Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Custom Nude Drawing is almost finished!

I have been tweaking and adjusting this beautiful drawing for the last few days!  It is really beautiful in person...there is a lot of subtle texture, from the gesso, charcoal, an modeling paste that I have layered on the surface.  There are also moments where I sanded away a little bit of the surface, too.

 I love the hair, how it catches the sunlight.  The gesture of her hand on her shoulder is also beautiful.

If you are interested in a custom piece or a drawing of the female nude, please contact me thru my Etsy Shop.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Working in my studio. The hours fly by!

Thank goodness for summer camp this week!  Found a few hours in my studio to finish up a couple of drawings and start a commission project for a new client.

These lovely drawings that were started in my friend's garden were finally resolved...added some more color, defined a few moments, but still tried to maintain the light, colorful, and fresh feeling from the first day.

(I joked that this one of her looking over the bridge should be called "Koi-centration"...another friend suggested "Pond-erology"...let's just say the search for a title continues :)

And I started this beautiful drawing, also from a photo taken that day in the garden.  Our fabulous model noticed a bright beam of light hitting a large rock, and perched herself up there, catching not only the beautiful natural light, but a wonderful glow from the drapery beneath her.

This large mixed media drawing is 24" x 36", on watercolor paper that is mounted to foam core.  It's going in a beautiful bathroom with some white marble, so I am building up layers of charcoal, paint, and glaze to mimic the layers you find in that natural stone.  It's beautiful in person!  Lot's of texture and interest, but also light and feminine.  It's almost done!

You can view my drawings of the live model in my Fine Art on Etsy shop!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back to watercolor!! Figure Drawing with watercolor pencils.

Hello blog...have you missed me?   Summer vaction has been crazy!  Kids have been great so far, but time to paint, draw, and update the computer seems to be hard to find!  Luckily we have our Figure Drawing group EVERY Wednesday night this summer, and that's such a great time to work and connect with other artists!

Last night the lovely Miss C posed beautifully for us (such a wonderful stage presence!)  She really knows how to use the light and make a pose look great from every vantage point.

We did a 30 minute pose first.  I sketched with watercolor pencil, then softened it with water wash.   This particular pencil was new to me, and there was more pigmnet than I thought - so it turned out darker than I anticipated.  But I like the look so far, and I was lucky enought to get a reference photo - I may add some more layers of color and definition, especially in the shadows.

Our long pose was equally lovely, and I liked how she occupied the chair, and how the drapery worked so well with the pose.  This is also watercolor pencil, but not as intense as the first drawing. 

And a few shots from around the room!  I love seeing how different artists approach the same figure...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My daughter and her wild color choices. I'm so proud.

Watching my kids draw and paint is always an enjoyable and surprising activity.  Kids tend to be bold with color choices and mark-making, they have a sense of what they want to create but aren't focused on making it "right".  Most of the time, as long as you pull away the paper before everything turns to "mud" you get some great little abstract pieces!

Ari and I were drawing on the driveway yesterday (in spite of the incredible heat and humidity here in GA!) and I just loved her colorful depiction of Me that she colored.  In fact I think it's the same pallette of fuscias, orange, deep blue and a touch of light green that I used the other night in my figure drawing!

I hope I can keep drawing like a child :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Unlocking Creative Genius. Mystery solved!

Our figure drawing group in Woodstock, GA gathered in spite of the loud thunder and threatening clouds.  In fact a rainbow even made an appearance outside our studio window as the sun broke thru the clouds. (I took a photo but forgot to load it onto the computer...you'll have to trust me!)

For the long pose our model perched on a tall chair, her shoulder catching the light from an over-head spot light.  There was a very pretty fuscia drape behind her, and some warm reflective light off of the back wall.  Perhaps it was the fact that there was a rainbow outside, or because I was just feeling so funky...I worked with a LOT of color!

I like the weight of the figure, the shift in her shoulders and the warmth in her skin.  I'm not sure about the hands - at one time I had the arm stretched accross her lap, and I liked the twist it implied in her wasteline, but then I went back to the actual pose, with her hand resting on her left thigh.  I may change it again!   And while I like the shape of the hand on our left, the scale is too large - it consfuses the space.  I'd like it to feel further back in space.

But I was having fun :)
I didn't want to over-work the drawing, so for our last 30 minutes or so I did this quick sketch from a different view.  Mostly copying the figure in front of me, I made minor changes to the position of her arm to better fit the composition. 

When the model walked around the room she almost jumped back in shock when she saw my drawing!  Out of the dozen times we've worked together I ALWAYS tend to go towards soft lilacs and pinks when I work in color, capturing her soft skin tones.  I *think* she was happy with the color!

And, as promised, the Key to Creativity.  Our group is always so great about bringing munchies and libations to share.  If you REALLY want to know what makes Artists tick, just check out the food station.

Yup.  Pork Brains and Two Buck Chuck.  Let the Creative Juices Flow!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kale Cubes. Add vegetables to your fruit smoothie!

I mentioned on FB a few weeks back that I was making "kale cubes" to add to my frozen fruit smoothies.   I don't think most people found it to be a very appetizing thought!  However, you really can add a bit of this ultra-good-for-you power food to your every day routine with just a little bit of prep work.

In my on-going quest to add vegetables to my kids' daily menu, I had started adding Spinach leaves to a batch of frozen fruit smoothies that we would have for afternoon snack.  It was easy to grab a bag of the pre-washed baby spinach and add a handfull to each batch.  However, I would find that I didn't use the whole bag quickly enough, wasting some of the spinach.

I then started thinking about freezing spinach, dropping in some frozen cubes into the blender.  My neighbor suggested trying this method with Kale instead.  Kale is what you may call a "super food".  The nutritional value for Kale is impressive, to say the least.  Calcium, Iron, Magneseum, Vitamins A, K, and C are all packed into these leafy greens.

So I bought a bunch of Kale, and having never preppared it before, found a great tutorial on how to blanch kale for freezing.  You could follow the recipe as-is and just keep the leafy parts frozen, ready to drop into your blender whenever you want to add a bit to a smoothies.

However, I wanted to take it a step further and turn it into "kale cubes".  So after I put the Kale leaves in a cold water bath, I put a handfull into my blender.  (Do not put too much into your blender at once - unless you have a very powerful blender. The smoke smell that started to eminate from the base of my blender indicated I may have over-loaded it at first....)

Also, you will notice the cold-water bath will turn a lovely green color as the kale is leached a bit in the process.  Add one or two cups of this water into the blender with the kale leaves, and blend into a slush.

Pour (or use a spoon to scoop) the blended kale and water into ice cube trays.  I recommend only filling them about half way.  The smaller cube size will make it easier on your blender as you add them into your frozen drinks.  Depending on the size of your freezer and the number of ice cube trays you have on hand, you may have to do a couple batches at a time.  Store the blended Kale in the fridge, and as the kale cubes freeze, pop them into a freezer bag and make some more!

One "batch" of Kale made about 4 dozen cubes. 

Fruit smoothies are great because you can use whatever you have on hand - peaches, bananas, frozen fruits, any kind of juice.  This combination was one of my favorites, and the dark berry colors masked the kale color very well.

Fruit Smoothie with Kale Cubes

One large or two small bananas
One handful of frozen blueberries or frozen mixed berries
4-5 (small) Kale Cubes
1 1/2 to 2 Cups V8 Fusion Drink (we like the Pomegranate Blueberry)

Blend until smooth! 

My kids did see me drop the green cubes into the blender a couple of times and asked what they were...I just said they were part of the fruit!  They shrugged and drank it anyway :)

(and yes...I did take a photo of my Kale cubes.  I think they're pretty!)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Figure Drawing in the Garden. Paradise was HOT.

WOW I think it was like 94 degrees and 100% humidity today in Atlanta!  Perfect day to draw outside, right?  When you have the chance to draw a beautiful woman in a beautiful garden...the answer is YES!

I was working on the pastel sketch above (Nupastel on blue Colorfix paper), thinking I was done, of course it could have just been the heat and the mimosa kicking in, so I walked around to check out everyone else's progress.

H. had a lovely pallete, and really captured the beautiful gesture of the model's hand, as well as the subtle gaze towards the water.

B. works in almost an opposite approach - he layers in darker pastel with bright colors and highlights on top.  He always aims for a full composition - one where all elements are considered.  In such a complex setting, that is not easy!
So after my little walk around, I got back to work, defining a bit more of the bridge over the koi pond and deciding on the final direction of the light and shadow, which had changed quite a bit from begining to end.
After a delicious lunch (thanks B!!!) we headed back out to the garden for about an hour of drawing.  Even in the shade with a light breeze, it was still VERY hot!

This was an equally lovely pose, with a teasing light that peaked in and out of the clouds every few minutes.  Working with Nupastels again on a mossy green piece of colorfix paper, I first blocked in the large shapes with various shades of purple, then slowly added in blues, reds and oranges.

I tried to save the high light shapes until the very end, knowing that they would keep changing as the sun moved.  My husband likes this piece better than the first one...I haven't picked a favorite!   I think I need to look at them both in the studio for a little while, making sure I have a good sense of light and tweak the colors if needed.

Drawing the figure in an outdoor setting is a totally different experience than drawing in a studio, and one that I highly recommend!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pastel Portrait from a photo. I love the colors!

I've finished Jack's portrait with the umbrella. Of course I use the term "finished" loosely, because I've been known to go back and change things!

You can watch a step-by-step progression of this pastel portrait on Youtube.

Because I've done a couple of these colorful pastel portraits back-to-back, it's really helping me see what I need to do as far as layering the colors.  I'm learning which Nupastels are denser, and therefor tend to gouge previous layers instead of lay on top.  These tend to be the darkest darks and lightest lights, so I save those until the end.  I love seeing which colors work together to create interesting color combinations in the shadows. 

I've just ordered some fresh new colors of Nupastel and colorfix paper...can't wait to get started on the next portrait!

If you are interested in a Custom Portrait, please visit my Fine Art on Etsy Shop.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It looked TOTALLY innocent from my angle!

Our figure drawing group was so lucky last night to have a married couple pose for our group.  After a few 5-10 minute warm-up gestures, we began working from a long pose.

As I helped the models set up the pose with pillows and padding, I was going for a "c" shape or zig-zag pattern...the male lounging towards our right, the female lounging towards the left.  Everything looked great and then the models settled into their pose.

You can see from my drawing it was a great set-up - a lot interesting shapes, light and shadow, and I liked that she was looking up at him, her chin gently resting on his leg.

Of course, as you moved around the room, the pose took on an entirely different appearance...one that was definitly not intentional!  The couple was so funny, they laughed when they saw the drawings.  We have another male and female model scheduled in a few weeks...let's keep it clean, people!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

New Pastel Portrait from a Photo. Drawing my son!

I've been wanting to do some pastel portraits of my two children for a while now.  (Just in case you think the drawing part is hard...you should try to get a decent picture of a 5 year old who likes to growl every time the camera shows up :)  

After (seriously) hundreds of photos, I finally captured a great moment - outside, in the late day sun, so colors were not too washed out.  He was holding an umbrella, which also diffused the light.  He had on a great color shirt, and he had some terrific rosy cheeks from running around with his little sister.  He also gave me a great picture smile.  No teeth, a gentle smile that didn't squint his eyes.

So I printed out the photo and got started yesterday!  It's not finished yet, but I like showing work in progress.  You can see I haven't even been able to escape to my studio lately...with hubby out of town, Jack and I were working together at the kitchen table!

This is a half sheet of the large aubergine colorfix paper and Nupastel. 

I'm trying to take good photos as I work (in consistent lighting) so I can put another "how I built this pastel portrait" video toghether!   I'll let you know when it's all done.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I love our figure drawing group!

I am very lucky to be a part of a great network of Artists in and around Atlanta. Each artist has their own background, from very educated to novice. Some are bold and colorful, others more traditional. We work with some of the best models I have ever had the priviledge of drawing. And, when the situation arises, as it sometimes does, where a scheduled model does not show up as scheduled - we all pull together and make the evening work! We came to draw!

So last night when our model didn't show up, Beth and I took turns helping our fellow artists warm up! (we were clothed, of course!) And then our fab fellow artist called as she was in route to class, and we explained "there's no model!" So she grabbed a cute little white dress and some accessories...and hopped on the stand!

These are some shots of our fabulous night of drawing...many thanks to our good friend!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Help Support Autism Speaks.

My handsom nephew, Austin, has Autism.  He is an incredibly sweet and funny little man!  He has been chosed by a family friend as his "inspiration" as he strives to raise $1500 and participate in an Autism Speaks Marathon in Chicago in October of 2010.

This is the sponsor page for the event (with my handsom nephew!!!)

Help me support Randy!!! From now until the end of August, $5.00 from every print order in my Etsy shop will go towards helping Randy reach his goal for Autism Speaks.

One of my top 5 moments from 2009 mentioned a beautiful moment for me...Austin connecting with his cousin, my son Jack. 

Thank you for checking it out :)
  I will keep you posted on the progress in the Announcement section of my Etsy shop and on my Facebook Fan Page!