Sunday, March 2, 2014

Going Abstract!

After Raena's last exciting contribution, I just wanted to keep the book open to the "diorama" page.  And I did just that, for a while.  In the studio I kept the sketchbook open on the shelf I have in the studio for displaying art and works-in-process, so I could enjoy and gape every time I walked by.  What a wonderful page it turned out to be!  Raena did something I hadn't thought of - she expanded the scope beyond the dimensions of the page.  Now that's what I'm talking about!!

Where could I go from there?

I was thinking of Raena's words, in response to my comment on the last post:  "This is supposed to challenge us, push us, make us better than before!"

So that got me thinking.  All of Raena's talent and creativity and I've never seen her do nonrepresentational work.

Not that I do so much either.  I always lean towards the representational.   But I've been infected a bit by the abstract bug, from scanning the internet.  Honestly, it has really thrown me, because it is difficult for me to be satisfied anymore with a purely representational portrayal.  Not that I am throwing it to the wind.

Except for now - I am doing just that!  Abstract for page 4 of our sketchbook!

For this I used a dip pen and some waterproof india ink.  It looked mighty good as a black & white, and then I added the watercolor.  I've tried things like this before, and this is the most successful to date, I think.

So what will Raena do?  It doesn't have to be the same - maybe it is better if it is not - too busy.  I'm interested to see!

(By the way Raena, here is my advice, don't think too hard.  Instead as Thom Yorke suggested - paint to the spot in the middle of your head.  If you want to get exactly in the frame of mind that I was in when I did this (maybe you don't!), go to Grooveshark and listen to the album "Amok" by the band, Atoms for Peace, Thom Yorke's other band (the one I prefer) - it's quite different - unbounded creativity there, for sure.)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

If you ever hear me say...

If you ever hear me say that I want to be an actress or work in Hollywood (It would actually never happen...I hate being in the public eye.), quickly tell me NOT to quit my day job!  My idea for this was instant and I was so enthusiastic that when I got the book I set to work immediately.  My idea was to seem like a mad-scientist-sort-of-person creating a diorama...not that that is what I think mad scientists do.  For this I needed reference photos of myself looking crazed.  Which is where the actress thing comes in because after about twenty or so shots I resigned myself to the notion that I am not capable of making a mad scientist expression.    Here look...all I get are silly faces:

(Did you see the giant nose to the left of the pictures?  Yes, Rex was doing his best to hog the camera.)

I was going for up-lighting but shadows from my glasses were getting too dominant.

So I settled on a picture and got to work.  The drawing went quickly.  I painted the background and the sweater first.  Then I decided I didn't like the lighting, so I put it down to 'think' about for a while.  A while turned into two weeks.  So I decided to just go with it, maybe not go as strong on the shadows, and picked it back up yesterday.  Things were looking fantastic; I was ecstatic, elated!  And then I made the bad decision to change the color of the sweater.  Followed that with a few more bad decisions.  It suddenly looked hideous.  No really.  It did.  I just couldn't send it back to Dan like that, so I kept at it.  I struggled.  I sweated.  I finally ended up with something I liked.  But then I started fiddling and I could see it going back the other direction.  Really, I could have used someone standing next to me, screaming to STOP already!

I did stop eventually.  And even though I don't think I did anything USEFUL that last half hour...I am still pleased.  I do think that my skills aren't quite up to my imagination just yet.  This was still fun...and I don't think I've ever been pushed this far.  If it hadn't been in Dan's sketchbook, I probably would have given up.  That is probably one of the best lessons I have learned yet with this.--To keep pushing and not give up too soon.

So is now on it's way back to Dan.  Or, it will be tomorrow.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Page 3, Part Three

[Click to enlarge.]

Despite how it may appear, the tortoise did not win.

Raena and I took, well, a nine month break from our joint blog.  But we are back!  And we intend to treat this sketchbook like a hot potato - or at least a lukewarm one, so that we will post more often in the future.  We resolve not to try for perfection and not to be intimidated by the blank page or each other.  Instead we are going to be challenged by one another's art and ideas, and grow, grow, grow!  (We hope).

You can see how we started this page in the last two posts.  To this page, I have now added the boy who is pulling the dinosaur's tail.  Months ago I had no idea what to do when Raena added the dinosaur.  I was toying with the idea of a boy swooping down, riding a pterodactyl.  I made several pre-drawings.  But I couldn't make it work.  I'll leave that kind of thing to James Gurney, at least for now.

This time, the idea of the boy trying to hold back the dinosaur came to me right away.  First I looked at several tug-of-war photos.  I was aiming for a certain body position, and found a woman that was just right.  Then I found a photo of a young Indian boy.  Then I looked for facial expressions by googling the word "determination", to get his expression.  I used all of these as guides for the final product.

The entire time I had Sadami's advice in my head - I tried to capture his movement, effort and resolve.

I'm using a thicker pen these days than before and automatically picked it up without thinking - it gives the boy a rougher appearance than the girl that works, I think.  In the arms though, I accidentally picked up an even thicker pen.  It's okay.  I think whatever background is put in place will minimize most of it.  I've learned that this is the attitude we must have - use the mistakes - it's what makes your art unique.  Also, perfection is boring!

So there you go, Raena - it'll be in the mail shortly on its cross-country journey to you.  What will you do next?