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Thursday, 30 May 2013

Commissioned and Daily Drawings

For an artist, there is nothing as affirming as being commissioned. This means the artist is asked to create something for someone. I have been commissioned twice in the last few weeks.

One commission is for one of my baby portraits. I thoroughly enjoy doing these portraits, which are done totally in graphite on paper. I have done several of these for family members but have now also been asked to do them to be given to people I've never met. Quite affirming.

The other commission is one that will be done from various photographs of someone's cottage property. This one will be a challenge because most of my landscapes are freeform trees, rocks and water but this has a building in it and that means straight lines and precision.
I have already done a few sketches of the property from different angles and sent them to my "commissioner" to view and choose which setup they prefer and get an idea of what aspects they would like in the final painting. Do they just want the cottage with little of the surrounding trees in it? Do they want the view from the back of the cottage so you can also see the lake? Do they want mainly the surroundings depicted? Together we decided on a view from the lake towards the cottage property.


Above are the rough sketches made to get a feel of the composition and values. We decided to go with the second view adding the lake in the foreground and a few other details. This will be set in the summer time so there will be a  lot of green surrounding the cottage.

This is the preliminary sketch on canvas. The sketch is done
with watercolour pencil which is my habit so that it will
disappear as I paint. I can already see certain details that I
will have to alter a bit.

I will keep you posted on the progress of this painting so check in next Thursday.

Below are the daily drawings I've done this week:
Draw a summer joy
Draw something that makes you laugh.
It's not a great likeness but can you guess who?
Draw a tote bag
Draw a screw
Draw something sticky
I'm a little behind in my drawings so I'll have to catch up today. Enjoy!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

A Drawing Each Day

In the last little while I have been exploring other artist's blogs and I came across one of an artist who draws everyday. She directed me to a blog called Every Day Matters which is a blog about drawing daily. The title of the blog is a play on words meaning "the matters of every day". This is evidenced in the types of drawings that are done every day. The drawings are of normal every day things. However, when I first read the title I thought it meant that every day should matter which got me thinking about how we can make every day matter. Often we go through life routinely, not thinking much about the day. One way to make each day matter is to do something unexpectedly nice for someone else even if it is a small thing. Another would be to encourage those you meet with a smile or a note or saying something nice to them. Every day is a gift and we should make the most of each one.
Back to art. I was intrigued that someone could find time every day to draw something and I always have a hard time thinking of something to draw when I have time. On this blog there is a list of things already made up and I also found a list of "things to draw in May 2013". Although it is more than half way through May, I thought I would challenge myself to draw everyday following the list. So far so good. Below are the drawings I've done so far.

Draw something that belongs to someone else

Draw your favourite drink

Draw the last thing you bought

Draw a map
I'm going to try to keep the "draw a day" up until the end of May. If it goes well, I'll continue into June and I will also try to make every day matter.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Pen Pal Painting Challenge and Great Weather

I always hesitate to take on projects that have deadlines. Deadlines stress me out and I'm paranoid that I will not have the work ready on time. I know that this fear is unfounded because I always try to get things done way ahead of time. By nature, I am not a procrastinator. My philosophy is if I get it done right away, it's not taking up precious space in my head.

So as you might imagine, I'm already finished my Pen Pal Painting Challenge which isn't due until August. I pondered what I could paint on such a small canvas. I don't have paint brushes small enough to paint a landscape on it so I went with my idea of insects figuring they were small enough to fit onto this tiny space. I decided I wouldn't paint the whole thing but I would do a collage with various media. The canvas was roughly painted brown. I had just finished a small cross-stitch of a butterfly and I wanted to use that image. As I thought of the butterfly and it's life cycle the word transform came to me. There are many Bible verses that talk about transforming ourselves. And we know that through our whole lives God is transforming us through the Holy Spirit. It made me think about the anger, hatred and violence that we read about in the news each day and how only God can change hearts and how much we need that today.

My piece became about metamorphosis; how the caterpillar changes to become a beautiful butterfly.

I collaged a drawing of a caterpillar I had done and the cross-stitch on to the painted canvas. Then, using a which gel pen, I wrote metamorphosis on the front and "change for better" and "transform" on the sides of the canvas. I draped a blue organza fabric across it to signify the silk cocoon inside which all this transformation takes place and pulled a piece of stitched suede across that. To finish, I glued a cardboard flower on the front. I'm hoping that the artist who receives my canvas will embrace it's message.

Today the weather is fantastic and I just couldn't bear to spend it in my basement studio so I carted all my supplies and my easel upstairs and out the back door on to my deck. How inspiring it was to paint outside. My grandson spent a couple of hours with me and we painted together out there.  It was a wonderful time for us both.

This is my grandson's art. I think they are wonderful! Expressive and colourful! He took one home to show daddy and I kept the other.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

New Painting Challenge

When I made my list of goals for 2013, one of them was to enter an art challenge. The Art House Co-op posts weekly challenges and perhaps you remember the one I did last year. The challenge was to create a piece of artwork and place it in a public space. I made a quilt out of plastic bags and hung it from a bridge in Toronto. It was a challenge I truly enjoyed and it was something I had never done before. I learned a lot.

Well, last week I signed up for another challenge. This one is called the Pen Pal Painting Exchange. Today I received a package in the mail with my supplies. In the package were the Rules of the challenge, a postcard to write to my "Pen Pal" to get them acquainted with me, and a 4" x 4" x 1 3/8" canvas.

I can paint the canvas in any way I like using whatever materials I like and when I am done I have to send it to the Brooklyn Art Library.  The deadline is August 30, 2013. When they receive my painting and my postcard, they will pair me up with someone else based on what I have written. My painting will be sent to them and theirs will be sent to me. Cool!

Now I have to come up with an idea for a painting on a tiny canvas. Any ideas out there? Maybe an insect, or a collection of buttons, or a tiny landscape. If you have an idea I'd love to hear it.

I also finished my water lily painting. Using the watercolour pencils was a great idea. It helped me to finish off the details. The water lily itself was painted using only watercolour pencil.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Getting Back into the Creative Mindset

Since returning to Canada, I've been having a hard time getting back into the creativity groove. I have a lot of things I need to accomplish but there is something blocking me from actually getting to it. Today I was determined to start something, anything, to see if I could break out of my "painter's block". Last week I went through some of my photographs and chose a couple that spoke to me. I decided I would paint water lilies. I wanted to use a pouring method so I chose to use fluid acrylic paint. I can paint with them like watercolour but because they are acrylic, when they dry they are permanent. So the next layer will lay on top instead of mixing with the lower layer as with watercolour. This painting is being done on watercolour paper and I wanted it to have fresh colours so I am not following my photograph for that aspect.

As always, I start with a pencil sketch on watercolour paper. The darker lines you see on the paper is masking fluid that I put on to save some white on the page. I will try to paint around the water lily.

I began with wetting my page in the areas where the lily pads are situated and poured some yellow paint in those areas letting it move through on its own. I didn't use a brush to spread it. While it was still wet I poured a blue over top so it would mingle and produce a green.

After the yellow and blue (green) dried. I wet the areas that were to be water and poured a turquoise paint there gently guiding the paint into corners and around lily pads with a small brush.

Now I started using a brush and began darkening the lily pads with various greens from yellow green to a blue green.


I then began to define things by darkening the water as well as the lily pads and placed some shadow areas in. As you can see I have managed to keep the lily white. My plan is to paint the lily in soft pinks and purples. At this stage I also removed the masking fluid so now those areas appear white. As I was working on this painting, I decided I would use watercolour pencils on it just to do something different for a change and see how it looks.

Well, I've gotten started and I think the momentum will grow and I be back in the creativity swing again. Stay tuned to see how this one turns out.