On my Pinterest page I have pinned a number of pieces of art that I find inspiring or have elements that I would love to experiment with. (Come on… admit it! We all have scads of pins that we’ve never tried to make). There are many with words, hand lettering, script, fonts and typography. I love the visual impact of large scale hand lettering and the mystery of incomplete words or faces.
I have participated in Food Revolution Day the past few years by continuing to teach my kids some basic life skills primarily the ability to be able to prepare simple, healthy, tasty and affordable food.
Very serious teenage chefs preparing for a Food Revolution.
Spring is a time for new beginnings, probably not a coincidence that Jamie Oliver has timed his campaign for Food Education for Children around the world for this season.
My son stirring the pan full of vegetables
Each year I choose a recipe from Jamie’s suggestions (this year Pukka Yellow Curry), make sure I have all of the ingredients on hand and print out the recipe. I coach them along the way but if there is a short accompanying video to help wrap their heads around the concept then that can be helpful.
An assortment of crows. All are acrylics except centre right which is watercolor on birch panel.
What can be learned by doing things really fast? Or really slow? Or in a series?
Many artists painted have the same subject over and over, from different angles (Monet’s Waterlilies) and others have painted the subject repeatedly looking the same (Warhol’s Marilyn silkscreens) in an effort to show that even with endless amounts of reproduction where on the surface they appear the same, the small smears and clogs give an individuality to each piece. Even in my attempts to manually reproduce the same familiar image from memory, each time there would be variations to the theme. Some I liked and of course others not so much.
What I found is that each time I repeat a subject (such as a bird) I become more aware of :
*the textures & highlights
*the shape & proportion
*the body language & movement
*seemingly subtle things such as the highlights of an eye can draw your attention
*the addition of a tiny prop like a cigarette can change the attitude
I hadn’t tried to give myself a time limit until I applied to compete in Art Battle, along with a few friends (Buddy System!).
My first reaction to the challenge was trepidation but the more I thought about it the old saying of “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” was lingering in the back of my mind. That’s when I made the dive and sent in an application, only then to panic with my acceptance!
I needed a plan of action so our group, which we soon dubbed “the A-Team” (an attempt to take on the strength & ingenuity of these iconic characters) put into motion several practice sessions, complete with timers, distractions and loud music (we had to learn to block these things out). We tried new images and old familiar ones to the point where it began to feel that our hands began to form a memory of their own for the twists and turns required, endeavoring to become more efficient in the movements each time. The results did surprise me at times and really made me consider whether some of the long drawn out hours necessarily paid off?
The day of the competition was loaded with adrenalin, unfamiliar materials and faces but I’m certainly glad I did it. Will I compete again? Only the future will tell but in the meantime I have a collection of birds in various sizes and shapes to contemplate and learn from 🙂
Nils Ericson Central Train Station. Watercolor and sepia ink on 90 lb. hot press paper.
Gothenburg, Sweden is on the other side of the world from me & I have never had the pleasure of visiting there but it is this University town where my brother in law lives & works which is why this months Virtual Paintout Challenge caught my attention.
“A good traveller is one who knows how to travel with the mind.” -Michael Bassey-Johnson
A few months ago I found this particular painting challenge which Bill Guffey began in 2009. The idea intrigued me and I have been meaning to try it but this month location gave me the extra motivation to finally put pen and brush to paper.
The general concept of the Virtual Paintout challenge is to use Google Street View as source of inspiration and reference for painting and sketching. No matter where in the world you live, if you are lucky enough to have access to the Internet you can cruise the streets from the view point of a camera mounted on the roof of a Google car. While you certainly have plenty of urban scenes to choose from there are also rural landscapes, people or animals to be discovered too.
For the last year I’ve been practicing my urban sketching locally so I thought I would be up to this challenge. Once I zoomed in on the locale selected what I came across was very intriguing. I was cruising the streets, peering into alleyways and parks, glimpsing people having lunch in outdoor cafés, passing cyclists and wondering “Are they going to work or school? “. Part of the test is deciding on an image and while you can submit more than one entry they all that you limit it to three per month.
Shall I do another or wait to see what neck of the woods Bill chooses next?
The Red Head was illustrated with the Magic pencil in Fire (yellow, orange & magenta) by Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth
It has been both a busy and lazy summer so far. Here’s a sampling of some of the sketch experiments I’ve been doing:
Shortly after my last post regarding the sale of my painting at the Red Art Gallery in Mystery Art Show in June I took my proceeds down to Artworld, a locally owned & operated store to reinvest in a few basic supplies but also to indulge in some new toys such as several kinds of non-traditional paper, watercolour paper & some Magic Color pencils by Koh-i-noor!
I have been making great efforts to use a sketchbook to do a sketch experiment in daily as it doesn’t have the same sort of pressure associated with it as a pricey canvas or large sheet of paper. In my book that I have with me constantly I have been having great fun with the Magic pencils. Here’s a few examples:
Part of what I have been enjoying the most about these pencils is the randomness of the colour placement which can allow me to think outside the box when it comes to color associations and their traditional uses. While you are in control of establishing a general color gamut you just never know which is going to land on the line or how is will morph see during a long stroke where the angle of the pencil changes and the top wears down.
There are always a myriad of colour choices that will work in any situation, as long as the tonal value is appropriate. (Gaye Adams)