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December 29, 2012

Art Progress 2012 and Art Goals for 2013

Long Term Goals: Develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric. I am retired and developing skills in art gives meaning to my days - to play, have fun, be bold, and seek adventure!

My Short Term Art Goals for 2012 were to sketch and paint everyday and to blog twice each week.

Although I missed an occasional daily sketch, I frequently filled several sketchbook pages in one day. I kept one doodle book and multiple sketchbooks, including a chronologic visual journal, and individual sketchbooks for figure drawing and travel.

This year my biggest accomplishments were my travel sketchbooks - one created in Venice and the other during a 2 week trip to Berlin, Dresden, Prague, and Budapest. I was drawing "in the moment" and capturing the essence of our days. Before we went to Venice, I painted 16 of my 2002 photos from Venice for practice. It gave me the confidence that I needed and the practice of creating some of the texture of the buildings in watercolor. I used two 30 inch, accordion folded sheets of watercolor paper for this practice. Each strip could then be made into 2 folios for another cased-in, travel sketchbook when we returned.

And with a rare exception, I continued my twice weekly blog posts and on January 4th will reach the 7th anniversary of my blog.

1. I continued to explore watercolor as my main medium and loved Kate Johnson’s online Strathmore Workshop. I hope that she will develop her online watercolor mini-class or offer her regular watercolor class in 2013.

2. I bought 3 tubes of gouache in primary colors and did lots of color mixing and painting to learn how to add this medium to my paintings.

3. I tried acrylic paints with my friend Teri, learning about many of the possible additives and special techniques (i.e. molding paste, crackle etc). I probably won’t ever LOVE acrylic paints, but it is nice to explore them and play on a regular basis.

4. I sketched at least one Master work from each museum or gallery exhibit I attended to challenge myself, and just maybe improve my drawing and painting skills.

5. I took several other online classes: Self-Portraits with Jane Davies, Ticket to Venice with Mary Ann Moss, and Stencil Magic with Melanie Testa.

6. I made my own watercolor sketchbooks for daily use and recycled old books with watercolor paper for travel. As I was making the one for our Venice trip, I documented the process and posted it to my blog as a tutorial.

7. I really enjoy bookbinding and I’m thrilled with the Christmas Origami Tag artist book and second Remains of the Day book that I made and filled.

8. I met with The Central Park Drawing and Art Meetup Group and my friends Benedicte, Pat, and Teri for art adventures. And I went to the Society of Illustrators and the Battery Park City figure drawing sessions.

 

Goals for 2013: To sketch and paint everyday and to blog twice each week gives my retirement life some structure. But I need to add other new activities for inspiration and excitement. I love learning new techniques and then figuring out how I will use them. So I’m considering:

More classes - perhaps from Center for Book Arts and Society of Scribes as well as online classes

More bookbinding - perhaps exploring a new structure every month to give me some very specific goals.

 

August 16, 2012

Practice for Figure Drawing

I have one sketchbook in which I just practice drawing body parts.  Readers of this blog may remember that I slowly sketched the American Sign Language alphabet, from photos that I found on the internet.  I also practice drawing faces and feet.  While watching the Olympics, I pulled some photos and this sketchbook for practice, and here are the pages.  The first two spreads were drawn with watercolor pencils and then painted with water.

A Face (while I paused the Olympics competition to draw a Turkish gymnast) and some hands from magazine photos:

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More Hands from Magazine Photos (advertisements):

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Portrait Drawing:  I no longer remember where I got this idea - but it was from one of the art blogs that I follow.  Sorry.  I save magazine face photos that fit nicely on my sketchbook page.  I then cut the face in half, collage one side to the page, and draw the missing side.  This was done in graphite.

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I also have small, articulated figure and hand models that I can draw.  I decided to paint them today in order to try two of my new stencils.  Melly Testa, in her class Stencil Magic, uses her stencils to make positive images and to paint the negative images.  I tried both on "My Models" page.  My main goal for the figure was to draw the foreshortened left arm.

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August 5, 2012

Stencil Magic Class - Part 2

I LOVE Melanie Testa's online Stencil Magic class.  Afte finishing the 4 classes, I feel as if I've learned enough to create multiple types of stencils and to develop many different images.

I reworked another doodle and made a stencil from one of the drawings in the lower right corner of this page.   The intersections of the grid lines were left blank on the stencil so I can add circles or squares and paint them individually.   

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Here is the stencil print which I painted in red and green - might be useful to make cards, tags, and wrapping papers at Christmas if I use these colors.

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I made another stencil, inspired by an image from Owen Jones' book The Grammar of Ornament (1856) and republished by Dover Books (1987).  It was printed with gouache, using a dauber, and the image is much crisper than my first prints.

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I followed Melly's directions to use photos as inspiration for stencils, and here is my penguin - first my photo from the Central Park Zoo, and then my images.

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From left to right: My Photoshop manipulated photo to convert it into Black and White as a stencil design, My first print from the stencil, and a Bookmark that I made using the penguin image.

 

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I did another exercise using one of my first stencils.  I painted watercolor paper wet-on-wet to create background color.  Then I traced one of the images from an earlier stencil with a watercolor pencil and painted the negative space around the image.  Finally, I added squares using a piece of construction netting as a stencil and traced and painted circles through a commercial stencil.

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August 3, 2012

Making Stencils for Art on Paper and Fabric

My friend Melanie Testa is starting a series of online classes through her new website which is called Clever Guild.  If you know either of Melanie's books, you know what a talented artist she is - on paper and on fabric.  I love the way she uses stencils for background images in her art, and I couldn't wait to take her new online class called "Stencil Magic" so I could learn how to make my own stencils.  I am a total novice, making only one previous stencil using contac paper and Shiva paintsticks.

For my first stencil, I used a doodle from my "Doodle Sketchbook."  If you are a reader of this blog, you know that I rarely doodled, and for the past year I forced myself to be more creative when I was visiting my Mom and we were sitting having coffee and talking.   This is a page of doodles from last August. 

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I scanned, cropped, and resized my purple flower doodle to make my first stencil.  Melanie teaches students how to convert a drawing, or photo, into an image that can be used as a stencil.  "Bridges" need to be created on the pattern in order to create details in the image.  This is my stencil, photographed over the self sealing mat that I used during the cutting, so you can see the image.

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Today I decided to use the stencil on paper, even though I haven't reached that lesson yet.  It was not a nice crisp image using gouache, but I'm sure that Melanie will teach me the best way to do this in the next lesson.

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I used a reference book on Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts for inspiration for my next stencil and here is the second stencil that I cut. 

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Here is my first, not very crisp, image using gouache on paper.

 

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While cutting the stencil, the mylar is laid over a sheet of paper with the chosen image, and carefully cut out with an xacto knife.  In the process of cutting th stencil, the paper sections are also removed.  I saved them and here rearranged them for another variant of this image which could also be made into a stencil. 

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This is a terrific class for anyone wanting to create their own stencils for repetitive images on paper and/or fabric.  It is a rolling class, so you have access to all 4 classes as soon as you sign up.  And the video access is indefinite, so you can return to them over and over. 

It's time for me to go watch more videos in the next class!