Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Eve Fireworks

Originally uploaded by melbergink
I know that New Year's Eve is when we get a lot of fireworks, but I was right underneath a fantastic show thanks to Uncle John. I think the cold air produced some neat effects. Anyways, head on over to my Flickr page for loads of fireworks shots. Here's the link to the photo set.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Scenes at the school. AZ in winter, chilly!

So the last few weeks have been insane, as they are for many are in the Holidays. My fingertips feel bruised from typing up so many evaluations. I feel like I should have a degree in psychoanalysis!

Children and parents are giving us teachers loads of sugary Christmas food, so my stomach is delicious brick mode. Don't know when green and red food coloring will saturate my organs, so they are Christmassy too.

Here are some sketches from before the rush.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More traveling drawings

One in the airport, one on the plane. I drew the clouds from my Denver trip, but the clouds turned mushy and gross. On the trip to Reno, I took what I didn't like and doodled with ink all over it. Mwahaha. Take that for censoring the blah. The other drawing was the engine from the window. I liked how you could see the reflection of the plane in it. My brother in law told me that you could identify the type of plane because I had drawn that parts accurately - sweet!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Going back to doodle concepts!

My! I am way behind on posting! I actually have quite a bit to put up, I just have not sat down with the scanner. What else to help me procrastinate on my last eval I need to work on today? I'm going to go out of order because I wanted to put up recent creative contributions. I went home during Turkey Day and got all fidgety and excited to be creative with my drawings since I have been drawing mainly from observations. I still need to continue that, but I don't want to stifle my personality. So last week the art journal theme was "Silly Hat" resulting in this (words were added later):

Looking for some more silliness, I had one person give me a organism and another different person give me a verb. Then I had to draw something around that. So much fun! Art Madlibs!

Then this next week's assignment is some sort of composition that must include a turtle and a hand in some way, and here is the result:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Love and Logic Conference Trip

Went to the Love and Logic conferences to brush up on my relationship/management skills. Learned a lot and came away with ideas - some for use, some to ponder. Anyways, I really tried to get in some drawing. During the second full day at the conference I had a hard time focusing (not much interaction at these things, they basically talked at us the whole day without discussion). Drawing helps me stay focused, so I brought my kit in case I needed it. The second day I was distracted for about an hour by a really annoying humming directly behind me. I tried to look around to see what it was, but got cold stares from the ladies behind me. It was after wondering what it was for about an hour that I checked again. The SWA drawing was a big step for me since geometric lines terrify me. Maybe I can try buildings again...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth
Originally uploaded by melbergink
To demonstrate my drawing process (which I am still tinkering).
1. Get the stick skeleton
2. Find the edges
3. Then finally add values

This was tricky because these colored pencils didn't erase! Any mistake is difficult to cover (i.e. stick of left elbow stuck out too far).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Halloween has passed...

So sad! Alas, the spirit of the strange and weird will be strong in me even if October has passed. This year's spirit was recharged by Edgar Allan Poe. I have not read his stories in probably a decade, but the students were reading his stuff in Lit/Comp. Thankfully, I have a ridiculous collection of books that sit and wait for such inspirational moments, and I pulled out my ancient collection of Poe stories. I read the "Red Masque of Death" for the first time. Fabulous!

Now I am sick, which provides for late-night NyQuil-induced delusional drawing time. So I gave my opportunity to say thanks to Poe by drawing him. I think it was a decent effort for two hours, but there are edits I would make in retrospect. I don't draw real people's faces in general because it scares me. I think I should take on the challenge more to get better at the subtleties of the human face. (Pencil only. Here's a link to the reference photo.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Originally uploaded by melbergink
Hurrah! Our first official Halloween at HOME! It was so wonderful. Our party had everything from the U.S. Constitution to jellies to Pink Ladies! Add that to the awesome season that embraces weird makes Melanie very happy. I'll post up a few things over this week, but feel free to check out my Flickr account to see the pics!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Time!

Originally uploaded by melbergink
Time to decorate for Halloween! Today I carved FIVE pumpkins with a theme of emoticons. If I am going to clean out five pumpkins, the carving must be relatively simple. I've never been an overly talented carver, so smarmy simple is more my style.

I also put two graves in the front yard, and Adam put hooks in to hang orange holiday lights (after buying a new power drill since the Craftsman drill broke after less than a year - grr). Adam went to many stores to get more lights, but most were out! Good thing we bought most of our supplies last week!

My costume is pretty much done, but no pictures will be shared until AFTER Halloween (prying friend's eyes must be surprised at our party!).

PS - Look at the "black" cat named Eleanor in the window!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

MPA Monsoon Football

Hurrah! It was awesome to hang out at our own school to support the Monsoons. It was also neat because the game was right after parent/teacher conferences, so faces were more recognizable. That made it easier for mingling. It was also nice to see Mr./Coach Faint getting compliments from parents while he was there with his whole family!

The dragonflies were everywhere. It is clear that insects support MPA.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

An overcast day in Laguna Niguel

Originally uploaded by melbergink
Brought the camera to an outing in Laguna Niguel with a lovely overcast day. I really played with aperture settings the most. I love overcast days because shadows are softened, but they make for potentially horrific skies. Many pics were deleted, but I saved a few and posted them.

I am also learning how to use Photoshop Lightroom (henceforth LR), and was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the photos were well exposed. Checking my D90 histograms is starting to pay off.

I still can't SEE what I need to edit, but that will come with practice!

Trip to Barnes

I'm glad to see the traditions that I had when I was little carry on to our new little family. In other words, "going out" means hanging at Barnes and Noble. While I was there, I got "An Illustrated Life" by Danny Gregory. Inspiration ammo!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Desert Botanical Gardens

I finally got my trip to the DBG since I got a year long membership. This place rules. I could hang out here all the time. Rumor is there will be a chocolate and chile celebration this year!

When making entries I am finally trying to think about where they will be placed on the page. Hopefully my compositions will become more natural with time. I also want to incorporate words more. Finally, dates can look so sloppy and awkward, so I will be experimenting with ways to integrate them with the page. Too much thinking! Just draw!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Table? Chair? I'm a teacher, I don't know!

Okay, last week we had an in-service among all of the schools, so I got to hang out and discuss strategy with all of the biology teachers. It was great! Afterward, I waited in the lobby and drew this table. Normally I crop the image, but Jazz jumped up on the scanner while it was scanning. It was too entertaining watching him chase the moving magic light, so I left this uncropped.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Students at work!

Oh no, I am starting to run out of back-logged sketches. This next week MPA teachers have off, and I plan to get my art on. This weekend I planned on going to the botanical gardens and drawing for hours as a birthday present to me, however, I ended up with food poisoning instead. I haven't had that type of reaction to food since the KFC incident when I was in middle school. I normally have quite the tough digestive system. My tonsils and allergies are my physiologically weak spot. ANYWAYS, botanical garden excursions will be moved to next week. This week I need to get through evals, exams, and projects to grade. Creativity must be put on the back burner temporarily. Unless it is teaching creativity, of course.

These drawing were from a few weeks ago when the students were working on a project that worked on their self-editing skills. In other words, I couldn't butt my nose in! To restrain myself, I sketched them at work.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


So, I am insanely busy this week (and next week will be nigh "double" insane). In other words, I am going to post some old stuff. Wee! Here are some v-ball players. The fun part was when some students tried to identify themselves. The couldn't! Because the players moved so fast and rotated, I had to draw the legs of one girl, the jersey of another, and the head of another. After all of that, the color of the hair and skin was determined by another girl. Phew!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Life Drawing!

Today I attended my first figure drawing course! A group called "Sketchy Doodle" meets about every week to draw something. This week they hired a model to stand in different poses in Victorian dress. The timing was five 2-minute poses, two 5-min poses, two 10-min poses, and finally two 20-minute poses. What I really focused on was folds in her dress and the general poses/proportions. I had a great time with he sitting STILL. The 2-minutes were too fast, but I started losing attention at the 20-minutes. Sometimes they do full 2-hour poses, and I wonder what my discipline will be for that. I haven't tried for detail like that!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


A Bio student wrote an amazing story that paralleled photosynthesis (on a molecular level!!) where a young man named Marcus (representing an electron) learned how to ride griffins (representing an energy boost) with Windriders (photosystem I). Of course, that was only part of his story, but I had fun drawing it. Flashback to old comic days!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jazz's Week

I'd like to add more narrative to sketches to help me remember the situation and details that may not be captured in the photo. Words can also add visual texture. Normally, I don't have much to write about, but not this week!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Rotifers!

When Adam needed a name for his band in RockBand, I suggested "The Rotifers", which he gladly accepted. Rotifers are adorable minute animals smaller than a period on a sentence. Seriously, Kingdom Animalia! They aren't protists even. Does it not blow your MIND?

The funniest thing is that there is a Dwarf Rotifer.

Anyways, Adam also made that our Fantasy Football team name. The ESPN website allows us to have a team image, so I drew up some rotifers. Which should I make our avatar?

Here's the avatar of choice by Adam:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


A friend of mine posted a fabulous picture of her grandparents. I loved it so much that I wanted to draw it. Just to get an excuse to look at the picture more. I went through multiple versions (all done in the last sketchbook). The first one (below) had issues, the second was an abomination, and the third was okay (last pic). It did not satisfy me completely because it did not do justice to the picture. If I drew any more, I would get angry at the picture though, and I like it too much.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Art Room!

Art Room After
Originally uploaded by melbergink
I now officially have an art room! What a dream! Not seen in this shot are a bookshelf full of art books and a cube storage shelf set with El Jefe's tank on it. Adam and I tried to move our old desk to the room, but it shattered into pieces from age. I'll be checking out the Salvation Army stores for a cheap table to set up my sewing machine on.


Now I need to use it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

My first professional baseball game. Now I know what to do when I am hot - AC baseball! The first drawing took me quite a few innings, and the second drawing took 'bout 10 minutes or so. I like how baseball players put all of their weight on one leg while waiting for play to start.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Drafts at draft

Sketch at Buffalo Wild Wings to determine Fantasy Football draft. I generally did not know what was going on. Adam will be the brains, and I will be the mouth.

ALSO, the office and art room are mainly done! They just need some decor. BUT, I can finally scan once more! I actually have a little back log, so look forward to lots of entries this week.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sushi Kee

Even though we are in a new area, I hope we still visit Sushi Kee. A few weeks ago, to celebrate the first day of school, Adam took me out to sushi. The chef made the most fabulous dragon roll with octopus tentacle eyes! I drew it since I loved it so much, and the waitress stood over my shoulder most of the time I was drawing. It was my first experience as a "travel journalist" with a stranger watching. After I was done, I gave it to the chef as a thank, however, I drew it again after I left to remember it.On another note, I can almost see the den and art room in a useful state. Once they are, I can upload pics and putz again!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Art for Babies (and me!)

In the process of moving - I promise to post art soon! I really am trying to add in a little each week. My only free time feels like when I am eating, hence most is food.

Anyways, wanted to share an awesome website. Love the art here!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer unfinished business

Yes, yes, I am crazy busy with the new school year, but to fill the gap I wanted to post some things from the summer that I haven't put up yet. These were items that I didn't complete, but I like them already and didn't want to overdo. However, they need a tiny little something, and I still want to ponder them more.

This pelican stamp was in the dollar bin - insane! It is adorable! I would eat him up if I wouldn't be choking on plastic stamp. I used the bamboo from an Asian style stamp set to make a dock look. However, something is still missing. Ideas?

The sailing adventurer that I wish I could be (thanks to reading the ENTIRE Aubrey/Maturin series) makes me love this. I used a Tim Holtz stencil for the compass rose. Isn't it lovely that it is called a "compass rose"? How romantic and utilitarian - just my style. But once again, not happy yet, but I don't want to ruin it...

Monday, August 16, 2010

The "Blech" pages revealed!

I have two pages left in my sketch book - hurrah! Granted, the book wasn't the biggest in the world. I've already purchased the next one, and it has heavier paper to resist warping. Anyway, the nearly last pages of this journal are filled with sad, sad drawings where proportion has no communication devices such as the iPhone. Some pages I want to rip out and through away, but if I can learn from them, then they may be worth keeping. There was one page that did not survive that high notion and my primitive impulses destroyed it. I just have to keep drawing though. Just keep swimming!

BTW, I have not posted my favorite page yet in case the last two pages reveal nothing but a horrid (but educational) stench. I want to end on a good note.

Worst Coke can ever. I feel I shamed the brand that I am so loyal too! Yes, when I ask for soda at a restaurant I say, "Coca-Cola." When the waiter says, "Pepsi okay?" I say, "Water." I am one of those. I will conquer the look of a full-size can. My loyalty is on the line.

You know those glasses that eskimos wear so they don't sunburn their eyes? Apparently Adam does. And he wears them while playing Rock Band. Actually, glasses have always been terrifying for me to draw (as well as hats), so I have avoided them all my life. No more! Just avert your eyes until I get more practice!

Not consistent with the round perspective yet, but the dinner (red chile steak and beans by Rick Bayless) was DELISH. Ate the leftovers tonight. Totally love that Le Creuset pan too.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What a hoot!

A hilarious person I know just had a lovely baby boy. The combination of my excitement for her and me being in full-throttle craft mode resulted in little owlies. I looked at all of her baby room pictures and pulled out all of my fabric to see what would match the best. She posted about it in her highly entertaining blog. Here is where I got the tutorial on how to make them.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Welcome Back!

Yesterday was New Student Orientation at school, and I think it was a smash hit! We also had a ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of a new school. I really enjoyed seeing all of the families I knew and meeting brand new families. I am genuinely excited for teaching on Monday.

These were both done with the gouache paints, but I don't like them nearly as much as the watercolors. However, they are of really, really poor quality, and that may be my problem!

Also, on the side of the blog I added a bunch of my favorite sites to visit for inspiration and entertainment. Check'em out!

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