Blind Contour Friday…my keys

Over at InkfingerNiff & Sutter have started something called Blind Contour Friday. Several people are participating in it now…they have posted links there. This is my first attempt…I added color in Photoshop…that part wasn’t blind. I guess it’s my lame attempt to try to make my drawing better. I know, I know…blind contours are supposed to look bad, but I don’t like posting bad drawings.

Update on Sunflower Painting

(UPDATED PICTURE…8-26-05) Sorry about the really bad scan of my painting. My paper is still stapled to the board…so it’s kind of hard to scan it and I would have taken a picture, but I think my husband has the camera and he is at a staff retreat…so I had to make due with this. I just thought you might like to see what I am doing to my sunflower painting. I decided it just didn’t have enough color…so after the sepia ink…I am using bright colors of colored pencils and I am getting some wonderful color combinations as well as creating a bit of texture for a rather boring painting. I still haven’t totally decided what to do with that background…but I am thinking some Van Goghy swirls and lines would liven it up a bit. What do you think? I also am considering adding more sunflowers over the blue wash I already have…which will be fine, I think, at making them look like they are farther away…and will help fill the space, making it look more like the forest of flowers that towered over me that day. So what do you think? I know I asked before…about what to do about my sunflower painting…but only one person really offered a suggestion. And thanks for that…but I really do value your opinions and if you have one I would so love to hear it. It is so nice to be able to get feedback on my drawings…and since I am really struggling with this I would really appreciate it.
I really want to finish this painting. I have mixed feelings about cutting it apart. It’s a struggle to push myself to keep going. I am so tempted to quit…and toss it into the corner where my unfinished paintings/drawings reside…of which I have about 10 now! (Don’t even ask me how many finished paintings…you don’t want to know.) What do you do to get past this point? Just keep going. Discipline? Is that what it’s about at this point?

Waiting…a Good Opportunity to Draw

Today I was kicking myself for not sticking my journal in my bag. I was at the Social Security office trying to get another SS card for my daughter who needs it for starting school (nothing like waiting till the last minute!) I waited in line for almost an hour only to find out that the paper I had for identification had to be signed by her doctor! Argh! I had just stopped there before I went to the SS office. So I get back in my car and head across town, take the paper in and get it signed, and head back to the SS office…where there is even more people waiting now. I had to get a new number…and this time waited about one hour and fifteen minutes!!!! So I got so restless sitting there, that I went and grabbed a pamphlet from it’s rack on the wall and drew three of the people in the waiting room. The Social Security office definitely attracts some interesting drawing subjects. I drew the three people I could most inconspicuously record on paper.

Sunflower Workshop

I could hardly wait for today. I had signed up to attend a Sunflower workshop at a local artists home. There were probably about 20 ladies who attended. We arrived around 9:00 with carloads of art supplies in anticipation of creating masterpieces…ok, maybe not masterpieces, but one can hope, right? As Julia and I decided where to set up, many of the ladies were cutting sunflowers and zinneas to use in still lifes, using old chairs, watering cans and vintage fabric from Joan’s garage. By the time we were set up, many of the most gorgeous sunflowers were already cut down. Julia and I wanted to draw them in the field (garden actually) which proved to be the best idea, since after lunch many of the still lifes were badly wilted. Anyway, we started right in on our work. I did a thumbnail and wrote about the sunflowers in my journal, took some pictures, and then started with a preliminary drawing on my stretched watercolor paper. It took quite a while for me to get a composition that I thought worked…and even then, after I started painting I added in some more flowers. I used primarily Sap Green, Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue, & Raw Umber. Other colors I used were a viridian, alizirin crimson, an orange-ish yellow that I can’t remember the name of and a blue-violet color (that I also cannot remember). The background is Cobalt Blue and some cheap purple paint that I have had since college. I enjoyed painting outside, although the sun got incredibly hot and I ended up getting fried on just the right side of my face, neck and arm. Around noon, we stopped and ate lunches that we had brought along and then joined together in watching Joan do an amazing demonstration of Monotype printing. Man, was it beautiful. I could so get in to it. The artwork you see here is a scan of a printed photo of one of her prints which totally does not do it justice, but at least you get the idea. If you have not ever done monotypes, it might be a cool thing for you to try. The materials are not that expensive. She uses water soluble block printing ink which she orders in large tubes from Dick Blick. She had more colors than I thought were even available. She did a preliminary drawing on paper the same size as the plexiglass she was using. She used a big black permanent marker and then turned over the paper and drew the drawing on the back, which is what she used when painting on the plexiglass…since it prints backwards. She then applied paint (ink) with old brushes and palette knives, and then used an orange peeler from Tupperware to scrape lines into the print. She then wet her paper and printed it on White drawing paper from Utrecht. She did a second print on Black Canson drawing paper…without wetting it first…and it was even more amazing than the first. I love that you never know exactly how it will come out. I love the spontaneity of this medium…I have so got to try this. Anyway, after the demo and seeing several of her prints, we headed back to paint. I think it was great to have such a long (and inspiring) break because as soon as I picked up my brush I instinctively dipped it in some red and started adding red to my leaves, which made it so much better. The background was quite challenging because I painted it after the flowers…which you aren’t really supposed to do…especially in such a large, and broken up, area…so I am not real happy with it. I am still working on it. I decided to add ink…I filled my Rapidograph with Sepia ink in anticipation of using it on my watercolor. Yet, when I do ink, it gets so tight…and I don’t want to wreck it… So after the ink, I think I will use colored pencil and maybe darken up the background…make it more like the photo with the periwinkle color sky. One thing that was so hilarious was that whenever someone would wander over to look at our paintings, EVERY person remarked about how gorgeous this one little flower was up in the corner. I painted it that way completely by accident…but it actually ended up looking perfect. I am kind of afraid to ink over it, because I don’t want to ruin it (please forgive the bad scan of it – I still have it stapled to my board). Some of the ladies advised me to cut it in half and create two painting…one with ink and one with out so that I could leave the “beautiful” flower alone. What I’d like to know is what do you think? Should I cut up the painting? Or should I finish it as one composition? And Why? Please offer your advice and opinion…because I am just not sure. Maybe you can help me see something that I don’t. Thanks so much for your input.

Also, here are some more ATCs I made inspired by the sunflowers.

What is an ATC?

In response to a comment left on my last post, I will be glad to explain a little about ATCs. ATCs are Artist Trading Cards. I am really fairly new to them and just got started making them within the past 2 weeks thanks to my art pen pal, Tammy, who pointed me in the direction of a Yahoo! Group that has a plethera of swaps to join.
ATCs must be 2.5″x3.5″(the size of sports trading cards) and an ATC must never be sold…only traded. An ATC is a mini work of art and I love meeting new people through the cards I trade (Ok…I haven’t actually received any I am trading yet) and seeing all of the different styles and ideas people come up with. Usually ATCs are made in sets that follow a theme, such as my architecture set below. If you want to find out more about ATCs and what techniques and media are used to create them, you may want to check out this very helpful article I have found. It has a lot of good information in it.
As to how I made them, the cards I made below were collaged from maps and images I printed from my computer. Only a couple were my photos. And then I tinted them with marker and stuck them on the card. The words are stamped. I drew on the first one, but decided it didn’t look so great, so I didn’t do it on the rest. The Dr. Seuss cards I drew from the characters and a picture of Dr. Seuss. Hope that answers the questions you had about how I made them. I will explain that better when I post images of my future ATCs. Also, that document I mentioned above explains alot about how ATCs can be made. But mine are not done digitally…I have not mastered Photoshop enough yet to be able to do that. I like cutting stuff out and sticking things together anyway.

A hitchhiking bee and some more ATCs

I had some errands to run today, so I hired our babysitter to come and hang out with the kids while I took care of business. When I got in the van, I noticed a bee had landed on the outside of the windshield. I didn’t give it much thought until I had driven a couple of blocks and it was still hanging on. Intrigued by this little guy, I watched him for a minute as I pulled into a parking lot. He went through ritualistic cleanings of his thorax or his hind legs (not sure which). I ran into the store to get what I needed only to come out to my van and find him still there. He traveled with me all the way across town to the credit union and then to two other places. While I was in line at the Credit Union, I retreived Savannahs drawing pad from the seat behind me and grabbed a pen and drew the bee in this unique vantage point, that I am sure I have never seen a bee from before. I never noticed that the bee (at least this particular kind of bee) had a yellow head with black eyes. His six legs and antenae were all a golden yellow. Now, if you’d have asked me before today, I would have said that bees have black legs…but not this one. He also had translucent wings that were of a golden color. I found him to be a very beautiful creature…intricate and detailed…a reflection of his creator.

On another note…I just finished seven more ATCs…for an architecture swap. I had fun doing these because I chose to do my cards of places I visited on my trip to Europe in 1992. I saw so many great places. These are my favorites…and I included information about each place on the back along with a little note that I had visited that place in 1992. Because I love them, I am going to share each one with the facts icluded. Have you ever been to any of these?
The Colosseum Rome, Italy 80AD
The Colosseum was designed to hold 50,000 spectators. It had approx. 80 entrances so crowds could arrive and leave quickly and easily. The base of the building covers about six acres. It is equivalent to a 12-15 story building. Many years after it had ceased to be used it became a convenient source of building materials until its restoration period beginning in the eighteenth century.

The Eiffel Tower Paris, France 1889
It stands 985′ tall. It was built by Architect Gustav Eiffel. 300 steel workers constructed it. 1 worker was killed during construction. It has 2,500,000 rivets and 18,038 steel pieces. It takes 50 tons of paint to paint it. It is painted every seven years with dark brown paint. Lighting was not added until 1986.

The Gargoyles of Notre Dame Cathedral Paris, France 1250
These half-man, half-beast monsters are carved from stone. Gargoyle comes from the Latin word for gullet or drain. Gargoyles are actually drain pipes. Each grotesque figure has a passageway inside that carries rainwater from the roof and out through the gargoyles mouth.

Basilica of St. Francis Assisi, Italy 1228
Work started on the basilica in 1228, just two years after the saint had died. The pink and white stones from Mt. Subasio used to build the church creates a special, highly artistic and chromatic effect. Giotto painted 28 beautiful panels in the upper basilica 1300-1330.

Venice, Italy 421
Venice is built on 117 small islands and has some 150 canals and 409 bridges. “Nothing in the story of Venice is ordinary. She was born dangerously, lived grandly, and never abandoned in her blazen individualism.” -James Morris (The World of Venice, 1959)

Dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore Florence, Italy 1436
Nicknamed “el duomo” this is the main cathedral of Florence. This church had no dome for about 100 years after the walls went up in 1296. It was not until the sculptor, Filipo Brunelleschi convinced the cathedral committee that his design was feasable. It was one of the world’s greatest engineering feats and spans 140 feet.

The Roman Forum Rome, Italy
Initially the forum was a sort of open-air market. Monuments were eventually erected by the powers to earn the allegience of the people. The main street that runs through the forum is the Via Sacra or the Sacred Way where returning heroes paraded their prisoners. Many of Rome’s leaders erected monuments along this route.
(Oh yeah, and when I was entering the forum some gypsy kids pickpocketed me and stole a really cool change purse that I had 50,000 lira in, it’s only about $50., but still!)

Illustration Friday: Empty

Are you up for a good challenge? Doing this drawing was good motivation to empty my dishwasher plus it was great for practicing my perspective and overlapping. It’s not totally correct, but all I could manage after a day of driving and then hanging out at the fair with the kids (pay one price day) riding rides and eating fair food. I’m exhausted. Good night.

Jackson County Fair

Tonight was the final night with my drawing class. We met at the fairgrounds, thinking it would make a great place to draw. Here are some of my drawings. Nothing spectacular. My husband wondered why I overlapped the drawings on the one page. It’s because I was doing contour…and not really paying a lot of attention to the placement on the page. I hate the drawing of the girl and guy… I so need to practice people! So you may be wondering what I have been up to lately. Not drawing as much as I should, that’s what. I can’t believe how easy it is to put off stuff like drawing. I really enjoy it. How hard can it be to sit for a few minutes and draw something…anything. But I haven’t done it. I am disappointed with myself that I have gotten lazy about it. I don’t want to be one of those people who only draw when they are in a class or something. That was me before. I don’t want to go back there. Actually I have really just let myself get real distracted with a new favorite thing (making ATCs)…but I am going to have to balance it out with journaling, because I really need to do that, ya know? Anyway, here are some ATCs I made for a Dr. Seuss swap.

Drawing downtown

Tonight my drawing class met downtown Jackson to practice our perspective drawing and draw some buildings, cityscapes or whatever…but only one of my students showed up. We enjoyed drawing. I don’t feel like I did a lot of instruction, but hopefully he will forgive me for that. So this is what I drew: The fountain is in a small park in the center of downtown. I used a white jellyroll glaze pen for the fountain and water. If you have never used these, the ink dries to a slick shine and looks raised a bit. The bad thing about them is they take a while to dry…but using them outside, it dried by the time I was ready to do my watercolor over the top. It worked like a resist. (An idea that someone on my Artist Journals2 group had mentioned about these pens – Thanks!) The second drawing I tried to do more as a contour – no shading with my rapidograph pen. I tried to get in as much of the detail as I could…but I did leave a few things out. I am pretty satisfied with it except that for some reason tonight I could not draw a straight line!

EDM Challenge #25 – Draw a glass

I was looking through the cupboards for an interesting glass to draw and came across this souvenir (yes, I know I spelled it wrong in my journal…I really thought there was another e in it…oh well, thanks Google!) from a recent trip to Chicago. Ed Debevic’s sells this “World’s Smallest Hot Fudge Sundae” and you get the glass to take home. Not that we needed FIVE of them, but at least we have a nice collection. Obviously, I can’t have ice cream in it while I draw, so I filled it with some gumballs…which I think I drew smaller than they actually were compared to the glass. And even though I sketched my ellipses in pencil first, and thought I had them right, they aren’t perfect…and the right side of the glass is not as curved as it should be…but it was fun to draw all the distortions of the gumballs through the ridges in the glass. The gumball on the bottom was green, and I thought it was interesting that there were little specks of green all around on the bottom of the glass…but not any other color. It was also very challenging to render the embossed logo on the glass with ink. And…I found that when I did a wash over the writing my ink was not totally waterproof. I did not ever realize that before…I guess I will have to be more careful about that in the future. Here are some links to other artist’s renditions of the glass challenge. Some pretty good ones, I think.
Allison’s glass
Julie Oakley’s glass
Cindy Woods’ glass
Laura’s glasses