Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Secret Illustration Obsession

. . . okay, well I guess the secret's out.

Sometimes when I think about creating illustrations, I get a surge of adrenaline. After much research on the subject the process seemed so long and impossible that I finally chose a life of fine art as opposed to dividing my focus on both. Although fine art is very fulfilling, sometimes I walk past the children's book section and all but wipe the drool from my chin.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine who is writing a children's book for an education class asked me to illustrate her book for me. I tend to say "yes" all too soon, so I showed great restraint by looking at my calendar of graphic design deadlines and taking a week before saying "yes".

In anticipation for this project, I dug up my illustrations, and thought as I begin this journey it would be fun to share every step of the way with you including my past work which has not yet been posted on my blogs.

The following are a few illustrations completed in acrylic on illustration board.

Sydney and Sherman
My niece Sydney with her favorite feline, my parent's cat, Sherman

Not a Prince
Some of my slightly sick humor showing

African Baby
Illustration for a friend's baby shower invitation

Don't Forget to Remember
Published Illustration for A Beka Book

The Picture Book
The result of inspiration and desire

Check back for the progress of this want-to-be illustrator.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Three New Blogs

Recently I'd been thinking over the idea of having an art blog that celebrated all the beautiful art out there. After some planning and working on the project, I decided in order to accomplish all the things I wanted to, it would demand that I start three blogs.

Here's the blogroll:

A r t S i g h t i n g s
-Get a weekly dose of beautiful art that I have come across.
-Read article summaries of interesting art techniques for artists.
-Enjoy featured artists from my library of artists which I have come to love.
-Commit to visiting those artist's web pages and give a comment of encouragement to them.

Currently on Art Sightings:
-Enjoy photography by a 14 year old in India
-Discover the engaging Art of Carol Marine
-Read about an unusual limited palette technique

A r t i s t S i g h t i n g s
-Enjoy a growing library of visual artists that I consider to be the cream of the crop.

Currently on Artist Sightings:
-Comment on and encourage six of my favorite artists

A r t R e s o u r c e S i g h t i n g s
-Artists can enjoy a one-stop resource room for all aspects of their career.
-Find book recommendations, links to helpful websites, marketing resources, newsletter software, contest annnouncements. . etc.

Currently on Art Resource Sightings:
-Two contests worth checking out
-My choice art technique book
-Forums and marketing blogs I frequent

How can you be involved in the process?

R e c o m m e n d A n A r t i s t
Feel free to shoot me an email to bring an artist to my attention for possible entry in the Artist Sightings library or for a feature on Art Sightings. If the artist is featured, I will credit you and post a link to your site or blog. The rule is, however, you cannot recommend yourself. Let this be a push to encourage someone else in their art!

S h a r e R e s o u r c e s
Feel free to email me if you have a resource that you think artists could benefit from. I will credit you for the information and give you a link to your site or blog.

All three blogs currently have minimal information on them, but keep checking back as I will be adding to them often.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

First Crop

Today was a beautiful day, so it seemed very wrong and counter productive to stay indoors.

We've been growing our first batch of tomatoes, and have been watching each day for changes. It has been very exciting for my husband and I as we've watched them change from a yellow blossom to full grown and ripening tomatoes.

Today I noticed this one cluster that was an eye catching gradient from green to orange. The colors were so beautiful together, I just knew that it had to be the subject of my painting, today.

Here was my set up as I created a studio in my backyard.

I have everything I need, here. My pallet is a plastic box that has some very thin and wet sponges on the bottom. Then I place a special paper that stays wet along with the sponges underneath. This way my acrylics remain wet and usable instead of drying out within a short period of time.
I use acrylics as if they are watercolor paints. Very thin layers of acrylic are perfect for me as they cannot be re-wet or reworked.

After a significant time of painting, it was necessary to take a five minute break to cool off in the pool. Then it was back to the work at hand (if I can, in fact, call it work).

Here are the stages of this sketchy little piece:

First Crop
6x6 Graphite Acrylic Charcoal on Illustration Board

What a fun piece to paint sitting on the ground outdoors
surrounded by the sounds nature around me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Petals and Cream III ~In Progress II

The following images show the continuing progress on this 16x20 painting.

I began to block in the flowers, making sure that I was accurately placing the large shapes of light and shadow. I would concern myself with the details after the proper large shapes of value were established.

It was then necessary to work in the background to achieve correct edges around the flowers. Also the darks of the leaves and stems were added to be sure that the range of values was accurate.

After choosing certain flowers to receive detailed attention, I then went on to add lightly the pattern on the pitcher and begin moving left to add the second pitcher. Now that the flowers are completed I no longer have an uncomfortable sense of urgency.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Petals and Cream III - In progress

In continuation with the Petals and Cream series, a third and larger painting has been started in the studio. But first I found it necessary to figure a way to effectively hang fabric behind my still lifes. The more I paint in the studio, the more I realize what is needed for versatility and space management.

The other day I devised a grouping of hooks and wire for such a purpose.

After figuring the background and deciding on the still life arrangement, I began painting. Here you can see again, my usual rough estimate of object placements. At this point it is crucial that I establish the size of one main object, and draw the other objects in proportion and relation to that first object. This helps me to not only be sure that the objects are in a comfortable size so as to remain on the canvas and not come too close to the edge, but to also judge for pleasing composition.

This is only an estimation and I refrain from creating a detailed drawing, for I will only cover it with paint directly upon completion. Also, I find that if I spend so much time on the drawing, when it comes time to paint, I rely too much on the drawing and it becomes a paint by number feel for me, and the painting becomes stiff and inaccurate.

After the initial drawing, I locate the easiest shape of value and color to get correct. I chose the light side of this pitcher. Soon after establishing the values and colors of this pitcher I laid in some of the darks around it to be sure that my values were correct - color and value is, after all, relative to it's surrounding colors and values. Painting the cloth underneath the pitcher was also important as it was a different shade of white - it was good to see the contrast between both shades as they were on the canvas exactly as I was seeing with my eyes.

I aim to complete this 16x20 painting by the end of next week - check back to see the progress.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Mandarin Crowd

Progression Slideshow

There was something about those mandarins when I walked past the kitchen counter. They caught my eye so I knew if anything I at least had to create a small study of them.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Petals and Cream

Petals and Cream
P r o g r e s s i o n
S l i d e s h o w

As you can see from the progressions, the flowers were not originally in the still life. About halfway through it became obvious to me that something was needed in order to keep the painting from appearing monochromatic.

This pitcher, one of three cream colored beauties, is from my mother, with whom I share matching sets. I will continue this series with additional paintings in this coloring and with these lovely subjects.

The napkin on the shelf, along with the rest of the set, belonged to my grandmother. They all bear my grandfather's embroidered initials.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thinking on Her

For the second painting to be completed in our new home, I decided to bring out a familiar piece to paint. It has in fact been 7 months since my last still life, so it is necessary to do some more basic and simple pieces to get back into the swing of things.

Enjoy the progression of this 3 hour painting.

I decided not to dilly dally one bit and after a quick placement sketch, I dove into the deep cobalt shapes to establish the tiny pitcher, blocking in obvious tones as I went.

After a break I continued with more exact edges and values, adding more detail to cause the pitcher to appear more sold and established. The flowers continued to get some attention. I was focused on creating more contrast between the shadows and bright light side of the petals. More paint was added to the previously washed in background and foreground.

Thinking on Her
8x10 oil on linen

After recording even more detail, working on the doily and establishing some more darks, I was pleased and so signed my name.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A New Start

Welcome to my new studio!
Last weekend my husband and I began working on setting up the room. There is much to do, and it will be a slow process to get the room looking how I am imagining, but rest assured I will include you in the process.

Here is the room before I unpacked all of my supplies and books.

I have two wonderful windows. One facing west and the other facing north.

I painted my first still life in over 7 months yesterday,
and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't a total disaster.

In my next post, you will see a familiar subject for a still life as I continue to practice after my long hiatus away from painting. I'm looking forward to being back into the swing of things.