Saturday, December 26, 2015

Trying a New Thing

I've been sketching during the holidays and mainly my focus has been family photos.    Several times I'd get to the hands and give up.    I'd just quickly put a shape in or alter the sketch to put the hand or hands behind the figure.    So I decided to put my hand out there and sketch it!     It was actually a lot of fun seeing the shapes and addition of lines and shadows make the hand come to life.   I did these very less than a minute.     I'm inspired to tackle the detail now.  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sketching my way through the holidays!

The holidays have been hectic and it's been good to feel like I get in my art practice by sketching.   The book is always close by and there are things in the house and photos from Christmas that are begging to be sketched.    My goal was to do 50 of these before the first of the year.   I think I'll take the most interesting ones and do paintings.    Sketching is a great way to get a feel for the composition.    A thumbnail helps with basic shapes and values but the sketch lets you really focus on a little more detail and begin sense what the composition needs.    I have several sketches from class last semester that I've been wanting to paint.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Our faces are not symmetrical!!

Drawing people you know can be frustrating.    You know what they look like and when something is not exactly right it sticks out like a sore thumb.   One thing I know is that our faces are not symmetrical.   I usually sketch the loose outlines of the person and then put in the major shapes (hair outline, body outline, face outline, etc.)     If I can get the shape of the face right then I lightly sketch in the mouth, nose, eyes and eyebrows.    You never might hit it the first time.    Usually part looks great and part is not quite right.   I've started isolating a spot on the face and only concentrate on the shapes that make up that part.   An eye has an overall shape and then the dark areas create additional shapes.    This sketch is close but one I want to try again.   The true test is when my granddaughter sees it .....if she say...yuck!! then I know it's back to the sketch book.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Building a Sketch Book Habit

During the semester break, I'm working on developing a daily sketching habit.    I never spend much time with the sketch but just try to loosely pencil in shapes and then add shading and darks.    I either sketch an object that's near by or pull up a photo on my iPad.   This is a self portrait....ha....I sure look younger.   I try to just work 15-20 minutes and then let it go.    My goal is to have completed 50 before the new semester begins.   I'm up to 5 today.   I'll post all of them tomorrow.    Now to continue to work on organizing my studio space and get my pastels nearby!   I set a goal of 50 new paintings by May 2016.    I've got about 10 starts but nothing that "moves" me yet.    I use to think every painting had to be "frame" worthy.     I guess I've either changed my approach or I've gotten more selective about what I think is frame worthy.    There was a student exhibit deadline this month and I missed it because I didn't have anything I thought was "good" enough.   I'll keep working at it!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Draw - Draw - Draw

I've always drawn thumbnail sketches before I paint but I've never had the habit of "consistently" sketching.    It's a skill I really want to work on and improve.   I've started leaving my sketch book out all the time with pencils, eraser and sharpener close at hand.    My goal is to sketch from "real" life daily.   I cheated a little today and did a photo of my granddaughter.    Hopefully the weather continues to be unseasonably warm and I can get outside to sketch.   Next semester is I figure I'll be challenged even more.    I've also signed up for a natural science drawing class at the State Botanical Gardens.   I'm going to use the classes to complete my Native Plant Certification.   It's a four week class drawing in the gardens.   I'm looking forward to the classes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Creating an Art Studio

What a mess!!!    I've painted in different parts of my house.    I started painting in the garage and set up an easel and an old microwave cabinet for supplies.   During good weather when you raise the garage door this worked fine.....but seems like in the winter I just avoided the space.   Then I moved a nook to my sunroom.   This photo looks dark but the truth is my sunroom is usually bright and sunny and a favorite place for me to sit and enjoy my garden and also to paint.  But the same problem.....during the winter it's unheated and while I can use my portable heater it's not always convenient.    So this year I decided that my study would become my new studio.    I love my study.   It has my books, my computer and desk and I spend time there every day.   I also use it for a extra guest room when family comes by blowing up a portable bed.   The closet had become a space for "stuff" toys, games, papers and files and.....yes paint supplies.    So like several of my artist friends, I decided that the holidays was a perfect time to clean out and organize.

Recently I took a trip to purchase storage bins and containers.   I already had several storage files in my closet that were full of "stuff".    There's carpet on the floor so not a perfect floor for the space but I can deal with that another day.    I am working hard cleaning out and throwing away.   I will still share part of the closet with my granddaughter for her things.   Surprise....she loves art and so most of her "toys" are actually art supplies and books.   So she's a perfect studio partner.  

I've already bribed myself my a carrot stick of the "Best Urania's Pastel Desk".    A bit pricey but a great easel and cabinet that will fold up to a regular cabinet on those days when I have overnight guest.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Finishing My First Semester at UWGA

It really doesn't matter how many university classes you've many degrees you have.....there is nothing like the feeling when you take your final exam and finish your final project!!! I learned so much in Design I.   I've always struggled when instructors talked about values and color. While I understood the basics, the values always gave me trouble.    We did so many great projects manipulating color.    With pastel you don't get that experience so taking a semester to work with acrylics was very helpful.  The design and composition projects were also challenging and stretched me.   I really loved learning Illustrator and Photoshop.    The project above used photoshop.    I've just touched the surface on what this program will do.     Can't wait to work some more with it.  

This project by the way is "Alter Ego" - what would you do it you could choose anything, in any time period. etc.    I decided painting with Monet in his garden would be ideal.   I made it a time travel journey and brought along Picasso and Van Gogh.     I call it the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Surrealist and Me!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Still focusing on Watercolor

Christ Church - 5x7 - Watercolor - 2015
Still focusing on watercolor this week.   I bought a small 5x7 pad and love doing the small studies.   If nothing else maybe I'll get to the point where I can use watercolor as a under painting.   I'm still using my small palette and a limited color palette (around 6 colors).  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Richard McKinley Webinar

On Tuesday, November 24, 2015 there was a webinar by Richard McKinley sponsored by Artist Network online events.    Richard McKinley is coming to the Southeastern Pastel Society Members Exhibit in 2016 as in a workshop.   I can't wait to attend because I've heard so much about him from Karen Margulis.   I love his pastel painting.  

When I saw the webinar notice on email, I jumped on it.    He talked about Alla Prima Painting.  Perfect for plein air painting.   It means "all at once".   So rather than painting one subject at a time, he worked the entire painting all at once.    He discussed in detail materials and supplies and led the group through set up techniques, thumbnail sketches, composition, drawing in shapes and breaks it.   I loved the break it section.   It is a way to blend your pastel by "Make it - Break it - Make it".   A good way to look at how to eliminate the artificial edges that sometimes pop up in paintings.

He also did an entire section on pastel impasto.   I've never used the gesso but have experimented with various underpinnings.   I want to try the application of gesso and use of a fixative to build up layers and texture.

He also talked about final touches.  He uses ph neutral black tape to mask off edges of his painting.   This allows him to step back and see the painting more objectively.   Then he adds final darks and looks at final color detail and adding a few little accents.

He has a book and new video they were promoting.   I have several of his products and would highly recommend them.   I took a photo of his pastel box on the computer screen.   Wish I could keep mine this organized!!!

Revisiting Watercolor

Christ Church - 5x7 - Watercolor - 2015
With all the great photos of St. Simons Island, it is hard to decide where to start!   I decided to revisit watercolor with the reference photo of Christ Church.   I've been waking up at 6:00 or 6:30 a.m. for years.   Several weeks ago, I turned on the TV(which is not my usual behavior)!   I decided I didn't want to get up and I'd explore CREATE network.   I love this channel!   Jerry Yarnell was doing watercolor on his show Paint This.    He was like a magician working with the watercolors.   He has an online course that I'm considering.    When I first started painting in 2010, I signed up for a watercolor class.   The instructor had to cancel the class and I search for another opportunity.  I found a pastel class and with few exceptions I've been painting pastel ever since.   But........I always seem to come back to watercolor.   The set up is so easy I think I'll start doing some practice each day on small watercolors.    I'm also going to paint this is pastel.   I wanted it to be my Christmas card this year but I'm not sure I can pull that off in time.  

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh and Me

Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh and Me!!
This was a fun project.   I had myself painting the trio and wanted to use Van Gogh in the background but decided better that he be the one painting our portrait!!

Painting with my Alter Ego and Artist Friends!!

Painting with my Alter Ego and My Artist Friends
Our assignment for this week was to create an Alter Ego photo.   Who would we be in another time, where would we be and what would we be doing?    For me I just had to be a "split personality"!    I'm painting my artist friends "myself, Monet and Picasso."   In Monet's garden no less!!   What fun that would be to walk and talk with these great artist and to sit and paint with them.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Plein Air Painting at St. Simon Island with Albert Handell

Janet Deal & Tim Everhart at St. Simon Island
One of the fun things about painting is meeting interesting people.   I was quietly painting one afternoon on St. Simon Island by the marsh.   A voice behind me said "that's beautiful"!   I turned around to meet Tim Everhart.    Tim was staying in a home across from the marsh and he said he had been enjoying the marsh every day for a month.   He asked to buy my painting.    I said yes but I'd have to wait until the end of the week since I was in a painting class and I needed it for my critique session on Friday night.   He agreed and we met Saturday morning to make the exchange.  He was a nice young man who lives in Cartersville, GA.   A connection since my daughter and son in law lived for a long time in that area.   Nice to know your paintings get a good home!
Albert Handel at the easel in the studio at Epworth by the Sea, St. Simon Island
What a wonderful opportunity to study painting with a talented artist.   Albert Handell is 78 years old this year and has been painting since he was a teenager.   He led a painting and mentoring workshop at Epworth by the Sea on St. Simon Island November 8 - 14, 2015.   He does a workshop on the island every other year.   Can't wait until his next visit.   We painted in the studio one day because of rain but every other day was on location somewhere on the island.   Painting plein air is great fun.
Each day we painting morning and afternoon and had a critique each evening.
Janet Deal painting by the marsh on St. Simon Island

Golden Marsh - 12x18 - Pastel - 2015 - SOLD

Untitled 1 - Plein Air - St. Simon Island - 12x18 - Pastel - 2015

Untitled 2 - Plein Air - St. Simon Island - 12x18 -Pastel - 2015

Untitled 3 - Plein Air - St. Simon Island - 9x12 - Pastel - 2015

Untitled 4 Plein Air - St. Simon Island - Epworth by the Sea - 9x18 - Pastel - 2015

Untitled 5 Studio - St. Simon Island - Epworth by the Sea - 9x18 - Pastel - 2015

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Typography Self Portrait in Adobe Illustrator

Typography Self Portrait - Illustrator - 2015
One of the fun things about going back to school is the challenge of learning new things.   I love technology but would also tell you that I have a "experimental", "intuitive" approach.   That means I don't always learn by the rules but rather by trial and error.  I remember when I first learned Dynascape in a landscape design class.   Our assignment was to complete 6 geometric drawings.   I worked endless hours on the assignment and finally got each drawing to look like the assignment sample.   My instructor was impressed by my tenacity but quickly showed me a "simpler" approach.   Well the same thing happened in Illustrator.   It was a fun program and as one friend said "very - NOW".   I've downloaded the 30 day trial.   Not sure if I'll add this to my computer.  Guess it depends on whether other classes will also utilize the program.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Southeastern Pastel Society On Line Exhibit 2015

Southeastern Pastel Society Online Members Exhibit 2015 - Happy to have "Daffodil Morning" in this online exhibit.

Typography Self Portrait

TypographySelf Portrait

Learning a new computer program is a challenge.   This week's assignment was to complete a Self Portrait in Illustrator with a photo edited in Photo shop.   I spend hours learning the tools and how to layer only to find the real purpose of the exercise was just "getting to know" the program.   To create the self portrait we could only use type.   I'm working on another one now.  Very tedious!!!   I have used dynascape to create landscape designs and some of the program approach is similar but it is also lots of trial and error.  :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Color Studies in Value

Monochromatic - 8x10 - Acrylic - Sloss Furnace

Analogous  - 8x10 - Acrylic - Sloss Furnace

Tetriad - 8x10 - Acrylic - Sloss Furnace

Photo Shop Photo of Values - 8x10 - Sloss Furnace
This exercise was a color scheme project.   In class we just finished doing stamp designs in dozens of color schemes and compositions.   Our task for this project was to take a photo and photo shop to limit values and crop to create simplified composition.    I chose the Sloss Furnace photo.   The most successful I felt was the Grey Monochromatic.   A grey (white & black only) scheme clearly defined the shapes and mood of the composition.    The Analogous (orange, yellow orange, red orange and red) remained defined and also I feel worked with the composition.   The Tetriad (violet, blue, orange, yellow) I felt didn't work.   Probably because they are equally spaced on the color wheel and because of that the colors are either dark or bright.   There was to much contrast.     The photo shop print was used and simplified to limit the shapes.     Because the goal was to trace exactly the shapes and identify a limit of four values, it helped the eye focus only more successfully.   In classes the instructor frequently talks about "squinting" to limited the amount of light in the eye to capture the basic shapes and values but that has never helped me much.   I have had instructors suggest printing off a black and white photo as a tool to identify basic composition shapes and values but this takes it a step further.   A great tool for painting.   

My first semester is a little over half completed.   Next semester I've signed up for drawing.   Wish I could just step out of time and go live on campus and just take classes.   It is consuming but I love it!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Southeastern Pastel Society Members Online Exhibit 2015

Daffodil Morning - Pastel - 9x12 - 2014

Online exhibits are a fun way to participate in art shows.   Easy to do from your computer and usually pretty cheap.    I've entered a couple lately.   One thing that I need to invest time and energy into is taking a better photo of each of my paintings.   Frequently I just take out my iphone and snap a quick photo and crop.   I always know when I crop that it's not perfectly flat or straight.    I have a new camera and tripod so "no excuses".    I always have to send or upload a photo of my painting but I didn't pay as much attention to it as I should have until the online exhibits.   Since online is the only way the painting will be seen, its extra important to have the best photo that captures what the painting really "looks" like.   Another skill to work on!!

Color and Composition - Continued

Still experimenting with stamps.   I found the cream rubber block worked better than the pink.   The pink was just to difficult to cut with the speedball tool.   I also found that experimentation worked sometimes but if I wanted to use some of the stamp designs; I had to measure and adjust the stamp design.   I enjoyed the project but after about 15 of these I'm ready to "move" on.   Hopefully the instructor will find at least 5 that are acceptable.  I think our next projects will work with photography!!   Looking forward to that experience.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

More Stamp Designs

Stamp can be addictive.   You keep thinking you can make the perfect stamp.   Thinking in reverse is difficult however and when you stamp it seems to never have the effect you intended.   So far I've done lots of experimentation.   I'll start mounting a few.   Putting a frame around anything seems to give it more definition!!  

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Stamp Designs - Color/Composition

The project for this week was to cut a 2x4 inch stamp and create a variety of specific color combinations and composition types.    The stamps were hard for me to achieve detail.   I made about seven and got a little better along the way.   The color also was unpredictable.    This was basically an experimentation project for me.    Some were successful and others were not.   Definitely a fun art experience.   I can see how people get hooked on this medium.