Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Coming in February!

While I am not the kind of person who makes New Year's resolutions... I did decide some time late last fall that there would be some changes coming with my etsy shops: sarahkdesigns & sarahknight.
sarahkdesigns will continue to focus on my illustrations of nature and landscapes.
sarahknight will continue to stock cards, but will now be home to my photography!

I take an enormous amount of pictures. Many of them are essentially process photos intended to be used as snippets for my illustrations. But, well, they're my photos, and many of them are wonderful stand alone compositions.

Being an illustrator — I also love photo manipulation. So, coming in February I will be listing photos like these at sarahknight!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Warblers & Callas

Since the calendar is done, and I have 11 months to finish the next one, I now have time to just illustrate whatever happens to come to mind. So, no trying to match a graphic to a season or month, and everything doesn't have to be formatted horizontally! Ah, freedom.

It's cold outside here, so I suppose that might be the reason I've been working on so many suns lately. Well, that and the sun graphic is part of a project that I'll be unveiling some time in the future. Anyway, I've been drawing a lot of flowers lately. I finished some black eyed susans last week, and have those scanned and cut into a piece... and I've drawn a couple bunches of tulips, and some compositions with birds and tulips. What can I say? Tulips are fun to draw. Of course, now I have to color them.

Anyway, I drew some callas in the mean time, because I want to make a picture for me. Well, actually, a couple pictures for me. The same stuff has been hanging in my office for what seems like ages (we'll say more than 3 years now). It's not that I don't like my current artwork, just that it's time for something new.

So, I actually sketched the callas, scanned them and printed them out as a blue page, inked that, scanned it and printed it out clean, and then colored it with prismacolor pencils. And scanned that, and cut it, without any real idea what the rest of the picture was going to be. I like the process to be open.

So, I picked out one of the scan of my salt on watercolors for the background. Kind of to change things up — because I've been using a lot of acrylic paintings as backgrounds. So, the watercolor is something different.

I was thinking maybe it would be a night scene with stars. But then I added the sun, and the rest of the pieces just kind of fell into place. The yellow warblers that I originally drew for "spring sing" were the right color... throw in some sheet music on the background and some musical notes, and well, everything just kind of came together.

Of course, now I have to name it...
yellow warblers sunshine song available at sarahkdesigns

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tidings for a new year!

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

I invite you to check out my interview here at

This is my latest composition: summer hummingbirds

I was actually laying in bed on the night before Christmas Eve when I was imagining this piece. I was trying to think of what I was going to give my mother for Christmas. I knew it was going to be a print; I had already purchased the picture frame. I had already given my mother a framed print of "violet night" — which is my Mother's favorite piece of all my current work. I wanted to make something that would be a companion piece.

And, I was thinking it might be possible to assemble it before Christmas... well, that didn't pan out. I finished it last week. But as far as gifts are concerned, there's always Mother's Day or her birthday. Anyway, my mother was perfectly with her "firefly sky" print.

Anyway, I wanted the picture to mirror aspects of "violet night". I wanted flowers, some animal flying through the air, to use a painting for the background, and some celestial element. Very basic compositional stuff. So, I settled on the lilies (which I composed for "a summer day"). And since I just spent what seemed like an eternity rendering them, I wanted to use the hummingbirds that I drew for "nectar" and "hummingbirds & hollyhocks".

So, I had my flowers and my birds. The next step was to pick one of my paintings to manipulate for the background. I played around with its color a bit. I then picked out one of my photos of clouds to superimpose over the painting, and spent some time tinkering with layers and levels until I was satisfied with the result.

I decided I wanted some sun. Perhaps it's the cold and winter here getting to me. Anyway, I've been working on suns lately for another project I have in the works. So, I changed up the sun I used on penguin pals so that there would be less rays, and that they would be larger. And then I set about making them splay over the elements in the picture, so that they were indeed over, but not obscuring the pictorial elements. It involved a lot of erasing at a low opacity...

Anyway, for fun I decided to play with the lens flare, and add a few imitation sun spots of my own. I think it adds a playful dash to the composition. And, eventually, when some gift giving holiday rolls around, I'm sure my mom will love it.