Sunday, May 31, 2015

Weekly Drawing - Steampunk

Title: A Study in Steampunk
Size: 8 by 4 inches
This piece shows Esmeralda, one of my characters, dressed in the steampunk style and examining her pocket watch.

This week I looked into steampunk, as I'd heard about it, but never really been given a definition. It's interesting, the term "steampunk" was actually first used to describe a story that was reminiscent of the "cyberpunk" literary genre. It often involves today's technology reimagined, placed in the 1800s or 1900s, and powered by steam. Since it was first coined in the late 1980s, the term steampunk has evolved from being just a sub-genre of science fiction (and sometimes fantasy) to a branch of fashion, engineering, and music.

While designing this piece, I looked at many examples of the steampunk style, took what I liked, and compiled it. I think it turned out alright, but this piece took a bit longer than I first thought it would. Oh well!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Updated Projects - Aspen Painting and Shallan Collage

Titles: Aspens (above) and Looking Across the Shattered Plains (below)
Sizes: 24 by 30 inches and 11 by 14 inches

I've finally finished up two of my longer projects, my landscape painting and collage project. :) 
For anyone interested, here's a document showing my progress on the collage.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Weekly Drawing - Brother Jensen

Title: Brother Jensen
Size: 8 by 5 inches
This watercolor piece shows my seminary teacher, brother Jensen. I focused mainly on the face, so the shirt and abstract background aren't fantastic, but all in all I like how it came out.

In seminary this year we've been studying the Doctrine and Covenants, and though I had never read the whole of it before, I have grown to love the truths taught in the D&C. In class last time, we talked about the importance of having a living, modern day prophet to lead the church based on God's direction. I'm very grateful to live in a time and place where I have access to the prophet's words and advice about living in today's world. For the "research" portion of my assignment this week, I listened to several of the talks given during the recent General Conference. It's wonderful to me to hear these great men and women testifying of the same truths I'm being taught in seminary.

Overall, I think I can confidently say that this week's interest drawing/research was a success. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Abstract Painting - Last of the Keepers

Title: Last of the Keepers
Size: 14 by 11 inches
This piece was inspired by Sazed from Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn: Hero of Ages. The color scheme I went for was white, purple, and brown. I used several new techniques to try and capture the right texture for this, including using string to move the paint around and using an old bottle cap to scratch at the paint.

Painting this piece was pretty fun to do, simply because there's no expected levels of realism to uphold when you do an abstract painting. It becomes painting for the sake of painting, rather than painting for the sake of creating an accurate, realistic picture of the world. Rather than worry about how many more hours I needed to make it look good, I could debate the purpose of each layer and whether or not I wanted another.

I like how it came out, largely purple with so much white breaking through. I feel that it captured Sazed's feelings of guilt and conflicting emotions in an interesting way.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Weekly Drawing - The Qilin (part 2)

Title: Qilin Among Redwoods
Size: 9 by 11 inches
This week I tried to add more color to the piece. Unfortunately, it seems I went overboard. To be frank, I am not very happy with my progress this week. The piece just feels overwhelmed with color. Just to be clear on what I did this week, I filled in the trees and ground using watercolor and added some gold acrylic to the qilin. 

This week I read a little bit on dendrochronology, the science of analysing tree's growth rings to date events. Obviously one can tell the age of a tree by counting the rings, but scientists can also use the rings to learn about the conditions the tree grew in that year. Temperature, rainfall, and pollution levels can all be found using tree rings. This is interesting, but really kind of unsurprising. What I thought was incredible was that scientists can use tree ring analysis to date landslides, lake level changes, glacial movement, fires, and insect population dynamics. 

Anyway, see you all later for my upcoming abstract portrait painting. :)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Surrealist Painting - Out Mowing

Title: Out Mowing
Size: 14 by 8 inches
So. Here it is. Surrealism! I feel that it turned out rather... pointillist looking. The purpose of surrealism is to depict dream like subjects in a realistic way. After driving past a few orchards that have recently been trimmed, I decided to paint a kid mowing the... plants.

I think this last week saw me giving my time to preparing for finals, rather than my art project, so the result is... this. It's by no means my best work, but I thought the idea behind it was interesting. Surrealism is taking dreams and making them real on a canvas. "Hand painted dream photographs" if you will.

I feel like this concept, taking what's only an idea and giving it physical form, is what art is about. Any sort of art, not just painting. Writing a story? That's taking the idea of an adventure and putting it into words. Composing music? That's combing notes and rhythms to capture some emotion. So while I'm not quite satisfied with my painting this week, having these ideas bouncing around my head has been interesting.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Weekly Drawing - The Qilin (part 1)

Title: Qilin Among Redwoods
Size: 9 by 11 inches
This unfinished piece depicts a Chinese unicorn, called a qilin, making its way through a forest of redwoods. Also included are some ferns, shelf mushrooms, and a red bellied woodpecker. This was drawn in pen and colored with watercolor. So far I've only outlined a few things and thrown down a bit of color, but I like where this piece is headed.

The qilin comes from east Asian mythology, where its rare appearance indicated that a sage or great ruler would soon be born or die. Seeing one was a sign of coming prosperity and peace. Qilins are very gentle, never eating or even stepping on any living things. It is said they never walk on grass, for fear of harming a single blade; for this reason they are often depicted walking on water or air.

During the Ming Dynasty, giraffes were first brought to China with other exotic animals and imported goods, and the court called them qilins. Interestingly, in several east Asian countries, the word for "qilin" is the same as the word for "giraffe".

I'm looking forward to really digging into the color aspect of this piece next week and hopefully creating something that looks great. :)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cityscape (part 2) - Deep Thoughts Over the Cafe

Title: Deep Thoughts Over the Cafe
Size: 4 by 6 inches
Here's what I ended up with! There are a lot more flowers than were planned, and the building looks kind of... overrun? Abandoned? I think 'abandoned' is the word I want. I kind of like the wild look though. To me, it blends, if only a little, the ordered lines of a cityscape with the somehow planned chaos of plants.

I find it interesting how many colors I can come up with when I only start with five different colors of water-based oils. Another fun part of this project was doing the two point perspective. I normally tend to avoid the boxy-er shapes and straight lines that require a vanishing point and horizon line, but it was really entertaining to try and get everything to line up properly.

I think my favorite part of this piece is either the tall grey building in the back or my improvised dandelions. :)