I just found out today that I won a Charlene Cosgrove Memorial Scholarship at my university, Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design! It was very unexpected. It’s $825 that I can put toward tuition.
I submitted this painting a marbled murrelet (it’s actually still a WIP – some things I need to clean up) done in gouche and transparent watercolor and the crow that I recently posted here on the blog and Gerda from the Snow Queen (below).
There was also a writing prompt with the scholarship and I had a chance to write on a Japanese artist Tabaimo who recently had an exhibition at the Asian Art Museum here in Seattle.
The question we were to write about was whether we thought the context of the artist was important for a full appreciation and understanding of art. For me, the context of the art is very important.
I’ll post my paper below for anyone who might be interested. Also here’s a short video interview with Tabaimo talking about the exhibition.
Sorry – I haven’t been posting in a while. Here’s a work-in-progress painting of a Marbled Murrelet that I’m doing for Seattle Audubon. I’m planning to paint in a background of an old growth forest, but they have some important conversation actions coming up in March, so I also made this badge for them too:
The marbled murrelet is a bird that is endangered because its habitat depends on both the ocean and old growth forests. Although it’s a sea bird with webbed feet, it nests high up in old growth forests and lays a single egg at a time.
Things have otherwise been good. I’ll do another post soon. I’m taking Western Civilization this quarter, so more free time to work on projects like this murrelet. I’m also 4 weeks into an Artist’s Way class in Seattle and I’m just figuring out how to sell greeting cards on Etsy and Amazon. I can talk more about that in a future post.
Here’s my final project for Still Life Painting. It was a great fun. The assignment was to create a composition that included ceramic, glass, and metal. I included Otis, who is a bird that I grew up with on our front table. He was molded by talented ceramicist Stephani Stephenson of Revival Arts Studio (her Facebook page is here). It was nice to be in touch with her after all these years.
From Otis, I learned a lot more about handling acrylic. For this piece, I used Ampersand Aquabord, Golden Acrylic, and Holbein Fluid Acrylic.
I’m also excited to share that I sold my first work through my website (thanks Garret!) and two additional works through the Gage Small Works show.
I’m halfway through Still Life Painting and I’m learning Acrylic Painting now. We’re painting several different ways – the first involved an underpainting. There was definitely a learning curve. I used Asmpersand Aquabord because I liked the smooth look over canvas. It also has the advantage of slowing drying for people who like to rework.
I used Golden heavy body acrylics, but then layered fluid acrylics on top. It was a bit slow to have to work with it in two steps, but I liked the control when the second layer was added. The next one I did have to have some basic geometric shapes and drapery. I’m also working on the third which has to involve toys and texture.
This week I also put up prints in the Small Works Art Show to benefit theGage Academy. Check it out today through December 9th! It’s a great way to purchase some inexpensive original art and also help the Academy.
After sketching thumbnails for my Gerda vs. the Snow Queen’s Snow Bees painting, I created 3 quick 3-value thumbnails to decide on the final composition. I found it really helps separating out the composition and value decisions before committing to a final work. Because I wanted to base the painting on the original Hans Christian Andersen story, I also want to work in the detail that he had about the palace being lit by Northern Lights.
Although I liked the extremes of values in the value study, I settled on the 3rd study because I liked the idea that the shadows on the hill would be pointing to Gerda, my focal point. I added some hills in the background to create greater depth and also added more complex branchwork in the final.
I started out with pencil and watercolor on Arches watercolor paper, but finished the piece digitally using Procreate and an Ipad Pro because I could play around with different color combinations before deciding on a final. I really like Procreate and the Apple Pencil because the process of illustrating with them is so close to real pencil, paper, and paint – but with much more flexibility with materials and undo’s. I had an earlier version, but Phil my teacher and classmate China suggested good feedback about brightening up the colors among other things. Our next assignment should be fun – drawing caricatures. I’ve picked my subject already…Edgar Allan Poe.
We had an interesting discussion this past week about realistic (or hyper-realistic) painting vs. realistic
painting with fantastic elements. A fellow student shared some of the hyper-realistic paintings of Charles Jeong from South Korea. I shared Allen Williams’ If Beauty Were a Book, done in graphite.
I realized while I like representational art, I prefer works that convey emotion or story more than complete accuracy.
In our final assignment of the class (costume figure), I decided to change it up a bit and use color and value changes, and even changes in the model to alter the mood.
It great to get back painting again. I combined a gouache underpainting with transparent watercolor and then Faber Castell Polychromos pencils and little touches of Sennelier pastels for highlights. It was nice to see that all of the media seemed to work together.
Had a great time with the critique group through SCBWI last weekend. Now I have a week off before starting Concept Illustration.
It’s been another busy week, but learning a lot more what CarbOthello pencils can do. I really like the medium although I have a lot to learn about making color blends. This past week had our usual gesture drawings, 2 hand drawings in pastel, and then a costumed figure drawing. Sanded paper like UArt or Wallis can receive more layers than Canson Mi-Teintes or other pastel papers, but they will eat up your pencils quicker.
I found I like the soft rich blacks of Nitram charcoal. It also doesn’t have as much dust as General’s.
I’ll also post the three examples of pastel paintings that I posted in this week’s discussion. Pastel offers such a wide variety of expression. I really like the medium.
The first is a rendering of Ophelia from Cuong Nguyen who worked as a successful web designer for many years until he got working more as a streetchalk artist, then became a full-time fine art painter. I learned from him that skin tones can be mixed with a green underpainting (verdaccio) and flesh tones.
The second is an illustration from Paul Howard from a Jill Tomlinson book called The Owl who was afraid of the dark. I like the soft luminous quality Howard was able to get from his use of pastels.
Finally, there’s The Guardian by Fiona Tang. It combines chalk pastel with charcoal and acrylic on a paper backing. The different textures of the various media used for this piece this piece contribute to the overall effect in different ways; the chalk pastel in particular is important to the trompe l’oeil effect, helping to differentiate the “three-dimensional” stag in the front from the more “two-dimensional” background charcoal elements, with the white tone of the pastel “light” against the natural brown color of the paper.
This coming week is my final one for Life Drawing IV. We’ve got a watercolor assignment, the first I’ve had since I’ve been in art school. Also this weekend, I’ll be going to the Great Critique-nic through the Western Washington Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. It’ll be the first one that I’ve ever gone to. People bring their illustrations or writing and split up into small groups where they critique and be critiqued.
I had a great time in a 1-day pastel workshop at the Cole Art Studio. I used Nupastels on LaCarte paper for this painting of a dik dik, a small antelope that lives in Africa. I worked on this in the afternoon.
In the morning, I painted an African hornbill.
Pastels seem almost effortless. I’m looking forward to doing more.
I just heard today that Hornblower During the Crisis has been accepted in the SCBWI Western Washington Illustrators Exhibit at the Washington State Convention Center! This will be my first juried group exhibition. It runs from July 1- September 30th. I also just dropped off some art for the Best of the Gage Exhibition. The exhibition and sale there is June 17th, and of course the Clymer Museum exhibition goes through June 25th.
In addition to school, I’ve been experimenting with different ways of adding color. This past week I did some colored pencil work with the black and white owl and frog drawing. I like really like Faber-Castell Polychromos. They are oil-based, so blend with baby oil and can work side-by-side with watercolor paints or pencils.
I’ve also been doing some sketching and thinking about doing some illustrations for Hans Christian Anderson’s Snow Queen. There are two good crow characters that are part of the story so I thought it would be nice to do. We get a lot of crow visitors in the backyard.
I also saw an inspiring video today. Sargy Mann is a painter who became blind when he was his 30’s. See his story below.
It’ll be my first show. I’ll also have an elk cow and crow in the exhibition. We’ll be driving out on the first Friday, May 6th, 5-7 pm. Food & Wine will be by Springboard Winery and music will be provided by the Lincoln Elementary School Music Club.
Great exhibition at the NY Met Museum last month – Singer Sargent and Friends. Not that I’m paint more, I learn much more from seeing original works up close. It was an amazing exhibition because of the range of styles that he painted in. My photos don’t do the art justice, but since the exhbit has now ended, some of you might enjoy seeing the work.
I liked this portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife. Apparently Stevenson was a restless person who often paced, so Sargent caught him mid-stride.
This beautiful panel was a study of a larger work .
I found this portrait an interesting study too because he masterfully drew a viewer’s gaze to the face. There was only a very general suggestion of the piano keys so as not to draw attention away from the center of focus.
Just a quick post for those of you who might be interested in great composition / concept art courses. Schoolism only offers a lower priced yearly subscription every September – it caps after the 1st 2000 signups. There are 18 courses that you can take all together.
I’m starting with Nathan Fowke’s Pictoral Composition course (LACAD, LA Figurative Arts Academy) it’s really helpful – for both traditional as well as digital artists. It’s a 9 week course, but self-paced – each week has about eight 10-minute videos. There is weekly homework and videos of other student’s work. The cheapest option is $144 which doesn’t come with video feedback and redraws from Nathan – but it can help people like me who are attending school full time or working full time. Even if you’re on the cheaper plan, you can look at his critiques and redraws of other students who are taking the premium course – at $1000-1500 per course, so there’s plenty to learn from just watching. Whenever you’re finished, you can switch to another class.
I’ll show one of my exercises in a following post, but here’s an example from Piet Mondrian that I liked. I had seen Mondrian’s geometric work, but I had never seen his early work and how his art evolved. The point Nathan was making with the Mondrian example was that he was exploring the internal structure underneath what was being seen – so he was continually abstracting and simplifying – but also keeping connections and relationships, balance, harmony etc. I appreciate all the thought and time that has gone into Nathan’s course.
School at RMCAD starts back officially tomorrow. My classes this term are Mastering the Pencil and 3D Design.
I finished my watercolor portrait workshop with Hamid at Gage Academy this past week, but I still wanted to learn more, so I checked out Scott Waddell‘s Art of the Painting video. It’s great! His demo is for oil, but most of his principles work for all classical painting. He starts off ‘posterizing’ the major lights and darks, establishes the values, then shifts into conceptualizing mode, carving the face in 3D in color. I found the method straightforward and much simpler than just trying take in all the information at once. Scott supplements his painting with video illustrations of the behavior of light on 3D surfaces.
Here’s a crow that I finished this afternoon.There’s a noisy crow family that regularly visit us. I recently got some beautiful Caran d’ache watercolor pencils that I heard about from James Gurney. They are much more pigment-rich than the Derwents that I was using and they’re fantastic combined with Niji water brushes when hiking or painting on the road in plein air.
I have a month off before school starts back in September, so I have a chance to do more recreational art and art discovery. Last week, Eastside / Evergreen Association of Fine Arts had a little painters get-together where some painters did demos of plein air outside, while others painted a model.
It was fun.. a real painting party. I don’t have anything to show you from this – I’m still getting a handle on landscapes, but here’s Steve Whitney’s little demo. I’m enjoying Mitch Albala’s Landscape book.
We also had a surprise visitor out by our pond yesterday. I don’t think he’s just admiring our koi. Fortunately the fish are now too big for him and the fishing line keeps other predators away.
It’s been a busy quarter with two studio classes. In color, we started out with assignments to paint in different color harmonies – which forced us to experiment with non-usual colors. We ended the class this week with the topic of synesthesia – where senses are mixed in a physical experience, and then we were asked to create a work that was inspired by a response to music.
I had fun with this – and created this work with the woodpecker in a waterfall cascade of sound. It’s painting in gouache with a watercolor pencil for detail.
The color class was definitely the most challenging and new for me.
If you’re interested in the song the inspired the painting, I embedded it below from Soundcloud.
The Life Drawing class was pretty straightforward, but I found by just having to do so much drawing, it became easier to get a physical sense for what I was seeing, and then to appreciate the changes that take place with movement.
In one week’s exercise, we had to draw 24 hand positions.
In these exercises, we had to select works of art that reflected techniques of atmospheric perspective or ways of rendering depth or distance by tone, hue, or detail. Here are my comments on the paintings as well as my painting of Bracketts Landing near my home in Edmonds (last, exaggerated colors).
Caillebotte: Closer figures are darker than the ones in the background. Compare the dark dog and figures in the fore grand compared to the light building and person crossing the road in the back. More precise detail is given to foreground figures than those in the distance, mimicking human vision. There is strong one-point perspective composition. The side opening bridge create the illusion of depth. The railing also shows much more detail closer than farther.
Michael Orwick: Michael Orwick is a painter from Oregon that my mom recently interviewed. In Misty Morning, atmosphericperspective convey strongly by both the relative sharpness of closer trees and the relative lightness of farther trees. This painting also is a good example of how hue can be used to convey sense of depth. The close trees are orange and brown and trees in the distance behind the fog are more lavender.
Bierstadt: In Bierstadt’s painting, atmosphericperspective is conveyed by fine detail in the foreground figures, using shadows and sharp contrast (look at the use of white on the figures). It’s also possible to see details like the fringe on the mats that are being made. In the mid ground, the mountains ad less distinct with a narrower range of contrast between colors. Also Bierstadt show masterful use of contrast differences between the waves close to the viewer and far to convey atmosphericperspective.
Seurat: In Sunday Afternoon, atmosphericperspective is conveyed by detail and contrast. Examples of detail and contrast to create the illusion of depth are notable for instance in the woman with an umbrella in the foreground (strong dark garment and light face) vs. mid ground (more subtle differences in contrast). Analysis of hue in this painting is more complex because figures are in sun or shade, but what Seurat does seem to do is have bands of hue at depths that connect characters at that level whether they are in sun or shade, creating a more uniform illusion of depth. Examples include row of people in the foreground in shadow vs. a little farther back in sun, and then still farther seated in shadow.Brackett’s Landing in Edmonds, WA.
EAFA seems to be a really good organization for fine artists in the greater Seattle area. For emerging fine artists, too they have lots of opportunities to exhibit such as Overlake Hospital or a gallery at the Seattle Design Center.
I’m going to post another update with my papers from last quarter and then a little from what I’m doing now. Perspective class is the intense one for me now but it’ll help me with environments.
Here’s my portrait of a wild turkey in gouche. Quite a bird. I also varied the background a bit by setting down saran wrap before the paint had completely dried.
I did get a chance to meet artists at Artists Connect in Edmonds (their tagline is Artists Helping Artists) and next week I thought I’d check out Evergreen Association of Fine Arts which meets in Bellevue. These a great communities – usually some demos, critiques, and opportunities to have art displayed.
My classes this quarter are Art History II and Perspective. I’ll post my papers on Max Ernst and Laocoon and His Sons from last quarter when I get a chance. The two paintings I’m working now both involve landscapes, so I’m definitely getting beyond my comfort zone. This week I collected examples of atmospheric perspective in paintings and I’ll share those too.
I had a breakthrough in painting this week, mixing more colors and getting more of a sense of the brush. There are still things I struggled with, but this was turned out much better than I thought and it’ll be a surprise for my cousin and her husband.
I was also searching this past week for creative commons sources for reference photos and I found a nice site called Paint My Photo which has a lot of high resolution photos of animals, landscapes, and portraits that I’ll definitely use. The site brings artists and photographers and each enjoys the other’s work.
I think I’m going to tackle another interesting bird for my next work.