Wednesday, June 30, 2010

One more day...365 Days of Drawing

I am almost there...tomorrow is July 1st and I will enter my seventh month of this challenge to draw every day for at least half an hour no matter what. That means just one more day and I am half way through!

I have not missed a single day yet despite some challenges.

Here is yesterday's effort.
8 x 10

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ever Vigilant...365 Days of Drawing...

I love the challenge of painting firelight using super warm tones falling on skin or just about anything else.

I started with my drawing for the day to meet the challenge and then put some paint on focusing more on the color than anything else. The warms catching the down planes of the face and the cools catching the up planes. The final light on the cheek ended up being pure yellow and white. And quite a big glob of it at that. Love big globs of paint, don't you?

"Silent Vigil"
5 "x 7"
Oil on Linen Panel

Monday, June 28, 2010

Underwhelmed...365 Days of Drawing

This drawing for the challenge ended up with a bit of a pronounced underbite...ah well...I did still have a headache.

Fortunately there are great dentists in Hollywood, CA. for problems like these. Not sure there is help for my drawing tho'.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rim Light...365 Days of Drawing

Drawing a whisper of rim light for the challenge got me through a bad headache day. Drawing every day, no matter what...I am counting down the days until July 1st. To enter my seventh month is going to be a real milestone.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Speaking Likeness...365 Days of Drawing...

Today's drawing for the challenge I can' t post as it is for the start of a new commission for a client, 30" x 40", requiring some privacy, so instead I post a portrait of mine that was unveiled yesterday.

Clothing choice plays such a big part in a portrait's success in my opinion. Give me a beautiful little girl, a white satin dress with pink bows and I am in heaven. I spent time getting to know this little poppet. She was very smart for such a little girl and I wanted to capture that in the portrait.

I am really not interested in just slavishly copying a photo. I aim for what I call a 'speaking likeness', where it looks like the sitter is about to jump off the canvas and say something. I spend as long as it takes to get that.

In this portrait, I wanted to play with the idea of a reflection in a mirror, painting the reflection slightly down in value so as not to compete with the sitter. I worked from several photos to piece it all together. The hands from one, the face from another, the mirror from here, the refection from there.

It was also important to me to keep the brushwork lively. Some areas have very thick paint. The more I see these photographers who "paint" over their photos selling them as oil portraits, the more I want to put really thick paint on my paintings with very obvious brushwork.

An oil painting speaks for itself in a way a painted photograph can not.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Painting Puzzle...365 Days of Drawing...

Painting is such a puzzle. A series of corrections until you feel you can't correct anymore maybe.

I really wanted to push my color more from the life sketch the day before -and find more subtlety too. I felt it missed the mark.

So I worked from the life sketch and a photo and thought things through. I also really tightened my drawing spending time on it and meeting the daily drawing challenge yesterday. This is VERY satisfying for me and I do it quite often to further my learning. No other reason.

I like the second attempt so much more. Mark my words, I am moving on to the next painting puzzle as we speak.

What's puzzling you?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Peep, Peep, Watch The Birdie...365 Days of Drawing...

It was a packed class yesterday for the last day of the teaching semester at CAI including two dogs and one bird named Peep! A true art menagerie.

Peep was the model Jennifer Fabos' pet and was incredible as was she in her Victorian get-up.

AS for my performance, there was a lot of painting on other people's work. Some terrific work going on in the room. I was proud to be these students' teacher.

I felt MY color harmony on my demo could have been much much better so I may have another go today. I was watching the new BRAVO TV show about artists last night doing a set art challenge. One woman said it was not her "art process" to work this way.

I realized I really do have an 'art process' of my own to create something I consider worth while.

Teaching well necessitates stopping and starting on my own demo in class, not particularly conducive to my art process but essential if one is to be a 'hands-on" teacher. This is the decision I make as a teacher. To let go.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Shape Seekers...365 Days of Drawing

We are shape seekers us people who draw. When I forget that, I get into trouble. I was drawing this guy's eyes yesterday and instead of drawing the SHAPE of the socket I found myself drawing in the eye ball.

The eye ball goes in last like placing a poached egg in a bowl. Thanks for that John Singer Sargent.

Once I had smacked myself on the wrist, my drawing for the daily challenge came along much better - along with the finished sketch letting some of the original purple ground to show through.

I love working on a vibrant ground, don't you?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jig-Saw Puzzle Pieces..365 Days of Drawing

I am calling this "Forget-Me-Not". Yesterday's drawing that I turned into paint. I wanted to keep my light and shadow shape distinct and separate.

I post three stages of the sketch. The drawing, which meets the daily challenge, the block-in of the light, and the finish.

One thing I see as a teacher is that students don't think of big mass shapes when blocking in a sketch but 'noodle' areas breaking up form and overall value pattern, causing unsightly dents in a face, figure or apple. Wrong value in the wrong place. It was a big step forward for me in my painting and drawing when I started to think of light and shadow being like jig-saw puzzle pieces that lock together. The value choice has to fit and lock in place, just like a puzzle piece.

On this sketch, the shadow side of the face was quite light in value and mainly falling through the middle of the face. I had to work carefully to make sure I didn't go too dark in value but dark enough to make the light shape read with hopefully an overall delicate feeling of light.

"Forget Me Not"
8 x 10"

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Father's Best Friend...365 Days of Drawing

Bentley Azure could only sit still for a short while yesterday for his close-up with a BIC. He needed to get to the BBQ pit to be near his best friend, master and father. So generous with the tidbits. Forget about being captured for posterity. Woof, woof.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hair today, Gone Tomorrow? 365 Days of Drawing...

I have always loved back views in paintings and drawings. My husband said once to me don't bother doing them. "Who wants to buy a back view in a painting?" The next day we walked into a gallery and there was a "backview", I think a Pino painting, selling for thousands. So there!

Will my drawing today for my 2010 challenge be 'hair today, gone tomorrow'? You tell me...

I kinda like what my BIC pen did with those wisps of hair on canvas.
5 x 7"

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pregnant Pause...365 Days of Drawing...

A lovely family reunion with my youngest daughter returning from South Africa including a five hour round-trip to the airport and much enjoyed and anticipated catch-up.WHO WANTS TO DRAW ON THIS DAY? Not me. But I did it at day's end, very tired, to meet the challenge.

When my daughter left the challenge had just started. I wasn't sure it would last a fortnight knowing myself as well as I do. ON her return home, I am almost entering my seventh month and pleased as punch I haven't missed a day. My daughter asked me quietly:"HAVE YOU CHEATED?"

Honestly, I have not because that would be cheating myself. I could have though. It would have been easy to pick out an old sketch from ones that line the shelf but that would defeat the plan to flex the drawing muscle daily for hopefully an improved art skill set. Also, to prove to myself, I can stick with something like this.

On my daughter's return home, it got me reflecting. What have been the hardest things around this challenge?

-Stomach Flu
-Long travel days with 3 am starts and late arrivals in destinations. Friends to meet for dinner.
-Travel days when there is so much to just enjoying SEEING and EXPLORING rather than drawing.
-Family reunions.
-Weekends. Friday and Saturday nights especially, I hate drawing then.
-Sunday afternoons, Sunday evenings. Sunday mornings. Sunday anything. I like being lazy.
-Tiredness after long day in studio. I now try to incorporate the challenge into my working day.
-Public posting...this has been the hardest part of all but the part that keeps me going somehow.
- Letting go of my art ego and just focus on why I am doing the challenge. Not to impress. Just to get better as an artist. I am not sure it started out that way when I first saw "Julie and Julia", the movie that inspired my challenge.

BUT the support has been really tremendous. Around 650 people are now watching the challenge daily on Facebook. I started with just one fan. And here on this blog, people are visiting from all over the world which I find absolutely amazing and inspirational.

I also know people have started their own personal art challenges, travel journals, and blogs after see me do this and have written to tell me about it. Also amazing and something I had no way of forseeing when I started.

I know my drawing skills are building and it has been interesting to see my interest in what I WANT to draw and show publicly change direction quite considerably.

I thank each and every one of you for helping me along this challenge road.

I feel I am mid-way through my drawing challenge gestation. Hence the pregnant pause. I am looking forward to the birth, January 2nd 2011. All being well. Want to throw me a drawing challenge shower?

I post also a drawing I did of Rosie for the challenge the day she left for her big adventure in South Africa when I was feeling very sad but excited for her.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chewing on a bone...365 Days of Drawing

When I know I can do better, I am like a dog with a bone. I have to go back to it and chew and chew.

I re-drew and repainted yesterday's class demo on a new canvas quietly in my studio trying to find what I was after. What was lacking the day before. I got there, enough to put the bone down and lick my art lips. Here is the result...

The light effect is more 'considered', the drawing better. I really focused on the big shape of light and shadow falling on her face. Note to self, never work from one's head when you can't find a photo.

What do you think?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

L'ORANGE...365 Days of Drawing..

I pushed the light in my teaching class yesterday to nail home some color harmony using a blue gel and orange reflector board - the set up, clothing etc. also all being in shades of orange and blue.

Time was short in class with me helping students with their own studies so I had to finish my class demo when I got home, not wanting to loose the lesson for myself.

I lost the likeness with no photo to work from but I did manage to hold onto the original orange toned canvas in the shadow side of the face which I was happy about.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tick..tock...365 Days of Drawing...

This week the daily drawing challenge for 2010 has dragged. A bit like going for a root canal and watching the hands on a dentist's clock on the wall. Tick tock...

Please don't email me and say: "Well, if you don't feel like it, why are you doing this challenge?". Those types of emails annoy me.

My energy for the challenge has been low probably because I am in the middle of home re-model, starting a new commission which always commands attention as it should, and a daughter returning from overseas. All nice distractions which would usually keep my sketchbook firmly in my backpack. Mid-week, I have got the job done nevertheless.

Here is today's humble drawing. Enough said. I am hoping to put some paint on it...I like the sadness in her face. She is probably watching a clock on a wall.

What gets you inspired?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ah-Ha Moment..365 Days of Drawing...

Put me in a fur coat, fake of course, purple turban and stuff a party invite into my hand, when I get old. I want to be just like this.

My drawing for today's challenge with a blue BIC pen on canvas and with a nod to Anders Zorn, one of my favorite draughtsmen. Copying his drawings really is a joy and very beneficial.

Regarding copying paintings and drawings of other artists, I think you have to have a certain understanding/art knowledge of painting and what the Masters were doing before you can really learn from them.

I remember years ago copying two Bouguereau paintings. I did a pretty good job as a copyist but learned nothing about cool transitions in skin tone which he was so good at because my knowledge wasn't there yet to understand. I thought I had learned though, because I had two fairly nice 'copy' paintings to show off. Dangerous stuff.

Same with copying a Zorn drawing. Where he put a hard edge or lost, how he used his light and dark value pattern for composition in a drawing, is a delight to observe when one knows what one is looking for. An 'ah-ha" moment so to speak.

How does one understand when one doesn't yet know what to look for? It is like reading an art instruction book. Reading it just two years later in one's art learning journey it IS a whole different book filled with deeper gems. What do you think? What do you get from copying The Masters?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dumpster DIving Anyone?...365 Days of Drawing

Dumpster diving anyone? This drawing for the daily challenge is already in it.

I know people are reading this blog from other countries. So U.S. translation for 'dumpster' is rubbish bin. A receptacle where one puts one's throwaways. 'Dumpster diving' is a phrase coined for people who search bins for stuff.
It was supposed to a delicate drawing but a few splotches happened in the wrong place at the wrong time. Half the fun of the unpredictable quality of drawing with a pen and no safety net a.k.a. eraser. Maybe pencil on the figure next time.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

THE BIC PEN RETURNS...365 Days of Drawing

The mighty BIC pen returns for today's drawing with a copy I did last night of an Anders Zorn drawing. I was tickled this week to be contacted via this blog by a BIC pen distributor who had seen some of my BIC drawings from this year's challenge.

We concluded nothing beats the power of a BIC! Nothing also beats the power of Blogging. Ah, the friends I have met through it. Surprising phone calls sometimes.

My little boy painting from last week's challenge drawings "Wonderment" also made it into a speech yesterday given by talented artist Rich Brimer in his role as President of The Arts Council for The Conejo Valley. What a wonder is that? Thank you Rich.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

OCD...365 Days of Drawing

A touch of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is good for an artist I find. Don't you?

I erased my 'challenge' drawing from the day before and re-did it yesterday searching for 'the feel' I was after. I then painted the drawing, getting the feel I wanted pretty quickly unlike before when I was drawing through molasses.

The angle and crop of the hat took me the most time. The expression coming much more easily than before. Now what shall I do today for the challenge? Any ideas?

"Last Dance?"
8" x 10"
Oil on Linen Panel

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wonderment...365 Days of Drawing

What a difference a day makes! I put paint on the little boy, an earlier drawing from the challenge, at the start of my day, and then did this drawing of the man late at night when I was tired, and just wanted to get 'in and out' as fast as I could to meet the challenge of drawing for half an hour every day. My tools were failing, charcoal too soft, and I couldn't find anywhere to sit in the middle of a home re-model. Note to self,,,draw only in studio for now.

The charcoal will be erased. The painting will not. I wonder if there is use in drawing when you are tired. Is one learning anything? What do you think?

Oil on linen

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Trash the Headband...365 Days of Drawing

Yes! It is the same headband as the Pacific Art Guild demo the day before.

I had a short turnaround to get to my teaching class the next morning at The California Art Institute in Westlake Village. Sometimes shortcuts happen. Tired of that headband now though.

Thought it might be interesting to post three stages of the my class demo which was probably a total painting time of one hour and fifteen minutes. Give or take.

I wasn't that happy with it. It lacked subtlety. Sometimes that is the way it goes particularly if you were working late the night before. But it counts for my drawing for the day. And as you know by now, I post for the 2010 Drawing Challenge, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Let me know what you think?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Root of It.....365 Days of Drawing...

My portrait painting demo for the Pacific Art Guild in Los Angeles last night and my drawing for the day.

What a nice group of artists. Thank you for hosting me and thanks to president Vickie Myers. Special thanks to Keri, my model, who IS always SO VERY!

The demo looked better at halfway in my opinion. Ah, the thrills and spills of life painting in front of lots of people. I agree with my mentor. It really is a stunt of sorts. You are entertaining people. Painting in a mad rush. Trying to give out information. Trying to do something half decent. This took about an hour and a half with talking along the way.

Now how about me getting to the hair salon to fix those roots!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mother's Love...365 Days of Drawing...

Something about this image touched me and I can't wait to paint it. Mother and child. Drawing for the day...the challenge continues.

The other image is a previous daily drawing I put paint on yesterday.

"Baby's Breath"
8" x 10"
Oil on linen panel

Sunday, June 6, 2010

In A Jam..365 Days of Drawing

One of the hardest things about doing this drawing challenge has been deciding what to draw every day. Not to be too repetitive and to keep the learning curve as an artist going.

I was in a bit of a jam deciding yesterday's drawing. Saturday's are always hard for me. There is just so much else I want to do on the weekend that doesn't necessarily include doing a drawing challenge.

So I settled on a jar of jam. Paper drawing size 18 x 24". Drawing time about an hour.

I like how it turned out. Charcoal, watercolor and gouache.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Flutter...365 Days of Drawing..

I met this young lady in France and knew I would eventually do a painting of her wearing a butterfly headband.

This is the start yesterday, 10" x 12" and my drawing for the day...

It was my second attempt at the drawing as I am matching the composition to a series of paintings I have been working on, all the same size of canvas and heads, slightly over life size. All are wearing some kind of cropped headpiece or hat so I was after some sort of consistency in feel and look.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Quickie...365 Days of Drawing..

Another day, another drawing in the 2010 challenge. Busy day in the studio so this was a quick one. Get in and out of there.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

PINO...365 Days of Drawing...

I just heard one of my favorite artists Pino died, at only 71 years old. It makes me very sad. A great art soul.


I dedicate my teaching demo today at CAI, (and my drawing for the day) to PINO. To paint and draw like this great man for just an would that be?


"The First Day..."
8" x 10"
Oil on Linen

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

STAND STILL...365 Days of Drawing

People in airports should stand still longer and put their cell phones down. People by pools should hold their tummies in at all times. An artist might be trying to 'quick-sketch' you in secret. Don't make it hard for us.

Today, June 1st, marks me entering the SIXTH month of my drawing challenge for 2010. To draw EVERY day for at least 30 minutes no matter what.

It has NOT been easy but I have not missed a day so far.

These were some quick 'line' sketches from my trip to AZ this weekend meeting the challenge each day despite a whirlwind of fun things - which didn't include drawing challenges but sunny times by pools, not holding my stomach in.