When life gives you lemons, draw them, 11 x 14 inches dry pastels, graphite on paper

"When life gives you lemons, draw them". (Nikki)

"Trust your intuition, it's just like goin' fishin'; you cast your line 'til you get a bite." (Paul Simon)

"Color! What a deep and mysterious language..." (Paul Gauguin)


« Previous Entries

Brooke Isabelle

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Brooke Isabelle, born last week, 11 x 14 inches graphite on paper

Brooke Isabelle, my neice’s daughter born last week, 11 x 14 inches graphite on paper. She looks like a cherub in the photo used as reference, so I subtly impled wings in the background.


Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Hannah, 11 x 14 inches graphite on paper

Hannah, 11 x 14 inches graphite on paper. This was a special commission for a good friend. I no longer offer to do portraits – pets, absolutely – but while I love drawing people, the work and long periods of in-between study I require take too long to warrant what I’d need to charge. There are other artists who specialize in only portraits and do nothing else.

Hannah portrait: scribbles outlined lightly. Some are erased but some are left, creating a bit of life in the drawing. Hannah portrait: scribbles outlined lightly. Some are erased but some are left, creating a bit of life in the drawing.

The photo was a very small file, only 500 pixels wide, plus the feet were not in the frame, so initially I thought it impossible to work from, but started anyway. All works on paper begin with taped edges, leaving an inch of border which helps when it comes to framing, especially if composition is off a bit. I scribble in the main shapes lightly, gradually building up areas with lines and then shading as confidence grows. As marks, once placed, are difficult to erase, the face details are drawn in more gradually than the rest of the composition.

As marks, once placed, are difficult to erase, the face details are drawn in more gradually than the rest of the composition.I remember that my friend used to call her grand-daughter Hannah Banana, so I snuck some banana shapes onto the blanket  – that will be a surprise for her when she sees this. I smudge the graphite and use erasers quite a bit, a good technique for subtler details like the background and blanket pattern.  Eraser sticks, 2 different sizes, are perfect because they are held and used like a pencil.


Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Blue Hydrangea, 18 x 24 inches graphite on 80 lb premium

Blue Hydrangea, 18H x 24W inches graphite on 80 lb premium, white mat


$250.00         Buy Now Using PayPal

Blue Flag Iris

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013


Blue Flag Iris, 24H x 18W inches graphite on paper

Blue Flag Iris, 24H x 18W inches graphite on paper, white mat


$250.00       Buy Now Using PayPal


Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013


Gladiolas, 24H x 18W inches graphite on paper

Gladiolas, 24H x 18W inches graphite on paper, white mat


$200.00          Buy Now Using PayPal


Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Zinnias, 24 x 36 inches graphite on paper, finished
Zinnias, 24 x 36 inches graphite on paper. Using an eraser just as much as the graphite, marks are roughed in to fill the page with enough smudges and dark tones to work with some removed, some detailed. Initial plans were to create a drawing with about 4 inches of grey tones bleeding into a colorful central square to be drawn and painted with watercolor pencils, similar to Chrysanthemums, with borders more defined. However, I got lost in the fun of drawing, and too much graphite would muddle colors, so this one is best without colors. Plans always need to change according to what the results are dictating.


$200.00          Buy Now Using PayPal

Transplanting Daisies

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012


Transplanting Daisies, 12H x 36W x 3D inches acrylics on canvas, wrapped sides painted, trim frame

Transplanting Daisies, 36W x 12L x 3D inches graphite and acrylics on canvas. Details of work in progress:

Transplanting Daisies, detail image of 36W x 12L x 3D inches graphite and acrylics on canvas, work in progress

Transplanting Daisies, stage 1 priming basics over yellow background, work in progress ransplanting Daisies, stage 3, work in progress ransplanting Daisies, stage 4 toning things down, work in progress


$250.00         Buy Now Using PayPal


Adding Color: the point of no return

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012


Chrysanthemums, color, May30th, upper left detail Chrysanthemums, color detail, May30th, upper central Chrysanthemums, color detail, May30th, upper right

Chrysanthemums, color detail, May30th, left central Chrysanthemums, central color detail Chrysanthemums, central right color detail

Chrysanthemums, work in progress; see previous post. Above: color details of 85W x 45L inches graphite, colored charcoal / dry pastels on white 100% cotton

When working with a large format, it’s easy to overwork the smaller areas. They’re like little compositions on their own. The trouble is, they may seem successful close up, but may not contribute to the overall balance and flow of the larger piece. Above are some examples, where I’m now reluctant to change what needs to be changed…but I will. Back to Art 101: It’s absolutely necessary to stand back often and study the entire composition from afar.

When you throw in a factor like color, there’s no turning back. I had a specific purpose for this drawing though; to fill a wall space in an otherwise fairly monotone, contemporary room. After much deliberation I kept with the original plan, which was to create a look similar to a black and white photo where one color highlights the main subject only. It was time to dive into the unknown.

It’s obvious that introducing color has compromised some of the original spontaneity, so to recapture some of that energy, I carefully try not to disturb what’s left of those livelier marks, and enhance some with little sparks of color. Isolating red, and only red to the central main flower sapped all the attention, so I’ve added more colors to it and the surrounding elements than initially planned.

Chrysanthemums: work in progress

Friday, May 18th, 2012


Chrysanthemums, 45L x 85W x 3D inches, graphite and primer on 100% cotton, work in progress

Chrysanthemums, 45L x 85W x 3D inches, graphite, charcoal and primer on 100% cotton, work in progress

Detail of Chrysanthemums using primer with graphiteRather than priming the fabric first as usual, water and primer are painted to enhance the graphite while the composition works itself out. It’s been all about getting lost in the improvisation and surprise! Grass blades are implied by the buildup of thin streaks throughout, which also serve to balance and energize the work, plus add slight cubist effects.

This is will hang in a contemporary-style room. If color is used at all it will be limited to red, yellow and green areas near the large main flower. Parts of the surface may be left raw, so to set the finished piece, the entire back will be primed and the front will be sprayed with fixative.


The chaos of this past year, moving to Oregon from Texas, has truly put my artsy artist’s statement to the test; that ‘creativity is an attitude toward life’. I’m accustomed to creating chaos in my artwork, then resolving it. With too many move-related priorities and unfinished renovations, no wonder I’ve felt increasingly disoriented. The good thing is that observations never stop, even if the focus on art-work has to.

Upper left detail Left central detail Upper right detail


Monday, November 29th, 2010


Steller's Jay, graphite on paper by Jim Drury

“Some of us loved to draw when we were very young and many didn’t, but we are all capable. There is something to be said for innate abilities, but talent alone will not help us to advance. You might inherit Grandpa’s artistic genes, but every talent needs continual development to become skill no matter what it is, and drawing is no different than learning to play an instrument or climbing a mountain in that respect…” (excerpt from the article “Extreme Drawing“).

My father was a wood carver for most of  his life, and  his love for drawing was crucial to designing all the different things people ordered. Any time he taught woodcarving, he first insisted on lessons in drawing.

As it provided the funds necessary to build a house after a career the Canadian Armed Forces, there was almost nothing he wouldn’t carve; an entire range of subjects from detailed Armed Forces crests, modern abstract pieces, as well as birds and animals. My favorites were the custom designed doors, cupboards and headboards made  for clients in Canada and the U.S. before retiring in 2002. Well, artists never really retire, they just keep moving on to try new things!

Chipmunk by Jim Drury, graphite on paper

Photography has always been one of his passions, and he’s the real die-hard kind that will sit in mosquito-infested forests waiting forever for the right shot. One time he climbed a tree to capture photos of a porcupine, then fell out and sprained both his ankles. I was about nine years old, and I remember my Mom, my brother and me holding him up while he hobbled back to the car! Here is some of his recent photography, and lately he’s been taking the time to enjoy drawing again.

My Mom was an equal and supporting partner in the creating and finishing details of all the wood work they sold. Though my mother claims to not know how to draw, they have both been, and continue to be, huge influences as far as my being an artist. When I was quite young I would ask my Mom to draw anything so I could color it. I did care what it was. It was not refined and professional, but I would coax her, “Yes, you do so know how to draw! Pleeeeeaaaase!”. Children don’t seem to have the same hang-ups we adults do about drawing.

Steller's Jay, graphite on paper by Andra Drury

Now they see my two young nieces often, one of whom drew her own interpretation of “Stellar’s Jay” after watching her Grandpa. Andra is 5 years old. Don’t you just love the addition of hearts on the branches?! I feel so inspired by children s’ work. It is pure and straight from the heart. In fact, she is so nonchalant about her abilities and unaware of how keen she is, she did not even show it — my Dad found it after she left.

If Andra chooses to be an artist, it’s due to Nature and Nurture, and also not so much about what she’s been given, but what she does with it.

« Previous Entries