Thursday, May 19, 2016

Plein Air Thursday

Yeah!!!!! The weather has finally improved!  And the art society that I belong to has been going out plein air painting.  They have a full schedule of sites for us to go to each Thursday from 9:30am - 12:30pm.   

I went out the last two Thursdays with my friend Sherida who is also part of the art society.  The first Thursday was a bust.  We went to Knox Park in East Aurora, NY.  It was sunny and 50 degrees when we started but by the time we were set up to paint it was 45 degrees, windy and cloudy.  You can call us fair weather painters because it was not fun being out there in the cold, so we packed it in and went to Sherida's house for lunch:)  We did take a little walk behind her house where Casa Novia Creek runs and I found the best photo reference for a tree house.  It was actually a deer stand, but to me it looked like a tree house to me, so I made it into one!  I decided to do a little study of it.  You never know when that little study might come in handy for a picture book!

The next week was much better!  It was 60 degrees and sunny the whole time.  We went to the same spot and this time it was beautiful.  It was full of life with bees buzzing around, birds singing, and dogs coming through with their owners, their tongues flapping out of their mouths in happiness.  So many wonderful things to paint!  Usually plein-air paintings are of landscapes or tree portraits, but there was just too much life around me to paint those things.  So I did a few little paintings of the animals I saw that day!  

There is another plain-air trip today!  Can't wait to see what I will discover!  Enjoy your Thursday, I know I am going to enjoy mine painting:)


Friday, May 13, 2016

Embrace the Shake

I found this awesome TED talk and had to share it with you all.  It's about an artist who developed a shake in his hand and couldn't control his pencil.  At first he thought it ended his art career, but then he learned to embrace the shake and it launch a whole new way of creating art and of looking at creativity for him.  Truly inspirational!


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bologna Children's Book Fair

Sorry I have been absent for a while.  Life got really busy:)  Here is a video of this year's Children's Book Fair in Bologna Italy.  It took place at the end of March.  This is my one day go to this book fair and better yet, to one day have my art there!  This video shows how artists leave their work for others to discover.   So much FUN!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Den Full of Foxes

This week I returned to a project that I have shared with you before.  It's my Fox Went Out On A Chilly Night picture book project that is part of my thesis project at the Academy of Art University.  I want to add another three paintings to this project by Mothers day!  I'll post my progress so you can hold me to my deadline:)  I find a deadline always helps me and accountability to others as well, so it's up to you to keep me on track!

You can see here the beginning of my work on this painting.  In the top picture you can see my storyboard on the bottom of the pile of papers.  These are my original thoughts on what should be on each page.  Then you can see some of the photo references I used to create the painting I am working on.  This painting is the last page of the book where all the fox, his wife and all their kits are fast asleep in their den as winter snows cover the land.  I use prima color markers to do a value study thinking about the previous paintings I have done and my focal point.  Sometimes the prisma color markers don't have the right values that I am looking for and her is a case in point.  I wanted the tree to be the darkest value, but this value study it is a little too dark, so in my color study I adjusted the value as you can see below.  

I felt that the too dark tree against the light background brought your eye away from the subject of the foxes, so I lighten the tree and put more emphasis on the foxes by playing with cool versus warm colors to bring your eye to the focal point.  I think it reads better now, what are your thoughts?  Let me know in the comments below:)



Sunday, March 20, 2016

Two Obscure Holidays In One!

When I looked at the calendar for my next obscure holiday to illustrate I found two!  Today is both International Earth Day and Extraterrestrial Abductions Day.  The juxtaposition of the two holidays demanded that I put them both in one illustration.  So here it is....Earth being abducted by aliens!

Let me know what you think in the comments section:)


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Portrait Group

I love my Friday Portrait Group! It is such a fun and creative group of people.  We listen to music, talk to the model, and paint.  You can see in this picture we were talking to the model and I like her casual pose so much I grabbed a coffee cup and asked her to hold it as a prop.  I wanted to capture the spontaneity that came through her casual pose.     

Her beautiful auburn hair and porcelain skin was the perfect subject to paint the day after St. Patrick's day and just seeing her we were all inspired:)  It was two hours of bliss for me.  Every portrait always starts as a mess of marks and paint splotches as I try to find the landmarks and proportions of the face.  You can see here that I wanted to get her coffee cup in the painting, but the painting seemed to have it's own path and ultimately the cup was lost from the composition.

It was because of her hair.  I got lost in the beauty of the color and depth of it.  I actually started with a piece of canvas paper that was long and narrow and wanted to do a crop of her.  But once I started massing in her hair I had to add a second piece of paper to be able to capture her hair.  So if you look closely you'll notice the line separating the two pieces of canvas paper and my painting was really a diptych!  I played with the colors a bit and went with a complimentary color scheme vs the somewhat analogous background that the yellow wall created.  You can see my set up here.  I have a folding chair and a card table for my paints and a music stand for my paper.  I paint on canvas paper because I really like the ease of it and since these are just practice studies, I feel less committed to the paper and allow myself to push it and make mistakes.

Here is my finished study and a close up of it.  I didn't really capture fully her likeness but I am improving from week to week with each painting, so I am pleased:)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Art Quote

I can't believe that I missed Dr. Seuss's birthday last week!  I have many of his books in my children's book collection and I have read them over and over to my own children.  I can recite them from memory just like I'm sure many of you can.  They are so much fun and I love his quirky style of illustration.  So to make up for it, this week I have chosen an art quote by Dr. Seuss.  This one seemed appropriate to me because if you have met me then you know, I stand out in a crowd, just like the llama:)