Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It’s chalk darn it!

As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I’m trying out Derwent’s Drawing Pencils right now in a piece called “Best Friends.” In my estimation there are several categories of drawings tools: ink, chalk, graphite, wax, charcoal, soluble, and metal (like scratchboard tools or silverpoint for example.) This, at least, is the way I categorize things in my head.

I have used drawing tools in all of the above categories and have definite preferences. My least favorite categories are chalk and charcoal. These include chalk pastels, chalk pencils, Conte crayons, and, of course, charcoal. Despite that opinion, I have used them quite a bit. My opinion about them echoes something the character of Matthew Quigley says in the wonderful movie “Quigley Down Under” As the villain, Marston lays dying, referring to an early conversation concerning Colt revolvers, Quigley tells him, "I said I never had much use for one. Never said I didn't know how to use it." That’s exactly how I feel about chalk and charcoal! Anyway, after trying to lay down the Drawing Pencils for several hours as I would wax-based Prismacolors, or in fact, any other colored pencils in my current stable, I had to smack my head and say, “Doh! They’re chalk, you silly girl!”

Thus began a sea change for the piece. I started laying the colors in as I would chalk or charcoal and my feelings of frustration started to fade. Here’s the piece as I’ve left it this evening. Much healthier. Still not delighted about using chalk, but hey, it is what it is. I’ll try to work with its better nature and stop fighting it.

"Best Friends"

Just for fun, here are the tools I’m using including tortillions and Sofft Knives for blending.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

“Best Friends”

Started a new piece last night. I seem to be doing something of a product review for various art supplies at the moment. *lol* It’s interesting to do a review periodically and re-assess how your tools are working for you and what new ones you might want to add to you repertoire. This piece is being done with Derwent Drawing pencils on Stonehenge paper. I am working from a photo that I have had for many years. It was taken by my Dad on a visit to Assateague Island when I was a little girl. I have always loved it and think that it might make a sensitive study. Here’s hoping!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Finally finished!

I finished the Great Dane puppy today at long last. I quite like him. His eyes follow me around the room wherever I go. *smile*

  “Please May I Come up?” (6" x 9")

This piece is my first completed portrait in watercolor pencils. I really like the medium, it makes me feel like I have some control over the paint. I did add one purple shadow on the sheet in actual watercolor paint (I want the full painterly effect of the Carbazole Violet) but other than that, it was all about the pencils. I feel I gave them a good test run with this piece. As I have said before, although I am not a huge fan of Hot Press watercolor paper, it does seem to work well for the precision of the pencils.

Since starting this piece, I’ve gotten some Cretacolor AquaMonolith woodless watercolor pencils. My initial color tests with the Cretacolor pencils show that they blend quite well. Although I wanted to keep this piece as a rather pure test of the Albrecht Durer’s I look forward to adding the Cretacolor to a new piece soon.

I’m considering making this one into a card. Or perhaps it’ll be for sale in my soon-to-be coming e-shop. Either way…I’m pleased with the results of the experiment. Good Dog!

Friday, June 18, 2010

New painting completed today

Checked off! Another task completed in this very busy and creative week. This morning I finished “Man & Horse,” a piece first mentioned my June 3rd entry called, “Other Projects Under Way.”

It’s 7” x 10” and technically a watercolor, painted on Lana hot press watercolor paper. I say, “technically” because it was done in Derwent Graphitint water-soluble pencils. This was my first real exploration with Graphitints. I liked the pencils for the most part. They are very soft, which can be either good or bad depending on what you’re trying to achieve. Usually, I like my pencils able to hold a better point, but they were very smooth in their application and flowed well with water. The fact that the colors brightened with water was also interesting and pretty, but you had to constantly keep it in mind as you laid down the colors.

The Graphitint colors were an extraordinarily close match to the colors in the original statue and that was my initial inspiration for using them. Their colors are rather subtle and I think you need to think carefully about your subject matter if you’re going to use them without further supplementation with other brighter pencils/paints.

All the same, they make me want to do a statuary series. I have always loved architectural details and I think it would be interesting to explore such a series with the Graphitint pencils. Graphitints also have a lovely range of blues, which were not a huge part of this piece. It will be interesting considering a good subject match for the Graphitint blues. Ocean scenes with water and stones? Perhaps.

The future of this piece is of yet undecided. I think I’m going to submit it to some art competitions. I’m interested to hear what people think about it. One way or another it will definitely need to be photographed more appropriately. *sigh* I suppose that means creating a proper photographic shooting station in my mud room. Oh, I know how to do this…yes I do! But it’s been a while. All the same, I need to start doing slides again and high quality images. Sounds like it’s time to unpack the heavy-duty film camera equipment. Perhaps, it’s also time to consider investing in a nice digital SLR. Maybe. But first sell more. Then buy! Happy day to you all!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Last two SIFF 2010 sketches

Well, this wraps up my SIFF sketching odyssey for 2010. Or does it…? They are showing The Best of SIFF 2010 at SIFF Cinema this weekend. We missed “Hipsters” and we may go see that. So there may be one more page. We’ll see. :-)

In the meantime, here are my pages for “The Two Horses for Genghis Khan” and “Born to Suffer.” 

"The Two Horses of Genghis Khan"

"Born to Suffer"

I’m very pleased with my watercolor sketch of Flora, the main character of “Born to Suffer.” It shows me that all the hours I’ve been putting in my watercolor studies are paying off. Hurray!

Product placement

I have to admit to being a neat freak, especially when it comes to organizing my art supplies. Here are two examples:

My Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils arranged by color
family in re-purposed juice and iced tea bottles. They're just
the right size for holding a moderate amount of pencils.

A tidy set-up with my Daniel Smith watercolor sticks.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gift Horse art show went up today

Just for fun I consulted my resume this afternoon and realized that this show marks my 7th art show! Lucky number…? I think so! The show went up this afternoon and looks great! Many thanks to Ellen for getting up on the huge ladder so I wouldn’t have to. ;-)

I brought six pieces for the show including the Chronicle of the Horse cover which displays one of the pieces, “Jove, Mercury, Apollo & Daphne.” The show will be up for two months so if you’re in the neighborhood, please stop by and take a look...and of course shop! The address is: The Gift Horse Saddlery, 13300 NE 175th Street, Suite #4, Woodinville, WA 98072. They’re open Monday-Wednesday & Friday 10am-6pm, Thursday 10am-7pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, &  Sunday 11am-4pm.

  The light-yellow ochre wall was perfect
for bringing out the colors of the paintings.

A photo of the artwork without as much
light-glare on Percy's portrait ( far right).

General store ambiance.
(That's Ellen behind the counter.) 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Art show in Woodinville

I am delighted to announce that I will be hanging a small show at the Gift Horse Saddlery in Woodinville, WA. starting Wednesday, June 16th. The pieces will be there for a couple of months so if you're in Woodinville please stop by and take a look. The Gift Horse is one of the biggest saddleries in the area and a friend to all of us horsey folks hereabouts. I love the place. Thanks to Ellen for arranging this for me. :-)

In other news...Matt took the camera with him to New York so there will be no new artwork posted here until Sunday night. Maybe it's time to look into that Digital SLR after all. :-( & then :-)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

And now for the postcard

Yesterday I showed off my new business cards. Today, my new postcard...

I was never one to use black backgrounds excessively before but it just looks so darn good with the artwork. :-)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Flying Pony Studios business cards arrived today!

My new shiny, business cards arrived today from the printer. They look beautiful and I can't wait to start giving them out. :-)

Here's the front:

And here's the back:
Pretty cool, eh?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More SIFF…

In the interest of keeping up with my desire to record a sketch from each SIFF movie this year (or at least of a grouping of movies), I have a new sketch page to show you. This one to mark two movies we saw over the past two nights at Seattle’s historic Neptune Theater. Anyone who knows the Neptune will remember that the old theater has a sea-based theme. Inside it has port-hole windows (as does the Admiral by the way) and wonderful decorations of shells, and tridents, and, I just realized last night, huge Sea King heads with glowing eyes way up high on the tops of pillars around the inside of the theater. Really cool! But alas, too late to draw this time…darn!  But I did want to record one of the cheesy, but iconic, stained glass windows also inside the theater. There are four and they all depict Neptune in one scene or another. If the drawing looks child-like that’s because it’s accurate. *big smile* I used Pitt pens and Derwent Intense pencils to get the stained glass effect.

Last night we was saw a real winner of a movie called “The Wild Hunt.” Although it was low budget and the first film of co-creators Alexandre Franchi and Mark Antony Krupa, it was quite good. To honor it I wanted to mark it specially on my journal page - see the antlered-skull on the bottom of the page. This little pen & ink drawing was really fun to do. I guess I kind of miss my Scientific Illustration days. *lol*

You never know with SIFF films. The ones you’re really looking forward to based on their “buzz” many times fail to satisfy, while the obscure ones like this year’s “Wild Hunt’ and 2008’s “Eagle and Shark” will surprise and delight you. Actually, in the case of “The Wild Hunt,” delight is not the right word. Terrify or disturb would be more accurate. But also impress as in the depth of the writers’ interest in L.A.R.P.s (Live Action Role Playing) and their understanding of traditional Icelandic sagas and myths in general. Kudos to the boys from Quebec on their first film!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Other projects under way

I am currently letting the Great Dane puppy (mentioned previously) sit unobserved for a while before putting the finishing touches on it. It’s always critical to do this I think. The break gives your eyes a much better chance of catching errors and other details that need to be adjusted before completing the piece. While the puppy rests I am working on a few other things including my SIFF sketches. Fortunately, we’re taking several days off from SIFF movies and this allows me time to work on another fine art piece with the working title of “Man and Horse.”

I absolutely loved this statue when I photographed it on my last walk-about trip in Washington, DC. It’s called, “Man Controlling Trade” and it stands outside the Federal Trade Commission. It’s an allegorical piece where the horse stands as a symbol for trade. I do not like the allusion of the allegory in this statue at all. But, having said that, I also believe that it's a wonderful piece of WPA art. I am a HUGE fan of many WPA art pieces, especially the big blocky figures commonly seen in WPA statues and murals. Perhaps, one day, I’ll do a series of paintings illustrating them. *happy grin* But for now, this wonderful statue was a great excuse to experiment with some other water-soluble pencils that I’ve recently bought – Derwent’s Graphitints.

"Man and Horse" with reference photo

These are soft graphite pencils tinted with color. The colors are muted when dry but brighten up when wet. In that way they are similar to the water-soluble colored pencils I've been using for the puppy portrait but in much more subtle shades. For this piece I’m using a limited palette of the following colors: 04 Dark Indigo, 03 Aubergine, 18 Storm, 23 Cool Grey, 20 Midnight Black, 16 Cocoa, 13 Chestnut. As you can see the color palette I’ve chosen seems perfectly matched to the statue and I think that’s really cool. For the support I’ve chosen a Lanaquarelle Hot Press Watercolor block. I’m really enjoying using hot press paper with water-soluble pencils. Never a huge fan of hot press paper before, I find it takes the pencil marks well and since I’m not using a huge amount of water (and I’m using small brushes), it’s a great choice. I have only recently started using the Lana paper and I really like it.

"Man and Horse"

I have been working in layers wetting small sections at a time. While that area dries I can wet another area or add more dry color. It’s a relaxing process.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this piece turns out. If it works out well then maybe I will do a series of other WPA statues. I certainly have been collecting photographs of them for many years. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Being brave with watercolors!

It was a busy weekend at SIFF. We saw four movies in 4 days and I got terribly behind in my daily sketching. Before giving myself over entirely to defeat, I hit upon an idea. Lump the movies onto one sketch page! But how to do it? Here’s the result. I caught Matt while he was buying tickets at the Neptune on Saturday and then added notes about the films we saw! Hurray! Disaster averted!

This sketch was a little scary for me. It demanded I ADMIT I was painting again. No more hiding from myself. That was something I’ve been working up to slowly. Sounds funny doesn’t it? Still, that’s the way it goes. Sometimes the best leaps are the ones that take you up just one simple, but critical, step. *lol*