Friday, 23 May 2008

My First Life Drawing Class

Ok, so yesterday I went to my first life drawing class ever. Since I first started painting in January, everyone has been telling me I need life drawing experience and that it will really help me to progress. My friend Anita occasionally models for classes, and she really put my mind at ease by telling me exactly what to expect.

It’s taken me a few months to get used to the idea of staring at a naked person, but just as Anita promised, once you start drawing you don’t see “nakedness”, you only see a subject – lines, shape, tone etc. In fact, the most nerve wracking thing for me was drawing in pencil! The last time I recall using a pencil was when I was about 15!

I started by drawing the outline, but I was really nervous about trying to add shade. I tried a couple of times by starting with the shade under her arm, but it just looked like she had a hairy armpit! John, the tutor, came to the rescue and lent me a softer pencil, and once I realised I could smudge the pencil it was much easier. It actually took me less time to shade the drawing than it did to draw the outline!

Now, the head was a different matter entirely. I must have drawn her face 50 times and then erased it again. In the end John drew that for me just before I started the shading. When I think about it, I have never been able to draw faces. That is obviously something I will need to work on.

B and 2B pencil on A5 heavyweight paper

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Double Found Art Tuesday

Yes, I am now up to date with my Found Art Tuesday pieces!

The theme Rosa selected for us last week was “Luck”. Like most people I expect, I have been deeply saddened by recent events in Burma and China, and my found art piece reflected that. On the back I have written a list of major natural disasters that have occurred in the past 20 years or so, and on the front I have written “We need something more than luck”. The picture is based on a photograph that was on the BBC News website.

This weeks theme was “Charm”. I had in mind the sort of cheesy character I wanted to draw for this, but for some reason I was struggling, especially with the eyes. I nipped out to the supermarket and as I walked into the store I caught sight of something out of the corner of my eye…

This is exactly the sort of cheesy looking grin I had in mind! So my drawing is based on Hercules, but I changed the colouring of his hair and eyes, and I’m sorry but the hair band had to go!

I didn’t intend to cut around his face originally, but they say that necessity is the mother of invention – I had made a mistake with my writing so I decided to cut that bit off! And now I think it’s better this way!

Both pieces are drawn in pen and coloured with pastels.

More Big News!
Tomorrow I will be attending my first life drawing class ever!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Finishing Touches

Here are a couple of A5 pieces I had created previously, and have now framed. Although the frames were fairly inexpensive I think they set the pieces off nicely. Thank you to Mona for her tutorials about framing on her blog, which I found very helpful, especially when it came to framing the Ballerina piece.

As usual - lousy photographs! Something you have no doubt come to expect!

Before framing - Footprints in the Sand, Degas' Ballerinas

Update on the Big News!

I met with Anita today. We sat drinking hot chocolate in our favourite seats at Costa Coffee (facing the window, so that we can watch the birds and the people passing by), and discussed our upcoming exhibition. We were so engrossed in conversation that we didn’t even notice that the café had closed! When we finally looked round we realised that we were the only customers there, the staff had cleaned up, and they were waiting for us to leave! Hunched over forms and a diagram of the exhibition space, Anita enjoyed telling the staff there that we were having a “business meeting”!

We made some important decisions during our “meeting”. We calculated that I will have about five metres of space to exhibit my paintings - not that I have many paintings to choose from, but it means I will be able to exhibit two triptychs instead of just one. Our theme will be “Emotions” and we will be exhibiting under the name (drum roll please)… “The Escape Artists”! We thought this was fitting as we both escape depression through art. I won’t be exhibiting the Leaf triptych this time as I don’t feel it fits in with the theme, but I am in the process of painting another, which I will post more about when it is finished. Anita will be exhibiting about five paintings of people in different relationships, and four large abstract paintings.

I feel more excited about it today than I have been during the week. I’m completely amazed that Anita wants us to be known as a “duo” rather than just individual artists, and wants us to do more exhibitions together in the future. Wow, that’s loyalty and belief! (Am I really that good??) I can’t wait until Anita has her website up and running so that you can see some of her amazing work. Here is one of her beautiful portraits of two of my nephews, which I have been “looking after” for her. It is entitled “Brotherly Love”. As usual the photography isn’t all that.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Found Art Tuesday and Big News!

Ok, so I’m a week late with my found art piece. This is for last weeks theme of “Circus”.

This piece was drawn in pen, coloured in pastels and pastel pencils, and then shiny things were stuck to the front.

The Big News
I received confirmation yesterday that I will be exhibiting with Anita in August at the local library. Yes, you read right, I will be exhibiting!

Anita is my crazy friend who has such faith in me that she asked me to exhibit with her before I’d even bought my first paint brush! I say “asked” but she hasn’t really given me the opportunity to say no! I had kept this news to myself thinking that the organiser would object to displaying the work of someone who had only started painting in January, and that it would all fall through, but obviously not. All I can say is, I’m glad I have more paintings to choose from than those from the Violent Death series! There will be a press release and posters will be displayed in the libraries of the surrounding towns. *Gulp*

I need to check the available space, but Anita has suggested I display a triptych, Red, and She’s on Fire. I need to decide by the end of this month, so that the library has time to take out insurance. Any thoughts? (Apart from "don't do it!" - I've already had that thought myself!)

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Phew, That's Better!

I can now look at this painting without needing my sun glasses!

Sadly the photography doesn't always do the colours justice. This green is a lovely olive/sage colour (the other colours are cream and brown, in case you can't tell). I've fiddled with the photograph slightly, so hopefully the colours are more true to life now.

I'm told that when I said I didn't like the shade, what I really meant is that I didn't like the tone! Thank you Anita!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Triptych Abstract

I may be painting a few triptych abstracts in the near future, as my sister in law has asked me to paint one for her living room and it has set the creative cogs turning! Sunrise was one of the ideas I had for her, and although it wasn’t what my sister in law had in mind I decided to paint it anyway because I liked the design so much myself! Although a simple design, I think it is my personal favourite painting of mine to date. That being the case, I suppose it was inevitable that I wasn’t going to be entirely happy with anything I painted after it.

This one is slowly growing on me. It came out exactly as I had planned; I just don’t like it as much as Sunrise so I was disappointed when I had first finished it. I’m a little unsure about the shade of green too.

Argh, me eyes! Me eyes!

I’ve been using emulsion paint for these paintings. Originally this was so that I could get a good colour match with my sister in law's colour scheme, but they water down well and they go on well with a sponge applicator. They seem more fluid than acrylics but they’re more opaque than water colours. I also really like the matt finish. It's good to try something a little different now and again anyway. I didn't have any green emulsion so I mixed some white emulsion with green acrylic paint, which is probably why I'm not very happy with the shade because my mixing skills aren't that great yet.

Leaf - matt emulsion on canvas, 40cm x 50cm x 3.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Creatively Satisfying

Yesterday was a very creatively satisfying day for me. I managed to paint a set of three paintings in one evening. Whilst the design is very simple I think the results are very effective.

Painting this set was so enjoyable and a real confidence booster for me – it was quick, easy, and I’m really happy with the results. I was in need of a bit of a boost because, as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been working on some paintings but still have nothing to show for my efforts. One of them is a larger version of the earlier Found Art piece “Dawn on the Blue Planet”. My husband thought the black circle looked like the pupil of an eye, and he liked the piece so much that he asked me to paint it for him. I thought it would be a relatively simple piece to paint, but the first time I painted the earth I didn’t like the angle of the shading, and the second time I painted the earth it wasn’t central in the pupil. So now I’ll have to paint it for a third time, but let me tell you; geography is not my strong point!

The other painting is the infamous “Cloud Nine” which I decided to have another go at the other night. I’m now wondering if I should do away with their hair and just have a couple of faces floating around in the sky! I should have left this one alone a long time ago…

Sunrise – matt emulsion on canvas, 40cm x 50cm x 3
Any suggestions on how to "fix" this piece would be greatly appreciated. Should I use varnish for water colours?