Category: Drawing

moss steps tower hill

Working Plein Air at the Moss Steps

I took my watercolors to Tower Hill Botanic Garden to try out working plein air. It was a sunny day and I was worried about getting burned, so I went into the wooded areas. I settled down at the Moss Steps and did this pen drawing and then painted it in watercolor. Although there was a chain blocking the steps off from people, I did see a chipmunk running around as well as a wood frog hopping down.

I usually add the watercolor at home, but it was a welcome change to paint in person (and more of a challenge). I brought water with me in a bottle and poured it into a plastic cup, but I had to bend down to use it as I put my water cup on the ground. The pine needles falling down on my head were annoying, but a small price to pay for such a nice time.

Next time I would like to try painting in watercolor without such a detailed pen and ink drawing first because it took a very long time.

moss steps tower hill
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, At the edge of the Moss Steps (8/5/2016). Ink and watercolor in large moleskine.
moss steps photo
A photo of the moss steps. I conveniently removed the chain from my drawing.
Some of the other interesting photos I took while walking through the woods.
Some of the other interesting photos I took while walking through the woods.

blue feather pen

Blue Feathers

We found a clump of goose feathers down by the water and I had fun sketching them in blue ink. I think I drew them more stylized because I was using the blue, which isn’t at all realistic.

feathers ink sketch
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Sketch of Feathers in Blue Ink (3-16-2016). Ink and watercolor wash in lab notebook.

blue feather pen
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Blue Feather Pen. Luxury Blue Ink and watercolor wash on a blank note card, 8.9 x 12.4 cm.
Mini Pen and Ink Book by Carolyn A Pappas

Mini Pen and Ink Picture Book

Mini Pen and Ink Book by Carolyn A Pappas
©2015 Carolyn A Pappas, Mini Pen & Ink Picture Book. Mini book made with manila tag and white paper, 2 3⁄8″ square (closed size).
Sometimes I get little projects in my head that stay there for years and never manage to get out into the real world. This year I have actually finished some of my small projects, like this mini book made with a manila tag. It is filled with small nature vignettes from around my neighborhood. There are a lot of interesting things going on outside right now – things usually look more interesting to me when they are in a state of decay.

Pen and ink landscape by Carolyn A Pappas

Inktober is almost here

Pen and ink landscape by Carolyn A Pappas
©2015 Carolyn A Pappas, Le Château. Ink on 5 x 7 inch blank greeting card.

It’s that time of year again for Inktober, which is a pen and ink drawing challenge every October. I will post some pen and ink drawings of my own. I wish I had the kind of time on my hands to post daily, but once or twice a week will have to do. When strapped for time, pen and ink is actually my favorite way to work because it’s so simple and easy to pick up and put down.

Self Portrait with a Smile by Carolyn A Pappas

Self Portrait with a Smile

Self Portrait with a Smile by Carolyn A Pappas
©2015 Carolyn A Pappas, Self Portrait with a Smile. Graphite, 8.5 x 7.5 inches.

I’ve been dealing with chronic tooth pain after an accidental blow to the face this past January and I ended up getting a root canal done on Friday. At least in the short term, it has seemed to make my problem worse. This drawing was an attempt to get my mind off my tooth pain, which has pretty much overtaken me.

I was overdue for a self portrait, as it has been about four years since my last one. I have also never drawn myself smiling. (I am so thankful that my smile is still intact, even though I can’t bite into anything.) I also drew my glasses, which is another element of difficulty. This drawing is not perfect by any means, but I think I captured my likeness and my spirit. My three year old daughter took the reference photo and I was feeling very joyful at the time. When I was working on this drawing, my daughter walked into the room and said, “Mama, why are you drawing YOU?” and I couldn’t help but start laughing.

I also took the opportunity to update my About & Contact page.

dusk lake drawing

Back to the Drawing Board

After I posted my last wip which I was working on for the #twitterartexhibit, I sat down to paint the watercolor wash and had a horrible disappointment. Some kind of gel came out of the tape I used (frog tape) which gummed up my washes and ended up ruining the entire thing. I had to get rid of it entirely, which has happened to me before, but I was under a deadline and I felt under terrible pressure to redo it. Needless to say, I am going back to my trusty blue tape from now on!

I decided to do something completely different altogether in colored pencil. I had stopped working in colored pencil for some time because I was getting a tendinitis in my elbow area, but I worked on this slowly and with a gentle grip and didn’t run into that problem this time. I went back to a common theme: sunset (or in this case, dusk) on a lake.

dusk lake drawing
©2015 Carolyn A Pappas, Dusk on Dorothy. Colored Pencil, 4 116 x 5 78 inches.

Colored pencil never seems to scan or photograph well for me and I tried my best to adjust the colors in the image to match the original. The sky has a little more pink in it, but otherwise it is fairly close. I tried to keep a sketchy feel and I am happy with my efforts.

And now my little drawing is in the mail and on its way to Moss.

christmas door drawing

Merry Christmas

christmas door drawing
Carolyn A Pappas, Festive Old Door. Ink and colored pencil, apx. 7 x 5 inches.

I would like to wish everyone a lovely and stress-free Christmas. I am having a wonderful time with my family this year, and my daughter, who is 3, is so much fun at her age. I did not buy her too many toys, but instead only a few nice ones.

This drawing is what I used for my Christmas card this year, based on this Creative Commons licensed photograph. Because I used this photo for a reference, I will release my drawing under the same license for other people to use as they would like. Feel free to download the high resolution version on flickr.

I used a dip pen and colored pencil and it has a whimsical feel that I enjoy. When I was working on this drawing, I was reminded of an assignment I had in a pen and ink class I took once, to draw a doorway. Breaking out the dip pens was also a rewarding experience, and I was reminded of all the advantages of the dip pen, mainly the variation that is possible in line width. Drawing with a dip pen is also a slower process for me, and I find it more relaxing.

drawn embellished lamp shade

Doodled Lamp Shade

Some time ago I bought a lamp at Target and started doodling on it with some Sharpie oil based paint pens. Last weekend I finished it up and I love how it came out. It was tricky to work with the pens because the lamp shade was made of a textured fabric and the paint flow was uneven. If I did a project like this again, I think I would just paint with a normal brush and I would have more control.

drawn embellished lamp shade
Lamp shade doodled on with gold and silver Sharpie oil based paint pens.
peony flower ink sketch

Dirt Floor

ink leaves inktober
©2014 Carolyn A Pappas, Dirt Floor (10-4-14). Ink in 7×10 inch Stillman & Birn Epsilon Series sketchbook.

You know, people talk about this being an uncertain time. You know, all time is uncertain. I mean, it was uncertain back in 2007 – we just didn’t know it was uncertain. It was uncertain on September 10th, 2001. It was uncertain on October 18th, 1987 – you just didn’t know it. -Warren Buffett

inktober flower


I’m a few days into the month already, but I stumbled upon Inktober and I think it’s a great idea, considering how much I love ink. I decided to participate, with some modifications as I’m sure I won’t be able to complete a daily drawing, or even post every day. I will be able to put some work in on a drawing every day though, and I will post updates throughout the month.

This is the drawing that I have been working on in my sketchbook after work this past week. It is loosely based on a photo of mine, but mostly made up. I like flowers with many little parts and drawings that are done slowly and repetitively.

inktober flower
©2014 Carolyn A Pappas, Queen Anne’s Lace (10-4-2014). Ink in 8.5 x 11 gray toned sketchbook.