If you haven’t heard yet, in celebration of the launch of her virtual class, Joyce Sweeney is giving away a free picture book critique or ten page novel critique. All you have to do is enter to win and spread the word! WOW! Talk about awesome! Don’t forget to read all the plotting notes Mindy reveals from Joyce’s workshop. I love how simple it is…the tips and the giveaway.
So hop on over and find out more about it…
Go here for details on how to enter and for the plotting notes from Mindy:
And go here to enter the giveaway:
Rain makes applesauce…no, really it does (read the book). It also makes for a whole lot of fun! It has been raining quite a bit this winter. No bueno! I’m just not a fan of cold rain. On the upside, it inspired the sketch below. The idea was to depict lots of movement and the feeling of celebration and thanksgiving after the rain has come. The palms are supposed to look like confetti or fireworks in a way, to depict celebration, happiness, and a bit of fun, but especially a bit of wonder. I hope you like it. I was so into it, that I lost track of time, and by the end discovered that I had spent six hours on this one sketch! SIX! Muy bueno! Enjoy!
I have been working on this piece for a while now. It has taken many layers of watercolor paint to get it just the way I want it. I’m still counting on being able to add glitter to it. It was interesting to see the many stages of development it went through. Below I have posted all the stages of this project so you can see the progress I made. At the pace I was going with it, I felt like a snail! Whew! Enjoy.
I wanted to do something whimsical with blue morpho butterflies (my favorite). So I began the sketch (which ended up on two separate sheets of sketch paper-silly me):
When I was finally ready (by ready I mean brave enough to add color) I sketched it onto watercolor paper with less detail and actually made good use of the light box this time. I used watercolor pencils for the bottom of the tree trunk (all the little lines and details). Next I added light layers of Daler Rowney watercolors in Deep Green, Sap Green, Black, and Ultramarine (for the eyes); Lemon Yellow, and Sap Green (girls shirt); Crimson Red, and Vermillion (girls hair; Coeruleum (for the lace on the shirt); and Burnt Umber, Vermillion, and Crimson Red (for skin color). The photo below is after a few light layers of watercolor and watercolor pencil. The last layer I did on this was a bit of shadowing on the face and neck and I also added some cheek color (crimson red and white). Finally I added Lemon Yellow on the shoulders and between the eyelids and eyebrows and parts of her nose. The wings of the butterflies are done strictly in watercolor pencil (different shades of blue):
Now, this is where I sent crazy with Lemon Yellow (lately everything I do has quite a bit of yellow in it) on the tree after sketching in more detail on the trunk. I’m happy with it for now:
Until…I add more detail and a whole lot of grass. They I really have my hands busy…lots of small dots there with different shades of blues and greens, and lines. Dots and lines. Lots of them. And by this time I deceded the tree trunk was no where near complete and had to add more texture to the top of the trunk and the branches (I know, I know…two isn’t many branches). Of course now was the time to add another layer or tow of Lemon Yellow to the trunk.
And finally, I happen to be watching Sesame Street (which sparked the idea) with the munchkin and get an visual for how to finish my painting. I hop to it by adding trees in the background with Coeruleum and Ultramarine and a bit of Lemon Yellow for added light. It was all very blurry and trial-and-error-by-the-seat-of-my-pants at first, but I think I got the hang of it. To top it all off, I added more grass and some Lemon Yellow (again with the yellow!) on the ground for shadow and light under the trees, and more Vermillion for the hair. I also, filled in the rest of the background between grass and trees with some MORE yellow. Figures. I think the last touch was the headband, which was a mix of Coeruleum and Lemon Yellow to show areas of sunlight.
So now you know I’ve been hard at work. I plan to keep up the pace, and I think yellow is here to stay. So get used to it.
I wrote this somewhat twisted and dark−even melancholy−tale a while ago, and was not sure what to do with it as it does not seem to fit anywhere in particular with the usual things that I tend to write. Nevertheless, I had fun with it because it was an exercise in perspective. In this case, the piñata. It reads kind of like a (very short) folktale. Enjoy.
A Cautionary Love Tale
By Angela Peña Dahle
A colorful Piñata hung in the air, suspended with twine. She swayed to the peaceful sound of the wind and the loud fiesta music. “What a great day for a swing in the tree.” she said. “What a great day for a party!” She scanned the great outdoors for the birthday boy who was happy to be playing with his amigos. And then she saw it, just a glimpse. She spotted something shimmering in the sunlight. “What is it?” she asked. “Oh my! So tall, strong and gorgeous just like me.” Try as she might, she could not reach the object of her affection. Not even the wind was much help. She didn’t have to wait long though. “Oh at last we meet! My true love…my soul mate!” And then she learned what was to become of her. “Oh my! Wait! What are you doing? Stop!” she cried out. WOOSH! SWISH! With a violent thrust, she was swung high into the air. And then it happened…BAP! She was hit. “How could this be love? “I have so much to give! Stop!” But the crowd shouted, “Dale dale dale!” until her sides burst and all that she was, everything she had to offer, all the sweetness and fun she kept inside, came toppling down to the ground. She was torn, but no one cared. No one looked up to check if she was okay. They were all bent over the ground grabbing at what was left of her. “Scavengers!” she shouted out to them. No one heard her, only the Wind, who when he heard her cries took pity on her. Piece by piece, the Wind granted her the freedom she longed for. With His breath, He gently carried her away. And that is when she realized what love really is. It is the thing that sets you free, free as the Wind: her one true love.
I’m resurrecting my very first post on this blog which is very fitting since it is a post with dialogue between my husband and I. Besides, today is our 8 year anniversary. The moral of this story still holds true today and so does my love for mi amor!
So here it is:
This morning my husband and I were discussing the decision of whether or not to get out of bed like two lazy teenagers who wanted to sleep in till noon. With the time change upon us, and having gone to bed so late we were in no mood for an early morning. So here was our ever eloquent exchange:
Hubby: “We have to get up.” He pokes me in the shoulder.
Me: “No, we don’t have to. We’re supposed to.”
Hubby: “Oh .Yeah.”
Me: “Where are the kids?”
Hubby: “Around. Somewhere.”
Me: “What do you mean somewhere?”
Hubby: “I don’t know! Just somewhere.”
Me: “I’m going to butcher the words “supposed to”!”
Me: “Yes, I’m going to butcher them. Kill them off. I’m gonna send them off along with the whos-its and whats-its of no where until they can’t summon me from my bed anymore. They are the kind of words that leave you stuck between “Because I have to” and “I should” Why do all my good ideas come early in the morning or really late at night? That is when all the good stuff comes!”
Hubby: “You only think that because your too tired, but really it’s not that good. It only sounds good.”
Me: Your a horrible critic.” I laugh. “A horribly mean one.”
With that said, we did get out of bed. My point in telling all this is, no matter where on the scale of “Because I have to” and “I should” you are stuck, you should always get out of bed; especially before an idea dusts itself off, tip-toes out the door, and leaves.