Sketching Workshop at the Redmond Library June 1st

I had an opportunity to lead a 3-hour workshop, “Keep a Daily Sketch Journal,” at the Redmond Library yesterday. I had 15 students and there were 18 people on the waitlist! It’s nice to know that there are lots of people in the community who are interesting in sketching more or at least learning about it. I had a great time and it was very satisfying because the students all seemed to get something out of it. I loved seeing the variety of things people chose to draw from their day. I will do another sketching workshop there in the fall on nature journaling. The date’s not been set yet but the library did promote through Nextdoor.

The Process of Drawing Tile Patterns

Recently I started adding color to my drawing of a Portuguese tile pattern that I saw at the National Tile Museum in Lisbon, Portugal last summer (although I wrote Porto in my sketchbook). I love the way one block pattern can be complicated enough that it takes 16 tiles to show it!

These are some pictures taken during its progress to being currently somewhat painted. I typically work on my projects about 30 minutes at a time. For these tiles, I start with a pencil and ruler and mark out on my sketchbook page where I’m going to place them. I like to draw a solo tile, then in a group of four, and then, here, in a group of sixteen to show the additional pattern that is made. I find the center lines and diagonals in each square and then start sketching out the pattern. Sometimes I will draw the whole pattern first then ink it, but here the design was complicated enough and my hand would rub off the graphite, I inked some parts before I did more pencil. Once the whole page was inked, I scanned it so I have it available for the future - I was thinking of a coloring book of Portuguese tiles. Then, I added color to match the tiles I had photographed.

It’s a time consuming but very satisfying process. I will continue to add blue watercolor to the rest of the drawing but I rather like partially complete painting too. I will scan that before I continue. Which do you like better - partially painted or fully painted?

My latest pet - and person - portrait

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Here is my latest pet portrait. This is of Finn and Nancy, his person. I love drawing different breeds of dogs because they are so unique. I really enjoyed this picture of Finn and Nancy because having them together really showed off just how large Irish Wolfhounds can get. Also, the two of them were clearly happy and content together.

Please contact me if you’re interested in me doing an ink and watercolor pet portrait commission for you. I work from your photos. Check the link for more information or email me at anyatoomre@yahoo.com.

Students' Work!

I have been teaching a six-week travel journaling in ink and watercolor workshop recently but there’s been two weeks off unexpectedly because of lots and lots of snow which is not the usual for this area. Roads are finally clear and the weather more mild so we were able to meet up again. It’s nice to be able to get back to the regular routine again! Here are some examples of what my students are working on. It is so interesting seeing what people come up with.

Happy 2019!

Happy 2019! I hope it brings you new adventures and experiences that you find interesting and make you grow. 2018 marked the first complete year of having my own business, Anya Toomre Art & Illustration. I’ve learned a lot about what works and doesn’t work for me. It’s a continual process and there will likely never be a “done” state. What remains true is that this is a lifetime business. It’s only more public than I’ve done before. I like the people I’ve been meeting with this change. Another big addition this year was expanding my product range to include textile art. I’ve opened up an etsy shop, AnyaToomreStudios where I have been adding my fabric and art-quilt coasters. Esty is an easier site to have lots of hand-made items than I know how to do on this site right now.

One of the long-term goals I have with my business is to give back. So at the end of December 2018, I tallied up my sales and was able to donate a percentage of total sales to the following three organizations:

From my pet portraits, I give to the Seattle Humane Society. I love cats and dogs and all three of my cats were adopted from the Seattle Humane Society.

From my card and print sales, I chose to give to the Hispanic Federation in support of rebuilding Puerto Rico. I was in Cuba in 2017 during Hurricane Irma. I had never been in a hurricane before, nor on an island with such high waters. There was a lot of damage and disruption in Cuba but it only got battered by the edges of the storm. Hurricane Maria landed in Puerto Rico shortly thereafter and it was a full force hit on the island which was devastated. I can’t imagine the chaos and destruction. I was only 700 hundred miles on a more lightly hit island 2 weeks earlier.

With adding my quilted textiles to my line of available products, I wanted to do something in support of women and kids and home, so I chose to give a percentage of my textile sales to Mary’s Place in Seattle.

Thank you to everyone who supported me last year and helped me to contribute to these three organizations that are doing good work in their areas. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to give more. All the best for the new year!

Drawing and Painting a Chocolate Wrapper

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Here are the two steps when I do a drawing. First I draw in ink and then I paint. I rarely do it the other way round, paint first then ink. With a wrapper I will also use pencil before hand to get the placement of the lettering and larger elements. In this particular case you can see the chocolate wrapper I’m drawing from.

Travel Sketch from Porto, Portugal in Progress

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I love to travel and I love to draw and paint in travel journals. I work on them while on trips, but mostly after the fact using photographs that I took during the trip and bits of ephemera that I brought back. This is an in-progress sketch of the first outside tiled church I saw in Porto, Portugal this past summer. It’s from the Capela das Almas de Santa Catarina (Chapel of Souls on Rua Santa Catarina).

If keeping a travel journal is something that you’d like to try, please join me for my next offering of Creating an Ink and Watercolor Travel Journal 6-week workshop on Monday evenings that starts on January 7th, 2019. See my workshops for more information and to register.

Labradoodle Puppy Past and Pooch Present Pet Portraits

Great job on aliteration, huh?! I recently finished a couple of pet portraits of a cute labradoodle for Christmas presents - one of her as a puppy and the second as she looks now. This was a fun commission since I got to do two similar but different portraits. My challenges were her curls and trying to keep her fur looking soft. I did them with my favorite approach of ink and watercolor. I work from client photographs and typically have a two-week turn around time from the scheduled start. See the Pet Portrait Item in my shop for more details.

Holiday Bazaars Begin

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I am going to be a vendor at a couple of holiday bazaars this fall. The first one is on Saturday, November 17th at the IEOU Hall, 18701 - 120th Ave NE in Bothell from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. I will have a variety of notecards and prints including my most recent Portuguese tiles. I will also have my quilted coasters and zippered bags available. Those are always so much fun to play with in person. I love to see people’s reactions to my coasters and how they want to touch and handle them - which is okay! Come out and support local artists and artisans at the My Friends & Me Holiday Bazaar!

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