Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Trail: From Inspiration to Creation - Painting & Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

Have you ever stood back and looked at your Trail, your Road to Creation?

I know, you have so many ideas, you don't know what to paint first. Inspiration is everywhere.  It is. Hardly a day goes by that I don't see, or feel or sense a special moment.  One I would love to capture on paper.  But many times it passes with no results. 

THE HUNTER WAITS - Watercolour 12 x 16
Other times, I will sit and go through my reference material, spinning my wheels, looking for something.  You know, that thing that makes you want to grab your pencil, start a plan and 'get into it'. Standing back and analyzing your Trail will tell you lots about your work.  You will gather knowledge about your process and your goals; basically what makes you tick.

Why is that important? 

Knowledge about your process can help you streamline your energy.  Gives you more time to focus on what is important.  Knowledge of your goals gives you more control over your future.  For example: you rattle about, pick your reference and paint.  Are you challenging yourself with new stuff every time - if so, maybe you need to hit a holding pattern for a few projects and solidify that knowledge.   Or you find you pick the same kind of material to work from every time - could be time to change it up, and challenge yourself with new subjects, a new series or a new technique. 

My new piece, "The Hunter Waits" was a new challenge for me.  As many of my readers know, I spend the summer camping, painting and gathering new reference material.  For last few summers that has been on Texada Island. Camping in a forested area right beside the ocean, lots of opportunity to see seals, otters, birds and deer. My kind of stuff.  Each summer I find that I focus on difference things.  This summer I really worked at incorporating the birds I saw into my seascapes. Herons,  bald eagles, oyster catchers, crows and seagulls were the main order of the day.  I did get good shots of the turkey vultures too but right now I am not inspired to paint or draw them.

When I look at my Trail from Inspiration to Creation for this piece, I see several things that drove me:
1.     Walking on the beach at low tide: as the tide goes out the action starts, birds are plentiful, trying to capture whatever is left behind.  Tidal pools spring up, rocks appear, draped in seaweed, sparkling sandy bars run along the shore and gooey ducks squirt up as you walk by.  I totally wanted to put all of that into my picture.

2.    Having a resident pair of bald eagles near by: there was an eagle nest by the bay where the campsite is located.  Eagle sightings were a common occurrence and when the neighbour campers put their fish heads out for the birds, we had an awesome sight of Eagles, Turkey Vultures, Crows, and Seagulls, right at our doorstep.  I got fabulous shots of all of them. I really wanted to put the birds into my picture. 

3.    Reading about a painting technique: I have been trying different ways of underpainting with watercolours.  I want a looser underpainting but yet my tight detail for my birds and animals.  Resolving this without having my animals have that 'pasted on' look is my issue.  I was looking at Kim Johnson's work in "The Art of Watercolour" magazine and really liked what she was doing.  I tried two smaller pieces of a crow and seagull and decided I was ready for something bigger.  "The Hunter Waits" was the result.  See my crow in this post here. 

What does your trail look like?  Study your trail, find your new places.

I did take several work in progress pictures for "The Hunter Waits", especially the under-painting part, I will share those with you on the next post.

Late summer and fall are still good times for painting and drawing outside.  Check out my series of  Drawing Tips for Summer Fun.  It is a four part series starting here.  Great ideas for quick sketches in your journal or plein air pieces.  Best of all when the cold wind blows you can take these ideas inside and keep on going. 

Looking for a starting point in your drawing?  I will be happy to get you up and running.  Call me now and set up a few lessons to get you on the road to a summer of fun with your art.
For Commission Works see here
For Private Drawing Lessons see here
For Marketing Mentoring see here
For Marketing or Art Presentations Contact Wendy 

Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)
Have a great artful day, 
Wendy

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Yikes! How to draw All Blacks! Painting and Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

Or When is Black not Black.
ME, FETCH?  - Graphite
Max really likes to play Catch Me rather than Fetch. 
As my regular readers know, I now have a new assistant, Max.  He is lovely miniature poodle, only 5 months old.  Max has really unusual markings for a poodle, he is black with red paws and red going up his legs, across his chest and some on his nose.  He also has a few little white gray hairs on his chest and chin.  His hair is kinky but not the tight curls of most poodles.  Because of his markings he is called a Phantom Poodle.

Well you might say, interesting but what about the Black thing?

My first job after getting Max was of course to draw him.  That's where the fun began.  Sleek black dogs are easy to draw, well relatively speaking.  But curly black hair makes it much more of a challenge.  (Really just being polite here for Max's sake, it was really hard work and time consuming)

The first job is to get a good reference picture.  Not an easy task.

Photographing black dogs requires planning.  The lighting is crucial. Strong sunlight does not give the lights and shadow patterns that are needed to sculpture the dog in a drawing or painting. Early morning sunlight does gave some good lights and darks as well as colours.  However, a day that is slightly overcast works best, giving lights, darks and shadows that you can see into.  Very important to see into those shadows as Max's eyes disappear in the shadows of his brow.

Using a camera that had different settings also makes a big difference.  I found that using the auto setting gave me large black areas with little information.  Adjusting the aperture made quite a difference to my results.

Once you have your reference material there is still work to do.

I wanted to draw Max with pencil, to capture his likeness required lots of layering.  I first gave his whole body a light shading of graphite so that even my 'whites' would have tone.  Then working in small sections I layered the darks.  I found by layering I was able to get blends in the curls rather than just having sharp edges between them. You can get a good look at Max under construction on my earlier post here.
Max's first Business Card with his first official baby picture. 

The results were worth the work.  Doesn't he look great!  Max is really exciting because now that he has his own drawing, he can have his own place on my business cards.  He is really officially my assistant now.  (No, Rusty, my old guy is not forgotten. He has his own business card as well and it will definitely stay in my marketing package.)

If you are thinking of a Pet Portrait for Christmas, it is not to early to start planning.  I would be happy to work with you to capture your best friend in a Portrait.

Summer is nearly over but still time to get out to draw and paint. You will find lots of information on planning a Plein Air Travel Trip with significant others in my 3 Part Series starting here.

Also get some summer fun with my Drawing Tips for Summer Fun Series. It is a four part series starting here.  Great ideas for quick sketches in your journal, plein air pieces or just some new medium combinations to spruce up your work anywhere. 

Looking for a starting point in your drawing?  I will be happy to get you up and running.  Call me now and set up a few lessons to get you on the road to a summer of fun with your art.

Special Note: 

Looking for a fun Plein Air Painting Festival centered on an historic site? Right here in the Fraser Valley. August 26, 27, & 28. Prizes for everyone at all levels.  $15 - www.kilby.ca to register and get more information.  See you there. Deadline Aug 15 but give them a call, late entries may be taken if there is room.
For Commission Works see here
For Private Drawing Lessons see here
For Marketing Mentoring see here
For Marketing or Art Presentations Contact Wendy 

Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)

Have a great artful day, Wendy

Thursday, August 4, 2016

What does a Plein Air Painting Trip REALLY look like? Part 3 Painting & Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

Or 6 Ways to Get You Painting on the Road

MORNING CALM - 3 x 4 - Watercolour
Early morning is sometimes the nicest time to paint on the water. 

Let me first explain, like you, I don't travel alone. I travel with my husband and our dog, Max.  (A new puppy who is now 4.5 months old). My husband is a non-painter and our new puppy is definitely a non-painter!  To have a successful trip with other members: ie husband gets to fish, go crabbing and sight seeing;  puppy gets lots of walks and attention; and I get to do my thing requires lots of pre-planning. This has been my blog focus lately.  See the glamour of a Plein Air Travel Trip here, see Preplanning Ideas here,

Now, the meat and potatoes:  How to get your Art into the traveling day:

1.     Combine Activities: Walks and hikes are great times to combine art with life.   Max and I usually head out for walks in the early morning and late afternoon/evening each day.  I use those times to scout out places to paint.  After a good walk Max is ready to have a nap, one of the great features of a puppy!  He and I will grab my paint bag and while he naps I can work on a painting or sketch.  

2.    Paint Small: Now is not the time to work on a large canvas.  Be realistic, you only have an hour or two:  Light changes, hunger calls, other members want to move on.  I use a 5 x 7 format for watercolours and my small 5 x 8 sketchbook for quick sketches. 

3.    Be Prepared: The Girl Guides have it right "Be Prepared". Have you art bags packed and ready to go. If you have 2 hours to paint you don't want to spend it rounding up gear.  I have a special bin for my cameras and paint bags.  Whatever the situation - basic kit, full gear or painting on a log - I can grab my kit and I am ready to roll.
FISHING IN THE TIDAL POOLS - 5 x 7 - Watercolour
Catch the early morning changing skies.  Had lots of cloudy skies this trip, got some great cloud formations in my pictures. 

4.    Share Jobs:  My husband and I have been camping for years and we have our own routines. He likes a slow start and big breakfast later in the morning, I am a early riser, eat light and go kind of person.  Some days I hit the road and paint for a couple of hours early in the morning and other days I take it slow and keep him company for breakfast.  We also take turns making dinner when in camp and that will also be a painting time for me when it is not my turn to cook.  

BUSYBODY - 5 X 7 - Watercolour
A really fun rainy day project, even tried a few new things with it.

5.    Be Realistic:  A painting trip is not working in a studio.  Things can change.  It can rain for days.  If you are going to new places, on the move every other day, you won't be able to do as much as you want.  I have been doing painting trips each summer for years and know what I need for each situation.  Yes, even those days of rain. Now I pull out my iPad and use my reference pictures to paint in the trailer.  In the old, pre digital days I always carried a batch of reference pictures I could pull out and work with. 

6.    Take Risks: To get work done you need to take risks all the time.  There are the risks you face as an artist, that whole blank page thing.  You may find yourself stalling with little excuses, no shade, can't see anything to paint, little things like that. But the biggest risk is dealing with the fear of painting in front of people.  Yes, there is fear.  What will people think? or say? The fear of getting out in front of people to paint is a big one that stops many artists.  It is not always easy but once you get started success does build success.

Summer is nearly over, still time to get out your basic kit, take a risk and start working.  Not too soon to start planning for next year, make it  really rock.

If you missed my last post series on Drawing Tips for summer fun check them out.  It is a four part series starting here 

Looking for a starting point in your drawing?  I will be happy to get you up and running.  Call me now and set up a few lessons to get you on the road to a summer of fun with your art.

Special Note: Looking for a fun Plein Air Painting Festival centered on an historic site? Right here in the Fraser Valley. August 26, 27, & 28. Prizes for everyone at all levels.  $15 - www.kilby.ca to register and get more information.  See you there.

For Commission Works see here
For Private Drawing Lessons see here
For Marketing Mentoring see here
For Marketing or Art Presentations Contact Wendy 

Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)
Have a great artful day, Wendy