Wednesday, July 28, 2010

EDM# 104 and An Idea for a Painting

I had an idea for a painting that I attempted to sketch out here. The plan was for a girl to be walking with little tiny elephants dancing all around her feet. Well, not really dancing, think Heinrich Kley. Then her feet went off the page and I really didn't feel like correcting anything. After this, my heart wasn't really into the drawing anymore. Not that it is terrible. I used two reference photos for this, both from morguefile. Here and Here.
And this is something I haven't done in a long time! EDM Challenge #104: Salt and Pepper shakers. In fact, I just turned myself into a liar because I recently commented on someone's blog that I don't do the EDM challenges anymore. (Not that they're bad or anything!) I think I said that today, in fact! But then I saw this salt and pepper set in my mother's china cabinet and couldn't resist. Not sure how I've missed these. They look quite old, with some of the shine worn off the ceramic. The sketch isn't very well observed. Have you ever been in that mood before? Where you don't really care to focus that hard? Just throw down some lines and let them be? That was me today. I just said, 'ah! Nobody will even notice!" Except, I'm a blabbermouth-- I forgot. It looked better before I added the ink lines, which I did because they actually appear on the birds that way. This was done on some very old paper that I found amongst my late aunt's things. The paper is pretty rough, and 300 lb weight. I had never used paper this heavy, and I love it! No buckling whatsoever! No taping down! Maybe it's a little rough for my taste, but I do love the weight!

(They are still sitting next to me. I just looked over and they have been pushed together in a way that it looks like one bird is whispering in the other's ear. Now why couldn't I have set them up that cute???)

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Brutal Self-Portrait!

Everyone in my family has a "specialty", and when there is need for that specialty, that person is expected to do the job. For instance, my husband cooks the meat, I am not to be trusted. I cook the side dishes and homemade breads. I am also the painter of walls and ceilings and cabinets. Because I am persnickety and I won't leave splotches everywhere or crooked lines. No, definitely no crooked lines. I have a half inch flat watercolor brush that I do touch ups with! Well, recently someone stepped through the attic floor/bathroom ceiling, and after it was repaired I was sent in to do the painting. I hate painting ceilings!! Seriously! Neck and just isn't good! Anyway, as I grumbled while applying a second coat, I heard a reciprocating saw in the next room. I came around the corner just in time to see the saw blade hit the drain pipe to the bathtub upstairs and see the water come gushing down. It was not my job to clean up that mess (TG!), so I got off easy there; but, guess what I'll be doing again in the next couple of days? Yep...another ceiling. Bummer!
This is me, in my painting get-up: a cheapo baseball cap to protect the hair, and an old reject t-shirt of my husband's with paint all over it. Now, this is not an attractive look for me in the least, but I'm just going to go ahead and let you know that I didn't do myself any favors here! It is micron pen (sepia) and watercolor on exacompta sketchbook.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Self-Portraits 8 and 9

After my serious portrait attempt with charcoal left me feeling a little down, I decided I needed to try something a little more upbeat, fun. The charcoal drawing was laborious without the quality you would have expected for something taking so long. So, at the top of this sketchbook page I wrote, "unkempt me", because I hadn't showered yet, and I looked a little bedraggled. The shirt that I was wearing was actually just a plain dark blue t-shirt. I made up the stripes and the folds in the shirt and this actually turned out to be my favorite part. The drawing was done in five minutes (the best kind, if you want to know my opinion!) I like the colors I've used on this. Notice the name, 'unkempt me' has been cropped out here...I don't think I caught the slovenly part of my look. Plus, it looks like I have makeup on and went crazy with the blush, and who does that before the shower? I look serious, don't I? That expression makes me laugh. It is so recognizable in artists' self-portraits. This is pencil and watercolor in my exacompta sketchbook, which isn't for watercolor but works surprisingly well for simple ones. (you can see that the paper waves)

Eh, this wasn't intentionally a self-portrait. This was a doodle with a ballpoint pen that I thought looked similar to me, so I slapped on the glasses and watercolored. I'll never get to a hundred if I don't take these freebies when I can!

Of the self-portraits I've done so far, only #3 and # 8 (above) are from looking in a mirror. All the others, except nine, are from photos. Now, I really like #6, it is probably my favorite so far, but I think the two done from life are really good, and they were much easier. Both were drawn with relative ease. I will keep this in mind for the, um, 91 more that I have remaining!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Self-Portrait #7, and a Redo

You may remember this one from here. I really liked this sketch but ruined it with watercolors the first time. So, I redrew it from the prior sketch, and amazingly enough it looks MORE like him this time. I wanted a portrait similar to the one I did of myself (#6), so I could frame it and put it next to mine. (see it on the wall in the photo of my workspace?) Things didn't go as smoothly though, and even though I used the same paper, the mistakes couldn't be scrubbed out. The paper began to disintegrate. Can you see that dark spot under his chin? That would be one of the spots! I also don't like his pupils being that dark; they're distracting. This was sketched in pencil and the tone was added with neutral tint watercolor.

After seeing Dan's wonderful charcoal drawings, I decided to pull mine out and try using them. I had vine charcoal once upon a time, but I couldn't find it. I have these things, but don't confuse that with 'having used' these things before! Like my oil paints, they have been sitting in a drawer, unused. Now, when I did a quick sketch with the vine charcoal-- a couple of decades ago--I remember it being easy to smudge around. I didn't realize the pencils would be so different! If I had known it wouldn't be as easy, I think I would not have put in the tone the way I did. See all those lines in the background? I thought they would smudge out. Anyway, I struggled with this one and finally gave up. I knew something was off, but didn't realize exactly what, until I scanned it and accidentally hit mirror! Now do you see it? Maybe you saw it in the first scan and I didn't because my eyes weren't fresh, but when I mirrored it, it was so obvious!! There is a definite slant to the head that shouldn't be there. The good news is that I now know of a quick way to look at things anew. I'd like to try this again, but I think I'll pick up some vine charcoal next time I'm out, or perhaps locate the stash I have around here, somewhere!

There is a lot of talk amongst our group about how negative we can be on our own work. We see the flaws that others don't. I think about that a lot when I write my posts, but I just can't stop pointing them out. But, I wonder if that is really a bad thing? The way I see it, if I don't acknowledge the flaws, how can I improve? There is a lot that I like about my drawings too. I may not mention them as often, but I think if I didn't find some redeeming qualities, I would have quit already. Sometimes I am embarrassed to admit that I like them, almost like it is too immodest(?). Maybe, but perhaps by my picking out things that bother me, it might help you too? I can think of several occasions when other bloggers have pointed out things they didn't like, which I hadn't noticed or even thought about before. It was new to me, and I learned from it, and I can now apply that to my own artwork. What are your thoughts?

I'm moving slowly on these self-portraits. Number 100 seems so very far away!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Oy vey!

Let's pretend for a moment that I know the teensiest bit of Yiddish and didn't just have to look that up to make sure I was using it correctly! So why am I saying that? I have the dreaded feeling that a momentum change is coming. I feel it out there, a hovering gray cloud. Things are starting to not come so easily and I'm struggling with color again. I don't know why this keeps happening. I go skipping along merrily, only to be blindsided by the feeling that I've never painted before so how could I know what I'm doing!

I'm still doing portraits. This is my sister again, and I'm quite happy with the results. (drawn about a week ago...before the feeling started) A few things need tweaking, but I look at it and definitely see her. I went to pencil after struggling with the paints a few times. This is 2B mechanical pencil, and an 8B pencil. I'd like to try it in charcoal on canvas like Dan did in one of his recent drawings. Then one day, when I'm feeling confident, do it in the water-soluble oils I have just sitting in my drawer, aging as I type this.

And this is my entry in the moleskine collaboration I have going with Dan. One of our plans is to push each other out of our comfort zone. So, with this one I prepainted the background to give us something we had to work with/around (against?). I drew it in a medium bic ballpoint pen, no pencil lines first. (The exception is in the teeth, where it isn't good to outline in black!) I've used this technique with the background a few times now. It is supposed to help unify the whole page. Only, it didn't work out so well this time. Is it just me, or does her back arm almost look like it belongs to someone else? Oh well...let that be part of Dan's challenge: to make her arm look attached! Something else that I did was zoom in. I don't see him do that often. The drawing is loosely based this morguefile photo. Like I said, I went in straight with the pen, so when I went astray with the face, I just went with it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Yevgenia Watts, of Watercolored Hands

Also known as Yevgenia Watts! I really need to start doing these a little larger! This is about five inches square, making her face only an inch and a half? It's hard to do too much that small. Although, you would think it would stop me from overworking!! This is for Julia Kay's Portrait Party again.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Busy Couple of Weeks...

Two weeks ago, I was contacted by Melissa Rovner, whose two children had written a book about the oil spill. She wanted to publish the book, so she asked some of the artists who had contributed to Ripplesketches if they could contribute pictures for the book. I said okay. It's to raise money, so really, it's just a donation; I don't get paid. But, I was so excited to be invited that I couldn't say no! I decided to do three versions, and let her pick which she liked best. You can see a write up in the Walton Sun.

This is Jerry Waese, a participant in Julia Kay's Portrait Party. I tried using just two colors, indigo and burnt sienna. I had never done this type of exercise before, so poor Jerry was my guinea pig. I got the reference photo from here.

This was a piece of watercolor paper with preexisting splashes of paint on it. In the midst of the swirls, I could barely make out a bird. So I found a photo which seemed like it would fit and this is the result. BettyfromTexas tells me it is an African Grey.

And this is my semi-new workspace! Before, my desk was L-shaped and I had two areas that I could pull up a chair. The problem with this arrangement was that I'm a little lazy and disorganized by nature, so the end opposite of my computer became a place to stack my junk! What to do? Grab a round saw and cut off the last two feet (didn't take the desk was too heavy!), swing it around to the front, and attach. Wha-lah!! U-shaped workspace! Okay, now, don't laugh...but, this is CLEAN! And because everything is within reach, I am managing to keep it relatively so! I love my new space!

Update: I should have mentioned that I did not post any of the pictures that I've done for the book. I'm not sure what the rules about such a thing are, and I decided to wait and see which one she decided to use.