Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 30 Figure Drawing

Above is last nights figure drawing. I am not overly happy with it. I had a hard time with her face and am still not happy with the result. Not my best work. My excuse is that I was tired, I hadn't slept all that well the night before. I think I need to work on my drawings more this week.

It is going to be hot hot hot, here today, for the 2nd day in a row, actually I think it is supposed to be hot for the rest of the week, hot is temps in the 90's, though I have to admit that the apt. didn't get that hot yesterday, so for me it wasn't too bad. The only plus side of this heat is that the humidity isn't 100%, which makes it a bit easier to bear.  Still since it was nice and cool last week I know I am not the only one who was hoping the 90 degree temps were over for the season. Oh well, tomorrow is Sept. 1st so summer is almost over and the high temps should be moving out.

Here on the eastern seaboard we are all keeping an eye on Earl, currently a category 4 hurricane. It has been quite a few years since we had a hurricane come ashore here in MA, and I am really hoping that all we get from Earl is a good drenching. Should know a bit more later today and definitely by tomorrow what Earl's track will be. If Earl does end up tracking to make landfall here in MA. it will hopefully have lost some strength. We have had some bad storms in the past few years so with luck it won't be as damaging as Gloria was way back in 1985.

My second drawing for you today is from my sketchbook, and is a sketch done from a photo I took down at the Cape Cod Canal park area. A man riding a bicycle on the pathway. It is pretty sketchy, but I am trying to do more compositional pieces such as figure groupings and landscapes with people. I am getting fairly good with single portraits or figures, human or animal, and think it is time to try and do more complex compositions.

That is it for today, I will post my latest Sketchbook project page in a couple of days since I finally colored in my Hermit Crab. I also have a new ATC card to show off. In the meantime comments are welcome.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 24 Drawing

Not a good photograph, sorry about that, but it is raining here, which is actually a good thing, but it makes it hard for me to get a good photograph. Still I think the photo is good enough for you to get the idea of last nights drawing. If it looks like the model is asleep, that is because she was. Fortunately she mainly held pose, moving only toward the end of the session, but by then I pretty much had finished the body so I focused on rendering the drapes and sofa around her.

I probably should have moved as my location showed the body seriously foreshortened, but I decided to take it as a challenge and see what I could do with the pose. Needless to say it was a much easier pose from a straight on view.  But that is where the serious painters are usually located, and I don't like to get in their way. Still part of the purpose of these drawing sessions is to see how well I can do with challenging positions.

Again I only did the one drawing. I am taking the colored pencils with me, but focusing on getting a good graphite drawing, letting the colored pencils just sit for the moment. I think I will eventually go back to them when I feel I don't need to labor quite so much over the pencil drawings. This one took a lot of erasure before I felt I had things pretty much in the right place and in the right proportions. The advantage of using good paper is I can pretty much erase what I don't like without it leaving behind a shadow I don't want. I have been doing these drawings on Cranson 90lb classic cream drawing paper. It has a light tooth, takes the pencil well, erases well and is a nice weight. In a way I would rather be using a whiter paper, but I haven't found white paper in a pad in the size and weight I want to use.

When I started posting drawings from the live model sessions I was posting 2 drawings - one in graphite and one colored pencil drawing, since I am only doing the one image I was thinking that I would upload a 2nd image from the sketches I have been doing in my sketchbook during the week. For these drawings I am usually working from photos, ones I have made myself, or downloaded, or even from magazines. I try to vary the subject, some portraits, some animals, or even a landscape or two. The one I have for you this week is an animal drawing made from a photograph I made at the Chicago Lincoln Park Zoo. The rabbit was in the outdoor enclosure for the Gorillas. The keepers as part of the enrichment program the Zoo maintains for the Gorillas toss peanuts around the grass for them to find and eat. This rabbit was trying to collect his share of the bounty. Since the Gorillas don't like sharing this is rather risky behavior on the part of the rabbit. Do you think it looks nervous?

That is it for this post. Per usual comments are welcome.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Artist Trading Cards (ATC's)

Red Bird

ATC's or Artist Trading Cards are small works (3.5 x 2.5 inches) that are traded among artists. They can be sold, but then they are called ACEO's (Artist  Trading Card Editions and Originals)  The cards have been around since the late 90's and seem really popular with the altered art and stamper communities. I can understand why, collage is a much faster/easier way to make a lot of cards then what I have been doing. You can read some history about the cards here, and find instructions on how to make them here. Art Quilters have also taken to the small format and trading concept. The cards are the size of traditional baseball cards and as far as I can tell can be made with any materials the artist prefers, as long as the cards remain thin enough to slip into standard card sleeves they can be embellished with beads, fiber or other materials.  How much embellishment is permissible is sometimes predetermined in swaps that are set up along with a theme. Trades of cars were originally supposed to be done in person, artist to artist. Swap meets in some major cities were arraigned and held. But it is now several years on, and while swapping is still done face to face, I bet more cards are swapped through the mail. I know there are Yahoo groups set up for swapping and I have found at least one web site, ATCsforAll.com

I don't remember when I first heard about the cards, a few years ago anyway, I know they were swapped one year at the Chicago Quilt Festival. I have a friend who was making and sending fiber post cards, but I didn't find the post card size all that tempting though I did think about it off and on. A member of the Quilt Art list mentioned in a message that she had been making some ATC's for a Charity auction/fund raiser and was willing to trade with other list members who had made some. The message was the push I had been lacking to do some more investigating into how to make the cards and to finally get off my duff and make some.

First I did some on-line research (see links above) then I needed to decide what media I wanted to use for my first attempts. I decided that for my first cards I would use Bristol board, ink and colored pencils, the media that I have been playing with most for the past year or so. 

The Bristol board part was easy, I have several pads of it in various sizes. I used the cutter I purchased for making my Resume books to slice the paper into the required 3.5 x 2.5 inches. Next I had to decide what to draw on the card. I went browsing among my photo collection and found an image of a cardinal sitting on a bare branch that I thought looked doable. The result is the image at the top of the blog. Next photo is of my cut card stock and of the 3 cards I have so far finished. One card is flipped over showing the back where the artist writes  their name, contact information, and ATC number (can be either consecutive for all cards made or if a series the number in the series). I have added the work title, date, month/year and media I used to make the card. But I gather that the last 3 aren't required. 

So far I have finished 3, and I am not sure how many more I will finish before I am lured off to another project. I really should be working on my challenge quilt. But I fear I have gotten a bit bored with the handwork I need to do. Oh well. Here are photos of my other 2 finished cards, one is a mythical city that I just had fun drawing first with pen and then coloring in with colored pencils, the other is from a photo I made of pansy's that were offered for sale.

That is it for this post. Tomorrow evening I will dash out between expected rain drops to another drawing session, hopefully the results will be as good as last weeks.  Until the next post comments are welcome.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 16 Drawing & Other Stuff

Another Monday has come and gone, above is my only drawing from our life session last night. I was a bit tired and not in the mood to work with the colored pencils so I just worked on a graphite drawing. This allowed me to spend more time with the face and other details. Scott was back from vacation, and had set up the couch for the model, he likes stronger directional lighting then what we have had for many of the model run sessions so the lights and darks here are stronger. In a way it makes it easier to draw the model. The colors would have been fun to work with, but ... when I try to do two drawings I end up feeling a bit rush, and one of the two usually ends up not very well done. Hopefully you get the feeling that she is sitting/sinking into a couch, with one leg folded under her other extended leg.

Because I only finished the one drawing I though I would upload one of the sketches I have been working on in my sketchbook.  The image below was drawn from a downloaded photo, it is a domestic billy goat, cute isn't he. 

I also have 4 photographs that I want to share. I made these photo's last week when I went out to Stonybrook, one of the MA Audubon Sanctuaries. I was hoping to see a Great Blue Heron, which I have seen out there in the past, but I didn't get lucky that way. Instead I was able to get some great close up insect photo's. Two are of a dragonfly that was perched on a stem, and the other two are of a butterfly feeding at a bush in the butterfly garden.

Note the tattered wings on the dragonfly, the butterfly's wings are also a bit bedraggled. I guess it has been a hard summer for them.

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled Fritillary
Other than cropping I haven't done anything to the photographs. They were taken with the close up setting on the Cannon Rebel Six. I love the details I am able to get with the close-up mode on this camera. Course my subject has to stay put long enough for me to get into position but I got lucky with these last week. The question of course was what kind of butterfly is this. My sister's first guess was that it was a Painted Lady, but they have more black on the upper wing tips. I did a little research and found a photo of a High Brown Fritillary, but those are found in Great Britain and Europe, so I knew it couldn't be that. Then I received an e-mail from my sister with this link for a Great Spangled Fritillary.  Mine is a bit faded, and very tattered but I am sure that is what it is. Course the coloring could just be a regional variation also. I love the coloring of the butterfly against the flowers with the green background. I am trying to decide if I want to try drawing this or not. Sometimes I do wish I was a painter.

That is it for today, comments per usual welcomed.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lowell Quilt Festival 2010

Above is a photo of the location of the 2010 Lowell Quilt Festival, the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. In this relatively small building they shoehorned approx. 300 quilts and 27 vendors. They did utilize all available space including an upper floor and a room that I had never realize was there. This building has in the past been utilized for special exhibits of antique quilts, one year they had Ruth McDowell's The 12 Dancing Princesses on display, but this is the first time they have used it for the modern judged show.

There were as usual some amazing quilts, though it was a bit hard to admire them because of the crowing not so much of people but of quilts. The aisles between quilts were rather narrow and the quilts weren't given any space between them. I did try to photograph a couple of quilts - not very successfully so I won't show any quilt pictures here. The other problem is lighting. It was fairly dark in some areas on the show floor, which made it very hard to see details on some of the quilts. Some rows were lit a bit better but many were too dark. When they used this venue for the antique quilts it wasn't such a problem - well it was but antique quilts need to be shown in low light to protect them so the lack of light was acceptable. Trickier to justify that with new quilts. Still there were a couple of beautiful white on white quilts, and quite a few excellent art quilts done by Artists whose names I recognize. Congratulations to all those who won prizes/awards at the show. I also really enjoyed the quilts done by young quilters exhibited up on the 2nd floor hallway. Considering the ages of the quilters there were a several really amazing quilts. Prize winning quilters of the future I hope.

Here are a couple of photos taken inside from the outer seats, note they are a bit blurry, I had to take a long exposure and didn't have a tripod.

The quilts you see hanging are antique blue and white quilts loaned by the NEQ Museum.

I did visit the New England Quilt Museum to view their current exhibit on contemporary Broderie Perse quilts. Some very well done, and beautiful quilts, though I really enjoyed looking at the antique quilts from the museum's collection in one of the rooms. Many quilters combined techniques using some piecing along with the Broderie Perse applique to create their finished quilts. Photos aren't allowed in the museum so I only have a picture of the outside for you. 

I also visited 2 other linked venues, the Whistler House exhibit, and the Brush Art Gallery & Studios. The exhibit at the Brush didn't excite me, the quilts tended to be geometric abstractions and I don't necessarily find that type of quilt exciting. I did enjoy the exhibit at the Whistler where the theme was From Fine Art to Fiber: Reinterpreting the Masters. It was fun to see which artists the quilts were modeled after, there were several that used Klee, a couple that used Matisse, a couple that use Picasso.  The one of heads modeled after Andy Worhall was fun, esp. in conjunction with the floral arraignment sitting in front of it. I wasn't sure if I was allowed to take photographs so I didn't.  I felt the Whistler show was wonderful and I think I enjoyed it more then the larger one at the auditorium. Partly because the quilts on display had room to breath, and the viewer could get some distance from the quilt for best viewing. Also the lighting was excellent. The only quilt show I have seen consistently well lighted has been Houston. I do wish that those who put on shows would pay more attention to the lighting.

Still it was a beautiful day and I really enjoyed my annual trip up to Lowell. If any of my readers have the opportunity to visit Lowell whether during festival or at another time of year be sure to visit the Museums and Historic sites in this city that was home to early fabric mills in America.  

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Augus 9 Figure Drawing

Above is the pencil drawing from last nights long pose session. I rather like this one and feel it is better then I have been doing the last few weeks. I was beginning to get annoyed with myself and how I was doing on Monday nights so I decided I needed to do more drawings during the week. I pulled out my sketchbook from a couple of years ago and have been adding pages. Nothing fantastic, a landscape sketch of the Cape Cod Canal, from my visit down there last Wed. I was looking for some cooling breezes and found them. The canal area was very windy, and after I did the sketch I just sat on a bench and read for a while. It isn't a very good or detailed drawing but at least it was something. Next evening I drew a kitten from a downloaded internet photo and managed to draw a couple more in the next 3 days.

Next is the colored pencil drawing I did, and I am not so happy with this one, the head is a bit too small, other wise I like this drawing.  Ah well, I knew it wasn't right and did try to correct it, but didn't make enough of a change to really correct the problem. It is really hard to make that kind of correction once I start laying in the colors.

Oh well there is always next week, in the meantime I am slowly making progress on my challenge piece. In the past week, freezer paper patterns got made, cut out, ironed to fabrics, fabrics were cut out and attached together with a white glue. Yesterday I got it sandwiched and now for the sewing/quilting part to put it all together. I am hoping to work on it today, though it is pretty muggy and I am not sure I want to sit at the sewing machine. Oh well I would really like to get this done this week so we will see.

Friday is the start of the Lowell Quilt Festival, well actually the start is Thursday night, but I don't really count receptions and such, so for me the first day is Friday. It runs through Sunday, though I think I will try to make it on Friday, or then again maybe I will wait for Sat. Parking is easier on a Sat. since there aren't any Office workers around. Lots to see and do at the Festival so I will make a full day of it. Maybe I will have some pictures, though I don't really like making pictures of quilts. I really do my own thing with my work so even though I enjoy looking I don't need/want to be reminded.

Well that is it for today. Need to get off here and go work on some of my various projects. Per usual comments are welcome.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August 2 Drawing Session

I haven't done a lot of drawing this past week, at least not in the way of finished art. I have sketched in the next spread/page in my Sketchbook, but it isn't colored. I have been working on the design templates for my FFFC quilt for July's challenge and I pulled fabrics for it but nothing has been cut so far. Mainly I have been sewing, the above photo shows the stack of 10 pencil holders that I now have finished. They are pretty even if I do say so myself. I have strips cut to make about five more, but I think I will put that on hold for a bit while I work on my drawings and my challenge quilt.

Not many folks turned out for last nights drawing session. Not quite sure why, there were only 4 of us not counting the model. They will be doing short pose drawings tonight, but right now I don't think I will be going maybe I will change my mind as my figure drawings don't seem quite right these past couple of weeks and doing the short poses may get me back into the groove.

Above is the pencil drawing that I did of the model last night. Below is the colored pencil drawing.
Scot had the model set up with very directional lighting so we had some strong value contrasts to work with last night. I don't have my darks as dark as they should be in the colored pencil drawing. I spent way too much time doing the pencil layout, and didn't spend enough time laying in the color. Still I think I prefer the colored pencil to the graphite drawing this week.

One other thing I did last week was to open an account on Fine Art America, a free web site for artists to upload their work. The web site makes their money by selling prints of the art work on display. Artists do get a fee for the use of the image, and can offer the original work for sale. So far I haven't uploaded much in the way of images and I am not sure how many I will load. I doubt I will sell anything but who knows, and one thing for sure if I don't post anything then I will never sell anything.

That is it for today. Comments per usual welcome. Hope everyone who is enjoying summer is staying as cool as possible this year.