Visual Storytelling and Daily Sketch


Visual Storytelling: Painting of tulip painted from life on arches oil paper. NFS

An area I have been exploring recently is Visual Storytelling.  I will probably be discussing this topic in more depth in my upcoming Ezine. The other day I had fun experimenting with this concept and created the image above. It is a flat lay in photography terms.

As a starting point, I used the painting I made of a tulip on arches oil paper. Then I added live props, tulips, ribbon and stones. It was  fun designing it and I am excited about using this type of display to showcase more of my work in the future. Stay tuned!


Today’s Simple Sketch, NFS, March 16, 2016

March 16, 2016

Today’s Simple Sketch

Remember the little raccoon button I sketched about a week ago? Well he also had some “Backyard Buddies” that accompanied him. Raccoon enjoyed his modelling session so much that Little Skunk decided he would like a turn as well.

All the other buttons were a little nervous that Skunk was getting excited. After all there is only so much room to move around in that small cellophane button bag. Now we all know what happens when skunks get too excited, so I promised his buddies that he would definitely be next on my list. With this assurance everyone was quite appreciative and I must say Skunk really made an adorable model!

What do you think?


Newsletter and/or Blog Posts sign up–Love to have you join me on my artistic journey!

Day 9, “Get Ready Set Go!”

Between appointments and life obligations, I got off course with my postings. Today was an exceptionally busy day, but I still wanted to get back in touch with my creative ritual habit. Soooo tonight I seized the moment while supper was cooking.


All the males in my house know how much I love fresh flowers. I love setting them up in my kitchen in various glass containers. The other day my son Brett, came home with a little bunch of tulips for me. They were different from the ones I usually see in the stores. I loved how their white base color was accented with purple swirls. I took one bloom and placed it in a dish that mimics the Ikebana art form.


While I was waiting for supper to cook, the early evening sun was shining directly on my tulip set up. I love placing flowers on the window sill because I know they will be affected by the light in various ways throughout the day. Well this really appealed to me tonight and I knew I didn’t have much time before the light would disappear. Sooo it was ..Get Ready, Set , Go! …if I was going to capture a quick study of this tulip!


Not too long ago, I had dug out a box of old chalk pastels I had since my  college days. (Which of course was not too long ago! Wink, Wink! ) I decided to play with them for my sketch.




 I used Arches Oil Paper for my support and added a wash of oil paint for the background. Although messy, I really enjoyed working on this little sketch.  Using my old pastels brought back childhood memories. My art teacher had insisted we use charcoal for a year and then in the second year, we had to work with chalk pastels. I remember rolling up my creations, placing an elastic band on the tube and proudly taking them home. I was ten years old.


Not the best photo, but you get the idea. 😀

This sketch is certainly not a masterpiece, but by taking the time to work on it, I observed nuances in color and value that I may have missed without close observation. Taking the time to explore and observe, definitely helps to prepare for more involved work with the same subject at a later date.

Have you worked on Arches Oil Paper? Love to hear your experiences or thoughts!



Day 8, “Makeshift Studio”

 If you would like to receive these posts in your email box, you can subscribe by clicking the button to the right of this post. Thanks!

As an artist I continually see beauty all around me in my daily life. This often happens throughout the day. Yesterday when I walked into our living room, I was struck by the beauty of the light flooding into the room. My mind began to envision still life subjects basking in front of the light filled window.

I immediately went into action, gathering props around my home and staging my still life set up. The stage had to be set quickly, so a love seat, coffee table and other objects found themselves in new positions in our living room. The room was quickly transformed into a temporary studio!

My “real” studio is in the basement, so I scurried downstairs to retrieve my supplies: paints, palette, thinner, and easel. I decided to do a quick study on Arches Oil Paper using only one color of oil paint– Terra Rosa. It is one of my favorite colors! I love its warm, cheerful hue and how it creates a glow when used as an under painting as well.


Painting the sketch was like a mini meditation session. The house was quiet and all that could be heard was my brush rustling around on the oil paper. During the sketch, I concentrated on various aspects, such as: composition, proportion, lighting, color and subtle color shifts. I also observed how the bright sunlight washed out the surface of the stand and areas of the African violet.


Plant study on arches oil paper

From my exploration, I concluded that this would make a nice subject for a future painting. My mind began to whirl again with ideas of other subject matter I could stage in front of the window. As long as the inspiration stays alive, I intend on creating a small painting in my living room. Since the last few days have been gray and dull, I will have to wait for the next sunny day to appear to once again transform my living room into an art studio.

I thought this quote summed up my spontaneous experience nicely:

“Genuine happiness comes from within, and often it comes in spontaneous feelings of joy.”  ~Andrew Weil

Wishing you fun-filled, spontaneous experiences in your day as well!



Day 5 “Ivy Play”

If you would like to receive updates to this blog, please feel free to subscribe by clicking the button on the top right hand corner. Thanks!


Set up for oil sketch in my studio

I decided to experiment with Arches Oil Paper as my warm up. My subject was a section of an English Ivy plant. I have used this paper before, but found it super absorbent when I initially began painting on it.  After browsing the internet I read where you could moisten the paper first with a wash of medium. It mentioned walnut oil, but since I didn’t have that I used linseed oil.

My findings were:

  • The wash created a slippery and very fluid surface to work on.
  • The oil paint almost felt and acted like water color paint.
  • Because the surface was so wet, some bleeding occurred which I rather liked as it created interesting texture and soft edges
  • It was difficult to create a point on some of the leaves due to bleeding, so I had to use a brush to lift some of the paint to create a more definite point on the leaf

Ivy oil painting sketch on Arches Oil Paper

I really enjoyed working on this sketch and can see me using this paper in the future for quick sketches when I’m painting on location. It would also be great to use as a warm up or to explore a subject I wanted to paint as a larger work.


My subject–English Ivy

Next time I would probably use a little less medium when I wet the paper initially. I would also like to play around with adding an oil wash before I painted my sketch to see how that would work out. All and all I really did love working on the paper when it was wet and less absorbent.

Have you ever used Arches Oil Paper? What were your findings? Here is a link to a painting I did using this paper without wetting it before I started painting.