Thursday, December 28, 2017

"Plant" for Illustration Friday

So Henry bought his first plant.  He read that keeping an aloe in the house purifies the air.  He wanted to be a healthy bear, so he sat in the chair nearby, and talked to his new plant every day.  After awhile he got tired of calling it "plant" and decided it needed a name.  What is a good name for an aloe?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

"Shopping" birds - Illustration Friday

Sandra Jessop, "Shopping", digital watercolor.

Still experimenting with Tayasui Sketches.  My goal today, while cookies baked and chili simmered, was basically to not give up on this drawing, and see it through to a somewhat finished piece.  Are there things I would change?  Sure.  But I'm also trying to be kind to myself and have fun!  Hey, I was successful today.  I created.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Nightmare Bear for Illustration Friday, digital

Well here it is, my first digital submission for Illustration Friday. I’ve been learning how to use Tayasui Sketches on the iPad mini. I watched a few demonstrations and reviews, but had to make my own mistakes. The most important lesson has been how to work in layers. The tool I find most enjoyable is, naturally, the watercolor brush. I played around with the free version over the summer, but finally decided to upgrade to Pro, to give it a fair trial. The more I use it, the more fun it is. Maybe someday I'll be ready for a fancy upgrade, but for now my stylus pen is working.

The bottom image was my first attempt after the "ghost of Christmas Future" stood behind me at a variety show.  It was disturbing.  Though my daughter liked the illustration, I wasn't sure how I felt about it.  So I made the second one above of the small figure being chased by a bear.  Again, it's a learning curve, but at least I've figured out how to mix colors.  So simple.  I'm glad I got this far.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Wealth - for Illustration Friday

"Wealth" ©SandraJessop

It's been awhile since I posted something for Illustration Friday, so here she is!  Queen Isabella.  I consulted my daughter many times to arrive at this final illustration.  We did some drawings and then sat down to paint across from each other.  It's nice to be able to encourage each other that way!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Time Travel for Illustration Friday

"Time Travel" ©Sandra Jessop, Watercolor&Ink 6x8"

I admit, I had trouble with such a broad topic and didn't like any of my initial ideas. I even asked my son for help, hoping for inspiration. I kept thinking of The Time Machine, Dr. Who, and Back to the Future.  I couldn't figure out how to make it my own.

One night as I tried to fall asleep, this image started swirling around in my mind.  I was both thrilled and annoyed.  I was happy I finally had an idea I liked, but irritated at the timing because I was  exhausted and just wanted to fall asleep.  However, I did not get out of bed to draw it, but determined I would remember.

I'd say I'm pretty happy with the finished piece, if I ignore my super critical inner voice.  (She's so picky.)  The steam punk vibe is not something I've tried before, but I might try again.  The research was fun anyway.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Recipe for Illustration Friday

Though it may feel like it sometimes, I promise you, following the recipe does not look like this!

Recipe, for Illustration Friday

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Watercolor hummingbird using a bamboo brush

SandraJessop, Azure View Art

Here's a playful little watercolor I did today on scrap paper (the other side has a landscape I wasn't satisfied with).  With the exception of the beak, the whole thing was painted using an old bamboo brush, a gift from a co-worker at the pottery studio where I worked.  Every now and then I go back to painting in this style for two reasons.  One: It's easy for me.  Since I spent so many years painting that way I don't think about it and that feels good.  Two: It's relaxing.  I've found it's a great way for me to loosen up and simplify my approach to the subject.  Traditionally the bamboo brush should be held very lightly and be used in a fluid motion.  It is a meditation and helps me  focus.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Visit from a hummingbird

©SandraJessop "Hummingbird Vine", Watercolor, 6x8"

In August I took two weeks off to travel across the USA with my kids, and I am so glad we had that opportunity.  We covered over 4,000 miles and some people were concerned about that much time in a car with teenagers.  They were great!  I however, had a minor meltdown towards the end of the trip because of a bike race.  After unexpected road closures and extra time in traffic, we were ready to get out and stretch our legs on a trail at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.  Guess what!  That was closed too!  For the bike race.  It was not a proud moment for me, but my kids adjusted, talked me through it, gave me chocolate, and we continued on to enjoy the nearby Cave of the Winds.

September arrived and found me working four days in the art room at at the Free To Be Unschooling conference.  I had been planning a new series of hummingbirds, so when I finally had some peace and quiet to stay home and paint, this was the first one that I finished.  I love this painting because its a hummingbird that visits my patio.  It just tickles me to see them land and sit for awhile.  I'm so happy to know that I've created a garden space that is relaxing enough for even the constantly moving hummingbirds to take a rest.  I need to stop moving so much and do the same.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sailor, Illustration Friday

Marker  on paper

One night after dinner, everyone in my family took a piece of paper, their favorite markers and started drawing.  It was an unplanned event, but so much fun!  This is what I created that night.  A girl sailing on the moon to the island of sheep.  It's an idea I've had floating around in my head for awhile, and I was hoping to have a different version to share, but never finished.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Ice Cream Shoppe watercolor for Illustration Friday

©SandraJessop, Ice Cream Shoppe, watercolor, 6x8"

For Illustration Friday's theme "ice cream".  Overall I'm pretty happy with this design.  I really like the way she is walking off the bottom.  I wanted to keep the colors light and sweet.  My kids approved the use of pink for an ice cream shop.  I sort of wish I had colored the door window panels differently, with maybe a glimpse inside the shop.  I made a bunch of line drawings on my ipad using Tayasui Sketches, something new I'm trying.  I've been admiring some digital illustrations and wanted to play around with that. I'm still figuring out how to use it, and how it works best for me.

...another ice cream illo from earlier this year. "Scoop"

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Macaw Painting a Portrait of a Parakeet, watercolor

©SandraJessop, Plato Paints, Watercolor, 6x8

For Illustration Friday's topic of "Portrait" I thought it would be cute to have our macaw, Plato, painting our blue budgie, Rain.  I definitely had fun working on this, though I kept looking to Plato to see how her colors combined and she wasn't very helpful.  First she was preening and had her head tucked every time I looked over at her.  Then she was playing with a toy on her cage and I still couldn't see her head.  The next time I looked she was taking a nap with her face hidden.  I think maybe she was being a little shy.  

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Illustration Friday: Love. Horse and Elephant watercolors

©SandraJessop Summer Love Watercolor, 5x7

©SandraJessop  A Mother's Love Watercolor, 5x7

Love, for Illustration Friday

These are both subjects that have been on my list of things to "color" for awhile, elephants and horses.  I recently found a picture of my daughter hugging a pony and that inspired the first one.  After drawing the elephants, I came across a video of a baby elephant being rescued from a well.  It was very touching to see the little one running to his mother and I enjoyed that happy feeling as I finished painting.  

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Hello little sprout! Baby bird watercolor for Illustration Friday

©SandraJessop Sprout watercolor

A quick, fun watercolor for Illustration Friday's topic "Sprout".

I giggle to myself when I look at this now, because the little bird reminds me of a watermelon.  That was unintentional but I am enjoying it!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

One Two Three! Summer fun watercolor

©SandraJessop One, Two, Three! watercolor 8x10

Another topic from Illustration Friday: "Three"

One, two, three, jump!  It's been record setting hot in Phoenix and we are all trying not to melt.  Jumping into a pool is good, clean fun and it works!  This illustration is inspired by my own kids, neighbors and relatives.  So many creative games have been invented in the backyard pool and this celebrates those memories.  

To see an "extra friend" that was created in the pool go here:

This is the initial sketch and the final in progress.  I decided to move them onto an angle to give more of a "falling" into the water feeling.  

©SandraJessop, watercolor

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ice skating on the frozen canal

©SandraJessop, Ice Skating in Hindeloopen, watercolor, 8x10

"Hallo!  Goedendag."

This week I remembered seeing pictures of people skating in frozen canals somewhere in northern Europe.  I searched images for different countries but couldn't find what I was looking for.  As usual I sketched a bunch of ideas from things I did see of Hindeloopen, Netherlands, and eventually worked out this idea of two skaters near a bridge.  Besides being a picturesque location, it was also fun to say as I drew: Hindeloopen. Try it.

I knew I wanted the colors to be very light and feel like the aurora borealis in pink, gold, blue and violet.  When consulting with my daughter as to which of the drawings she most wanted to see painted, she chose the bridge and said to be sure to include a horse.  I was sort of leaning towards a windmill myself, but I like the way this turned out.

For ice skating illustrations from last year try these:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Imaginary Travel to Machu Picchu

©SandraJessop Machu Picchu, watercolor, 6x9"
It always seems that I get the idea to paint an outside wall at the beginning of summer, you know, when the temperatures are regularly above 100ยบ.  Wouldn't it be better to do it in the winter?  Of course!  So why does the heat bring on the urge to paint outdoors?  Maybe it's because I start spending more time looking out the window, or dreaming of a vacation somewhere, as people talk of their summer plans.

Last year I was remembering a trip to Michigan, driving past all the wonderful sunflowers fields, so I painted sunflowers on a naked wall outside my house.  I blogged about it for Creative Every Day and you can see that here.  We originally planted trees/bushes strategically outside windows to cover the view of the block wall.  One year, a fierce storm removed one of those trees (also leaving behind a crack in the window) thus the sunflowers were planted.

Shortly after we moved into this house I painted a toucan scene on a corner wall, to brighten up  a view from inside.  I've alway wanted to continue the mural onto the next wall incorporating some sort of ruins.  In keeping with the South American theme, I decided on a place that fascinates me: Machu Picchu.  I've been scouring the internet for pictures and reading articles about traveling to Peru.  I am a bit saddened by the fact that the number of tourists has increased so dramatically, the area is experiencing problems with pollution and over-crowding.  Last year Peru imposed restrictions on the Inca Trail to limit the number of people and also raised the fee.

Since I will probably never see it in person, I'm making an imaginary trip.  I am still at the beginning of this journey, but wanted to share.  Incidentally, this is a good time of year to visit Machu Picchu, just in case it's on your bucket list.

This is the hidden wall where it will go, near the air conditioner. I did cut a few more branches so I don't get poked in the eye while painting, but I like the idea of it being partially covered.  Lots of drawings, color sketches.  I began chalking the wall to test the placement, as this is something to be seen through the windows of the house.  I'm glad I did because I needed to move the whole thing over about 6 inches.  I also decided I wanted roofs on my buildings.

Figuring out the stonework
Making decisions

Thursday, June 1, 2017

"Feed Your Mind" watercolor, Illustration Friday

©SandraJessop, Feed Your Mind, watercolor, 5x7"

As the summer begins all the children will be looking for things to do.  While there are certainly camps, games, computers, ipads and swimming pools, I hope they will also remember books.  Printed words can help us travel to distant locations, open our imagination and plant ideas that will feed our minds.  I'm a little old school, in that I love the feel of actual paper in my hands (sometimes even the smell of it too), the sound of the pages turning.  the gradual moving of the bookmark, and the texture - is it one of those new velvety smooth covers?

I hope you find a good book to read this summer!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Horse Team for Illustration Friday

Sandra Jessop, Team, watercolor, 5x7"
Illustration Friday

During my initial "idea phase" for this topic I came up with some really boring sketches and then one day brilliance struck!  A team of horses.  At first I was thinking of something like the Budweiser clydesdales, but when I grabbed the nearest writing implement, I sketched only two stylized horses and left it alone.  I figured the details would work themselves overnight.  

Unplanned, I found myself watching a NOVA program entitled, "Building Pharoah's Chariot"- A team uncovers the advanced engineering behind an ancient Egyptian war machine.  I probably wouldn't have chosen it myself, but nevertheless I was fascinated.  

Using hieroglyphics in tombs and other artifacts, historians and horse experts worked with local craftsmen to recreate Egyptian horse carts.  They used current knowledge and ancient pictures to figure out the harness, mechanics of the cart, and experiment to figure out why it was done that way.  By the end of the show they were testing them with horses that had also been chosen and trained for that purpose.  

The experts obtained one pair of horses and a back-up pair, just to be prepared for anything, I guess.  One of the pairs was two stallions, who didn't get along very well.  Honestly I don't remember which team they finished with, as I only saw parts of the end of the program, but I do remember it worked.  The project was a success.

When I went back to work on my drawing, it suddenly had an Egyptian feel, but it wasn't right for me.  I then had to research different horse carts to see which fit best with what I wanted.  I grew up riding and showing horses, and we even had pulling ponies at one point (which is another story altogether), but I had no knowledge of harnesses or structure of carts.  I looked at various "chariots" and after more sketches, found the one I liked for this particular illustration.

At some point I have to make the decision to research or fake it.  I think in general I research, find so much variety, I have to create something all my own anyway. "Team" for Illustration Friday.

If you are interested in the NOVA program, I found a link here: 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Delicious for IF, Sandra Jessop watercolor

©SandraJessop, Tomato Thief. Watercolor, 8x10

Delicious for Illustration Friday

When our strawberries and tomatoes are almost ready to pick, something has been taking a bite out of the good ones.  I figured it was birds or a ground squirrel, but today I caught the thief!  I just happened to look out at the right time and see a curve billed thrasher helping himself to a tomato, scooping out the insides.  I wanted to take a picture, but the screen door was in the way, so instead I drew a picture, and then made a painting.  So here it is for Illustration Friday.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sandra Jessop watercolors in Anthem Public Art Show

These two quail paintings are on display at the Anthem Civic Building until May 18.  If you were thinking of taking a look, you've still got time to enjoy all the wonderful artwork by local artists.  It's really interesting to see all the different styles and mediums that people are using.  Oil, acrylic, mixed media, watercolor, glass, wood, photography, pastel.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Scoop for Illustration Friday, watercolor

What kind of ice cream do you want it to be? "Strawberry! No, watermelon!" 
Now I kinda wish it was mint chip.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Stomp Mouse for Illustration Friday

Watercolor, Sandra Jessop
"Stomp" for Illustration Friday

I used to love to draw mice, and I realized it has been a long time since I've done any, so I played around with a few versions for this week's topic. I tried some skinny mice, some very round ones, a few dressed up in clothes like humans, but settled on this guy as my favorite.  As I look at it now, it makes me think he's dancing on top of a colorful world.  This is in my mini watercolor sketchbook, which is a great size for working out ideas, but I don't love the paper.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"Tea" for Illustration Friday

"Tea" for Illustration Friday
 by Sandra Jessop

Micron pen on Bristol paper with added watercolor.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2017 Twitter Art Exhibit, Sandra Jessop postcard

Here is my watercolor postcard art for this year's Twitter Art Exhibit event in support of Molly Olly's Wishes.  

"Molly Olly’s Wishes supports children with terminal or life threatening illnesses and their families to help with their emotional wellbeing. We grant individual wishes and donate therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK." 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

Winter Weather

Sharing this fantastic photo of the sun shining through as the storm clouds pass by.  This contrast is one of my favorite ways to see the mountain.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Desert Hike

Years ago I discovered Illustration Friday, and created a blog to be part of that.  Then I found Creative Every Day, and again, needed a landing page for my updates (until I realized how much easier it was to post my Creative Every Day progress on Facebook). 

The focus of AzureViewArt blogspot remains art related, including those aspects of my life that influence what I choose to paint or draw.  Hiking and geocaching have always been fun for me, and have inspired some artwork that I'm very proud of, so I intend to get out there more this year. Maybe I'll repeat the trails that were particularly stunning and find some new ones.

Along the way I'll be snapping reference photos to use later for paintings and illustrations.  There was a time when I kept a giant folder of my own photos grouped by category, for when I wanted to look at something (such as a fence in a snowy field but it was still summer).  A few times I even projected slides onto a wall to duplicate being there.  Now it's all digital.  

Plein air painting always produces wonderful results, but it's not always practical. I prefer to do my sitting at home and my walking outdoors.  So I leave you this rainy desert day, with a pic from my second hike of the year.  

Hike #2