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September 12, 2010

Keeping a Visual Journal

Most of the time my watercolor sketchbook is a visual journal and I try to incorporate part of my  life in my sketch of the day.  But I don't always think that I have enough time, or the perfect location, and I skip a wonderful opportunity.

Catherine Carey of In and Out of the Studio wrote about this recently and I remembered it while we were eating a quick lunch with our 7 year old grandson after we took him to MoMA. 

Catherine said, 

"In this week's sketchbook journal workshop we have been talking a lot about painting very simply and quickly. It is not about laboring over a masterpiece. It is about getting the impression of "here and now" on the journal page.

I understand that it is difficult to take a chance on a page being less than perfect, or even less than good, because someone might look at it, and of course, we will look at it ourselves and feel as if we have failed if it isn't great (or good).

I think that I have made a dicision somewhere along the line that has made it easier to "let go" and just get it on the page quickly and simply. There are a lot of things in this world, and if I labor too long over each page, I'm just not going to be able to get to all those things. If I just do snippets here and there, I'm going to be able to cover a lot more ground.

Decide what it is that made you stop to paint - and paint THAT. Then move on!"

So I sketched during our special lunch, just the scene of the area where waiters were placing orders, and picking up bills, menus, etc.  And Henry watched the drawing and then the painting, with great interest, making lunch and my journal page more special.  I sketched what was in front of me quickly and painted it, and then was ready to move on!  Now - to remember this!


September 5, 2010

Figure Drawing at the Society of Illustrators

The August summer break just ended at the Society of Illustrators and last night I went to Figure Drawing with my friends Istar and Casey.  Casey is visiting her family in N.J. from France and was able to come into the City for a visit.  I hope that she posts a few of her figure paintings to her blog when she returns home.  Her ink/watercolor drawings inspired me and gave me a new goal for 2011.

My current sketch book is slightly too big for my scanner, so there are lots of ugly scan marks.  I also had to increase contrast so my 6B pencil lines were darker, and all of my left-hended smudges then were more noticeable.   

There were two models, clothed, for every pose.  This was a sketch done of both of them during 5 minutes - just to try to capture their positions and clothing.


During another 5 minute pose, I sketched only the male model because he was in a challenging twisted position.


I sketched both models during the next two 20 minute poses - the male model without and with shirt and the woman in a negligee.





This is the beginning of my second year of live figure drawing and I am trying to spend more time on faces.  After I finished sketching both models during a 20 minute pose, I spent some time trying to better capture the face of the male model. 



September 2, 2010

Learning to "Paint Outside the Lines"

Linda Kemp's book, Watercolor Painting Outside the Lines, was mentioned on the Everyday Matters message board, and on View From the Oak Blog.  When I have gift cards, I buy this type of art technique book for my library and this year it is one of my goals to actually read and sometimes do exercises or demos from some of these books.  This was my book for August.

In order to really understand the technique of painting just the negative space, I had to try the first two exercises in this book.

Exercise 1:  Paint many different size circles in groups and paint only the negative space.  This painting has 5 layers.  I was quite messy, and didn't keep nice smooth edges, but I accomplished my goal.  I did understand the concept after doing this exercise.

I just found Linda doing this exercise on a You Tube Video.


Exercise 2:  Same technique, but with a stem with 2 leaves, and a watercolor underpainting.  Again, I was quite messy with the outlines, but now understood working wet-in-wet and creating interesting color washes.

Although I did this exercise from her book, I just found a demo of it on her website.


Extending the Lesson Using My Original Image:  Friends brought a lovely bouquet of flowers Saturday evening and I decided to use the flower and leaf shape from one of the flowers to create my own negative painting.


Then I created Two Magnetic Bookmarks using the same flower and leaf shapes.  The technique for making these was posted previously.  But now I use individual magnets sold at Staples as adhesive business card magnets - and I cut them in half vertically. 


August 29, 2010

Square Watercolor Journals

I never thought that I would LOVE a square watercolor journal, but Roz and Kate both talk about them regularly.  When Fabriano Artistico changed their watercolor paper from "grain long" to "grain short, " I made a square book that is approximately 7.5" square.  It takes 2 sheets (22 x 30") -without any waste - and it JUST fits in my mini-backpack  

I just made my second square journal.  The cover was made with cloth that I dye-painted with Procion MX dyes and fused toThai mulberry paper with Wonder Under.  The paper is FA 140 lb soft press extra white - 6 signatures with two folios per signature. 





Since the book cloth is so "busy" I used Canson Mi Tientes for the end papers.


I started making my own watercolor journals because I couldn't find any that I liked.  I took a 1 1/2 day workshop on making cased - in journals and now love making and using the journals.  There is lots of information and photos of many journals in the Bookbinding category on the right.

August 28, 2010

Carla Sonheim Drawing Labs

Lab 16 in Carla Sonheim's Drawing Lab book is to draw !00 Faces.  I cut 20 pieces of watercolor paper and packaged them with a pencil, eraser, pen, and 7 watercolor pencils - and now keep it with me when I leave the apartment.  Here are 4 sketches done on the uptown-downtown buses.  I haven't drawn strangers from such close proximity before and it was fun.  These are clearly faces, not portraits!


I'm interested to see the way these 100 face drawings will evolve.  The only rule I have is to carry my pouch with me when I leave the apartment and to number them sequentially as Sonheim suggests.

I am currently finished with Lab 26 in the book and ready to move on.  Here is my One-Eyed Monster.  I used a sheet of paper, quickly drew 3 monsters, and then selected one to redraw in my watercolor sketchbook.  Since I started drawing again in 2003, then daily in 2006, I have drawn from models-objects-scenes of some kind - including photos and paintings and drawings from Master Artists.  This is the first time that I am exercising my imagination completely and it is great fun and as I've said before, a wonderful way to loosen up,   


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