For My Home 29-02-12

Last weekend was a bit of a dud. I did get a chance to test some colors out on a sketch and begin coloring the life owl. As well, I did a bit more on the abstract, but I didn’t get as far as I’d planned. I was overly tired and needed a few days of of rest, so I let the art go for awhile since I didn’t want to push myself. I’m feeling better today, though, and I’m ready to dive back into it. Since I don’t have much for progress shots I’ll show you what I’ve been drooling over to have in my home.

Paula Mills' family room

Paula Mills' family room (via Design Sponge)

Having an old-fashioned travel trunk has been on my “want” list for a long time now. Currently, in our bedroom we have a large armoire to hold some odds and ends including my make-up, medicine and not much else. It’s gaudy and a huge waste of space; I look forward to getting rid of it. After looking at some train-style travel cases for make-up, I got the idea to find an old trunk to have at the foot of the bed to organise the content of the armoire. It would free up a ton of space in the room and I could custom paint it myself! Though I haven’t gotten any closer to my goal I fully intend on doing this, hopefully sometime this year.

Industrial Chandelier with Vintage Bulbs

Industrial Chandelier with Vintage Bulbs (via Etsy)

I really love this “industrial chandelier”. It’s simple and was a warm inviting aesthetic. It would work well in a studio-space, an upgraded garage, a basement or even a neutral dining room or den. Since it’s not overly-detailed it would work in a multitude of spaces.

Design by Joy Triboult

Design by Joy Triboult (via The Zhush)

I talked about print and pattern in my fashion post last week and I feel it works in interior design as well, but it needs to be treated carefully. With the mirror in this space there’s a zebra-print border that looks quite nice without being overwhelming. If the entire dresser was covered in it, it risks looking a bit gaudy. Here though, it looks quite nice.

Pop Art Dresser

Pop Art Dresser (via 79ideas)

Want to keep a minimalistic look in your room, or don’t want to clutter up your walls, but you still want to display art? Paint your dresser! I love how this simple dresser was jazzed up using pop art. Keeping it black and white is a great way to keep the feel modern and fun without overwhelming the space. This is something I would absolutely consider doing myself, if I can convince my husband our furniture needs sprucing up. 🙂

Elements of Nature in Illustration

There has been a ton of inspiring art surfacing over the past few weeks. Maybe I’m just more receptive to it right now? Either way, it’s exciting to see so many new and fresh paintings and illustrations! Keeps me on my toes. Narrowing it down to a few is going to be difficult, but at the same time there’s enough material to allow me to keep a theme. This time I’ve chosen illustrations and nature.

Jon Snow & Ghost by Douglas Holgate

Jon Snow & Ghost by Douglas Holgate (via Skullduggery.com)

I’m really enjoying Game of Thrones aka Songs of Fire & Ice, though I’ve only made it to book four and watched the first season. This is a really great illustration; the trees and snow frame these two characters wonderfully and the shadows give it an edgy atmosphere. The texturing on the fur and the blood splotches on the snow are well done too.

by rachel idzerda

by rachel idzerda (via tumblr)

This illustration is so rich with detail, though it may not be obvious at first. Making water looking convincing is very difficult but there are many different ways to tackle it. Here, Rachel has used a combination of lighting and texture to, very successfully, simulate the depths. If you look closely at the waves near the top they almost look like spirits dancing around the bird. I really like how the ruffles in her dress mimic the current in the water as well.

Nocturne by Rodrigo Enrique Luff

Nocturne by Rodrigo Enrique Luff (via Deviantart)

The color palette in this work is very dark and moody, the sky holding a very subtle gradient from black to blue to brown, causing the blue to glow. Each one of the owls were carefully drawn and detailed so that they don’t simply fade into the background, but each have a unique character and personality. The floral pattern on the dress flows and compliments the opaque background.

Flutter by Jason Levesque

Flutter by Jason Levesque (via http://blog.stuntkid.com)

The girl in this drawing looks completely strung out. Her glazed eyes are accentuated by the puffy red lids which in turn are complimented her her lush lips and pink nails. All of this guides your eyes to her face and hands, giving a strong expression of wonder. Her greenish skin tone and with the butterflies give an other-worldly appeal to this image. Jason chose a fairly difficult angle to draw at as well, from below eye level of the subject, strengthening the wondrous nature of the image.

Glitches by Goni Montes

Glitches by Goni Montes (via Chrome Yellow)

Finally, we have an awesome contrast of mechanics and nature: flowers against wires, snow against metal. The reflections in the metal and detailing of the bark in the trees are eerily similar. Is this a nuclear wasteland or a snow storm? The pattern in the kimono is very nicely done as well and the green brings life to the neutral tones in this piece. One of the things about illustration that really pulls me in is that one single image can tell a whole story and spark so many questions.

The last image with snow is fitting since apparently the maritimes are going to be hit with another snowstorm this weekend. Oh well, just another reason for me to shut myself inside with a warm drink and my art. 🙂 I started testing some colors on my owl sketches last night and I’m pumped to finally get coloring this weekend!

Fashion!

There’s been a lot going on in the fashion world lately, between all the award shows, and especially since we just finished New York Fashion Week (possibly London as well). Cutting-edge designs have been floating around the internet fresh off the runways and have woven their way into my heart. I love that my inspiration isn’t limited to art or interior but includes textiles and fabrics as well. I’m a beginner to the world of fashion but I’m excited to learn more about it! I’ve even toyed with the idea of grabbing a sewing machine and getting right on into it.

I have become familiar with one name recently: Alexander McQueen. His fantastic designs are captivating and so lovely, straight out of another world. The thin black fabric in the dress below drifts over the model exquisitely and sets of the details of the rose corset beautifully. One thing I find consistent in McQueen’s work is that it’s striking. There are no pale palettes or half-hearted attempts with him. His inspirations are bold and brilliant.

pre-fall 2012, via Haute Design

pre-fall 2012, via Haute Design

Here’s another look I love from McQueen, a goth/schoolgirl/rockstar combo. I immediately thought of Ai Yazawa with this piece. Perhaps this designer is an inspiration for her kick-ass girl manga characters? I would wear a lot of this myself, though I’d skip the black lipstick (my lips are huge anyway) and maybe the skirt since it’s humungous, but I am totally on board with those boots! The hair is lovely as well since I’ve got essentially the same cut as the model. That being said, I love fashion that I wouldn’t necessarily wear myself. It can be an art form all its own.

McQueen's Look 22 (via TookLookBook)

McQueen's Look 22 (via TookLookBook)

I couldn’t find the source for this next outfit but liked it enough to include it anyway. There are a lot of different patterns going on here: cheetah, chevron and stripes. Normally I think these would clash but she’s worn them in small amounts and tastefully, with a clean black palette in the middle to tie it all together. I love the matching shoe/bag combo with studs, very rock star.

(via WeHeartIt)

(via WeHeartIt)

Versace is a name I hear a lot but hasn’t really had much meaning until recently. I’m starting to see why so many women pine over this brand. The pattern is nice, but the cut is really the best feature of this dress. A conservative style with this pattern would’ve fallen flat, but because it bears a little skin and adds small appreciated touches (the bordering, the x’s around the center) it feels very fresh and chic. Rather than go for the in-your-face style of McQueen, Versace takes something laid back and spices it up.

2012 Spring Ready-To-Wear (via Style.com)

2012 Spring Ready-To-Wear (via Style.com)

This one is straight out of NYFW. The leather and fur combination really works for me; it feels very warm and organic, very suitable for fall. I also really dig fashion I feel I can pull off and this looks great and practical. I just want to curl up on that collar and read.

Norisol Ferrari Fall 2012 (via The Looks For Less)

Norisol Ferrari Fall 2012 (via The Looks For Less)

 

I’ve been doing a lot of online window shopping (the kind where you don’t buy anything, SIGH) lately so expect to see more of this! As I re-discover what fashion means to me I want to look into all sorts of styles, cuts and colors, and decide what works for me, what doesn’t, and why. Hopefully this’ll be inspiration for me outside of the closet as well!

The Owls Are All Inked

Death Owl Inks by Jess Naish Lingley

Death Owl Inks by Jess Naish Lingley

The third owl image is now inked! I’m a little surprised that I didn’t empty out any of my pens on these drawings, given all the detail I put in. I plan to look at the three as a whole and make sure the styling is consistent (line widths and such). Having done a few copic illustrations, I’ve started adjusting the way I ink to better suit the medium. For example, with copics, coloring a large area evenly is difficult since the medium dries so fast and can streak, so I tried to fill empty space as much as possible to correct for this (the exception being the sky where I plan to do some color-blending). Now the fun begins… swatching some copics in my sketchbook!

I began another project last Thursday, this one completely different than what I’ve been doing.

Abstract for bedroom in progress

Abstract for bedroom in progress

There’s a lot of empty wall space in our bedroom and I’ve been meaning to paint another abstract, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and paint something for our room. I wanted to really get away from what I’ve been doing, the researching and planning and measuring out etc etc. With this I put on some music and just went for it, only having a color palette in mind. It’s already changed a lot from where I started (LOTS of water). I started by painting on the floor so the water wouldn’t run off, which as it turns out, is really hard on my back. Thankfully it’s dry now and I’m pretty well done putting large amounts of water on it, so I’ve got it up on an easel.

For a little inspiration, I treated myself to a book at the art store:

Acrylic Innovation (via Amazon.ca)

Acrylic Innovation (via Amazon.ca)

I had a choice between two other books on acrylics but chose this one because it covers so many different styles and interviews many different artists. The other books were mainly just a list of different techniques with no context. No word of a lie, I’ve been reading this book all weekend and love every page! I’ve already learned so much about abstraction using acrylics and I’m super impressed with the material and artists involved. Most of the hyper-realism I’ve seen has been by oil painters, but there are a handful of artists interviewed in this book that really know how to push acrylics. I highly recommend it!

One last splurge I made after writing that gushing article last Wednesday about Natalia Fabia:

Hi Fructose issue 22 (via hifructose.com)

Hi Fructose issue 22 (via hifructose.com)

Hi Fructose issue 22, pick it up if you get a chance! It contains a 12-page spread interviewing Natalia. Great magazine, great price and the only ads are other artists advertising their shows.

Natalia Fabia

If you could see into my brain as if you were looking into a room, it would be filled with bright colors, paints, glitter, shiny things, anime, tattoos, cats, and candy among other things. At any given time there would be music playing because I almost always have one song or another stuck in my head (lately it’s been “Albatross” by Big Wreck). Inspiration is having all of these things in my head bursting to get out onto the page, the feeling in my arms, wrists and hands to translate this chaos into something concrete and tangible. Art can be a calming process for this reason; if I go too long without doodling or painting or creating, I get anxious and stressed.

I’m fairly certainly I’ve included Natalia Fabia’s work before in an inspiration blog post, but recently I was introduced to it again and took more time looking through her website. Basically, her work contains all of the things that make me turn my head: bright colors, fashion, rock n roll and insane detail. Her paintings are wildly detailed and every single object has a particular reason for being there. I read in a magazine article listed on her website that she’d spent such a long time painting a small alarm clock in one of her other paintings that her boyfriend and put a sticky note above it, stating “it’s good enough”, and then she painted that in too! Dedication!

Beverage of Punk Rock Flavor by Natalia Fabia (via NataliaFabia.com)

Beverage of Punk Rock Flavor by Natalia Fabia (via NataliaFabia.com)

Sugar Rush by Natalia Fabia (via NataliaFabia.com)

Sugar Rush by Natalia Fabia (via NataliaFabia.com)

Looking at her paintings, I very quickly came to a conclusion; I love every single one of them! With some artists, I find myself only drawn to select works, or one work in particular, making choosing a favorite fairly easy. With hers, though, even trying to pick paintings to display on this blog was agony! It’s like she was able to get into my head and pick out all the things I find visually stimulating and painted using all of those ideas. Punk rock, clubbing  and japanese culture seem to be the main focuses of her works but she explores other areas as well (in her Hooker Safari series she expertly renders animals like tigers and rhinos). Not only are her subjects completely stunning, but her environments are so well thought out and beautiful. She walks the line between serenity and chaos expertly, toeing on overwhelming but not quite. It’s like she puts absolutely everything she has into every painting so she can be proud of it, something I’m striving towards with my own work.

Brooklyn Rainbow by Natalia Fabia (via Huffington Post)

Brooklyn Rainbow by Natalia Fabia (via Huffington Post)

Her latest show is called “Punk Rock Rainbow Sparkle” which sounds like a) a kick-ass punk girl band or b) a deliciously sour ice cream flavor or even c) a palette of insanely bright makeup. Unfortunately, it’s a little out of my reach, currently at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York, though Hi Fructose has some awesome photos of her opening night! The works in this series are hyper-realistic renderings of punk rock princesses in various settings, includes clubs (dance floor and bathrooms), mansions and even seemingly simplistic rooms like a messy kitchen. She has a nac for making a normally boring space saturated with detail to the point where I want examine every piece of the painting to try and understand what kind of story it’s trying to tell (in the above painting, look at the painstaking detail on the papers posted on the fridge).

According to another magazine article listed on her website, she spends days, weeks and even months travelling with a camera taking hundreds of photos to later use for reference in these dreamscapes. Bringing bags full of props with her, she sets up and takes down rooms and furniture to her liking, to get the perfect atmosphere for her subjects (many of whom are her friends). Females are her most popular subject and there is lots of nudity as well, but despite this her work isn’t exploitive or pornographic. Her skill with the female figure is well-developed and never too polished or over-done. These women look real, both beautiful and gritty and when they are dressed, they’re dressed to the nines in killer heels and gorgeous corsets.

photo by Gendy Alimurung (via LA Weekly)

photo by Gendy Alimurung (via LA Weekly)

At this point I’m probably bordering on gushing, but I’d love to meet Natalia and check out her space. I’ve said before that I love when artists give us a glimpse at their workspace. I get a taste of the vibes that drives these artists and it’s completely inspiring! I also have a huge amount of respect for artists, and crafters for the matter, that open their space up and explain their methods rather than keeping them locked away. It’s one thing to know how a particular artist paints (using techniques, certain materials, etc), but it’s a whole other skill to be able to paint as they do. The two are not the same.

It took me quite a bit longer than normal to write this entry because I kept going back to look through her work and would get lost in it. That’s pretty much the highest compliment I can give her. I think I may have a girl-crush going on, people. She is where I want to be in the art world. Go check out her stuff! Gogogo!

Leopard Sky by Natalia Fabia (via NataliaFabia.com)

Leopard Sky by Natalia Fabia (via NataliaFabia.com)

Finished Chuck Close Study

Yesterday afternoon I finally decided to finish off the Chuck Close study, because I have a million ideas for new paintings flying around in my head and I want to dedicate some time to them without feeling guilty. Here it is:

Self Portrait, Chuck Close Style by Jess Naish Lingley

Self Portrait, Chuck Close Style by Jess Naish Lingley

I wanted to have a clear contrast in this painting; one side is painted in bright colors and the other is painted in neutral and flat tones, to represent the two conflicting sides of me. This project allowed me to examine color theory. For example, what colors really make up skin tone? Peaches and pinks, browns and oranges? It’s so much more than that! In hindsight, I wished I’d painted a flat color over the masonite to start, as a base coat, because I spent a lot of time trying to cover up little white spots with random colors of paint. On top of this, I wanted the acrylics to be nice and smooth and using any kind of gloss/glaze medium with them tends to thin them down quite a lot, requiring several coats of color to ensure they were opaque. This was a fun painting and what I learned about color theory, from the abstract course last summer, will stick with me from here on out.

I also finished inking owl #2 on Saturday afternoon:

Guidance Owl Inks by Jess Naish Lingley

Guidance Owl Inks by Jess Naish Lingley

I added a lot more detail in the inking process here than I’m normally comfortable with. It’s always better to have a plan of what you’re doing, before you start in with permanent mediums lest you get overzealous and make a mistake that’s difficult to fix. I’m starting to get excited about adding color to these, but I have one more drawing w/linework to go first! Then I’ll be testing COPIC swatches out on the sketches.

I finally have a picture of Assess Your Personality in its frame, though it’s only with my cell phone cam at the moment.

Assess Your Personality by Jess Naish Lingley

Assess Your Personality by Jess Naish Lingley

I’m proud of this and so glad it’s done. So much work! Looks pretty kickin’ in a frame though. 🙂

Next on my project list is an abstract painting for our bedroom. I’m not sure what style to paint in yet but I do know that I’m using a color palette inspired by cherry blossoms: pale pinks, blues, browns. I’ve been doing a lot of detail-oriented work lately so I’m excited for the change of pace! I’d like to set up a specific playlist to paint to as well, instead of listening to whatever is on the radio.

Happy Monday everyone and keep warm!

Ai Yazawa

During my teenage years, anime & manga had a huge impact on my developing art style. I enjoyed the mainstream favorites (Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Escaflowne, Princess Mononoke and regrettably even Pokemon) and began exploring my local comic and basically judging books by their covers! Because of the wonderful art displayed, I was instantly drawn to Oh! My Goddess! and Magic Knight Rayearth, two manga with strong female characters with detail-heavy gorgeous artwork. Though I’m not as much of an otaku as I used to be, recently I’ve been completely taken in by Ai Yazawa’s works.

I started with Gokinjo Monogatari (aka Neighbourhood Story), about a group of coming-of-age high schoolers trying to make their way in the art world. In Japan, their high school is more of an equivalent to our colleges and many high schools require entrance exams. You can even begin specializing in a career at that age; the characters in this manga attend a local art school.  We mainly follow the story of Miwako and her adventures through Fashion Design as she contemplates her feelings for long-time best friend and neighbour, Tsutomu. The art is very bright and cheery while still containing a ton of intricate detail necessary to show off the fashion works of the main character.

Gokinjo Monogatari by Ai Yazawa (via myAnimeList)

Gokinjo Monogatari (the anime) by Ai Yazawa (via myAnimeList)

gokinjo monogatari by ai yazawa (via mangareader.net)

gokinjo monogatari by ai yazawa (via mangareader.net)

Though I followed that up by the manga Paradise Kiss, I’ve actually already seen the anime version prior to reading (there’s also an anime version of Neighbourhood Story but I haven’t been able to find it, subbed at least). The storyline is quite similar to Gokinjo, but instead of focusing on art school students we follow Yukari aka Caroline as she struggles to write entrance exams to a prestigious high school, all the while being swept up in a world of creativity inside herself she didn’t know existed. The art style here is comparatively matured to Gokinjo. Yazawa has eased off on the huge eyes and the body shapes are more pronounced and fleshed out. The story is a bit more mature as well with nudity and sexuality being fairly up-front in the storyline. The anime is only 12 episodes and the manga is 6 volumes, easily done in a weekend!

Paradise Kiss (the anime) by Ai Yazawa, via AnimeHere.com

Paradise Kiss (the anime) by Ai Yazawa, via AnimeHere.com

Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa (via anymanga.com)

Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa (via anymanga.com)

Yazawa’s most popular manga by far is known as Nana and has a first season in anime form to match. This manga follows two lead characters, both named Nana, as they follow their dreams, whether it’s to find a husband or be a rockstar. The “find a husband” bit may sound a bit sad and I’ll be honest, Nana #1 (aka Hachiko) is easy to hate at first. She makes a lot of bad decisions and is generally very whiny and hesitant to grow up. But at a gargantuan 20 volumes this manga has lots of space for character development and as tedious as she can be, it’s worth reading to watch her grow. The other Nana is much more head strong and ambitious with solid goals and a take-no-shit attitude, a very refreshing contrast to Hachiko. Is she willing to sacrifice her own love life to achieve her dreams of singing? This is the most mature of Yazawa’s manga that I’ve read so far due to the rockstar material (sex, drugs ‘n’ rock ‘n’ roll baby!) but is also the most deep. This is a story of ambition, dreams, and of learning how in life actions have consequences.

Nana by Ai Yazawa, via Blogspot

Nana by Ai Yazawa, via Blogspot

Nana the anime, by Ai Yazawa (via onlyhdwallpapers.com)

Nana the anime, by Ai Yazawa (via onlyhdwallpapers.com)

What attracted me to read more of Yazawa’s work is her attention to detail and wonderful creativity. It turns out that before she became a mangaka, she attended fashion school for awhile which is obvious in her work. I look forward to each page in her manga because each frame is another work of art, from the delicate expressions to the well-thought-out hairstyles and of course, the amazing outfits. All of the works I’ve read of hers have many characters and yet she has no trouble coming up with consistently beautiful costumes and outfits for all of them! Just talking about this makes me want to go back and re-read/watch all of it again. Her worlds are so full and rich that I find myself instantly immersed in them… especially the ones concerning art school.

In addition to all the manga she’s written (there are many more than what I’ve described here) she’s also released some art books with color illustrations. I’ve been unable to find them so far but would love to get my hands on them. Images from these books have been floating around online and can be found with good ol’ Google Image Search.

Probably the biggest selling point for me in these stories are the strong female leads, even if they don’t begin that way. Growing up I was used to a lot of male main characters with females being left as secondary or side characters. In these works the females are front and center and are, for the most part, strong-willed, creative and beautiful all in their own way. I think it would be difficult to read these and not want to chase after your own dreams. I recommend them all, though if you’re puzzled on where to start, Nana seems to be the most accessible.