Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Figure Drawing and Painting in the Garden

Drawing and painting the figure is my all time favorite thing to do as an artist.  I love posing the models, playing with the light, planning what media to use, figuring out how to capture their personality and body language.  Being part of a group that enjoys the same thing really helps this endeavor - sharing model fees for one thing!  But also being able to put together special drawing events in unique spaces.

This past weekend our group gathered in the beautiful Zen garden of our friend Bruce.  Bamboo, large rock formations, a koi pond with a bridge, all provided a beautiful backdrop for multiple figures.  This event had a couple of goals - one being to create! and the other to support our fellow artist who is still recovering from her brain tumor.  The models all donated their time (we worked with four models...and many more volunteered as well!  You are all so wonderful, thank you!) and the artists all donated whatever money we could to help our friend, who still cannot drive and work during her recovery.  During the paint-out I would shout "Create something beautiful and send healing thoughts!", as our friend was too weak to attend the event in person.

Three of the models wore colorful dresses, and one brave model withstood strong sun and busy bugs to pose nude.  Her figure among the rock formations was really special.  The figure in nature, you cannot help but appreciate the design, the lines, the form.  You can see the figure here in this painting by Shane McDonald

I really had to admirer the determination of a couple of the artists!  No tree was going to stand in their way of the perfect artist Charles Young Walls tucks himself among the foliage as he paints the figure among the greenery.

 In another part of the garden an artist was actually standing IN the magnolia tree to get the perfect view!  I sat right in the middle of shrubbery to paint this quick watercolor sketch.  (I actually started 4 pieces...I still need to photograph them!)

The day was a huge success.  I think we had 15 artists, 4 models, and a large amount of money donated to our dear friend.  You really can't ask for anything more!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New figure drawing model and a fresh perspective

I say it often... I am so lucky that I get to work with some amazing models!  Our weekly figure drawing group is my opportunity to play, explore materials and techniques, keep my skills sharp, and of course network with my fellow artists.

This week we had a lovely model who was new to most of us, recommended by a fellow artist who worked with her at another location.  She is tall and has beautiful long arms and fingers, a swan-like neck (or "superhero"  neck as one artist called it!) and what really makes her a great model - wonderful stage presence.  Every pose was regal, elegant, graceful.. She was a joy to draw.

A 20 minute charcoal drawing, her knee is resting on an ottoman.

Oh...and her hair is closely cut, almost shaved, and it was SO interesting and challenging to draw her head and neck!  Just fabulous shapes and amazing highlights.

One hour pose, in watercolor, 11" x 14"...

I especially like the colors in her head.  There was a dramatic line on her neck, the turn of her head causing tension in the tendon.

And for the last 40 minutes of drawing, a portrait - I had to just focus on her beautiful features!  The shape of her head, the determined chin, the sculpted lips - wonderful!  I look forward to finishing this sketch...

I love meeting a new model and drawing from them for the first time.  It forces me to look a little closer, to really see the particulars of their shape, build, gestures, balance.  The lines of their arms, the curves in their neck, the length of their legs.  When I get to know a model well and work with them often,  I sometimes find myself drawing or painting with a quick glance, being familiar with their figure, rather than slowly absorbing and translating the information like I would do in our first encounter. 

Fresh faces, fresh perspectives, fresh work.
(but I'm not giving up any of my models - I love them all!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Grand Prize at the Cumming FUMC Art Festival - my pastel portrait Reflections of Zen

Well I am stunned! Thrilled and humbled to share the news that "Reflections of Zen", my pastel portrait, won the Grand Prize at the Cumming First United Methodist Church Art Festival.

Keeping with my track record, I was not there to accept the award (bummer!)  It seems I only win something when I'm absent :)  I got to view a portion of the work in the show, and I could tell I was in excellent company and this award is a true honor.

Fellow artists - I hope you check out the Festival's Group Page on Facebook and watch out for next year's event - it continues to grow, offering a wonderful opportunity to exhibit and share, and the award money and purchase awards are significant...well worth your entry!

This award is also timely as my fellow artists and I plan to gather this weekend for "Figure Drawing in the Garden",  in the same setting where I took the photo for the portrait.    This is a photo from the last time we worked in my friend's Zen garden with this model.

It's such a wonderful space, a great time to gather together and create and enjoy nature!  The light is always stunning, and it's so different from working in a studio.  I hope that wherever you are, you are creating, and sharing with your fellow artists, too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Home Portrait and A Special Mother's Day Gift...

A couple more portraits found their way home in the last few of weeks!  For Mother's day, this beautiful watercolor portrait of a mother and newborn baby...

I also shipped out this multi-media portrait of a house, painted on panel.  The request was for lots of color - and an understanding that I am not very good at drawing straight lines :)

This was one of my favorite spots on the painting!

I don't often accept commission work for house/architectural portraits, but I really enjoyed this one!  

And of course our figure drawing group is still active, enjoying our Wednesday evenings with wonderful live models.  Last week I created this nupastel drawing of the male model on grey pastel board

I have had requests to show more progress shots, so hang tight...I will do a post on the progress of my pastel figures - soon!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cumming First United Methodist Church Art Festival - A great opportunity to experience Art and Music

Over the weekend I dropped off three pieces at the Cumming FUMC Arts Festival.    I have never been to the church before, and was not only impressed by it's beauty, but the lovely people who I met.  John Hutchinson, the director of Music, has really brought together an amazing collection of Art and Professional musicians, and I hope you check out the show schedule and make time to visit.

The event lasts from May 8th thru the 22nd.  On Facebook, too!

Be sure to look for my painting, Angel of Hope, and two of my pastel drawings.