Sunday, February 28, 2010

Your Face Here?...365 Days of Drawing

Tell me who I should put in this diamante cameo necklace as I finish it today? Make it funny or poignant. The comment that catches my attention the most wins the drawing.

I met my half hour challenge with this drawing's beginning last night.

My photo for the day from France I post only to show you how the french women love their scarfs and take time for the tiny details as I mentioned in my blogging from Dinan. Look at the diamante pin, this oyster-shucker from Cancale is wearing. Not exactly a splatter-free job but she takes the time to put a nice scarf and pin on. So FRENCH! What joie de vivre. She was a very nice lady with a tough job. Wonder how many oysters she has shucked in her life?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Off to the opera...365 Days of Drawing

Rushing to the opera, well, actually the Renoir exhibit on a rainy Saturday morning at LACMA. Renoir will cheer anyone's spirit.

Here is the my drawing, again a demo done in my teaching class yesterday at CAI. I posed the model Toni Czechorosky ,
one of my favs. like she was going off to the Opera in a beautiful silk chemise and ruby cape that I own.

In my 365 Day Drawing Challenge I am allowing my drawing block-ins in life-painting to count toward my thirty minutes of daily drawing. The block-in is ALL about the drawing. I find more often than not problems in students life studies are with the drawing most of all. Followed closely by values.

HOW are you all doing with your drawing challenges. Let me know!

Photo is of Cafe Noir, a perfect place in Dinan, France, for an Apres Opera Drink.

"Off To The Opera"

18 x 24

Friday, February 26, 2010

Perfect Rose...364 Days of Drawing

This is my drawing for the day, my demo for the Malibu Art Association yesterday. AS you can see, drawing is very much involved in the early stages of this two hour demo so I think it counts!

Thanks to love Keri who made a rose vintage hat look great.

And thanks to the restaurant in Dinan who put these flowers on the table for passers-by to enjoy. The prettiest still life I have ever seen.

In haste, a full day of teaching today.

18 x 24

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sauciness?...365 Days of Drawing, All Things French

I am feeling decidedly unfrench today. A bit harried getting ready for my demo today for The Malibu Art Assoc.

But I present to you a little bit of french sauciness. My drawing today teams up well with a pic I took in France that caught my eye in a hair dresser's window of a mannequin. Who made that?
I had always intended to do a funny painting of it but ah well...

The third pic is of my class demo at The California Art Institute yesterday. It looked far better in the early stages when I had just a few paints dabs on. Then I tried to be J. W. Waterhouse - a bad idea.

No-one should try to be like him. He was a one-off and remains one of my favorite painters of all time. I think his work is so superb in both style and technique that it is hard to emulate. I also love the fact he was VERY private and didn't like to take classes or paint alongside people in the early days. Probably something in that, about keeping your own art company so you are not influenced by the work of others.

Waterhouse left very few personal documents too, letters etc., which is unusual. I have all his books and the authors have very little personal information about him. Maybe he burned everything.

What do you think? Can't really burn posts on blogs and Facebook. Us artists are leaving a trail.

What will your trail say?

"Sauciness", approx. 8" x 11"


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Comp. me? 365 Days of Drawing.

A lot of drawing from this day doing multiple composition sketches for two new portraits. Working out ideas. Trying to solve a few puzzles of composition for the ultimate good of a painting. Taking this time in the early stages is always good and spares problems later.

A client and I will go through the film on a shoot deciding on a certain 'look and feel' but I always want to see how far I can push things on return to the studio when I can go over everything quietly with a fresh art eye.

This comp. quick sketch was made from several photos trying to work out how best to angle the reflection in the mirror of this ever so sweet little girl to show more of the back view of her dress. Can't wait to get going on it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cup of tea luv? 365 Days of Drawing

This is one of my favorite drawings yet. Simple. Fast. And the wash technique brief and breezy with the drawing showing through just the way it should be.

The photo was taken at a sidewalk cafe in Dinan. Ah, how the french love the fine things in life like this bone china cup.

The table was set with linens, china, and elegant crystal with a red and white theme, all for a mere sidewalk cafe. I sat for quite a while in this most enjoyable spot on a Saturday afternoon feeling very special this table was set just for me.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Oyster lover? 365 Days of Drawing...

I personally hate eating oysters. All that slippery goo that you can't even chew. I have never understood what all the fuss is about. Not to mention the high price asked for basically eating sea slugs.

That is until I visited the quant town of Cancale in France, famous for oyster making - and then some.

It was also put on the map by John Singer Sargent who painted his famous 'oyster gatherers' painting there. I was told by locals it was wildly staged. Nothing painted on site as was. The oyster season gone. But hey, JSS could cope with a bit of pre-Photoshop Cancale with his skill set. Who am I to say a word?

The photo of mine here is of a gazillion discarded oyster shells thrown carelessly on the beach by present day satisfied oyster guzzlers. I have never seen anything like it. I stuck my nose down with my camera lense into that stinky mess to shoot this picture. Onlookers thought I was quite mad...well...not too far off there.

I still don't care for oysters much or the mess they leave behind on Cancale's beaches. They are also pretty hard to draw. But a good glass of french Sancerre did make one or two go down a treat.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cyrstal Breath! 365 Days of Drawing...All Things French

You eagle-eyed folks took my crystal breath away with your powers of observation.

There were some funny suggestions on Facebook though, a zipper, a potted plant in a wired basket: you gotta laugh.

Here is my chandelier. I think I almost prefer the block in better. The final chandelier got rather linear, the block-in more mass-like and abstract in approach which I prefer.

So I am starting a new thing today. This drawing challenge has got me thinking as something challenging often does. I am realizing how much I have been influenced my recent residency in France, the things I saw there, the things I felt. Most of all the sensual sights and sounds that make the french so, well, french! When I returned I just wanted to wrap the experience up in a nice tidy box and store it away for later use. Happy that I had done it, proud even, but ready to move on. It wasn't the easiest time in my life.

People I love and trust told me the real gain in my art would be sometime later after my return, not necessarily the work I did there. The subconscious works in mysterious ways.

It has dawned on me recently that I am often drawing what I saw there. The drawings have a decidedly french flavor I am realizing. So I am going to revisit France every day here and share a photo I took there that I think works with each drawing. A double art whammy. 365 Days of All Things French.

This photo is of an old green glass perfume bottle that I took in abandoned caves near the ocean that used to be lived in by humans. A beautiful eau de parfum bottle survived the test of time and all the elements possible. Should I have been sketching it instead you ask? Well, it was too darn drafty in those caves for this aspriring draughtsman.

All drawings and photos copyrighted/Johanna Spinks

Julie Hill. You get the prize. Email me your address and I will send you a drawing.

10" x 12"


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Can you guess what this is?...365 Days of Drawing

This was last night's drawing. I was short on time so it was really just a start of something quite elaborate which I will finish today.

Can you guess what it is?

A long-haired English sheepdog?

A marshmallow?

Santa Claus?

Check back later to find out.

PRIZE for the correct answer. Yes! A drawing prize. POST your guess. Only posts qualify. Not emails.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bravo Miss Josie Baggley!

I love other people's paintings. I battle with my own art for most of the time so there is a delight for me in other artists' work that I admire and I have been lucky to collect over the years some amazing pieces that give me great joy. I also enjoy the whole spectrum, from contemporary to classical. People are surprised by this when they visit my home.

I would often get tense looking at my own work on the walls of my old home knowing the struggle involved. I tend toward the dark side. Ha. My old home was woodsy/ cabin. It fit the style of my paintings somewhat well.

My new home is super bright and breezy. So far there is only ONE tiny painting hanging done by me. I think this is good. The decks are cleared. New things are opening up...I can feel the uncertain shift in my art which is exciting.

Those of you reading this blog, already know I admire the work of Rainey J. Gibney of The Josie Baggley Company, , based in Ireland by way of France which is how we met.

She and her contemporary whimsical art inspire me. I think she has a very original voice in a way that I personally admire. It makes me aspire for more of that in my own art. I see SO MANY paintings that are repeats of a certain school or art thinking. And I am certainly guilty of that myself. But really, there are so many!!!! Competent but YAWN. The original surface to the top like cream on an old pint of milk. And I do like cream in most things.

So this painting I post, "Candy Floss", by Rainey J. Gibney, which I am sure woke you up, I have been in love with for a while. It is A COMPLETE ORIGINAL. I put it on my screen saver while recently traveling to the east coast and artists who saw it, many of a classical-bent like me, wanted to KNOW who had done it. Precisely who. It wasn't a casual conversation.

"Candy Floss" CAUGHT their eye just like it did mine.

I am so thrilled to say, I am shortly going to be hanging this painting on my wall. It makes me feel abundant and reminds me when I look at it, that an original ART VOICE is THE most important thing. This painting just speaks volumes to me on so many levels. Great art does. And we don't of course all have to agree.

Congrats, Miss Rainey. You got it gal.

Hear, hear! BRAVO.

It goes without saying this image is copyrighted by Rainey J. Gibney...

Queen for a day? 365 Days of Drawing

Yesterday's drawing. Feels good to be back at my drawing board not balancing a sketch book out and about. I dedicate this crown to all the art divas out there.

Approx. 10" x 12"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lightbulb moment...365 Days of Drawing

After a whirlwind trip to NYC, including a winter snow whiteout, I am home-sweet-home. Glad that I kept up my drawing, although mostly quick sketch. This is yesterday's drawing done at JFK waiting for the plane. How bored people look at airports! The second one is from the way out to JFK at 6 am.

I feel I learned so much at my 'seventh-year-in-a-row' Art Students' League of New York workshop with the great Mr. Everett Raymond Kinstler, N.A. The value of values. Value before color. Value before lunch. Value before anything really. Oh yes, and of course drawing. One could look around the workshop room and see very clearly where people were with their DRAWING. Who had it. Who didn't. You can't fudge drawing skills. You either got it or you ain't.

Proficiency in drawing is hard-earned for most people, including myself. I know it is an area I will always have to work on, painting coming so much easier to me.

Mr. K. did a demo on Saturday of a lady that was nothing short of breath-taking. I learned why I have been hating my OWN life-painting work so much recently. His edges swam, his sense of creating mystery with that brush. The penny dropped. The longed-for light bulb moment when the brain is ready to take on information it may have seen or heard before. That is why repetition in art is so important I think. To absorb yourself in one school of painting. Show up to that easel again and again, so that those moments of understanding and clarity can slowly come through.

I have travelled thousands of miles over the last seven years for these light bulb moments from this great man, thirstier than the desert for them and his teachings, stunned at his mastery quite frankly. It has been an incredible journey and one I will be eternally grateful for until my own personal light bulb gets turned off.

Thank you Mr. K.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What a weekend...

An absolutely wonderful weekend studying at The Arts Students' League of New York with the incredible Mr. Everett Raymond Kinstler, N.A. I have learned so much from this master artist, and this weekend was no exception. watch this master paint is remarkable. Just brilliant!

Here is a piece I did in class that I thought turned out ok.

White Out...365 Days of Drawing

Snowed in today...quick sketch from the window and a head done yesterday - fast!

Still drawing...365 Days of Drawing

This is a sketch I did between painting in the workshop from the model. She looks grumpy...oh dear...

Still Drawing...365 Days of Drawing

New York City...Cafe break.

Still Drawing...365 Days of Drawing

I am still traveling but here I post some super rapid drawing done around my painting trip. Mostly quick sketch/gesture drawings of things and people...this one was done at the airport in LA and on the plane early morning, cup of coffee in hand.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Terrible....365 Days of Drawing

Terrible drawing but I met the challenge in the middle of an insane day...drawn from life in my teaching class about 30 minutes...or so

Love letters...365 Days of Drawing

In haste. Teaching day today...and packing for early start tomorrow. But I did get my drawing in. These love letters almost got crumpled up and thrown away.

Approx. 8" x 10"

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sigh of Relief...365 DAys of Drawing Challenge

Getting ready for New York as mentioned yesterday. The good news is that in previous pre-workshop times, portrait trips, I would suddenly start cramming my drawing practice about one week before, (drawing being a separate skill set for me than painting which I do most days).

I always felt like I was at a disadvantage for not drawing more in my regular discipline and hated my art self for it.

Well, this time I don't feel that after five weeks of daily drawings, 39 CONSECUTIVE DRAWINGS, doing anything and everything from a donut to a parasol to a face.

It feels REALLY good.

This is last night's sketch, approximate drawing time, one hour. Life size. Charcoal, white chalk, and wash.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sit for a while..., 365 Days of Drawing

Well, I am definitely in a whimsical french-pink mood with my drawings just now. Maybe I will just move to France this week. Oops I forgot, I am going to New York.

Fun/busy week ahead. Portrait client to visit today of a darling little girl, then a portrait commission and a still life to ship out to The South. A class to teach. A photo shoot and head study of a sitter in New York on Friday for a publishing family. A weekend workshop with Mr. Kinstler at The Arts Students' League of New York, I think my seventh year doing that. YES!!!! Always marvelous and challenging. Where does the time go? Then some landscape painting in the east coast snow for a few days. Brrrrr...

One this is for sure, the pink phase is soon over. It will be heads for the rest of the week in preparation for the weekend.

Phew, you are all relieved. Oui?

Approx. 8" x 8"

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ooo-la-la, 365 Days of Drawing

I saw an old painting of a parasol at my Open House Friday and realized I needed to draw one, except mine would be a little french and girly.

The interesting thing about this challenge is that it is making me look at things differently and be more observant generally.

I like that..


Saturday, February 6, 2010

In The Pink...365 Days of Drawing

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good hat.

This is my new Molly Moppit hat worn by the very talented artist who made it Rainey Gibney, the owner of The Josie Baggley Company

I thought it would make a whimsical drawing and I loved Rainey's peaches and cream complexion and impish look.

It all started before I went to Dinan, France, and found her lively fun blog. Her art is very appealing to me. Full of whimsy and mischief. We got chatting through blogshere, then I painted her pink house, where Rainey used to live, when I got to Dinan just for fun. It was a cold day...but I kept at my sketch.

Anyho, our chats have continued and a good old barter system was worked out. The Chocolate Box House is now on the way to its rightful owner in Ireland. And my Bon Bon confection of a hat is on its' way to me.


Friday, February 5, 2010

The Red Souls Club? 365 Days of Drawing.

I have long been fascinated by designer Christian Louboutin's red soled shoes that all the celebs wear including Oprah, even if the red soles don't match the color of the outfit they are wearing.

There is that little flicker of red like a Venus Flytrap plant when these ladies who lunch walk or cross their legs. It says "Look at me. I can afford these! Sizzle. What bad economy?". What a marketing genius this Christian must be. I wonder how he came up with the idea to convince the chic to wear red soles with everything? And pay around $500-ish to wear the exact same red soles as all your friends. A secret sorority. The Red Soles Club?

Seriously, I am just jealous. I want a pair badly.

I was thinking about these shoes last night drawing this dress and decided if I couldn't afford them, I could draw them. Ah the power of the mighty charcoal and red watercolor wash.

I took my inspiration from a pic of a celebrity. Can you tell who it is? Hint, she wears these shoes ALL the time as a fashion icon and is thinner than a pin with bolted on additions. I added a few pounds to her frame and some movement as she is a little stiff and wax like in real life.

Even my husband said I got good movement in the drawing. And he knows nothing about art.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Quick sketch!

This qualifies for quick sketch. 30 minutes point five seconds. You can tell it was a long day.

Love chubby toddlers legs though and Suri Cruise ballet flats. If you don't know who Suri Cruise is, good for you.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Pleasure and The Pain..365 Days of Drawing

The pleasure and the pain. Sometimes they are just in too close proximity to fathom.

This is the case with the next drawing in my challenge done last night and my head study demo done today in my teaching class at The California Art Institute.

I liked last night's drawing. It came as fast and easy as pouring chocolate on a sundae. I love cloche hats at the best of times although not on Angelina Jolie in that recent movie which prompted every mall store to carry them for a while. Yawn.

Cut to this morning's demo. It was the same pose almost, the same hat almost. It wasn't however the same artist at the easel.

The drawing was off all the way through if I am honest. I was trying hard for some mystery but it wasn't coming through. It is a challenge to teach in many ways, especially to do a head demo and still be a very VERBAL teacher making sure you get to each students' easel every 15 minutes or so to comment or work on their paintings. Your brain is switching from right to left as fast as tennis ball at Wimbledon.

You don't want a dudd demo. Some teachers ONLY do a demo for the whole class and make everyone watch them. I think this might be a good idea.

So much for practising that drawing every night huh?? Didn't do me much good today.

This is a long hard journey sometimes. For me the battles are not easily won. And behind every small gain, there feels like an army of art mis-steps. Maybe the really talented like Rembrandt just soared without walking in molasses.

All drawings for sale.