is between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's!

If you are interested in Brenda Swenson's Challenge click on the highlighted link and you'll be taken directly over to her blog.....

Merry Christmas!
Karen Anne

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day Ten

I honestly wasn't sure I could work in my Day Ten sketch but I did!  I figured go for something simple so I chose a little Beany Bear that is sitting on my art table.  I'll bet the next few days will result in more quick drawings, at least until after Christmas!

"Merry Christmas!"
Karen Anne

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day Nine .....

For the subject today, I chose a small carved yellow cedar bowl that we picked up on one of our visits to Haida Gwaii (aka Queen Charlotte Islands) in BC many years ago.  I've always been a huge fan of Northwest Coast art.  This bowl has been carved in the design of a Haida Bear, I cherish this bowl and the memories it stirs.

Well, now its time to start gift wrapping, Christmas Eve is drawing ever closer with each passing day.

Merry Christmas All!
Karen Anne

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day Eight!

Well, I wasn't sure I'd get Day Eight completed with the Family Christmas Party and all!  So I started it before the get together and put on the finishing touches once we got back home.  The party was great, 40 members showed up, enjoyed all the good food and had grand fun with the gift exchange game!

Today I picked out another Chinaberry Parasite Wood Carving.  This is one of a fish, I like these carvings, they intrigue me how the carver leaves so much of the natural part of the growth and works the subject into the shape of the piece.  They are each unique and individual because each piece of parasite wood is one of a kind.

FYI:  Chinaberry parasite wood carvings come from a parasitic plant, a mushroom-like growth that imbeds itself into the bark of a Chinaberry tree and gets its nourishment from the tree's sap.  These parasite growths are so hard and dense that they don't decay when the tree is dead and rots away, leaving these parasite growths to be picked up and carved into beautiful objects by talented artists.

"Day Eight Ink Sketch"
If you like to know more about the challenge, just click on this link Brenda Swenson's 75 Day Sketch Challenge.
Happy Day!
Karen Anne

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day Seven and I am still hanging in ....

Today I began the day by putting a 15 pound turkey into the oven, in preparation for a big Family Christmas Party tomorrow with all my brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, our children and grandchildren and of course my Mom!  Mom and Dad had a total of six children who eventually married, had children who eventually got married, who had more children!  From Mom and Dad we have grown into a family that now numbers 66+ (never know when a new little blessing is on the way)!

Anyway, with the smell of roasting turkey wafting through the house I decided I might as well get started on my Day Seven ink sketch.  The subject today is from a card I received from my sister, about ten or so years ago, of a photograph of a little angel holding a basket of fruit (picture must be around circa 1920 or so) that I had framed because it was so charming.  The photograph was in sepia tones so for this rendering I decided to use deep brown ink and it seems those little circles are determined to be in yet another illustration!

"Little Angel"
Merry Christmas All!
Karen Anne

PS  If you would like to learn more about the "75 Day Sketch Challenge" just click on Brenda Swenson's Challenge .

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day Six Is Here And So Is A New Ink Sketch!

This challenge is proving to be quite fun!  Today's subject is a Christmas Gnome that was given to us several years ago from our youngest son and his family.  He is a fun little guy who enjoys living in an eclectic environment ... lucky us!  A couple Christmas' back I knitted Christmas socks for all of our children, their spouses, and all of the grandkids ... well, Christmas Gnome looked a bit left out, so of course I knitted him his own personal Christmas Stocking.  The stocking he is holding is that sock!

"Christmas Gnome"
In this sketch I have also incorporated colored ink pens!   The "75 Day Sketch Challenge" guidelines stipulate the use of pen and ink only ... nothing said it had to be limited to just black ink!  I like him so well I have decided to make Christmas Gift tags using this little fellow.  Fun!

Merry Christmas Friends!
Karen Anne

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12/15/2011 is Day Five!

These last two ink sketches seem to reflect the fact that I am finding the Christmas spirit!

Day Five's subject is a beaded ornament.  For about 4 years running I made a beaded ornament (cover) for each of my children, their spouses, each grandchild, and many friends.  Each year I would use a different pattern and base the beads used upon the recipient's favorite colors for that year.  The color combinations were sometimes unusual but always unique and individual to that person.

The ornament I used for day five was one of my least complicated patterns ....

"A Beaded Christmas Ornament"

I have still not resorted to use of a pencil and eraser, but I have been sorely tempted!  There was nothing in the rules about using a template, so I did resort to using a circle template in the sketch.  A plain background was just too "plain" so I added different size circles and I think it rather looks like snowflakes or various sized Christmas lights.  What do you think?

Remember, if you want to check out this challenge just go to

Brenda Swenson's Blog "The 75 Day Sketch Challenge".

Merry Christmas!
Karen Anne

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day Four ....

I'm still in the challenge - Yes!  Yesterday I was looking through a Family Christmas album and found a picture of my youngest granddaughter back in 2007 where she had just handed Santa her Christmas letter to him; it was so sweet I decided to tackle sketching the picture of Santa as he was looking down at her and opening her letter.  So here is today's sketch ....

"Letter To Santa"

Merry Christmas!
Karen Anne

If you want to take on this challenge just go to Brenda Swenson's "75 Day Sketch Challenge" for the information. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day Three

Today I chose a Chinaberry carving we have to use as the subject of today's ink sketch.

FYI:  Chinaberry parasite wood carvings come from a parasitic plant, a mushroom-like growth that imbeds itself into the bark of a Chinaberry tree and gets its nourishment from the tree's sap.  These parasite growths are so hard and dense that they don't decay when the tree is dead and rots away, leaving these parasite growths to be picked up and carved into beautiful objects by talented artists.

Day Three   12/13/2011

I now have Day Three completed ... only 72 sketches more to do!  I hope I can, I hope I can, I hope I can ....

Happy Day!
Karen Anne

Brenda Swenson's "75 Day Sketch Challenge" 

Monday, December 12, 2011

The 75 Day Sketch Challenge

After many days of pondering over the wisdom of taking on Brenda Swenson's "75 Day Sketch Challenge"  I finally decided to make the plunge and take it on!  The challenge being to complete one drawing per day for a period of 75 days .... the goal is to build observation and drawing skills.  The drawings are to be done only in ink ... no pencil or erasers allowed! 

No pencil or eraser and putting pen directly to paper was, to say the least, very daunting to me!  On Day One I decided to try my hand at a bowl and pitcher set on the side board that sits in front of our dinning room window.  I can honestly tell you, this rendition does not even come close to the original; I wasn't able to capture the unique design on the pitcher and just went with the flow; the actual subject is much nicer. 

As an additional challenge I also decided to share my attempts here on my blog ... goof ups and all!  This may just prove to be a very humbling challenge ....

Day One  12/11/2011
I am using a 6"x8" spiral drawing pad for this challenge ... the top of this drawing was cut off because I didn't want to remove the page from the book.  I want to keep all the drawings in tack and watch my progress.

Day Two    12/12/2011
My husband has a collection of curious sea shells residing on top of the built in buffet in our dinning room, so I grabbed one of the shells to use as the subject for my Day 2 attempt.    Drawing without a pencil sketch first is still daunting but, after all, this is a challenge journey!

If you would like to read about the challenge and perhaps try it yourself, just pop over to Brenda Swenson's Blog!

Til tomorrow ....
Karen Anne

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Third and Final ACEO Challenge ACEO

Outside of our kitchen garden window we have an arborvitae that stands at the east end of the window.  We also have a family of squirrels that nest in the tall blue spruce in our front yard.  The squirrels gather and bury nuts all over our yard, later they will dig up their little treasures and many a time I have been working in the kitchen and a motion will capture my attention outside of the window, I look up and I'll see a little squirrel happily munching on a tender nut morsel. 

This happened again today and inspired my third and final entry in The ACEO Challenge which I have titled "Garden Window Visitor"....
Happy Day all!
Karen Anne

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Another ACEO Challenge ACEO!

This is good!  Two ACEO's completed!  What better view from your front door window could greet you than a surprise visit from someone you love!

I've titled this little piece "Christmas Time Visitor" .....
Merry Christmas everyone!

Big Hugs,
Karen Anne

PS  If you make ACEO's, why not pop over to The ACEO Challenge  Blog and challenge yourself and enter this month's Challenge of  ".....Out Your Window"!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The ACEO Challenge for December 2011

I think I have been in an artistic slump these past several weeks and, as I was visiting The ACEO Challenge Blog  yesterday, decided the December Challenge was just what I needed to get my creative juices again flowing.  The challenge this month is ".....Out your window"; I looked out my front room window and saw my little Humming Bird friends hovering around the humming bird feeders and decided to begin with them in mind.

Christmas decorations are coming out of their year long storage and had been added to the porch and, together with the humming birds, created a charming view.  So here is the Christmas view from my front room window.....

So now I am off to enter it in the December ACEO Challenge .... and begin work on another little ACEO!

Merry Christmas!

Karen Anne