Saturday, November 12, 2016

Watercolors in Art Show at Anthem Civic Building

I love the location of my house.  It is built on a gentle slope above a natural desert wash.  Much of my inspiration comes from what I can see in this natural area.  It is full of wildlife - javelina and coyotes, jackrabbits and bunnies, quail and owls, hawks and verdins.  Ironwood trees, palo verdes, cresote bushes and cacti including some amazing saguaros, the quintessential symbol of the desert.  

From my perch above the wash I have a pretty good view of the top of these giants, where the flowers open, and then the bright red fruit that the birds love.  This painting of the saguaro blossoms was my interpretation of the bird's eye view.  Imagine flying up there for a closer look.

"Cactus Blossoms" is one of three watercolors by Sandra Jessop on display at the Anthem Civic Building.  The show entitled "Art in Public Places" is a partnership between the Anthem Community Council and the Sonoran Arts League.  Over 40 artists from the North Valley have over 80 pieces of artwork in the exhibit, on display until January 27.  All works are for sale.

Monday, October 17, 2016

October Crow - before and after in watercolor

I've been working on some ideas for a crow, with color glazing in watercolor.   My ultimate goal was to have the color shining through the black, so I decided to start with the highlights, and work backwards.  

I first made a few pencil sketches to get familiar with the bird, and then added some watercolor in the sketchbook to see which colors I liked.  I then picked my favorite to darken with Payne's Gray and Ultramarine.

This is the first in a series of crows I played with, at the suggestion of an admirer on Etsy.   Thank you, dear friend, I really did enjoy the process.  :-) 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall news

Three of Sandra's paintings were accepted into the "Art in Public Places" show at the Anthem Civic Building.  The display is a partnership between Anthem Community Council and the Sonoran Arts League.  It is a juried exhibit to be displayed beginning October 3rd, with a launch party to be held November 2 at 6 p.m.

Lynx Lake, watercolor by Sandra Jessop

Sandra will also be running the art room at the annual Free to Be Unschooling Conference.
Some of her workshops will include Glue Batik and Color Wheel Collage.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Creative Every Day - singing and painting

Recently I had the amazing opportunity to sing and record with a group of Christians in Lubbock, Texas.  As a cappella singers, we auditioned for the Praise & Harmony recording in a quartet (soprano, alto, tenor, bass).  Once accepted, we had to learn 25 songs on our own, before meeting with the whole group in June.  What an amazing sound it was!  Singing is one of those things I do every day, but working on this project was a phenomenal experience.

The building we recorded in also inspired the paintings that I'm working on now.

For a sneak peek at the Praise & Harmony project, go here.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer stitchery

Every once in awhile I get the urge to work on a crewel embroidery.  I completed one years ago and felt so good about it, I entered the piece and won a blue ribbon in a county fair!  Needless to say I was very proud of my handiwork, especially since it took over a year to finish. It was a wedding dress stitched with embroidery floss, silk ribbons, and pearl beads. It truly was spectacular.

This summer I determined to begin another one.  A cross stitch would be a lot simpler and quicker, but I really enjoy the process of crewelwork.  I love the way it looks and the application of it.  When I work on one I often fantasize about actually being able to create my own design.  Maybe someday.  For now I work with the kits that include everything I need.

Crewel is decorative embroidery featuring stylized shapes inspired by nature such as plants, trees, and animals.  The designs are fanciful, using multiple shades of each color to give depth and interest. The thread is typically wool, but can also be silk or acrylic.  The one I am working on now has a lot of acrylic yarn that is driving me crazy!  It has a tendency to fray and pull apart and at inconvenient times no matter how carefully I handle it.  It does have a very fuzzy look to it, which I kind of like.

Crewel embroidery has been around for a long time, commonly used to make bed coverings and curtains, household goods, and to decorate clothing.  I would very much like to turn this piece into a pillow, to make something beautiful and artistic also useful, but I fear it will be ruined if left out.  I will probably stretch and frame it, to hang it safely on the wall.

If you're ready to trade a paintbrush for a needle and thread, give it a try!  It will help you develop patience.

I purchased this hibiscus and hummingbird kit from Amazon.

There's an interesting article over at the Nordic Needle about crewel embroidery.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Sunflower wall mural

The finished wall, for now.  Eventually I can see adding other flowers or creatures (my family is full of ideas), but for now these sunflowers are done.  It's a very sunny, hot spot of the yard, so it's nice to see something green.  The cassia bush will grow on one side and the trees will fill in the other.  I think it's an improvement over the blank wall that was there before.  Around the other side of the house there is a shady spot that's already full of greenery.  I painted that spot years ago, mostly to see something interesting out the window.  I like to think the air conditioner repairman is amused by it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sunflowers - in progress

Beginning a "sunflowers on the wall" project.  I got tired of seeing that huge stretch of wall and thought it might be fun to paint some sunflowers on it, since I wasn't successful at growing any this year.  I started with a chalk outline to test the placement, because chalk is easy to change.  In the past this wall has featured a horse and even a map of the United States.  
On a trip to Michigan last year, the fields of sunflowers left a fantastic impression on me, and I thought this would be a great way to bring some home.

 Once the chalk flowers were approved by everyone in the family it was time to start adding paint.  We were in Home Depot twice in the last few days, but both times did not stop by the paint department for colors.  Fortunately, after digging through the hall closet I found some old sample jars of acrylic and one of them had never been opened!  So I ripped that plastic seal off and started dabbing something called Maize onto the wall.  Perfect.  It's a start!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

"Smoke" for Illustration Friday

"Smoke" for Illustration Friday is watercolor on Bristol paper.  I really like the way the smoke turned out on such a smooth surface.  The water and paint floated around and creating its own pattern.   I used to like hot press watercolor paper, but more recently I prefer the rougher texture of cold press.  So this felt somewhat experimental, and I'm pretty happy with it!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Walk in the Light watercolor

I've added a few new watercolors to my Etsy shop, including this one entitled "Walk in the Light".

I created it after a short hike with my family at Hassayampa River Preserve in Wickenburg, AZ.  It's such an amazing place and one of my favorite getaways.  A place to reconnect with nature, do a little birdwatching, and take a deep breath in a peaceful place.  They have wonderful trails through trees, sandy riverbeds, across tiny bridges, benches beside a lake, and tall, tall palm trees.  Glorious.

"For most of its 100-mile course through the desert, the Hassayampa River flows only underground. But within thepreserve its crystal clear waters emerge, flowing above ground throughout the year. This lush streamside habitat is home to some of the desert’s most spectacular wildlife. Yet many of them have become dangerously imperiled as riparian areas have disappeared from the Arizona landscape...

In the Sonoran Desert, riparian areas nourish cottonwood-willow forests, one of the rarest and most threatened forest types in North America. An estimated 90% of these critical wet landscapes have been lost, damaged or degraded in the last century. This loss threatens at least 80% of Arizona wildlife, which depend upon riparian habitats for survival. "

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

"Tool" for Illustration Friday

My daughter is constantly drawing horses.  I admire her attention to detail and she appreciates my use of color.  We inspire each other, so when the theme of "tool" was announced on Illustration Friday, I decided to draw a girl using a comb on her favorite horse.  

Food, water, a good brushing, clean the feet, and don't forget to comb the mane!  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

April showers bring birds and flowers

Every day I step outside to enjoy our mountain view, observing the light and shadows, occasionally spotting a hiker on the distant trail.  As a gardener I always check the plants while I'm out there, to see what's growing, hoping for flowers, strawberries, tomatoes.  The birdwatcher in me is scanning and listening for which of my feathered friends might be visiting. Often one of these things sends me running back into the house to grab a camera, binoculars or field guide.  


This week brought more roses, beautiful blooms on the prickly pear cactus, and two surprise guests. A pair of white pigeons. 

This much white is rare to see so they really stand out.  The last time it happened the bird was wearing a band, so naturally we wondered if these were also some escaped birds, but no identification.  We need Anna Breytenbach, animal communicator, to tell us their story.

I love to watch the different birds come to the seed block I put out for the quail.  Also, if there's any seed left in the cup when I feed my own parakeets and finches, I throw that out there too.  These white pigeons have been visiting for a few days now, since they've found food.  The cold and rainy weather brought a bigger crowd to the seed block.  In the bottom picture you can see quail, sparrows, a curve billed thrasher and the white pigeons.  There are even days when it gets so crowded, that  even hawks will swoop in for the buffet.  Be safe white pigeons!  

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sparkle for IF

Considering the totally optional "rainbow" theme from Creative Every Day and "sparkle" from Illustration Friday, I came up with this idea of a circus horse and performer.  What better place to find color and sparkle?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Impressions of a palm lake watercolor

It's been awhile since I posted, so here is today's submission for Creative Every Day.  "Impressions from palm lake", watercolor. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Variation on Childhood, watercolor

For Creative Every Day: Still playing with the idea of bunnies and spring flowers.  There were a bunch of little drawings in my sketchbook and I turned one of those into this tiny 5 x 7" watercolor.  Trying to keep it simple and not get too fussy.  Fun and enjoyable!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Childhood for IF, watercolor and ink

A lot of my childhood memories are arranged by the pets we had.  I was fortunate to live in the country where we had lots of animals (horses, cows, pigs, goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats), but it was different for my own children.  We volunteered on a nearby ranch for their "farm" experience and even let them raise a couple of chicks at home one spring. When those chicks grew we gave them to our friends who were already keeping chickens.  Over the years, our companions have included dogs, cats, birds, fish, bunnies, turtle, lizards, salamanders, gecko, tarantulas, scorpion, millipede, and rodents.

And yes, I've read the book by Gerald Durrell, "My Family and Other Animals".

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Village for IF, watercolor

Here is one for Illustration Friday's "Village".

I've been looking through old photographs lately, so these sheep have been wandering through my mind.   In this memory, I was in the back seat of my host family's car, enjoying the drive to a nearby town in northern Spain, snapping pictures.  And then the woolly river flooded the road we were on.  There was nothing to do but stop and wait.  I was from the country, but that was a new experience for me and I thought it was great!  

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Monday, February 22, 2016

Spring Birds watercolor postcard

Quick snap of Spring Birds postcard heading to New York for the 2016 Twitter Art Exhibit.
I just found out about this art show two days ago, but didn't have time to work on something until this morning.  A few pages of sketches and some miniature paintings "for the bin" as Jean Haines would say, and this quail couple was chosen for the journey.
Safe travels my friends!  

Twitter Art Exhibit: NYC - 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

Winter ice skating

Figure skating is one of my hobbies.  There is a girl at my rink who wears these thick, fuzzy leg warmers and matching hat, with a skating skirt and I just think she looks adorable.  I started thinking about that last night and the fact that it's still February, so I decided a winter scene was in order!  The weather has been great for us lately (in the 80s!) but I still remember winter.  If this were my backyard, I would be out there every day!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Easter Island Girl for Illustration Friday's "Mystery"

Rapa Nui girl, Easter Island.  Virtual trip for research!  I thought it would be fun to go to Easter Island, wander around the land and festivals in my mind.  I let my eyes feast on all the images I could find, did some quick pencil and color sketches before bed, and let it all sink in overnight.  In the morning I asked my daughter to try out a couple poses for me.  She picked this one on her own, even though I had envisioned something else, and wouldn't you know it, this one worked best.  She got a brief introduction to Maxfield Parrish, one of my favorite artists, and how he used models for his work.  Years ago when we lived in New Hampshire, I was able to see a special exhibit of his works in Manchester.  I admired his use of color and dreamy quality in paintings, illustrations and even theatre sets.  I always fantasized about attempting a mural in my house based on one of his paintings.  Alas, it never happened.  We moved to Arizona, found the Phoenix Art Museum, and I was pleasantly surprised to find another painting by Parrish of the local landscape.  I recognized the artist immediately.  I think of that painting often when I drive and can see those mountains in the distance.

Friday, February 5, 2016

In progress...saguaro blossom watercolor

I'm in the middle of working on another cactus watercolor.  Not sure how comfortable I am with no pencil lines on the paper first, but it does make it interesting.  I've drawn enough of them that by the time I'm ready to paint, I should know what I'm doing, right?  I gave this one an initial wash of color, leaving the white for the flowers, and plan to add layers to finish.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

Smart for IF

Dog bath time.  Each is trying to out-smart the other.
Watercolor illustration.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Costa's Hummingbird at Blue Agastache

I painted a bunch of small (5x7) watercolors last week of hummingbirds and flowers.  Most of them were Anna's, but this was my only attempt at a Costa's.  Seen in the right light they shine purple in the throat and cap.  Painting it was more difficult than I anticipated.  I occasionally see them in the garden and my dogs come running, curious as to what's making me squeal.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Orbit for Illustration Friday

The hummingbird orbits the flower on his approach.  

I started playing around with some new ideas and came up with this one for IF.  A long time ago I painted hummers on pottery for a living using a much more simplistic design.  I took out one of those bamboo brushes that I used to favor,  and tried to give this guy on paper just a bit more detail.  After all, if I do it exactly the same as I used to, how have I grown as an artist? 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

Tropical for IF

Here's my latest painting for Illustration Friday and Creative Every Day.  The topic was "Tropical" so instead of an island of palm trees I chose flowers and a blue morpho butterfly from Costa Rica.  I am a fan of orchids so I had fun creating a small painting of Costa Rica's national flower: Guaria Morada, or a Cattleya orchid.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

CED photo

Spent the day playing in fresh snow with my daughter.  I'm pretty worn out so consider this is my creative post for the day, sharing the wonder of the white stuff.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Moon for IF, CED

I intended this to be the "cheese" moon my kids are always excited to watch rise over the mountain.  It got a little bit yellower than I wanted, but overall I'm happy with the picture.  We've been seeing the owl a lot lately, so I was glad to include him.  

And just for fun, here's a quick pic of the owl visiting.  It's huge!  If only I had new batteries in the good camera that day.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Creative Every Day

I had an idea for a painting, but first I wanted to just play around with the colors on hot press paper. One of my favorite things about watercolor is watching it mix and swirl into new colors right on the paper. I also like to pour cream into a glass mug of coffee and just sit there.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Creative Every Day

I've decided to participate in the Creative Every Day challenge once again.  I missed out on it last year, so to help myself get started I made a little drawing as a sort of inspirational reminder.  It's of a quail, one of my favorite little birds.  I enjoy watching them so much I've nominated this one to be my mascot for the year.