Sunday, October 31, 2010

Digging In

Things are starting to get settled and I am starting to dig in to work. This month of October I have been working on a charcoal drawing of my husband. He has been a great model, very patient, and seems to know how to get right back into the pose. The drawing is nearly finished. I still have to adjust that background and do any final adjustment to the drawing to balance it all out. I am not putting the full drawing here which is revealing enough. For some reason it seems a bit different to post a full nude drawing of my husband verses a model that was hired. I guess it just feels a bit too personal. Anyway, here is the drawing. I found it a bit challenging to get a good picture that didn't make it look washed out. Another thing I have to work on!
This is the first charcoal drawing I have done on my own. I have my final student charcoal drawing hanging on the wall. I find it helps me to remember what I need to be doing and looking for.  Every drawing has been a bit better than the last, which is encouraging. This one has some improvements, it is smoother, the transitions are better and I have been carefully considered my edges. Still have plenty of room for improvement never fear!
I have also been playing with oil paint. Since I was supposed to be going to school for another three years, we hadn't started in with painting with color, concentrating on drawing instead. I feel this is a really good way to go as drawing is the foundation for painting in realism. Unfortunately, that means I have to learn on my own at the moment. The first step is to get the colors out, get them on the palette, and start playing with them. I will be setting up a color still life this week but in the meantime, I have been making color charts. I don't have to think too much, just play with the color and get a feel for the paint and how it works. I have also been trying out a few different brushes. My favorite brush, by a long shot so far, is a Silver-Black Pearl synthetic. It holds a nice amount of paint and has the right amount of stiffness and spring. Here is the first color chart. It is not as tidy as the other ones will be. The original tube colors are in the top row of squares with the 3 rows beneath being mixed with increasing amounts of the same color throughout. In this chart it is Burnt Sienna (first color on the top left).
The colors that don't have mixtures under them are either one of a kind (such as Gamblin's Torrit Grey) or colors already on the chart but are different paint brands. I am trying out one or two different paint brands too.
As may be deduced, I am in the experimental beginning stage. I also mixed a few colors together at random to see what I would get and how they behaved. That is what is in the little square piece up top.
It looks pretty in person. I am already learning a lot just by doing such a simple exercise.
Next week I will be finishing up the charcoal drawing, working on still life in color, pencil drawing, and sketching. Plenty to keep me busy learning.
Happy Halloween and Samhain blessings.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

To Tell a Story...

I would like to introduce you to my "new" studio. It is one of the bedrooms in the house we are renting but is quite lovely and also a luxury to have such a nice space to work in. The manikin in the corner is named Tilly, after "Terrible Tilly", a lighthouse off the coast here that has quite a story behind it. Google "terrible tilly" to see images and read the history behind the Tillamook Rock lighthouse. It is a wonderful piece of lore and she is still out there.
The manikin will be a stand in only. She will also be able to model drapery for me to draw. She is not a replacement for a live model. I do find her handy to take the same pose as the model I am sketching when she is not available.
To the left, not in the picture, is my model stand. A very modest affair that has some shelf space too behind the curtain. Not very big but it works just fine. At the moment I am still working on a charcoal drawing of my husband and doing some color studies in oil paint. I have also been collecting enough gear to be able to do some plein air painting.
I often get asked what kind of painting I do. Well, I am still working on the painting part but I know what kind of painting I intend to do. It would be called narrative realism. I want to paint stories. Specifically, I want to paint the beauty and stories of women 50 years of age and older. I want to paint women in nature or landscapes. I have so very many stories of incredible women to tell through my painting, most of whom I have been fortunate to have known and been mentored by. They might not be well known household names but they are powerful and influential nonetheless. Then, there are also women of the past to paint, such as the Fates and other women from mythology that speak to me.
I don't think I will be running out of stories to paint anytime soon. I will probably run out of time before I do the stories! I have very specific goals for my work and a way to go before I have acquired the skills I need to fulfill those goals.
So, this is the long answer to the question, "What do you paint?". The short answer? Simply this:
I paint stories.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Retrospective-A Year at the Ashland Academy of Art

Well, it has been a while since the last post. We have been busy getting settled in. It always surprises me how much time that takes. We are more or less all unpacked, registered, addresses changed, new library cards, Co-op memberships, etc. We are slowly finding where everything is, meeting people, and attending community events. So far the verdict is: I love it here!
I am not going to be getting into a post about our new home town just now. It will trickle in between the lines of the future posts. Right now I am going to post a retrospective of my school year. I narrowed it down in twelve photos. That was kind of tough to do but it is enough to give a good idea of the growth of skill. The pictures don't even come close to telling the whole story but gives a general picture.
The next post I will be talking about the great number of changes, both for the blog and for my art life. I know what direction I will be heading in and will be sharing it soon. In the meantime, here is where I just been!

Next week I will be talking about my new studio, what I am working on now, and where I will be going from here.
See you next time!
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