Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Just for fun...

I drew this out last night, and painted it today.
What can I say? Sometimes it's fun to interpret on paper the jolly times children have in play. We may only see a clothes basket and some string, but really it's an adventure on the high seas!

At Sea, 9 x 12", Ink and Watercolour

Friday, December 24, 2010

"The flour was sort-of measured... egg (or three) thrown in..."
I've been working on the boring and tedious aspects of my little book: formatting in preparation for printing. This is all new territory for me, and it gets a little overwhelming at times. I'm not a big fan of computer work!
However, there are delicious smells coming from the kitchen, and I've heard rumors of a cream-pie contest. It's going to be a very white Christmas; the snow has been falling all day, and my dad is out on his tractor clearing the driveway. And I'm looking forward to seeing most of my family this weekend!

I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December Wind

December Wind, 5 x 7" watercolour painting

For the better part of this week I've been bent over my work, adding color to my illustrations, working on a few small watercolours, trying to get as much work done as possible during the short daylight hours.
I really don't like this lack of sunshine. Or the cold! But Winter does have a beauty all its own.
Most of the Midwest is digging out from a blizzard, and the wind is still blowing-- hard!
I'm thankful I don't have to be out in it, but I'm glad I can look out at it. In awe.

"He brings the wind out of His treasuries..."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Little Dinosaur

Finished up a little ink and watercolour illustration I started during my visit with my sister's family earlier this year.
My niece loves dinosaurs.
She also likes to blow bubbles in milk when her mum's not looking.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Let the Coloring Begin!

Yesterday I began the process of painting in the illustrations for my book. Trying to be organized, and avoid silly mistakes and inconsistencies, I spread all of the drawings out and picked one thing at a time to paint.Binksie gets to be painted first. This gives a pretty good idea of how it will look, though more color and detail will be added as the painting progresses.
Now if I can just stay in the lines...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Binksie & Bep

Today I worked on illustrating.
I'm publishing a children's book, which will hopefully be coming out sometime early next year, and t
onight I completed sketching the last of the 21 illustrations in ink.
They still have to be painted, but it's great to be able to get a tangible idea of what my book will look like once it's completed.

I'm so excited about this project! It's been so much fun, but a lot of work too. I've decided to go the self-publishing route, which for me translates to lots of control (yay!) but also doing virtually all the work myself (yikes!).
I've learned a lot over the past year, through the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and other resources, about publishing and all that goes along with it. Lately I've been learning more about formatting, layout, ISBN, distribution, and all that fun stuff.
There's still a lot more to learn and do, but I've been so blessed by my family an
d others who have critiqued, advised, and put up with my rambling, "out loud" thinking as I pursue this adventure.

Stick around and you'll no doubt get an ear-full about this book!
For now here's one of the ink illustrations.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November Watercolour ACEOs

Late autumn and watercolours just might be made for each other.

Watercolours are ideal for depicting the often moody sky, and more than a few frosts have left the colors of the land subdued.

These are the paintings I've been working on the past few days. They're all ACEO/ATC size-- 2.5 x 3.5", and done in watercolour.

I should be getting some new watercolour brushes in the mail in a couple of weeks, and I can't wait to try them out.

It's been a beautiful autumn, and I hope it lasts a while longer.
Just now there are snow flurries blowing past the window. I may be painting snow-covered landscapes soon.

And yes, I realize I stink at formatting my posts! Need to figure this out...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November Plein Air

This is my somewhat-faithful dog. She came with me today on a short tramp through the woods to find a place to plop myself down and paint.
I settled on a spot in a pasture, and Somewhat-Faithful stuck with me as my companion and watchdog... until a herd of deer s
howed up. After the excitement of routing a whole herd how could she possibly be expected to settle down and keep an unusually boring person company? S.F. decided she'd live up to a dog's loyal reputation some other time.

It was a beautiful afternoon today. Calm and sunshiny. The sun's position in the sky th
is time of year creates some wonderful highlights and shadows, but the cold that also tends to be present makes painting out of doors pretty unappealing most days.
I decided on a hill full of shadows and uneven ground.
Basically scribbling on my canvas...
Trying to correct some color issues...

Working on the trees...
By this time the wind had picked up, the shadows were getting long, and my hands we
re so cold! Time to call it quits.

Hannah C. Heyer
November 2, 2010 Plein Air
5x7" oil on cotton

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tale of the Koala Princess, part two

The copies I ordered of The Tale of the Koala Princess came today!

I ended up using, since I was in a hurry and had heard pretty good things about that company.

I was a bit disappointed that the only format I found that had few enough pages for this little story was their photo book, but there were a lot of page layout options and over all it worked out well.

The printing looks good, and I really like how clear the pictures are.
The cover looks good too, but the illustrations inside all have a slight pinkish hue to them, which I'm not crazy about.

But my little niece LOVES pink, so I don't think she'll compla
in. ;-)
I can't wait till she gets it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quiet Time

Quiet Time, 7 x 5" watercolour on cotton paper

I miss these people.
I did this painting earlier this year, during my stay in Australia with my sister and her family. I was fiddling around with my watercolour paints at the table when they settled down to read. (The book is The Jesus Storybook Bible, in case you were curious :-) )

I just noticed the beautiful afternoon light coming in from the window, the long legs of my little nephew who's growing up so quickly, and petite niece with her big personality and sleepy eyes.
I began it then and there, and though they had long since run off to play by the time I finished, I hope I managed to capture a little bit of the moment.
Special thanks to my brother-in-law for pointing out that the chair had a handle for the footrest. Details! ;-)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Summer Revisited

In body, I spent the day in a drafty house, wearing slippers and keeping the oven going to take the chill off. But in my mind's eye it was late summer again, with newly baled round-bales casting long shadows in the warm evening.
I'm using a plein air painting I did this summer as a reference, or study. I like doing this, as painting on location helps me get a better feel for the lighting, detail and layout of the landscape-- and also because my camera is an inveterate liar.
It's been a long time since I've been able to devote a whole day to painting, and it felt mighty good. And spending time with my crazy-fun family kept things interesting. Burnt coffee beans, anyone?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tale of the Koala Princess, part one

Yesterday I began the illustrations for what will hopefully become a charming bit of a book for my niece for her 4th birthday.
The story is a funny little improvised tale told to her one day by her mother. I loved it, and my niece's reaction to it, and have been wanting to illustrate it since
There are ten illustrations in all. Right now they're just in the ink stage, but I plan to complete them with watercolour soon.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Detail from a painting I've been working on today. I started it last Winter, using a sketch made last December as a reference, but it's been completely neglected since.
It has already been changed, smoothed out and touched up quite a bit from when this was taken earlier today. I actually kind of like it at this stage, and while I ultimately want it to look more finished and have more depth, I think I want it to retain a little bit of its roughness.
It's still got a long way to go before its completion. The reason only his head is shown is that he looked a little too much like Pop-eye in the arms. :-p I definitely want to work more on figures and improve in the areas of perspective and scale. I just need to convince more of my friends and loved ones that allowing me to paint them really IS a good idea!
I've been reading up on art history lately (i.e. skimming while flipping through and looking at all the pictures) and it's really inspired me to work harder at improving my painting. There is still so much beauty in this old world. I want the eyes to see it; I want the skill to share it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tuckered Out

This blog is, sadly, only slightly more neglected than my painting has been.

The days are getting so much shorter as we approach winter, and I miss the sunshine already. But it's beautiful too.

I was hoping to do some plein air painting today, but since I couldn't seem to get warm indoors, the prospect of spending a few hours outdoors sitting in the wind just wasn't quite appealing enough.
So instead of painting the great out of doors, I began a small portrait of two very tired people. It's wonderful how subjects hold still when they're asleep. ;-) It needs some work yet, but the sunshine is gone.

4"x4" oil on linen

Saturday, July 31, 2010


All set.
I've got my paints, canvas, brushes, etc.
I've also got a supply of Summer Crisp pears and Pristine apples freshly picked from my parent's orchard for when I get hungry.
Time to paint.
Today I'm planning on doing a little colour correcting on a tiny painting I started last week, and also, using a plein air painting I did on July 10 as a reference, beginning a new piece.

I officially start a new, full-time job on Monday. While I'm happy to start this new endeavor, I'm a bit concerned about having time to paint. For me, the thought of losing much of the time I now have for painting is a heavy one.
Be anxious for nothing, I'm reminded.
So, for the time being, I will work hard, continue to observe the world around me, and be ready to grab my brush when the weekend comes.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Painting up a Storm

Last night I did a bit of a last minute art lesson with my favorite (and only) student, a young artist named M. I use the terms 'lesson' and 'student' rather loosely. Really, we do art together, with myself being the older and bossier artist: "Add more red. Try this brush..." ;)
It was a beautiful evening and the air was delicious, so we painted outside. This was M's first time painting en plein air, but she did a super job. We discovered that an old round-bale of hay makes an excellent perch: good view from the top, comfy seat, and the entire thing can be used as a brush holder.
The sky was just amazing, and a grassy field provided good contrast against its soft, rain-heavy look.
Unfortunately our time was cut short by storms moving in from the west. First we moved into the car, as the thunder and lightning moved closer, and then we finally had to stop all together as heavy rain was due to start. But oh it was beautiful!
June 25, 2010 Plein Air, 6 x 6" oil on linen, Copyright 2010 Hannah C. Heyer

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Art in the Park

I had a fantastic time in Lanesboro, MN last Sunday at the 30th annual Art in the Park. This was my second year at Art in the Park, and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to participate. Lanesboro is a beautiful little town with lots of character, in a particularly beautiful part of Minnesota. And the weather was an answered prayer. Gorgeous!
I was a lot more organized and prepared this year, though I still had plenty of last minute mistakes and hiccups (painting wire-hung upside-down, missing table cloth, forgotten food, last minute label-making, missing my exit, etc.). My sister Grace came with me and helped me so much over the weekend. I couldn't have done it without her! It was a lot of work-- which is perhaps why she's seemingly passed out behind the table in this shot...

So yes. It was a good time. There was some great music, though I was sort of between two types of music, which made for a strange combination at times. Also got to see the fabulous Morris dancers.
I really enjoyed just being able to put my work out there for people to see up close, and getting some good feedback as well. Thanks to everyone who stopped by my booth and helped make the day extra interesting and fun!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Old Government House

A few days ago we went and saw the Old Government House in Brisbane. It was a cool place, had interesting historical displays, and I think there was a lot to see. Upstairs was the William Robinson Gallery, which was pretty interesting. My favorite pieces were those inspired by the rain forests.

Silly as it sounds, one of the places I liked best in the house was the cellar. To me it had such a nice, homey feel (and smell) to it, and I liked the lighting and the curve of the ceiling and the texture of the walls. Here, in its first layer, is my painting of it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Plein Air @ Noosa

oil on cotton canvas; copyright 2010 Hannah C. Heyer

Since my last post I've traveled from winter to summer, from snowy Minnesota to sunny Queensland, Australia. I'm here visiting some of my favorite people, and enjoying the sunshine too.
This is a plein air painting done near Noosa. I got to sit on the rocks and watch the waves and a few surfers who didn't seem too worried about crashing into the aforementioned rocks. It was so gorgeous.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A little sketch

Sometimes the hardest things to draw are the things I'm most used to seeing. I think sometimes I'm so used to seeing certain things or places, that I forget to actually look.

I'm working on sketching things more as I'm seeing them, or shortly thereafter when they're still fresh in my mind.
The following is a sketch of a narrow strip of land in the frozen Mississippi River.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


You would think that, having lived my whole life in Minnesota, painting snow would come easily.
It doesn't.
I spent all day Saturday trying my best with watercolour. I used Arches Bright White watercolour paper, since I wanted the highlights of the snow to be as white as I could get.

Today I tried again using oils. We've had a lot of fog the past few days, and in the mornings everything is covered in frost. It's breathtakingly beautiful. I started two small oil paintings based on the view I had of this out my window. It doesn't look like much yet, but this is the first coat of one of them.