My friend, Heath, posted this picture of his French Bulldog, Dodger, on Facebook last week. It was so cute, I just couldn't resist it. I have an idea that I want to do with all of my many pictures of Kagero but I haven't really done any dog drawings yet so I wanted to start somewhere. I think what I liked most about this image was the contrast between the dog's body and the brown chair. I think I thought that somehow would make it easier to get the lines down. And I do think it helped. I really had fun with this one. I kept the outside more simple than the reference image because I didn't want all of that to compete with the dog. I wasn't really sure how to do the coloring on the chair so I just did the best I could. I'm using Zig Kuretake's Brush Writer pens that contain liquid ink and it doesn't like to stay put, especially since I seem to insist on using paper not intended for wet media. I think, though that it turned out ok..I like it!
Some days feel so rich with creative energy and others definitely do not...this day is one of the latter. I'm pushing forward, however, and trying to get some stuff done. I think some of what is dragging me down is that I'm tired. I've never been a great sleeper but the last week has been crappier than usual. I really need more sleep and I hope to get some this weekend. I'm also realizing that I need to get my crap together to find ways to generate more income from my art. It just sucks that in many ways, it takes money to make money. For example, I'd like to offer reproductions of some of my artwork and possibly integrate them into some other products like journal covers, greeting cards, etc but I need to invest in getting good scans or photos of my artwork to make these reproductions/products with. Ugh! But, I can't worry about that right now...the money will come and I need to focus on producing art right now.
Today's contribution to my daily art project is a quick drawing of my dog, Kagero. I plan to do a full, freehand portrait of her (probably multiples) but I wanted to come up with a more simple line drawing of her face. I have literally hundreds, maybe even a thousand+ photos of her. I found one that was a closeup of her face, adjusted the lighting so that I could see most of her face and features clearly. I then traces the general outlines onto tracing paper. Then I used the printed photo as reference to refine the details, add some of the shading, etc. I like how this looks for a simple reproduction. I tried a couple of times to make more simple line drawings but they really lost her character and personality so I'm scrapping that idea for now. I might figure out how to make this idea work later.
The other photo below is of my palette. I use a large sheet of glass on a white table as my palette for acrylic painting. After I've finished painting, I let the paint dry and then scrape it off with a razor, paint scraper. As I stood over the table this morning, planning to clean it, I was struck by the beauty of the colors and textures left from my painting session last week. I love the way they've blended, revealing a variety of values and shades. I also love that you can see my finger marks, since I used my fingers to paint with that day. I just had to take a photo.
Derwent's art academy has been such a blessing in that it has exposed me to techniques I've never tried before and likely would not have given a chance. Today's assignment (the last one!) was to do Sgraffito (scratching) with oil pastels. The teacher said to just use her picture of her cats as the reference image but I like dogs better so I used a pic of a Scottish Terrier instead. Layers of different colors of oil pastel are laid down onto the paper and then the image is drawn in using an embossing tool. Then either the background is scratched away with the embossing tool to expose the colors underneath leaving the dog in silhouette (like mine below) or the dog is scratched away leaving the background darker. I chose colors based on my current preferred pallet of blues and purples. The top layer is the darkest value and before scratching it's hard to tell that there are other colors of various values below it. I realized after I started scratching, however, that I should have used a much darker color on the final layer so there would be greater contrast between the dog and the background but otherwise, I think it looks cool! I'm not entirely sure how or where I'd use this technique in future projects...oil pastels are kinda messy (in a different way from the hard/chalky ones) so it definitely would need to be fixed in some way. I guess I should look up info on how to preserve oil pastels.
I'm super excited to have finished this series of lessons. As I mentioned over and over again, I'm not super great at sticking with things, especially when I feel doubtful about being able to manage the tasks. I guess the fact that it was free and includes a free set of pencils upon completion (bonus!) was enough for me to push myself a bit. I really do have to reflect upon what I've gained through just these 6 lessons. First, I've proven to myself that I can complete something that I start. I realize this is really an absurd idea since there are so many things I've completed in my life, I mean I graduated with a Master's degree for crying out loud!, but I find it so easy to quit when I'm attempting to make art. This is so ridiculous, of course, since I feel so great when I'm making art, especially when my ideas are turning out great. Second, I can successfully try new techniques, even things that look really difficult or complex, with fantastic results. This doesn't mean I've mastered a technique the first time, I'll need to keep practicing to get better and better. But, I tried something new and the world didn't end and I didn't die from doubt and fear. Third, I've been so inspired by the colored pencil on black paper project. I've talked at length in previous posts about what I've learned through that process but if it hadn't been for this art academy, I'm not sure I would have tried this technique. While right now, I'm digging the colorful birds on the black paper and I'm working on a series of them now, I'm also seeing possibilities in doing series of butterflies, tropical fish, flowers and who knows what else in colored pencil on black paper. Inspiration is an amazing thing and after years and years of artist's block, it feels incredible to finally be inspired. Fourth, I feel more connected to my creative process and art making after doing this art academy than I have in, I don't know, forever! I was talking to my dad on the phone this afternoon and he told me how much he likes my colored pencil birds and after telling him about how great it's been making them and trusting that they will emerge from the paper, he said how happy he is to hear the excitement in my voice as I'm talking about them...that he never heard that when I was in college (thanks, Dad, I love you!). And he's right...I've not felt this excited about "work" ever before in my life. While I try to live my life without regrets, if I could go back and be an art major instead of a psychology major...I would seriously consider it. Ultimately, I'd probably not change a thing but the message to me and the message I'd like to convey to anyone who might be reading this. is...nurture the artists in your life, especially those who are still children. Let's stop forcing people into boxes that don't fit them and let them know that they can choose to do the things that make them most happy, that make them feel most at home in their hearts. Life isn't only about how much money you make, how big your house is or that you're driving the newest model of a luxury car. If those things are what's truly important to you, that's cool but I was absolutely miserable chasing these t
Thanks for reading! I'm off to find more free technique classes and stay tuned as the daily art project continues!
As an artist, I guess I would be remiss to not make a drawing of my dog. I did a lot of drawing as a kid but what it really amounted to was copying the drawing examples from how-to draw books and drawing Disney characters from books. I was proud that I had enough skill to copy them without tracing them...I think I have a pretty good eye naturally but I avoided trying to draw living things or pictures of living things because I just didn't think I could. Thankfully, I'm shifting out of that belief and as I continue to draw and sketch things from life and from pictures, I'm feeling more confident that I can develop my eye and my drawing skills to include more realistic things. While I'm not really that into drawing or painting realistically (I like my wonky depictions of reality better, they are quirky, like me!), I do want to do a portrait (or 20) of my beloved Kagero that is realistic. I know, though, that I need practice, practice, practice. So, today's idea and sketch was born from the desire to start practicing and the desire to create it came over me so quickly, I just grabbed paper that was sitting next to me, rather than going for my sketchbook! This sketch wasn't based on any particular kind of dog. I think I started out trying to do a shih-tzu (Kagero was a shih-tzu/jack russell mix) but it quickly became a mutt. I tried looking at pictures of other dogs but I really just wanted to freehand a dog. It's not great but I at least it looks like a dog :)