Tag Archives: 2015 Year of the Spark

Sketches are GOLD

You never know where a 20-second sketch will take you. And you can never make enough sketches. They are GOLD to flip through for developing future compositions, remembering places, and feeling good about all those times you picked up a tool and made marks in your sketchbook.

While attending a group event at an instructor’s studio earlier this year, I discovered her cache of sketchbooks—a TREASURE TROVE chronicling her moods, surroundings, experiments…  It almost felt like I was violating her privacy, but she assured me she left them out for that very reason. I would have sat there all night turning her pages, but for the guilt of appearing unsocial. Back to the party I went, eventually.

Where will a preliminary sketch take you? ANY WHERE! Pick a favorite simple drawing, then use other media to draw/paint it again and see what happens. You’ll get something quite different every time.

Have fun!

A one-liner ink sketch, used as source.    (click any image to enlarge it)


Charcoal and conte on tinted paper.


Eyedropper+ink with watercolors on hot press watercolor paper.


Different one-liner ink sketch, used as source. (imagine that: another bunny)


Crayon sticks on Canson paper.


Markers and dry pastels on colored, textured paper.

Displayed artwork © 2015 Kim Reading. All rights reserved.


Pudding Bowl

The “pudding bowl” cut, “pudding basin” cut, or just plain “bowl” cut — no matter what you call it, it’s all bad. Always was and forever will be. If any of you were victims of a lazy-scissored Mom who insisted on saving pennies by avoiding the barber, I feel for you. I must admit my own mother took the scissors to my bangs like this once upon a time and I still loathe my school photo from that year.

Arguably, the only face to pull it off successfully was Moe, Three Stooges’ Moe Howard. Between him and his brothers Shemp and Larry, they pretty much characterized the spectrum of hair foibles:  bowl cut, crew cut, and you-really-ought-to-just-shave-it-off-because-you’re-bald-on-top cut.


(photo credit:
Healthywealthy” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia)

This painting exercise apparently unlocked my disdain for the “bowl.” It is a reverse acrylic painting on clear vinyl with collage elements, set against a black piece of paper. It’s got attitude I didn’t expect when I started. Art reveals truth!

(click image to enlarge)

(8.5″ x 11″  mixed media on vinyl sheet)
Displayed artwork © 2015 Kim Reading. All rights reserved.

Smokin’ Dog

The year-long online course I’ve committed to pushes me out of my comfort zone now and then — Make a creature out of wire and fabric. Really? Three dimensions? Ohhhhh kayyyyyyy. I admit to having collected a bed load of stuffed animals as a kid; but as an adult, I gravitate mostly to 2D art.

I ignored the wad of old electrical wire on my desk for days. How do I relate to that as an art “tool?” Finally, I just got mad and wrangled it into an aimless mess of loops one night. It suddenly looked dog-like. Using various strips of old cloth and scrap yarn, I wrapped it and wrapped it and ended up with Smokin’ Dog.

He wears his heart on his sleeve, has beady eyes, and a sports a pipe cleaner tail. His cigarette (bad dog) resulted from my laziness — easier to paint the end of it red, like an ember, than to find the wire cutters and trim it. Anyhow, it seems to suit him.

(click images to enlarge)

(3″ x 5″ x 6″  wire-wrapped creature)
Displayed artwork © 2015 Kim Reading. All rights reserved.

My Year of “SPARKS”

I’m taking a year-long online art class called 2015 Year of the  Spark!  You, my dear ‘Ticklers’ (aka awesome followers), will see some of it shared here, so I’d like to introduce this SPARK! button now:

sparklogo_w_words When this button appears in a post, you’ll know the catalyst for my art came from Carla Sonheim or Lynn Whipple — the two talented and exuberant instructors teaching 2015 Spark! Want to join us? It’s never too late — simply click the SPARK! button for more info.

One of our first assignments was to draw the same simple shape (from a one-liner drawing warmup) several times, using different media each time. Then, pick our favorite to frame and post in our art space. I practically had to tie my hands behind my back not to add anything else to this one: I thought it needed more color; it needed a shadow; what about whiskers — all rabbits have whiskers, right? Finally, after analyzing it for a very long while (from a safe distance with no tools in my hands), I realized that its simplicity of line was what I liked best about it. Ta, dah…

I chose this one to frame as a reminder to myself throughout this Year of the Spark! that “Less is Best” — my new mantra. (We’ll see if it sticks.)

(click image to enlarge)

(8″ x 8″  ink applied w/eyedropper & white pan pastel on toned sketch paper)
Displayed artwork © 2015 Kim Reading. All rights reserved.