Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Back from another trip, a new work in progress

We just came back from a late fall trip to Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.
Before we left on the trip I did more work on my drawings. The Jolly Drummer got another dancer. I did a search on the internet for a similar Han Dynasty terracotta figure, adjusted the shadows and put it in. Doing a test run on the computer helped with deciding scale and placement of the addition.
I put The Two Roman Heads on the wall and noticed it needed more work on the background to expand it and the back head's pedestal perspective wasn't correct. That will have to be corrected this month.
On this recent trip we stopped at West La Fayette, IN to visit one of my neices. She is a physics grad student at Purdue and recently adopted a Shiba Inu dog (a Japanese breed). I took photos and just worked up a small (8 x 10 inches) drawing in Derwent Drawing pencils on steel gray Canson Mi-teintes paper.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Progress on latest drawings, trying out a new technique

I did more work on the 2 Heads drawing. For the background I decided to tryout a new blending technique of dry brushing the colored pencil. The left background is brushed except for the upper left corner. Brushing fills in the paper texture with the colored pencil and makes it darker. But the coarse cross-hatching done in the background is still coarse. Brushing won't totally smooth out the pencil strokes.
For a change of pace I did a quick small drawing in Derwent drawing Pencils on tan Canson Mi-tientes paper. This terracotta figure is in the Minneapolis Institure of Art. This Jolly Drummer can make one smile. I added a small dancing figure in the foreground but I think two of them are needed to properly balance the work.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another work in progress-Roman statuary

Work on the house has been keeping me away from the drawing board. The almost constantly wet weather has kept the siders from working most of this month. The tropical watergarden plants are now moved into the basement pool for the winter. Inside, I am working in the back room: trimming the window, putting up sheetrock to cover the holes left by the contractor and repainting. I'm still not done. I have given myself a deadline of October 31 to have the shelves back up and the worktable moved in front of the new window.
I use this room for matting and framing my drawings, storing my Ebay sale books and wrapping them for shipping.

I have taken a few moments to start another colored pencil drawing. This is part of my "Museum" series. The past few years we have been traveling and have visited some important art museums (Minneapolis, Chicago, New York) also some minor ones in Kansas City, Jackson Hole, Seattle, Roswell, Santa Fe, etc. For some reason the Greco-Roman statuary is fascinating. In reviewing the photos taken, they seem to become characters that interact with each other but as statuary, not humans. Something like those mannequins in the Old Navy TV ads.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Drawings of small furry animals

I did two more small drawings using Derwent Drawing pencils. I don't draw animals very much so to use the earth tones available with these pencils I found pictures I took some time ago. The rabbit lived under my parent's deck one winter and the squirrels are very common in town. Usualy they are amusing to watch but this year they learned that spagetti squash tastes good and destroyed most of my small crop. I never had much need to protect my vegetables against rabbits and squirrels before.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Almost done with a leave drawing, did a "quickie".

A lot has been happening around the house (painting & residing) and personal affairs that have kept me from the drawing table. But the Grape Leaves is brought to an almost finished state. I pinned it to the wall for evaluation and saw that the weathered white window frame needs to be made lighter (showing less of the tan background paper).
For a change I did a quick, small drawing of an oak leaf on black paper. This I did with the Derwent drawing pencils whose color range is perfect for this kind of subject.

The weather has turned cold and windy this past weekend, the start of Oktoberfest here in La Crosse. The cold weather has kept the festers indoors.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Some Experiments with new media, another leave drawing in progress

I recently splurged and bought set of Derwent Tinted charcoal pencils and Derwent Drawing pencils. The Tinted charcoal have various earth tones blended with the charcoal for subtle color. I experimented with a drawing of a bay horse. I drew it freehand from the source photo without my usual gridding. So the figure didn't get very well placed. But it didn't matter since this was practice for the Tinted charcoal. I don't usually draw with charcoal so I ended up treating the pencils like pastel pencils. I will need to practice with straight charcoal to better use this medium.
The Derwent Drawing pencils are thick leaded colored pencils in a range of earth tones. They are very soft and pleasant to use. I drew the horse freehand again but with better placement. I just need to practice without the grid. The drawing pencils were finished with a Prismacolor colorless blender. I will be planning some drawings that will use this limited range of earth tones.

I am also in progress on another leaf drawing. These are wild grape leaves in an old window. The paper is 16 x 12 tan Canson Mi-tientes.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Adjustments made to "Passthrough" drawing

I have made the adjustments needed. Compare it with the pictures in the previous post and compare them. The shadows definately have improve things.

The "Bangor Feedmill" is done but not finished. I posted it to the Critique forum at "Wet Canvas" and received valuable advice on cropping to make a better picture.
In the computer I trimmed at recommended, broke up the foreground shadow and added the tree on the right. Now I have to do it sometime.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Almost Done with drawing, starting another

I finished "Pass Through" and pinned it to the wall. Immediately I noticed a problem. Despite the care taken with composition the picture looked bland.

I took a photo and opened it up in Photo Impact. Using the Burn-in Tool, I put in a foreground shadow, a shadow under the front gable siding and darkened the door. Immediately the picture just "popped". The illusion of sunshine was all that was needed to make the picture more attractive. Now I have to take it down and make the changes.

I have also started an oil pastel drawing. The subject in the old feed mill in Bangor, WI. Many photographs on this building have been taken by us over the past three decades. The building is abandoned but is magnificantly sited at the edge of a hill. Recently the town put a fence around it to keep people out (cheaper than tearing it down). But before that happened we walked around taking lots of close-ups for future drawings.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Another work in progress

Here is a start to another drawing. This is based on photographs taken four years ago in Trempealeau county. This particular site with its horses and worn out barn has already been the inspiration for several drawings. Some places have so many possibilities for pictures.
Currently I am reading Diary of an Art Dealer by Rene Gimpel. It is a fascinating look at the arts scene in the early 20th century.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Finished "Bay Window"; did a pastel drawing

The weather has been very nice but I did finally finish "Bay Window". It is now pinned to the wall for review. Maybe it will be matted next year. As a change of pace I did a small pastel of a red cow. I took the photo last Saturday. The glorious weather has made all of the colors, particularly the greens, brilliant and glowing.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

More work done on "Bay Window"

Yesterday was rainy, which meant more drawing time! Quite a bit of work was done on this drawing. It is colored pencil on white bristol paper, 16" x 21". I am striving to work with complementary colors: yellow-green and red-violet mostly. So many pictures, so little time. The backyard and watergarden call to me when the weather is good.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Finished a drawing, starting another

I finally finished "Stoneshed" . It is now pinned to the wall for review. Some distance in time and space will allow me to determine what will need changing. Then it will go into storage for a few months and have another review later. This way I can spend my time and effort in matting and framing my best work. (At least that's how it is suppose to work)
My next project is based on a photograph from a couple of summers ago. We like to take drives around the Coulee Region and take pictures. This abandoned homestead with its deteriating house and barn was an invitation to stop and take lots of photos. I have always been interested in abandoned buildings, even as a kid. These days I am too heavy and disabled to go inside to explore, so I take lots of photographs through windows.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stone shed-Work in progress and backyard

I just don't seem to get much drawing done lately. Most of the time I'm outside in my backyard either working on improving the scenery or relaxing. A garden is always a work in progress, the work is never done. But the effort is worth it when the weather is nice, I'm sitting on the bench by the watergarden watching the fish swim, working on a needlework project and listening to classical music.

When it rains it is time to get some inside work done, like more drawing. For "Stone Shed" I am now doing the colored pencil rendering over the watercolor washes.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Another work in progress

Here is the background washes for my current drawing. The original photo of the shed was taken three or four years ago in northern Iowa. It was alternately raining and sunshine there were a variety of pictures taken.

This is a rather large drawing for me (18" x 30"). When the weather is good I have been spending time outside in my backyard, either working or resting. This weekend is cool and rainy here in western Wisconsin.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Back from West Coast Trip and Digital painting

Nearly two weeks after coming home I finally found time to write. Just catching up with yard and garden work was time comsuming but now it is raining, no need to be outside.

Normally I don't do drawings from my trips, the Midwest is inspiration enough for me at this time. However, I decided to take one of the photos taken from the car while driving through eastern Montana and do some digital work on it. Here it is after combining parts of three different photos, switching the church around and adjusting color and contrast.

First thing I did after manipulating the photo was go into Corel PhotoDraw. This is an old imaging software that is over ten years old. Since then Corel bought Painter. I wanted to keep this software for its Paint Alchemy feature. There are other features that it also has that are discontinued on newer software. However, it does not support pressure sensitive tablets. This first version is done with Small Mosaic settings. Not every picture will work well with all of the different settings. It takes some experimenting.

I also did versions in watercolor, oil paint, and pastel.

For my last version I went into Corel Painter 6, cloned (made a linked copy) and free hand did a version using oil pastels. I really don't use Painter 6 much except for doing cloned paintings, so getting a more advanced version isn't necessary.
To see larger images, click on the image. Please tell me what versions you like!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Finish one drawing, start another

I finished the green leaves drawing, tentatively named "Fresh Leaves" and started another one. This new one is much smaller since we will be leaving on a trip in less than two weeks and need to prepare for it. This new drawing was taken last summer in deep shade, making the filtered light turn the leaf blue. I decided to keep it that color. It's different.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A start on Spring drawings

Even though there isn't much green yet I started a green drawing. This photo was taken last May. I digitally manipulated this photo to bring out more contrast and a greater sense of depth. A "find edges" filter produced the line image that I did the basic drawing from.
What a great opportunity to use bright greens!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Two more winter drawings

Like the month of March I can't just let winter go. I felt the need to do more winter themed drawings.

For a change of pace in media this drawing, tentatively called "Tree Snow Shadows" (10.5" x 16") is done in hard pastel on warm white laid charcoal paper. Laid is a ribbed texture that originated from the earliest handmade papers made on a screen of fine reeds. Most modern papers are made with wire screens but charcoal papers are still traditionally laid textured.

"The Right of Way" (colored pencil on gray paper, 9" x 12") is actually an indeterminate seasonal picture. The original photo was taken on a very cloudy, gray day. The drawing shown here actually has more color and contrast than the originating photograph. This is more of a comment about trees having to make way for power and telephone poles. As a photographer, I found the intrusion of poles and lines into a landscape annoying. Fortunately more lines are being buried all the time and clearing the skyline (just in time for giant wind generators to take over!) Seems like everytime we drive over to my parents near Austin, MN, there are more wind generators.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A review of winter drawings

Spring is almost here! Here in LaCrosse most of the snow has melted and I actually hung laundry outside to dry. But being March, it can snow before the month is out. My policy is to draw pictures in season so soon I will look to spring themes for inspiration.
Here are the drawings I have done these past few months:
"Leaves in Snow", 12" x 16", colored pencil on tan paper. This is another addition to my ongoing "Leaves Series". This particular drawing was based on photos taken Thanksgiving day 2007 at my husband's cousin's back lot in Coon Rapids, MN. After eating I went out and took lots of photographs. I also did it again in 2008, but there was no snow then but I took many photos of leaves on the ground with the setting sun shining through them, many, many possibilities!
"Heavy Snow", 18" x 24", Oil pastel on purple-gray colorfix paper. This house and trees were just across the street from my house. There was a heavy March snowfall one day and I went around the neighborhood taking photos. This house and trees are now gone to make a parking lot for the catering business next door. The little tree was adopted and replanted elsewere.
"Nebraska Winter", 14" x 26", "Snow Storm", "16" x 26", Oil pastel on blue colorfix paper. This drawing and the one below it are based on photos taken in December 2007, my husband and I were returning from our trip to the Southwest on I-80 through Nebraska. The weather was horrible! There was an ice storm that kept icing up the windshield of the car. I took a few photos before it became too dark and another pair of eyes was needed to watch the road. Despite taking only a few photos, they became the inspiration for two drawings.
"Young Trees", watercolor and colored pencil. This drawing was featured earlier in this blog and was based on a photo taken the evening of Christmas Day 2008.
"Mower County Winter", watercolor and colored pencil. Last March about this time, we went to visit my parents. Mom and I drove to Albert Lea and around Freeborn and Mower Counties. I took lots of photos. Two of them became the basis for the next two drawings.
"Late Winter", watercolor and colored pencil.