Friday, July 29, 2011

Sons of Turner Figure Painting Session

On Monday, I went downtown for the first time in two months to do some figure paintings with a few of the other Sons of Turner at MBK Studios. It was really nice to be in Chicago again and see people that I haven't seen in a while, and it was fun getting to paint the figure. I haven't done a lot of figure painting--or figure drawing, for that matter in a long time, but it was a nice change from teapots and cupcakes.

I think I was a little rusty. Getting rusty is never a good thing. But I guess when you paint something that you haven't painted in a while, that happens. Ever since I started working in a looser style, I haven't been painting figures, and so trying to use that style to paint the figure was difficult for me. There was a time when all I drew were people, I still like to draw people, but lately I've been looking at inanimate objects.

My gestures were okay. Certainly not my best, but not my worst either. I started out with paint, then decided I should try just using pencil to get the forms correct. They were more like studies than anything. I guess that's what gestures are anyway.

For the longer paintings, I started out not using micron pens to see if I could get a more fuzzy look.
  This one got a little muddy. I was painting too much, which is what I have been trying to get away from. Still, there are some things that I do like about this painting. I like that I was, for the most part, able to achieve a likeness of his plaid shirt without getting too detailed, I also think some of the shading on the face looks alright. But the pose is a little I drew it. The right arm looks strange and the right foot needs a lot of work. But This was sort of a warm-up. This isn't just my typical way of painting.

My second one was a lot better, in my opinion.
 Maybe it was more successful because of the fact that it is a female form. I am just better at drawing women. I do think I have come a long way just in the past couple of years, though. I used to not be able to draw men at all, but now, I definitely can, I just prefer to draw women. But I like this one, also because I stuck with what I know and that is lightly sketching in pencil, then adding micron pen, then using washes of watercolor. I don't think I over-painted this one. It was difficult because the color of her sweater was an unusual color to mix. I don't even remember exactly what colors I used--probably burnt umber, indigo, maybe even a little but of brilliant purple (yes. purple!) But I definitely think this was my most successful piece of the day.

All in all, it was a good day. I hope the Sons can get together again soon for another painting session.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Rocky Pemaquid

The past couple of days, I worked on an illustration based on one of my Maine photos. It was a photo that I took at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Bristol, Maine.

I actually don't think that the best part of the image is the lighthouse, I think the rocks are pretty cool. Those were some interesting rocks. Pemaquid Point has this big rocky area that juts out into the Atlantic ocean. It was really jagged and crazy looking. I honestly felt like I was on another planet when I was walking around on it. The rock was really gorgeous, though. It had strips of rust colored rock running through it. The layers were really visible. It wasn't like too many of the rocks you see around the Midwest portion of the country.

So I wanted to do an illustration that focused on the rock...and taking a little inspiration from the work of David Scheirer that I was talking about in my last post. I wanted it to have outlines and simple washes. That's another thing. I've been really not liking my washes lately. Either, they're not exciting in any way, or they've got too much going on. Maybe that's just the perfectionist in me talking.

Obviously, I took a few artistic liberties with this. I made the weather a little nicer than it actually was. But hey, that's one of the joys of being an artist. It still looks like what it was. I tried working some brighter colors into it because that is a characteristic of my style. I used a lot of purple and teal in the rock, especially. Painting rock is always fun, but this was a lot of fun. I have to say that the stripy-ness of the rocks is not realistic at all, but that was the point. I wanted to convey a feeling, more than a photographic image. I am happy with the wash I used in the sky as well. My scanner isn't wonderful, so it does wash a few things out (even with me editing them afterwards), so it looks better on the actual piece.

All in all, I am happy with this. I wanted it to be simplistic and colorful. Not sure if I would add anything else to it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Artist Inspiration of the Day

Tumblr is wonderful. Tumblr is just the greatest!

I discover a lot of neat art and artists on Tumblr and I found one today that I thought I'd share: David Scheirer.

have you ever seen anything cuter than those puffins?

This is his website:

It looks like he works mainly in watercolor and he has a more traditional rendered style, as well as a whimsical illustrative style, which I am more fond of. His illustrations are just so cute. He's got me all inspired to paint more ocean-y things! Check out his Etsy shop too!

Edit: I just was looking at his blog and it seems he just recently took a trip to Maine! Hence the puffins! I unfortunately, did not see a single puffin while I was there. That's kind of a neat coincidence, though.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Some Doodles

I finished the ship in a bottle illustration the other day. I'm quite happy with how it turned out. I'd like to maybe illustrate a few more ships in bottles--ones of all different shapes and sizes. It's like I'm creating my own illustrated collection of eccentric little doo-dads.

 Yesterday and today, I've been working on some other random illustrations of doors. "Why doors?", you ask. Well they're not just any old doors. They're somewhat fancy doors, like you would find on a townhouse. Each door is unique and painted a different color. It's like a reflection of the person that lives behind it.

These doors are also making up a collection of unique little illustrations that I'd like to continue with. As for now, I plan on putting them on some items in my online shop!

Speaking of the shop, I'll show off some more of the doodles I have done to put on products, since I haven't really shown them anywhere else.

 Oh look, another sail boat. I have been in such a nautical state of mind lately. I blame Summer and Maine. Not that it's a bad thing.

 Cupcakes are another recurring theme. I don't seem to mind.

This watering can was actually done because I thought up the idea for a greeting card first, but it stands strong on it's own.

Balloon Girl. She looks so Parisian. One of my friends visited Paris this summer and looking at her photos, I think I got into a Paris frame of mind.

I named her "Welly Umbrelly" (and I will trademark that if I have to) because she's wearing Wellies (Wellington Boots) and is carrying an umbrella. I just wanted a sweet, Springy character.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ship in a Bottle

I've long been fascinated by ships in bottles. I really would like to own at least one someday. I guess it's kind of strange that I like things that are nautical and aquatic in nature when I haven't really spent that much time around boats or oceans. In fact, it took me 23 years to see the ocean for the first time ever, but I still love it. The ocean is just filled with so much mystery and beauty. I think that's what attracts me to it.

When I was in Maine, we visited the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. As one would assume, they had a bunch of ship-building artifacts and nautical things in the display cases, but the things that caught my eye were the ships in bottles. I don't know if I would ever have the patience to build one of these, but I did want to illustrate one.

 This is probably an antique, so I doubt I could ever afford it, but isn't it great. I think ships in bottles are so whimsical. There's that word again. I like the fact that they are small representations of a big thing. I just think they're really special.

 Obviously it's not painted yet. But I like to scan things before I paint them in case it turns out horrible. I'm not thinking that it will, but since I've been working in a looser style, that does happen sometimes. But with this illustration, I tried to make the object come to life more. I played around with the more animated, curly waves and added variations and breaks in the line of the ink. I think I have made the object more my own by doing this.

Also, I'm trying to practice drawing ships and boats. I want it to still look like a ship without being so detailed that you have to use a magnifying glass to see all the little things on it. I mistakenly did not draw or paint any ships while in Maine, so looking back at my photos has helped.

I'll post another update after I add the paint to this piece.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Mad Tea Party

I guess that's what it sort of was like this afternoon as I was painting these.

My wonderful friend Danielle Romero bought me this antique silver tea set at a goodwill store (I paid her back for it) a couple months ago and it has been sitting on display in my bedroom since. As many of you know, I collect teapots. This is like the crowning jewel in my collection. The tea set came with the teapot, the pitcher, a sugar bowl, and a creamer. I would never use it because I have no idea where it has been, but I knew that I was going to paint it. This was the first time I attempted to paint it.

 This is the teapot from the set. It has all these really intricate floral details on the spout, handle and legs.

Also, it's really hard to see in these pictures, but the silver has this sort of blue-ish, patina finish to it. It's like oil and water mixing. So gorgeous!

So I decided that the teapot's first posing-session would be for a blind contour. So I doodled away, not looking down at my paper and I was pleasantly surprised to find something cool.

Of course it didn't have the paint on it then, but I was so pleased! Then I added the paint. I was trying to capture the surface of  the silver. It was tougher than I thought it would be, but I think I captured it well. There is this really strong cobalt blue glow that the silver gives off. At first I thought it was the light from my bedroom and window, but it was the patina on the silver. It's really magical. And some parts of the silver have a rusty color to them, while others are deep purple, almost black! Like I said, this is the crown jewel of my teapot collection. Oh, the hidden treasures (sometimes not so hidden) at goodwill stores!

So I had so much fun painting the silver teapot that I wanted to try another blind contour of one of my other teapots.

 This one was decidedly less-successful than the other. I think because this teapot (which, by the way, is a teapot and teacup all in one) has a floral design printed on it, it was more difficult to capture it in a simplistic or abstract way. I need more practice with this type of thing, though, so it was good to paint it.

I have lots of other teapots, so I think I'm going to try doing a blind contour "portrait" of each of them. Each one is I think it will make quite a series.

Also, I added some items (including prints) with the silver teapot on them to my online shop ! Please visit!