Sunday, February 28, 2010

EDM 260 An Olympci Event

I hesitated to post this. Drawing people is something that scares me - really scares me. This photograph was wonderful, the sense of excitement and dynamic motion was very compelling. It also made my stomach clench and my hands shake so badly I could barely put a line down.

About 8 years ago, the teacher in my Watercolor for Beginners was confidetn we could do portraits. I had a gorgeous photo of my 2 year old nephew. He was adorable with his sparkling eyes and beaming smile. My portrait, however, bore a resemblance more to Stewie Griffin from Family Guy than to my nephew. I was mortified, and a bit traumatised. But I am committed to doing these challenges and it's impossible to draw an Olympic event without drawing people. So I gave it a try, telling myself that I can't ever get better if I don't try. The arms on these fellows are not quite right - they were foreshortened in the photograph. This is actually my third attempt. It took that long to get my hands to stop shaking. And the helmets and goggles helped because I didn't have to come up with a true likeness. One step at a time.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy Accidents

One of the things I like most about watercolor is the unpredictability of it. You can add the water and the paint and guide it in the direction you want it to go, but the final effect is the reaction of the water and pigment and paper to each other. This is from the photograph provided for Monthly Sketch Date for January. I loved the photo and had the idea to use salt in the background wash to give that crystalline look of foggy air. I also wanted the background to be very dark to show up the edges of rime frost. But the salt in the wash did not give me the effect I was looking for. Instead the crystals just drew the paint into blobs that ended up looking messy. It was a far cry from the airy, ethereal look I wanted. So once again, I did not make the deadline for the sketch date. But I wanted later to give it another try, maybe make the background darker and smooth some of those ugly blotches out. When I rewet the paper, suddenly those lovely crystal blooms appeared! It was exactly what I had expected the first time around. I added a little color but really it was the water that did all the work. Don't you love it when that happens?

Monday, February 15, 2010

EDM 259 - Pet's Point of View

This is a true story. I'm sure my cat Holly has this very thought every time I put out the art supplies. Of course, the final goal for all art supplies/cat toys is permanent exile under the stove, never to be seen again. If there are no more art supplies, then all the attention goes to the cat. Right?

I don't often draw from my imagination. I'm not very good at it because I can never get the shadows right. I got the shadows right on the pencil and brush because I set those up in front of me. But for the first time since we adopted Holly, she did not get up on the table and reach her paw out for the brush. I even invited her to this time. The one time I actually wanted her to do it, she refused. So I had to guess at the where the shadow of her paw would fall.

Sharpie pen, Pentel brush pens, watercolor in Robert Bateman sketchbook.

Monday, February 08, 2010

February Monthly Sketch Project

This is for the Monthly Sketch Project. The photograph is beautiful, and really made me want to draw and paint it. But it presented a few challenges, too. The photo is quite bright with an absence of strong shadows and contrasting colors. It was tricky to get the yellow flowers to pop against the green background.

The photo and the website are here:

This is watercolor pencils in Co-Mo sketchbook.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

EDM 258 - Draw your closet

Draw the inside of your closet. Yeah, this one was a real challenge for me. Honestly, this is the kind of drawing that I have been know to cower before and run from. But I had made a commitment to do the challenges, especially the ones whose level of detail made me whimper. It took a long time, there's an awful lot of vertical lines that disappear and reappear. It's like that in the real closet too.
But I did do it, and I learned a lot from it. Although, I confess, there are a lot more striped and patterned shirts in this closet. Lest you think I only wear tops, this is only half the closet. Skirts and dresses and pants hang on the other side of the shelf where there is only one bar to accommodate longer items. The shelves hold sweatshirts, pajamas, purses and socks in the drawer with the scarf hanging on it. Once I had tackled the challenge of drawing this closet, I was so inspired I went through the closet, the dresser drawers and the storage boxes under the bed. I threw out everything that I hadn't worn for more than a year or that I currently don't want to wear. It was exhilarating to clear up so much space. And now I don't have to face those mocking size 8s that I'll never fit into again.
Pentel pen and watercolor in the Robert Bateman sketch book.