Friday, February 28, 2014

The blue eyed cowboy returns

I'm gonna have to name this guy.      I think I'll call him Bill.    

This is one done by tracing my own drawing with soft lead and then plopping it down on a sheet of water color paper, rubbing it down and then lifting the tracing paper off, leaving the lead behind on the surface.    I added the color with glazes.    A tiny bit of paint mixed with acrylic glaze medium.   Very liquid.  I gave the background a rustic look which I think suits him.   Does he look like someone who could put up a fence around a corral?    Or play a guitar?      Or ride a horse out on the plains?
 This is the tracing paper I used on the one above.   I quickly glued it down to another sheet of water color paper and then glazed around him.  It's a fun exercise to see variations of a single subject. The creases on the page are from the folds that develop when the tracing paper is saturated with liquid gel medium.    I rather like it.
This is so cool.     One of the transfers form the tracing paper over my drawing.    not much lead transferred, but the faded image is appealing to me.   I'm going to leave this one alone for reference.

Art Journal - it's not all faces

There are a predominance of faces in my current journal, but not every page has one.       Here is a little variety in case you are bored to death with faces.    LOL

This first image was cut out and glued down on my asphaltum glaze test page.     He just looks good there, and I still have the information I need.

This is a piece of tracing paper on which I had traced beautiful faces done by various artists.   This is a reference page.  

Nikki taking a little snooze was interrupted when I sat down to sketch her.    This may turn into a painting some time. 

These two pages are a result of references for my arches painting, with a vintage ballet star glued on, and the other page is a bug reference page. 
 It took a while since I pasted in the photo of  the indian woman, to get up the nerve to sketch her.     
 In the meantime I tried some little stendoodles, zen doodling through a stencil around behind her photo.
This is just a silhouette I like.     It's so elegant.

I guess most of this journal really is about faces, I was surprised when I looked for other pages, this is really all I found.   LOL     

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rainy days and play time

We are only getting occasional sprinkles today following an afternoon of rain and wind yesterday, and rain during the  night.     But, we were expecting much more so I cleared my calendar to have play time and playing some good old English movies.

You'd think I would be painting and drawing English people, but I'm still doing old artist self portraits and more blue eyed cowboys.   LOL      Here are some of the latest experiments in my journal.

This first cowboy is my original drawing.    I decided I could not always draw and paint a youthful blue eyed cowboy - so I aged him.    
 The next one is a tracing I started over my original drawing.  I had a hunch I could use it to transfer to another journal page so I would  not be starting from scratch again.    Then I plan to paint him.   
Here is the transfer onto watercolor paper and painted with junky acrylics.    I spent much  more time on the original drawing, and like it much better, but I was in the mood to experiment today.

Nextare two that I sketched in quickly with crayons, then painted in journal last evening.

This first one is Edward Degas, 1854-1917.     The one following it is the smudge across the opposite page.  I always like ghost images.  

This last one I started at the gallery on Sunday.     It is of Pierre Bonnard, 1867-1947.     The last two here are in the journal with grey pages.     I've been digging around trying to find the right colored pencils to use.     I don't know how my pencils escape all the time.   

That's all for now.     We need to go take a walk while it's so balmy outside.      Not much wind at the  moment.      Wonder what tonite will bring.    They have been threatening us with everything from thunder storms, flooding, mud slides, and tornados various places in the state.     Looks like the storms are passing us by here for the most part.

I hope you are having good weather in your neck of the woods. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Art takes a back seat

I was asked to make the post cards for the Lodi Annual Spring Art Show at Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Winery again.     This time, as it's getting close to the time for mailing, I had to say yes.     Anyway, it's fun.   But it also takes many hours on the computer.  I'm using the Vista Print web site program to build it step by step, then sending it out for Board approval, then tweaking changes.    I sure hope they settle on this last version, as my poor neck and eyes can't take many more hours tweaking it.        My painting has slowed down and nothing new has been done to it, but I have done some little works in my journal, so it's not a total waste of art time.      Some stencils came in the mail today from Stencil Girl and I'm very anxious to use them in the journal.    They have the best designs for the kind of work I like to do.       If you want to see how they use them, go to their blog and you can find tutorials, also on You Tube.       They were a little pricey and no discounts, but I had to have these.    Sunday when I volunteer at the gallery with Phyllis, I'm going to take them and the journal along and in spare moments - I'm going to be playing with them.

Tomorrow is Saturday, it will be warm and sunny and I have a grandson who owes me some work, and also need to earn some more money, so I'll be out supervising and barking orders. / With the boys in college it's hard to find them available.  

What's in the mail box today?

You never know.    i've recently been in a swap for a winter post card.   Here are a few I received from that, and some from other friends.

Cock Robin is a printed post card from a collage by Fast Eyes.
 Make your Mark is from Carroll Woods, using Gocco a printing set.
 Baby, it's cold outside! is from Roberta Schmidt, showing herself and hubby enjoying the cold weather.
 This winter scene is from Punwit.   Iguess this is pretty much the kind of winter they have been having in New Hampshire.
 The sun climbs higher is from one of the California Art Girls, Maria Mosch.     
 This post card is from Beth, another California Art Girl.   Unfortunately you have to get the light from just the right angle to see little subtle techniques.   
 Retirement is from Susanne Ventura, all the way from Florida.
This  last winter card is from Debbie.  I'm not sure if you can see the textured effect using a stencil and heavy compound.

Thanks all for the fun cards.     I'm making a new set that will soon be sent out.          

OOps.  one more came today with an owl on it.  This one is from Margaret from the CA Art Girls group.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Is is a painting yet?

I'm still working on the arches painting.   Here is how it looked last time I shared it with you. 
 It has undergone all kinds of subtle changes since then.  

 I felt like it needed more textural changes, so  copied and printed some text I had pulled out of an old book, and then took a vintage balalet image and printed it in several sizes.     Cut up some maps from an old atlas.   Here is is ready to start collageing   .

I had decided to combine it with my idea to incorporate the seven mercies - not depicting the acts of mercies, but the spirits of the mercies.   

  Here is how it looks now, without the large image glued down.

What next?       Playing around with Photoshp now that I have the  images in the computer.     Hmmmm....    what do you think of these?

It is such fun to tweak it around in Photoshop without making any physical changes to the painting.    Gives me time to think about changing colors, values, etc.     

I'm thinking they might work as post cards.    Hmm....

I'll update this later when I make more changes, but for now, I have volunteer work to do.  

Oh yes, if you  aren't familiar with the seven mercies, it was a painting by Caravaggio ,1495-1543, an Italian painter.    In this painting he illustrated the seven acts of mercy - feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and infirm, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead.   Good principles throughout the ages.      


Okay, Project Runway fans.    Here is a new drawing on Santino from Season 2.   He was the one with the huge personality, and as he said, we either hated to love him, or loved to hate him.    He has the most fabulous face.     He had dozens of expressions, all very distinct.      This is one of them.    

These are more drawing of pictures I found of cowboys on the web.    I'm still tweaking them.        That's what a journal is for.     

One of these days I ought to draw a horse for them.   

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Want to draw a face?

I've been asked how to begin.     Hmmm......    Lots of free instructions are shown on You Tube, there are dozens of workshops online that are available and books on the subject.      I like to work in a sketch book.    Small, medium and larger.    Any size and all sizes.      Whatever size feels good to you.      And what suits your work space.  Are you going to work on a table, easel, lap?     These are things to consider.        Work on sheets of paper?   Easier to toss away if you don't like them.     Journals and sketch books - easier to see your practice and progress.    Still can tear out and toss if you are totally disgusted with something and never want to see it again.   It can happen.    

Tools.  Pencils and erasers.   Pens if you are braver than me.      I have good drawing pencils, plain old # 2 pencils,  colored pencils, charcoals, and some interesting and somewhat daunting drawing pens.      Basically I find I like a plain pencil.   I usually use a #2 pencil and a separate eraser.  A white eraser.   Always a white one because I've had bad experiences with colored erasers leaving their own color on the page.   And it seems to stick worse then whatever I've tried to remove with it.  That's not good.    Because I get bored pretty easily, I often vary my tools.     If I tire of a #2 pencil, a harder lead gives finer lines.     I actually like the results better.      Smudge sticks or burnishing tools help with shading if you like that look.   I was using them a lot for awhile, but now I prefer the side of my pinkie finger if I want to blend something.      And usually I don't use anything now.   But, one of these days I'll probably go back to experimenting with smudging.

The finer the tool, the tighter the drawing.   That's they way it works for me.   If I want a really loose drawing, then charcoal or paints or crayons work best.     For tighter drawings, the pencil is the answer.    The harder the lead, the sharper the lines will be.     

Whose face to draw?    This is what is so intriguing about drawing faces.   Draw yourself.  Draw your children.   Draw your dog.     What appeals to you in a face?     I like odd angles and interesting planes.   I like skinny faces better than fat faces to draw.   Distinct profiles and crooked noses appeal to me.     Look on the internet.   You will find what appeals to you, or what challenge you want to give yourself.     Draw your favorite actors, find a book of portraits or self portraits and sketch them.      It's all practice and you may be able to use the drawings in some way later.     Drawing from memory.   Lately I've sketched in front of my laptop, looking at a face I've found online.       No need to print them.     Just sketch away.      You can fast freeze (pause) a movie or video to capture a look you want.   Of course you can grab your camera and take a pic - but it is more fun to draw right from the screen.   Plus it give your eyes a little exercise looking up to large and down to your smaller drawing.      Don't forget to rest your eyes occasionally and go outside and look at distant things.      If you spend your day with a little sketch book and tight little pencil drawing - you are not doing your eyes and neck any favors.
Where do you start with the face?     Oddly, this is an old habit I picked up in kindergarden during World War 2.    Someone showed me a picture of Veronica Lake and I was totally enamored of her cheekbone.    I still notice cheekbones and planes of faces.    My tendency is to start with a cheekbone, drawing downward to the chin and up the other side to the temple.  Then to find where the top of the head should be.       I draw a light vertical line between head and temple with a slight curve depending on the angle of the face.       Next is placement of mouth, nose and eyes.     Horizontal lines across the face at the proper angle help me.

From here I suggest you go to a video or book.  They can help you so much more than I can.  I'm still learning.    Northlight Books has a number of good workshops that are downloadable. Watch for their sales too.      Get on their mailing list to get the best prices periodically.    Interweave also has workshops at good prices, but they seem to feature more of the pretty girl kind of faces that are so popular.   Not everyone is a pretty girl.     You may want to draw pretty faces forever and if so, there are dozens of videos on you tube you can study.      If you want to stretch a bit farther and draw or paint mens faces, or older faces, or children's faces - I'd recommend the Northlight Books.     Dick Blick and other art supply companies may have videos that will be helpful.  

I recommend you get a sketchbook, a pencil and eraser and just start.    Practice eyes on one page, mouths on another, noses?  Ears?     Then be brave and try to put them together.    

Now, here is a fun twist for you.      Get a fashion magazine and cut out some eyes and some eyeglasses.    I keep a few of them in an envelope inside my art journal. That way if I'm disgusted with the eyes I just drew, I can view it with sunglasses to see what else needs work.   LOL   Sometimes we focus on one thing so long, we don't see the rest.   

Sometimes we just need a little giggle. 

Drawing faces

I've also spent some time drawing faces that may become paintings at some time.      The whole exercise of having an art journal is a place to explore, and stretch, and make mistakes, and make progress.     And take notes.    

I pasted in a face I'll probably draw on the facing page.    

This isa portrait of my father's grandfather.  

This is drawn from a photo of a cowboyI found online.    This is a pencil  sketch. The color comes from heightening contrast and amping up the color saturation.   I photographed it under a lamp that gives off a golden glow.    Photoshop Elements was the program I used. 
 This next cowboy is a simple pencil sketch with a number 2 pencil.      
 My little Parisian friend who I have used as a silhouette in several pieces, and whose face I sketched earlier is the subject of this sketch.    I pasted the pic next to him in the journal.    that way I can go back and tweak him at leisure.  Nothing l ike a good eraser!   LOL
 This image was also done using Photoshop with a pencil sketch.     I was just getting tired of  plain pencil sketches.       I've already changed quite a few little details of this one since I took the photo.    
 Here is a very straight forward pencil drawing.     It's a different kind of face for me to draw.   I like the challenge.
Sometimes it's nice to have a few rainy days and no commitments or constraints.