Sunday, May 31, 2009

Felt Like A Hallelujah Moment

A Cowboy's Still Life (pastel painting, 10x12)

This is my response to the Virtual Sketch Date challenge for May. The photo was of two girls at a hoedown and one of them was wearing a cowboy hat. I don't draw people very well and the idea is to be inspired and use the photo as a jumping off point.

My own cowboy hat ( a Shady Brady - very high tone in cowboy terms) looked quite alot like the hat the older girl was wearing. So I set myself up a still life with my boyfriend's old dirty work gloves on a chair in the living room. It was about 6PM and the light was coming through only a corner of the kitchen window and I slid the chair around until the light hit the objects in this incredible way. I took a reference photo of my own (to preserve the light effect) and then I sketched the still life.

Today I did my painting with Nupastel. And I remembered my first art love from high school - we had to reproduce a master's painting in a different medium. Someone had given me Conte Crayons and I used them to reproduce a Rembrandt and then used them to draw everything I could find until there was nothing left but stubs I couldn't hold and then I could never find pastels I liked as much. Now I have choice and I chose Nupastels - lovely smudgy but firm pastels - to try them out.

And I am extremely happy with the results. I like that there are three distinct textures in this piece (the wood, the hat and the gloves) and I thinkg I pulled them all off. I also think I pulled the lighting effect of the chair fading off into the shadow pretty darned well too. I don't mean to sound like I am bragging.... I've just been so.... disappointed in the work I've been doing lately and jealous of how wonderful everyone else's art looks. So I and just feeling genuinely overjoyed to have maed a piece of art that I am happy with to the bottom of my soul.

I think the trick here is that I just let myself go. Rather that working so hard and trying so hard I just let it come out of my hands and onto the paper. I was in some sort of zone that in colour is hard for me to get to... I could see the block of colour and then just blocked them in and fine tuned it to blend them. I wish it always fet this easy.

My new box of pastels rock. Whoo hoo!

Rue Lepic

(Rue Lepic, 10x20, Inktense)

This is my contribution to the virtual paintout the Bill Guffey hosts. This month he took us to Paris and I found this lovely little street.

The perspective on this drawing is all out of wack but that is intentional and it is supposed to look a bit sketchy and even a little odd. I think the right hand side looks a bit off and I think I must have had my camera at a bit of an angle but it's late so...

This painting was fun to do and now that it is done I quite like it and may do more based on several other sketches I did while "touring" Paris.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Not Sure If It's Done Or Not

(Spring Fields in PA, 9x12, watercolour pencil)

This was done for the challenge over at DSFDF. Karin posted a grayscale photo and we were to put it in colour however we wanted to. The idea was to pay attention to the tones.

I've gone over and looked and there are some amazing paintings. I am having all kinds of trouble tonight trying to size this so that she will accept it though. I'm also not sure if i'm through with it yet or not.

I thinkg I got my tones right. I like the barns and silos and house. Not sure I like the field and I think I should have skipped the grasses in the foreground. They seemed like a good idea at the time but now I'm not so sure. I may play with this a bit more but for now this is it.

I altered a few things though.

I chanegd the house to something more like stone and I made the barns red. I also altered the roof of each silo because that's how they are around here. I like the candy stripe effect of them around here so I put them in that way. I'm also happy with the sky and they far distance. The only thing I really dislike is the grass and unfortunately I can't get rid of it.

Oh well!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Other Side

Self Portrait - The Other Side (mechanical pencil, 9x11)

Over at Inspire Me Thursday this week the word was warrior. What popped immediately into my head was to do a self portrait. It looks a little flat in the photo here. In real life there is more depth to it. And I am resisting the urge to rework the cheeks again - I think they should be a little rounder perhaps. I haven't done a self-portrait in 20 years - not since Mr Robertson back at Thom Collegiate made us get out the mirrors and pencils in grade 12 art class. It's a little intimidating to do but I did it and now I'm just going to leave it alone and stop mucking with it.

Here is the reason I chose to do a self portrait for this inspiration word...

I have been through stuff. Not happy stuff, catastrophic to me at the time it happened. In the big picture nobody died. Cheating ex (that's why he's ex), anxiety attacks, depression... all that sort of thing. Sometimes it felt like I was at war and had to fight just to keep going. Sometimes quietly with determination, sometimes with the support of friends, sometimes loudly and alone with lots of tears of shear frustration at what was happening in my life. There were a couple of times that I felt like just giving up. There are times when I am at war with myself even still and I can be my own worst enemy. But I keep plugging away and somehow I manage to get through. It isn't always pretty but I manage.

So I decided to do a self portrait. It was done from a photo on a day when I was happy and having fun because who takes a picture of themself when they have been bawling or want to just curl up under a rug and go to sleep??? So I look happy in this and I think that represents where I have gotten to right now. I have struggled and perservered and come out the other side the victorious warrior, so to speak. At least for now...

There is a song written by Kevin Welch (Wynonna Judd recorded it as well) called The Other Side and it is all about making it through the tough stuff and knowing that you are strong enough to do it. That song got me through things that at the time seemed impossible. So this portrait is of me on the other side of the blackness I went through and optimistic about the future.

I know I am through this part but I also know that there will be more to come. When learning to become a better self there is always stuff that you will have to work through and perservere through. So althought this is me on the other side, so to speak, I also know that I will have to continue to be a warrior to keep growing as a person and becoming who it is I want to be.

And now I am going to hip PUBLISH POST before I chicken out. Here goes...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Promise of Something More

Wild Apple Blossoms I (6x6, Inktense Pencils)

I love apple blossoms. They are delicate and beautiful and they mean that spring is here and summer is on it's way. The crabapple trees loaded with fuschia blossoms all around just make me happy.

This picture was done from a photo I took yesterday of some wild apple blossoms growing near the garbage dump. They aren't that exotic fuschia colour of the mikmaks and the like, they are soft and delicate and when I saw them I had to stop.

The suprise was the scent. "Tame" crabapples don't have that scent. The smell of these wild apples was lovely. It was sweet but subtle, just the hint of scent that would get stonger as a breeze blew by and then would waft away again. I would be left wondering where it came from and where it had gone and when would it come back. It left me waiting for and wanting the promise of something more.

The drawing is in inktense pencils again and is on stonhenge paper.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Brown Horse

Portrait of a Brown Horse (Inktense pencil, 10x10)

The inspiration for this portrait came from Inspiration All Around Us - a photo taken by Dana Marie called "Modesty" that she posted on her blog. It was a realtively quick one to do. Drawing horses is easy for me - I've been doing it for 30 years now... I really liked the pose of this horse. I cropped the original image in my quick sketch and then after I transferred it to Stonehenge paper I got going with my inktense pencils and water. I piddled around for awhile with light washes and underpainted with reds, yellows and purple and then I added the top layers. The underpainting actually changes the way the top colour comes out. The body of the horse is a bit rough in this photo and I've reworked it a bit now, not sure which way I like it better... If I decide I like the new version better I'll change the picture.

I'm happy with how this turned out though. I think I kept it loose and not too controlled. My horse is a little heavier than the one in the photo but I guess that's OK. Thanks to Dana Marie for providing such great reference photos, this is my first attempt at interpretting one of her shots and I hope to do it again.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Stop Lights

Well it's been a couple of weeks since I posted anything here.

That was supposed to be because I was going on vacation and was busy at work before I left but as it turns out I never went anywhere - my basement flooded and the trip got cancelled. But that gave me some time in the last 3 days to work on this picture that I desperately wanted to do.

Karin Jurick, at Different Strokes From Different folks posted an image of New York City the challenge for the last 3 weeks. The work done with this image and that is posted on Karin's blog (see link at side) is terrific.

Karin had made a comment that some people say that they are nervous working outside of their comfort zone and that who wants to always do what they are familiar with. I agree with her. How do you learn unless you try new and unfamiliar things??? I wish I could step outside of my comfort zone more easily in my real life - the way I am willing to do it with my art. All I can say is that I am still a work in progress. I don't think I'll ever be finished.

Anyways... This wasn't something that was out of my comfort zone per se. It was really more like something I had never thought of doing. I try to approach my art with a no fear policy and just go for it.

So I just went for it and this is my interpretation of her image. I did it with Derwent Inktense pencils on Stonehenge paper and used water over top of the pencils which makes the colours incredibl vibrant and alive.

Stop Lights (Inketense pencils on paper, 14x16)

I am happy with how this turned out. It is the second time I've used the Inktense pencils and the only time I have ever done an in-colour picture of a cityscape. I like that it challenged me to get outside of something that I would normally do and I really enjoyed the puzzle of all the buildings.

I had a couple of goals. The first was to make sure the taxis and vehicles were grounded in the picture and that they didn't look like they were just floating on top of the ashphalt. The second was to use the intensity of the colour and the detail of the drawing to help with perspective. The third was to try and paint the buildings loosely so that the cars stayed the focus of the work. And the fourth was to make the stop lights and the tail lights look like they were glowing.

I think that I managed to do that.

The lines of the building edges aren't perfectly straight and I guess the light post on the right is leaning at a bit of an angle but I don't mind. For me this is supposed to be representational and not photorealistic - I want it to look like a painting or drawing and not like I just took a photo.

Next I want to work on my Virtual Paintout paintings of Paris and I'm thinking the old Inktense pencils may be coming out again for those drawings as well.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ooh-la-la! I'm "virtually" in PARIS!!!!

Bill Guffey has a blog called The Virtual Paintout and on it he posts a map of a city of his chosing and asks us all to visit that city virtually by touring it through an interactive map by Google Earth that provides street views. You can walk around the city and look at things.

For the month of May Bill has chosen Paris. I wanted to find and quaint little street with bakeries and cafes and shops on it to paint. Cut I couldn't - all I could find were super busy streets and the Eiffel Tower - which was cool but painting that would be too predictable. So I found a tour site and they have a page called hidden paris that gives info on all sorts of off the beaten track or different info. They reccomended going to a place called Les Petits Mitrons, which is a lovely bakery. So I hunted up and down Rue Lepic until I found it.

This is a rouch sketch of the block that Les Petits Mitrons is on. The perspective is sort of screwy but I kind of like it. This is the start of the sketch for the next block which has all sorts of wonderful shops on it. Once again the perspective is odd but...
This block isn't finished yet. I'm fooling with my sketch book again. Pulling out pages and using them to expand what I have there and I'm going to need to add some more on the right to get a market in on this block. There is a cafe across the street on a corner that I want to draw and down the block the other way is a really nice flower maket/gardening shop as well as a store that sells roses. I'd like to sketch those as well.
I'd also like to try and find a particular statue on Notre Dame Cathedral - I'll have to see if I can and if I do find it, I want to sketch that. And last I want to sketch a restaurant that Renoir and Monet used to go to and sketch at on Isle Chatou near the Seine called Maison Fornaise on Rue du Bac. I searched and searched for it and finally found it and along with that I found a garden sort of like what I was hoping to find as well.
Once I get the rough sketches done I want to transfer them to heavier paper and add colour to them. Not sure how they will look but I want to give it a try.

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