Sunday, January 23, 2011

Portrait Party (from January) and a ranting confession (from today)

Monday night, January 21, 2011, the MCBA Visual Journal Collective with Roz Stendahl had its annual portrait party (you can see Roz's recap here).

My portrait partner was Briana; check out her blog through the link she has some great photos of the event including each of us with our portraits.

WOW - that was the beginning of my blog post from a month ago! A month, I cannot believe it. The really unfortunate thing is for that month, I have not created one single piece of art work. And I feel awful because of it.

I have let certain situations that I really have no control over, overwhelm me and drag me under the ocean of stress and worry and rather than work through it by re-centering myself in my sketchbook or a painting, I have shut myself down.
On the upside I recognize that I have been wallowing and I am finished with it.
I have also decided to start a series of posts that are tutorials or small "how-to" lessons, starting today (when I finish writing) with a lesson on using packing tape to create an image transfer.
So check out the links to the Portrait Party, it really was fabulous. And check back later this afternoon and there will be a fun new art technique for you to follow along with and try.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lazy Monday Afternoon

The Sketchbook Challenge theme for the month of January is "Highly Prized". On Monday, we (my daughter and I) had a day at home. We hung out on the couch together watching silly movies, wrapped in blankets, with the dog at my feet and the cat on her lap.
A lazy afternoon together, what could be more highly prized?

Page pre-painted with liquid acrylics using bubble wrap and a hand carved stamp, drawing done with a Sharpie pen.

Owls on a Snowy Night

From time to time I see something and think, "wow that's amazing, I should draw that quick", and all too often that thought is followed by the thought that I am busy and do not have time to grab my stuff and draw.
Well, the other night I did stop and draw when I saw the great horned owl in a tree at the edge of our yard at dusk, in the snow (even though I was cooking dinner). The scene was just too cool to pass up. A snowy night keeping all the light collected and under the clouds, the whole backyard had gone purple - really - and the perfectly silhouetted owl on a tree branch. I grabbed my stuff (really picked it up, it was on the coffee table where I have been leaving it) and did a couple of quick sketches that I filled in with some washes of color.
It only took me fifteen minutes and it felt really great to not pass up the amazing sight out my window for another more convenient time.
I think that making time, even if it's just a few minutes, can make all the difference.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Collage Page Stage Two

This is my collage at the week two stage from the Strathmore online visual journal workshop with Pam Carriker. The focus of the workshop is to reuse art work from previous journals and change and re-purpose it as a new journal page.
This week was a real challenge for me, and that was the whole point of the workshop - to try something new.
So this week's task was to add under journaling in pencil, depth with charcoal, then add new color with oil pastel, all of which got blended into the page with a gesso wash.
I have to say, when I began the page I was not really happy with the result, I wished I had journaled on the gridded paper instead of the open paper and the page was oddly gray, rather than shaded from blending charcoal into the matte medium used as glue, but I continued. After I added the color with the oil pastels, I was really not happy. I felt like I had made several bad color choices and the entire page was ruined, not to mention completely garish. I continued on with the next step, however, and added the gesso wash.
When I checked back after the gesso had dried I was pleasantly surprised with the page, it was not as bad as I though it was going to be. I added a little bit of ink with a brush pen to get back a few details and re colored a bit of the face. I still am not sure how I feel about the page and I know for sure I have more time invested in it than any other page in my journal.
The next step is to add a texture element in the negative space with found objects and acrylic paint, which I should get to in the next day or two, then we will see what it looks like again.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Birds at the Bell

Thursday night was sketch night at the Bell Museum. This month's theme was birds. There was a variety of stuffed birds, skeletons, eggs, and parts available to draw from. There were about 20 people there this month, which I think is the largest group I have seen so far. Yeah, sketch night is growing! I look forward to these nights every month, where I get to go and sketch with a group of other sketchers for two hours uninterrupted. It is also great to see what other people draw and the approach or medium that they use in their sketches. I strongly encourage anyone out there to find a group of people you can meet with and draw. It is great practice and it is always encouraging to meet with other artists and exchange ideas.

I have been working in the Strathmore sketchbook that I altered and prepainted on New Year's Eve (follow link for photos and information on the process). I choose to use a longer accordion style page for Thursday night, so I could group all my birds together as one spread (photo above, book standing).

The woodcock drawing closest to the spiral binding was the first drawing of the night and it took me the longest to do, about an hour and fifteen minutes. I got really caught up in all the tiny feather detail and by the end of the drawing I was sort of bored and frustrated with speckles and feathers and ready to draw a few things with less details. I did not intend for the drawing to extend through the wire binding but I gauged the beginning size for the base and bird feet incorrectly and through the binding the bird's beak went.

I moved on to a pile of parts and got three drawings done in the last forty-five minutes of the night. The head and the leg/claw combo are both from an American bittern. The egg is a crow's egg.
All of my drawings begin with a sketch using a Sharpie pen, followed by some watercolor, and finished up with additional details with a second round of Sharpie pen.

The journal page spread flat. When folded closed, only the woodcock shows as a page. Being the beak of the woodcock extends to the next page, I may try to continue with another bird or something bird related on the following page.
Looking forward to next month - plants and fungi.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Owl Collage Page

Here is the second collage I did in my sketchbook for the online Strathmore Visual Journal workshop series that began on January first. Our task for the first week has been to reuse and recycle imagery from previous sketchbooks and artwork as well as ephemera or scraps. For this page I began on a prepainted page spread in my altered journal. For collage elements, I used photocopies of journal pages, and a painting, as well as paste paper and a stamp image I found online. I am very sure that next weeks task will be to continue to work with the collage pages we create this week, so this is step number one in a process.
I wasn't sure how I would like reusing art and collage in my journal as I usually just draw, with only the occasional glue in element. I have kept an open mind and I have to say it has been fun to try something different. Creating a collage is also a great thing to do while doing something else, like watching a movie or TV. I gather my supplies, sit with a try table and quietly clip out elements, arrange, rearrange, and then glue. I have finshed a page by the time he film is done. Family time and art time all in one.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Art in the New Year

Happy New Year!
For the first time in a year I will be working in two journals at once, one where I will primarily draw and paint and one where I will be experimenting and trying some new stuff. The image above is from the new journal (see previous post about altering a purchased journal). Not much of an experiment, a drawing with watercolor and some Chartpak marker transfers. I am still up in the air on whether or not I think this page is complete. I do not like the words I added, so I am contemplating adding some collage paper over the text. I am also not working in this journal in order, because of the alterations, I have different sized pages to choose from so I am going to be jumping around a bit to fit what I need onto the page that will work best.

As a part of the Strathmore Visual Journal workshop, I am exploring reusing and recycling art from previous journals and other personal art and ephemera as collaged journal pages. I have to say I struggled a little with the idea of reusing art to make a new page in my journal. I usually work to come up with new drawings in my sketchbook/journal, not copying and reusing work that I already have finished. After digging around in my studio, I decided this was the perfect use for some of the many examples I create in my classroom, that are finished but never really feel like "art" because they get made while I talk to students and explain the process.

Working on a page spread that was prepainted with liquid acrylics and that had a foldout on the right hand side, I added some graph paper and paste paper scraps that I ripped and glued down with matte medium. I then used the background from a photocopied drawing that was an example from my drawing class. The background from the drawing was a solid mass of doodles and line pattern, so I cut it up into small rectangles and squares to glue down. I glued a few elements on the closed page too, even though it will be the next page and I will probably draw something different there, I felt like it should flow when the flap was shut.

The face drawing on the inside of the foldout is the subject matter of the drawing I copied and cut apart for the background designs. It just happened to fit well on the page, so I went with it. The image below is my first completed recycled art collage for the visual journal workshop. I think we are going to continue to work with the collage we create this week, so I intend to make at least one, hopefully two, more to work with, especially since this feels done to me now.

So far so good on my personal challenge to draw or create art of my own every day this year.