Category Archives: Artwork

Sketching Again

Sketching Again

Tree sketch by BraveBeanArt


One of my Christmas gifts this year was the book Urban Sketching: The Complete Guide to Techniques by Thomas Thorsprecken. The book is full of excellent instruction by someone who really knows what he’s doing, as well as tons of inspiration in the form of on location sketches by the author as well as others. I had set aside sketching in November after completing a drawing class, which ironically sucked the joy out of drawing for me (temporarily, as it turns out). This book lit me up again, and I’ve been sketching daily since opening it on Christmas morning.

Marmalade sketch by BraveBeanArt


My sketches are full of mistakes. I can hear my drawing teacher pointing out this or that perspective error, off-kilter angle, and unrealistic shadow. But I remind myself that I love looking at sketches that are full of wobbly buildings, impressionistic trees, and wonky lines. They are full of life and charm.

Red Cup sketch by BraveBeanArt


So I’m going to keep sketching. I have a lot to learn, but that’s much of the fun for me. I’ve signed up for what I expect will be a more inspiring sketching class than my dispiriting drawing class this past fall, an online class by Jane LaFazio. I cannot wait–but until then I plan to keep my sketchbooks ready and active.

Gelli Prints & Stars!

Gelli Prints & Stars!

I have a tremendous stack of prints I’ve created on my Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate, many of them on deli paper, which I love to use in collage. When I was in Michael’s last week I picked up a few paper mache star ornaments to alter, and the colorful deli papers seemed just the thing.

Gelli Papered Star ornament by BraveBeanArt

On this one I started out by covering the original brown surface with bright pink paint, then I used matte medium to stick my torn-up Gelli printed deli papers on. The pink under color meant I didn’t have to be too concerned about spots where the deli paper’s transparency let the star’s surface show through. I also don’t worry about wrinkles, as you can tell; I figure all the texture adds interest and fun. Not really going for a polished look here!

Gelli Papered Star Ornament 2 by BraveBeanArt

For this one, I started with gesso, so there are more white spaces showing through rather than the brighter color of the first ornament. I finished this with a coating of Krylon Glitter Spray pain for a little shimmer.

Each ornament cost me about 75 cents at Michael’s on sale, so they made a pretty economical, fun, & easy little activity, and they’ll make fun little gifts. I may just have to pick up a few more ornaments on my next trip to Michael’s!

I’m entering these in the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge, where the theme this week is “To the Moon!” I figure we pass the moon on the way to the stars, so this project qualifies!

I Can’t Get Enough Fall Foliage

I Can’t Get Enough Fall Foliage

Driving through my rather ordinary Connecticut town earlier this week, I was once again amazed by the colors on the trees. I was struck by the fact that most of the time we pay little or no attention to these trees–they aren’t fancy, just maples and elms and oaks–but right now they are ablaze in stunning oranges and reds and yellows, and it about takes my breath away.

I made a little project with one of my recent foliage photos. Since I printed the photo on canvas, it’s not as vibrant as the photo on glossy paper, but I like the sense of peace and calm it gives. I mounted the canvas piece on a canvas panel and added some lace and a Tim Holtz metal “moments” circle. A little ink on the edges and it was done.

Moments by BraveBeanArt


Like every season here in New England, fall is fleeting. (Well, some would argue that winter isn’t as fleet as one might like, but it’s all relative!) I feel the urge to capture these moments, but I’m also grateful to my Creator that the seasons keep coming around–Lord willing, I’ll see many more autumns.

Entering this in the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge “Anything Goes.”

Together Shadowbox

Together Shadowbox

Last month our older son was married to his sweetheart, so we were all together In Ohio for the occasion. His brother and sister were in the wedding party (best man and pianist/bridesmaid), so they were all looking sharp and enjoying the occasion. My very favorite photo from the weekend was a shot I took of the three of them the morning of the wedding. They are each so different, but their affection for one another was evident, and what warms a mom’s heart like that?

I picked up a 7 Gypsies shadow box on sale recently and realized it would be perfect for showcasing this picture.


I haven’t done a project like this, and I really had fun with it. The shadowbox was white, so I started by painting it (I used Tim Holtz Distress Paints by Ranger). Then I hunted through my 6 x 6 paper stash for colors that would work in the little boxes on the right. I had also picked up the wooden button (part of a set by Prima) and the Tim Holtz Idea-ology Alpha Parts on sale. So the whole thing came together pretty easily and inexpensively.

Here a few close-ups:




I really liked how the painted alpha parts ended up. I used the same Distress Paints on them and wiped paint off here and there to get a slightly distressed look after watching Tim do something similar on a video. Pretty cool!

I’m thinking there may be some grandparents who might like something like this come Christmas… But no promises!

New Art in My Etsy Shop

New Art in My Etsy Shop

This morning I listed a couple items that I had had in a local brick-and-mortar shop, which has since gone out of business.

First up is a favorite of mine, this Peace Be Still mixed-media piece:


It’s 12″ by 12″, and I hope you can tell from the photos how highly textured it is. The wild sea and bronze frame bits shimmer in the light. It’s just cool, if I do say so myself.

Here are a couple detail shots:

PeaceBeStill Detail 1

PeaceBeStill detail 2


This next piece is smaller and less flashy and maybe a little esoteric. Or not. Anyway:


This canvas panel measures 7″ tall and 5″ wide. It’s a collage piece with acrylics. What do you see? You can buy it on Etsy here.


In My Sketchbook

In My Sketchbook


I’m still sketching–woohoo! I’ve not kept up my daily streak, but I’ve not fallen completely out of the habit, so I’m pleased with myself.

One day recently I had to drop my son off for a meeting in the center of our town, so I took the opportunity to do some sketching on site. A small-town version of “urban” sketching! I loved doing this and was happy with my sketch–a bonus. Here’s the Congregational church in the center of town:


We were traveling this past weekend to our son’s wedding in Ohio, so I tried my hand at sketching in a moving vehicle for the first time. I don’t know how people sketch the scenery, since it’s constantly changing, but I had fun with what I did and it helped pass the time.



Most days, however, I’m home sketching whatever is in front of me.


It’s all fun and all good practice! Which is your favorite?


A Sketch a Day

A Sketch a Day

It’s hard to believe that I’ve completed a sketch every day since July 29. Before July 27, I had maybe done a handful of drawings since turning, oh, let’s say 14. So a dozen in as many days is really quite something.


They are not all huge successes, but I am happy with them more often than not, which is also surprising. I am getting more confident, learning to push through the hard bits and the negative self-talk in my head that tries to remind me I can’t draw. It is an adventure.


Drawing is about seeing, but I’m beginning to think it’s about confidence too. I’m afraid of missing a day and losing my momentum, and I’m bound to miss a day sooner or later. But fear is what kept me from drawing for several decades, so I think I’ll try fighting that fear and just take one day and one sketch at a time.