Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Playing with Watercolor

This weeks images are from an experiment.  Not being very familiar with watercolor paints, I decided to play around with them a bit. This first attempt I let the watercolor flow and be organic in some areas, such as the wings. For the background I used a technique I learned when working with dyes on silk, which is using salt to absorb the moisture, leaving a texture behind.

I was not satisfied with the out come of this first layer because the colors were too muted and pastel.  After some time, I decided to go back over some areas with gouache.  Since I have a little more experience with gouache, I was a little more successful in achieving the bold colors I was after.
I am slightly happier with the outcome with the second layer.  I player around with complimentary colors to make it pop a little more.  I still do not think the image is completed though.  I think I might go into it yet again, this time maybe with colored pencil or water color pencil.  Something to add a little definition to some areas, like the head and legs.  I feel those are lacking something.

 Maybe I will be more successful with the gargoyle on my next try.  For the time being though, I think I will set this one aside and go back to what I am familiar with for the next post. So come back soon and see my next pencil portrait!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Finished Work

Here's the finished commission I was working on.  Very pleased with the outcome! I've added the original photo I was working from for comparison.  I really enjoyed working on this piece.  I hope it's just the start of many more!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sneak Peak!

I apologize in the lateness of this weeks post. I am working on a commissioned piece, and should have a final image to post soon. In the mean time, here's a teaser....

This is just a scan of the rough sketch on the canvas. The final is acrylic on a 11 x 14 canvas.  As I was prepping the canvas, I was brought back to my days in college, spending late nights stretching canvas and painting on many layers of gesso. I had forgotten how relaxing I found the methodolical task of stretching a cavas! It's a good way to start off the relationship with the painting, one staple at a time. And the sound of the thump the taught cavas makes when it's done is so satisfing, just like a drum!

Besides using this piece for my portfolio, I am also using it as a test to get an approximate time on how long a portrait takes me.  I am building my portfolio so that I can someday put it up on Etsy and commission portraits that way, and by have a good idea of what I can do in what length of time I will have a good grasp on a pricing scale. Where the painting stands now, including the work that went into what is pictured above, I am roughly about 3.5 hours in, and doing well. Should have it completed this evening or tomorrow.  At this point, I am very excited about it and can't wait to finish up to share with my customer and all of you! 

Check back in a few days for the final image!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Drawing Poe

                             Poe                       2012

When brainstorming for who to draw a portrait of for this week, I thought back on stories I have recently read.  Not so long ago, I read The Murders in the Rue Morgue , by Edgar Allen Poe, which is the first contemporary detective story to be put onto paper.  This story went onto inspire Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write the Sherlock Holmes series of short stories, which I have also read quite a few of.  I figured since Poe inspired me to spend endless nights reading these stories, the least I could do is draw a picture of him.   

Since Poe has some dark and slightly exaggerated features I decided to work in charcoal for his portrait.  This lead to both good and bad elements to the finished piece.   The charcoal worked well in the eye area because there was more drama and contrast.  I was able to achieve the dark shadows I wanted using the charcoal, therefore ending up with more detail and realism in the eyes.
Close up of eyes
However, when I moved to the chin area, I encountered an issue.  I was not able to blend the charcoal as smoothly in the mid-tone grey.  It left some harsher looking lines within the shaded area.  It is a minor issue, but a pet peeve of mine.  I think with a little more practice, I will be able to avoid this issue in the future.

Close up of chin

Next week I'm going to change it up a bit from my recent work.  I have a fun drawing of a gargoyle that I am going to be adding some fun colors to with watercolor or gouache.  Also, my portrait of the week will be a pet portrait in acrylic paint.   Please tune in and see how it's going!

As far as this week goes, I would love to hear what your favorite art medium is and if you have any pet peeves with it.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Portrait A Week

Ok, so I've decided to do a portrait a week in addition to anything else I might come up with.  I want to really practice drawing the face until it becomes second nature to me.  I would eventually like to have enough of a portfolio to put it up online and do commissioned portraits for a living-ish.  This is something I've always been encouraged to do, and have thought of over and over myself, but have always been hesitant to do.  Well, not anymore. I'm finally going for it .  I always say I want a job I enjoy doing, and this is definately it.  It's always been my go-to gift for friends and family for special occasions, so now I'm going to encourage other people to do the same by commissioning me!

This weeks portrait subject is Howard Hughes. A couple of weeks ago I was doing so research on aviation for ideas for drawings and came across him.  For anyone unfamilar with him (like I was) I'll give a little history, a la wikipedia. Hughes (1905-1976)  was once one of the wealthiest people in the world.  In the 1920's he became a film producer, often making controversial and big budget movies.  What brought my attention to him was the fact that he played a very influential role in aviation history.  He set mutliple air speed records, built mulitple planes, and owned Trans World Airlines, which later merged with American Airlines.  Hughes also suffered from obsessive-complusive disorder that drove him to live an eccentric and hermit like life. Obviously, there is much more to the story, but I'll let you do that research yourselves. 

Not every portrait will have as much of a back story as this one, but I hope that they will each bring enjoyment to you, the viewer.  I would like to get a wide range of faces into my portfolio, so if anyone has any sugestions as to what/who they would like to see me draw, let me know! Animals too!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A few things to consider...

I am going to start this week out with a quote my husband found for me that perfectly outlines my current mindset.

           "Nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone had told me.  All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste.  But there is this gap.  For the first couple of years you make stuff, it's just not that good.  It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not.  But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer.  And your taste is why your work disappoints you.  A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit.  Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this.  We know our work doesn't have this special thing that we want it to have.  We all go through this.  And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know that it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.  Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you finish one piece.  It's only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.  And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met.  It's gonna take a while. It's normal to take a while. You just gotta fight your way through."  -Ira Glass
I have definitely entered that gap.  I feel as though my ambitions and goals are so far over my head it's laughable.  But I have a support system, and a very good one at that.  It is made up of family, friends, and mentors.   They are there for me when I need to bounce ideas around, need a partner in crime, or need reassuring that I can do this.  Each time I feel like it's not worth trying again, I think of all the support I've received and push through. Not only would I be letting myself down by not trying, I would be letting them down as well. 

In reference to last weeks post on inspirations, I did a lot of brainstorming.  I struggled quite a bit with trying to find unique ways to use my inspiration.  That is a huge reason for the blurb above.  So hopefully in the coming weeks I can work through my frustrations and produce something based on my list.

 Also on my mind this past week was the anniversary of a loss.  To honor the memory and show my love I started a portrait. 

 Untitled                                                     2012

Basically, this past week has had its share of trials.  But what week doesn't?  On that note, I will leave you with one more quote:
"The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place:  from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web."-Pablo Picasso
So, onto this week with the expericences of the last to draw upon and make use of in a new light. Until next time, cheers!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What's your inspiration?

Inspiration comes in many forms, often in disguise.  This is what I found inspiring in this week:
  • A beautiful walk in the woods with my one and only
  • Treasure hunting with my best friend
  • Brainstorming ideas into the wee hours
  • An old, beautifully worn window 
  • Howard Hughes
What has inspired you this week? Tune in next week to see what I create from my inspirations!