Sunday, February 25, 2018

Mixed media portrait commission of Cooper the little rescue

mixed media drawing of Cooper the fearless rescue dog

I've had the privilege of creating some more drawings of dogs for loving pet parents. This one is Cooper, whose dad wanted to portray him as an old-school bi-plane pilot in the same style as the drawing he saw on Reddit of Scout. He had a whole back story that inspired his idea — like how Cooper was found on a mountain and the expression he makes when squints in the wind). It was so much fun to work on!

Cooper reference photo next to colored pencil and watercolor portrait

The mountains and trees in the background are watercolor, and the banner that displays his name is gouache. I decided to make the letters on the banner look similar to the painted words you'd see on the side of a bi-plane. As I worked on it I thought about the Pima Air & Space Museum near Tucson my husband and I visited a few years ago.

The rest of the portrait is colored pencils — a combination of Polychromos, Caran d'Ache Pablos, and Prismacolor. I'm not a big fan of the Prismacolor because they're too soft for my detailed work and I had problems with a couple of them breaking off really badly when sharpening. As in the entire tip broke off and got wasted. I only used them because some of the colors I needed weren't available locally as open stock in the other two brands. I could use a Polychromos set of animal colors ;)

You can read more about it on my Oxford Dogma blog.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Vessels block-in final

Daily Art 02-18-18 block-in vessels

I finally wrapped up my vessels block-in drawing. The great thing about doing this lesson is that it's training me to really get shapes the way I want them before moving on to the final medium. Sounds logical, but in practice it's so hard for me to actually do!

As I was working on this one, I imagined what it might be like to start painting it in oil. I've never actually used oil paints…but it's on my list of things to do. Once I start back up with the online atelier I have one or two more drawing lessons and then it's on to the oil painting lessons.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Vessels block-in part 3

Daily Art 02-14-18 block-in vessels

I had a chance to take my vessels block-in to the next step: making each object more symmetrical and adding the ellipses. All of that ellipses drawing practice was totally worth it! They're much easier to draw now and I don't feel the need to avoid them anymore.

The great thing I'm learning with this exercise is that doing the drawing step by step and being methodical about each phase of it makes me feel so much more relaxed about the creation process. Sometimes it seems like artists can just whip out an awesome drawing, and while that may work in some cases it's a little intimidating to think about. But going through these drawing lessons is absolutely giving me the tools to make better drawings and not worry about rushing the process.

My first stage of this drawing is here, and the second stage is here. All that's left is to erase the unnecessary lines and sharpen the edges.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Landscape sketch in Amado, AZ

Daily Art 02-10-18 camping sketch of landscape

I haven't been doing much personal art during the last few weeks because I have several pet portrait commissions that I'm working on. They're going really well, but I don't have much energy left for other art projects at the end of the day.

Over the weekend we took the camper south (which, coming from Phoenix means we were practically in Mexico) in search of new views and relaxation. Unfortunately we weren't able to find a boondocking spot but one of the RV parks in Amado had a spot left that we were able to snag. Apparently this time of year the snowbirds are here in large numbers. Lesson learned!

On Saturday I noticed the view out the window of the camper was cool, with the mountains, trees, and brush. And using my artistic license, I omitted the trashed, windowless Civic sitting in the dirt lot. This quick sketch was done in my small square sketchbook with Caran d'Ache Neocolor II crayons and watercolor pencils. Once I finished and I saw there wasn't enough contrast, I deepened shadow areas with a water soluble graphite pencil.

This is the sort of sketch that used to intimidate me, so it was awesome to feel like it was no big deal -- just a fun little sketch of my view. I didn't stress over materials or replicating the details exactly. With all that I've learned so far about drawing, I was able to quickly see reference points where things like the mountains sat behind the trees, or where the horizon line fell in comparison to the brush. I love those moments where my training pays off!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Vessels block-in part 2

Daily Art 02-05-18 block-in vessels

Continuing to refine the block-in, making things a bit wider. But now the dropper bottle on the right is looking a little crooked. I'll fix that with the next step, when I draw in Xs to refine the proportions.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Vessels block-in lesson

Daily Art 02-04-18 block-in vessels

I didn't get much sketching done this weekend because there was a painting project that needed my attention. Unfortunately it wasn't a fun, artistic kind of painting. After we got the water pipe leak fixed a couple of months ago we were left with 4 sizable holes in the drywall. They were patched up shortly after the repair, but needed painting. What should have been a straight-forward painting job turned into a total headache trying to match the ceiling color in the living room. Home repairs and improvement are not how I enjoy spending my time…

When that annoying task was finished I started my next lesson in Sadie Valeri's Online Atelier program: vessels block-in. Getting started is often the hardest part for me, so I forced myself to get off the couch and at least pick my objects.

And of course once I got started things started to flow. My goal today was to get just as far as blocking in general proportions. I think it needs to get a little bit wider. I'll continue working on this one, taking it to the next steps until it's ready for darker, clean contour lines.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Block-in sketch of running shoe

Daily Art 02-01-18 block-in practice of New Balance running shoe

I think I'm getting better at avoiding too-wide block-ins. Ironically, today for my sketch I chose a shoe that's too wide for my foot. Technically it's a running shoe, but for me they're walking shoes because they're nice and light with great arch support. Why are actual walking shoes so weirdly chunky?

I'm also getting better at capturing the character of my subject. It's exciting to feel progress!

Still psyching myself up to dig into my vessels lesson for my online class…