Posts tagged ‘drawing’

Yep, Still Drawing Those Nudes And Loving It!

A few weeks ago I was tickled by some of the comments made about the recent nude figure drawings that I posted on Google+. They were from my weekly figure drawing session. Clearly it was the most engagement that I ever received from any post on social media and it generated the highest number of +1s.  For those who aren’t familiar with Google+, a +1 is the equivalent to the Facebook Like.

Most people were pretty complimentary but some were uncomfortable. One person commented stating that my drawings were nice but that they needed to block my post. Then another person asked, “….why do you always draw naked people?”

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Several years ago it would have never dawned on me to post nude drawings on the Internet. How things have changed! It was the year before last that marked the first time that I participated in figure drawing since college oh so many years ago. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it back then although admittedly the first time felt a little awkward. In the end, I found myself really concentrating on form and not so much on the model’s nudity.

I didn’t realize how much I still had to learn when it came to drawing the human form. I’ve kept at it and improved over time, experimenting with pencil, then pen, then pen on different color papers.

We Are “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.”

Have you ever considered the work that God created? Look at how we’re designed. Are we not a feat of engineering? Our anatomy is complicated and amazing. We are living vessels, comprised of tissue and muscle connected to bone by tendons. Every body part no matter how large or small has its own special role that contributes to the body’s overall make-up. Just as the universe is vast, so are our bodies with their moving parts.

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Now try putting all that on paper – arms, legs, hands, feet, torso, head – positioned from different angles. You could draw figures for decades and still find it engaging.

Clothing Can Take Away From The Subject Rather Than Add

With the addition of clothing it’s harder to capture the curves of the body if the model is wearing a shirt, pants, dresses or loose clothing.  I find it distracting.  With the nude form, you just see it for what it really is.

I also think that some clothing, depending on what it is and how it’s worn can actually be more provocative.

Appreciating Our Different Body Types

I love that we’re all built differently. I find it sad that we as a society are so hung up on what’s considered to be the perfect body – the washboard stomach with six-pack abs, and perfectly sculpted arms and legs. In reality, many of us have curves with visible tummies, thighs, wrinkles, and all other things that society views as imperfections.  The reality is that this more normal compared to the magazine and TV ads, where the model has been edited to death by Photoshop.

That’s why I’m thankful for the models with diverse body types who get out there and pose. They’re keeping it real.

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2014: My Year In Review

2014 was arguably my most productive year as an artist.  I spent most of it being gainfully unemployed but I used some of that free time to my advantage.   Here’s the list of things that I did this year:

It Sure As Heck Wasn’t Blogging

In spite of my extra time, I was too busy to blog even though 2014 was chock full of blog fodder.   My last post in November was probably the first blog post in months.  Much of my free time was spent looking for a job, or creating art.  In spite of that I still managed to increase my number of followers and I am grateful for that.

Photoshop

I think every artist needs to learn some type photo editing program. There’s a lot of wonderful free online tools out there such as Google-based programs Picasa and Pixlr.  I used those for a time but eventually began working with Photoshop. It’s a robust program and you do pay for that robustness in a “a second mortgage” kind of way.  Fortunately there’s a cloud based program where you can pay an affordable monthly fee.

I learned Photoshop by reading “Classroom In A Book” that also comes with exercises that you can download from the web.  I’m no expert but I am more knowledgeable about a program that intimidated me for quite some time. Also it ain’t a bad thing to have on your resume.

Discovered New Venues

So this is the accomplishment I’m most proud of.  This year I decided that every month I was going to have my work shown in some venue in Charlotte.    I came pretty close to achieving this goal.  Here are just a few of the venues. Not shown is my artwork at my eye doctor’s office or at the Paper Cut Gallery.

Charlotte Art League: Featured Artist of the Month
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Manor Theatre
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Beatties Ford Road Branch Library
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Twenty-Two
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How did I find these places?  I joined local arts organizations, attended art receptions, and networked with other artists. Social media sights such as Facebook and Twitter were great sources for finding out about local art happenings.  The more you start making connections the more opportunities make themselves available.

Created More Work Than Ever

The reason why I’m slow at making art is because I’m a procrastinator, often found surfing the net, eating, napping, watching TV programs and online shows; or God forbid, if the weather is really nice, doing some related outdoor activity. I don’t have the attention span to spend long hours in a studio.  This year my behavior was still the same but due to the additional time, I managed to create about 7 works compared to 3 to 4 pieces per year on average.

Red Hoodie (SOLD)
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Ninja

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Breakthrough

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Three French Hens
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The Perimeter
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Still
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Good and Mercy Shall Follow Me (SOLD)
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Sold More Art

Okay so I still need a day job but I did better this year than the previous two years.  While I only sold two originals, I had more success selling prints. Showing and selling at multiple venues gave me more visibility.

Drew More Consistently

The key to improvement is to draw, draw, draw.  I currently attend life drawing sessions on a weekly basis and have done so for about a year.  I began working in pencil and then after being inspired by an artist friend who worked in pen, I started working in that medium. I find that I’m actually more comfortable in pen than with pencil and I am also becoming less tentative with my strokes.

recliningnude2    reclining nude1

I also started doing “Right-Brained Sermon Notes,” that are visual notes I take on the sermon for Sunday service.  This type of thing isn’t a requirement for a ministry, I just enjoy doing it.  Once they’re finished I post them on Facebook.  A lot of people like them and it’s even caught the attention of some of the ministerial staff.

Sermon Notes 5.25.14 Sermon Notes 5.18.14a Sermon Notes 5.18.14

Found A Job (Albeit Temporary)

It’s one of those things that’s both exciting and disappointing at the same time. As I approached the last quarter of the year I became more and more frustrated about not finding any work. Severance and unemployment only last so long and then, gasp, you start tapping into that 401K. Fortunately a few months ago, I landed a long-term contract position to which I am still assigned to this day. The downside now is trying to find the time to make art.  I know of a fellow artist who lost her job this summer and I have to admit I’m a little jealous because of the extra time she now has to focusing on painting.   It almost makes me want to get laid off again – almost.

That sums up my year!  Looking forward to more adventures in 2015.

Making Ugly Art

Julia Cameron, the author of  The Artist’s Way, was right.  There will be times when you will make ugly art. Yesterday was one of those days and I have to accept it.

I was working in a medium that I hadn’t dabbled in since about a year and half ago – acrylics.  My latest piece was “Angry Kitty” back in 2012 and that turned out fairly well, mostly because the subject matter wasn’t too complicated.

It was this past Saturday when I felt the need to paint “Ninja” or “Assassin ( actually I don’t know what to really call the thing).”  The following day was Palm Sunday and one would think that I would have wanted to do something more contemplative.

I made a rough drawing in my sketch book nearly two years ago.  I created three throwing stars flying in the air towards their target.  I painted a trial throwing star on a smaller canvas for practice but never got around to doing the final work because I wasn’t comfortable with executing it.

         Ninja Stars     Star Final

Saturday, I drew the throwing stars on canvas and then painted the background.

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Sunday, I tinted the white to give a light gray or dirty white base and then I applied white streaks as a second layer for some added texture.

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It wasn’t until I started working on the stars that my problems began.  I struggled with using the brushes to create a sense of motion.  The swirls around the stars were muddy and the black streaks trailing the stars were just too big.  My lack of skill as an acrylic painter became quite obvious.

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Creating ugly art is one of those things that will happen at some point in any artist’s life.  It’s a letdown considering the amount of the time one puts into their work, and in my case it happened to be a good bit of the day yesterday.  I had such high hopes.  Hindsight, I should have stopped right before painting the stars to give myself more time to think about my technique, but I was feeling pretty confident.

On the upside, making ugly art is a learning experience. Once I screwed up and was unable to find a resolution, I just went into “the heck with it” mode and just started playing with it.  I discovered that there were some things that worked that could be applied to future works and other things that didn’t.

I’m debating on whether or not to fix this hot mess.  I mean why miss an opportunity to REALLY jack it up further?  Most likely I will just scrap it and start over. That wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done something like this and thanks to the learning curve, I can probably finish it in less time.  Well, shoot, maybe I just solved my own problem right there! Just start over.  It’s okay.  It’s what the creative process is about.

 

“Goodness and Mercy”

Psalm 23:6 says “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”   In light of these last six months, I couldn’t agree more.  I’m still on the job hunt but God has been keeping me all this time. The lights are still on, mortgage is still being paid, and there’s food on my table.  I’ve even been the recipient of random acts of kindness and even the standard kindness from friends and family.  There are no words that can express my sincere gratitude.

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While pondering over this psalm, I imagined that “goodness” and “mercy” were like kites flying overhead, following the person who held them by the strings.  In this case, the person that I drew was a girl in a bathing suit running with the kites.  I see that young girl in myself as the kites follow her, their tails leaving trails of color, painting the skies.  She holds onto them, just as someone would hold on to their faith in tough times.

The work was created using watercolor crayon and pencil on watercolor paper.  I steered away from being too technical and allowed myself to be little messy and less controlled with the blending.  Is this how God approaches the skies when He paints the sunrises and sunsets?  If so, you certainly don’t hear anyone complaining about it.

 

 

“Wisdom”

Now that “Still” is finally finished, I’m ready to move onto the next project.  I’m excited about tackling a new piece with wisdom as the central subject.   In my earlier post I uploaded a sketch called “Seeking Wisdom”, however first I will begin working on another piece about wisdom that was conceived prior to that.

Once again, my inspiration comes from Proverbs 1:20 -23.  Here is the scripture from the New King James Bible:

20. Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares.
21. She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words:
22. “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning.
And fools hate knowledge.
23. Turn at my rebuke;
Surely, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.”

I’ve been fleshing out her Wisdom’s costume and as stated in my earlier post, I’m trying to combine both medieval and African garb. I played around with this one sketch and posted it to Facebook and much to my surprise, it garnered a very positive reaction. Funny thing about art is that I never know how the audience will react. I just make friggin’ art and hope that people get it.

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Last week, I drew a close-up of Wisdom, focusing on the head wrap and the armor-like bodice.

Wisdom Close up

Then I did a series of poses and I’ll do more until I can determine the right one.Wisdom poses

We’ll see how this goes. I’ve already made my trek to Hobby Lobby and picked up some gray-tone chalk pastels.  Since I’ve had pretty good luck with chalk pastels from the last piece, I’ll give them another go.  Looks like I’m not giving up this medium any time soon.

 

“Still” The Final Work

So here it is, my latest piece called, “Still,” a 15″ x 17″ chalk pastel work on drawing paper.  I learned a lot about this one, particularly when it comes layering, skin tones, and lighting.  I did a lot of selfies where I sat under an overhead lamp, wearing earrings and even flashing some bare shoulders to determine how the light would hit.  You do what you have to do to get the job done.

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Overall this piece signifies the beginning of my new faith journey after being laid off in October.    I feel that I accomplished what I needed to do here by illustrating that sense of calm when one surrenders and becomes still.  This is the state of mind where God wants me to be so that I can hear His voice clearly and can proceed on the path that is directed by Him.

Portraitures

The other day I attended a monthly portraiture drawing session at the Mint Hill Arts Council.  The last time I drew portraits was back in college where the students took turns drawing each other.   The same format was applied at the arts council.  The artists did a pretty good job holding their poses for 20 minutes.   I was not a model in this particular round, although I probably would have embarrassed myself by falling asleep after sitting still for so long.

Portraitures are surprisingly difficult, harder to me than life drawing.   No two faces are alike and you really have to focus on the person’s unique features to capture their likeness.  Also I struggled a bit with the different angles of the face and head. The three-quarter profile typically gives me fits because of the placement of the mouth and eyes.

Here are the pics in the order of which I drew them. While I have a lot of work to do, I definitely improved as time went on.

Pat    Chuck

 Sherry  Bob

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