Spring Has Arrived!

It’s official; I survived my first year at NSCAD! It’s a huge relief to have some time off, but it’s also bittersweet, because many of the foundation students will now go their separate ways. Some will transfer to other schools, and I won’t see them again. Others, I will be seeing much more of, since we’ll be taking a lot of the same classes. It’s been an intense and wonderful ride, and I look forward to all the fun that next year entails, including lots of painting, illustrating, and some printmaking, too! In the mean time, starting in July, I’ll be dedicating some time to one of the biggest influences I had growing up, graphic novels, through a history course.

Now that I’ve met all my school deadlines, I’ve had time to look at some of my own projects, and started by updating my Deviantart page with a few of my stronger pieces from the semester.

Modern Surreal Vitruvian Man by Jess Naish Lingley

Modern Surreal Vitruvian Man by Jess Naish Lingley

This was my final project for my drawing class. The concept was pretty open-ended, allowing us to use many of the techniques we’d learned over the past few months. After a few days of mulling over various ideas, when making coffee one morning I came up with the idea of using a master drawing that would allow me plenty of space to express myself. This led me to choose the infamous Virtuvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci (bonus round: I completely the drawing on his birthday!).

Over the course of this class I most enjoyed working with ink, something I hadn’t really given any time to before, so it’s the main medium in this work, both with brush and pen nib. Despite only having a few short days to work on it between all my other final projects, I’m very happy with the way it came out. Working with pen nibs was interesting and something that I will likely revisit in the future.

Beach at Dusk by Jess Naish Lingley

Beach at Dusk by Jess Naish Lingley

This illustration began a few weeks ago when, on a whim, I decided to give my wacom tablet some love, instead of doing my homework. Four hours later, I was assured of my xmas purchase and discovered a new love of digital painting/illustration. After finishing my final projects, I was able to finish it off and upload it. It’s not perfect; the line art is a bit messy since I started it in GIMP, which wasn’t giving me great quality lines for some reason. The software wasn’t as intuitive as I needed it to be, so I tried switching over to Photoshop Elements and had a much easier time of things. Though I’m still working on anatomy and creating decent backgrounds, I feel like my new knowledge of color really shows through here, along with my love of painting. I had a lot of fun using dusk-like colors and will continue to challenge myself with these colorful atmospheres in future works.

It’s strange, since I didn’t enjoy working with the Cintiq as much as I enjoy working with my simple Bamboo and laptop. I’m enjoying digital illustration now a lot more than I was a year ago; perhaps my mindset has changed? My new-found love of digital art prompted me to pre-order ImagineFX’s Digital Painting issue, which I will use to bolster my newbie digital art skills over the summer. I’m not sure how much digital technique I’ll be picking up at NSCAD, so I’m hoping this magazine will be a good starting point. I know there are a lot of things I could probably be doing faster/easier, which is one of the great benefits of digital coloring. That, and no mess to clean up!

Perspective, Loomis-style

Perspective, Loomis-style

With my time off, I’m studying Figure Drawing, For All It’s Worth by Andrew Loomis. I want to try and drill myself on anatomy and perspective as much as I can this summer, after all the years of drawing I missed out on after my college stint. I definitely have some catching up to do. Loomis is tough stuff, but if I can learn his basics and strengthen my knowledge of perspective, I can basically do anything. Just by mapping out perspective lines and very basic figures, he can easily build an entire complex drawing. Once you’ve got the foundation down, the rest just seems to fall into place. Getting that foundation down, though, is very tough to get right. It wasn’t until I started studying his proportions that I realized how far off some of my own (from imagination) were.

In short, I’ve got my work cut out for me! There are so many things I want to catch up on this summer. Between all the art I want to do, and the movies I’d like to catch up on, I’ll have plenty things to stave off the boredom. I’ll also have more time to update my precious blog, so stay tuned for more progress reports, and posts on inspiring artists!

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Homework homework homework, but also a show!

Since I arrived back to school in January, things have been extremely hectic! I’ve had a ton more homework to sift through than I did last semester, and hardly any time to catch a break in between projects.

One of the reasons I’ve been so busy is that on top of school work, shortly after I submitted those pieces to the Pre-Shrunk show, I was asked to submit a work for an upcoming art show in February about cats. How could I say no to that?! I spent some time researching my subjects beforehand since I don’t draw or paint a lot of wildlife. Thankfully, I have two little fur balls I was able to use for reference (and there are now a copious number of cat pictures on my new phone, oh no!). After several quick preliminary sketches, I got to work immediately. I took roughly three weeks to complete the painting in between school work, and got to show it off at the opening for Cat Person last night.

Mocha & Java: A Modern Portrait by Jess Lingley

Mocha & Java: A Modern Portrait by Jess Lingley, 16″ x 20″ acrylics on gesso’d cradleboard

I’m quite happy with it! Painting the fur was quite challenging, but I looked at a book from the local library for help. It’s a great book for painting wildlife in acrylics and gives great tips on palette set up and acrylic techniques. Silvers’ paintings are stunning. I’m so thankful for another opportuniy to show work at Argyle Fine Art, especially beside so much other beautiful work from the Cat Person show: check it out on their Flickr site!

It was very challenging to balance everything, but I’ve made it through to winter break in one piece. Though all of my classes are pretty intensive, Design has been the most challenging so far with multiple assignments due each week.

Design homework with Gouache on Mylar.

Design homework with Gouache on Mylar.

I’ve enjoyed the graphic design element of it the most, though I don’t think I’ll be studying it in degree form. Fine Art gives me a lot more expressive room than I would ever get with design. Besides graphic design, I got to dabble a bit in product design with a group project. I’ve never done anything like that before and it was an eye-opening experience. It’s very rewarding to take a project from a simple sketch to a full three dimensional working model.

Product design group project results.

Product design group project results.

The most rewarding class (aside from my favourite: Drawing II) has been metal shop. I went from not knowing the first thing about steel to cutting, bending, twisting, forging and manipulating it to make a final project.

Fun in metal shop.

Fun in metal shop.

It's all coming together...

It’s all coming together…

The shot directly above is blurry because my hands were shaking when I took it. Shop has been pretty physically exhausting, but coming home after working hard all day is a great feeling. I’m working on something practical for the apartment; given the shapes above, can you guess what it is? I think my favourite part of shop is welding. It’s really similar to soldering, but the filler is part of the welding torch so you can hold onto what you’re doing instead of trying to criss-cross materials with both hands. It’s a great feeling to weld stuff together! Just don’t weld it to the table you’re working on… :: cough cough ::

And then there’s Drawing II. Aaaah drawing, let me count the ways that I love thee.

Cavernous pepper by Jess Lingley.

Cavernous pepper by Jess Lingley, 22″ x 30″ graphite on mayfair.

This study ended up being a really relaxing one, despite the amount of detail I put into it. It was really rewarding to be able to chip away at it an hour or so at a time, and have a really interesting finished product. I chose this pepper to draw in a macro fashion, because it you look closely enough at it, it becomes abstracted and looks like something else. I thought of alien eggs in some kind of cavern.

Ink wash landscape by Jess Lingley.

Ink wash landscape by Jess Lingley, ~11″ x 15″ inkwash on stonehenge.

This class introduced me to ink as a way of drawing. At first, I found it pretty unforgiving, but if you work in washes it becomes beautiful. For this assignment we studied atmospheric perspective (how things get lighter as they get further away). I wish I’d had more time with this, because I found myself having a ton of fun with it. When separating a landscape into soft layers (and working with a decent sketch of course), it becomes a lot less daunting. Starting with light washes and slowly going darker, the drawing really comes to life.

Skeleton Study of Adam & Eve by Albrecht Durer.

Skeleton Study of Adam & Eve by Albrecht Durer, 22″ x 30″ charcoal and ink wash on stonehenge.

Having just finished the Cat Person painting, I wanted to put a little extra effort into my drawing homework, since I’d not been able to do my best for the past few weeks. Drawing is a class I really want to bring my A Game to, because I’m going to go on studying it and painting at a higher level. I love drawing dearly and want to do my best with it! For this assignment, we had to use a master drawing as a study. I cheated a bit and chose an etching by the amazing Albrecht Durer, entitled Adam & Eve (NSFW nudity). I was absolutely taken with the etching when I saw it, and couldn’t find another drawing that compared.

I’ll admit that I was perhaps a little over-ambitious, but I’m really happy with the results! By this point I’d fallen in love with ink. I used it to simplify the background a bit and discovered that it blends really nicely with charcoal. I could have easily doubled the amount of time spent on this, but I’d already put way over the homework requirement  of time on it, and had other homework left to do. I will definitely be using ink wash and charcoal more in upcoming projects, but also look for more color work of mine during the second half of the semester.

I can’t believe I’m already halfway through this semester! It’s been quite a blur with the amount of work I’ve had to do, but I feel like I’ve already accomplished so much this year! I look forward to Modeled Forms and Wood Shop, coming up after the break. Until then though, I’ve got some final projects to get through and maybe even some personal ones. I’m going to a few figure drawing work shops that are offered next week as well, so I’ll have lots to keep me busy. We’ve been doing a lot of figure studies in Drawing which is awesome, since I’m trying to get as good as possible at drawing the figure from my imagination.

Cheers, all!

Rooms in Blue

After much deliberation (mostly holding paint chips up against the wall) we decided to paint our new living room blue (Glacier Blue if my memory serves)! Blue is a calm, relaxing and refreshing color. We thought it would be appropriate for an entertaining space as well as a space for us to relax after work or school. Blue also works with the color of the carpets, trim and furniture that we already had. But how do you decorate a blue space?

via The Decorista

via The Decorista

Both white and black can be used in a light blue space to play up contrast. Dark furniture and light carpets work well here. You can also use different blues (brighter, darker, etc) as accent colors, like they’ve done with the pillow and chair. Feel free to include blues that don’t exactly match the hue/lightness of the wall! For example, include blues that are more towards purple or green. They’ll keep the space from looking monotone and flat.

via The Aestate (tumblr)

via The Aestate (tumblr)

The mauve/violet against the navy blue really pops here. There are some neutrals to tone down the bright colors, almost a charcoal in the fireplace. Since wood is naturally brown/orangey, and orange is opposite blue on the color wheel, these two colors play well off each other and make each other look great.

via Marcus Design Inc

via Marcus Design Inc

I’ll confess that I would absolutely love to have some zebra stripes in our living room! Whether through simple accent pillows, or a chair, or a nice rug, black & white stripes look great with blue. Big yellow curtains bring warmth to the cool colors, and the green armless chair bridges the gap between yellow and blue.

via The Peak of Tres Chic

via The Peak of Tres Chic

I love this art wall; black and white photos look so classy against the blue wall above. Blue is such a great color because almost anything works as an accent against it; black & white like I mentioned earlier, silver, gold, espresso… so many possibilities! This space makes me wish we had more white furniture as it really brightens the room up. It’s also worth mentioning that pink looks amazing against blue, so go to town!

via PicsDecor.com

via PicsDecor.com

I’ve said before that wallpaper is coming back, and it’s something I’d love to play with in our space, even if it’s just on a small wall that no one ever looks at. The intricate pattern here looks gorgeous, and they’ve compromised by not doing the whole wall. Having the solid block of blue beside it gives the eye a place to rest.

We’ve finished painting the living room and are slowly putting it back together. All the boxes are finally gone (from that room at least) but we still have to organize the clutter a bit more before I’d feel comfortable showing off some photos. But stay tuned, because eventually I plan to show our new living room off!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Zoe Pawlak

Haute Design, an interior design blog, introduced me to Zoe Pawlak‘s work. Zoe does custom work for clients based on the spaces they live in, working closely with them from the conception phases of the work, all the way to staging the finished painting. She got her BFA at NSCAD (hurray!) and went onto study painting after that in Montreal and Mexico. Her use of vivid colors is striking and refreshing, like a fruity drink on a hot sunny day.

The next three pieces you’ll see are of the same subject, but painted very differently. There are some that might think that painting the same subject over and over would be too easy, but I disagree. In my own work I usually start with research sketches, followed by several sketches of what I want to paint, followed by a final sketch which I may ink depending on materials. I’ve usually drawn something 4-5 times before I go to paint it, which helps me familiarize with the subject matter, especially when it’s something I’ve never drawn before (like Owls!). It can really test your patient to work on the same subject continuously.

Heaven Hold On, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48 by Zoe Pawlak

Heaven Hold On, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48 by Zoe Pawlak

All three of these works have very different vibes to them. I love the tropical palette used above, the sun and the water in saturated soft splashes of color. Her multi-colored hair draws your attention to her whimsical expression and the birds above her.

Far, Far, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48  by Zoe Pawlak

Far, Far, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48 by Zoe Pawlak

This painting has a more graphic-style to it, with flatter colors and harsher shadows. Using the complimentary palette of pink and yellow gives these simplistic colors depth.

Semblance, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48 by Zoe Pawlak

Semblance, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48 by Zoe Pawlak

There’s a lot of texture in this piece. The colors are softer and there’s a lot more happening with the background. I like how she takes each painting to a different level of completion. These pieces are plenty different, different enough that I’d want to display them side-by-side. The Haute Design article has several photos of how her clients display her work.

Swimmer, Acrylic and oil on Canvas, 48 x 72 by Zoe Pawlak

Swimmer, Acrylic and oil on Canvas, 48 x 72 by Zoe Pawlak

The deep blue hues of this painting drew me in pretty quickly. The cape flowing from her shoulders draws the eye up to the carefully detailed surface of the water.

Taken Away, 48 x 48, Oil on Canvas by Zoe Pawlak

Taken Away, 48 x 48, Oil on Canvas by Zoe Pawlak

Some of the paintings Zoe does lean a bit towards abstraction. The above landscape, painted in light soft colors looks like something from a dream, or a foggy landscape painted in the early morning. Paintings like this really show off her skills with brushstrokes. Some of her lines are stark, others carefully softened and others still half-blended, keeping the texture of the brush visible.

Large Flowers (Taupe background), Acrylic and oil on Canvas, 48 x 72 by Zoe Pawlak

Large Flowers (Taupe background), Acrylic and oil on Canvas, 48 x 72 by Zoe Pawlak

The flowers above are so beautifully bright and really stand out against the taupe background. I like the geometry in this composition, the cool greens in the stem blossoming into warm bright petals up top.

Here’s a video showing her working away as well as showing off her work to potential clients. Being able to hand-pick clients and showing work all over the world are goals that I would like to accomplish, some day. Watching her in her element is very inspiring. The music is really pretty too, definitely worth two minutes of your time.

ZOE PAWLAK from Liam Mitchell on Vimeo.

Flowing Summer Prints

The trend of bright colors continues, from neon in the spring to bold colors and patterns in the summer. What better way to show them off than in the bright sunshine?

Retroactive – Ranya Mordanova (via Fashion Gone Rogue)

Retroactive – Ranya Mordanova (via Fashion Gone Rogue)

Retroactive – Ranya Mordanova (via Fashion Gone Rogue)

Retroactive – Ranya Mordanova (via Fashion Gone Rogue)

Prints have really made a come-back. The dress on the top is gorgeous, modest yet chic for summer. The pattern looks like it’s been taken from a kaleidoscope and is easily accessorized with anything black. I really like the super-high-waisted skirt in the bottom image, with a simple top (though not one that cuts down quite that far). I’ve been seeing a lot of dresses and skirts paired with leggings, making this look great for spring and fall as well. Accessorizing with prints is easy; stick to colors found in the prints and you’re good to go! It’s really cute how she’s used bracelets over-top of her heels, whether they’re part of the shoes or not.

 

The Fashion Aquarium – Marte Mei van Haaster (via Fashion Gone Rogue)

The Fashion Aquarium – Marte Mei van Haaster (via Fashion Gone Rogue)

The Fashion Aquarium – Marte Mei van Haaster (via Fashion Gone Rogue)

The Fashion Aquarium – Marte Mei van Haaster (via Fashion Gone Rogue)

The Fashion Aquarium – Marte Mei van Haaster (via Fashion Gone Rogue)

The Fashion Aquarium – Marte Mei van Haaster (via Fashion Gone Rogue)

The photos above caught my attention because of the model; she looks like she’s sweating from heat. Displaying summer clothes on someone that’s sweating (or made to look like she was) makes sense! We should embrace the weather instead of trying to hide from it. The peplum top is very cute and is hopefully made of a thin shear fabric, otherwise, and the shiny silver may generate more heat. The second outfit is really cool; I love the mix of the netting against the overalls, though normally overalls don’t do it for me (perhaps the bottom half is a skirt?). The mix of textures continues in the third image, swirly cotton against smooth silk. Her fire-red shoes really pop against the cool colors of the rest of the outfit.

 

Florence Welch, July 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK magazine (via Print and Pattern)

Florence Welch, July 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK magazine (via Print and Pattern)

Florence Welch, July 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK magazine (via Print and Pattern)

Florence Welch, July 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK magazine (via Print and Pattern)

I really love the color palette in the shoot above, so warm and dreamy! The whole care-free-flower-child look is really cool, even if I wouldn’t wear it myself. Long flowing fabric is in this summer (think maxi skirts/dresses) and can be worn tons of different ways. The dress above is a little shear in my opinion, but with another layer or two it’d be very wearable. I would like to see different skirt-length options for dresses this summer, though. I’ve seen lots of skirts I’d love to try but they end up dragging behind me and I can’t help but cringe thinking how dirty they’d get.

 

Photography of Joanna Kustra for Factice Mag (via 79 ideas)

Photography of Joanna Kustra for Factice Mag (via 79 ideas)

Photography of Joanna Kustra for Factice Mag (via 79 ideas)

Photography of Joanna Kustra for Factice Mag (via 79 ideas)

The subject matter above is very interesting; a black wedding gown instead of white, flowers hair pieces, the block of black against the top model’s forehead and the orange eye makeup framed with the very popular beachy-waves hairstyle. These portraits draw your attention more to the model and her expression, rather than the fashion, and I like that. The second photo is a bit more traditional but still beautiful, especially her hair.

Looking at what ties all these images together, I think it’s safe to say we should keep the makeup and accessories simple this summer; let the prints and fabrics speak instead!

Big Canvas is now unwrapped!

Thanks to last Friday’s post, I was finally able to settle on an idea for the large canvas (24″ x 36″) that’s been sitting in my room since the beginning of the year. Behold the power of a productive weekend!

Fashion Study, in progress by Jess Lingley

Fashion Study, in progress by Jess Lingley

Out of all the beautiful shots from this W Korea photoshoot, after much consideration I decided on this image because it contained just the right amount of elements to challenge me. I could’ve played it safe by sticking to a portrait shot, but I can’t remember the last time I painted/drew something with multiple human subjects so I figured it was time to give it a try. Given how much I’m blowing this up I thought it’d be wise to grid things out to keep the proportions correct. Normally I’m on the fence about gridding (I’d rather challenge myself to measure correctly with my own eyes) but in this case, it was necessary.

Saturday afternoon and evening were spent laying out the grid and pencilling as much in as I could. Sunday afternoon, I dove in with a mix of blues for the underpainting! The fabrics in the original have a sort of bluish undertone and I’ve been wanting to try underpainting with colors other than Burnt Sienna, so this was the perfect opporitunity to give it a go. I love painting with blue, it’s my favorite color. So far I’m happy with progress but I’m a little concerned that my pencil lines are too dark. Eep.

In between layers of paint, I continued on with night/death owl:

Death Owl, in progress by Jess Lingley

Death Owl, in progress by Jess Lingley

Using a darker palette has been interesting. I’m trying to get the clock out of the way so I can focus on blocking in the horizon, trees and then look at filling in the skulls. I’m not really sure what colors I’m going to use for them quite yet, or how I’m going to light them.

Hopefully my week can be as productive as the weekend was! I got so much cleaning done and even got in some baking. Working in a clean space is important to me. Otherwise, I get distracted by things that need to be put away. A space that is clean is so much more relaxing and serene. Spring cleaning, indeed!

Fashion Shoots for Spring 2012

For fashion magazines and other fashion adverts to be effective, they need to properly showcase their outfits (well lit clothing, attractive models) and provide a fitting atmosphere to display them in. Having clothing against a simple backdrop is okay, but showcasing it on a model that can really wear it, or having it in a space that suits it can really bring it out further and make it shine.

The spring campaign for Swedish Hasbeens has a vintage vibe, both in style of accessories and color palettes. The photography below uses beautiful washed out colors. I’m especially found of the soft purples, blues and pinks. It makes the photos look aged and gives them a happy nostalgic feeling. I’m a big fan of wedges and vintage accessories. I dig 60’s inspired clothing, as I feel it flatters more body shapes than some modern fashion. Everything about this shoot flows together harmoniously from the makeup, to the hairstyles, to the outfits.

Swedish Hasbeens Spring 2012 Collection (via MoreDesignPlease)

Swedish Hasbeens Spring 2012 Collection (via MoreDesignPlease)

Swedish Hasbeens Spring 2012 Collection (via MoreDesignPlease)

Swedish Hasbeens Spring 2012 Collection (via MoreDesignPlease)

The photos below from W Korea’s March 2012 magazine pop with candy colors: soft and bright and sweet. The dreamlike atmosphere draws me in, from the bubblegum wigs to the flowing fabrics. The colors are bright without clashing and pleasant to look at. I’d like to paint something like this, where the subjects are fun and the small details (peeling wallpaper, mattress fabric) would provide enough challenge to keep things interesting.

W Korea March 2012 (via Chicquero)

W Korea March 2012 (via Chicquero)

W Korea March 2012 (via Chicquero)

W Korea March 2012 (via Chicquero)

Prada’s Spring 2012 combines two of my favorite styles: vintage and graphic. The over-sized sunglasses and thin soft blouses look perfect for the warmer spring days, and those shoes… they have flames on them. FLAMES. I’m in love with them. The sky is so bright in these photos that it looks like the blue of a pool and gives a refreshing balance to the harsh light of a hot sun. In contrast to the first set of vintage images above, these are bright and in-your-face, clothing you’d definitely want to show off on the town.

Prada Spring 2012 (via Print and Pattern)

Prada Spring 2012 (via Print and Pattern)

Prada Spring 2012 (via Print and Pattern)

Prada Spring 2012 (via Print and Pattern)

I really love how they’ve used graffiti as a backdrop in this Vogue US March 2012 shoot. The bold colors and sharp cuts in the clothing stand out against it the spray-painted letters on the wreckage in the background. There are a lot of different textures going on here as well: the block of green against the pink car, the rustic pleats in the skirt against the horizon. Both photos really put a spotlight on these modern upscale outfits in a psychedelic grungy wasteland. Putting these outfits against a plain, brick wall would give them a totally different feeling and might even downplay them.

Vogue US March 2012 (via Trendland)

Vogue US March 2012 (via Trendland)

Vogue US March 2012 (via Trendland)

Vogue US March 2012 (via Trendland)