Friday, December 31, 2010

Statue Portraits

I Surprised Myself
Lingering Contemplation
I used to hate drawing statues. That went along with my oblique feeling towards setting down lines to represent architecture. I want a subject with some life, so maybe he/she/it tilts their head to the right a bit oddly or has the most awkward stance, that is exactly what kept me absorbed.
Gut vs. Mind
I'm still not sure that I love to draw, paint, or otherwise represent statues or anything inanimate, but I am more and more drawn to them. Creating 2D art from a statue is more to me now than just drawing something static. There is something to be said for doing portraits of statues.
I'm sure more thoughts, and deeper insights about statues will be coming. Right now I don't trust my written thoughts on that subject to really get full ideas across. Of course, part of the point of visual art is to convey what can't entirely be said with the written word. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Something Playful

Starting Point

Since I recently took a two day oil pastel workshop, I have done a total of four oil pastels, one just a tiny study. I've decided to share the latest. This is a little jersey calf that my local dairy farmer/organic food stand owner will be sharing with visitors for the next couple of weeks. (If you are ever in the North County of San Diego, specifically Ramona, stop by her stand on Dye Road. She makes scrumptious kumquat marmalade.)


This little calf is amiable and playful while seemingly just slightly resentful in her tolerance of so many obstructions to her freedom. I'm not entirely sure of the reasoning behind the bunny ears. :D (Though I'm sure the kids that come by enjoy the novelty of the second set of ears.)


I did this portrait of the calf, Tina, because I was interested in the expression on her face. I had never seen subtle expressions on a cow's face before, perhaps I just never got close enough. ;) I'm enjoying the immediacy of working with oil pastel, and I'm looking forward to experimenting with oil pastel mixed with oil paints. So far, I think I'm getting a nice sense of movement with this medium.

Thanks for your interest. Leave comments if you wish. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Metallic Leaf Portraits

This series combines shine, reflection, a spark, and a connection between exterior and interior. You know how we are all made of energy, like the little squiggly strings in String Theory? Well, I thought that metallic leaf really conveyed that energy within and around every living thing.

If you like the idea, the look, or both you can commission a portrait in a metallic leaf of your pet (or person) through my ETSY studio.

Let me know what you think. :)

Abigail Anne, detail
Abigail Anne
Tempochka 12" by 12"
Tempochka, detail 12" by 12"
African Grey at San Diego Wild Animal Park 12" by 12"  

P.S. This post was long overdue. I hope you liked it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Just Flirting

What on Earth is this?
This is one of a series of cards featuring this clever, if mischief prone, mouse. A few other characters join her through the card series.
Who gets to share them?
You do. This is the first of the cards that will be up shortly in my Etsy shop. (I'll let you know when they are up.) I will have other humorous cards, as well as cards that are more type oriented. I can't wait to share them all. :) You can get the word out too. ;)
Thanks for your interest. :)

Full Concept

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Creativity Isn't Only For Artists

 Michael Chabon reminds us of how important it is to teach everyone the value of art as an expression of creativity. Find his short statement by clicking here. 


*The link is now fixed, so go ahead a click over to the statement. :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hooded Sheep

* disclaimer: This post is long, but you might just enjoy it. ;)
The Ritual

Every year I visit the San Diego county fair at the Del Mar race track grounds. Mostly I go to peruse the art, look at some plants, enjoy a caramel apple, a gingersnap, and a fresh lemonade. Oh, and to stare at multitudes of animals, not excluding the human variety.

Past Years: Dreamy Impressions

Boer Goat
I've seen pygmy goats at the fair since I was a little kid. For years I wanted to have just one as a pet, and to be honest I would, even now, love to see one climbing on random things in the backyard and eating weeds down to nubs. Someday... (But that goes into a tangent on my childhood desire to make pets out of all animals in a miniature scale. That included the tiny deer family members called Duikers at the San Diego Zoo.)

One year I discovered that I intuitively know how to greet a llama. I went down a whole line of them, each animal leaned in towards me as I leaned towards them and then they each inhaled delicately.  I then witnessed them doing the same with another llama going down past the line of stalls. 

 So, on the whole it was always an idealized experience with fair animals. I was able to put the fact that some of these animals, the chickens, the cows, and the pigs, were going to be slaughtered out of my mind.  I didn't hang around the meat market animals too long.

This Year: Reality Check

This year, unexpectedly, almost every animal I saw was a meat market animal. We came on the last day of the fair, and it seems to have been scheduled for 4-H animals. Endearing posters were hung from the top bars of many animal's stalls. Polished happy looking teenagers proclaimed from the paper in large type that her (they seemed to be all girls) animal will be great served up baked, grilled, BBQed, or any way you like it.

I saw floppy eared Boer goats, as cute as any pygmy pet goat. They are bred for meat. There were steers for beef. I saw degraded veal calves. The pigs! (Or should I call them pork.) This may sound ridiculous, but I never before observed how human their eyes look. I had always seen them from a distance, or as piglets plundering a tired sow's belly. I knew that pigs are smart, but I just tried not to think about it. They have human eyes. I have the pictures to prove it. One flopped down in front of me to rest, as I talked to it (yes I talk to them), he watched me with soulful eyes. Those ghostly pale brown eyes in mind, I have since pulled myself away from ordering a carnitas burrito.

The Proof of Human Eyes

The Payoff For Reading This Far: My Idea

Finally, we come to the market lambs, of a particular meaty breed. They are shorn close and then wear either tight fitting body suits or hooded robes to keep there coats clean for showing. Above their stalls were their prices by the pound. This is where I, finally, tell you the idea for my current project.

The last couple of years I have noticed the hoods that sheep wear after they have been shorn. I think it is hard for an American not to make the visual connection with the Klu Klux Klan robes. In the past I took a couple of so-so pictures of them and had fleeting thoughts about making the photos into an illustration, but I never felt the need to actually do it.

This year, because the fair creatures have taken me to macabre imaginings I want to express that indirectly in an illustration. So, I'm using hooded sheep to make a comment on the Klu Klux Klan. You can draw some obvious conclusions about the idea from there. This is a bit of a departure for me in subject matter. I'm trying to keep the image fairly simple and bold with chiaroscuro lighting. It should be moody in the final. Here is the sketch I like so far:

Hooded Sheep

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Portfolio Blooms

I submitted this piece to Talenthouse, for their competition with the theme of "Calling All Portfolios." It doesn't look quite as vibrant on their website, so I wanted everyone to get a chance to see it looking more accurate.

The idea was to use portfolios as blooms and convey a sense of opportunity. Go to see (and please vote for) Portfolio Blooms at Talenthouse. My explanation of the concept is more in depth on their site.

Voting starts tomorrow, July 15th, and ends July 19th. So be quick about it. ;)

Thanks for your interest. :)

*Update: Unfortunately I did not win the scholarship. But I did create a new portfolio piece in the process. :)  I'm looking to see the silver lining.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Few New Sketches

African Violet in Blue
Clover So Chuffed She is Fluffed
TV Drawing
Out the Window
Human Stem

Note: I managed to delete this post on accident. :P Obviously it is back up now. ;)

I got back to drawing in ink recently. I had missed that. So these are just a few new sketches to share. I hope you enjoyed them. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Plein Air Painting in Acrylics

The Reason
I had some extra acrylic paint left on my palette, and I thought rather than waste it I'd spend some late afternoon time, in cloudy weather, out on the back deck painting. It was a great chance, and probably the last for the season, to capture a cooler diffused light.

How it Went
This is the first plein air painting I've done in acrylics. I didn't use the open acrylics, so drying time was something to consider. But, it was a fluke couple cool cloudy days so they didn't dry instantly. I think, for me, it is a pretty good effort painting directly in acrylics.

My Plans
I plan to keep doing these quick plein air pieces, to improve my quick direct painting skills. Next time I think I'll choose a view with a few less trees, so I can do a bit more designing. Perhaps I'll pull out my oils. :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Sneak Detail of Abigail Anne

Here is another detail from a pet portrait using silver leaf throughout the body of the animal and the background. I'll go into more about this concept when I post all three final full images, so keep watch for the post. :)

Thanks for the interest. Enjoy.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Sneak Peak

Yes, that is silver leaf. This is just a detail close up. There will be a further update soon.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Etsy Art Shop

I've just started my second Etsy shop. This new Etsy shop showcases a wide variety of art I've created. Mostly the art will be small and have a lot of impact. The variety shown there is like a glimpse into an artist studio.

Please go peruse and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Catfish Piece Inbetween Stage

I'm Here Now
I got a chance to work on my catfish piece again. I went over the original painting with some open acrylics, which are much better handling in the warm dry weather we are having here now. I'm at the point now where the next step is to start adding collage.

I Will Be
The whole lower half will be mostly covered with the lacelike paper in the photo above. I tinted the paper today. Keep in mind that the fish will not be entirely covered with the paper, but the paper will help lessen their dominance. I will also be collaging on the large fish on the upper half and perhaps a bit in the clouds. I can't wait to start on the next step, hopefully later this week.

Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed your visit. :) Feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Large Catfish #3

Here is a sneak peak at my catfish piece in progress. I've been working on it a bit today and I thought a view of one of the larger catfish on the lower half would be fun to share. This will actually be partly covered by an airy transparent paper to give a nice depth, a watery feel, and keep the focal point at the top of the piece. Thanks for looking! :) Enjoy!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Catfish Project Progress

I've finally gotten to starting on the catfish final. I posted about this ages ago, but it never got past the initial idea phase.

So yesterday, on the 18th, I was free to work it up. I've basically finished the final drawing on watercolor illustration board. It is about 37 inches long and 18 inches wide. Some aspects of this piece will be very hard to imagine in drawing form, but I'll share it anyhow. The small male figure was just drawn out of my head so I'll be getting reference for him before I finalize him. The photos have come out wonky but you'll get the idea. Enjoy! And any feedback is appreciated!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Problems Photographing

Final Update: The biggest help to me so far has been to use a gray card for adjusting the settings on the camera. Go to your local camera shop and they'll know what I'm talking about.

Update #3:

I have a photography class coming up. Hopefully I can get some answers from a pro.

Further Update:

Well, I am still in need of a good image of my final. I'm waiting until I can visit the local camera shop for advice. In the meanwhile I shall share some more sketches tomorrow.


A friend of mine emailed me this diagram (above) of how to set up the lighting for photographing a piece of artwork. I still couldn't focus well enough with my digital camera so I pulled out the big guns and used my film camera.

The hardest part of the set up was getting a large window to shine on my artwork, and a draw back is that I would have to move everything again to take any more photos of other artwork but I needed to try something different. The film is being processed as we speak. I'll let you know the result.

Original Post:

I really need advice! I'm trying to photograph one of my finished pieces. It is a mixed media piece and I'm finding that my camera is picking out the papers differently than the watercolor.

This is causing significant distortion of values and even the hue of certain areas in this piece. All papers were attached with matte medium, so glare shouldn't be the issue. The only thing I can think of is that the textured surface is boggling my camera as the photos seem to be blurring the watercolor paper texture out.

Any advice? Leave comments if you can!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Drawing Too Close to Non-Photo Blue

Okay, I've got to stop drawing in colors that my scanner doesn't pick up well, namely lighter blues and purples. Regardless, I managed to get a couple of my drawings more visible even though they are in colored pencil! (I'll see if I can fix those from the last post to look more like they really do in life.) I've got more finished works coming, and some progress updates.

Oh, and I'm doing a Valentines Day Sale in my Etsy shop. Check it out, there are new pendants up as well!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Truly Worth Watching

My usual blog content is focused on my artwork, a sort of artist's journal. This video's content I think is worthy of a broad audience. I'm sure my sparsely viewed blog won't effect the number in that audience much, but I had to share it. For me art has to be influenced by one's beliefs about this world, and I have to agree with what is said in this speech.

A Harvard Commencement Speech: The Fringe Benefits of Failure by JK Rowling

Monday, January 18, 2010

Colorful and Recent

More artwork is coming!
I'm excited that I've been freed up from some deadlines, just two more applications to go! So, more visual art time. I've been working on projects that haven't been posted, I'll share some more finished pieces later.

For now I'll share some recent sketches.
I went to the zoo yesterday and did several quick sketches that I'm pleased with, as well as sketches from home. Unfortunately my scanner doesn't pick up a lot of the subtle details in colored pencil drawings. Still you can see I've been playing with some random colors in my sketches. Here is bit of imagery to enjoy! (Finally!)