Saturday, September 28, 2013

Face #20: Resist

Have you tried using a resist yet? Ayala asked this in a post on Facebook today, which reminded me that I hadn't tried using a resist. So thanks to Ayala for suggesting this. I love using crayon resists with watercolor. It's like magic when you paint over the crayon and the lines appear. I did use a reference for this face, which I am finding very helpful, even if I am not striving for realism or an exact likeness. As I worked on this face, I added shading and details with pencil and marker. The leaf shapes were an unexpected bonus in her hair that I couldn't, um, resist.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Face #19: Pretty in Pastel?

I'll be honest -- this is not my favorite face that I've done this month, but here she is, #19. I used pastels, which I don't normally use to try something different. I was trying to do an abstract face and ended up with this sort of stylized face instead. I wouldn't mind it being a stylized face if that is what I was trying to do. Even so, I'm glad I experimented with something new. There is always value in the process, no matter how the product ends up. I actually cut her face out because I didn't like the right side at all. Then I put her on one of my new place mats to take her picture because it seemed to go nicely with the rest of the composition.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Face #18: Doe-eyed Abstract

Another attempt at an abstract face -- this one is a mixed media sketch in my sketchbook, beginning with ball point pen, then adding a bit of pencil, charcoal, and colored pencil. I kinda like her!

Ipad Portraits

Faces 15, 16, and 17 are sketches I did on my Ipad using the app, Paper by 53. I use stylus, but it's also possible to sketch just using your finger on the screen. It's a fun way to get some sketching in, especially if you're on the go and don't want to carry your art supplies with you.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Face #14: Abstract Portrait

 Realistic faces are not easy to do well, nor are abstract faces for that matter! I really want to be able to do abstract faces. I'm not sure why. It's just what I want to do. So here is an attempt at an abstract face. I used a thick sharpie to outline shapes and then began painting, first with watercolor, then before I knew it, the acrylics were out again. I was keeping in mind the concept of suggesting dialog by having two figures in the painting as I learned in Diane Culhane's excellent between speech and silence class, hence the bird. I added a bit of collage again at the end, because I love collage, especially bits of text like this. I love languages, reading, poetry, and words, so I enjoy having bits of text in my pieces that give some interesting visual texture and hopefully create a bit of mystery as well.

Face #13 - Mixed Media Portrait

This is turning out to be one of those paintings that looks better on the screen than in real life, maybe due the reduced size. I focused on creating a multi-layered background before adding the face, still continuing to learn how to paint with acrylics and not go completely mad in the process. I think I'm getting the hang of it. Each time it's a little easier and more natural, and yes, fun!

Face #12 -- a pencil sketch

This is a pencil study, done in my sketchbook tonight after I decided that I need to do more serious practice of faces. I've been leaning toward abstraction and whimsy in my artwork recently, but I think that studying a face this way in pencil can help me draw abstract faces more convincingly as well. And I'm pretty happy with this face. I worked really hard to get the shape of the face right, and to get some shading that helped to add some dimension.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

White-faced woman -- mixed media portrait

I've been participating in Ayala Art's 29 Faces Challenge this month. At this point, I am quite sure I will not make it to 29 faces this month. This is face #11. I drew and painted, drew and painted, ending up with a rather crazy, or shall we say expressionist palette. I am still finding my way with acrylics, alternately loving then hating them, but hopefully getting better as I practice more. Today's painting session was very enjoyable. I opened up my container of little collage scraps and found some fun pieces to add for some additional interest and fun.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog! 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Face #10: Mixed Media Portrait

This is a mixed media portrait on a wood panel that I started recently. I'm experimenting with drawing and acrylic together in this piece. So far, I'm happy with the lines, collage, and colors, but less happy with her face. The nose is better than some I've done, but her eyes aren't matching so I want to go back in and work on them some more. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sketching Fun

This sketch for Face #9 almost counts as two faces, doesn't it? I was playing around in my sketchbook with line at first, then adding facial features at different angles along with a bit of shading. I might go back in and work on creating layers...or not. It is just a sketch, after all. But spending time practicing sketching individual features looks like something I should do more often.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Gel plate + Gel pen = Face #8

This is my face #8 for the 29 Faces Challenge and I have to say that I really like it! I did this one last summer on an index card. I was playing around with my gel plate, paint and a spray bottle. The textures turned out great. After it dried, I saw a face, just waiting for a few simple lines to bring it to life. My white gel pen turned out to be just right over the darker background. 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Twilight Smile -- mixed media portrait

Twilight Smile
mixed media on paper
9" x 12"

This is one of the faces I painted for the 29 faces challenge (Face 7).  My obsession in this painting was creating layers - layers of stenciling, collage, stamping, washes until I was ready to draw a face. I did use a reference as I drew this woman, but I didn't worry too much about getting an exact likeness. I've doodled faces for most of my life, but I find that sometimes looking at real faces when I draw really helps me with getting the details and expression right. This woman's crooked half smile really appealed to me!

I'm also sharing this with Paint Party Friday.  Check it out to see some wonderful art and join in the fun. Thanks so much for visiting!!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

29 Faces 2013 -- 4, 5, 6

I'm playing catch-up in the 29 Faces Challenge again with some faces I did earlier in the year, January to be exact. These two faces all started with a journal I decided to make for myself at the beginning of the year, following a quest theme.

Since quests were big in medieval times, I found this lovely portrait of Eleonora of Toledo done by the artist Italian artist Agnolo di Cosimo in 1545 for the cover. I kept looking at her face and decided to sketch using Carla Sonheim's version of a Klee Transfer painting. In this method, you put a piece of carbon paper down on your paper, and draw blindly. The goal isn't a realistic drawing, but hopefully an interesting drawing. After doing the first carbon drawing, I added some color. 

She certainly looks much different than the original! I like parts of this drawing, but I hate that her nose is so long and her chin so small. Still, it was fun to play. After this one, I decided to try another one on a prepared background in my journal. Here is what the blind carbon sketch looks like before painting.

It's actually quite interesting how similar this drawing is to my first one, and how they both are so different from the original reference. But I like the proportions better in this one. Noses are just so hard, but I will keep trying!

After this step, I added some paint and pencil.

And here she is, Eleonora for the new millennium -- older and wiser, still pensive and serious, with perhaps a bit of attitude.

Thanks for visiting!

29 Faces 2013 - 1,2,3

It's halfway through September, and I've decided to join in Ayala Art's 29 Faces challenge. I participated in this challenge last year, and really enjoyed it! Since I'm waaaaaaay behind, I'm cheating a bit by posting some faces here that I actually did last summer. These are small semi-abstract mixed media doodles done in ink and acrylic.

Thanks for stopping by! 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

"In the Distance" a Wabi-Sabi Landscape

In the Distance
acrylic on 8" x 10" canvas

In 2011, I had the good fortune to take a workshop with Serena Barton in Portland which focused on her interpretation of the wabi-sabi concept in encaustic. I blogged about my experience that day in an earlier post. At the time, I was completely enthralled by the wax, and yet as time has passed, I find myself thinking about wabi-sabi again and again. I even have a journal I started after that workshop that I use specifically for contemplating wabi-sabi.

According to Serena, "Wabi-Sabi is an aesthetic, a state of mind, a mix of emotions, and a way of perceiving life. It embraces cycles of change, including life and death. Wabi-Sabi values the seasoned, well-worn, accidental, and imperfect. It includes the sorrow of change and loss, as well as the acceptance of these." Wabi-Sabi colors are muted and textures are rough. If you think of a flower as it is just beginning to turn brown at the edges, you can get a feel for Wabi-Sabi. To me, it includes beauty, longing, mystery, and depth -- all things that appeal to me in art and life, and that I hope to create in my work.

I did this painting after reading Serena's new book, Wabi Sabi Art Workshop. It was actually an unsuccessful painting I'd started earlier, so I decided to paint over, creating more layers and textures in the process.

I'm linking this to Paint Party Friday. Go check it out and see all of the wonderful art that's been created this week. Thanks so much for stopping by! I always appreciate your comments.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Evolution of a Painting

Earlier in the summer, I took a wonderful online class from Diane Culhane, " Between Speech and Silence." I'm planning to blog more about that course in a separate post. In this post, I'm going to show how two of the paintings evolved during the creative process.

Our goal in the paintings was to suggest a story or dialog by including figures. The beauty of this concept is that story is open to interpretation by the viewer. I love creating mystery in my work and this is a fun new way to accomplish that goal. Here is an early version of one of my paintings.

After setting it aside for a few days, I decided that the face was OK, but too big and heavy for the rest of the painting. So instead of the face, I added another bird. It's much more balanced and whimsical to to me now. I wonder what these two birds are saying to each other, don't you? 

This is another painting from the course, again following the idea of creating dialog with figures.

The more I looked at this one, the less happy I felt about it. I decided I didn't like the girl so much, and I wanted to create more interest with the tree. It felt like a children's book illustration to me, which isn't a bad thing, but it wasn't what I really was aiming for. I added some more collage and replaced the girl with an image transfer.

It's so much different now! Overall, I am very happy with the tree, but still not so sure if the bird and face 'go together.' But it's been good to try out the idea of creating a story in my work -- definitely a new concept for me, but a fun way to push myself in a new direction.

Identity Crisis

We all know adults who who still don't know who they want to be when they grow up. In fact, I find myself in that category from time to time.  When it comes to my art, I seem to be the artist who doesn't know what she wants to do, or conversely, I'm an artist who wants to do it all! At some point, though, it's time to focus more, to settle down and choose my own style. Or is it? I've been painting a lot lately, which is great. But a quick look at what I've worked on over this past week shows that I am clearly all over the place with my art!!

This is a page from an altered board book I started last spring while taking Carla Sonheim's "Flower Crazy Class." The technique involves using collage, gesso, watercolor and pencil. I love doing flowers, watercolor, drawing and feel like I could just keep doing these crazy flowers for the rest of my life and never get bored! 

Then I decided to try out the same technique, but with a different subject, resulting in this whimsical piece.

I really love integrating collage with my drawing and painting skills, but I also still love doing 'pure' collage. Before I knew, it, I'd done this little collage.

And then, to further complicate things, I've been working on this abstract acrylic painting! 

So, as you can see, I really am not very focused in what I'm doing. Following my whims is certainly fun, but is it wise? Is it important to settle on one style?

Thanks so much for stopping by! Your comments are always appreciated.