Tag Archives: pen and ink

Weekly Art Challenge: TIGER

Hey Folks!

This week our theme is: TIGER!

 

A friendly reminder THIS is our last post for this webpage. Next challenge is a two week challenge and will be the first challenge posted on our new site The Art Challenge Blog! If you have been following here and wish to continue seeing what we create, please check out our new site and follow us there.

 

RJ: Tiger Eye, Pen on paper.

RJ’s piece gives me the chills. That deadly expression of the eye with the small visible detail of fur and stripes reminds me exactly why Tigers are dangerous wild predators. I def wouldn’t want to be cross this tiger’s path! I love the hint of facial detail, leaving the rest of the animal to the viewer imagination.

 
rj Tiger

 

AmberEntertainment, Pen and ink on paper.

For this week’s challenge I decided to create an image that illustrates my feelings about animals, like tigers, held captive in zoos and circuses. I love animals and I strongly believe that they don’t belong contained in zoos or used as entertainment in circuses. They belong in the wild and if not there then in sanctuaries where they can live their best life in peace.

 

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Next theme is a two week challenge – due to the holiday season – and the theme is:  DREAMS COME TRUE.


Weekly Art Challenge: GRATITUDE

Hey folks!!

This week our theme was GRATITUDE

Dylan – Thank You, Ink on paper

“I am SO thankful for maintaining my four limbs and use of them from heart surgery as well as the robotic implant replacement of my mitravalve. Fortune comes in many different ways and I was granted a generous nod. Life is good, especially with a gnarly scar. This is have gratitude for daily.”

The semi-faceless feminine figure stands in a defiant superhero pose with classic bows attaching each limb to the core. Powerful imagery! I like the choice to making the figure semi-faceless even with this being a biographical piece. Dylan is guiding the viewer to focus on one particular aspect of her identity, her scar and surgeries, and the impact they have had on her life. Strong beautiful piece, Dylan!

Dylan Gratitidue

 

Emily – Amsterdam Cityscape, Collage on paper.

Emily sent in a piece that she worked on for one of her assignments. She didn’t think it related to the theme of Gratitude, but still wanted to show what she was working on. Emily’s piece is a reflection of her observation skills while she was traveling to Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago. In the collage I see a unique culture identity, I feel the tightness of space amongst old architecture in modern times, I sense the layers of history overlapping in the narrow streets, and I relate to the need to creatively react to my environment.

I kind of have to disagree about the piece not having much to do with the theme of gratitude. I think Emily has keen observation skills and her piece reflects the details – though these details may not be the intentional meaning behind her piece – that so many folks are grateful for in the city of Amsterdam in a way that is uniquely hers.

 

Emily - gratitude

 

Bethany – Helping Hand, Pencil on paper

“When I think of gratitude I think of an open hand. A helping hand. A hand of kindness. A loving hand. “

Me too, Bethany!  I love the clean simplicity of the lines and form of the open hand. It correlates perfectly with her statement and further connects the image of a hand with the concept of gratitude. Bethany’s piece reminds me that gratitude has a lot to do with a community and paying forward what we are grateful for.

Bethany Gratitiude

 

Amber The Little Artist, Pen, ink and watercolor on paper.

I grew up with a very creative family. My great-grandmother was a ceramicist, my mother use to paint murals and found creative ways to make our secondhand clothing and small meager living spaces look and feel special, my father was a tattoo artist and had strong drawing/painting skills, many of my cousins are photographers and of course my extended family includes a plethora of artsy friends.

For as long as I can remember I was “The Artist”. The opportunities to creatively express myself since my childhood have been unlimited and I am very grateful for all the love and support I have received by friends and family to pursue the arts.

 

The little artist

 

Next theme: TRANSFORMATION


Weekly Art Challenge: SPACE

Hey Folks!

This week our theme is: SPACE!

RJ –  Untitled,  graphite on paper

RJ was inspired to create a companion piece to mine (last piece, below) and I am so thrilled with it! There a ‘Alice and the rabbit hole’ charm about it, and I’m a little bit envious of the figure and what he is seeing beyond the space we the viewers stand.
RJ space

Dylan – Untitled, graphite on paper.

 “This is an experiment in playing with foreground, middleground, and background. Details get hazier and edges get softer as objects recede into space.”

What a Beautiful experiment! I am completely enthralled by the expression of this beautiful and noble creature, she looks so proud and confident as she gazes outward toward the viewer. Dylan’s line work perfectly captures the strength and elegance of her subjects.

 

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KarriSpace,

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

 “This has been going through my head all week as I pondered what to do for this weeks challenge. While pondering this weeks theme I thought a lot about how small we are in this universe. How unfortunate it is that we are tied down by gravity and can not go and explore the stars.”

Karri’s dreamy representation of space is the kind of image that would inspire anyone with a youthful heart to wish they were an astronaut! Karri has such a beautiful relationship with color, her layering of bold and subtle colors is suggestive of the magnitude of our galaxy and reminds me how complex and spectacular the universe is.

 

karri space

 

Emily – Untitled, drawings on paper

“I was in Amsterdam this week and then in London for the weekend! For me the theme space was about how I usually draw the things in the space around me to practice my drawings, so i’ve attached some quick drawings from my personal sketchbook that are from spaces I was in in Amsterdam” 

Emily’s statement reminds me a lot of a Buddhist teaching about being present in the moment. I see that with her images, the awareness of the moment and the details of the space that she is occupying. I am loving the red ink drawing below. Its a simple ink drawing of a window and lanterns and I find it comforting. I find myself waiting for a friendly face to look out the window and notice me.

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Val Moonlight – photograph

“I took this in our sideyard and I thought the moon was pretty”

Val was inspired by the moon seen from our backyard and the space between it and herself. Her photo suggests a longing to connect with the moon, a longing that reaches back generations. Taking the photo in a familiar space invokes the emotional attachment we have with the moon.

 

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Amber – Stretching the Void, pen and ink on paper.

This piece went through a lot of transformation between the various thumbnail sketches and mental pictures to the final image. I started with an idea that I would fill a page with odd shaped bubbles, each containing a person struggling to stretch the bubble out. Then the image was a single odd shaped bubble with a single person and this bubble was submerged in rubble full of modern distractions and materialism. Eventually, while sketching the final piece, I realized that the image needed to be only this one person struggling to maintain her small space within a void.

It felt emotionally accurate to see this sole person fighting for space within space. The nothingness around her is both open and claustrophobic.

 

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Next week’s theme: GRATITUDE

To our readers and followers, We hope that everyone has a joyful, safe and abundantly happy Thanksgiving with family, friends and the folks that love you the most. Even if you are not in the States celebrating this holiday, we still wish you a wonderful and thoughtful day.

Peace,

The Art Challenge crew.


Weekly Art Challenge: FEATHERS

Hey Folks!!

This week our theme was FEATHERS!

RJ: Chopstick Feather, found object.

RJ would laugh and tell you how he just did something spur of the moment so he would have something for this week’s challenge, But what RJ won’t take credit for is the creativity that one needs to think about transforming what most would see as an insignificant piece of trash – chopstick wrappers – into a piece of art.

There is the clear environment aspect of this image. The recycling of materials, the affect that our everyday trash has on the environment and our neighboring species and then there is the ephemeral aspect of the piece itself. This is a photograph documenting something that no longer exists – much like the mid century Art Happenings – and it eerily feels like a documentation of a now extinct species. A reminder that existence is ephemeral.

 

RJ feather

 

 

Karri: White Pigeon, Watercolor on paper.

“The most amazing thing happened this weekend. A beautiful white pigeon showed up at my house. Turns out it was very tame. We feed it and gave it water. It hung around all day. One of its favorite places to be seemed to be on top of my head.”

What an exciting experience and beautiful image! I love the transparent softness of Karri’s watercolors, they inspire the viewer  to want to reach out and embrace the pigeon, and be apart of this moment.  Karri’s use of  color emphasize the gentle innocence of the moment and the childlike glee of being chosen by the pigeon. Beautifully done!

 

Karri feathers

 

EmilyFeathers, pen and ink on paper

 “I tried to capture the delicacy of a feather by using dots”

I think the dots were a smart choice and that Emily did a fantastic job capturing the delicacy of a feather. The black and white image has an ephemeral softness to it, like any moment the wind will come and the little dots will scatter across the page. The more colorful feather, while still retaining the essence of a soft texture, express a vibrant charge of energy, like a dramatic movement is about to occur. Beautiful!

emily feather 2

 

emily feather 1

 

Amber: The Unconfined, Pen and ink with graphite on paper.

For me the most obvious association with feathers is freedom. 

Originally I had in mind an image of a sleek cat staring nonchalantly outward at the viewer while standing within a pile of loose feathers. Somehow the image evolved from a confident predator capturing his prey to the prey confidently expressing their freedom from control and fear of the cat and cage. I had thought about including a reference to the Greek myth about Icarus by including a version of him inside the cage; but, shortly after I started the basic sketch of the image, I felt that an empty cage worked better with the idea. I chose Canaries because they are a common bird found in cages and I had recently read that they are symbolic of freedom, which seems rather ironic.

 

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Next week’s theme: PRETENDERS

 


Weekly Art Challenge: CHANGE

Hey Folks!!

This week our theme is CHANGE! 

RJChange Of Luck, Penny and pen on paper —

I think RJ’s piece is a beautiful reminder to the viewer that you have the power to change your luck by changing your perspective. I like the simplicity of line and stipple along with the proportion between the penny and the drawing. The enlargement of the drawing insinuates that making a change can increases the rewards for taking control of your luck!

 

rj

 

EmilyStress/ Move Forward – pen on paper –

“Change is very relevant to me at the moment and I’ve found I’m awful at dealing with it, I get lots of anxiety and stress over it, yet I still always have this need in me that I want to be productive and moving forward in my life. So my pieces are just me realizing that it may be confusing and stressful for me but to move forward I need change

The energy in Emily’s piece reminds me a lot of her photos from FAIR challenge. The movement and use of bold neon color express the chaos of change and the resulting difficulty to focus. I can feel the anxiety and uncertainty of inevitable changes she is trying to express.

emily change

emily change 2

AmberWishes – Mix Media (acrylic, graphite, pen and ink) on paper

For this week’s theme I decided to literally change a previous Art Challenge piece from something that I was not too happy with into something that I am happier with.

One of the hardest lessons for any artist to learn is that it is OKAY to make mistakes. And yet a better lesson, those mistakes don’t have to be mistakes.

 

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Before

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Next theme: FEAR!


Weekly Art Challenge: FIRST

Hey folks!

This week’s theme is FIRST!

RJ – Dream, Pen and ink on paper –

 RJ’s piece is based on a recent and vivid dream he had. A beautiful, colorful dream with a volcano tiled by cows and bulls, spilling milk and honey into the sea. A statue of a woman holding flowers and looking out toward the water, twisting trees and Russian Architecture. He didn’t have time to color the piece, but I love the image he presented. When he was describing the mosaic tiles, all I can do is imagine the scene created with thousands of tiny mosaics.

 

rj first

 

Dylan – Poseidon (Theatre Mask), Variform and Paint –

 “The first mask that I was paid to create was made for Carolina’s Actors Studio Theater (C.A.S.T.) in the production of “Metamorphosis” for the character Poseidon. The actor would swim up from an underground pool inside the theater to enter the scene so I was challenged with making the mask waterproof and durable. Looking back there are things I would have done differently but, overall I am pleased with the execution of craftsmanship and the nod to classic Greek art traditions.

Does anyone else want to wear this beautifully made mask and run or dance through city streets shouting lyrics? I’m thinking ‘Sinnerman’ by Nina Simone or ‘The Origin of Love’ from Hedwig and the Angry Inch.


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Karri: Constant Prayer, Papermache

“This week was a week of firsts. I had been so busy this week that I nearly forgot about this project. As the week came to an end and I realized I had fallen behind, I thought “oh no” it’s because I taught my FIRST art lesson to my homeschooled nephew and because I had to study before teaching my FIRST Sunday school class. In the midst of all this I had also been working on a sculpture. Not my FIRST sculpture but it was my FIRST attempt at a large sculpture and my FIRST attempt at portraying a human figure out of paper. It is also my FIRST religious sculpture. My submission this week “constant prayer” is in its FIRST stages but is starting to take shape.

Karri’s sculpture reminds me of a modern dance performance. I am waiting for the figure to slowly rise, stretch out her limbs and silently express her prayer through graceful but intense body movements. I can’t help but imagine that her prayers are cycling through her mind to a rhythmic beat.  I can’t wait to see this when its completed!

Constant Prayer

EmilyFlower, oil paint on paper –

“I was Inspired by Karri for trying out something new last week, my entry for ‘First’ is my first attempt at painting with oils, a flower, I tried!”

I love that Emily took inspiration from another in our group and explored a new media! That is what this challenge is about; exploring new materials, ideas and having fun along the way! The simplicity and flow of the leaves remind me a lot of sumi-e’s Bamboo brushstrokes and I like the use of sgraffito for the grass.  I think with more practice, Emily will soon be painting fields of flowers 😉

Flower

 

AmberThe First House (When Imaginations Run Wild), Pen, ink and graphite on paper

For my piece this week, I wanted to illustrate myself running from my wild imagination before it got ahold of me, as it so often does.

I was inspired by my first experience exploring an abandoned house in rural North Dakota. This was the experience that set me on the path to document Rural Decay, you can read about it HERE. Below is an excerpt from the post .

When I walked onto the property I felt like I crossed into another dimension. The air grew stale, sounds were muffled and time seemed to slow. The front door was wide open and almost beckoned me to come closer; but, mostly because of my over-active imagination, there was no way that I was going to walk inside and explore the interior.

Every horror movie I have ever seen was flashing before my eyes. They all seemed to start with an innocent looking home, like this one, and carefree characters, such as myself, going about their day like it was any other day with nothing to fear. That is, of course, until IT happens. I knew that by going inside I would become THAT girl who should be running away at the first sign that something was even remotely wrong, but instead naively walks upstairs alone to become the next victim of a serial killing blood thirsty werewolf zombie who freshly escaped from an intergalactic mental institution with an ax and a vendetta against Jersey girls. No, I could not and will not be THAT girl. Not this time at least.

 

First House

 

 

Next week’s Challenge: CHANGE!


Weekly Art Challenge: THE FAIR

RJ The Carrousel, pen on paper – RJ’s fun sketch is a personal twist on a classic ride, the carrousel. I love how he incorporates animals representing recent travels instead of going with the classic horse. If I had my choice, I would pick the rattlesnake!! 🙂

RJ'S FAIR

 

Tony – The Party, Pencil on paper –

“The clay of the Candle is dancing as well as its smoke. The little spirits gathered and dance.”

 Tony’s piece has a nostalgic presence of past fairs and old timey festivities. The treatment of the wax drips and smoke reminds me a lot of winter fairs. The spirits are either dancing or skating, depending on how you look at it.

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KarriThe Fair, Acrylic on canvas

“It is that time of the year! The time for long hot summer days with fried food, roller coasters and ferris wheels. I love the fair, but my favorite part is when the sun goes down and you can really see all the beautiful lights. In this painting I was trying to depict the crowds of people illuminated only by the lights of the vendors and the rides.”

I love the softness of Karri’s brush strokes. It transforms the night scene into a dreamlike fair experience, the kind that inspired you to soak it all up before it is gone.

karri fair

 

Emily – The Fair, photograph –

“This week I have gone with photography as my medium, it was too lucky to miss as this week there was a fair in my local town so it was a perfect opportunity. I wanted to capture the energy of the fair by involving the blur of the lights in my images”

Emily’s photograph reminds me if what it is like to be intoxicated with the energy of a place and moment. While looking at her photographs I am not only sensing the movement in the lights, but also imagining the blur of indistinguishable sounds and smells. I almost want to hit play on an 80’s soundtrack and get lost in the blur.

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Emily Fair 1

 

 

AmberThe Nose Picker, watercolor and pen on paper.

When I think of the fair I first think of classic rides such as the iconic carousel horses and classic fair food like the infamously sweet cotton candy, oh how my tummy aches just thinking of the sugar overload!

In maintaining the classic image of the fair, I chose to connect with my inner Norman Rockwell in producing this image of a young boy riding the carousel and picking his nose because he assumes that no one is paying attention. Someone is watching, a shocked little girl who is about to lose her cotton candy to a hungry puppy! I didn’t finish the piece, obviously. I redrew this image several times over this week and in the end I stopped working on it when it hit me that I wanted to do something completely different with this piece in a different medium; and I didn’t have the time to change direction.

nose picker

 

Next week’s theme: REFLECTION!

 


Weekly Art Challenge: WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE!

Hey there folks!!

This week the artists and I tackled the theme: WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE! 

 

Tony: Wilderness Woman, Color pencil on paper –

“my drawing is about the wild things hidden in humans. Especially women: There’s a singer I have listened to for many years, every time he sings about women, He describes them as wild, impossible to tame, mysterious, and free. So I wanted to integrate all of the wilderness in a woman’s personality in my drawing. Animals, oceans, the moon (and natural long hair). They all represent the wild in women.”

I love Tony’s imagination and bold colorful style; and, I love how he perfectly captured all the things I (and several girlfriends) love about being a woman!

In Tony’s image the woman sits confidently in the nude, exposed as if to say that there is nothing more to show; but in reality she still has plenty of herself hidden in the layers of hair or her inner thoughts peeking through the smoke as it gravitates toward the moon. Tony’s piece is a reminder that no matter how well you may know a woman, there will always be more to know.

 

Dylan The Ticket Booth – water color sketch on paper.

“The portal to “where the wild things are”, for me, is a ticket booth. The threshold where the viewer is leaving one world and entering another that exists only in the mind of the artist, director, set designer, etc.  The viewer leaves one world behind and crosses into another to experience or perceive events that normally don’t occur in the daily routine; a place where you can experience the fanciful, outrageous, and the”wild things” of the fantasy world.”

I agree with Dylan, that there is a portal to where wild things exist – in her case the creation and mastermind of an artistic director – and we all eagerly buy our ticket to romp and roam with wild things. Like many folks I buy my ticket for a brief escape from reality – whether it be a carnival, concert, museum or plane – and save those tickets so that years later I can look at them and in my mind return to that wild adventure.

What makes Dylan’s piece so interesting to me are the notes for an art recipe above the ticket booth. It makes a viewer that much more eager to buy that ticket and see what is cooking behind the gates!!

Ticket Booth

 

Karri – Queen of all wild things and her domain,  Watercolor on Paper –

“This week I wanted to create an environment where I thought wild things might live. As I look into the oddly colored trees and shrubs I can see wild things running through the woods and slithering out of the water. Our childlike need for exploration enables us to look into this jungle and imagine the unimaginable.

I’ve also added a self-portrait inspired by the book “Where the Wild Things are”.  As the creator of this jungle I am now “Queen of All the Wild Things

First of all, I am in love with Karri’s self portrait as the queen of all wild things! The smirk on her lips and the sassy glint in her eyes is perfectly wild and mischievous. I love it and I’m jealous that I didn’t think of it myself! haha 🙂

Karri did an amazing job creating not one, but two pieces that complete her wild story. Her landscape has a prehistoric element mixed with early 80’s Hanna-Barbera animation and dash of Frida Kahlo’s jungle essence. Its the perfect recipe for landscapes loaded with wild things and of course there must be a queen!

 

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karri - wild queen

 

Amber: The Tree House, Pen and Pencil on paper – ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ was one of my favorite childhood books. I still love to look through the beautiful drawings and get lost in Maurice Sendak’s wild imagination! He was a genius!

For this week’s theme I wanted to create an image that signified the strength of an imagination and how it can sometimes cross from nowhere(s) into reality, something that I took from Sendak’s classic story.

The tree house is a place where imaginations run wild. The wild things, or kids, are in their element of their own joyous creation. Everyone has had that one special spot as a kid that was their space free from adult rules on how to act. For a kid, and sometimes adults, these rules can be daunting and a creative drain. A tree house – or, in my case, an old camper or clearing between some bushes – is an escape and a space where nothing exists but what you want to exist.

 

The Treehouse

 

 

Next week’s theme: THE FAIR


Weekly Art Challenge: Repetition

Hey Folks!!

This week My fellow artists and I tackle the theme Repetition.

 

RJ: Repetition Rabbit,  pen on paper – Whether he knows it or not, I honestly believe that RJ is a natural printmaker. His rhythmic lines and marks always have that linear woodcut quality about them. I look at that rabbit head and I can see it printed multiple times and beautifully matted. His little rabbit silhouettes are precious and characteristically spot on. RJ used the theme this week more as a practice exercise and study of rabbits. The piece as a whole reminds me a lot of those beautifully drawn scientific studies of plants and animals in old encyclopedias. It shows his ability to pay attention not only to visual details of a subject, but to the nature and character of the subject too.

Repetition Rabbit

 

Dylan: The Study of Human Decomposition, Mix media (Clay, styrofoam wig base (deconstructed) tissue paper, various glues, and Great Stuff expanding foam) – I have known Dylan since college and she has always had a fascination and appreciation for the raw beauty of a bruise. While most people would be put off by the sight a discolored skin, she would love every bruise and bump on her body as if they were a gift. So when she sent me her images for this week’s challenge I was not in the least bit surprised. I think her words best describe the thoughts and process behind her current work created for a local theme park..

“I absolutely adore repetition and asymmetrical balance!

In my study of human skin decomposing, I found that many things had to be taken into account such as humidity, placement of the body for blood gathering, and how long the corpse had been a corpse. Upon doing a two year death in very low humidity, I assumed the body would look like this. 

The repetitive channels and the rippling form of the flesh convey an symmetrical pattern yet have unbalanced symmetry from the direction of the small channels and lines. I am eager to study the two week, high humidity form next. It is amazing the beauty that can be found anywhere if you look through an artist’s eyes.”

 

Study of decomposition

 

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Amber: The Cycle, Pen and graphite on Paper – I am about 3/4 finish with this piece. All week my mind was running through several ideas that reflected the concept of Repetition. First an image would spring to mind, I would mentally play with it until my thoughts about the image would lead me to another idea and so forth with the cycle. Eventually I began to see how there was a creative repetition to my thoughts. An idea would slowly formulate and bloom until the inspiration began to wane and roll over to a new idea. It’s a cycle that can easily consume an artist.

While I was playing with ideas that would fade into new ideas, I was also doodling randomness in my sketch book with pen and pencil shadings. I have always loved my doodles that combined pen and pencil work and at some point I knew that my final image for the piece was going to be my old favorite, the beautiful dandelion, combined with my preferred doodling technique.

The continuous life cycle of the dandelion seemed to naturally fit the complex creative repetition that occurs in my head every week when faced with a new art challenge.  I am currently debating adding a hint of color to the image, but I def plan to work the background so that the image pops a bit more and shading in the leaves. Thoughts?

 

The cycle

 

That was this week, hope you all enjoyed the work. Next week’s theme : PARADISE!


Weekly Art Challenge: PIE

Hello Folks!

This week’s art theme is: PIE.

RJ: Chicken Pot Pie, Graphite and pen on paper – Someone has a sense of humor! As always I love the textures and mark making that RJ naturally creates. He has a great eye for detail and his work always look so effortless.

 

chicken pot pie

 

Amber: Slice of Earth Pie, pen and ink – At first I had no idea what I was going to make for the theme. Personally, I hate pies! I never order one and I can count the number of pies I have eaten in my life on one hand. I was struggling for a few days until I remembered one kind of pie that I did love making as a child. Mud Pies!! I was a mud loving kid, always digging holes, playing with worms and making mile high mum pies. This piece is an homage to my childhood games and love for earthly creatures.

Its incomplete at the moment. Some watercolor and more pen work will be added along with additional ants and possibly another ladybug.

 

Slice of Earth Pie

 

 

Next theme: Flight!