Friday, March 24, 2017

Frog Failure

Twice, I've tried to paint a frog from a picture. The second try was today. Both attempts were really bad! I switched gears and tried painting a deer instead. While I can certainly see room for improvement, I am also happy with this one, especially the face. It's amazing how much the two tiny dots of white make the eyes come alive!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Still Here!

Actually, I never went away. There just hasn't been much to post, since it's been busy. Several days, all I did was pick up a sketchbook and a pen and rapidly work on blind contour to semi-blind contour drawing. I would make one drawing, draw over that, and so on. The cats were mostly my inspiration and, if they moved in such a way that I could not see the other ear, but I could still see the body, I just went with it. It was very freeing and fun, but it's not much to look at. I call this creating scribble pages. Here are a couple of small sections on one page.

Add caption
I also moved on to week 3 of the Seeing class at Sketchbook Skool. Since I never had time to do any of the week 2 homework, I jumped ahead to week 3. I'll go back and do the week 2 stuff at some point. For week 3, the instructor gave several examples of continuous line drawing and really slowing down to see what you are drawing. We were instructed to take 3 minutes to draw a simple object. Next up is to take 10 minutes to draw 3 objects in the same manner and to paint it in watercolor. So far, I've one a number of one object continuous line drawings.

Finally, I painted last night! It felt good. Actually, I did two paintings from the same picture. The first one was so rusty, it's in the garbage. The second one went better.  

Look at all that black background showing through for his dark spots and stripes. This is a first! Also, I drew this from a picture that was gridded in four equal sections, but on my "canvas" I only marked the center horizontally and vertically, so more of the underlying drawing was done by comparing landmarks to each other.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Wrestling With The Inner Critic

I am pleased to say that I won today's bout with the inner critic or maybe it was a draw. Given the entire experience, I can at least be proud that I didn't lose. Today, I took my brave pill and went to my first Urban Sketcher's event in the Twin Cities. It was at the Cycling Museum of Minnesota.  My skill level is at rudimentary place from all of the participants, based upon the work I saw at the end of the event. That mostly does not matter. I try very hard to compare my work to my work, since none of this comes easily and I haven't been doing it very long. 

I started with a rough sketch of a penny-farthing and a partial sketch of an early tricycle for a child. The tricycle may not look like much, because I don't get how to make the different parts distinct enough. Still, I felt pretty good about this and I think practicing drawing chairs helped. 

At best, I was feeling okay. It's hard to be surrounded by a lot of people who were doing beautiful work in their sketchbooks. It makes it easy for doubt to creep in. Plus, the number of objects to choose from was overwhelming. I had a hard time getting focus and figuring out what I wanted to accomplish. I was erasing a lot and that got even worse when I wanted to figure out how to draw the following seat. 

Bicycle seat of doom

I tried to follow the front edge and the back edge, but couldn't figure out how the back line underneath the seat attached the two. I drew and erased and drew and erased again and again and again. It got the voice in my head to a very negative and bad place and I felt awful. After making myself miserable, I decided that working in pencil was the wrong choice and that I needed to let go of the stupid bicycle seat. The picture is so that I can print it out and trace it, when I'm not so mad at it. 

Rather than quit, I made two decisions.  The first was to work in pen and just own the lines that I was drawing. The second was to move onto drawing different handlebars from different angles.While doing this, I remember thinking I'm not them, I'm me, and I need to do what's right for me at this moment. I felt better. There's no picture, since these pages were very messy, After than, I went back to pencil, picked some random bike parts like a back tire and fender, and finished up with a tall unicycle hanging from a beam.

At the end of the session, people were invited to put their sketchbook on the floor so that we could see everyone's work. This was a bit tough. I'm not even close to having the skill to compose and create something pretty or artistic. The best that I can do is represent what I see and many times I don't even get to that point. I expect to struggle with this even as a gain skills, given that I like fussy details and I like accuracy. Sigh. 

Still I am proud that I showed up, I sketched, I worked myself out of a very bad place, and I put my sketchbook down along with the rest.   

Overall, the group seemed friendly and welcoming, although there was zero conversation after people started sketching. I spoke to several people. If my schedule allows, I will try and go again. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Concert Sketch

I went to see Zac Harris and the American Reverie at the Roots Cellar. Of course, I took the opportunity to sketch. It's especially hard to get anything decent when you sketch in a situation where you can't take any measurements. I'll chalk up everything else that I did as my warm up.  My last sketch of the evening was this one. Both the bass and the base player are little wider in my sketch than in actuality.  Still, I feel pretty good about this one, since again, I could not take any measurements, plus I was sketching in very low light.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Fast And Slow

Here is another fast and slow based upon a technique from the Seeing class in Sketchbook Skool. You try to broadly capture an object in a minute. You go back and slowly draw in the details over your broad interpretation.

I wish a had a bigger round brush to use for water colors. I think it would work and look better. Still, I like the overall effect of this technique. It's not too matchy, matchy, in that the color and the pen do not, and really should not, line up.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sketchbook Skool Homework For Week 1

Class is in week 2. I am working on my homework for week 1. Fortunately, there are only 2 assignments, with the toast being the first assignment. Plus, I'm doing this for fun, so I'm not going to sweat it. Although by being behind, I'm missing out on the community aspect of the course.

The second assignment was called fast / slow. You paint the rough shape of an object really fast with a big brush. I probably could have used a bigger brush, but I used what I had.  After the watercolor dries, you go back with pen and slow down to actually see and draw the details of the object. I thought about using the antique clock, which was my father's, or my unicycle. It surprised me when I decided to spend some quality time with my vacuum cleaner. I wish that I would have gotten my paint a little darker.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lyin' Eyes

To steal the title of an Eagles song, I either had a problem today with lyin' eyes or inept hands. I had a few spare moments and decided to try and draw my tangerine in pen. First, I did the top one without measuring. After measuring, it turns out that the tangerine was taller than it was wide. I tried to sync up my eyes and hands to draw it with this relationship, but could not until I got to the bottom one.

I'm still having trouble figuring out how to make expressive marks to show shape, shade, and characteristics in pen, but I know it won't get any better if I don't keep trying.

I also tried to sketch my puppy dog tail (a small cinnamon roll) from Isles Buns & Coffee and decided that I have no clue how to draw frosting versus the rest of the roll. It got another attempt after I indulged in 1/2 the roll, but I didn't really try to do the texture of the frosting. The tall chai tea also garnered several attempts.

If I sound too critical or cranky, I'm not. In the moment, it was wonderful.

For some reason after tackling toast, yesterday, I am really interested in trying to sketch food.