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April 7, 2013

Finding My Own Visual Language

I'm still working on Exercise 2 from the Visual Language book pictured below.  It is an out of print book that I bought on Amazon.  In this exercise I need to take the square I "fractured" in exercise 1 and create one square stamp each day for 30 days.


I think that these exercises are fun and important for abstract art - including collage and surface design on fabric.  I still worry that I won't be able to create another 1" square stamp, but as I work I find all new variations.  I rarely work in a series, but marvel at the creative benefits.  This is an open-ended project for me, and I will periodically post the exercises I'm doing.  Posting the exercises is as much for me as readers, to keep me inspired and on track.

 Here are stamps #7- 18





I definitely feel more comfortable carving the stamps with Speedball Cutting Tools and Speedy Carve.  You can see the first Exercise and the initial 6 stamps from Exercise 2 in this blog category

April 5, 2013


I am posting a variety of pages from my daily sketchbook. 

There was a wonderful exhibit of Late Paul Klee paintings and drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I went early one morning, right before the exhibit closed, and immersed myself in these wonderful works.  I wanted to draw one in my sketchbook and chose one that allowed me to test my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.  This ink is watersoluble on my handmade sketchbook with  Fabriano Artistico Soft Press paper.  So I decided to color the background with watercolor pencils, allow it to dry completely, and then draw the Girl in Mourning with my pen.  It was the only tool that I had to copy the wide black lines on the Klee painting.  And it worked. 


There are no images on the exhibit website, but these were all works owned by the Met and can probably be seen by searching on the Met website.

On my walk home from the Met, I stopped at the New York University Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (15 E. 84th St).  They have an exhibit on a "Temple and Tomb" from Prehistoric Malta (3600-2500 BCE).  I loved one of the stone figures and especially the armature they used to display the head with the body.  No pictures were allowed so it was the perfect sculpture for me to draw.


Carla Sonheim, the author of Drawing Lab, has a fun exercise for drawing silly animals.  She uses a photo of sidewalk cracks to create these drawings and even has a crack of the month club so others don't need to search for great sidewalk cracks.

I used the one for April to draw an animal and then did a freehand drawing below - just for fun.  I did all of the exercises in Carla's book, and really liked this exercise.  I have photos saved to use in the future, but her cracks are much better than mine. 


I like drawing portraits and find that stopping a TV show in order to draw a face is a great way to get faces to draw.  Of course it is better to draw faces live, but models are not always available.  I sketched this face with a Faber Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor pencil and then used a small waterbrush by Niji to "paint it."



April 2, 2013

March Figure Drawing at the Society of Illustrators

Here are a few of the quick poses from Figure Drawing this month.  I find that I prefer the 2 and 5 minute poses because the models are more adventurous.  By 10 minutes, and especially by 20 minutes, they are in stable positions that they can hold.

Each of the drawings on this page was from a 2 minute pose:


These drawings were each from 5 minute poses:



Very few artists on blogs that I follow post live figure drawings, and I wonder whether they just don't post their work, or because live figure drawing is mainly for art students.  I resisted attending these sessions for several years after I started drawing.  And now I love it.

March 29, 2013

Daily Sketchbook Pages

I make watercolor sketchbooks for my daily drawings and paintings.  But because I keep a separate doodle book, a small sketchbook for drawing faces on the bus and subway, and several figure drawing books, I don't have entries in my daily sketchbook for each day. 

Here are several pages that were done, just because....

My Christmas cactus is blooming again - in December and now in March.  I love the color and had to commemorate the event.


I was sitting with Callum (age 6) as he was drawing and painting, and this was the page that I did  during our art session.



Sydney made me a painted wooden trinket box several years ago and decorated it with jewels and feathers.  I try to put something small in it so she finds a tiny gift each visit.  The ballet dancer is a pin I bought at a Seattle Gallery many years ago and I thought she would love it.


My friends Bunny and Richard drove from Miami Beach to Key West last weekend and sent me periodic road photos.  We've never been to the Florida Keys so I asked her to send me a photo when they reached Key West, and she sent me a picture of this rooster walking along the sidewalk. 


March 25, 2013

Another Project Begins

I periodically work through a series of exercises in a book.  This process is important to me as I explore new techniques or refine skills.  In December I saw a new, exciting book mentioned on Beth Berman's blog: Finding Your Own Visual Language by Dunnewald, Benn, and Morgan.  Although I draw and paint on paper, I also make stamps and stencils to use on paper or fabric and love using corn dextrin and soy wax resist with procion MX dyes to make fabrics for my projects.

Jane Dunnewold was the Chair of the Suface Design Studio at Southwest Craft Center in San Antonio Tx when I took my first fabric dying class and a silk painting class in the early 90s.  I love her fabrics and devoured her books Complex Cloth and Art Cloth.  That made this book even more appealing. 

There are 16 Visual Exercises in the first section of the book, and I am currently working on Exercise 2. 

In Exercise 1 - Splitting Shapes, I selected a square as my shape and made many 1.5" squares from black paper.  Each square was cut into at least 3 pieces and then reassembled as a square and glued in place.  I made 8 and then just kept going to do another 8.  Here are my two pages of "fractured squares."



Exercise #2 is 30 Days of Cutting Stamps.  I make stamps from fun foam, even complex ones to create multicolored images.  But I have no experience carving stamps, so I plan to use Speedy-Carve and Moo Carve and my Speedball Lino Cutter Assortment for this exercise.  I can cut my 4 X 6 X 0.25" Speedy-Carve into 24 1X1" pieces and then make 6 slightly bigger stamps with Moo Carve to complete the series.  I also work in sketchbooks that are 8 X 8 max, so little stamps work better for me.

I don't have a black stamp pad - so these images were made with Staz-On and Colorbox pads.  I feel more confident about the carving lines with each one.  This is good practice!




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