Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Weekly Drawing - Sidewalk Ballerinas

Title: Sidewalk Ballerinas
Size(s): The above drawing is about 5 and 1/2 feet tall, and the drawing below is about 4 feet tall.
For this week I finally escaped to the great outdoors, where I sat on my driveway and drew some ballerinas. I hadn't realized quite how fun it was to draw ballerinas until doing this project. Between the elegant, curving lines, precise sense of balance, and delightfully poofy skirts, ballerinas make for wonderful drawing subjects.

I don't think I'd ever noticed the little "arm tutus" some ballerinas wear until I was looking for reference images today. I think they're rather fun. I've also learned the difference between classical and romantic tutus: classical are short and stiff, like a pancake around the waist; romantic tutus are longer and bell shaped. My ballerina at the top of the post is wearing a classical tutu, and the ballerina below is wearing a romantic tutu.

This week I also looked at some of the history of sidewalk chalk. It seems that using the road as a canvas began in 16th century Italy, when traveling street painters (called "madonnari") would use chalk to decorate the streets and earn a living. In the 1700's British "screevers" would draw illustrations in chalk, accompanied by poems, proverbs, or political commentary. So they pretty much acted as a newspaper. After the International Street Painting Festival began in 1972 in Italy, street painting really exploded. In 1980 Kurt Wenner revolutionized street art, introducing anamorphic art and ushering in the age of "3D" chalk drawings.

Whew! Okay, don't say I never taught you anything. :P

I'm pretty happy with how these drawings came out, over all. It's been awhile since I'd done chalk art, so it was fun to get back outside. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cityscape (part 1) - Deep Thoughts Over the Cafe

Title: Deep Thoughts Over the Cafe
Size: 4 by 6 inches
So here's what I've got so far on this cute little cityscape. You can't really tell in the above picture, but there's going to be someone standing on the roof, looking out to the hills. In direct contrast to all my recent pieces, this oil painting is pretty small. I must say though, I'm less worried about filling the entire canvas than I was on the landscape assignment. :)

I have to admit, I always have to roll my eyes at how funny I think it is to draw a "landscape" with the paper in the "portrait" position. I know it's not terribly clever, but the irony of it always makes me grin. Although I have to admit having the paper up and down made it easier to play with the 2-point perspective.

Here's my sketch:

To be honest, I'm not sure how that person got on the roof of the building. In the sketch I ended up drawing in hints of a ladder at the last second, just so I could explain how I ended up with someone on the roof. Originally, I was going to have a couple watching the sunset from the roof, and maybe a staircase and balcony, but then I realized I wanted something a little quieter. I don't think paintings just have to be about grand, colorful sunsets; I think they can just be about sneaking up to the roof for a minute alone in the still moments just after dusk.

I do feel like the picture means something entirely different looking at the softer, muted colors of night than the bold colors of sunset. So I'm glad that, for this painting, I was able to catch myself before putting in a setting sun and was able to make a piece that's hopefully a little more thoughtful.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Weekly Drawing - Chibi Madeline

Title: Madeline
Size: 14 by 22 inches
This (very large) piece was a joint effort by my sister and I. It's a card for our friend Madeline, outlined in pen and sharpie, with watercolors brightening things up.

This was an especially fun project because if the teamwork involved. There was more thinking through the design, technique, and colors. I think the color scheme of purple, yellow, light green and light blue turned out nicely, with a very content feeling.

This week I did a little research on how colors affect mood and what emotions are associated with different colors. It seems that a blue, green, and yellow picture would be a very calm but cheerful.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Creating a Landscape - Aspens (Part 2)

Title: Aspens
Size: 30 by 24 inches
This (still unfinished) piece was done in water based oils and portrays a forest of quaking aspens in fall.

I normally don't like doing landscapes, but this piece was really fun. I didn't plan or sketch out any of this painting, which is rather different than how I normally paint. This was just painting colors on top of brush strokes on top of colors, which was actually very enjoyable.

The longer I'm in art classes the more I realize that I seem to have a fondness for projects that soak up time like a sponge. It's always like "Okay, I'm going to throw another 2 hours at my canvas. I'll let you know if there's any visible progress!" Longer projects always feel like more of an adventure, as you have to discover the picture as you go. In any painting or drawing you never quite know exactly how it will turn out until you finish, and with a little sketch you know within the hour how it turned out, but on the long projects you learn about it as you go. You see it shaping up differently than you imagined, but still right somehow.

I'd still like to to add more leaves, but overall, I'm happy with how this project is coming together. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Weekly Drawing - Brightness Dalenna

Title: Brightness Dalenna
Size: 9 by 11 inches
This piece shows Dalenna, an original character of mine, enjoying a root beer float while explaining her newest idea.

I was planning a sidewalk chalk drawing for this week, but it seemed fate had something else in mind; it went from being sunny and warm to windy and snowing. This drawing is outlined in ink with watercolor brightening it up. It was rather fun to draw Dalenna, as I'd never really gone through and come up with an exact idea of what she looked like. Here are some of my pre-drawing sketches:

Dalenna is an artist who works at a root beer shop. I was going to just use colored pencil to draw her, but I figured using watercolors could be a fun experiment. I really like how she came out. :)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Creating a Landscape - Aspens (Part 1)

Title: Aspens (background)
Size: 30 by 24 inches
This is what I have so far for my landscape painting. It's water-based oil paints on canvas and, so far, I haven't used a single paintbrush. What you see was done entirely with a spray bottle of water, my fingers, and an unmatched sock. :)