Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wishing You A Blessed & Prosperous New Year & Nude Sketch

I do hope each of you enjoy the New Year festivities in your area whether it is out and about or with family and/or friends. As 2008 ends, it is a good time to ponder the past year but an even better time to think of what we would like in 2009.

My goals focus on my family, friends and art. One art goal as mentioned previously, is to learn to draw better. By that I mean not only with a pencil but with a brush. In essence drawing for me means "seeing" better, the relationships between shapes and values, coordinating the eye to hand or maybe I should say brain to hand. Thinking and planning more not only prior to a painting or drawing but before each brushstroke or mark. Appreciating the look of a stroke or mark for its unique appearance and knowing whether that mark works.

You know the old saying, "slow down and smell the roses"? Well that is another of my goals when it comes to art. When I paint or draw I always have the feeling I must rush, when actually the only time table is of my own making.

You can see the rushed, unplanned look of this sketch I did from Hogarth's book. The only part I halfway like is the right foot. The benefit of this drawing though is teaching me what doesn't work and that I must break the bad habit of marking before actually knowing which mark to make, the size of the mark or which direction the mark should go. Plus, overmarking is a bad habit I have.

I'm saving the sketches done during 2009 to see if I can see improvement at the end of the year.

What goals or plans do you have for yourself in 2009? Whatever they are, I hope you find as much true joy as I do when I'm painting and that they come to fruition.

Head Studies after Burne Hogarth's Dynamic Figure Drawing Sketches

I'm back to doing more drawing/sketching studies. My goal for 2009 is to improve my drawing/sketching skills hence, improving my painting skills of the human form.

These sketches were done in conte, using sketches on pages 10 and 11 respectively, of Burne Hogarth's Dynamic Figure Drawing. They look nothing like Hogarth's sketches but that is the purpose, to teach me to draw/sketch in my own style while learning the shapes of the human head and/or figure.

This sketch to the right is of my granddaughter, Sadie, holding her puppy. The photo reference was taken by my daughter and was sketched on typewriter paper using a conte pencil. Notice the lines at the top of the head and across her chest? For the head I drew bascially a square or a slight rectangle first, then sketched the head. The diagnoal line across the chest was to show the directional tilt of her shoulders.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Landscape Practice

Using left over oil paint from the Grandma's House painting, this landscape was formed from my imagination, practicing brush strokes and the mixing of greens. The colors for the greens were cerulean blue, yellow ochre, naples yellow, cad. yellow. Then added in some darker blues, ultramarine and cobalt along with transparent red oxide, alizarin crimson. The Ampersand board was first wiped down with Transparent Red Oxide and mineral spirits to tone the board. There is also a bit of Mars orange mixed into some of the mixes.

Grandma's House Finished?

I initially called this Swingin' but changed it to its current title as it is a painting of the grandkids playing at Grandma's. A photo has been sent to the client (my niece) and am waiting for her feedback. She had specific items that had to be in the painting which were the fence, the slide and swing, the house and of course, the kids playing. The painting is 16" x 20" on stretched canvas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday Morning Armchair Traveling

This morning started off with a lovely cup of coffee and viewing blogs. I enjoy reading about what is happening in different parts of the world through other artists' blogs. I started off with Making a Mark which always has interesting tidbits and lots of links to other sites. Through a link from Making a Mark, I found Ancient Artist: Developing an art career after 50 by Sue Smith, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I then went on to view Sue's blog about her artwork, Sue Smith's Studio. Such a neat way to start off the week as these blogs offer tidbits, questions, and ideas plus, artwork. I'll be posting Sue's blog links to the side bar as I intend to visit her blog frequently.

Digging back into the archives here is another Christmas painting done in 2003, just to provide a little Christmas cheer. I love snow globes because they are bring out the wonder a child has when the globe is shaken and snow fall over the scene. The painting is watercolor and done from a still life set up. I was learning to paint in watercolor when this painting was done and am still learning, *grin*.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Self-Portrait Sketch

Did this sketch this morning on tracing paper. In this sketch my head is tilted back a little as I look down toward the mirror. The lighting is from overhead fluorescents slightly to the left with some natural light from the window on the right.

Notice the eye underneath the hair on the viewer's left? I thought I would concentrate on doing contour drawings of each feature until I get the hang of doing these. I watched Charles Reid do a contour drawing of his model in a video, on watercolor paper and believe me, it takes lots of experience to get a likeness, which he did very well.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I'm not sure I will ever get the hang of blind contour drawing. In this one I totally missed one eye ha ha and I tried to go ever so slow. Then I went on to sketch myself while looking in a mirror, wrinkles and all.

Contour Drawing Practice

I think I have only tried contour drawing one or two times previously, so yesterday, using a .09 mechanical pencil, I tried it again. These were done very quickly and the results are hilarious. The first drawing was using a photo for reference; the rest are self-portraits while viewing me in a mirror. After looking at these, I thought they could possibly be used as a basis for an abstract.

Most were blind contour sketches where I didn't take my eyes off of the subject, not looking at the paper. Aren't they comical looking! Contour drawing is actually to be done very, very slowly, barely moving the pencil while looking at the small area being drawn. Concentrating solely on that area before moving on to the next area.

In the book by Kimon Nicolaides, "The Natural Way to Draw", his first exercises are on contour drawing and recommends 1/2 hour for one drawing. Obviously, I didn't take that time with yesterday's sketches but plan to today, if I can make myself draw that slow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas, From the Archives

Wishing Each of You
A Most Blessed

This painting was done in 2003, while remembering my childhood. I would lay on the couch, without my glasses, and get lost in the wonderland of lights and Christmas daydreams, believing anything is possible. Every time I run across this card, I still get that same feeling. Besides, purple is my favorite color and always make me feel good too.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Semi-Nude Drawing

An update on the drawing I've been working on. The Fabriano paper is soft press but does have texture which shows in some of the strokes. The first image is a close-up of the face; the second shows the full view.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Semi-Nude Graphite Drawing, In progress

Below is the semi-nude graphite drawing I've been working on the past few days. It is drawn on 18" x 22" Fabriano soft press watercolor paper. I'm waiting on comments from the client so there could be more changes, such as a smoky, darker background and maybe more work on the drapery, waistline and hip. This is art so I hope this drawing is not offensive to anyone. I find it beautiful myself.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2nd Drawing

Waking up in the middle of the night has its advantages as the house is quiet and I can concentrate. I erased the first sketch and did this 2nd sketch over it, of the same woman with a more frontal view.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Cherokee Rose, In Memory Of

In Loving Memory
Today, a life long friend passed away. She lived across the highway from us for as many years as I can remember and when we were young, she would babysit. Lorena was also the model for this painting done in 2006. I so wanted to capture the gentleness of her spirit along with the visionary look in her eyes. Her eyes held a hint of sadness or maybe it was a yearning. My heart weeps.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Drawing WIP

A work in progress using grapite on 18" x 22" Fabriano Soft Press 140# watercolor paper. The paper is a soft white and I haven't adjusted the photo at all as far as lights/darks, etc., so the paper has a slight reddish tint in the photo.

The model for this drawing is a lovely lady with a great personality. I began with the face because getting the features right is the most important part of the drawing to me. There is still much to do with the features, especially the eyes, and the shading. This drawing will be a semi-nude and it should be fun (meaning interesting) getting the drapery right.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Nude Sketches

Today was "practice" day with graphite and charcoal. Four studies of the same pose were done, and believe me they aren't anything to brag about. I'm sharing these simply because practice studies like these are important for working out kinks or problem areas. They help one to become familiar with tilt, angles, shapes, measurements, foreshortening, etc. , of the body. It takes hours and hours of doing these studies to become proficient at both seeing and drawing the human body. In these studies, I haven't tried for an actual likeness as I was more interested in the overall measurements, etc.

Because some people are offended by nudity I have chosen to place them on my website, so click HERE, if you want to view them, then click on the photos to enlarge them.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Swingin' Update

I've been working on this the last couple of days trying to get it finished. I still need to work on the tree shadows as I'm not pleased with them and add the fence back in as well as lighten some of the grass near the house that is not in shadow. This photo has been sent to the client for her general comments. Hope she is pleased with the progress.