Monday, January 31, 2011


Cranesbill, colored pencil
Cranesbill, 2011
Colored pencil on paper
5 x 5 inches

© 2011 Susan M. Lohse.  All rights reserved.

There’s nothing like taking a closer look and noticing something one would never have seen otherwise.  It’s like discovering treasure.

In reality, this cranesbill was white.  While I was struck by the perfection of the bloom, at first I didn’t think it would make an interesting enough subject.  But upon closer inspection, I saw subtle blues, lavenders and greens in the petals, and I had to draw it.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Dianthus, graphite
Dianthus, 2011
Graphite on paper
6 x 4 5/8 inches

© 2011 Susan M. Lohse.  All rights reserved.

My drawings begin with studying my reference.  However, as the piece progresses, my reference almost becomes secondary as I gradually transition to being more concerned about how the artwork reads.  I make adjustments that might not be there in reality, although the reference remains the basis for how to achieve what I want to convey.

A good resource about this and other creative concepts is Passport & Palette, a PBS series that features plein air painting.  It’s more a wide-ranging discourse on the creative process than it is the usual how-to, although it includes some of that, as well.  If you haven’t seen the series, I recommend checking it out.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Coreopsis, watercolor
Coreopsis, 2011
Watercolor on paper
5 1/2 x 4 inches

© 2011 Susan M. Lohse.  All rights reserved.

While there’s always something more to learn, I’m comfortable enough with graphite and colored pencil that I usually don’t do much preparatory work, if any, before diving into final artwork.  Not so with watercolor.  I’m still a novice with this medium, so I did a lot of preliminary work before starting this piece.

I have a long way to go before I feel I’m at least somewhat proficient with watercolors.  As frustrating as it can be learning a new medium, it’s just as exciting when one begins to unlock its secrets.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

At the Edge of the Pond

At the Edge of the Pond, graphite
At the Edge of the Pond, 2010
Graphite on paper
5 3/4 x 4 1/2 inches

© 2011 Susan M. Lohse.  All rights reserved.

I think that we sometimes see the subject matter of certain well-known artists and conclude that the subject matter that speaks to us can’t possibly measure up.  But we choose subject matter the same way they did:  It’s what we see around us, what has meaning to us, or what concepts we want to convey.  It’s the objects, the people, the colors, the lines, or the play of light against dark that we perceive as beautiful or interesting.  Subject matter doesn’t have to be monumental to be a poem worthy of interpretation.
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