Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Where is Spring?

Above is my drawing from last evenings session. There are many things about this drawing that I am not happy with. I don't like to blame the model, but our model last night really had 3 different poses, a different pose after each break. The difference between the positions might have felt slight to her, but was significant for me, since she changed arm, hand, leg positions and as she slumped more into the chair my view of her torso. About the only part of the pose that stayed the same was her head. So I concentrated on getting a good likeness. I should have complained but no one else seemed to notice, and this was probably our last long session with this model so... I just let it go. She is recently engaged and will be moving out to Los Vegas. The men may miss her, she is amply endowed, but I have to admit that I won't.  Enough said.

The blog title today is referencing the weather which has been cold for March. We have been having sun which is lovely, but it has been chilly during the day and is still going below freezing over night. They were even talking snow for the first of April, but I gather things have changed and now there is only a chance of rain on Friday. I will take the rain, I have lived through snow on April 1st, 15 inches of heavy wet stuff. That was no fun. So here in New England we are all still waiting for signs of spring to show up hope your weather is better. I do have to say that the skiers must be thrilled by this extended season.

OK, time to change the subject again, below is the drawing I was working on over the weekend, Geranium with cat in a window.

I had fun doing this one, but now I am feeling critical, the flower pot is still too large, and the cat should probably be a bit larger in relation to the flowers, though geraniums can be in largish pots. Faults that I wouldn't have made if I was living with a cat and had it as a model. Oh well, as I said I still had fun doing this one and hope you enjoy viewing it. The image size is slightly larger, a 5 inch square instead of the 4 inches I usually work with.

My last image for today isn't of my art work, but is of the ATC cards I finally received as part of the ATC House swap I took part in. My cards are on Blog's ATC page if you haven't seen them. I want to thank our swap Hostess for running the swap, and Cindy Skillman, Beth Gould, and Mary Larner for their artistic skills on the cards I received. Cindy created the bottom two cards, Beth's is the top right card and Mary made the top left card. Again thanks to all for some lovely work.

That is it for today's post. Per usual comments are welcome. Also just as an aside I have been adding some of my recent artwork to my Esty Store, I intend to add all of it eventually, should anyone be interested.

Friday, March 25, 2011

More Shells and others

I have been busy this week. Not quite sure why, maybe the longer days with some sun are motivating me to work on my drawings. Or perhaps I have just run out things to read. Reading is my downfall. If I get sucked into a book everything else tends to take a back seat. I wish I could say that my reading included lots of good non-fiction works, but that isn't true. I tend to read mysteries, science fiction/fantasy and some romance, all enjoyable but not heavy reading. Anyway I have 4 images to post today. Above is one of my Zentangle animals, in this case a pair of ducks.  The ducks have been drawn for a bit and I just finally got around to doing the fill work and the background for them.

Below is something a bit different. I was looking at images posted on flicker for the Sketchbook Project, yes I am still sort of following along with what they are doing, and saw an image of a geranium that someone had done. I though oh, I want to do my own version of that, so I looked on-line for reference photographs and eventually came up with the drawing below. I am not quite done with geranium's though, I have another drawing in the works that hopefully I will have done over the weekend so I can post it next week. A slightly different take of the plant in the window.

I semi like the one above. I like how I colored the pot and the leaves. Don't care so much for the flowers and I am mad at myself for drawing the pot too large. I have this tendency to make pots too large when I am drawing them with flowers, I do the same thing with vases. Have no clue why but it annoys me no end. Guess I will just have to redo this until I get it right. Practice isn't a bad thing, and this one isn't totally wrong as is, just a bit strange.

Below are 2 more shell drawings:

The one above is a bit different in a couple of ways, I am showing more sand texture and one of the shells is not whole. I based the drawing on a shell I picked up on a beach in California on one of my visits. Again the colors I use are not realistic, only the outlines are accurate depictions of the shells. I try to use fills to suggest shapes and shadows but otherwise they are out of my imagination.

Below is my last image for today, more shells.

On this one I feel that I messed up the sea urchin a bit, but otherwise it is OK. All drawings today are drawn within four inch squares on hot press watercolor paper which is approx. 7.5 inches square. This makes them relatively small, so fairly quick to do. Ink work is done with my technical pens and the color is done with watercolor pencils. Images are have all been scanned on my scanner, resulting in some color discrepancies, but not by much.

That is it for today. The FFFC group announced a new challenge today, and I am thinking that I should try to do it. Hmm, well we will see, in the meantime I need to finish a couple more animal drawings that have been started but not finished and work on another one that is a bit different. Any and all comments are welcome. Please feel free to let me know if you are enjoying these drawings.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First Day of Spring

Brockton, MA. Fields Park

Yesterday was the first day of spring here in the Northern Hemisphere. Course that meant we had snow to celebrate the event. I made the above photo yesterday afternoon in my local park. You can see the snow on the trees in the distance. I have other photographs that show the snow more clearly, I will put them on my Facebook fan page. A link to liking my fan page is at the bottom of the blog. On the plus side it wasn't much snow and it didn't last very long. In fact it was gone by the time I headed home after my drawing session.

Below is last nights drawing:

Back to young women as model this week. We have had her as a model a couple of times before in the past year.  She is a slender and rather petite young woman, though I am not sure you can tell that from my drawing. I didn't really captured her face, but the face I managed is OK. A portrait of the model isn't the goal of these weekly sessions, though some times I manage it.

It was sort of a strange evening, maybe the snow kept folks away since we were missing a couple of our regulars so it was a small group.  We usually have music playing in the background while we draw, last nights  was a strange mix, a Native American Flute player, some Medieval Lute music, and a bit of Old Blue Eye's (Frank Sinatra). It was just a bit of Frank, as Scott didn't care for the style of the song. We went back to the Flute music which was very "New Age" and rather soothing to create art to.

Over the weekend I finished another of the shell drawings.

I have to admit that I am quite pleased with these drawings. They are the sort of thing that I look at and think: did I actually draw that? I am planning on matting them and then seeing if I can sell them, probably on Esty. The question of course is what to charge for them. They are small but do represent several hours of work. Well I will ponder the question but am also open to suggestions.

That is it for today. Comments are always welcome.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sea Shells and Kittens

The Zentangle I posted Tuesday with the figure drawing ended up looking like a shell. I only semi drew the shape as a shell, meaning that I was drawing a shape that reminded me of a shell not that the shape was that of a real shell. But I had fun with it, and  thought why not draw real shell shapes. I am a long time collector/lover of shells. I actually have a collection of shells but most of it is not accessible as it is fill for a glass lamp base. Still there is the internet so I went looking for reference photographs rather then take the lamp apart. I didn't find as many as I would have liked, but did find enough for my purposes. So you see my first attempt at real shells above. The outlines are accurate drawings of shells, but the fills are sort of Zentangles.

I added color by using my watercolor pencils and a wet brush. The pencils are fun as I can do some shading with them before I add the water. Then I can go back into the wet areas with the pencils to intensify the colors if I feel I need to. I am terrible with true watercolors so for me these pencils allow me to add color in a controlled manner. Needless to say the colors are mostly from my imagination and not real shell colors.

Having done the one I though why not a series so below find my second attempt.

So far I only have the two finished, but I have started a third. Maybe I will have it done to post with my figure drawing next week.  The shells, like the drawing below, are all done on Hot Press Watercolor paper, and are fairly small, the drawing size is within a 4 inch square on paper that is approximately 7.5 inches square.

I have been working on this kitten for weeks, obviously off and on. First it took me a while to get the drawing done to my satisfaction, then I put off inking the interior of the kitten. I wasn't sure how I wanted to do it and didn't want to mess it up. I don't consciously plan the interior lines, at least not all of them, but I have to figure out how I want to start and then I can work from there. Usually I start at the head and work to the back.  Once I had the figure of the kitten done I needed to add something for the background. I didn't want to clutter this drawing up so just added the corner of a stool to give the kitten some reference.

Doing these little drawings along with my figure drawings brings up a question. How do I title my works. So far I have been taking a fairly predictable path, so the shell drawings are Shells # 2 and Shells # 3. Not the most creative of titles, but at least they are descriptive. I am open to other suggestions.

That is it for today. One last comment: I have been saddened by recent events in Japan and Libya, one an act of nature the other caused by man. May both countries start to see some relief and positive resolutions to their ongoing struggles in the near future.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ides of March

Today is the Ides of March. Poor Julius Caesar was told to beware them and ignored the advice, making it the one Ides that has gone down in history as a date to remember. Of course I am not sure it would be so memorable without the line from Shakespeare's play "Beware the Ides of March". For some reason that phrase seems to resonate with the public, so that even today it will be tweeted thousands of times by people who may have never read the play or know who Julius Caesar was. For the record I have read the play and since I studied Latin in High School actually read some of Julius Caesar's writings.

I suppose it is appropriate that this weeks drawing is of a male model. We have so few of them that it is a noteworthy event, never mind that I actually did the drawing on the 14th.  I fear I didn't do him justice, he is a very attractive young man. I am sure he doesn't consider himself that young, but he is only in his early 20's so to  me he is young. The pose was sitting and I admit that I arranged myself to avoid drawing the crotch. That knee in this view was well positioned as far as I was concerned. My personal preference is to not do crotches, either female or male. I know there are other artists who actually prefer that type of pose, not me. That is not to say that if the pose demands it I wouldn't draw it, I would/will/have. I just prefer not to if I have the choice.

Some parts of this drawing I like, and other parts I am not so sure of. Typical I suppose, that said it was fun to draw a male torso instead of a womans, much easier since he wasn't bulked up with muscle.

Otherwise I have been continuing my pen and ink work on the hot press water color paper. Below is my latest effort.
I was looking at Zentangles in a Flicker group I belong to and saw one based on a solid shape that I really liked. I decided to try my own version and the above is the result. I call it Zen Shell #1, since to me the shape ended up looking like a shell. I added color using Cretacolor watercolor pencils. Lightly penciling in the color then using a wet brush to activate and blend the colors. I think the result is kind of fun and am going to try another with more specific shell shapes.

That is it for today, I am still waiting for my House ATC's. I am becoming afraid that they have gotten lost on their way from CA, or perhaps they were delivered to the wrong address. I will be unhappy if they don't show up, but there isn't much I can do about it, ah well, at least my cards arrived in that direction. Per usual comments or questions are welcome.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

More Zentangles - sort of

Above is the latest of my animal drawings. I am not sure what to call them, I don't think they are really Zentangles. As I understand Zentangles you are supposed to start with an abstract string (line) and then fill in the page. I am starting with a very accurate drawing of an animal and then working from there. I use geometric lines to fill in the animal shape and then add some additional fills to provide a background. But I never completely fill in the drawing area with texture. I like white space, and feel that it is important to a drawing. I will occasionally do a pen and ink work with little or no white space, as I did last year with my pears, but the even stipple I used for the background of the pears serves the same purpose; a place for the viewers eye to rest.

Below is an image of another pen and ink drawing. Again all of these little works are done on hot press watercolor paper using Technical pens. The paper is approximately 7.5 inches square and most of the drawings are done in a 4 inch square.

I call this one Fantasy Garden Take 2. I have thought about coloring it, but decided I have too many small areas to want to use water color, and I don't want to use colored pencil on this one.  These take me back to the pencil drawings I did when I was younger working with shapes and textures. Pencil gives more range of tone, but ink has its advantages, better contrast with the paper for one thing.

I have more animals drawn waiting for me to fill them in and finish the rest of the drawing, so watch this space for more images. I am open to suggestions if any one has a specific animal they would like to see rendered this way. In the meantime I am still waiting for my House ATC cards. A lot of the others have received theirs but mine still seem to be in transit. I will post images here when I do finally receive them. That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8th Drawings and ATC

Above is last nights drawing. I think it works though I am not totally happy with the face this week. Ah well there is always something, good thing there is always next week so I can try again. Still it was a good evening. There wasn't a crowd, but it was good group of artists, mostly the regulars, which I have become one of after so many months. 

I have two more images today. The first is my third owl ATC.

I believe this is a great horned owl. They are certainly majestic birds. Not sure I quite did justice to him, but it isn't bad so it got sent with the first two off to Australia yesterday. At least I hope it is on its way to Australia, the postage didn't seem to be as high as I would have thought it would be. The House swap ATC's are in the mail back to me. I am looking forward to seeing what I receive for my four. The owl was done using my preferred technique of outlining the objects with a pen and then filling in with colored pencil.

Last drawing for today is a quick something I did for the Sketchbook Challenge. The theme for March is Spilling Over, so here we have the words spilling over, as in becoming a waterfall.

The above was just play, starting with the words and embellishing. I used Zig Millennium colored pens for this page. Strange to say I don't find these colors very satisfying, one reason why I don't use them very often. The green is too blue, and I don't have an orange. I did purchase a packaged assortment so it is possible they have other colors that could be purchased separately. Maybe I will check it out the next time I am in the Art Supply Store.

That is it for today. I am going to post some photographs I made last Saturday at Houghton's Pond on my Facebook Fan page. They show the reduced snow piles that were left after our week or so of warmer weather. Good thing I went then because the rain we had Sunday through yesterday morning has pretty well taken care of what was left. Not totally, some of the really huge mounds of snow still have remnants, but for the most part the ground is now clear of snow for the first time since last year.

Per usual comments are welcome.

Friday, March 4, 2011

ATC Owls

I have two more ATC's finished. Eventually there will be three, the number I need for this swap, but at the moment I have just these two. They were both done using pen and ink outlines and colored pencil fill. The one above is based on a photo I found on the internet, but then abstracted so that the result are owls, but not real ones. My attention was caught by the twisted positions of the heads of the owls in the photograph. I thought it would be fun to use that twist as the basis of my illustration. Not sure I am satisfied with how it came out, but it will have to do. 

The second card  above is a more realistic take on owls, four young birds sitting on a branch. Not sure of the species, maybe a snowy owl, but since they aren't fledged I don't know for sure. Out of the two finished I prefer the 2nd one.  Which doesn't mean that I don't see mistakes or things I would correct if I redid the card. Still I think it works so I will leave it.

I have one more to do before I can mail them off. I started the drawing for it last night but it still needs a fair amount of work, hopefully I will have it done by Monday and then can get it in the mail.

A short post today. I think the cards speak for themselves, but I do welcome comments.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March In like a Lamb?

Above is last nights drawing. I am fairly pleased with it considering I was really rather tired. I had spent the earlier part of the day with a friend at the Boston MFA looking through the new American wing. Very nice, I love how they have used saturated colors on the walls instead of a boring neutral for the early American portraits.  In some galleries they have backed the furniture and paintings on display with reproduction wallpaper similar to what would have been used at the time. A lot of time and effort went into the displays and most are very well done.  The museum is showing off its collections of furniture and other household artifacts along with it's paintings.

We started on the lowest level which had wonderful examples of pre-Colombian art from both South and Central America. Pottery vessels with elaborate paintings on the sides, and some that were more sculpture then a simple shape. There were just a couple of textiles from Peru but they were amazing. Not to mention the gold artifacts. Not sure where they were found but they had to have been hidden away from the Spanish or they would have been melted down. I am very grateful that these items managed to escape notice, beautiful.
Another fun gallery was the one they set up to imitate a Paris Salon, with paintings from floor to ceiling and placed right next to each other with no space. Visiting those early Salons must have been confusing and tiring, simply from visual overload.

On the 4th floor dedicated to art in the 20th century they had several Georgia O'Keeffe paintings. I offended one museum visitor when I suggested to my friend that the painting would be more appealing visually if she had cropped the bottom third. I am of a mind that Georgia O'Keeffe while she painted many wonderful paintings also produced her share of crap and there is no reason to pretend otherwise.  In the same vein I am in awe of Winslow Homer, the MFA has a nice selection of his works, and his focus placement is amazing. He rarely places anything in the center of his paintings, usually the main object/person is slightly offset, but sometimes they are more to one side, in which case he makes sure to balance the work with something that while it doesn't have equal mass is enough to provide the needed balance.

Sorry if that last bit sounds like jargon, it is hard to talk about focus points and balance without the work in front of you. You might want to visit the Wikipedia page for Homer and view some of his works that are on display.

I totally enjoyed my visit to the museum, and know that I will have to go back soon as we didn't really spend a lot of time in any one gallery, yesterday was pretty much just a walk through to get a feel for the new space.

Now on to a totally different subject. For the sketchbook Project I managed to produce two pieces over the weekend. Remember the theme for February was Opposites.

In the image above I used a ruler to draw a rectangle then splitting it in half I use a compass to draw semi random circles. I used tracing paper I transferred the image of the circles to the other side as a mirror image.  Then using a ruler and one of my larger sized technical pens I drew straight lines. On the left I left the circles empty and on the right I filled them in. Then using my Inktense pencils I added color to the blank areas. I was happy with the yellow on the left, but the blue on the right turned out to be too dark. I should have picked a lighter color for the effect I was looking for. Because this drawing didn't work for me I turned the page and created the drawing below.

For this drawing I made a slightly smaller rectangle and after splitting it in half drew some random shapes and lines on the left side. I again used tracing paper to transfer the image to the right side as a mirror image. Then I added the fills, but for this drawing I did all the lines free hand with a slightly smaller pen point. Above is the resulting image. Interesting, but I think I would have been happier with it if I hadn't outlined the trees on the right side and left the white to just merge. I think the viewers eye would have filled in the lines anyway, but now I won't know that for sure unless I redo the drawing, which I don't want to do.

That's it for today. Our Sketchbook challenge theme for March is Spilling Over. Not sure where I am going to go with that. Should be interesting. In the meantime today is the first of March, and we are having a sunny if chilly day with a light breeze. Tomorrow we will get some March winds, but today we are seeing the lamb side of March. Remember comments are always welcome.