Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life Drawings Part 2

A quick update today, only 2 images from last nights drawing session. Above is my pencil sketch, which I actually rather like, though the face on the colored pencil sketch looks more like the model. I have the head sizes a bit different and to be honest I am not sure which is more correct. I think the one above, but when I realized I might have it wrong on the colored pencil drawing it was a bit late to try and correct it so I left it as it was.  I spent more time on the graphite pencil drawing, and don't feel I did as well with the colored pencil drawing this week. Ah well, what can I say, other then there is always next week.

I almost didn't go last night, we had a very hot muggy day, and the studio being on the 4th floor can get very hot, thankfully the daytime artist had the AC turned on so the temp. wasn't too bad last night , quite bearable in fact.

Well I need to go work on my challenge quilt. Comments as always welcome.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Challenge 39 - Aurantiacus Protozoa

I actually finished it. It is my Challenge quilt from the November 2009 FFFC group challenge. The challenge was to use the theme of Microbiology with the composition techniques of exaggerated scale and paint effects. For this challenge I actually had an immediate idea, and some available time to get started on it. But getting started was about all I was able to do before getting caught up with school homework. I did take the unfinished work with me to Chicago for Christmas, but between starting the Spring Mandala and getting sick I didn't work on it. After Christmas I was too busy with school and other mandalas to want to work on this.

But I am host for the FFFC group challenge for June so I knew I needed to get my act together and start working on my quilting. I felt a good lead in would be to finish Challenge # 39. The design is based on one of my drawings for my 3-D design class Protozoa project. I liked this design but knew that creating it in aluminum would be tricky to say the least so I chose a different design for that project. When I needed a design for the November challenge my thoughts immediately went to my existing designs and I selected this one. Choosing fabrics was fun, I wanted something bright and not necessarily true to life. I started by stamping the background fabric using Lumiere Paints with a stamp I had cut for another challenge, then I added additional lines using green Tsukineko fabric inks. The protozoa design was machine appliqued down and then I started the hand work. It was about that point that it got put aside. In the past week or so I finished all the embroidery with Pearl Embroidery floss, added the beading for the body ridges. I realized that the background needed something so I added the amoeba shapes to the background, first outlining them with Pearl cotton, then using Shiva Paint sticks to color the fabric inside the shape. Then I added the hand couched fibers and  the scrunched netting for the amoeba's nucleus. Fabrics used with either Primrose Gradations or Cherrywood hand dyes.

The question of course is do I like it. Hmm, not sure, I feel the design could be stronger, I really don't like to center elements though that is how this one ended up after I trimmed the background. That is why I added the amoeba shapes to the background to give the viewers eye someplace else to go on the quilt surface. The quilting is simple and is my second plan, if I had gone with my first concept the quilting lines would be more vertical and wavy, I did sketch some lines like that on the quilt in chalk then decided that would be too much vertical since I wanted to add the fiber and so went with the more circular large meander.  I suppose I could have echo quilted the protozoa but I don't usually like doing that, and the protozoa is supposed to be as viewed through a microscope so the background should be just that a background with its own textures features. After all a drop of pond water doesn't hold just one creature but many.

The name is Latin as all good living things names should be, I looked up the word for orange on-line though the closest I could come to orange was aurantiacus which according to the list I was using is actually a red orange. Still it is close enough so I am calling my creation Aurantiacus Protozoa.  Now I need to go work on my challenge # 46, which is Geology with unexpected colors. If you want to read the exact challenge you can go here. You may need to scroll down a bit since members will be posting their finished quilts.

Per usual comments are welcome.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sketchbook Project Spread 3

Above is my 3rd spread for my Sketchbook Project, a green pepper, one on a small plate, with a segment cut from the pepper placed in front but to the side of the plate. I left some seeds on the segment to show a bit more of what is inside of a green pepper. Done with colored pencils after first sketching the pepper with a regular pencil. I had a hard time with the plate, and am still not sure it is quite correct, but it will have to do. It took me longer then I intended to get to this, but once I started it was actually rather fun to do. Not sure where I am going next with these drawings. I feel that I have about finished vegetables, though I may move on to some fruit. Course I may go in an entirely different direction, stay tuned, and remember that comments are welcome.

I have been busy working on a mini-quilt, which is no almost done. Hopefully my next post will be a photo of the finished quilt.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Drawings, Life and other

The image I am starting with today is a drawing I actually made a few weeks ago, it is of a fish tank that I had when I was a child. I have been writing down stories about events from when I was a young, and one of the stories is about the family cat and how he would get into everything, literally. He used to go fishing in my fish tank, jumping from the floor to the top of tank and perching there on 3 paws so he could fish. He was so funny when he did this because he hated getting wet, so after every swipe into the water after a fish he would shake the wet paw to dry it off. I don't believe he ever caught a fish, but he loved to try. Needless to say I still need to add the cat on the top of the fish tank in the above image. I will be using tracing paper for the cat drawing and then combining the 2 either by scanning or by taking a photograph. Making a composite illustration for the booklet I intend to put together of these stories. But before I do that I can see I need to make some corrections, the left side of the tank needs some work as the perspective is a bit off.

What else I have been working on is a Quilt I started for the FFFC group before Christmas. I am making progress and hope to have it done before Friday when the new challenge comes out. When I finish it I will post it here.

Last night being Monday I went out the weekly life drawing session. Last night we had that rare treat of a male model. Believe it or not, it is much easier to get women to model in the nude then it is to get men to do so. According to some of the other artists at the session, men will talk a lot about it, but when asked to "drop trow" and do it they back off. A pity as it is really fun to draw men. There are differences other than the obvious ones that make it a challenge. Our model last night was very good, and was really able to hold the pose for us. First is my pencil drawing that I started out the session with:

I had issues with hands and feet last night, still not sure that they are correct. About the middle of the 2nd posing session, I decided that it was time to switch from graphite pencil to colored pencil. The lighting being used last night created strong shadows which I wanted to capture, so I decided to use a darker paper instead of the light color I used last week. The darker paper allowed me to use light colored pencils to highlight the lit areas. Some of the lights were colored, which is why I added various colors to the skin tones. This week I think I prefer the colored pencil drawing out of the two. The model was leaning into the wall behind him and I hope the drawings give you that feeling.

That is it for this post. I need to get back to my quilting. Until next time, remember comments are welcome if you should be so inclined.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sketchbook Project Spread 2

I actually drew this last week, but didn't feel it fit in with the last post so I saved it. I have an idea for my next spread, but I have to pick up some supplies first. Above is a drawing from life of some fresh peas. I was able to purchased about a pound of them last week at my local farm stand. I shelled almost all of them saving just a couple of pods to set up for my mini still life and to draw. After drawing the peas I sketched in the words on the left page, and yes I know they are out of alignment, I realized that before I inked them in, but decided I didn't really care and just went ahead and did the inking. The letter forms are not any standard alphabet, just something I drew based on letter forms I know. The Peas were done with colored pencil over a graphite pencil sketch. There were enough that I was able to enjoyed them at a couple of meals as my vegetable side, yummy.

I have already added this image to my folder on the Art House Co-op site. 

This is it for today. I have been busy this week starting work on a new web site for me and pulling together the June Challenge for the FFFC group. Not going to give away what it is until the reveal next week, but it has been fun doing the research. Per usual comments are welcome.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stylized Greek Mandala and sketches

Above is my latest finished mandala. Like all the others it is done with colored pencils and some ink work. I haven't quite settled on a name for this one yet, Slightly Greek, Stylized Greek, Not Quite Greek, any of the 3 would work, but I am also open to suggestions. The reason for the Greek reference is because most of the designs are based on Greek band or border designs I found in the Dover Handbook of Ornament. I have owned this book for more years then I want to admit to, having purchased it in NYC on one of my trips to the city when I lived in CT. The price at the time was 4.50, (it still has the sticker) which I felt was a lot of money and made me think twice about purchasing the book. Now it is less then a paperback novel. Anyway it is one of those classic design reference books that has been around since 1888 when it was first published. Dover first printed it in 1957 but I am not sure when my book was actually printed, probably sometime in the 60's. I have been consulting this book for years for design and pattern ideas. I was originally thinking I wanted to use Art Nouveau designs for this mandala, and even pulled out and reviewed my Dover books that have Nouveau designs, but in the end I went with the older Greek concepts finding them more attractive.

There were times when I was working on this piece that I wasn't very happy with it. But after finishing the two outer rings I decided that I really do like it. The center is a bit busy but since the outer bands aren't I think they counter the visual business of the inner ones successfully. The colors, esp. in the outer bands seem a bit oriental to me, which wasn't really my aim when I selected them. It is part of my design process to pre-select the colors/pencils that I will use in one of my mandalas, I may add or subtract a couple of pencils as I work on the designs but I try to limit the colors being used. Not sure that someone looking at the above image would think I had done that though. It appears that I included half the color wheel in this one. Still I think all the colors are working together, and I don't see how I could have left one out.  Good thing it isn't a fabric design though, the manufacturers would have a fit at the number of plates that would be needed to print this.

I have already started to think about the next mandala which I think will be smaller then the last two I have finished, probably the size of the Spring Mandala I completed in January.

I have 2 more images for you, yesterday being Monday I went out to the Monday long pose life modeling session. I finished 2 drawings during this session. The first one is pencil only, and not as finished as last weeks pencil drawing. Last night I decided to spend more time on the color pencil version and to that end I took along some pastel paper that I had purchased for my Illustration class but never used. The pastel paper has a bit more tooth then I usually use for my pencil work so I am not sure how I like it, but I think I need to use it again so that I can get used to how it works, and what I need to do to make it work for me.  Anyway here is the pencil drawing:

I am not sure how successful this is, the model was back lit so her back was in bright light while her front was in shadows. I was semi pleased with it when I was working on it, but now I am not so sure. Oh well, there is always next week. On to the colored pencil sketch:

The model is in a slightly different pose, as this was done after a break and she had repositioned herself. I didn't try for a lot of details so her face is a bit vauge, I probably should have darkened the background to make the profile stand out a bit more. That is something I can still do if I think the drawing worth the time and effort. which I am not sure about at this point. My fellow artists at the session were all painting with oils this week, some quite successfully. 

That is it for today. Per usual comments and suggestions are welcome.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sketchbook Project Part 2, and drawings

Above is the finished title page for my Sketchbook giving the theme that I am using for my images. I wanted artwork that would visually represent the theme of the book. Maybe not the best design but I rather like it. I used various media to draw this, a technical pen for the black lines, a couple of colored markers for the green and yellow bits, and colored pencil for the blue letters inside the box.

The next image is my first page spread. Last Friday I stopped by the local farm stand to check on what they might have for sale. Because of all the hot weather we have been having I lucked out and they actually had strawberries. Locally grown strawberries, yummy and I quickly purchased a box to take home to enjoy. And enjoy I did, making some shortcake to have strawberry shortcake with cream. It was pretty much my dinner and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I saved the box the strawberries came in and used it for my first drawing in the sketchbook. Because I had already eaten the strawberries I downloaded reference photographs off the web. So the above image is a combination of a box drawn from life and photographed strawberries. Done with graphite and colored pencils. Because of bleed through I don't like drawing on the left page in sketchbooks, so I think I will be doing simple text images like what is above on my left side pages. In this case the text describes the drawing. I did it first with pen and ink only to realize that I had misspelled a word, so I went to the computer and redid the text in Photoshop, printed it out and glued it into the book. I am not totally pleased with this solution but it works so this is it.

This morning I spent time working on my pages at the Art House web site, uploading the scanned pages shown above, setting up my profile and adding a couple of portfolio images. I will be adding a link to my pages at the Art House site to the blog link list, but you can also find it here.

Last night I went to my first long pose drawing session. I have two drawings for you from that, the first is OK, done in pencil and took most of the evening. The second I did fairly quickly with colored pencils after sketching the models pose with pencil. I don't like it, but though you might like to see it anyway. All of the other artists there were painting, some with oil, others acrylic and one with watercolor. But they would rather have me then not so I will go again. 

Well that is it for this post. I have been doing some sewing and have finish a couple of pencil holders. Progress on the mandala is being made slowly. Comments per usual are welcome.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Drawing & Sketchbook Project

I have 4 sketches from last nights short pose drawing session for you today. Above is one of the 5 minute poses. I don't think any of the images this week are from the 2 minute poses, I had trouble getting into the groove last night for some reason. It might have been the model, who was new to me, last weeks model I had drawn before in my drawing classes, or maybe I just found her body type easier to render in charcoal. Who knows, still when I looked at the drawings this morning I discovered they weren't quite as bad as I thought they were last night. And when I compare them to what I was drawing last year in class, I am much happier with the results. Not that the current drawings are more perfect, they're not, I am still making lots of mistakes, but I am more relaxed, a bit more confident, and I think that shows in the type of marks I am putting on the paper. On to the rest of the images.

Next week I won't be doing so many drawings. The Artist who hosts the sessions is taking some summer classes and will be gone until August. However he is leasing his studio (and studio cat) out to another artist and one of the regular Models will be running the posing sessions, only just the Monday long pose session will be held. So if I want to continue drawing I need to switch to Monday night and do some long studies. After warming up with short sessions these past 3 weeks I think I am ready to try some longer studies.

On a totally different note, about a week ago I joined a project that I heard about on the Art Quilt List. It is called the Sketchbook Project and is being run by the Art House Co-op in Brooklyn, NY (click on the link to check it out). You pay to join the project, and you have to select a theme for your sketchbook, then they send out a small Moleskine Notebook that is to be filled with art. I received mine in the mail yesterday. My theme is Inside/Outside. You can see my starting efforts here. Since I have to send the book back to them in January 2011, I will be photographing my pages as I finish them. I hope that I will be able to actually finish this project, but whatever I get done should be fun and interesting.

I haven't started a quilt yet but I have been doing a bit of sewing, mostly on potholders but also on another pencil holder. But I hope to try to develop some ideas for a quilt later today, after working on the mandala a bit. That's it for this post, per usual comments are welcome.