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!