Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I have a lot of plants in my Apt. and several of them are Christmas Cactus, right now I have 2 different colors blooming, a couple of pinks and a couple of whites. I did have an old large pair of Christmas Cactus that would bloom a gold/yellow color, but over this past summer the plants started failing. I have had this happen before, the main stalk just seems to dry up and the plants die. I have tried to take cuttings from the plants and I think a few have them have taken but there will be no golden blossomed flowers for me this Christmas, maybe next year.
Anyway I decided it might be fun to try and draw one of the pink blooming plants. I used colored pencils to just lay in the colors based on the shape of the plant then I went back in with pen and ink to add some lines to give shape. The drawing is quite impressionistic not my usual style and almost looks more like a water color than a pencil drawing. Still I rather like the results. Next plant to tackle is my blooming miniature cyclamen.
As a challenge to myself I hauled out a bowl I particularly like added a couple of apples and set out to draw them. I am much happier with the results above than I was with the drawings I made on Thanksgiving. At least these look like apples in a bowl and the results aren't too lopsided.
Above are some drawings from a short pose figure drawing session a couple of weeks ago. Top 3 are short 2 minute poses, bottom grouping of 3 are longer poses, 5 to 10 minutes. Not totally happy with these drawings, faces could be a lot better on the longer poses, but I think with the short poses I caught the energy of the pose, always a goal.
The last image is another of the photographs I made during my visit to Houghton's pond. There was one seagull that day at the pond, I think it had found something to eat, but not sure just what, there are fish in the pond (it is stocked). Anyway I just like this photo of the flying gull and its reflection in the water. The green in the background are the white pines that grow so abundantly in this area.
Above is a photograph I made a couple of years ago of my golden blossomed Christmas Cactus. Made when the plants were healthy and blooming, not a common color, and I won't be happy if I lose the plants entirely.
That is it for today, per usual comments are always welcome and I hope everyone's holiday shopping is going well.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Been working on another bookmark. Course right now all that is finished is the main design, still needs some work before it is finally finished. It may have to wait a bit as I need some sunlight to pick the embroidery floss color for the tassel. I will probably go with a red orange.
The inspiration for this was my memories of poppies blooming in the late spring, love those large bright orange flowers. They are such a splash of color. I added tulips in the front of them though in reality tulips would be finished by the time the poppies start blooming. I wanted another flower shape and was feeling a bit tired of daisies/sunflowers. Besides using tulips let me pick up the orange of the poppies.
It was fairly quick and fun to draw, have to start thinking about what to draw next. Oh yes done with pen and ink first then added color via colored pencil, back to my more usual method of working.
Since I made such a mess of the basket the other day I though I would try my hand at another symmetrical object. This ink bottle was at hand and seemed a good choice. Still some errors but I am happier with this drawing than I was with the basket.
I have a small blooming Christmas Cactus maybe I will give that a go next.
From a couple of weeks ago, we had another couple modeling short poses for us. I don't have a lot of drawings that I liked from that session, but above are the five I consider my best effort. Top pair are short poses of about 5 minutes. Bottom grouping of three drawings were 10 minute poses.
Not sure why I felt so off that evening. Probably focusing too much on details, like faces and not looking at the overall image. The male of this couple is quite slender so not the easiest figure to draw.
As a close another photograph from my visit to Houghton's Pond last Saturday. Our weather this week has been not wonderful (read no sun) and I have been busy trying to get stuff pulled together for Christmas. Winter landscapes are so stark mostly browns and greys with a few pine trees to add hints of green.
That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Above is a new Artist Trading Card (ATC) that I finished over the weekend. It didn't come out quite the way I was envisioning it when I started, which I suppose means that I need to make another one that may be more in line with my concept, except at this point I am not sure what the original concept was. I hope I am not the only person who looses track of the original concept once they start working. Sometimes that is a good thing, but with this card I am not so sure.
Thanksgiving day I spent with friends and while listening to the chatter I spent some time sketching, these two drawings are a result. Hmm, all I can say is that I think I need to spend a lot more time drawing from life. I am not totally thrilled with either the basket or the cup. Though the cup drawing is a bit better than the basket.
Above is a cup of tea with a teaspoon in it. Course the cup did have a design on it, but there was no way I was going to attempt that.
My friends family includes several fairly young children, and of course they were interested in my drawings and supplies. Since I use some tools that aren't familiar to them there were quite a few questions. It occurred to me that I might include some of the information I shared with them here on the blog. So the above image is some of my standard drawing tools. On the left a kneaded eraser, bottom middle is a clutch pencil holder, above that is the 2 mm "lead" that fits the holder, and on the right is a pink pearl eraser.
Because of cost and ease of "sharpening" I prefer to use clutch pencils with 2mm leads. Course the tool used for pointing the leads can get a bit messy to haul around so I keep one in a plastic bag, but I don't think it is quite as messy as a regular pencil sharpener. I also use kneaded erasers which most of the kids had never seen before. One young boy wanted to insist that it was a piece of clay since that was what he was familiar with. The kneaded eraser is used to lift a bit of graphite when things have gotten a bit too dark. I also like Pink Pearl erasers, but those are fairly common so no comment was made about those.
For the clutch pencils I have several different hardness, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 2H, 3H, and 4H, each in its own holder. I prefer the Staedtler Mars carbon leads as they seem to be the best quality. For the really soft grades (above 4B) I use regular wooden pencils. The softer the graphite the darker the line you can get, a 2H is more grey than black, though graphite is never truly black but only a dark grey. For best lifting with a kneaded eraser I find that it needs to be warm so I tend to hold it in my opposite hand when I am doing work where I will be using it.
Saturday was a beautiful though chilly sunny day with a few clouds. I drove up to the Blue Hills Reservation and walked around Houghton's Pond. Above is a photo of the pond that I made that day. I find it interesting that clouds in photographs at this time of year even in early afternoon have some pink/lavender color to them.
The pond looks so still and calm reflecting the trees, clouds and sky. There were some ducks on the pond, but since I hadn't brought my field glasses I am not sure of the species, all I know is they weren't mallards as some of them were diving under the water and mallards don't dive. As you can see there were no beach goers there that day.
That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
For those here in the US I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, may your Turkey get done and there be no family fights at your feast. May your Black Friday be hassle free.
Am I the only person who remembers drawing an outline of my hand around Thanksgiving time in school and then coloring it as if it were a Turkey? In memory of that slightly strange practice I decided to draw my own hand and turkey with some crayons that I had purchased a few years ago as props for a Graphic Design project. Since I don't recall drawing this on white paper I chose to use some brown paper I purchased for drawing.
Either my memory of how it felt to use crayons is faulty or they have made major changes in the formula of pigment, wax and other mysterious ingredients over the years because I found the colors just didn't lay down the way I remember. The more I think about it the more I think they have changed this classic tool of childhood. I can remember laying down dense stripes of colors on paper and then covering the whole with a coat of India Ink that we would then scratch off revealing the crayon colors beneath. Seems like there is now so little pigment in the crayons that this would no longer be possible to do. Ah well
In any case if anyone is reading this on Thanksgiving and has some bored kids, pull out some paper and crayons and set them to drawing and coloring their own Turkeys. Who knows it might be a way to keep them occupied while the Turkey finishes cooking. Have fun with it. At the least you end up with some fun refrigerator art. My Turkey is sort of brown like wild Turkeys, but at the bottom of this post there is an image of a white tom you can use as reference. Colors are up to the artist.
Above is a new ATC (Artist Trading Card) which I finished in the past couple of days. It is based on the drawing I posted last time of a garden with hollyhocks and a bird bath. The card is smaller than the original drawing so I had to condense things a bit. Since I wasn't really happy with the bird on the bird bath I changed it to a bird flying over it. Still the technique is the same, I do the pencil drawing first then add some ink lines as finishing touches. Keeps the ink brighter since it doesn't get covered by pencil.
ATC's are 2.5 x 3.5 inches in case you were wondering.
These figure drawings are from a short pose Tuesday night session on November 12th. The woman model started out with short 2 minute poses (top grouping) but toward the end of that period she wasn't feeling well, so her boyfriend (who had come with and is also a model) took over and posed for us for the 5 minute poses. Those are the middle grouping above. Feeling better she came back to pose for us for the final period where we do 10 or 15 minute poses. Makes for an odd collection of images, and it was certainly a challenge for us artists who were drawing.
Because it is Thanksgiving and my theme for today seems to be Turkeys I thought I would close with 2 photographs of Turkeys. Top is a White Tom who I photographed a couple of summers ago while I was visiting a MA Audubon Sanctuary on Cape Cod. The bottom photo is of a beautifully browned bird that was about to become our family dinner. One wing had already been removed by the time I made the photograph, I think that happened during the transfer from pan to platter, but otherwise intact waiting to be carved.
Both photographs are from my archived images.
That is it for today, per usual comments are always welcome, hope everyone who is celebrating one has a wonderful holiday, Thanksgiving and/or Hanukkah.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
I am trying to get back into the habit of drawing something if not every day than at least every other day or so. Above is another of one of my colored pencil experiments where I draw (loosely) with the colored pencils and then add ink details in over the color.
For this one I was thinking about Hollyhocks in a garden so added a bird bath. I sort of wanted to add a garden shed, but in the end decided that I didn't want to complicate the drawing that way. When I was inking in leaves, flowers and grass I decided the bird bath needed a bird. Not a very good one, but... hey this is just me exploring ideas to see where it takes me.
As part of my effort to do more drawing I hauled out the sketchbook where I was doing the Everyday Matters challenge drawings. One of the things I did when I first dedicated the book to the EDM Challenges was to list in the front all of different topics and subjects that had been proposed. There are over 300 listings.
I admit I cherry pick what I want to draw, but I figure at this point it is my choice to do so as we are no longer getting new challenge subjects. Anyway the first one I tackled was to draw a pair of my socks, see above.
Next day I chose the Draw a book Challenge. I made the book too small, ah well once I had started I didn't want to start over.
In case you are wondering the book is Ceremony in Death one of the early In Death series by J. D. Robb (Nora Roberts) This is the large print edition, I read what I can find at the library and they only have many of the early books as Large Print editions.
I am not spending a lot of time on these drawings, 30 to 45 minutes. The point is to get me to focus on an object and draw it as I see it so I am further training my hand/eye coordination.
As an aside I met a woman at this weeks Short Pose Drawing session. She is probably about my age (not young) and has a goal of learning to draw well. I mentioned that if she really wanted to do that she needed to draw every day. She told me that she does, but from what she further mentioned I gather she is drawing the same subject every day (her dog). I really wanted to suggest to her that she change her subjects if not every day then several times a week and draw something new, a cup, a piece of fruit etc.
I know that when I draw the same thing all the time I stop really looking at it, and start drawing the image in my mind instead. Drawing the mind image isn't bad, but it doesn't train my observational skills and that is really what I am after. I have a feeling that is what she is after also, well if she comes back to another session I may be able to make that suggestion to her.
The above photograph was made back in October after the first of our cold nights. The ferns have lost their color but are still standing. I love seeing their ghostly shapes in the woods. This stage doesn't last very long, I am sure that if I were to go back to this location today I would find only a few stems standing, and perhaps not even that. The photograph was made in the woods at Forge Pond in Hanover, MA.
That is it for today. Per usual comments are welcome, even if I can't always reply.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Been playing around with another bookmark. The idea for this one sort of came from my checking out a feed on a flickr account that I just started following. The owner of the account is into Zentangles and has a lot of images of Zentangle textures. At this point I can't recall if the weave I used for the above background was one she used, but it doesn't really matter as it was looking at what she had done that inspired this drawing.
Not sure I went with the right colors for the flowers here, but it is what it is. Still needs to be finished off with a tassel and protective film but otherwise I consider it done. Done with technical pen and colored pencils on a heavyweight paper.
Above is a drawing where I was playing around with the concept of laying down color and then using a technical pen to add line over the color. Usually with colored pencils I work the other way around, laying in the ink and then adding the color but for this drawing I wanted to see what would happen if I reversed my usual method. Kind of fun, wish I had used a bit more variety of colors, but I am going to think about this and maybe play with it some more, impressionistic colored pencil work. Adding the ink after the pencil allows the ink to have more shine.
Back in October we had a short pose session with a couple. Scott calls them a Barbie and Ken duos even thought the models usually don't have much in common with the dolls. They are a challenge to draw as you can end up with a tangle of limbs, and trying to make sense of them can get tricky. I try really hard to draw what I see but... Not totally thrilled with these drawings. Sorry about the quality of the photographs, didn't really realize how the sun light would impact the final image until I had the photos in Photoshop. Then I didn't feel like re shooting them so I just went ahead and cropped them.
Top grouping are 5 minute poses, the bottom poses were from 10 to 15 minutes.
I missed the following two weeks of sessions. Tuesday nights seemed to become my night for not feeling well, not really sick but also not feeling well enough to spend three hours trying to draw and mingle with fellow artists.
What a difference a couple of weeks and a couple of rain storms can make with the amount of leaves on trees. The above photo was made the end of October, love that red. I was photographing trees surrounding a parking lot that afternoon. A stream runs next to the property and this tree was on the other bank of the stream. Had a cop in a patrol car stop to ask what I was doing, thankfully my Cannon is fairly large so when I lifted it and said making photographs of fall color he left me in peace.
This photograph was made this past weekend at Ames Nowell State Park. There are a couple of men in some sort of craft out in the middle of the lake fishing. They stock this lake but not sure how many fish are left after the summer season. It is a popular place for folks to come and fish. Anyway you can see that there are very few leaves left on the trees. Color is pretty much gone for this year, now to get through the next 4 months.
That is it for today, per usual comments are always welcome. I will make responses as allowed by Google.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Managed to draw a new ATC (Artist Trading Card) over the weekend. I started out playing with some shapes and it just developed from there. Color is colored pencil and I am really pleased with the result. Doesn't look very fall but then that wasn't really my goal.
I am using a new to me paper, Canson's Comic and Manga 150 lb paper. It is heavy weight with a smooth surface that takes pen well. There seems to be enough tooth to take colored pencil, though not as well as Stonehenge does. Anyway I have more ATC blanks of this paper waiting for me to use so by the time I have finished them I should know how I like this paper and what media I prefer using.
Also finished the above bookmark this weekend. I started this one several weeks ago but put it aside to work on some other ones. Still I kind of like the flower shapes so decided I should get to it and finish it off. It isn't totally done of course, just the art work is finished. Still have to add the contact paper layer and then the tassel. More colored pencil and ink work on this one.
Above are more of my short pose figure drawings. These are from a session a couple of weeks ago. A couple I rather like, the others hmm, well.... just have to keep at it is all I can say. Top grouping are 2 minute posed, bottom grouping are mainly 5 minute poses with one 10 minute pose.
As a close a couple of photographs I made yesterday. The trees around me are starting to get pretty bare of leaves but there are still a few with color. Above is one near the entrance to my local park.
These leaves were actually on a bush not a tree, but I love the color and thought you might also enjoy seeing it.
That is it for today, per usual comments are appreciated. Though I have to say that I am having problems getting the blog to allow me to reply to comments, so it isn't that I haven't read and enjoyed everyone's comments on previous posts it is that the software isn't allowing me to reply. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to comment, I really do appreciate it.