Friday, January 30, 2015

Regarding Snow and some drawings

I have been doing more pattern play with pen and ink. Well the pattern starts out in pencil then I ink the lines, erase the pencil and then ink a background. For the above I was working with a dip pen and my new to me acrylic inks, sepia for the outlines and black for the background and fills. I don't think I will add any colored pencil to this one, as I rather like the subtle color changes between the brown and black inks and I think it would get lost if I added more color.

Not sure where I am going with these, for some reason they appeal to me at the moment. Maybe I have been looking at too many architectural details or too many Greek vases. I am not deliberately copying anything but I wouldn't be surprised to find they remind my viewers of something specific.

I do wish I was a bit more consistent in some areas with the fill lines I put in, though I suppose that the unevenness is a sign that was done by hand and not on a computer. This is only 4 inches square done on 400 Strathmore Bristol Smooth paper, using a Japanese nib.

Drawn directly in my sketchbook with Sepia Acrylic Ink and a dip pen. I think I have the perspective slightly off, but otherwise am fairly pleased with how this came out. Shading is done with just line work and almost no crosshatching.

Back to pencil for the drawing above of a columbine flower, bud and leaf from a reference photo I made a few years ago. I love wild columbine with their red and yellow colors. They are such complex flowers and this was a challenge to draw.

I took a bit of liberty with the drawing and upped the contrast in Photoshop. I used a F lead for the drawing and the scan was looking a bit lighter than I wanted. F leads are rather hard, harder than an HB but not as hard as a 2H and I am finding them a good weight to use for my preliminary pen and ink drawings. The graphite erases easily, is light, but doesn't mark the paper. I purchase this lead in Chicago and it is Koh-i-Noor lead which I haven't seen for sale here in the states for quite a few years. Good to see them back.

Regarding snow, I have two photographs today, and the way our weather is looking (lightly snowing today, as I type) there will be more in my future. After weeks of hardly any snow we finally received some. Well a bit more than some, we had full fledged blizzard with high winds (wind gusts approx. 60 mph) and lots of snow, about 2 feet or 24 inches in my area, though it may have been more. The wind blew it around so much that it is a bit hard to judge just how much actually fell. The storm lasted about 24 hours and basically shut down the eastern half of MA for two days, one for the storm and one for dig out. It also appears to have moved us into a different weather pattern, since we are getting some snow today, more tonight/tomorrow and still more is forecast for Monday.

I think that after Monday I will be just as happy if it decides to stop snowing for the rest of the winter, though it doesn't seem likely. For the record I am fine, didn't loose power even once during the storm, and even if I had I have enough supplies on hand to hold up or as actually happened I could even have done food shopping on Wednesday if necessary.

I gather the news folks in other areas of the country made it sound like we were having a natural disaster up here. Well a few communities did suffer greatly from the storm, Nantucket Island lost power, and a couple of coastal communities suffered major damage from Ocean surges and beach erosion. Homes were lost, roads damaged but I don't believe anyone died. Still for most of us here in Eastern MA, Tuesday was a day to stay inside, watch the snow fall, maybe feed the birds and wait for the wind to drop prior to starting the clean up. Travel isn't easy, side streets are still mostly snow covered but things are getting back to normal, more or less.

OK, photos, the one above is of an almost buried headstone in an old cemetery that is just around the corner from me.

This next one shows how the city attempted to clear the sidewalk and then contractors working for a business came along and closed off one end as they cleared the parking lot/driveway for the business. This isn't a very, hmm, artistic photo but it does give the viewer a good idea of just how much snow there is that has to be cleared off of streets and sidewalks. To be honest I think I am going to be walking in the street at least some of the time for quite a while, and yes I will be careful.

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

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pen and Ink with added color

Not much in the way of art making this past week. But I am working on another pen and ink pattern piece, and I did spend some time with the last one I made.

I used my new to me Caran D'Ache Luminance colored pencils to add color to that first work. They are nice pencils, I think they lay down color very well, esp. as the paper I was using, Bristol Smooth, is not known for accepting many layers of colored pencil. The colors are bright and I was able to overlay and blend with a fair amount of ease. I need to get more of these. Just wish they didn't cost around 4.00 a pencil. However for that price you get the most colorfast of all the colored pencils on the market, so I suppose they are worth it. I received a 16 pencil set for Christmas so this was my first chance to really play with them

Above is just a doodle really mostly a single line then I used some line work to shade what would be leaves and part of the trunk of the tree. Added some grass and a funny looking rabbit and called it a day. I like drawing these weird looking trees, they are just fun to draw, and I think can look interesting.

Can you identify the subject of the above quick pen and ink drawing? My winter boots, tossed on top of each other. This is another drawing from life of an item on the current WetCanvas Scavenger Hunt list. I probably should have spent a bit more time on this but wasn't really in the mood. So it is what it is.

I was hoping to post a fantastic picture which I would have taken yesterday on a Boston Harbor Cruise, Instead winter decided to arrive in the form of a minor snow storm (which could have been more) causing the cruse to be cancelled. Bother, I would have gone out in the afternoon to make some snow photographs but here on the South Shore of Boston the snow had turned to rain which only made a mess out of the snow on the ground, not something I wanted to photograph. So instead you are seeing a photo I made while in Chicago. Someone's front yard had this little statue/birdbath. I like the statue and the play of winter light that was falling over it.

I have rescheduled my cruse to February, and more snow is forecast for early next week, so you may at least get some snow photographs with  my next blog update.

In the meantime that is all for today, per usual comments are welcome.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Bookmark and Other scribbles

I have finished the inking on another new bookmark and have an image of it above. Not quite sure what is going on here, a chick dreaming of Easter Eggs, or something. Anyway this is what I drew and rather liked so just went ahead and inked it in. It now needs to be finished off, with a protective layer of contact paper and a tassel.

Two by six inches on Stonehenge paper, various colored pens, mostly Microns but the grey is a copic fineliner.

I did the above the other day for one of the WetCanvas Scavenger Hunts. It was supposed to be hand lotion and I used this tube of body cream as a substituent. Well the body cream can be used on the hands after all and I wanted to draw something fairly simple.

I used a copic black fineliner in the dedicated sketchbook I use for challenge drawings. I was trying to not do any cross hatching on this only directional black lines.

Another Scavenger Hunt image, a new hunt so a different series of possible subjects. The challenge for this one was to draw my favorite electronic device. Right now that is my Samsung tablet that can be used for reading books, listening to books, listening to music and playing games. Not sure which activity I spend the most time doing on this device.  Again copic fineliners in my dedicated sketchbook.

I was in Boston on Friday (which is why this update is late) and visited the MFA and the Greek Vases. I was starting to feel a bit tired as I had done some walking and shopping prior to arriving at the museum so sat myself down for a bit and sketched this vase. There are problems with it, as it leans to the right a bit and the neck is a bit longer in my drawing than the real life vase had, but am otherwise not to unhappy with it. Done in my sketch book with a technical pencil that I use for these drawings. The museum doesn't want attendee's to use pens in the galleries, which I can understand.

From the Ancient Greek and Roman Galleries I went to visit the Asian Galleries and there viewed some Japanese children's games, wood block prints on paper. Then I went down to the Chinese exhibit of women in paintings, Court Ladies or Pin up Girls? I was getting rather tired by the time I arrived in the gallery showing these works and will have to go back to revisit. But they are both beautiful and a bit off putting at the same time. Some I would not hesitate to classify as porn, others would have been considered erotic by the contemporary Chinese viewer while my modern western eyes thought them just beautiful images of court life.

In paintings where the women are clothed you never see even the tips of shoes, in the paintings where the women are nude they all have tiny feet and look like they are wearing booties. This of course is the depiction of the bound feet that higher class women in China were subjected to for centuries. Makes me shudder to even think about, their feet had to hurt all the time, but walking on them must have been extremely painful. Such a cruel thing to subject little girls to, all in the supposed name of beauty.

My closing photograph today was made in Boston Commons and is of a North Sea Mine that was recovered and presented to the City of Boston as memorial for Mine Sweepers in WWI. I didn't take the time to read the whole inscription on the plaque, it was windy and cold up on the hill by the war memorial. But thought this made an interesting photograph of contrasts, esp. as it has been just 100 years since the start of that war.

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

Monday, January 12, 2015

Jan. Pen and Ink works.

Better late than never I guess, the above pen and ink drawing of a farm house is from the December WetCanvas pen and ink forum challenge images. I started it back in December and just never got it done. I even took it with me to Chicago but ended up not working on it, not feeling in the mood to do this type of pen work.

Size is 4 x 4 inches on Bristol Board Smooth. Done with my smaller nib technical pens. This is mostly line not cross hatch, the toning is just lots of thin lines close together. I am still playing with pen techniques, for this drawing I didn't use outlines just directional lines. Not sure about the trees in background, They don't exactly look like trees, but I am not sure it is necessary that they do. The house is the focal point, trees are just in the background and wouldn't really be noticed by a viewer.

The WetCanvas channels/forums have one dedicated to drawing plein air, or rather from life, no photo references. Part of their usual activities is to generate a list of things to draw from life, it isn't quite weekly since each "Scavenger Hunt" list runs for 9 days but it is frequent enough. I have been missing this kind of challenge. The Everyday Matters group used to have a weekly theme but new themes haven't been issued for over a year. Anyway I may not join this group very often but felt like it this past week.

So above is my own vegetable peeler drawn from life. This little guy is old, dating back to when I first went out on my own, oh over 40 years ago. But it still works just fine so I have never replaced it. Drawn in the sketchbook I had previously dedicated to the Everyday matters drawings I used graphite to show my peeler.

I haven't done a new bookmark for ages and figured it was time that I got back to making some, so above is the finished drawing part of a new bookmark. Done on Stonehenge paper with colored pens. Fish, more or less based on the fish I drew for #Inktober. Still needs some finishing details including a tassel, but at least I have it started. I worked on this while listening to an audible book I borrowed from the library. Need to get more books to listen to this way, lets me draw at the same time I listen.

I don't think the above is finished. I am thinking about adding color. All it is right now is a stipple background for the darks. I drew this first with pencil and then stippled around the drawn shapes. Once I had the stipple mostly done I erased out the pencil and made corrections. I just made up the design as I went along with no particular image in mind.

Still thinking about what colors to add. I will be using colored pencil as this is done on Bristol Board Smooth which doesn't like water. If I had used hot press watercolor paper I think I would be using some of my Inktense pencils, but because I didn't think that far ahead I think I will go the safer road and just use regular colored pencils.

A photograph from last week. We had a light dusting of snow on Friday morning, here is a photograph of the sky and rooftops showing clearing clouds and that snowy frosting. Looks monochromatic, but it is really a color photograph, just not a lot of color to show in this one.

That is it for today. I hope to get back to being more productive than I have been art wise. It does seem like I need to take these little breaks from creating. Anyway per usual comments are welcome.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

More Doodles from Chicago

The above wasn't done in Chicago, this piece was actually made in the past couple of days after I got home. Not quite sure what I was thinking or tying out here, but the idea came to me to draw some flowers, then decided they needed some color so I added it. Various colored ink pens and one of my technical pens with black ink. Not very large only about 4 inches high, done in one of my sketchbooks, flowers are from my imagination.

I have something nibbling at the back of the brain that wants to be a project, eventually it will either come out into the light or go away, If it decides to make itself known you will read about it here.

During my Chicago visit my sister and I visited the Art Institute of Chicago. We often make a visit there at this time year. I enjoy seeing what they have in their drawing Galleries and usually we visit the Textile Galleries to see if there are any quilts hanging. On this visit we didn't make it down to the Textiles and instead went up to the Modern wing to check out the surrealists. There was a Dali painting I wanted to see, turns out it wasn't on exhibit but I did enjoy seeing some early Picasso, Chagall, and Matisse works. After the moderns we took a break for lunch then headed back toward the front to see the Drawing exhibit, Strokes of Genius, Italian drawings from the 1500's. It is marvelous by the way, if anyone reading is in Chicago prior to Feb 1, stop by the museum and check it out.

Anyway on our way to the drawings we wandered through an exhibit of Byzantine art, a couple of the exhibits were carved crosses, inspiring me to draw one of my own when I got back to my sisters. My drawing is very simple compared to the carvings but I had fun doing it just the same.  Drawn with Technical pens in one of my sketchbooks.

Above is another small drawing inspired by a museum visit. The museum this time was the Chicago Nature Museum and its butterfly room. They raise live mostly tropical butterflies in this room. I spent a fun hour or so trying to make some photographs. Not terribly successful but it was fun anyway. The museum is a great place to take kids, they have a wonderful interactive exhibit on rivers and water flow where kids can dam a "river" and see what happens. In another room they have live frogs and other animals on exhibit.

My butterfly with the rose is totally from my imagination, and isn't really based on any one butterfly. Just needed to exercise the technical pens. Another drawing in my sketchbook.

Another drawing from my imagination, this time I used a brown ink pen. The goal was to see if I could draw clouds and portray distance in a landscape. I consider this only semi successful, some of these clouds are pretty oddly shaped, and have a bit too much outlining. Was also trying different strokes to create texture, my conclusions I need to do more of this type of sketch to further develop my skills in this area, right now they are sadly lacking.

As a close a couple of photographs. Above are two of the butterflies in the Butterfly room at the museum. These were thinking about mating, but for one reason or another didn't actually do so.

For the above image I have one comment, Baby it is cold outside. Our outside temps this morning when I got up were about 1 degree F, cold. And yes I know Chicago is probably even colder, still for us this is cold, and made me reconsider my plans to travel into Boston today. Think I will put that off until tomorrow when it will be warmer. Anyway the above is a photograph of frost on one of my storm windows. I enhanced it in Photoshop so there is a bit more contrast, But frost does make pretty patterns on glass. As I write this the frost has melted so I am glad I was paying attention and made the photo earlier.

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

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Pen and Ink Dwgs from Christmas Vacation

I usually go to visit my sister in Chicago for Christmas, this year being no exception, though this year I decided to take the train instead of flying. Flying has gotten expensive and no longer fun, what with the hassles with security, having to be there 2 hours early, and since I can't afford first class, seats that are sized so that only a kid under 12 would be comfortable in them. Anyway I thought why not try the train, so I did. I won't deny that it takes longer by train, but other than that I enjoyed my trip. I would have been happier on the trip out if I had taken more liquids with me, and I should have checked my luggage, but having learned on that trip I did both on the return trip and was much happier. Since I have retired the one thing I have is more time, and I enjoyed being able to look out a window to see actual scenery instead of clouds.

So what does the above have to do with artwork, nothing. But planning for Christmas and then travel did get in the way of my making art and updating the blog in December. Course once I was in Chicago I did have both the time and energy to do some art work. Nothing fancy or elaborate, I just wasn't in the mood, but I did make several pen and ink drawings. Actually more than I want to put in one post so I will spread them out over a couple of updates.

The one above is the only one I used color on and these are colored inks. My sister loves pineapple (well I do also) so it has become a tradition that we have one for over the Holidays. I borrowed it for a bit along with an apple and a pear to set up a small still life to draw.  It is my usual small size (4 x 4 inches) but worked in one of my sketchbooks instead of on Bristol Board. I used various pens for this and am not dissatisfied with how it came out. The pineapple was kind of fun to draw. The apple is sitting in a small glass basket that was really only big enough for the one apple. The oblong fruit in front was a red pear, Red pears don't have the typical pear shape so I suppose I would have done better to use another apple instead. Ah well done is done and it is what it is, too late now.

I had taken my technical pens along for my vacation, and if you have used technical pens you know that they need to be "exercised" every few days to keep the ink flowing. Above is one of my pen exercises. Done with all of my technical pen tips. Just a doodle I didn't have any particular plans for this when I started and just let it develop as I went along.

The star above is another technical pen drawing. This one I did do a bit more pre-planning on prior to starting and have to say that I like this one better than the more free formed doodle above.

Since I arrived prior to Christmas Day and still had a bit more shopping to do we spent one day in the loop at Macy's (former Marshal Fields store) shopping and eating lunch. The photograph above shows a decorated down town Chicago with crowded sidewalks full of Holiday shoppers dressed for the season.  I will be sharing more of my Chicago photographs both here and on my facebook page if you are interested.

That is it for today, my next update should be in a couple of days instead of the weeks between my last one and this. I want to extend to my readers a belated Seasons Greetings and wish you all a Happy and Healthy 2015. Hope that you all got at least one gift during the Holiday's that you truly wanted. In the meantime per usual comments are welcome.