11 August 2012

Words and Pictures

From yesterday:

This one evolved in stages: First we did a contour drawing of a group of three objects. Since we didn't know there was a part two and a part three, some of us chose less wisely than others if we hoped to combine the group into something meaningful, because...part two was to paint the objects, and to unite them as a group by somehow combining their shadows, and part three was to come up with a title or heading for the page, and incorporate some writing!

I actually drew this grouping three times, because when you do continuous-line contour, you're not supposed to lift the pen, and I kept getting stuck various places and finding myself unable to complete the drawing, and also some of my shapes were WAY off. This is actually the first drawing I did, and the bottle looks like the glass melted and sagged (which it could have done from the heat of the sun here in SoCal this weekend!), but I went with it anyway, because it was (believe it or not) better than the other two!

So, I wracked my brain for how a bottle of olive oil and a dish to hold it went with...a pomegranate. Finally, I decided that "grown in California" could be a common theme, so I did that headline, but I located it a bit too high and there were weird negative spaces above and particularly below it. Brenda helpfully suggested a list format, so I started trying to think of all the fruits and vegetables that are grown in California. I succeeded in being alphabetical for awhile, but then realized I had left out artichokes and eggplants at the beginning, so...non-alpha list.

I'm really enjoying the headline design aspect of these exercises! Fun.


We went back to basics as a warm-up this morning--we did three three-minute continuous-line contour drawings, and then we went back and had five minutes each to paint them. Here are mine...

The object here was to learn how to do shadows so that the reflected light from the object you are painting, which would be the same color as the object, shows in the shadows. The trick is, you paint the object; then while it is still wet, you put in the shadow, leaving a very thin white line between the object and the shadow to keep the colors separate. Then, at several points along the edge of the object, you just touch the object with the shadow, and the color from the object bleeds into the shadow and combines to give you the feel of reflected color in your shadow. I did these on sketchpad paper, because I thought they were just drawing warm-ups, so the bleed isn't as smooth and pretty as it would be on good watercolor paper, but you can still see how that works.

More later, but it's way too hot to scan or write or use the computer right now! 106 outside, probably 90 indoors. Sheesh.

Contour line with words

We did several drawings/paintings (Brenda calls them sketches) for our first day of the workshop today. The idea of sketch journaling is to make the piece a combination of drawing, painting, and words, preferably creating something with a title in stylized lettering. Since I am a type and lettering fanatic, this is fun for me! The first part of the day we did exercises using as models the junk, er, treasures that we all (and Brenda) brought from home, including old dishes, bottles and jars, tools and implements, plastic fruits and vegetables, etc. As usual with Brenda, our drawing is all contour line in pen, which makes for some irregularities but also lends a freshness and immediacy to the drawing, I think.

I found this teacup in the pile, and let the pattern (roses) dictate the headline, and then went on to incorporate a remembrance of my mom's teas. She had about 20 teapots, not to mention all the accessories, teacups, strainers, sugar bowls, etc. to host a tea for 30 or more people, which she did frequently for several years running--sometimes just for fun, and sometimes as a fundraiser for her church. She would cook and bake for days, and serve an amazing array of tea-type savories and sweets (some of which are listed at the bottom of this picture), all delicious and all beautifully presented. We miss you, Mom (and not just for your piecrust, although I wish I had gotten the knack...).

I will share more later, but it's midnight and we start again at 9:00 a.m.!

08 August 2012

Getting ready...

I'm off to Montrose again this weekend for another Sketch Journaling workshop with Brenda Swenson. Three days of intense and concentrated drawing and painting--is it a vacation, is it a treat, or is it work? Maybe all three?

Anyway, after coping with some of the inadequacies of my watercolor palette the last time out (notably all the opaque cadmium paints), I decided to splurge a bit and go buy some new colors, and today I washed out my palette (which was mostly pretty low anyway) and started over. I have a mix of Daniel Smith, Windsor Newton, Holbein, Graham, and some French brand whose name I can't remember, but I made sure to get a few colors that Brenda recommended and with which I became enamored when I saw them in her paintings: Holbein Leaf Green and Cobalt Violet Light, Daniel Smith Quincrinadone Rose and Naples Yellow, Winsor Orange, and some Lunar Black, also from Daniel Smith, which granulates beautifully for washes.

My arrangement was likewise kind of haphazard before, so this time I tried to get like color ranges in the same area together, at least. Some of the colors' packaging was deceptive and I didn't quite get everything perfectly graduated by shade, but it's a lot closer than before!

Now I will follow Brenda's instructions by leaving this open to air out and solidify a bit for a day and a night, and then stick my thumbprint in each one to create a well into which I can introduce water when it's time to paint. I'll bet my mixing and painting experience is much more rewarding and successful with this reorganization.