What’s your favorite “studio soundtrack”? I like to draw while listening to my favorite Celtic band, Mithril. Their music — sometimes pensive, sometimes get-up-and-dance exuberant — never fails to refresh and inspire me!
Recently, I had the privilege of creating artwork for the interior sleeve for their new CD, “Along the Road.” Eels in sinks! Wailing banshees! Giant turnips! An illustrator never knows what the day may hold…
I’d like to share their new CD, “Along the Road,” with my other artist friends, so I’m giving away two. You can keep one, and give the other away on your own blog or facebook page. (I’ll gladly mail the CDs anywhere, so feel free to join in, wherever you are.)
Simply leave a comment to enter. I’ll select the winners through random.org on Friday. Enjoy!
…and just in time for spring planting, here’s my first printable garden calendar page. (I’ll have April ready to post in a few days.) This is my little gift to the world, and I will gladly send a pdf file, as each new page is completed, to anyone who asks. March is ready for you this very minute, so drop me a note at email@example.com . Enjoy!
This week, I’ve been writing and drawing an upcoming post for Love Pencils, the blog of the Derwent Pencil Company. It’s a step-by-step illustrated tutorial on drawing eyes. I thought I could cover it with a couple of sketches and a paragraph or two, but one thing led to another, and… well… the result was a worktable covered in eyes!
I started with just my black-and-white graphite sketch of a young fairy and his mouse friend, printed it on vellum paper in archival ink… then I added multiple layers of rich colored pencil by hand, so that the finished image is a one-of-a kind original. In thanks to readers of The Illustrated Garden blog, I will make 20 of these artworks available for $40 apiece… each signed, numbered and matted in an acid-free 8×10 inch mat. I’ll also provide free shipping anywhere in the United States.
Oh! And one more thing… each piece of fairy art will come with a packet of heirloom herb or vegetable seeds from my garden, tucked inside a hand-embellished seed package. Email me to order.
Despite years and years spent in Girl Scouts, I never mastered the art of knot tying. Sheepshank, bowline, fisherman’s hitch — no matter which one I attempted, the end result was always something that resembled a very large, critically injured spider. So this week, when I needed a bamboo trellis along one end of a raised bed, I tried to think of ways to avoid lashing anything together.
The solution? Nylon zip ties, officially known as cable ties. They are durable, weatherproof, and can last for years. They are also cheap — around $3 for a package of 50 — and if you can’t find them in your local hardware store, you can get them at Amazon. (The traditional material for this purpose, waxed twine, starts around $10 per roll and requires six feet of twine for each knot.) I used 8″ black ties, which fit nicely around thumb-thick stalks of bamboo with a couple of inches left over to pull tight and snip off. They look like this:
One more tip: be sure to have your bamboo beagle-tested for strength and durability.
I have always worked with messy forms of art — printmaking and clay — that are unwise to attempt inside your home. So, over the years, an assortment of outbuildings served as my workspaces: a pumphouse, a carport, even a chicken house. Now I have three wonderful, sunny rooms in an old wooden house. It feels very luxurious.
My printmaking supplies are in the kitchen. These old wooden candy boxes make a great place to display old printing blocks; the painting on top is by Fairhope artist/designer Patti Miller.
The back porch is enclosed to create a peaceful spot with three large north-facing windows. It’s a perfect spot to read, to meditate or to teach small-group drawing classes. I keep an easel tucked in the corner, but it’s mostly for the use of company, since I seldom paint in oils or acrylics.
The largest room houses the clay studio. The long table gives me room to lay out big wall panels or dry freshly rolled slabs. The adjustable steel shelving is from a restaurant supply store.
I love to find new uses for “rescued” materials. This old refrigerator door makes a good magnetic bulletin board, and can be detached from the wall and carried to shows to serve as a magnet display.
Mark designed and built this rolling workbench with storage. It consists of two salvaged office file cabinets, some plywood, some canvas and four heavy-duty coasters. The stool came from a turn-of-the-century candy factory in New Orleans.
A strip of sheet metal and some recycled soup cans make a tool organizer. Each can has a magnet glued to the back, so I can grab the can and pull it right off the wall if I need to have it nearby while I’m working: