Monday, February 18, 2013

Presidents Day Update

Today's update includes a couple of ATC (Artist Trading Cards) that I have been working on. Sometimes I seem to come up with a design that won't go away until I explore several iterations. The flower design I came up with a couple of weeks ago is one of those. Both of these cards use the design, the top one with the flowers mostly the same size just moving across the card. For the lower image I simplified some of the flowers and varied sizes quite a bit. I rather think I prefer the 2nd card to the first, but that is me, and I have a feeling there are others who might prefer the top card. Whichever doesn't matter to me.

Both cards were done on Stonehenge paper with inked outlines and colored pencil fillers.

Not sure if I am done with this series or not, only time will tell. In the meantime if you want to tell me which one you prefer I would love to hear.

Since last Monday communities were still digging out from our major snowstorm I decided to not to to the Long Pose Drawing Session. Roads weren't in good shape and while the day had been warm meaning that melting had happened I was concerned about ice on the roads after Dark. Anyway by Tuesday things were a bit better so I went out to the Short Pose Session again. Our model was lovely and very good, striking many lovely poses. While I am not thrilled with a lot a drew that night I thought I would share 4 drawings that for one reason or another I rather like.

The above 2 drawings are pen drawings of 3 minute poses. I start out with a chalk type pencil to warm up and then move to pen for many of these very short poses.

When the poses move to 5 minutes I switch over to a soft lead pencil (4B). The 2 drawings above were both 5 minute poses. She also did a couple of 10 minute poses for us, but I think by then I was getting pretty tired and I am not totally happy with those drawings.

The above photograph is of a male mallard duck flying. The background looks blurred because I was moving the camera trying for a photograph of a non-blurred flying duck.

That is it for today, per usual comments are always appreciated.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Flowers, a Figure and Snow

Where does the time go, this week it has totally gotten away from me. No excuse for not updating the blog, I actually have been busy working on various projects so have images to post but somehow didn't manage to make the time to actually scan images or post an update. Oh well, means I have works for my next post which should happen in a more timely manner.

Before I forget Happy Valentines Day to all, though I have to admit it is one of those Holidays that I usually ignore.

Anyway the above colored pencil drawing (with some ink) was finished earlier this week. The images started out as a doodle that I rather liked so I scanned it into the computer, enlarged it in Photoshop and reprinted it at the larger size. Then using tracing paper I transferred it to Stonehenge paper, inked in outlines and colored. Sometimes I feel like I am still working in coloring books though colored pencils allow for much more finesse than crayons do. Still I rather like the look of the finished work so probably will continue to work this way.

Needless to say these aren't real plants/flowers, though the fern leaves are fairly realistic. The leaf variegation was inspired by seeing some spotted wintergreen on one of my fairly recent walks in some woods.

Above is last weeks figure drawing. I actually made it to a Monday night long pose session. Not totally happy with this, but not sure what I would want to change. I think the model found the pose more of a challenge than she initially though it would be and had a certain amount of difficultly maintaining it, which made it a bit hard to draw. When a model shifts a pose it shifts the shadows which can make it very tricky to get the drawing finished the way I would prefer.

Shifting shadows are one of the major challenges of painting or drawing plein air landscapes, when doing those the idea is to lay in the major outlines including shadows in the first 15 to 20 minutes, and then work on details. Not quite so easy to do with a figure drawing. But then the challenge is why we keep doing it, or at least I tell myself that.

One week ago here in the Northeast everyone was preparing for a blizzard. The storm started Friday morning and stopped Saturday afternoon. I tried to document some of the storm in photographs, though I have more start of storm images than I have after storm images. Still I thought I would share some of the ones that I liked.

Above is a road near where I live, the photograph was made Friday afternoon when it had been snowing for a couple of hours but still wasn't much in the way of accumulations. The road is fairly empty because our Governor had declared a driving ban starting just prior to when I made this photograph. People grumbled, but at least we didn't have hundreds of cars stuck on major highways here in MA like they did in CT and NY, and like we did back during the blizzard of '78. BTW thought the photograph looks like it is just black and white it isn't, the snow just seemed to wash all the color out of the environment.

The above photograph was made out one of my windows Saturday afternoon after it had stopped snowing. It shows the snow piled up on the porch railings. I would guess it was about 14 inches of snow. Course it didn't actually stay there long. By Sunday afternoon it had fallen or melted off the railings.

The above photograph was made Sunday afternoon after the snow, and shows a bench in the park area around our city hall. I am not sure how much snow we actually received in my area, but from this image I would guess at least 18 inches, not as much as many areas, but still quite a bit. Some walkways had been cleaned out, but obviously not around this bench. The little lumps of snow are bits that had fallen off of tree branches in this park area. The initial snow fall was very sticky and stuck to trees, sides of buildings and phone/power lines, the bright sun on Sunday caused it to fall away.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Morning Dove and flowers

I did it, I finally finished the drawing of the Morning Dove that I started last year. They are slightly odd looking birds, sort of pear shaped, with small heads and round bodies. I usually see groups of them around the feeders at Daniel Webster. This one was sitting on a dead branch in the panne where I photographed it last summer. I wouldn't consider them very bright birds, but they are very alert and startle easily flying off at the least little thing.

Drawing was done on Stonehenge paper with graphite, size is 6.5 x 8 inches. The water had a lot of floating algae last summer which is why it looks a bit spotty. So I now have 7 of these done and need to select my next animal and get started on a new drawing. I want to get at least 12 done so I can put together a calender for next year using them.

I was doodling the other evening and came up with a design for flowers that I then carried over to this drawing. I added some ink and colored pencil to achieve the final look that you see. I didn't spend a lot of time on it so the colored pencil isn't very evenly laid down. Still I kind of like it and I may do an ATC card with this style of flower, not real of course but very fun to draw.

I liked the doodle I was working on also, and ended up enlarging it so I could transfer it to better paper for a more finished drawing. That one I am still working on and will hopefully have an in progress image of that one later in the week.

Above is more playing around with ideas for my cookbook images. This one would be for the dinner or soup section.

During my walk in the Bluehills the other day I saw a downed white pine tree. It was a fairly old/large tree and I took some time to photograph the broken stump. I just find the colors/textures of this to be quite interesting.

When my sister and I were visiting the Chicago Art Institute there was a room that had a replica of a fallen tree in it. The tree replica was over 20 feet long and the truck of the tree was very much larger (many feet larger) than this example, but I think I was thinking of that tree when I photographed this one.

That is it for today. Hope everyone is having a good week, and per usual comments are welcome.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Garlic, cookbooks and figures

One evening this week I thought I would draw my garlic keeper and some cloves of garlic. I started out with the clay container that I keep my heads of garlic in. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of it until I scanned it into the computer to post. ACK, what was I thinking, it is seriously leaning to the right. Needless to say the container doesn't actually lean, the poor thing is perfectly symmetrical   I know from past drawings that I sometimes have a tendency to do that with objects. I don't seem to have that problem with people but objects that should be symmetrical have a tendency to lean to the right. Course I am right handed so that might be part of the problem. Thought I would post this drawing anyway but understand that in the near future I plan on redrawing this object with hopefully better results.

I had better results when I was just drawing the garlic heads.

At the time I was doing these drawings I had 2 heads of garlic in the keeper, one a whole head that I haven't taken any cloves off of, and another head that is pretty well gone. Above are some pen and ink sketches of the whole head and one sketch of a single clove. No preliminary pencil drawings with this, I just went in with the technical pen and drew. I am semi pleased with the results, at least they look like cloves of garlic. 

Above is another page of thumbnail sketches of possible illustrations for the cookbook. These would be for the section I have on cookies.

For many years for Christmas I made cookies to give away to friends and family. I would usually spend 2 full days baking and would bake at least 8 to 10 different kinds of cookies. Needless to say over the years I collected quite a few cookie recipes so this section of the cookbook is going to be larger than it might usually be and I decided they deserved a section all of their own. It has been quite a few years since I have done that amount of baking, as we have all grown older that quantity of sweets is no longer welcome, but they were yummy.

This past Monday I didn't attend the Long Pose Figure session that I usually attend. Our weather was a bit unsettled (snow, sleet, rain) so I decided to stay home that evening and attend the short pose session Tuesday night instead.

Above are some of my better efforts from that evening. Top 2 images are from 2 minute poses, bottom 2 would have been 5 minute poses and the drawing below is from a 15 minute pose.

Obviously with the short poses you don't have time to draw a lot of details, the main goal is to capture the energy of the model/pose. The top four drawings were done directly with ink, with some added colored pencil on one of the drawings. For the 15 minute poses I switched to pencil, since I would have time to make some corrections and could do some erasures.

 One last image, a photograph I made this afternoon at Houghtons, Pond in Milton MA. Surprisingly there is still some ice on the pond, though we had a couple of extremely warm days (temps actually reached 60 degrees) this past week with a fairly heavy rain. Course it started to turn colder yesterday afternoon and by today the temp was again around the freezing mark with a rather chilly breeze. We had a lot of clouds this afternoon, still the sun was out when I was making this photo lighting up the mid ground trees.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.