Saturday, July 30, 2011

CommissionII: The Rub In

This stage is particularly fun to do. After the raw sienna is dry, I use burnt sienna to lay in the initial large shape. The only thing you can really see of this step is the line above her head and down her arm. This shape should be the largest possible shape and should really never be more than a pentagon. A hexagon is really pushing it. Two triangles would be better at that point. I digress. Mostly I'm trying to frame everything in the picture so part of his head isn't chopped off because I started with her nose and worked out. You start painting the whole picture at once, and work to become more and more detailed!

So after I did the large shape I used gesture drawing to get a basic idea of where everything went. This is where I regret not taking a photo because I was working too fast and thought, "This will be visible in the end!" Unfortunately I was wrong. The rub out killed a lot of my original marks because I didn't stop to let each stage dry. A lot of gesture got rubbed out.

The basic concept i use when doing gesture is to do a drawing without much detail that correctly places large main elements. This would be like "two heads about here and here where this one is slightly higher" and "I have to fit these five components across the picture, let me make sure I don't make them too large: arm,torso, arm,torso,arm" except I don't draw a full out arm or torso and definitely never a head. What I do is draw myself reminders and markers, mostly with a long, continuous, searching line.

Then I use the Giacometti technique to put everything in the right place. You might be able to see the small places I actually drew my vertical and horizontal lines. I didn't do much and now I'm paying the price. There are a few problems I am facing at this stage of the drawing that could have been fixed by better implementation of the Giacometti method.

But I jumped ahead to the rub out stage, ready to get to some real painting after such a long stretch away from it.

This part is usually pretty easy, if you laid yourself some good ground work. Using your marks and measurements, find the dark value shapes in the painting and draw those in the correct spot. Rub out if you make a mistake. If you start using too much paint, or it gets too thick, use a /dry/ rag to rub out. It will take the excess paint and leave your drawing. Continue painting.

I had two problems I was fighting with: myself and a washed out seventies photo. I hadn't laid the proper ground work and there were no dark values to speak of. Well, besides her hair and his glasses and the print on her dress. I couldn't tell if the original had been washed out a bit or if it was just that old. I made up some extra shadow to really make it pop, and I hope ultimately look more realistic!

I finally had to quit and go baby sit my favorite kid ever: River! Hence the late update as well.
Well, I won't get much done painting tomorrow because I am going to do more fun things with Rachel! Hopefully fiber arts or soap related! So, not much painting but hopefully a crafty blog post!

See ya then (well, you know what I mean!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

CommissionII: My Process

The bad myspace photo aside, I'm really excited because I got the canvas made and gessoed and toned. I should have probably used more gesso. I didn't realize how thin the stuff I bought was.
I was going to stop and redo it, but I'm only getting a piddling amount for it and decided I had wasted too much time to have to redo it. The only thing I'm worried about is the canvas soaking up my oil too fast for me to really mix, thus making me have to use a lot of paint.
I hope this toned ground of raw sienna off sets a lot of that. I usually take so much time gessoing and sanding then gessoing then sanding. I don't know why I didn't this time.
I was probably thinking of saving time, but I hope it doesn't come back to bite me.
Well, fingers crossed.
(and really, I had to do something to liven up the photo, a toned ground is just boring!)

Commission: Finally Finished!

Kim and Son
Pencil on Paper

I didn't think this thing would ever get done. And last night while I was trying to take a photo of it I wanted to cry because it was too dark. Now, I almost want to cry because it looks like several areas are washed out. Oh well! I was so excited to have this done that I don't think I slept much last night. It could have also been the coffee I had before bed, or all the fun at the doctors office yesterday, or any other fun reason.

If anyone is interested in following the commission, the first post is here, the second here, the third here, and the fourth I posted just last night, here! It's interesting how my different cameras and the different times of day give it such a different look!

I'm up today and ready to take on the world! I am spraying this with a clear coat and then I will be shipping it off. Right now I'm going to get my other painting commission laid out and started. I so hope I can get the drawing done. It is nice to have gotten some drawing practice in with this thing, but it's going to be so nice to get back painting again too. It's a large painting, but I think I can get it done fairly soon. I've been known for doing very large paintings last minute, and very quickly. And very well, of course! XD

I'll talk about more process with the painting as well. I didn't do much of anything new with the portrait drawing, but if I do another one that is more my style, I'll talk about my drawing process then! There wasn't much Giacometti Technique going on in this one!

All right, I'm off to work! Hopefully I'll have something to show for it later today...


So close!

Just a quick iPhone snapshot for right now! I'm staying up to finish it and will post the final piece tomorrow! Er, later today. Just saw it was after midnight :-/

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Commission: Almost Done


This has been so slow going! I've been working on this for two days straight and I still have her clothing, the background, and even the final touch ups, which might not sound like a lot, but it seems insurmountable to me at this point.

I'm hoping to finish her clothing in about two or three hours. That way I can see about the background in the morning.

Unfortunately I did not do painting, getting up to go directly to work on this. I thought I could get it done today. That was a bit of hubris on my part. I feel less accomplished than I did yesterday, because I got so much done yesterday. All I got done today was cleaning the kitchen, cooked food, and did a lot of drawing. I also listened to a lot of Urdu while drawing. I was able to understand a fair amount! More than I used to.

Well, I'm going to continue drawing and if I manage to get it done I'll post it later. If not, expect an update tomorrow!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The First Day

Well, I finally did it.

I am no longer a retail worker of any kind. I am officially a self employed artist at this point.

I woke up fairly early today, and begun by painting a spectacularly bad picture of an apple. Then, I started working on my portrait commission that is due soon. I have gotten pretty far on that. Then, I took my brother and we opened a bank account, I applied for a passport, and made an appointment with the doctor.

I feel so excited! Even if my first painting turned out pretty raunchy. I'll work on it some more after I get the commission done. But the thing is, I'm painting! I'm drawing! I'm actually going to be blogging! Maybe my painting will look better tomorrow and I'll post that! Or the finished commission!

I'm so incredibly happy!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

India Nite 2011

I had done a post earlier See Here about India Nite Prep and all that I was doing for the backdrop for Louisiana Tech's celebration of all things Indian, but then I realized that I had not actually posted a photo from the said celebration. Feeling quite disappointed in myself, I searched for something better than a picture: video! I honestly did not know if youtube was going to be able to help me out, but luckily there were three different videos, including this one. I think it gives a good overview of the dances, the food, and of course my little bit in all of this: the backdrop.

I must say that I really did not do a lot of the actual work. My friend Varsha gave me the design she wanted, the gold and maroon fabric she had already bought, and asked me how we were going to do this. So for a week and a half, after work I would trek across Ruston to an apartment where I'm told seven guys live and completely changed the room into a giant mess. It was great.

First I had to come up with the best plan for this giant eight by thirty foot banner on a budget with a deadline. The first problem was when I said "sewing" everyone automatically assumed hand stitching and there were collective groans. I was quite confused because I was thinking run it through the machine and be done with it. After we figured out what each of us meant and I assured them all I did have a sewing machine and we would no have to use glue. So I figured out how we were going to make this. We decided large pieces of "thermaco" or one inch Styrofoam would be how we would make the letters and build the shrine that would house a painting of Nutraj, or the god of dance. Here is a picture of us messing with that stuff:

I have a picture where all you can see is that carpet has turned white from the amount of styrofoam on it. I guess that's what you get when you file it down!

The next part was the hardest. Figuring out just how big it needed to be. After about 30 minutes of arguing about past India Nite presentations and looking at photos, I just said we needed to go there to actually measure. So we did. This was a good thing, mostly. Until the night before the performance. Yeah, more on that later.

So we got that, I did some funky art type math, looked at our materials, laid everything out, made a plan, and started delegating. I had people cut the fabric and sew it up while I drew out the skyline on the maroon fabric, then handed that off to be sewn around then cut while someone was drawing out the "India Nite" letters in a Hindi-like font to my measurements and fixed a few curves, then had everyone end up and hand stitch the city scape to the gold fabric, while we cut out the letters and then filed them and I mixed the right colors of paint, had people gesso the letters so that the gold paint would actually stick, then had people painting the letters while I laid out how the styrofoam frame would be, then started drawing while other people started cutting. Then we ended up paper mache-ing that to make it stronger and then I had to paint most of that, but showed everyone and they helped and did a good job and we got a lot done really fast, and then we used caulk to do decorative elements on it which got painted gold. And the night before I painted the Nutraj while everyone put this up and I didn't get any sleep. Yes. I am almost sorry for the run on sentence. Almost! Here are more pictures:

It was a lot of work. Then they changed the size of the stage on us the night before the performance and it was a frustrating 30 minutes for us, the sound crew, the people who wanted to practice dancing and one grumpy American who had not been sleeping well trying to get this thing done who was now suddenly missing ten feet of stage. At least we got it all figured out and put up! More pictures:

I got paid in tasty Indian food everyday! I also got to wear a sari which was the most awesome thing ever! And I didn't even have to pay to get in. I was late, of course, and while I was getting my money out of my wallet for my ticket several people came up to me to tell me what a good job I had done on the backdrop and the person taking money for the ticket told me "You did that? No way we're going to charge you!" I was quite happy about that. I know in these pictures I don't look like I'm doing anything, but most of these are from my iPhone and I was the one snapping them! Also, I'm sorry most of these are from my iPhone. So here is one last picture of me:

I loved wearing that sari! So blue! So pretty! And I got compliments all night! Makes a lady want to move straight to India!

Anyway. Great news coming up starting Monday, stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The New Savings Ticker

At the top of my blog I have placed a fun little money ticker because I am trying to make enough money to travel to see my friend's brother's wedding. Why do you ask? Because I want to travel and this will be an awesome place to go. Unfortunately it will also be a very expensive place to go and if I can't save up around three grand I won't be able to go.

And I must say, it's really hard to find a money ticker online. I must admit I probably don't know the right terminology, so if you happen to know of another site that has tickers, please let me know. This will work ok for now, but I was hoping I'd just get to change it on my blog instead of having to log in on another site and mess with it.

Right now I have enough savings to go, but I don't want to use my savings to go. So I am going to try to sell enough art and get enough to go before the deadline... in about two to three months. I did say it was an impossible challenge in the last post!

Expect more art soon. Mostly because I'm quitting. Anything I sell is going straight to my ticker! And I'll have more options for buyers soon. check back!

Hand Spun Yarn

Here it is, the photo showing off my new yarn and my new spindle! I was really happy with my teeswater wool yarn, it came out much more even than I would have thought. And I kind of like being in the pictures a bit. I am kind of hamming it up. I think I was just happy to be off work!

Also, by the end of the next day I had stopped throwing my spindle across the room while trying to spin. I figure this is progress!

On another note, I put in my two weeks notice a couple of days ago and my last day of retail work is the 25th! I am so happy that I'll get to start painting again! (notice all the exclamation points, sorry about that...)

Now all I have to do is save up enough money to go to Pakistan, for a wedding... I only have three months! Let's see what I can do! My first real impossible challenge! Love it!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fiber Arts Craft Day

Handmade woven headband with handspun yarn

The other day I learned a fun new skill: weaving! That head band is my first real woven project on a real loom. Well, I have done bead weaving on an old children's plastic loom, but I don't think that counts! I'm afraid I don't have any good up close pictures of it. The first thing I did was put the pink yarn on the loom, then I went back and forth with the white. After I was done I cut it off the loom and then used yarn to knot all the way down the end (like you do when you make hemp bracelets at summer camp, don't know what that's called besides macrame and that's way too general!)

I've got more cool stuff to say about this piece, but I've got to run to my last two weeks of work! All I'll say is: guess who made the yarn?? :D

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Good News!

Hi! I have good news!

For awhile now I've been living in Louisiana. For pretty much my whole life (unless you count the few years I was in far east Texas) I have lived in the silver buckle of the bible belt. I've been working a lot, and mostly outside, and I haven't had much time to work on any art. I do try hard to do something creative everyday, but it's really difficult to work outside in triple digits with 98-100% humidity for nine hours a day, and driving close to two hours a day in a car without air conditioning, and then come home to try and be creative. For the most part I sit there dazed for a few hours before falling asleep. I don't even have the energy to lift a pencil half the time.

But, my cousin lives in Memphis. A wonderful place full of... Ok, so the temperatures and humidity or slightly similar. But the good part is I won't have to work at the big blue box and I get to live with my cousin while I work on doing nothing but creating art, working on my art sites, writing blog posts, and everything I want to do without dealing with loading 50 pound bags of cow manure, angry customers, bosses and dealing with family politics.

All I have to do is take care of the food budget and pay part of the rent (a very small part!).

This is awesome for me. I love cooking. I love dealing with money and budgets and figuring out how to eat well on not a lot of money. And I love not having to be outside all of the time. On the giant concrete map I'm sitting on in the picture, I'll be around that area.

I don't have much longer. I'm spending this time finishing up two commissions, worrying over what to pack, looking up more recipes everyone might like, worrying over what to pack, and working, still trying to survive the heat.

Luckily I've been able to work because I have a new friend at my job who is an uber creative type who makes going to work bearable! Everyone should visit her Etsy shop and buy something so she doesn't have to work in the pesticide covered plants and will get to make more soap and do more spinning: Visit Now! :) I really like using her soaps and her spun art is amazing in person. Loves to barter too, so if you are interested convo her on Etsy!

All right, I have posted enough for one day. I'm going to go back to drawing and painting, and getting ready to move!

Commission, again

And here is it after I did a bit more. Still need to work on putting darker values in the piece.

I feel like I'm regressing to high school with this piece!

Beginning the Commission

Well, this is how it started. And then it went slowly. I'm out of practice drawing and drawing commissions aren't my favorite. But at least it is getting done!