Friday, October 24, 2008

School 8th Week

I just finished the 8th week of school. I am finally making progress on the portrait project for color and design, since I have been working on it at home in the evenings. I have also started drawing shoes for the shoe project. We are supposed to draw 20 views of shoes, so far I have 5 done. Can you tell that all of the Color and Design projects tend to take a long time to do?

In Computer Graphics we are moving onto Quark Express. Had a test on the tools on Wednesday. Since I don't have Quark at home I don't think I will be focusing much of my energy or time in trying to master it, although some of the publishing industry is still using it, some book and newspaper publishers I have heard. Still many others are starting to move the Adobe's InDesign, which is Adobe's publishing program that works a bit more seamlessly with Illustrator and Photo Shop. Since I have the full suite of Adobe CS3 I think I will focus on using InDesign.

Oh yes in the Computer Graphics class we had to pick a theme for our final project, I am going to do a brochure on the Eastcoast Quilters Alliance fall Show which will be held in Nashua, NH, in a couple of weeks. I should be able to get some pictures there that I can then edit for the brochure. I may also borrow some images on-line. Since this is a project that won't even be printed I feel that in this circumstance I can borrow, though if I thought I would publish it I wouldn't. Note that the final project will be too large to publish here in any case. I may print it and show just a picture of the cover, but we will see.

Drawing class this week was was doing silhouettes and just black and white high contrast drawings, no shading at all. We used black markers and boy do they stink. The instructor had to turn on the fans and open the windows to keep us all somewhat functional. Still by the time I left I had something of a headache. I won't be using the markers at home, I think I will use ink and brush or pen instead on my homework. Below are the drawings I did in class:

The image is from clip art, I think I don't have him leaning quite enough so he would probably fall on his butt if he were real, but otherwise isn't bad for a first try.

Basketball player this time, and he isn't too bad

This is my high contrast drawing, her head should be tilted up a bit more but otherwise I like her.

I started a 4th high contrast drawing, but didn't get that one finished. May work on that one later, though it will need to be done with marker since I started it that way, so it is more likely that I won't finish it.

My last image for you this week is the homework I did for 2 weeks ago. This is a white chalk on black paper drawing. The image is from a photo in the October 2008 issue of 'Smithsonian' magazine. The article is on the Italian sculpture Bernini. I used the photo of the bust of Costanza Bonarelli, the wife of one of his assistants, whom he was having an affair with at the time of the portrait. I worked very hard on this image, and I feel it turned out quite well.

Last note for today is that the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge group has issued the 2nd challenge for this year. We are to use Monochromatic colors, and perspective in our design. I think I know what I want to do, doing it though will keep me busy along with all the other work I am supposed to be doing. I need to go sort through fabrics and see what color will be best. I plan on using my hand dyed fabrics, either the Cherrywoods or the Primrose Gradations that I have on hand. I may also sort through the batiks to see what else will work, though batiks with patterns tend to not be monochromatic, they are more likely to use 2 colors so those won't work. I am planning on using a photo I took in Chicago a couple of years ago. It is along the lake front, and has some high value contrasts which should make it work well for this design. Since my theme is structures, there is a bridge, some buildings in the background, and the lake breakwall.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Week 7 of School

School this past week was good though I only had classes on Tuesday and Wednesday because of the Columbus day Holiday on Monday. In Color and Design I am moving on to my self portrait project and we learned about one of our next projects (the one after the shoes) which will be to design 5 stamps (ACK). As a former stamp collector I am so familiar with stamps that it shouldn't be too hard to do this, still I am not really looking forward to it. One of our stamps has to be a sports figure. Hmm guess I should be buying some magazines to get some pictures, or check out the newspaper sports pages. I did manage to get my portrait done on Monday and used Wednesday class time to get my grid done.

In Computer Graphics we are still working on Illustrator techniques. We learned how to break apart a font, a handy tool if you want to create logo's from initials. I have to say that letters like the letter "A" are a bit tricky to cut apart, course it just could have been the font I was using for my experiments.

Drawing class this week had us working with pen and ink and using different line qualities to create shadows since you can't smudge ink. Below is my first try, I am not very happy with it, I didn't sketch in the sunflowers and when I was inking got them the totally wrong size, they look like daisy's not sunflowers (sigh)

Next try was this Bust, I can't recall who exactly it is, some Roman, I do know that . I sort of like this one, at least you can tell it is an older male human.

This next photo is of my 3rd try, ran out of class time and didn't finish, you can see the pencil lines around the top. I also need to do a bit more work on the face. This is from a photo, but is another sculpture. The mouth is good, and I suppose I should finish it. But, we have homework of 3 pen and ink drawings for next Tuesdays class, and so far I only have one finished. I do have two others that I am working on, but I think I need to finish them before I go back to this one.

My last photo this week is the still life charcoal drawing I did 2 weeks ago for my homework assignment. I am pleased with the bananas, and I think it really does work as a composition. That said the photo really isn't very good. I didn't realize until I went to crop it that it is a bit out of focus. Still you can get the general idea of what this looks like.

On the quilting front about all I have been doing is quilting a couple of UFO quilts. One is about the size of a baby quilt, my paper pieced mariners compass blocks. The other is a twin sized bed quilt. The top is hand pieced batik blocks that I finished ages ago, started quilting but never finished. I got the basic grid quilting done, but when I started quilting the blocks didn't like what I was doing, what thread I was using etc. so stopped. I took out the old quilting on the blocks and am using a different thread and a different quilting pattern. This time I think I like it so it is just a question of finding the time and energy to get it done. This next Friday will be our next Fast Friday Fabric Challenge. Wonder what it will be this time.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

6th week of School

I am finding it hard to believe that I have been in school six weeks, doesn't seem like it has been quite that long. Otherwise classes have been going well, and I finally finished my 3rd Color and Design project. See below. The assignment was to take a leaf draw it on a large sheet of paper that had been divided into rectangles and then fill in the sections using the methods assigned in a handout. The handout required that we use various media and techniques, like color marker, color pencil, ink, brush, pen and even a twig , that one was a bit strange needless to say. So below is my leaf, I used a Japanese Maple leaf, see the upper right corner for what the leaf looks like when it isn't divided into sections. Since some of this was done using stipple and crosshatch, it has taken way too long to get done. I don't know if I like this or not, but it was an interesting exercise to do.

Drawing class this week had us using white chalk on black paper, the torso below is my third effort, my first which I didn't take a picture of was some more of our white vases, but this time the background was black. The torso I was drawing was also black, so what I needed to draw was the light hitting the torso, not quite as easy as it sounds.

The picture below was actually my second study, a bust (not sure the material, plaster I think) of a young girl, mine doesn't look as young as she should, and I have decided that I need to try and do more drawings of faces and heads. But with that in mind I sort of like how she turned out. I have to say that this style of drawing is exhausting to do, haven't been so exhausted after a class since the first full drawing class we did. I was wiped, and didn't manage to do much of anything that evening.

My last image for you this week is the homework I did for last week, more of the negative space drawings - or erasures since that is what I am really doing, erasing the background and leaving the dark for the image, in this case a plant. I had tried doing a pen and ink of a small jade plant, but it wasn't a good composition, not enough plant. My problem was that the rest of my plants were too dense for me to be able to draw them this way, and I wasn't taking a pair of scissors to my plants just so I could do some homework. This is a young Christmas Cactus which worked, though I did simplify some areas. I am pleased with this one, since I got an A on it

That's it for this week, sorry that some of the pictures aren't very good, but I don't want to spend a lot of time on them so am not pinning them to something to take the photo's, that means that sometimes the paper slumps a bit. Still they are good enough to give you an idea of what I have been doing. In the Computer graphics class we are working with Illustrator using the pen tool, what a pia that tool can be to use, however it is a critical one so I need to master it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

FFFC Challenge #25

My other project for the week, other than school and homework has been the completion of my first official challenge for the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge Yahoo Group. We received our challenge instructions last Friday. For this year of challenges we are to work in series. I have chosen Structures to be my theme for this year (well the next few challenges anyway). Then for the September challenge, we needed to use a complementary color scheme, I chose red violet and yellow green. Then we were supposed to work with vertical, horizontal or diagonal layout. I think I would consider mine a diagonal layout.

I have been wanting to do a quilt using rooftops on the diagonal overlapping each other, so my design (which I did in Illustrator) includes 5 houses that move into the distance. I added a sixth house in the lower right to balance the houses on the left. I used Illustrator to create some templates (which I cut out of freezer paper) for the houses and the pieced background. After putting all the houses on the background fabric I realized that I needed to add something to the sky to keep viewers eyes from moving off the quilt, I didn't really want to use a white fabric and I didn't have any lighter red-violet fabrics so spent a bit thinking - ahha, I have white angelina I though, I can use that. So I did, it adds some iridescence to the sky and you can see the background fabric through it. It is quilted down. I used batik, hand dyed, and one commercial fabric, machine quilted with various weights of cotton threads, and I added some hand embroidered pearl cotton. That and the Angelina for clouds is the materials list for this little quilt, which is 8.5 x 12 inches. I actually finished this just under the deadline of noon on the Sat a week from the challenge issue date.

Oh yes I have named this little guy Street View #1, at least it makes it sound like it will be a series.

Please feel free to post comments

5th Week School

I just finished my 5th week of school, beginning my second month in school. In a way it seems both longer and shorter since I started classes. I have learned a fair amount about Photo Shop, at least I now know how to create layers and move objects from one photo to another. I think my drawing is improving, which is good. But not sure what I am learning in design, though I have read two chapters in our book. The second chapter is about the Vocabulary of Form, the seven principles of Organization, Harmony, Variety, Balance, proportion, dominanc, movement, and economy. When a art work is created all of those factors have to be taken into account to come up with a visually pleasing work of art. Well it sounds good to say it that way, but of course it is much easier said then done.

In my Computer Graphics course we are moving onto Illustrator, I think we will spend about a month learning how to use the tools in Illustrator then we move onto In-Design, and last is Quark Express. The instructor was showing us some projects that have been done by his more advanced graphic art students. Things like CD covers for records, new logos for non-profits, and brochures for non-profits - the idea that I could design things like that is enough to give me pause about doing graphic design, but I have to keep in mind that I need to take one step at a time, and right now I am just at the beginning of the learning curve.

In Color and Design we are working on a large image of a leaf broken into multiple squares, using different techniques and media in each square, I am about half way done with mine and need to focus on that this weekend to get it done. Then we move on to a project that requires a self portrate (ACK), need I say that I am not eager to do that project.

Drawing this week was focusing on tone rather than line, the still life the instructor set up included a torso of a male (Styrofoam if you would believe) and several vases on blocks. Below are my two drawings, not sure which one I prefer. I like the vases but the overall design of the drawing isn't as strong as I would like it to be. Still the instructor told me that it is the kind of drawing that should be included in a portfolio just to show that I can draw real objects, not just fantasy images, such as dragons or fairies, which I take it is a popular theme with the younger students.

I think I got the torso a bit long, and his hand doesn't seem quite large enough but otherwise it isn't bad.

Last weekend was very very wet here in MA, it rained all day Friday and then off and on through the weekend. By Monday we were finally seeing a bit of sun, which was nice after all the cloudy days. Weather is cooling off with days in the mid sixties and nights cooler.

On Wednesday after my Color and Design class I headed up to the Blue Hills Reservation and took a short walk into the woods there I took pictures of some mushrooms that had grown. They were out in force after the wet weather we have been having. One group esp interested me, they were small white mushrooms growing out of a fallen tree. I came home and printed out that photo and did first a pencil sketch then inked it in to give me a black and white drawing of mushrooms. I am rather pleased with it so will post a copy of the image here.

My other project for the week was a challenge quilt for the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge group. But I will do a seperate blog post for that.