Saturday, September 27, 2008
I really do need to learn to say no. But I am tempted by so many things, and I am weak.
This week was the Virtual Sketch Date and after missing last month's due to other commitments, I vowed I would do the September date. The reference image came from Sharon at Flat Sound of Wooden Clogs and lovely it was too, this tree peony.
As readers of this blog know, I am not a painter of flowers, at least not often. I know I can do them if I concentrate, but I have a mental block around drawing flowers. I say they're too complex then go on and draw an animal in detail. Go figure... I do like to push myself outside my comfort zone and find that it always improves my powers of observation as well as my drawing or painting skills.
I used some acrylics that were sitting on my studio table from a lesson I did the other night with someone and I was too lazy to haul out the oil paints. Acrylics can be useful, but I do prefer oils. I think the quick drying of the acrylics becomes a little annoying to me as I like to have the ability to move the paint around. But I persevered and here is the result. Am I happy with it? No, not completely. The petal portion is where I fumbled, as is usual. The folds frustrated me and I was having distinct problems finding the right colour values for the petals. I may tinker with the piece in the future, but I think it may stand as it is.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I'm not a cat person. Really I'm not. I've always had cats around however, but mostly for functional use as mouse catchers or to sit decoratively warming their toes in front of the fire without becoming overly intrusive into my life. I don't want a cat demanding attention or always being on the wrong side of the door.
Then Tripod appeared. He wasn't a chosen pet but an orphan from the woods. I often have a soft spot for animals (and people) who are life's downtrodden. Tripod is unique for a cat and has a true personality with more dog qualities than cat ones. He puts up with me, preferring the company of others but will clamber up on me as a last resort. We have an unspoken agreement that we both keep to ourselves for the most part. I'm still not a cat fancier. I wouldn't harm one, but if he left tomorrow, I wouldn't be heartbroken either.
He is photogenic and good to draw however. The thought sometimes flits through my brain that he was sent for me to draw, for him to leave his mark on the world through my hand. I did this watercolour sketch from a photo I took of him staring balefully at me from across the dining room table, sprawled across the newspaper, which is one of his deepest loves.
Monday, September 22, 2008
With the current controversy over potential copyrighted subject matter and authenticity of artwork in major art competitions around the world, it reinforces the need for artists to ensure that they are transparent in both their sources of inspiration and their techniques of creating work.
I have used 'royalty free' images for practice pieces and occasionally have placed one in a show, but interestingly, it is only my own images and compositions that sell with regularity. I have literally hundreds and hundreds of photos, many of which are still in need of cataloguing - another rainy day task. If I want to draw a particular piece, I can still reference many online photos and use portions of them to make an entirely different end product. The context of my reference is to view structure, colouring, values, placement, etc. How a portion of that piece ends up in my drawing will depend on the exact need that I have at the time. Perhaps the time will come when artists, like writers, will need to provide a bibliography of the various reference pieces they viewed to make the composite piece if the entire work is not from their own references or life studies.
Art societies and the buying public want to ensure that work is unique and that if they pay a considerable sum for a piece, they won't see the same subject repeated by another artist with a different medium at a later date. The only way to achieve this is to always take and use your own reference photos or work from life. I still have no qualms about doing practice pieces from online free photo galleries but they won't be competition material.
I think one of the reasons that I enjoy drawing animals or people is that I love seeing the personalities shine through and trying to capture them on paper.
Animals as well as people have their own quirks, likes and dislikes and ways of living their lives. Their expressions are so often true to their personalities. This line drawing is of my daughter's and fiance's dog, Jessie. Jessie is a high energy, playful dog. She's part Labrador, part Retriever and those breeds are reflected in both her looks and personality.
I'll start adding some values to the drawing and see if I can bring out her fun side.
I've been gathering more of my heirloom tomatoes from the greenhouse as the growing season is closing in fast with a frost forecast tonight. Besides the wonderful flavour of the tomatoes, I love the shapes of these fruits. Lumpy and bumpy with ridges, valleys and indents, they are unique and so different from the 'perfect' tomatoes found in the supermarket.
I also have about 10 pounds of purple beans to be topped, tailed, blanched and frozen. Not a task I particularly want to do, but I know that it will help fill the freezer and be welcome during the winter.