Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!

© Ellen Blonder
Happy holidays, everyone!
(This is my card this year, from a colored pencil sketch of hellebores--also called Christmas Rose--from the Orto Botanico in Rome, that I showed in earlier posts this year.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone

Can't always be painting. Sometimes, you've just got to take a break and make a pie, and lemon meringue is my favorite--this one's adapted from an old, torn and stained Betty Crocker cookbook recipe. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Black and White Rooster-Day 18

© Ellen Blonder
I'm slowly continuing to work on details of the foliage, mostly on the upper right today.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Black and White Rooster-Days 16 and 17

© Ellen Blonder
I'm adding details to the plants on the left side of the painting.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Black and White Rooster-Days 13, 14, 15

© Ellen Blonder
I've been working short periods on this all week, and some of the time has been spent overpainting details I didn't like. The painting still has a long way to go.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dog Repair

© Ellen Blonder
Mice got into this stuffed dog, a prototype I designed to present to a toy manufacturer years ago. If it had been a stuffed pillow, I would have tossed it in the garbage, but this guy looked so sad I ran him through the washer and dryer and repaired him. He still has a few loose threads, but I hope that just gives him character.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Black and White Rooster-Day 12

© Ellen Blonder
 All I know is the pink's way too bright here, and it looks all wrong with the rooster's red comb. I have to tone these way down. I've also added grass under the rooster's feet.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Apropos of Nothing

© Ellen Blonder
I didn't paint today, but I did go through a lot of old files, and I came across this silly sketch. 
I'm combing through years' worth of files of old work, and I've been a bit unsettled by how much work I did that I forgot about completely. I also couldn't help but see how much more we all rely on the computer for presentations, rather than slow, detailed pencil sketches. Computer-based art is slicker and more accurate, but I wonder if something's lost, too, from skipping the painstaking drawing.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Black and White Rooster-Days 10 and 11

© Ellen Blonder
I'm almost done with the feathers--finally! Now that the rooster is nearly finished, it'll be fun to move on to the flora.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Black and White Rooster-Days 8 and 9

© Ellen Blonder
Ok, I have to confess it has been a distracting week moving myself back into my studio from a temporary set-up in my house. I've barely had time to paint all week, but I scanned a detail of the rooster's feathers that I've been working on. The lighter feathers are only half finished, and the darker feathers will be detailed more, too.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Black and White Rooster-Day 7

© Ellen Blonder
I painted out the foliage above the rooster's back, and will add something later. Meanwhile, I'm moving on to feathers before tightening up flora.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Black and White Rooster-Day 6

© Ellen Blonder
Still refining shapes and colors, with nothing really finished yet.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Black and White Rooster-Day 5

© Ellen Blonder
Back to work after nursing a cold all week. I'm slowly building each color to see relative values; it's too hard to guess them correctly if I go straight to finish against a white background.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Black and White Rooster-Day 4

© Ellen Blonder
 After transferring the foliage layout to the board, I laid down some rough color as a sort of road map. It really helps to paint when the background isn't a deceptive white.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Black and White Rooster-Day 3

© Ellen Blonder
I'm working on tracing paper before transferring the plant shapes onto the board and refining them further.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Black and White Rooster-Day 2

© Ellen Blonder
I worked over a photo of the rooster painting in Photoshop, layering rough color and shapes of the plants I might want to use.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Black and White Rooster-Day 1

© Ellen Blonder
I've been trying to get to start painting this rooster for a while, ever since he posed for many photographs earlier this year in Kauai. While most of the roosters have coppery feathers, this guy is all stylish ivory, black and red. I'm painting on an 18 x 18-inch masonite board.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Another Charlie Sketch-Day 2

© Ellen Blonder
Charlie looks one way when he's upside down, but I sketched this with his face right-side up, and he kept looking like he was floating. So here he is again, after I played with him in Photoshop, floating over a photo taken along a trip to southern California.
 © Ellen Blonder

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another Charlie Sketch-Day 1

© Ellen Blonder
I can't get enough of this cat. He's fond of lying on his back, but stay tuned to see what happens.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Charlie Cat Painting-Day 9 Final

© Ellen Blonder
This is in danger of getting overworked if I keep fussing, so I think I'm done. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Charlie Cat Painting-Days 7 and 8

© Ellen Blonder
If it doesn't look like much progress since the last post, that's because there isn't. After a day and a half of work, I painted out the left side of the fabric. When something isn't working, sometimes it's best to paint things out and start over rather than fight it. Everything needs to be refined now, but I think I at least have the folds where I want them.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Charlie Cat Painting-Day 6

© Ellen Blonder
The fabric is turning out to be way more difficult to paint than I imagined. Because there are no hard edges, just subtle folds and shadows, the gradations are critical to get just so. So far, the right side is way more finished than the left.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Charlie Cat Painting-Day 5

© Ellen Blonder
Roughing in the sheets under Charlie.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Charlie Cat Painting-Days 3 and 4

© Ellen Blonder
I've been filling in Charlie's longer tummy fur, and just added his whiskers. Now for the background. I think I'll put him on rumpled sheets, which are pretty much cat heaven. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Charlie Cat Painting-Day 2

© Ellen Blonder
Charlie looks like he could float away right now. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Charlie Cat Painting-Day 1

© Ellen Blonder
I'm going to paint Charlie in acrylics on this 16 x 16-inch canvas. While I'm filling in his fur details, I'll figure out whether to put him in an outdoor or indoor setting.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Topsy Turvy Charlie Cat

© Ellen Blonder
This is Charlie, my daughter Lisa's cat. I sketched him from a photograph, where he was upside down. Funny how when I turned the drawing right side up, with the head at the top, I suddenly saw where I needed to correct the face. I couldn't see it upside down.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Colored Pencil Rooster-Day 5 Final

© Ellen Blonder
All done. I'll only overwork him if I continue. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Colored Pencil Rooster-Day 4

© Ellen Blonder
Slowly filling in the feathers on the rooster's body.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Colored Pencil Rooster-Day 3

© Ellen Blonder
Working out those great tail feathers, all attitude and, well, cockiness.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Colored Pencil Rooster-Day 2

© Ellen Blonder
Rather than filling in the shape head to tail, I want to see relative values as I go--or is it that I'm too impatient to see the rooster develop in such an orderly way?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Colored Pencil Rooster-Day 1

© Ellen Blonder
I've been playing with colored pencil, but not sketched anything very colorful. I thought I'd try a rooster. This handsome guy posed for a photo along a walk in Kauai, where they're everywhere. I darkened the scan of this to show the basic shape; the lines are actually much lighter.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Red Roses-Final

© Ellen Blonder
The roses I used for reference are both the same dark red, but I liked leaving the one on the left lighter for contrast. Now it's done.
Post p.s.-My friend Jeanette just commented on this post with a poem, but it's too good to be lost in the comments; I'm adding it to the post itself. 


A single flow’r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet —
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;
“My fragile leaves,” it said, “his heart enclose.”
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

~ Dorothy Parker (1893-1967), American writer of poetry and short stories  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Red Roses-Day 4

© Ellen Blonder
This is fun, but it's fun in slow motion, without the anxiety of watercolors that might dry too fast in the wrong places. The challenge is to still to get the flowers dark enough.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Red Roses-Day 3

© Ellen Blonder
I'm wearing out my pencils trying to get the reds dark enough. Once I get these tones down, it'll probably take another round to darken everything even more.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Red Roses-Day 2

© Ellen Blonder
These roses will go way darker, but sketching in highlights and shadows helps me see where I'm headed.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Red Roses-Day 1

© Ellen Blonder
My friend Jenny gave me some red roses that were so dark and velvety they were almost black. I'm going to see if I can reproduce that color and texture with colored pencil.

Monday, August 15, 2011


© Ellen Blonder
This was an exercise in patience. The hardest part was to keep the greens from getting muddled or indistinct where they overlapped. It was also a challenge to make the flowers greenish but still lighter than the leaves, but not so light they'd be too flat. I think I'll stop fussing now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hellebore-Day 4

© Ellen Blonder
Lots of pencil sharpening today, darkening leaves and inner background to make the greenish-white flowers stand out better. The right side is far more finished than the left.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hellebore-Day 3

© Ellen Blonder
Working away, mostly on leaves.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lily Chan Photography

© Lily Chan Photography
Ok, time to take a break to mention a cool, young photographer. Lily and my daughter Lisa worked together briefly, and have been friends ever since. Recently, Lily decided to turn her passion into a business. Especially if you're in the LA area, check her out. She has a special knack with children, pets and sweet family relationships. Here's her website and blog to find out more about her. Best wishes, Lily!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hellebore-Day 2

© Ellen Blonder
I think I spent over an hour today sharpening and organizing my motley collection of colored pencils, but now all my green pencils are together in one cup. I think I'm using eight or nine different greens, in addition to grays in this.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hellebore-Day 1

© Ellen Blonder
I love the fans of leaves and greenish flowers of hellebores. I also like that some varieties bloom in my garden during the bleaker months. I guess that's why it gets the common name Christmas Rose. This one is from a photo I took at  Casa Loma in Toronto last year, and I thought it would give me a chance to try out my new green pencils. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Varanasi Bracelet

© Ellen Blonder
Last December when I was in Varanasi, India, I stood near a raised platform next to a woman selling a few dusty items from her tarp on the ground. I was talking to my friend, oblivious, when I felt the woman tug at my pant leg. Without understanding a word between us, she pulled a clean tarp from her basket and motioned that I should spread it on the platform so I could sit without getting dirty. She asked nothing in return. 
I was so stunned it took me until I saw her again to purchase a few of her string bracelets, to remind myself such open kindness exists, even from the most destitute.
The one sketched here is attached to my laptop case, and it keeps me from getting too wrapped up in my own problems.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Foot

© Ellen Blonder
Ok, this is a lame post (both literally and figuratively, now that I think about it), but I thought I'd sketch what was in front of me: my post-op bandaged leg, with just two toes peeking out, after surgery August 2. I'll try to post more often, now that I can get to my newly-set-up "office" in my house, waiting for repaired tendons to heal. Anyone out there have experience with a posterior tendon transfer and calcaneal osteotomy?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Steve, Again

© Ellen Blonder
In my drawing group this week, I photographed a few of our poses. Since our poses are normally short, I wanted more time to sketch some of them. Some of the group members were playing with drawing on colored paper with graphite and white pencils, so I took some paper home, worked with a photo as reference, and drew Steve Coleman (who you can read more about from an earlier blog post).