Friday, March 9, 2012

I had 20 minutes of doodle time to spare this morning, so I decided to try a technique. Sadly, it didn't work out as I intended because once I started this piece the paper started to fall apart like toilet paper! No amount of brushing would fix it as the paper itself is very old. Every layer I added lost more clarity and definition as peice of paper broke off and migrated every which way. I think I need some new supplies.

Live sketching time! Score!

Yesterday was a BLUR of activity and I needed to focus, so I sadly had to leave my sketching kit at home. But, that certainly didn't stop me from firing off a few sketches of men in suits doing very important work. In some ways, lawyers are like the knights of Feudal society, I suppose. Some possess honor and valor and rescue the helpless for a fee. Some are villainous and greedy and make life miserable for others. Either way, they all do their best to out-do each other's armor and posture. I always feel like I am in a zoo observing wild animal territorial behavior when I am around a number of lawyers and I was able to capture some of that psychological positional jockeying in yesterday's tiny sketches.

In other news I am still waiting on the Watson-Guptill title "How to Paint with Colored Pencil", to come in at the library. While I keep visiting the library like a lovesick teenager hoping to see her crush, I did score some awesome books full of tutorial demonstrations. I am beginning to grow so convinced that the library does not list every book on the shelves in their online catalog. I can search for hours on a particular subject and turn up nearly nothing, but when I show in the library to return something, I leave with my arms FULL of creamy dreamy instructional guides. Such is the life of a Self-Taught artist determined not to break the bank on education this year.

Earlier this year I got my bachelors degree with a concentration in Christian Counseling and Fine Arts and I am convicted to build on that foundation. Right now I'm reading: Annette C. Compton's, "Drawing from the Mind and Painting from the Heart", Beverley Johnston's the "Complete Guide to Colored Pencil Techniques", and the Gildow and Benedetti Newton "Colored Pencil Solution Book". In essence, I am test-driving instructional guides and determining which are must-have references that further my artistic skills and which are self-promoting hype. Right now the publishers I dig are North Light, Watson-Guptill and David & Charles. Just a hint: When you can't find the title or subject matter you want in a library catalog, sometimes a search by publisher can yield a treasure trove of resources on the subject that may actually surpass the particular one you have in mind! It also doesn't hurt to be friendly with the library staff as they can be a huge help in finding titles that weren't on your radar.

In other networking news, I got the chance to pop in to C'ville Arts yesterday and get the lowdown on membership and talk to an artist that goes by the name "Flame Bilyue",
who uses colored pencil in her work. I'm still not so sure that's the right place for my work as they have wall art aplenty in there. The search for a venue goes on whilst I work toward developing a portfolio.

You can't imagine how lame and phony it feels to have to say "Sorry folks, no portfolio or samples of any kind to share yet . . .all my good art got stolen!" It's the truth, but it is very haunting to remember all the time-consuming effort put into my finest pieces and yet have nothing to show for them.

Well, Lord willing I will be empowered to make works that surpass even those dear departed ones that haunt my memories.

And when I do . . . to God be the Glory! I'm out!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Beginning of the End

This home school year is starting to draw to a close slowly but surely. "Albert" has finished one of the first grade spelling texts that he was working in and "Jackie" has only 50 more lessons left in his math text. Oh the exciting finishes that march brings make fighting through the home school blues that are widely rumored to hit everyone hardest in February worthwhile.

With all this going on,

it has been hard to sneak in art work and I'm beside myself trying to make skin tones work without the colors I need. I have a feeling once I finally get them I'll find a way to work without them. Here is a value sketch I did for a sketch I did for a piece that I can't wait to work on more seriously.

I realized that with as little time as I have for art, it would behoove me to put some effort toward improving my sketching skills. (That and I already have all the tools I need for that!) I'm reading "
Fast Sketching Techniques" by David Rankin. I like his style but I do kind of bristle at his "You won't be able to," and "don't expect to . . ." about the speed with which a finished drawing can be completed. I've always drawn fast and I don't think I can afford not to unless I want to wait around for all the kids to go off to college before I pick up a pencil!

Today I made a VERY quick sketch of my sweet kitty Conan. I don't
mally sketch animals, but I guess that recent pencil study featured on Gurney's Journey piqued my interest.

To God be the Glory! I'm out!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hectic day Sakura sketch

Facing what will probably be a hectic day, I decided to get in a quick sketch before the kids get their wits about them. I used my trusty (though very old) Sakura Pigment Brush to sketch a model from a relaxer ad. Relaxed hair has a horrible tendency to look like a blob, so I think I gave it a little life.

I'd like to play with this image again when I have more than 20 minutes. Learning from yesterday's mistakes, I'm loading up my sketch kit this morning before I hit the road. Teeny tiny pieces of paper make people think you're writing a note to yourself or a grocery list, not sketching unsuspecting by-standers!

May my day and yours bring s smile to the One who planned all of our days long before BlackBerrys existed! I'm out!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Back in the Saddle

After reading a blog post about making a "to-go" sketching kit, complete with 2.5X3.5 sized slips of paper to work on during lulls in outings, I had to give it a try today. Considering how long it's been since I did any kind of regular sketching, it wasn't too big of a failure. Lamentably, I forgot to include an eraser in my kit. Tortillons might not make a bad addition either. I haven't sketched like this since I got back from South America. Back then I had the luxury of a full-sized set up with handy pockets and different pads of paper and what not. These days any sketching needs to have the ability to be whisked quickly into my tote when the kids need me, or when an important phone call has to take front-burner. No one ever appreciates the simplicity of their life in any given moment until things get FAR more complicated.

Today's sketches were entirely in Prismacolor black colored pencil and no graphite. It was smooth like satin! But what I wouldn't give for a kneaded eraser and a larger range of grays from which to sketch. Acquiring grays will have to take a back seat to collecting a range of colors with which to render flesh tones.

For a first attempt at sketching on an Artist-trading-card sized surface, I'm relatively pleased. I started this sketch when I saw a child in black on a colorful inflatable slide and I was in the middle of creating the sketch from a moment's flicker of a pose . . .when the phone rang. Always with the phone ringing. Phones are the bane of my existence.

I sketched a second piece from a passer-by, but it came out very childish (which is ironic, because I was drawing a child) after another interruption jolted the mental picture out of my head. I spent a few minutes trying to recapture the pose, busily rendering the girl's purple three-tiered skirt to my own great satisfaction . . .only to see the girl run through again and see that the skirt had been BLUE and I'd bungled a whole host of other details as well.

I certainly can't say that today's artistic endeavors were without value as I started to integrate a host of new-found knowledge that I gleaned during recent months. Hopefully I'll have some time in the studio to freely explore and ponder these concepts more thoroughly before the month is out. Hello March!

- To God be the Glory! I'm out.