Wednesday, November 19, 2014

More Lil' Friends ACEOs!

Hi my friends!  It has been awhile since I last posted anything so today I have 4 new lil' images to share with you since my last post.

I am enjoying working on my "Lil' Friends" series and taking my time with each new little creation.  I am trying to hone my colored pencil techniques by not rushing through any piece, which is hard to do because I am always exceedingly anxious to see the finished piece!  One thing I truly appreciate about colored pencils is the fact that I can stop what I am doing at a moments notice and it will be there waiting for my return. A small blessing when you life becomes a bit more hectic than one would prefer.  

A necessary tool in the art of colored pencil painting is a good blender and after trying a multitude of blenders a friend of mine suggested I try a "Caran D'Ache Full Blender Bright" and now I am one of its biggest fans!  It is really an amazing tool and seems to cut down on blending time by at least 50%!  The only draw back I have so far found is that it doesn't provide a good foundation for applying ink because of the glossy surface it produces, but an application of a workable matte fixative helps to reduce that problem; one does have to wait for the fixative to fully dry before trying to apply ink to the piece.  

On "Lil' Miss Steampunk #1" I did not wait long enough ... I had finished the piece except for the background and so I colored it in, blended it with the Caran D'Ache Full Blender and began applying ink for the wall paper design.  When I was nearly finished I noticed I had smeared nearly all of the inks (gel pens and art pens alike) ~ I was horrified!  All that work and at the nth moment I had ruined the piece!  OH NO!  

After studying the mess I had made (luckily none had smeared on the subject) I decided to smear the entire background together which created a purplish greenish gray effect.  I then sprayed it with a matte workable fixative, waited for it to dry and then re-did the wall paper designs ... happily it worked out and the piece was salvaged!  Actually, it looks better with the darker wall paper ... guess you could say "God" was helping me out by providing a learning experience.

Without further ado, here are my latest four colored pencil miniature paintings in the order in which they were created....

"Lil' Witch #4"  (recently adopted by a dear friend of mine in Canada ... Stacy)

"Lil' Witch #5" (currently being auctioned on eBay)

"Lil' Miss Steampunk #1" (original not currently for sale)

"Lil' Steampunk #2" (original not currently for sale)

All four pieces are now available as Open Edition ACEO Authorized Art Prints in my Etsy Shop for a staggering $1 each!  

ACEOs make wonderful little stocking stuffers and fun additions to Holiday, Birthday, and gift cards!

Wishing you all a very happy day!

Karen Anne Brady aka Ireland Brady

Monday, October 20, 2014

Some new Lil' Friends ....

My goodness, my last post was on 9/9/2014!  That is quite awhile ago.... I have gotten quite a bit done since that time, more "other stuff" than I prefer but at least most of it is now taken care of.  I did manage to finish a few more Lil' Friends every now and then and thought I would share them with you all today.  So here they are in the order in which they were created:

"Lil' Scarecrow" 8-23-14

"Lil' Circus Clown #2"  8-29-14

"Lil' Pony Boy" 9-4-14

"Lil' Witch #1" 9-29-14

"Lil' Witch #2" 10-3-14

"Lil' Witch #3" 10-15-14

I have two more Lil' Friends sketches worked up (Lil' Witch #4 and Lil' Witch #5) that I hoped to get transferred to paper soon and colored in.    Hopefully I will get them completed and posted before November 2014!  LOL!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Big hugs,
Karen Anne aka Ireland Brady

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Fox Friend" August 2014 CPM Art Challenge

The August 2014 CPM (Colored Pencil Magazine) "Fox Friend", with reference photo from Patricia Sue Overton, was an intriguing challenge so I decided to take it on.  This time I forced myself to use a soft touch and tiny pencil strokes, which is so difficult for me!  Tackling animal fur was another challenge all unto its own.  This one is actually about 99% totally colored pencil, I tend to lean heavily on my art pens but in this one I purposely strove to use extremely sharp pencils for the fine details ... except for the whiskers and around the eyes.

I found some drafting vellum that Jim had brought home about 20 or so years ago and decided to use that for this piece.  I like working on vellum ... it is tough and stands up to my abuse (erasing and scraping off excess pencil)!  I thought I was finished with the piece yesterday and brought it down to show Jim, he looked at it and said "this is really nice, but the rear looks like a fluffy ball, not like an animal's rear haunches.".  Well, I wasn't too happy about that comment and kinda huffed around a bit. Then I looked at it again and "yep" it looked more like more like a scrubbing pad ... so I put it away.

I had gotten so caught up in the pattern of twists, twirls and curves of the haunch fur that I had neglected to take highlights and color variations into consideration.  As I was studying it this morning, I decided that area already had too many applications of colored pencil and determined I should try to remove excess pencil rather than add more.  I took an X-acto knife in hand and slowly began gently scraping away excess pencil to reveal highlights in the fur.

I finally got to the point where I figured if I worked on it any further it would quickly go from bad to worse.  I will say one thing, I am getting a bit better at animal fur yet I sure have a long way to go!

"Fox Friend" entry:

original photo by Patricia Sue Overton

Hope you like my efforts.   If you'd like to point out what I could have done better ... I promise I won't "huff" but take your kind critiques into serious consideration.  Thanks a bunch!

Big hugs,
Karen Anne 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lil' Friends Series ....

I think I have started a new ACEO series ... called "Lil' Friends"  .... beginning with

"Lil' Circus Clown"

and followed today by "Lil' Forest Fairy"

"Lil' Circus Clown" is entered in the Grumbacher monthly ATC Art Swap with its circus theme; and Lil' Forest Fairy" is entered in the Nibblefest Art Contest (NFAC) monthly Art Challenge with its theme of forest creatures.  I am hoping they both do well!

Off to work on another "Lil' Friend"!

Karen Anne

Monday, August 11, 2014

Blue Dasher Dragonfly

Hello Friends!  I recently completed a colored pencil entry into the Colored Pencil Magazine's July 2014 Art Contest because I loved the dragonfly reference photo.  I didn't win the CPM contest, but I did win in the fact that I tried out a totally wet colored pencil background and a different technique for doing the wings, which I really like.

However, when I look at the finished piece, it just seems to be lacking something so I made a print  and added leaves to see if that is what is missing.  Before I alter the original I thought I would present it to you to see which you prefer.  Dragonfly with plain background?  Dragonfly with leaves?

Looking forward to your responses ...

Oh, here is a copy of the reference photo ...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"Lil' Dragon 2, Pyro Training" ... Finished!

"Lil' Dragon 2, Pyro Training" is officially completed!  Personally, I like the colors I used in this version and I like how he seems to be developing a personality.  He seems to be taking on a lot of traits that belong to our little min pin ... this should be interesting to watch as he evolves.

For now, here is Lil' Dragon 2 in pyro training .....

Ok ... on 7-22-14 I decided this piece needed a little more contrast so I updated it to this ...

Hope you are all having a very enjoyable day!

Take care, be happy,
Karen Anne aka Ireland Brady

Monday, July 7, 2014

Lil' Dragon, Pyro Training - Day Six

Working on Lil' Dragon, Pyro Training has been a bit slow going ... seems like yard work and house work seem to be taking precedence lately!  Pooh!

Today was the only free day I have this week (meaning no appointments, no shopping) so this morning I got an early start before the heat set in and edged the entire back yard!  In most cases, edging wouldn't be a big task .. however, in our case, the edges rarely get trimmed and soon they begin to drastically encroach on the grass area.  As the grass (er, mowed area that is comprised mostly of weed type vegetation) becomes smaller and smaller I begin to envision a huge weed jungle of over 6' high beginning to take over!  Ergo, today I donned my "Edging" gear, plugged in the weed eater and mulched weeds back to fences, garages, and house foundation!  Tomorrow, all that downed vegetation should be pretty well dry and I can rake it up before my first appointment of the day!

Once that was done I had about 4 hours left over for me!  I opted to trot up stairs and work on my favorite little dragon!  Here is what day six resulted in ....

The little guy is coming to life!  I am liking the color selections in this version but have already figured out some more changes that need to be made to this charming little character in my next rendering!

Take care and happy day!
Karen Anne

Friday, July 4, 2014

Lil' Dragon - Pyro Training - Day Five

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY USA!  Hope everyone is having great weather to celebrate this day of Independence!

We are just hanging around the ol' homestead.   I was able to spend a bit of time working on "Lil' Dragon, Pyro in Training".  Yes!  I was able to apply a base coat with watercolor paints to the body and the fire, and then I began work on the shadowing of the wood in the fire pit.  I also lightened up the sky a bit, to add more contrast, with a light grey colored pencil.  I am looking forward to working on the little guy some more tomorrow!

And Jim tried, in vain, to locate which circuit breaker has deadened all the electrical outlets on the north side of our home; the circuit box labels do not make much sense at all and after 2 days of trying to figure things out, Jim finally broke down and called an electrician who should be here next Tuesday.

As an alternative project, Jim is now working on putting together our new Gorilla Garden Dump Cart!
It should make yard work much easier than trying to drag stuff around in a recycling tub!

Best wishes for wonderful 4th of July celebrations all across this great nation!

Take care and be happy,
Karen Anne

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lil' Dragon - Pyro Training - Day Four

Had some extra time to work on inking in the background details today.  The scene is now set for a late evening camp fire ... wonder if Lil' Danny Boy Dragon will be able to pull it off?!  If so, perhaps some "Smores" will be on tonight's dinner menu???  We'll see .....

This scanned image is actually a bit lighter than the original, probably because I just ran a quick automatic mode scan; but you can see where I am going with this piece.

Take care and be happy,
Karen Anne and Danny Boy

Friday, June 27, 2014

Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens 2014 Brochure

Earlier this year I was contacted by a representative of Faber- Castell with regards to having my artwork included in a 19 page brochure they were creating for 2014 featuring artists, who use their Pitt Artist Pens, from all over the world!  I was extremely complimented and delighted that my work would be included in this project, along with so many other talented artists, to say the least.

Faber-Castell emailed me a copy of the brochure a while back, but with all that was going on with Mom and Jim, I just kinda forgot about it.  Yesterday, while cleaning up the mess of saved files on my desktop, I came across the PDF file I had received from them.  Today I "Googled" how to change pdf format into jpeg format so that I could share a portion of the brochure with all of you.

I have condensed the brochure to include the first 5 pages and page 11, the page on which my work is featured.  If any of you would like to see the brochure in its entirety, let me know and I will be happy to email a pdf file to you.

Here is my condensed version of the brochure:

and here is a full page copy of page 11 (my page!) ...

I was lucky enough to be able to share this honor with my Mom before she passed, I think she was kinda proud of her eldest daughter ... :)

Now I am proud to share this sweet honor with all of you ...

Take care and be happy!
Big hugs,
Karen Anne

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lil' Dragon - Pyro Training ... Day 3

In addition to five loads of laundry and walking the doggie, I also managed to get the background watercolors painted.  I can already see how the colors are going to dictate the ink work I add to the piece tomorrow ... hope it turns out as well as I am seeing it in my mind!

I have covered Lil' Dragon and the fire with frisket film to protect that portion of the drawing while I am working on the background.  The hardest part with the frisket film is cutting around the protected area with an X-acto knife then removing the excess film, tedious and time consuming work.

I have to tell you, working with watercolors on Stonehenge paper is terrific!  I literally had this piece of paper sopping wet today, I had applied too much dark paint and I was dunking paper towels into water and sopping up excess paint; I am just amazed that there is only a slight curve to the dried paper.  Amazing!

So much for all the technical chit chat ... here is day 3 progress:

Take care and be happy!
Karen Anne

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pyro in Training in Ink ...

Today I transferred the pencil sketch to Stonehenge Paper in ink.  I am pleased with how it turned out and look forward to beginning the coloring process.  I am also saving copies of the ink drawings for coloring pages, it is always fun to surprise neighborhood kids with a fun page to color!

I'm going for a similar background as I did with the first Lil' Dragon but am inclined to doing him in blues, lavenders, reds and possibly green this time ..... we'll see!

Take care and happy day!
Karen Anne

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New! Lil' Dragon - Pyro In Training ...

Hi family and friends!

I definitely have dragons filling my head and have just finished a sketch for a new piece, this one will be of Lil' Dragon in "Pyro In Training".  This is also a piece showing the evolution of this little character. I have changed things a bit in his physical appearance and have started calling him "Danny Boy, Lil' Dragon in Training"!   In other words, Lil' Dragon is evolving!

This particular illustration was prompted by my youngest grandson, Jake, who dubbed himself "Pyro in Training" these past few weeks when he was learning to start a fire with excess tree debris in our backyard fire pit.  Now he (Jake) just has to work on how to burn a "clean" fire sans smoke!

Thanks for the inspiration Jake, my boy!  Happy to present my initial sketch of "Lil Dragon - Pyro In Training"!

So, for the next several days we will be following the progress of a Lil' Dragon in Training!  Hope you will enjoy his progress as much as I surely will!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lil' Dragon finished on 6/18/2014!

Lil' Dragon is officially completed as of June 18th, 2014!  I am pleased with how the little fella turned out and hope you like him too.   The finished, trimmed size is 8.278" x 10.803" ...

I'm thinking that I would like to try my hand at another Lil' Dragon ... ;)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tuesday Progress on Lil' Dragon

I had a bit of time after all the other stuff that needed tending today so I was actually able to work a bit on the Lil' Dragon.  Today his face and arm/hand holding the Dragon Pop have been completed and I started shadowing on the yellow part of his torso ... I think I may just complete this lil' guy tomorrow!

PS  Today I received two lovely comments from Oma Linda and Lise ... would you believe, I hit the "Delete" button instead of the "Publish" button!  I just want you both to know I received you comments, and I loved them ... that Delete button is just too darn close to the Publish button!  Sorry Oma Linda and Lise!  

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday progress on Lil' Dragon

Put on some nice classic Rock Radio today and began working on the Lil' Fella!  Using my Yarka Watercolor paints I applied a nice bright coat of color which I am following up with shadowing using my Prismacolor Verithin pencils and Tombow Irojiten pencils.  The pens are Prismacolor Premier Fine Line Markers (.005) for the extra fine and color lines, with Faber Castell Pitt Pens for the stronger black ink lines.

I managed to finish up his wings today and I am very happy with the results.  I'll have to wait until Wednesday before I can work on the drawing again because I have too many scheduled things to take care of tomorrow.  Really looking forward to Wednesday!

Here are some photos of today's endeavors ...

Here is a close up of the detail on the wings ...

Happy day to all!
Karen Anne

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Progress on Lil' Dragon

This is as far as I got on the "Lil' Fella" Friday, 6/13/14; working on the background, have applied water color pencils to the background and am using the resulting patterns to create a somewhat fantasy background.  I have applied a plastic film over the lil' guy so that I don't smudge him up too much; as you can see, some of the water did seep under the plastic frisket film ... but, hopefully, not enough to do much damage.

I wanted the background to be on the muted side so I used Derwent Graphitint water color pencils, then did a bit of shadowing with Verithin and TomBow colored pencils.  I used a .005 Presmacolor black ink art pen for the line work.  Just an FYI for anyone interested.

I finished the rest of the background on Saturday, 6/14/14, and look forward to working on the Lil' Guy on Sunday or Monday ... probably Monday since Sunday is Father's Day.  

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the great Dads out there!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Toddler Dragon - Ink Rendition 6-12-14

Here is phase two of my Toddler Dragon, basic lines done in black ink.  All ready to apply color!

Back up to my studio to begin adding some color!  Since my acrylics haven't arrived, I begin this version with colored pencils (wet & dry) and finish it off with ink ... will be fun to see where it goes next!

Bigs hugs my good friends!
Karen Anne

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Baby Dragon Pencil Sketch 6-11-14

Today I wanted to draw a dragon, a baby dragon to be exact.  Don't know why I am  fixed upon a dragon as my next piece of artwork ... but I am and I am going to keep working on him/her until I have developed a cute little character.  I'm thinking I could add him into some of my other pieces eventually.

Today I had a couple hours to spare so I really cleaned up my art area, put on some good music with a happy beat and lost myself in a little pencil sketch.   I think I am going to do this little guy in watercolor, colored pencils and ink; then I may attempt to do him in acrylics.

Yep, my dear friends ... acrylics!   From the time I was 17 (late 1960's) until the late 1980's most of my work was done in acrylics.  Then life got so busy (I had to go to work) that I had little time for artwork. My paints eventually dried up, most of my brushes kinda disappeared and I just lost interest in acrylics.

Well, for the last 6 months I have been wanting to try my hand at acrylics again; finally, after MUCH deliberation, I finally ordered myself some acrylics paints, some brushes, canvas paper & acrylic finish and it should all arrive by this Friday at the earliest.  I am looking forward to dipping my new brushes into some paint and seeing what I can do now ... oh boy, nice challenge!

Back to my "Toddler Dragon" ... this is how far along I got today with my pencil sketch ... now, I am going to study him, tweak him, and see where my pencils take me on my drawing of a dragon quest!

"Toddler Dragon" 6-11-2014 (1st sketch)

If you have any suggestions on changes you can see that would enhance this image, please feel free to share with me!

Thanks a bunch!
Karen Anne

PS  After 8 days in the hospital, my hubby finally came home 5 days ago; he is doing much better now and working on regaining his strength and weight.  Thank you so much for all the prayers and good thoughts and wishes you all sent ... they really do help and are very appreciated!  Take care and know you are loved.  Karen Anne *big hug to all of you*

Friday, May 9, 2014

Lady Bug Parade

I finished the "Lady Bug Parade" Ink drawing from the other day and figured you would like to see how it finally turned out ....

The original (5.5" x 6.75") is in an auction listing on eBay:

And I do have ACEO (2.5" x 3.5") Open Edition Prints for $1.00 each in my Etsy Shop:

Monday, May 5, 2014

Ta Da! I Created a New Tangle Pattern!

Hi!  I am so excited, I have created an unofficial tangle pattern that is cute and querky!  I call it "Lady Bugz Parade" and have 3 versions of this tangle pattern.  I have been seeing this little pattern in my head for the past several weeks and I began a new tangle design recently and lo and behold the Lady Bugz Parade made its way into the design!

I think I originally got the idea for this pattern from my little sister.  Years ago she was always sending me snail mail with all kinds of fun stuff included in the envelope, was kinda like receiving a mini treasure chest in each letter.  Anyway, she would always doodle little things on the outside of her envelopes ... one of my favorites being her little lady bugs.   Anyhoo ... been seeing those little lady bugs in my head lately and finally had to get the pattern they developed into on paper so that I could share it with others!

Here is my very first tangle pattern:  "Lady Bugz Parade"

Aren't they just the cutest?!   I can see them being used as a border or within a tangle design.   They are fun and they do make one smile!

Here is the design I am currently working on where they just suddenly appeared as Version 1 and Version 2 Lady Bugz .... I think I need to add Version 3 into this piece ... what do you think???

I hope this post find all of you healthy and happy,
Big Hugs to You All!
Karen Anne aka Ireland Brady

PS  I submitted this pattern for consideration as an "Official" Tangle Pattern, but since it was too representative it was not accepted.  Representative means it is easily recognizable as something, and a true official tangle is simply a repeated pattern that is non-representative.  But they did like it and consider it cute and fun!

Update on Mom and Hubby ...

First, I want to thank all of you for your prayers and well wishes for my Mom and my Hubby.  On April 6th, 2014 Mom was finally reunited with Daddy in love after being apart for 30+ years.  We are sad for the loss of her physical presence but are happy that she is no longer suffering.  

Jim is still here and I have managed to feed him enough so that he has gained 6 pounds!  When they removed the cancer cluster from his colon they learned that the previous 6 chemo treatments had killed the cancer by 100%!  They were expecting 55% at the most, so this was good.  He has begun a second series of chemo treatments this past Thursday, but has the option to quit if the treatment becomes too much for him to handle.

I am very hopeful that by the end of 2014 he will have gained much of his weight back and well be on the road to a full recovery.

Plus, every time he lost a pound, I gained a pound!  I am hoping things will work in reverse now ... for every pound he gains, I lose one!  Please keep him in your thoughts, prayers and well wishes ... I kinda like having him around after 45+ years ...

Take care, be happy!
Karen Anne

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 2014 Nibblefest Art Contest "Blue" Entries

Here are my three original art entries in the Nibblefest Art Contest (NFAC), a themed art contest beginning on the 20th of each month. The theme for January 2014 is "Blue".  These three entries are all ACEO sized pieces (2.5" x 3.5"); using colored pencils, fine tip marker pens on Stonehenge Art Paper.

If you would like for my artwork to win please vote with your bid. The bidding starts at only $.99 and the winner each month is the entry that has the most bids.

Please be sure to search for NFAC (on eBay) to find and enjoy all the great entries, each starting at just $0.99. This is a great opportunity for you to possibly own a beautiful piece of artwork!

Feel free to share this post if you like it! Thanks a bunch!