Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Greed, Lies & Corruption

I am not given to doing politically charged artwork or even controversial subjects, but the other day while driving I got this idea. I don't think it needs any elaboration. I'm not trying to get any discussion going on the subject either. It's just my opinion.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Day 4 of 7

Last night my husband and I drove to Cary to check out a table tennis group that meets there. My husband works all the time and is looking for something to get him out and meet people and get a little exercise. He used to play in college and really enjoyed it. So, off we went and I took my sketchbook along. It is really difficult to draw people in motion, but even more so when people are playing ping pong. I did notice that all my faces, though of men, were coming out quite feminine looking. I would get the faces mostly done and then they would change partners. I just kept at it trying to get the limbs to look natural, but they were moving too fast for me to draw accurately. Then, I got bored and drew my foot and a window and then drew some people in the bleachers across from me. They were a bit easier because they weren't moving so fast. All in all I think it was great exercise and I will continue to sketch moving figures because I learned a lot about the body and how it moves. I am now one quarter of the way through my moleskine. 2B pencil in small moleskine.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Diggin' Up Up Holes, Dig it!

When my kids were younger, they really enjoyed the movie Holes, and the book of the same name. Every once in a while they will still listen to the music, too. This was done while my oldest son, Ian, was doing some yard work for me. The shovel across his shoulders reminded me of the movie and I said something to him about it. He grinned and suggested I sketch him. So, I did! I am not completely happy with it for a few reasons. Number one was I was working so small, and usually when doing figures, I work a lot larger. I didn't realize just how hard it is to work so small on the human figure. Secondly, I think his head is too small. It was around noon, so I have good shadows on the shoulders and arms, but not on the rest of the body. It was hot out when I tried to do this, so that figured in with my discomfiture. I feel like I didn't have enough time to really work on the shadows, so I outlined them which I don't normally do, then when I actually tried to shade them, the lines worked against me. The figure itself is too big for the page. I have had this idea for a drawing for a long time now. I may use this sketch as a guide and do that drawing now. I would like to use a large piece of paper, place the figure in the upper left corner with the outstretched arm running along the top of the paper so that there is negative space to the right and underneath the figure. There would be no background except for the cast shadow under his feet. I will need to wait for the sun to be in a different position, tho, so the shadows on his body will be better defined. I think I like studio work for the figure better because you have more control over your light source. I am happy with my progress on the hands, tho. Me and hands (and feet!) have a love/hate relationship. But, even though these hands still need work to look natural and relaxed, they are probably the best hands I have ever done. 2B pencil in small moleskine.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Day 2 of 7

Ok, this is day 2 and I've succeeded in actually following through. This is my front porch, drawn from my favorite chair at the end of it. This took longer than I thought it would. All those lines and I screwed up the perspective in places, but it's ok. It's just a sketch after all. I didn't put in the plant stand at the the far end with all the plants on it, because after fussing with the porch lines, I just wanted to get it done! lol! You can't see our neighbor's house in the summer time, it's wonderful. So many trees and shrubs. Feels like we're the only ones here during the day when everyone else has gone off to work. And I have at least 6 windchimes hanging on the porch. All have a different tone and the one is a huge bamboo chime that I really love to hear when the wind blows. If I ever get my studio built I will call it Windchime Studio. Hope you like this. 4 x 6 inches. Pencil in my small moleskine. 3 hours.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

7 & 7 ?

I was inspired by Anita Davies to do a 7 day mini challenge. I think I need it. I did not participate in the EDiM challenge because I do know my limitations and I knew that 31 days would be too much of a challenge with my full schedule. But, I thought 7 days might be workable. It's summer, and even though we will be doing schoolwork straight through, there is no pressure to have anything done on time. So, in an effort to improve my time management, I have decided to do seven sketches in seven days. So, here is my first, done last night. It is my youngest son playing a favorite video game. Video games are a thorn in my side. It was my husband years ago who bought the first game system for the kids against my better wishes. If I did not nag, encourage and push, my kids would do nothing but watch tv, play video games, and chat with friends on the Freelancer forums all day. So, we have a simple kitchen timer in our house that we live by. They get 1 hour of video game play per day, and only after all schoolwork and chores are done. They also have a half hour time limit when they are on the computer, and they cannot go straight from the computer to the tv. The hope being they will get interested in something else instead of being stimulated by technology all the time. So, this was also a timed sketch for me as Dave only had about 15 minutes left on his timer when I started to sketch him. I'm happy with how it turned out. It does look like him, and if the hands hadn't been in the crease, they would have looked pretty good, too. 2B pencil in moleskine.

Black & White Savannah Iris

This is another in my iris series. It's not how I envisioned it, but it's been about 20 years since I did any pen work. Tell me what you think about the black and white balance, cross-hatching, and how do you know how much pen to use and how much is too much? 4 X 4 inches, Micron pen on Bristol board.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I'd like to thank everyone who voted for me in the Best of Artists contest. The voting was closed on the last day of May. I did not win, but I am not sad because of all the wonderful comments from people regarding my work. Congratulations to Mike of EDM fame who won first place! Many wishes for success to Mike and his career.

Thank you also to everyone who visits here each week leaving kind words and encouraging messages. You are very much appreciated.

Iris Bloom

This is a Savannah Iris from my garden. This is the bud that I had sketched so long ago. I took someone's suggestion of using matboard to do colored pencils on and I did like it. I loved the way to pencils took to the matboard, very smooth and mixing on it was easy. The only problem I had was, and I thought I had a piece that was pretty smooth, there were horizontal ridges running through the matboard. And in some places the colored pencil really built up on a ridge and then it was really difficult to smooth it out. You can see where that happened in the drawing. The little swatches of color were my attempt to find the perfect color for the very center of the iris. I worked from both sketches and photos that I had taken. Sketches for the overall drawing and photos for the color. I loved that luminous color of red and was having trouble finding the right colors to capture it. Turned out all I had to do was put hot pink under pale and red vermillion and crimson lake and there it was. I also applied the old standby of using complimentary colors for my darks and shadows. I'm very happy with how this turned out and will continue to experiment with papers and media. This piece is a housewarming gift for friends of ours that just bought their first house. Savannah Iris, 4 X 4 inches Prismacolor and Verithin pencils on matboard.

The drawing on the right side is the updated one after my friend J from art school critiqued it for me. She is so wonderful with color and really understands it. She worked hard at learning so I am very grateful for her thoughts and advice on this piece. Below is her critique if you'd like to read what she wrote to me.

I'm pretty impressed with the Savannah Iris! I think that your choice of colors was right on. The detail that you always achieve is remarkable. These are my suggestions:
When I squint, the values or tones are pretty similar. Shadowed areas don't recede like they could. This would really POP the highlights more. Get more of that background depth and color into the foreground shadows. Not everywhere mind you, but just a bit more. Here and there. I like that you are using the tertiary group green, orangeyyellow and violet. One of the more interesting groups and easiest to work with! One other thing, get more interest into your background. I like the colors that you used to create the overall background color, but suggest a little more rawness in the process. Let me see a little more of the individaul colors used. Think of an unfocused photogragh background. Suggestive imagery; shadowy, blurry . You've done it with some of your other pencil drawings. Photographers call it bokeh.
Fear not! I'm glad that you are working with no expectations of great masterpieces. You'll learn and grow soooo much more. It always took the burden off my shoulders. I think working as a designer for so many years got me used to doing things over and over and over again. I was given ALOT of criticism and I learned a great deal from it all.