Saturday, January 16, 2010

Shell Game - the real part 2

I've struggled with the filming of this tutorial and thank you for bearing with me.  This section is upside down and may not be worth showing in terms of lighting but I did promise it so I guess I'd better share it. The next should have all the bugs worked out in terms of lighting and video positioning.  I jump ahead of myself sometimes.  Ok, lots of the time.

My apologies in advance for the poor lighting.  Think of this more as a little conversation with me in my studio with you sitting next to me as opposed to any kind of tutorial.  Here it is, warts and all.  The image above is the watercolour in its current state.  Final stages will be detailing and adding deeper values to give it more definition.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Shell Game - Part 1.1


I've been trying to work on the second part of the video demo for the watercolour shell and am being dogged by bad luck with battery failure.   What I thought were good batteries, obviously weren't so the next piece will be short then followed by a longer session later this weekend. 

I've named it Part 1.1 because I wanted a longer piece to show you.  However, things don't always work as we hope, so next time definitely Part II!

Did I mention that technology wasn't my forte??

I am also pleased to say that as of writing this, there have been 12 bids for the print that I put on Ebay last night, with proceeds going to relief funds in Haiti.  I will be donating the final amount to Medecins sans Frontieres/Doctors without Borders.

Katherine Tyrrell of Making A Mark wrote a great post yesterday about artists contributing to the Haiti cause in a variety of ways.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kisses for Haiti

The devastation in Haiti weighs on my shoulders, even if it is far away.   I watch the news and see the anguish and despair in people's faces and can barely begin to imagine how they feel.  Complaining about a bad day is so trivial.  Nothing is bad compared to this.

I wanted to do something.  Something concrete.  Something from the heart.   So I decided I would auction one of my prints - Purity Kisses - on Ebay and donate the resulting funds entirely to the Haiti Relief Fund.

This is an 18 x 12 professional print and is up for auction tonight, running for seven days.   Please be generous and bump up the bids.  The final winner will receive this beautiful print and the knowledge that they have helped provide some aid to Haiti.

Bid now!  Bid often!  Haiti needs our help!

The shell game

And it really is becoming a bit of a shell game as I'm trying another video as part of a tutorial.  I still need to get lights right and sound.  Its being recorded with my Flip video, which is beautifully simple to record with and to upload.  I need to get a larger tripod for it and a suitable viewing spot.  Next time I hope everything will work as I plan.

You may need to adjust the sound to hear my voice.  I am conscious of the fact that I need to keep talking and to do that and paint really is quite challenging.  So forgive me when I trail off or babble, its beyond my control at this point.

I still had some of these lovely shells sitting on the table in the studio and thought I'd play around with another watercolour sketch of one, combined with some footage as well.  This is part one.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The concept of instant art

I taught a private art lesson tonight, concentrating on the basics of watercolour.  I found these shells, not on an exotic beach, but in a store and bought them because I loved the shapes and pale colours, so used them as the subject for painting.

I often find with beginning artists that they want perfection without realizing the work that has to go into moving to a higher level of competence.  Individuals want to jump all over the board in different mediums and subjects and each new thing they see, that becomes their new goal.  Its difficult to pull them back to earth without breaking the bubble of excitement.  I want that excitement to stay and stay with the hours of practice and learning that still need to come.

I did this little piece alongside my student and it isn't complete, but it was wanted to take home and practice with, so I let it go.  I think we all have that level of enthusiasm when starting something new.  The difference between continuing on to learn a skill, learning part of something or abandoning it altogether is each person's need and determination to succeed.

Also in an 'instant' consumer society, people expect everything to happen quickly, including art.  The practice of art - or art done well to be more precise - is not served up, double sized in 3 minutes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The little things

Often what are considered the simplest things become the most interesting subject matter.  In this case, popcorn.

I was eating some lovely warm popcorn and started studying the shape of one of the popped kernels.  They are quite interesting shapes and I thought it could be challenging to paint it.  I haven't had time to do so yet, but I've played around with some digital images to get me into painting mode and give me an idea of where I want to go with this. 

I am thinking something large.  A macro shot of a piece of popcorn.  It might put me off popcorn forever, but I somehow doubt it.  And popcorn is good for you - provided you lay off the butter and salt.  Ok, just a bit...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

More portrait update

I've been making slow progress with this portrait, as I have a few other pieces on my plate at the same time.  A couple of commissions, a drawing class to teach next week and I'm busy setting up some watercolours for a series of frozen pieces. 

I've blocked in some background with charcoal and think that I'll use a reductive technique to put the pattern in place, using a kneader eraser.  Or that is the plan so far.  Its interesting to note how the values of everything change once more of the white paper in the background and hair is covered.  Another good reason to complete the background prior to or along with the figure in a drawing or painting.   This image is taken in natural light as well, so is not sepia coloured as the previous drawing appeared.

I've also started on the hair.  Hair with curls is not something I enjoy drawing as it takes time and is complex with its various shapes and values.  I don't know if hair is anyone's favourite thing to draw, but mostly because it is time consuming.  Its one of those things where you just have to grit your teeth and tackle it bit by bit.

For those who listen or watch video podcasts, there are some short tutorials on drawing that I came across including one on hair.  It and others can be found at Drawing Tutorials Online. They can be downloaded onto iPods or listened to/watched online.