Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sketchpad. Hot girl with Spots

I found this toothy, smiling girl in a magazine in the doctor's office yesterday.  Gary just had back surgery and we were in for a post-surgery check.  The wait was surprisingly short, so I had only maybe five minutes to draw this.

My purse sketchpad is currently probably 6"x8".  Just fits.  Anywhere I go, I sketch quick pictures into it when I find myself waiting for something.  I view my little sketchpads as cookbooks of ideas.  Everything in them is rough, but they're a plethora of ideas, sketches, reminders and notes at my fingertips when I'm casting around for a subject for a serious painting.

Generally, I draw in my purse sketchpads only with pen.  Pitt pens to be exact.  What this means is that there's no erasing, which I also enjoy.  To me, it makes the drawing appear fresher, more immediate and interesting, with more movement and quirkiness.  (Is 'quirkiness' a word? Quirky. Quirkyness - definitely not.  Let's stay with quirkiness.)

This week I was teaching my students about complimentary colors, along with warm colors and cool colors.  I took the florescent, HOT colors along to compliment their cool backgrounds.  They had rollers and stamps and all kinds of texture makers to cover their cool colors.

For a moment in one class I was searching around for something upon which to spread some of this hot stuff, and remembered my smiling girl.  Exactly.  So, what you see here is a finger painted happy person, with textured spots rolled all over her.  Sometimes art is a lot more fun when you just let it flow.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book Illustrations, Part Five

At this point, I've created my first character, Jeweley, and Jem was hot on her heels.  Knowing that I was going to be painting them over and over, I laid out a page of color notes to eliminate any guesswork. Each time I painted a character, I referred to these notes to make sure I didn't use the wrong color - yikes!

Jeweley ended up being blues and violets - Bombay Violet and Rowney Blue to be specific!  Many of the colors I chose for them were inspired by the books I paged through of jewels.

Below you will find Jem in all his glory.  At this point, we'd hammered out his two body colors, Bombay Turquoise and FW's Emerald Green, but I hadn't hit yet upon his clothing colors.  The orange shirt wasn't working, and he ended up with a white shirt, to which I added blue shadows.

Here I've got his face, hair and skin pretty dark.  In the final book illustrations, I lightened them up quite a bit.  Same as his sister, his legs and arms are faceted, to look like jewels.

So... two out of five characters are now developed!  It was time at this point to paint the first page of the story, Jeweley and Jem looking into their home through the window, wondering what Mom's up to. :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book Illustrations, Part 4, Jeweley Revealed

With each picture I drew, we'd go through a process.  The contract stated a sketch and a final for each illustration.  I would do my own preliminary sketches as I was developing the picture, then I'd do a draft and send it to the author, Kimberly Vogel.  Sometimes she would send it to the editor, and they'd work on it together.  Sometimes the editor (thanks, Kitty!) caught things we never even thought of - thank goodness!  Step 1.

Step 2 - she'd make comments and I would put those changes into the final.

Step 3 - Final, in pencil.  If there were no changes to be made, I'd ink it in and paint it.

So, after reading that, you can see that there was an impressive process of back and forths for every picture.

After working together for some time on Jeweley, my first character, I drew this picture.  After choosing the color scheme and coloring parts of her in I leaned back.

There, looking back at me was my girl.  And I knew it.  And so did Kimberly.  We had done it, together.  Very satisfying.

Book Illustrations, Part 3

 Well, here is some of my work showing the development of characters.  It took me a while to get the first characters, Jeweley and her little brother, Jem.  I was also still working through making them more jewel-like and less rock-like.

Here's an early Jeweley.

 Here's an early Jem.  I wanted him to be a chubby little dude, but the author didn't, so he went through some changes before we got him right.  Jeweley is in the beginning stages of her more-than-awesome hairstyle-to-be.

 Here are both Jem and Jeweley, looking pretty rock-like.  At this point, we're getting closer with Jeweley's outfit - both the author and I liked the ruffles, but she decided upon a dress without the shorts.  Jem's still a little chubby bub.
Here's Jem REALLY chubby - I just couldn't resist for some reason!  And he's very stoney (I guess, deep down in my heart of hearts, I always thought of rock people as fatter.)

There's a hint of the future jewel in him, however, in the newer coloring.  Before, I was still picturing them as rock people, therefore giving them rocky colors.  Here at least I'm beginning to come through with the jewel tones.

Next post - Jeweley revealed!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Illustrations, Part 2

 As promised, here are some more preliminaries to the book I just finished illustrating.  The name of the book is Ribbons of Rainbows, and it's written by Kimberly Vogel, in connection with RLM Ministries,

At this point, I was still developing characters for the Stone family.  I couldn't get past the fact that they were the STONE family, and at this point was making them more rock-like, as opposed to being jewel-like.

Here's a little sketch of Jem and his sister, Jeweley looking into the window of their home.

The second picture is what's coming from within their home - ribbons of rainbows emanating from their mother.  These were the first ideas of rainbows, and we still had a lot of work to do on them, too.

In the third picture, you can see the stout, rock-like legs.  The author and I had to do quite a bit of work and communication before I cam to the faceted jewel legs.  We're still in the developmental stage here.

The fourth picture shows some of the faces I was playing around with.  The first two characters I needed

to develop were Jem, the little boy in the Stone family, and his big sister, Jeweley.

Simultaneous with all this, I was working out a color scheme for each of the five characters.  Each individual would have his or her own color scheme.  There was a lot to consider - making sure each person looked good with his clothing, that they complimented each other, and that they went well with their surroundings.

More on that later!

The book, Ribbons of Rainbows, by Kimberly Vogel, is in the editing stage right now and will soon be published.  We're all waiting on pins and needles at this point!

Quick Sketch of Cello Momma

This is a VERY quick sketch I did in iridescent oil sticks on dark paper.  It probably took me five minutes.  At orchestra the other night, my friend was playing her cello with her son on her lap.  It was such a perfect picture, I just had to snap it.  Darling.  Sometime I'm going to do a full painting of this.

Chamber of Commerce Show Upcoming; Rangoon Creeper Painting

Below is a collage I just did that I'm going to put in my upcoming show for sale.  Outside I planted a Rangoon Creeper on our arbor, and it's growing great guns!  Gorgeous pink flowers, they're also fragrant, which is very important to me.  Not only fragrant, they're headily fragrant.  Yum.

This one I painted in happy, bright colors, a combination of liquid acrylics and watercolor.  After that, I found varying papers with the colors, textures and message I wanted to add in, and slowly built up the collage to heighten interest and give more depth and mystery.  Of course flowers make me sing, and there are so many things in life to sing about, so I had to sneak some music in, too!  This particular music is from a musical theater show I performed in, so it's special to me.

Knowing the acrylic medium provides a barrier to paint, I painted the music before I laid it in, wanting to bring out the leafy, cool colors.  Once finished, I gave it another layer of gel medium and of course a layer of UV protectant varnish.  It measures 11x14 unframed.

I like it!  My show will be at the Woodlands Chamber of Commerce starting March 31.  I plan on selling this piece for $300.00.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Nod to Picasso, and Our Owls

Well, it took me all my life, I guess, to find that Picasso had a pet owl.  Who da' thunk?  Just goes to show you never stop learning.

Several months ago I went down to Picasso's Black and White exhibit at the MFAH.  Wow!  I was expecting drawings on paper and was amazed at the pieces he had.  I actually had scheduled a spot in a workshop at Texas Art Supply, and totally lost myself in the art.  Wandered out about four hours later to have found that I totally missed the workshop!  Oh, well!

A couple pictures, and at the end some quotes by Picasso.  First, here's one by Steve Jobs:

"Picasso had a saying. He said, 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas. Part of what made the Macintosh great was the people who were working on it were musicians, poets, artists, historians, zoologists, who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world."   Very true.  Very nice.

So, here's the man with his owl.  And, a little owl that I carved.  It's pretty impossible for me to sit still in front of a TV, so if I want to sit down with my family and actually watch something, I have to have busy hands.  So, I carved this little guy.  Since I finished him during the Olympics, I'm calling him my Olympic Owl. :)

Among other things, I collect quotes.  I LOVE quotes!  Here are a bunch of my favs from Pablo himself:
 (to Matisse)   I’ve mastered drawing and am looking for color: you’ve mastered color and are looking for drawing.

“Art is theft.”

People who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.

What do you think an artist is?  An imbecile who has only eyes, if he is a painter? …No, painting is not done to decorate apartments.  It is an instrument of war.

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.

Drawing is not form, it is a way of seeing form.

“To my distress and perhaps to my delight, I order things in accordance with my passions.  What a sad thing for a painter who loves blondes but denies himself the pleasure of putting them in his picture because they don’t go well with the basket of fruit!  What a misery for a painter who detests apples to have to use them all the time because they harmonize with the tablecloth!  I put in my pictures everything I like.  So much the worse for the things – they have to get along with each other.”

I have always believed, and still believe, that artists who live and work with spiritual values cannot and should not remain indifferent to a conflict in which the highest values of humanity and civilization are at stake.

I’m always saying to myself: ‘That is not right yet.  You can do better.’  It’s rare when I can prevent myself from taking a thing up again… Sometimes it becomes an obsession.

There is nothing more interesting than people.  One paints and one draws to learn to see people, to see oneself.

To know what you want to draw, you have to begin drawing it.

No, painting is not made to decorate apartments.  It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.

One never knows what one is going to do.  One starts a painting and then it becomes something quite different.

How awful for a painter who loathes apples to have to use them all the time because they go so well with the cloth.  I put all the things I like in my pictures.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Beginnings of my Illustrations for Ribbons of Rainbows

It's been almost a month since I finished illustrating Ribbons of Rainbows, by Kimberly Vogel.  At this stage, a second editor has been called in and is working together with the team and the graphic designer.  The pictures and responsibility are out of my hands now.

When I was hired for this project, my charge was to come up with characters for the Stone family.  This is a family of four, Mom, Dad, Jeweley and her brother Jem, and then Grandma.  The closer to Jesus they were, the more jewel-like they became, emitting ribbons of rainbows.  When they were angry or far from Jesus, they became downright stoney and did not reflect at all.

It was a challenge to come up with the characters, and in the beginning I had a hard time, creating them to be far too 'stoney.'  Finally, I went to the library and poured through 'coffee table' books of gorgeous illustrations of jewels.  This resulted in me drawing jewels, likes the one in this picture.

I've got pages of these.  I just had to set aside the characters and concentrate on cut, color and clarity for a while.

After this, and after learning a lot about jewels, it was fairly easy!  I'll be posting the characters after this, so you can see what I created.  The jewels also inspired the color choices made for each character.

So, I guess it all began right here, sketching jewels!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Chamber of Commerce Show, Dragon Paintings Series

My art show will be at the Woodlands Chamber of Commerce beginning March 31, and I'll be displaying a number of paintings for sale. 

Here I have some photographs I took of some of my friends whom I decided I wanted to paint.  These are the fine fellows over on the East Shore of Lake Woodlands. I like to visit them from time to time and hold private little conversations with them.  They're very good listeners!

At one point, I decided to cut a woodblock based on my friends, so these are the shots I took to use as inspiration and information.  I did several completely different paintings in a series using this woodblock and they all turned out serene and thoughtful... peaceful. 

Soon I'll show you my finished woodblock, and some of the paintings.  I'm having a show at The Chamber of Commerce soon, and will be exhibiting and selling them.