Saturday, February 20, 2016

Mallards, a cat and Picasso

Above is the finished colored pencil version of my Mallard Ducklings. I posted the inked drawing earlier this year and am pleased to have finished it. Size is 6 x 6 inches on Stonehenge paper. I used Derwent pencils for the starting layers and then switched to Faber Castel Polychromos for the finish. The original drawing was based on a reference photograph I made last summer in my local park. 

It is only sort of photo realistic, the ink outlines put this in the Illustration category and I took some liberties with the rocks and some values. The ground the ducklings are standing on should really be darker, but if I shaded the drawing to the darkness of the reference, the ducklings wouldn't stand out as much. I also applied a finishing layer of light blue to all of the background to heighten the contrast between the background and the living birds. 

Time to move onto my next drawing, I am pulling pencils to start the Iris, and have started drawing some lilies that I photographed a couple of summers ago. The colors in that photo are really fun so I am looking forward to working on that piece. 

 I finally finished inking this cat that I photographed a couple of years ago. I am not happy with this, I should have drawn the cat much larger than I did. Size is 4 x 4 inches and I used the .05 Copic Multiliner pen.

 I can't be sure of course because I don't really know the cat or its owners but because of the size and slope of the hind quarters I think this is a true Manx Cat and not one with a docked tail. I do like this photograph so may redraw it so that the animal is larger, Then maybe I could get the face right.

I was in Boston earlier this week and made a visit to the MFA. While there I drew this Greek Sphinx sculpture. The Sphinx portion is ok, but the pedistle it is standing on isn't quite right, it should be more compressed, width is OK but it is too long. Course that might be partly because I was looking up at it. Graphite in my 5 x 7 sketchbook, the museum doesn't like artists to use pen inside the museum, which I can understand.

Above are two Picasso portraits of the same woman, but done at different times. I want to include a quote from Picasso about Portraiture which I agree with, though I don't think I would ever go to the extremes he used in his imagery.

"It's not important to me to know whether a certain portrait is a good likeness or not. Years, centuries pass, and it is not important if the physiognomical traits are exactly those of the person portrayed. The artist loses himself in a futile effort if he wants to be realistic. The work can be beautiful even if it doesn't have a conventional likeness."

The portraits and quote are part of a small show that has pairings of Picasso's art, two (or more) pieces done of the same subject, mostly portraits, but there are also 2 painting of the Rape of Sabine Women. Picasso loved to work in series and this small show demonstrates how he would approach the same subject in different ways. Photographs are allowed.

I also wandered through the Modern Art Wing (the performance artist was not in her room, which contained only a table, two chairs, a lamp and the clock workings), and also wandered through the newly reopened gallery with Song era artifacts.

As a contrast I am still reading and looking through the Sargent Artists Portrait book. I am taking my time and trying to notice what he chooses to depict in detail vs what he paints really very impressionistically. Such different Artists though their lifespans did overlap.

Photograph for the day is a re-imaging of a location I photographed last fall, then the leaves were in full fall color, this week the predominate colors are brown and blue, blue sky, brown leaves, brown stonework in the bridge.

I made this photograph on my way to Dick Blicks to spend money on some additional Lumance Pencils. Perhaps not the best photo, but I find the contrasts interesting.

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

Monday, February 8, 2016

Life Portraits and a butterfly

I was hoping to post this blog update last week, but poor weather here in the Northeast caused me to have Internet connection issues so I wasn't able to do any uploading. Better late than never I guess, but I admit to feeling a bit frustrated at the time.

Above is another of my 6 x 6 inch pen and ink drawings that are meant to be used like coloring book pages. This one was also started on my vacation in Chicago over Christmas. The butterfly is from a photograph I made a couple of years ago. Last summer I didn't see a lot of Tiger Swallowtails, while the previous summer (2014) I saw a great many, but then last summer got very dry and after July I just didn't see a lot of butterflies at all.

Drawn first with pencil on Stonehenge paper then inked with one of my technical pens. I decided to fill in the black areas with pen, I suppose I should have left them open but I know I found the areas a bit confusing so I thought it would be better if I just went ahead and filled them appropriately. The background is a bit abstracted. The butterfly was feeding on a Butterfly Bush which has lots of little flowers, a bit tricky to draw so I didn't even really try. Eventually I hope to get around to adding colored pencil to this.

Last Tuesday (Feb. 2) I took the bus into Boston to make photographs and visit the new Frida Kahlio painting at the Boston MFA. The painting which is a new acquisition is on display in the Rotunda but will only be there for a couple of weeks before it heads off to conservation for documentation, evaluation and any needed conservation before it goes on permanent display in one of the galleries. The painting is of two sisters who worked for Frida's mother, and I posted a photo of it on my Facebook page along with some of the photos I made of Boston on Tuesday.

Anyway on the trip up to Ashmont I entertained myself by making sketches of my fellow passengers. The woman above was done with pen, and I didn't really mean to give her a mustache, I just wanted to shade the area under her nose a bit.  Oops, used a bit too much pen I fear. Still the drawing isn't too bad. I think I still managed to capture her look.

 After my problems with shading with the pen I switched to a mechanical pencil and drew these three passengers. I feel the best one is the 3rd drawing of the African American older man. There are issues with the middle male figure as while I was working on the drawing he change how he was holding on (he was standing) and raised the arm closest to me blocking my view of the back of his head, I didn't want to add the arm, so the back of his head is mostly unfinished.  These exercises of drawing fellow passengers are one way for me to try and keep my hand in with figure drawing.

 At the MFA I decided to check out the Modern Art wing, which I usually avoid, but they do tend to swap out exhibits in those galleries so I thought I should check them out. To my surprise in one of the rooms a Performance Artist was in residence. The exhibit is called 100 Ways to Consider Time. The artist (Marilyn Arsen) is spending 100 days in this room, moving water from one container to another by eyedropper. Also present but not in the photograph is the mechanism of a Grandfather clock, no case, just the exposed gears and pendulum. There are also benches where visitors are encouraged to sit, and slow down while they observe the artist.

Sounds become important in this situation, the ticking of the clock, the sounds of the glass eyedropper hitting the sides of the glass beakers, the sounds other visitors in the museum make while exploring the outer galleries etc. I of course decided to try and draw the artist to capture a moment of time. I also made a photograph which you can see below.. Drawn in my sketchbook with a mechanical pencil, my visit was on day 80 something so she still has a couple more weeks on exhibit.

 Photograph of Performance Artist Marilyn Arsen, 100 Ways to Consider Time.

We had our first major storm arrive last Friday with about 8 inches of heavy wet snow which stuck to trees and buildings. This is a photograph of one of the dogwood trees in front of my local Library. I made the photo early on Sat. Afternoon. Because the tree is shielded from the morning sun by the Library building most of the snow was still on the branches. It looks pretty but can be deadly if the weight of the snow causes branches to fall, there were at least two deaths attributed to falling branches over the weekend.

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