Mooning for Mona

I’ve been finishing up my Paris Journal, adding images and words to complete the journal started long before I ever left the States. I preparation for this trip of a lifetime, I began collecting words in my Moleskine and then took it with me on my trip. Now I’m getting it ready to send in for a future article and one regret keeps coming back to me, I didn’t get to see Mona while I was there.

Because it was my first trip, (I say that because it means I’ll someday go back-right?) I did all the touristy things. The things you read about, the images you see every time you read anything about Paris. High on that list, if not topping it, was to see the Mona Lisa. I didn’t rush right to the Louvre, but instead let anticipation build. I talked about saying ‘Hi’ to Mona with a little giggle of delight at the thought. I’d already seen another of Leonardo’s works, Ginevra de’ Benci when I visited the National Gallery of Art in DC, and I was on a mission to see Mona the most famous of his works.

But, as often happens in life, it did not happen despite my best efforts. We planned for a whole day at the Louvre and found out that it was closed that day. Disappointed but not worried I scrambled to find another time and picked a day the museum was open late and I could go after my workshop. I scrambled to get there via subway and arrived before the appointed time only to find that they had closed admission early due to a high volume of visitors and an increased security risk. I couldn’t believe it. I was going to leave Paris not having seen the Mona Lisa!

With other things going on with my family in the background, I didn’t let myself visit how sad this made me. Not until now, when I pulled out my journal to finish it up so I could send it off, did I let myself feel that disappointment. I will go back someday, I must, and seeing Mona will be the first thing I do!

I don’t usually try to draw a face that is recognizable as ‘someone’. It’s a scary thing to do because the risk of failing is very high. But with Mona on my mind I decided to give it a try last night. My first attempt is posted above. I’m not happy with it, but decided to share it to show that drawing takes practice. I’ve been seriously practicing sketching since 2008 (here is an interview Chrysti Hydeck did back then where I state that intention) and you are never finished learning this skill. So after I finished the first attempt, I immediately started a second and I’ll work on finishing it later today.

Maybe I’ll like it, maybe I won’t but that won’t stop me from continuing to pursue portraits. I love the challenge. I love that each face is different from the one before it. I love that I can see growth in my work. I love the discipline of sketching daily.

This, that, and the other

What a fun guy Mark Lipinski is! I had a great time being a guest on his radio talk show this past Wednesday. If you missed the show you can catch it here. The whole show revolved around finding time to be creative-right up my alley:-)

On the note of finding time to be creative, I’m still sketching every day in my journal. I’ve also been seeing a lot more sketches on Facebook lately which is really fun! It’s a great exercise even if your first love is painting or some other art form. Sketching requires only simple tools and can be done anywhere and best of all there is no drying time! I filled my 8×10 Moleskine journal and I’ve moved into a 9×12 Strathmore Visual Journal-100lb drawing paper. Strathmore has been so nice to provide me with plenty of journals to work in. I really love working in a larger format. The paper is so nice too!

This sketch I started last night in bed, but fell asleep before I finished. I’m going to work on it in a bit. I’ve been trying to leave my blending stump alone and just use the pencils. This is just the first layer of 2H lead. Working with pencil is much different from Conte Crayon, but I really enjoy working with these simple mediums. It’s a great break from the onslaught of paint, paper and more in my studio. I also use these sketches in multiple ways by scanning them and using them in other projects. Gotta make the most of our art!

If you haven’t signed up for my free online workshop with Strathmore Artist Papers, there’s still time. We have over 13,000 participants in this event! So much fun and they are a chatty group, so click the image above if you want to find out more.

On a bit of a down note I’ll finish up this post. I tried the Sharpie Liquid Pencils and as much as I tried to like them ( I so love the idea of them!) I really can’t recommend them. I bought four of them  and all but one really skipped and didn’t lay down smoothly at all. The one feature that I’d read about them that most motivated me to buy them was that they became ‘permanent’ after 24 hours. Well the word ‘permanent’ was used loosely. They don’t, they just don’t erase as well after 24 hours. They didn’t work well in my Moleskine journal and as you can see up above, they ‘erased’ when I went over the writing in her hair with water soluble graphite. I was disappointed in them and actually so was my 9 year old who brought his back to me and said he’d rather use a regular pencil. So there you have my opinion, if you have had luck with them I’d love to hear about it! Let’s see what you all think and maybe we can find a good use for this new product!


‘Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas’ ~Henry Louis Mencken
Love that I found the perfect quote to go with those ‘horns’ on her head!

PS don’t forget to check the previous post and order 1/2 price prints while they are available. I don’t offer prints on a regular basis and when they’re gone they’re gone!