Monday, August 24, 2015

Mini Journals are Back! 4 new just added to shop...

I have added four new mini journals to my Etsy shop! 

I love portable little leather journals. They travel well, keeping any notes or drawings nicely protected, and make wonderful and affordable unique gifts.

I have been wanting to add more to the shop for some time. I finally had a chance to work on these over the weekend and love how they have turned out!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/245409554/brown-leather-mini-journal-with-bee?ref=listing-shop-header-1




The structure is simple, but solid. These journals are approximately 3.5" x 3.25" (nearly square) and contain three, hand-sewn signatures of 70lb, acid-free, blank Strathmore drawing paper for a total of 96 pages in each.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/245408352/brown-leather-mini-journal-with-camel?ref=listing-shop-header-3
 Bee Charm Mini Journal





For a finishing touch, I added a charm to the front of each journal. This gives them a little personality and makes for great gift-giving for you or someone special.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/245410558/brown-leather-mini-journal-with-starfish?ref=shop_home_active_1
  Camel Charm Mini Journal            

https://www.etsy.com/listing/245306165/brown-leather-mini-journal-with-mum?ref=listing-shop-header-2
 Starfish Charm Mini Journal




I will be adding more like this, and in other color leather as well, so stay tuned for updates!


 








Mum Flower Charm Mini Journal

Saturday, August 22, 2015

New Nature-Inspired Fabric/Wallpaper/Gift Wrap Designs!

After relocating homes this summer, I am finally getting back to work on my other creative outlets, including my Spoonflower fabric!  Designs are also available as wallpaper and gift wrap.

I am working on a number of new designs based on my sketchbook exchange drawings. These would be fantastic for a number of projects including tea towels, pillows, bags, and more.

Here is a preview of a some of my favorites:

http://www.spoonflower.com/designs/4518219
 Poppies


http://www.spoonflower.com/designs/4523211
 African Daisies on Olive


http://www.spoonflower.com/designs/4530077
 Small-Mouth Salamander


You can keep an eye on new designs by heading to my Spoonflower page, going to the left-hand side menu and choosing Designs not for sale to see the latest. I have to proof designs by ordering a swatch before they are released for sale, so please let me know if you see anything that you like!


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Weed or not? Good sketching, either way!

So I have been posting mostly finished drawings lately, but I want to remind folks where it usually starts - sketching!

With a recent move to a new house and summertime activities with kids at home, my drawing time has been limited. But even if there is no major project or deadline looming, it is easy to find a few minutes (maybe 20 or 30?) to do a quick study or sketch of something that inspires you.

Yesterday evening, after a walk to the park with my older daughter, I wandered around our new yard for a few minutes, pulling weeds here and there. One plant with very broad, green leaves had popped up by itself in the muddy patch of the yard where some utility work had been done last winter.

Deciding that it must be a weed, I pulled it out. I was surprised, however, to see a long tap root emerge rather than a clump of weedy roots. Pale yellow/orange, the root smelled a bit like a vegetable, furthering the mystery. The stem of the plant was a deep purple red towards the root, fading into green towards the top of the leaves.

Whatever it is, I was intrigued and decided to grab some good paper and my pencils and start a little study. I wanted to do it life size to better document my puzzling find. This is a 12x18 inch sheet of Fabriano Artistico 140 lb hot press watercolor paper.


I added a bit of shading here and there and a few notes about the plant and that was it! Very satisfying to have some time to observe and document what, to me, is a mystery plant.


It can be easy to forget how important sketching and quick studies are, but they are a great opportunity to keep drawing on a regular basis and also to have a visual record of plants and other finds. These can be used at a later date to inform finished pieces. So whether you have a regular sketchbook or just some sheets of drawing paper to use when you get inspired, grab those pencils or pens and get started!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Etsy Shop Update -- Need your help!

I am making plans to update my inventory in the CCreech Studio Etsy shop and need your help! 



What do you want to see there? More artwork? More bracelets or earrings? Certain stones? Or, less of something? Let me know what you think! 

Check out my current offerings here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ccreechstudio

Comment with your suggestions and receive a surprise discount coupon code to use on anything in the shop as a thank you!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sketchbook Exchange - Drawings #6 and #7 and my own book back!

It has been a busy time! I last posted in March and we are now to mid-July! In those four months, I  have completed the final two drawings for the sketchbook exchange project that I have been a part of for the past year.

I also moved houses and went on vacation, so I was thrilled, upon my return, to find my own sketchbook back from its last stop in Singapore, filled with amazing artwork from around the world!

Here is a peek at some pictures of the gorgeous pieces that fill my sketchbook from seven amazing artists. From left to right (starting in the top left corner): Linda Trella, Giulia Canevari, Elaine Moore Mackey, Beryl Prout (two pages), Mischa (two pages), Sevil Medhi, and Teo Nam Siang.




Previous to getting my own book back, I finished up drawings for Giulia's and Linda's books.

For Guilia's, I did some ink and colored pencil drawings of the beautiful chive blossoms that were popping up in my old garden. I also found some neat seed hyacinth seed pods to round out the other page (graphite, ink and ink/colored pencil.) I was anxious to get this mailed out before our move and was glad to get it finished.







Linda's book was carefully packed in my bag so I wouldn't lose it. Once we were settled in a bit at the new place, I was able to do some drawings of iris buds that I had from my old garden and then found the perfect finishing touch at the new place once my hostas started blooming. I used ink and colored pencil on the hostas, colored pencil alone on the one iris bud and graphite alone on the other iris bud. Happily, I was able to mail this out to Linda before vacation.


A modified group of us (depending on availability, etc.) plan to continue the exchange for a second round starting in August, so stay tuned!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sketchbook Exchange Update - Drawing #6!

Over the holidays, I saw a beautiful helleborus plant and decided to bring it home. Despite being called the Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose, hellebores are not closely related to the rose family. Instead, they are an evergreen perennial flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae.

This particular plant had beautiful, creamy white blossoms with a tight cluster of stamens in the center that open up as the bud flowers. With thick stems that have a red/brown markings and large, serrated leaves, they make a striking addition to the table. I thought it would make a great subject for my next sketchbook entry.

I started with some rough graphite sketches to get a sense of the shapes of both open petals and buds. I did a little bit of sketching of the leaves as well. The biggest challenge, though, was the center of each blossom with up to 150 stamen surrounding the pistil.

I took many reference photos, especially close-ups of the open blossoms. This proved fortuitous as I inadvertently over-watered my beautiful plant and it did not survive! So, between my sketches and photos, I was able to create this sketchbook entry:



I still love the combination of ink and colored pencil, so I went over my initial pencil sketches with a 3x0 (.25) technical pen, adding some details here and there. Then I also used my Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils to add color to the page on the left. I think the page turned out well.

I am currently looking for a subject for the sketchbook that I have on my desk. Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sketchbook Exchange Update - Drawing #5!

It has been quite a while since I have last posted! The fall season leading into the holidays became quite busy and next thing you know, we are here in February!

Just before things ramped up in late fall, I did finish drawing #5 for the sketchbook exchange. I was not sure what to draw since plant life outside was disappearing due to colder weather. Happily, one cool, rainy fall day, my older daughter spotted a very rare find right in our driveway! We had arrived home after school and the kids ran outside for a few minutes to play in the rain. My daughter came in to tell me she found a lizard. I really thought she must be mistaken, but followed outside to take a closer look. What I thought was a clump of wet leaves was actually a salamander!

It was very patient (trying to hide, no doubt, by staying still) while we looked at it for nearly 10 minutes. I took a number of reference photos with my cell phone so we could look it up later. Finally, it scurried up the driveway and burrowed down into the mulch of our flower bed.

We went back inside, and I started to do some research based on the markings it had. It was about 6-7 inches long, dark gray in color with white/light gray markings along the side. What I thought was a rare enough find (first salamander we had seen in our yard in 7 years) was even more rare - this was a small-mouthed salamander (Ambystoma texanum), which is endangered here in Michigan!

Needless to say, I decided that I *had* to draw this for the sketchbook! With the color, I debated doing this just in graphite, but finally decided to choose a range of colored pencils, including cold grey I, V and VI as well as some dark indigo for a little more depth in the darker areas (all Faber-Castell Polychromos.)


Since it took me a while to find something I wanted to draw, I was a bit behind in shipping this out to the next participant. I had wanted to include some autumn leaves, but didn't have time to draw them properly. Then I remembered some leaves I had drawn last year. I dug around and found the ones I wanted and cut them out to include on the opposite page from the salamander. Done!


I love the challenge that each sketchbook presents, depending on what season it is when it arrives, what my personal schedule will allow, what inspires me. I really enjoy that moment when I find something that speaks to me and compels me to just open the book and get started! Art in action :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sketchbook Exchange Update - Drawings #3 and #4!

So, it has been a busy summer...and a busy start to the school year! I am finally getting around to posting my next two sketchbook exchange entries. I have had the pleasure of drawing in 3 other fabulous artists' books, and I have the next one on my desk, waiting to be filled. 

DRAWING #3 - August 2014

To catch you up: I decided to do my third sketchbook entry on some of the gorgeous botanicals that I see when we go to Myrtle Beach, SC: the crepe myrtle tree and the magnolia tree.


I was very pleased to have been able to cover both of these in the spread, and I kept with my favorite media, ink or ink and colored pencil. 

On the upper left, you can see a close-up of the crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia.) This is a close-up of the small, round buds that form before opening up into the frilly, tissue-paper-like blossoms. This particular tree had white blossoms, but we saw many with gorgeous, deep pink blossoms as well. Below the blossom is a sketch of the side and top views of the crepe myrtle seed pods. These dried brown pods contain six segments and look like little stars.

On the right side of the spread, I was able to include some drawings of the beautiful Magnolia grandiflorium that are so prevalent in the southern U.S. The upper right shows a cross-section of the immature magnolia seed pod. What a fun find! This has a soft, fluffy white outer covering with a velvety, dark brown stem. The lower right of the page shows the seed pod as it sits among the glossy, dark green leaves. I love the rusty brown underside of the magnolia leaves and tried my best to capture it with colored pencil. 

DRAWING #4 - September 2014

For my next drawing in the sketchbook that arrived in September, I had an easy choice of subject. Upon our return from Myrtle Beach in July, I made a happy discovery in our front flower bed: a pumpkin vine was growing! This was the most inadvertent, yet successful, gardening I have ever done. I had left a large pumpkin to decay in the flower bed last winter (too lazy to get a garbage bag to put it in...) After the hard winter we had, it emerged in the spring, frozen white and starting to decay. The local squirrels had a ball tearing it apart and must have put some seeds in a good spot, since we now have a lovely pumpkin plant there!

I loved seeing the bright, orange/yellow blossoms popping up. They also shrivel beautifully as they shrink, curling into wonderful shapes. Once I saw how the pumpkins begin forming under the shriveling blossom, I decided that would be a great way to show both the fruit (in a stage not typically seen) and blossom. I also included some sketches (in graphite) of the blossoms as they begin to form, with hairy stems and beautiful, structural ribbing. These are on the right-side of the spread.




This particular journal was a bit bigger than the others so I wanted to think of something to include on the opposite page of the spread. I love the large, lobed leaves of the pumpkin plant, especially since that is mostly what you see as it grows. They start out tiny and spread into a wonderful, large green canopy covering the blossoms and fruits. This particular leaf is life-size on the page, but in life would grow to nearly twice this size.

I initially started with a graphite drawing, but decided to switch to pen using a stippling technique that allows for delicate gradations of shading. Stippling is wonderfully meditative, but it does take some time. As I was a bit behind on my timing to finish the book, I left the leaf half-completed which works well since this is a sketchbook, after all, and not a finished piece.

Finally, I added the curling tendril at the top of the page, connecting the spread. These tendrils are found all over underneath the pumpkin leaf canopy, extending from blossoms to stems and wrapping around all of the parts of the plant. 

I am so excited that we are about halfway through the exchange now! I look forward to working on my next entry so stay tuned!

 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sketchbook Exchange Update - Drawing #2!

The sketchbook exchange is off to a wonderful start! I posted about my own sketchbook a few weeks ago. After mailing mine out to the next artist, I waited for the one being sent to me from our fellow participant in Singapore.

It arrived and contained a stunning painting of the nutmeg, both the nut and the leaves, along with wonderful notes about the plant. Now I had to think of something to add to this beautiful book!

I decided to go with a study of a wild gladiolus that I happened to find in my front flower bed. I did not plant it myself, so my guess is that a squirrel or chipmunk may have transplanted it for me from elsewhere? Regardless, it was a beautiful find. I loved the curve of the stems, leaves and purple/pink blossoms. 
 
I started with some sketches on a separate sheet to get a sense of the plant and what I wanted to emphasize. I also took a lot of reference photos from every angle. 

Eventually, the plant left in the flower bed also produced gnarly little seed pods where the blossoms had been, so I was able to take one off and dissect it to include in the sketchbook. I decided to go with my favorite combination of media for the sketchbook - ink and colored pencil.




 
I added some notes about the plant as well as color swatches of the pencils I used to finish off the study.

I am looking forward to receiving the next sketchbook and have some ideas in mind from my recent vacation to South Carolina...some magnolia studies, slash pine cones, or perhaps crepe myrtle? Stay tuned!

Monday, June 16, 2014

GNSI Fourth Coast Illuminated Exhibit!

UPDATE: Check out the Fourth Coast Illuminated's Facebook page! It contains an online gallery of 72 (of the 75) images in the exhibit.

I am excited to be preparing three pieces for an upcoming exhibit called Fourth Coast Illuminated. This exhibit of art by GNSI artists from the Great Lakes region will feature flora, fauna, and archaeological artifacts of the area. 

The exhibit will be held in the Glen Vista Gallery of the Kalamazoo Nature Center from July 1 - August 30, 2014 . Kalamazoo Nature Center is one of the most highly regarded nature centers in the country and is considered a leader in the field.

I will be including three botanical works in the exhibit:








Spring Beauties - ink and colored pencil.





White Trillium Bud - ink and colored pencil.







Wildflower Leaf Survey - graphite pencil.












If you are local to the area or find yourself in Kalamazoo this summer, stop by and see the wonderful work that will be on display!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...