Monday, March 21, 2016

New Mornings
Detail of crow skull study

I'm an early-riser; that's just a fact, not some badge of honor. But it does let me get a lot done, especially if I have a plan in place.

My old mornings:
1. Grab coffee
2. Grab laptop and do social media
3. Grab an art book and look through it
4. Start painting in the studio

My new mornings:
1. Grab coffee
2. Grab still life object(s) and paint a one-hour study
3. Start painting in the studio
Some of the studies so far

They are small--the largest is 4" x 5.25"--so I can pretty much finish them (or not) in an hour.
Will this became a habit? Gonna try to make it so. I'm not much of a rule-bound or goal-oriented person, but if I find something that fits, I'll wear it out. So far this seems to fit.
Set-up I used for the first crow skull study
 I'm using a darkened basement room instead of my studio for this:
 A. Because I can leave all the materials there without them being in the way in the studio, and 
B. Because it's always dark down there.
Details of two studies
Set-up I used for the bottle study
 I read about using a box like this on an internet site for still lifes. Not sure I see the point--but I will keep trying it out. The slot in the top is for controlled lighting--I can cover it partially or all the way with cardboard. If anyone reading this knows what the advantage of this kind of set-up is, please let me know, as it's escaping me.
Detail of lantern study

I'm drawing them first--so far at least. For this study I used a black watercolor pencil for the initial drawing; for the crow skull and bottle I used a red Colerase pencil. No real reason for either--just trying things out. I used a 1/4" flat for most of the paint, changing to a round if necessary for tiny details. I'm keeping the sessions to an hour, even if I don't quite finish them. And when the weather warms, my plan is to do same but with one-hour landscape studies as well.

Also, so far, I've only used Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, and white to mix up neutrals. I def want to eventually go with color, but I'm in no rush.

I do miss my art books, but not the social media.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Scribbling in a Scribble-Book
The word "scribble" has always killed me--it just sounds funny. When I was a kid and only wanted to unthinkingly make marks on a page, the adult comments ranged from the condemnatory "You're just scribbling" to "Quit wasting paper with your scribbling." 
But I didn't quit; remember how amazing it felt to zone out while the pencil or pen or crayon glided across the page and left multi-circles or wads of illegible marks?
I'm still a fan. And even though I seldom make illegible marks--on purpose at least--I love the sensation of scribbling out sketches without really thinking.
I'd realized that I'm not always in the mood to think while sketching, but I'm too antsy to sit around with my family--just talking or watching TV--without drawing. So I grabbed this little, lined notebook and a pen, just for the purpose of mindlessly scribble-drawing. 
The only rule for myself: Use ballpoint pen only. 
It's been an interesting experiment. Here's what I've discovered:
 1. My scribbles got better (well, at least more like my other sketchbook drawings) even without trying. Here's the first page, looking suspiciously similar to the drawings I did way back in middle school.
2. As I messed with it more, my scribbles looked a bit less mindless, but they still were.
3. I started reaching for the scribble-book more often than the sketchbook. Probably because I was enjoying the lack of pressure to make "good" sketches.
That's really the point of any sketchbook, but somehow limiting myself to un-erasable pen on lined paper just added more freedom.
4. I found myself developing ideas for finished works without having that goal in mind.
 And, just like the "thinking" sketchbooks, the images that developed are sometimes getting used for finished artworks... this detail of a work-in-progress.

So stop thinking a bit and scribble--it's been a great and fun thing for me, and I highly recommend it.

Thanks for the visit!




Monday, March 7, 2016

Character, Outline, and Texture
I'm working on many pieces simultaneously right now, using a variety of media. As always, I am studying--and hopefully growing as well. Three ongoing chases:
1. Character
2. Integrating outline
3. Texture

 The Night Walkers. Honore Daumier.

Daumier is one of my favorite artists. Three aspects (among others) strongly appeal to me: 
1. His characters
2. His use of outline
(Scientific studies have shown that the outlines in his oil paintings are either lithographic crayon or charcoal.)
3. His use of texture.
Recently I've adopted him as my mentor.
I'm continuing my life drawing practice with an eye on character.
 St. Joseph the Worker (detail).
Just completed a commission in which I used both charcoal and black paint for the outline.
And this work-in-progress is a study in character, outline, and texture. It's also prep-work for an upcoming project.

If I can produce a good painting and learn more in the process, it's been a good day. Thanks, Daumier!

And thank you--for stopping by!

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