Monthly Archives: August 2012

Under the Sea

I love brightly coloured fabric.

Sea Horsed Dancing in the Wind

Sea Horses Dancing in the Wind

I particularly like fabric that has different patterns and colours all in one piece.

Fabric Sea Horse

Fabric Sea Horse

I used some of the fabric in my stash to make sea horses

and used rayon thread and free-motion embroidery to make the fins.

Whatever Lola Wants…

Lola wants to dance.

This is what Lola looked like a few weeks ago.

Lola in progress

Lola: Work in Progress

Since then I have had to make several versions of some of her body parts before I could get them to look the way I wanted.

Lola detail


Lola profile

Lola: Detail Profile

I usually have a standard order in which I sew the different parts of a doll together.  I sew the legs to the torso first.  I sew the arms on after the clothes.   I usually sew the head on before I put on the hair and then paint the face.  This time I put the hair on first.  Big mistake!  The hair kept getting in the way as I was sewing on the head.

Painting the face comes last.

Lola: Face Painting 1

Lola: Outlining features with air erasable pen

The first thing I do  is draw in the features with an air erasable pen.  I cover her hair with a piece of cloth to keep it out of the way and to protect it when I spray the face with fixative.

Lola: Face Painting 2

Lola: Outlining features with permanent ink

Once I get the features correct, I go over some of it with a Pigma Micron 005 brown pen.  This is permanent ink.

Except for the high light in the eye, the face is painted with pastel pencils.

Lola: Face Painting with chalk pastels

Lola: Adding colour with chalk pastels

I use 2- 3 colours for the eyes and eyeshadow and 2 colours for the lips. The top lip is always darker than the bottom, which catches more light.  I add the highlight to the eye last.  I use acrylic paint applied with the tip of a needle.

Lola: Face painting shadows and blush

Lola: More colour

Lola: Finished Face

Lola: Face

I also paint the fingernails.

Lola: Painted fingernails

Lola: Painted Fingernails

So here she is, practicing her routine to be  ready for her audition for So You Think You Can Dance.


Cycling in France – Watercolour sketch

In anticipation of a visit to the Van Gogh exhibit that is currently at the National Gallery in Ottawa, I decided to do a watercolour in his style.

I chose a picture that I took while cycling in France.

Paysage Languedoc

Paysage Languedoc
Nancy Leigh-Smith

I sketched the outline in pencil first and then used the paints. It went very quickly.

Detail: Paysage Languedoc

Detail: Paysage Languedoc

Trees and Leaf Litter

Alaska is a wonderful place.

A number of years ago my sister and I drove to Vancouver  and took  an Alaskan cruise.  We both had a wonderful time.

I ‘m very glad that I had a digital camera, otherwise it would have cost me a fortune to get all the pictures developed.
Several of the pictures I took have ended up  as watercolour paintings or sketches.
Here is one from a photo taken in a temperate rain forest.

watercolour in progress 1

First wash of colour

After doing a pencil sketch I used frisket to block the paint from covering the areas I wanted to leave white.

painting in progress 2

More colour

There was a lot of leaf litter on the forest floor which was not very colourful so I added  some to the painting.

The background required several washes until I got it the way I wanted.

Temperate Rainforest watercolour

Temperate Rainforest by Nancy Leigh-Smith

The colours in the photos are different due to the fact that the works in progress pictures were taken inside  and the photos from the finished work were take outside.

detail of leaf litter

Detail of leaf litter

more detail

Temperate Rainforest – Detail

It’s Too Darn Hot!

I have not been doing much of anything for the past week except read sitting in front of a fan, with the air conditioner on.  I had been trying to decide whether to start a new doll or do some wet felting but instead of doing either I sat and read.

I finally decided to start a doll.  It is based on one of the sketches I did of dancers while watching So You Think You Can Dance.  I might do a free motion embroidery picture of it as well, but for now I’m working on the doll.  This  first  version has no arms or head.

Work in Progress

Both the body and legs need to be reworked. So there will be more drawing, cutting, sewing and stuffing until I get it right.

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