Balancing Act

Stopping to smell the pixels.

For the past few days I’ve been focused on trying to regain whatever skills I developed with pencils, a few years ago. Slow-going, lots of missteps and frustrating messes. I used to be able to draw eyes. Good ones! They looked the way I wanted them to! Now, because I didn’t draw for so long, I draw the eyes I drew when I was learning to draw them the first time. Not good ones! They don’t look the way I wanted them to! 

It’s humbling. It’s also making me want to break a few pencils after I scribble all over those not-good-eyes.

But pencils are expensive and I can’t destroy honest attempts. Instead, I took a break with iPastels and made the silly face above.

Silly is good. I enjoyed my little escape and can now return to pencils, renewed. 

State of the Blog

“Don’t blame me. It’s my lizard brain.”

Twenty days ago I decided to bring this old, dead blog site back to life. I’d set it up fourteen years ago, used the heck out of it for several years, and then changed course. I left it behind. But it was still “home,” so I paid for my domain ( and began posting again.

WONDERFUL!!! I met you fascinating, talented people! I posted about my art journey! 

But I neglected a couple of extremely important things. I didn’t check my Comment spam folder and I didn’t always click the “Reply” button when I replied to comments. The result was that lots of truly non-spammy comments never ended up posted (I never even saw them until yesterday) and even though I typed replies to people, many of those people never knew. 


So, yesterday I went back through all of my Comment files and interactions. I approved the non-spammy comments and replied to them. I retyped replies to the Comments that never got them because of that pesky reply button.

If you left me a comment and didn’t receive a reply, I hope you have now. When I jumped back into this blog-world I was so excited to be back that I skipped important steps. I’ll try not to do that again. LOL – I blame my lizard brain (amygdala) for being so emotional about the experience that I messed it up.  



(“Lizard Brain” – detail from larger painting – acrylic on cardboard)

“But I didn’t order a jelly donut!”

Last night I downloaded a tiny but powerful app called iPastels (see link below). It’s PASTELS! Really – it looks like pastels. I don’t know much about how pastels behave but I think that iPastels does a good job of creating the same kind of experience. There’s a free version (which is what I got) and an upgrade. If the app works on desktop, too, and if there’s a way to make larger canvases, then I may pay the $4.99 for the upgrade. Maybe, maybe. 

Anyway…the weird image above is my initial test of the tools. Here’s the second test:

Haaaaa! I tried to do a little landscapey thing, with evergreen trees and a stream, but (1) I don’t especially enjoy doing landscapes and (2) no matter how hard I try to do other things, faces always show up. And then (3) I got aggravated with myself for allowing yet another face to plunk itself down in the middle of a landscape, which made me overwhelm the poor app with too many clicks and strokes too fast. It froze. No wonder! When it unfroze I started writing on the canvas, complaining about the freeze. Oooof.

In spite of my mini-tantrum, iPastels worked brilliantly. Here’s a link:


Because I’ve already been massively careless this morning…

©️Robin King

…this will be a very short post.

See that face up there? For years I used it as my avatar. It’s half of a larger piece. I don’t like the other half of the image AT ALL. Blecch. I didn’t like it when I made it. I like it less now, which is why I’m not sharing it here. But they “need” to be together and I don’t know why. That’s today’s mystery to solve. Wish me luck! 

Online Sketching with Pixels: Sketchpad

Made online using Sketchpad

A few months ago I re-discovered the online sketching app Sketchpad. It was fun to use years ago and seems to be even better now. They’ve added features! The last time I tried it I was using my desktop computer. “Mousing” to draw is challenging. Fortunately, Sketchpad worked well with my graphics pen/tablet. These days it responds beautifully on a tablet when I draw with my fingers. Will sketching online replace the oh-so-satisfying tactile experience of moving a pencil or brush across toothy paper? Probably not. But it’s endlessly eager to do what you want, when and where you want to. 

Sketchpad is online, here:

Here’s the User Guide:

LOL – I didn’t know about the User Guide until a few minutes ago. Although Sketchpad is easy to figure out (REALLY!!) the User Guide is probably helpful.

“Mike When He Had That Bright Idea”

This piece is one of my personal favorites. I based it on the face of a boy I met in junior high school. His face showed every emotion he felt and when he had an idea – especially a good one – EVERYONE knew. He’s still alive so I suppose his face is distorted by wrinkles like mine is. I hope his emotions still shine through!

Here’s to Mike, the most talented choral accompanist (and best giggler) I ever met:

Six Minute Post

Six minutes? To create a blog post? Including the all-important “clean up those pesky typos” step? Impossible! But I have only six – wait – no, now it’s 5 minutes! 


The image above is from a mixed media piece (acrylics with paper on canvas board) I did several years ago. It’s NEVER looked as good in person as it does in a photo, no matter how good or bad the photo is, and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the 2d versus 3d difference?

Any ideas?