Thursday, March 31, 2011

Friday Drawing Practice, Drawing Through Freezer Paper

Hello, and welcome to the fourth post in the Drawing Practice Series. Today we're going to explore a kind of "gesture drawing", in which you work quickly and try to capture the gesture and volume of the object you are depicting. I chose my iron, just because it was handy.

In gesture drawing, you look at the object and at your paper, but instead of trying to capture the precise outlines or contours, you use your lines to capture more of the attitude of the object. In the following video I did speed up the gesture drawing a little, so it wouldn't take too much time, but I am definitely working quickly. I first do a drawing directly in my sketchbook. Then I draw on the back side of freezer paper that has been coated with black acrylic paint. The effect is interestingly textural.

This is the first gesture drawing:

This is the drawing on done with freezer paper:

Thanks for visiting! Hope you enjoy this practice.

Don't forget to go over to the Sketchbook Challenge today for my April theme.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A couple brush and pen drawings

I was playing with the watercolor and pen drawing practice from last Friday, so I thought I'd share a couple of the resulting images.

This one is my dog, Zeke. I wanted to add a little more detail, but he moved.

This one is my Bad Hair Day self-portrait. I really don't look that somber most of the time.

April is my month to post the theme for the Sketchbook Challenge, so don't forget to look for it on Friday. I will copy the post on this blog next week, as Friday this week is another drawing practice tutorial.

I've just put my FIRST ONLINE WORKSHOP up on my web site, Unlocking the Secrets of Color. It is open for registration now, and begins May 4. It consists of six sessions, one per week, and I expect we'll have a blast! The next workshops to appear online will be Scribble Collage and a Drawing Practice workshop (similar to what you've seen in my Friday blog series, but much more fleshed out). Please e-mail me or post comments if you have suggestions or requests for online workshops.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Contours with Brush and Pen

Welcome to the third of my Friday Drawing Tutorials. You've probably all heard of contour drawing: you look at the object as you draw it, only glancing down to your paper occasionally, and draw its outlines. Pretty straightforward. You can do just the very outer edge of the object, or some of the interior lines as well. The key to contour drawing is to SLOW DOWN, take your time, let your hand and your eye coordinate their movements. Use a pen. "Mistakes" are part of the experience.

Here is an early attempt at a contour drawing of my chair:

After this drawing I did another, adding some of the interior lines:

You'll be amazed at how quickly your powers of observation increase when to take a few minutes once in a while to do a contour drawing. Here is another chair I did adding a bit of cross-hatch shading:

To make it a little more juicy, try doing a contour drawing with a big, wet watercolor brush. This makes you see the contours more generally, less in detail. After the watercolor dries, try a contour drawing of the same object in pen on top of the watercolor. Here is my spray bottle:

And a jar of brushes:

In the above two examples I tried to keep the pen drawing and the watercolor drawing together, so I fudged a little on the spray bottle nozzle while drawing in pen. In this self-portrait, I did the contour in watercolor, then the drawing in pen over it without trying to coordinate it.

Try both. See where it takes you!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Creativity Coaching

I want to introduce you to my friend and collage colleague Marianne Mullen. Here is Marianne in my Rupert studio having a good time mixing media and making a fabulous mess (which resulted in a beautiful mixed media piece):

Marianne has just opened her creativity coaching business, called Awaken Creativity. She can not only help you along your creative journey, but is also offering coaching for your small creative business. I have hired her as a consultant for my own business - marketing my workshops and books, and bringing people to my web site and blog - and been VERY pleased with the results. Check out her story and I encourage you to take advantage of all the FREE information and inspiration on her site. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Letting Go of Looking Good: Blind Self-Portrait

If you’ve ever taken a drawing class, you are probably familiar with the idea of drawing what you see with your eyes, not what your mind thinks you should see. In other words, really look at what you are drawing and respond to that, rather than some mental notion of what the object is. We could all draw a coffee mug, for example, from an image in our mind. It is a different thing to really look at a particular coffee mug and trace its outlines. Drawing from imagination or memory and drawing from seeing are two different things, and practicing the latter will enhance your skills at the former.

In order to draw from seeing, we have to let go of any desire we you might have for the drawing to look like something. Paradoxically, that desire – that attachment to our idea of what something should look like – only gets in the way of seeing. Here is an exercise that will help you Let Go of Looking Good:

You will need:
Paper that will accept watercolor, several sheets
A white crayon
Watercolor paint, any color
Paint brush
Cheap drawing paper or a sketchbook
Pen of your choice

1. First establish that this exercise is for your eyes only, unless you decide to share it.

2. Remember to approach the exercise with a sense of inquiry, not with a particular goal. It does not matter what the result looks like; what matters is that you approach it honestly and wholeheartedly.

3. Set up your mirror so you can see your face.

4. Slowly and carefully, draw your face with white crayon on the watercolor paper without looking at the paper. Look at your face in the mirror only. Take your time.

5. Brush water over the drawing, then paint over it in watercolor to reveal the drawing. Put it aside to dry, and repeat the process.

6. After a few blind self-portrait drawings, try a few with pen on the drawing paper or in your sketchbook, both blind and looking at your paper. Even when you are not doing a blind drawing, look more at the subject (your face in the mirror) than at the paper.

Making self portraits, for me, is one of the most effective ways of practicing letting go of looking good. This letting go not only helps you to see better, but it cultivates acceptance. Sometimes it is hard to accept how age affects how we look. We’re tempted to leave out that wrinkle or make our eyes look bigger and more youthful. Resisting this temptation not only encourages acceptance, but will result in much more beautiful and interesting drawings.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Blind Scribble

Thanks for all your comments of my blind scribble drawing practice that I posted on Friday. I thought I'd share a few painting-collage-drawings that I did based on this practice. I began each in this series with a newspaper collage background, just to add some text and texture.

In this one, I followed the newspaper collage with a blind scribble in black oil pastel, then another one in a terracotta oil pastel. I painted with acrylics, being guided by the structure imposed by the collage and the scribbles. I stamped the Q's, and then went over the scribbles to give them more visual weight.

In this one I painted acrylics over the newspaper collage, and then did the blind scribble with a water-soluble graphite pencil. Next came the white crayon scribble, not blind, and watercolor in sepia and pthalo blue. I emphasized the pencil scribble with black oil pastel, then added the red in acrylic. I love that red!

Here is a page in my sketchbook in which I did two half-blind drawings of crows in water-soluble graphite pencil. By "half-blind" I mean I was looking at a picture of a crow, not at my paper, and then towards the end of the drawing I did look at my paper so that I could make a closed shape. Sort of like cheating just at the end. But this process does result in really interesting shapes!

To use these crows in a collage-painting, I first traced them both onto white Art Tissue paper (not wrapping tissue, which has a shiny side) in fine point Micron pen. Then I cut them out, roughly, and applied them to this collage-painting, PEN SIDE DOWN, using acrylic matte medium. This is an adaptation of a technique I learned from Jane LaFazio. The tissue paper practically disappears so that you are left with the drawing layered onto the collage.

Trying to incorporate drawing into my collage-paintings is an ongoing process, and doing these series of studies in my sketchbook or on small sheets of paper is immensely helpful. Thanks for visiting!

PS: I decided to change my picture in my Profile. This one is more realistic, and more recent.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Drawing Series

Drawing Practice

Welcome to
the first installment of a series on DRAWING PRACTICES, which I will be posting every Friday for six Fridays. It’s not a step-by-step how-to-draw course, as much as a series of suggestions for keeping your drawing practice alive.

Blind Scribble

The Blind Scribble is a good place to begin if you are either new to drawing or haven’t done it for a while. Maybe you paint, collage, sew or make assemblage with abandon, but drawing, for some reason, intimidates you. Even if you draw on a regular basis, this first practice brings you back to basics.

You need:
A pen
Other drawing materials (optional)

Put the piece of paper in front of you on your work surface. Place the pen somewhere on the paper. Close your eyes. Draw. Just move the pen around, slowly exploring the paper. Focus on the sensation of moving the pen over the paper. Now try different kinds of lines, still with your eyes closed: try wavy lines, saw tooth lines, broken lines, smooth lines, jagged lines…. Move faster, move more slowly. When you’ve had enough, stop and open your eyes. Get another sheet of paper and repeat the process.

Ways to vary this exercise:

Draw to music: draw to slow, melodic music; draw to fast rhythmic music; draw to music you hate; draw to atmospheric, non-rhythmic music. Keep your eyes closed and give your whole being over to the sound and the feeling of drawing.

Switch drawing materials: Change to a brush-tip marker, a crayon, a colored pencil, a thick graphite stick, a piece of charcoal… This one is charcoal, then I brushed water over the drawing.

Make one blind scribble drawing; switch material and make another drawing over the first one.

I used water-soluble pencil for the second blind drawing over the marker original. Then I brushed water over the pencil.

Make a blind scribble drawing, then, with your eyes open, draw into it or over it with a different material.
In this one I did a blind scribble in white crayon over the first blind scribble, then painted into it with watercolor.
For more drawing exercises, see the Tutorials page on the Sketchbook Challenge blog. I hope you enjoy these exercises; thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

One More

Just wanted to share one more background. I applied gesso to muslin, which had been ironed on to freezer paper for stability. Textured the gesso as before, painted with acrylics, scraping and wiping it to add more texture. THEN... after it was completely dry, I scrubbed some parts with rubbing alcohol to remove some of the acrylic paint. I forgot about that technique. Maybe I'll do a little video demo on it, since I need practice with the video camera. Click on the image to bring up a full size version. I left it big so you could see all the detail.
This is just a quick post. No links, only one picture. But thanks for visiting!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Backgrounds on Paper and Cloth

I decided to take a Mixed Media with Paper and Cloth online class with Jane LaFazio, one of our Sketchbook Challenge bloggers. She is a fabulous fiber artist, and artist extrordinaire, and offers online classes through Joggles, one of my favorite mixed media supply retailers. For our first lesson, we are making backgrounds on paper and cloth (these ones are on muslin), using gesso, maybe texturing it, and then acrylic paint. Here are just a few of mine:

I applied gesso, then created texture using a knitting needle, scribbling lines in it. Once that was very dry, I Played With Paint!! Transparent turquoises and blues, and opaque Baltic Green; then I stamped the little white dots.

This one is done the same way, using a different color palette. I LOVE this muslin thing!This one is similar, though I let the first Paint Playground dry before adding some of the transparent colors: quinacridone gold and nickel-azo yellow.
I have no idea where these will go. Jane demonstrated a stencil technique as well in the first lesson, but I may wait to use that later in the process. Thanks for visiting!

Video Resolution

OK, I think I've fixed the resolution on the video below in the previous post. But there are places where the video pauses inexplicably. Take a look. Any ideas how to fix that? Thanks for visiting.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Trying out my new video camera

Here is my first attempt at video. I am making a quick series of small collage paintings, first by using my own scribble painted papers, stained papers, and a few other items for a basic collage layout, and then painting over it with Golden fluid acrylics. I use acrylic matte medium for the adhesive and top coat.

Here are the four finished small collages:

On this one I added a little stamping with wavy corragated card stock to echo the same pattern as is on the scribble painted paper:
I printed white dots with a hand-carved rubber stamp on this one, and also added the wavy corragated lines
I used plastic cross stitch canvas to print the white grid patterns on this one:
Thanks for visiting!