Restless Spring Rain

Over the long weekend I finished my Guidance Owl illustration and began on the Death Owl:

Death Owl, progress by Jess Lingley

Death Owl, progress by Jess Lingley

The sky was a lot of fun, I kind of channeled a little Van Gough with it. Streaks of color blended together give a lovely effect, even if it’s not totally realistic. The lighting in this piece is going to be another challenge, since I don’t color with evening palettes very often. I haven’t been able to find any solid references for this kind of color online, so I’m winging it and having a lot of fun.

The more I color in, the more the finished product starts to come together in my mind. Frequently I find things that I’ve missed while inking, and come up with ways to make several parts in the piece work together. I’m trying to blend the colors in this really well, using some of the techniques I posted in the COPIC time-lapse videos I posted earlier in the week.

With spring, I start to come out of “hibernation mode” and feel incredibly ambitious. The snow melts away and grass peaks through the brown; everything feels new and fresh. As it warms up and the rain begins, it washes away all the grime and dirt that the winter left behind, cleaning the slate for things to come in the summer. Tim’s exams are almost done and all of my projects this year have been self-directed. On top of that, I haven’t done any classes, not that I’ve been able to find any that have honestly interested me. It’s not that I’m losing the flame for art: quite the opposite, actually. I’m feeling pretty restless and eager to embark on something totally new and exciting.

Out the Window by Tim Lingley

Out the Window by Tim Lingley

I’ve been scheming away on some pretty big changes that I can’t quite announce yet (groooooooooan) but in the meantime, after Tim has finished his last exam, we’re going on a road trip! It’s an ambitious two-week drive down through New Hampshire, Boston, New York and back up through Niagara Falls, with a quick stop in Ottawa and then onto Montreal and Quebec before heading back home. I’ve only been to Ottawa and am so looking forward to the change of scenery! Walking around in an unfamiliar place, eating interesting local cuisine, seeing the sun set and rise over a different horizon… all of these things are exactly what I need to quench this thirst of mine! I’ve almost finished booking accommodations and then it’s on to figuring out what to do in the little time we have at each stop. You can bet I’m going to visit as many galleries and local craft shops as possible.

photo by Tim Lingley

photo by Tim Lingley

I have all these romantic visions of sipping espresso and water-coloring painting in New York City… so exciting! I also can’t wait to check out what the art shops have to offer compared to what’s available here… I don’t know what internet is going to be like during the trip so I’m planning to stock-pile some posts, so this blog doesn’t get too dusty while I’m gone. With any luck I’ll be able to post some interesting tidbits from the road, too. I’ll be out the last week of April and the first week of May, but until then, it’s business as usual.

For anyone who’s been to these places before: can you recommend anything? Restaurants, good look-out spots, galleries or anything else of interest?

Guidance Owl and Copic Techniques

Thanks to the lovely day off, I’ve been able to finish off my Guidance Owl drawing:

Guidance Owl by Jess Lingley

Guidance Owl by Jess Lingley

I enjoyed doing the sky the most, but doing the snake with little dots of color was great too. I employed that type of “stipling” technique a lot: with the snake, the grass, and the walls. The image is sort of split in half: light versus dark, day versus night, heaven versus hell, and the owl sits in the middle. I paid close attention to the nuances in color, which are visible in a higher-res version of the drawing at Deviantart (though it’s still a cellphone pic). I’m feeling good about this and am ready to tackle the third and final owl of the series!

After absorbing Naoko Takeuchi’s work I was inspired to start looking up traditional manga techniques. I think I’ll take a separate post to elaborate on what I found, but while I was doing my research I found a few youtube tutorials on COPIC coloring from an artist by the name of Ocean-chan. To blend, she start with a dark color, then goes in with a lighter color, then uses a mid-tone to blend the two. It’s different than what I do and very intriguing to watch. She also uses tons of layers, and I’m curious what kind of paper she uses since my COPIC paper only absorbs ~5 layers or so before looking blotchy. Anyway, take a look at the video below to watch her draw:

 

 

Have a good (and hopefully long weekend everyone! I’ll be posting again on Monday, for those with computer access during the holidays.

COPIC sunset and Time-Lapse Watercolors

This week I decided to tackle the sky in my Guidance Owl illustration. I knew I wanted a sunset/dusk type sky with lots of intense color. Lighting in this piece is key; I’ve kept it in mind when coloring every single part of it, wanting the sun to touch everything. After studying some pictures of sunsets all over the world, in cloudy skies and skies devoid of even stars, I picked some colors and jumped right in (with the help of Mogwai’s new album, which turned out to be amazing coloring music).

Guidance Owl -in progress-

Guidance Owl -in progress-

Guidance Owl close-up of Sky

Guidance Owl close-up of Sky

The feeling of taking a risk and coming out on the other side with something I’m happy with, that feeling is one of the things I live for in art. Though the cloud shapes are kind of funky, they’re vibrant and flowing and moody. I’m ~very~ happy with them… so much so that for the first time, I’m considering studying some landscapes using my markers to get a better feel for environments like this.

One of my colleagues who became a good friend of mine over the past few years is leaving work. For a gift to her, I got a print done of my cherry blossom drawing from last year. Here are the two compared.

Cherry Blossom Landscape original and print

Cherry Blossom Landscape original and print

The print is slightly more saturated and dark compared to the original but I feel that enhances it a bit. She seemed pleased by it, so I’m happy too.

To round off this Friday afternoon post, here are some time-lapse art videos that I enjoyed.  The first and second videos belong to Amanda Mocci, who combines the fine detail work of illustration and pencil with bold bright colors achieved through use of gouache. She’s recording several time-lapse videos of her artwork, shown below. Watching other artists is such a great learning experience. With Amanda, it looks like she keeps a blank piece of paper under her hand, when using pencil, so that she doesn’t smug the work all to pieces. With the amount of pencil and detail she uses this makes sense and is something I’ll definitely be trying out for myself.

DARK WINGS – A portrait by Amanda Mocci from Amanda Mocci on Vimeo.

REVIVAL – A Process Film By Amanda Mocci from Amanda Mocci on Vimeo.

Gabrielle Rose combines ink-based illustration with water-colors. She seems to have the wet-on-wet technique of painting down pat, to a point where she can control exactly where the paint will travel when she tilts the page. It’s beautiful and fascinating to watch. She’s able to blend contrasting colors masterfully.

Leaky Eyes Time Lapse from draw Gabby draw! on Vimeo.

Cherry Blossom Waterfall & Owl of Life

Things came together for me pretty quickly once I put a list together and got going! Friday night I sketched out some cherry blossoms on a separate piece of paper and tried to figure out what shape I wanted them to take on the painting. Saturday afternoon, I began painting them on using transparent layers and, after working through Sunday afternoon as well, I finished it off last night. Originally I had wanted to have an “echo” effect with the flowers and tried stamping them on and sanding them down. Neither of those techniques turned out so I just went ahead and painted with thin, transparent colors. I was going to keep it one color but quickly changed my mind once I saw what they looked like in pink against the background.

Cherry Blossom Waterfall
Cherry Blossom Waterfall by ~soulexposed on deviantART

I’m very happy with the way this turned out, seeing as a week ago I had no idea what to do with it. By stepping outside the original idea I had for this painting I was able to figure out how to finish it off. It’s going in our bedroom, right above the bed where the light from the window will hit it.

On Thursday night I asked Tim for advice on what to do with the life owl drawing, and he gave me some suggestions that allowed me to finally finish it off as well.

Owl of Life
Owl of Life by ~soulexposed on deviantART

I ended up shading the fruit and books a little bit more so they stood out from the owl. This pushes the owl to the back a bit but I don’t mind, since he’s so colorful already anyway that it would be hard to hide him. One down, two to go!

Getting out of the slump…

I’ve been a bit slack on the posting over the last little while, which is not a great way to start off 2012! Artistically I’ve been feeling a bit stale as well, with no classes in sight and no solid goals to work towards. I’ve decided that this just won’t do.

The last time I was stuck on a painting and wanted to finish it, I made a list of all the things left to do to get it into a “finished” state. After completing the list, not only did the painting look great, but I felt accomplished. The piece in question is the textbook still life I did a while ago for Tim. It made sense to get a list going of steps left to complete since there were so many details in the painting itself that it was easy to get lost. I used this strategy on my abstract self-portrait and it worked just as well.

When coming up with a to do list of what I’m currently engrossed in, I decided that my Life Owl drawing is not finished. After consulting with Tim (he has a completely different and refreshing perspective on things), we decided parts of it need more shading so that the work as a whole is more dynamic. The other piece that’s been on my mind for awhile has been the abstract. You can tell that I’m feeling weird about it since it doesn’t even have a proper name yet. I haven’t been able to make up my mind about where to take it next and I think that’s because I’ve been going about it the wrong way.

I’ve been looking at it in terms of what’s already there and how to make pieces come forward and push others back. While looking through my pinterest boards for abstract art inspiration, I came across a bunch of wallpaper patterns that have been attracting my attention and then it came to me: what I currently have looks like a background, so why don’t I add some kind of pattern to the foreground? I’m going to add a pattern of cherry blossoms on top of it, some transparent and some opaque. I’m armed with a list and ready to paint, so let’s hope I can finally cover some ground on this!

So this isn’t a picture-free post, here’s what I’m looking at for inspiration on the abstract:

Paintings based on double exposures, by Pakayla Biehn.

Paintings based on double exposures, by Pakayla Biehn. (via Booooooom.com)

marilyn-monroe by fab ciraol

marilyn-monroe by fab ciraol

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms (via ArtBooksTea)

Progress 12-03-12

I’m getting back on track! We went to Saint John for the day on Saturday and the change of scenery was refreshing. I even managed to get inspired in Winners to start a new piece, though I’m not entirely sure how to go about it. First, though…

Owl of Life

I felt like it was finished after I’d blocked in all the color yesterday afternoon, but now I’m feeling like it’s missing something. I’m thinking of darkening some of the shadows on the owl to make him stand out more. I took a really different direction with Athena; at first I wanted to color her like a gypsy tattoo but as I got further into coloring the owl, I realized that too much additional colors could be overwhelming. So, instead of using skin tones and bright blush/lipstick I kept the flowers colored and made her into a statue. I’m very happy with the way she turned out and I’m glad I made that last minute coloring decision (besides, it would’ve been a bit awkward having a live woman with flowers in her eyes, right?). With all the bright colors in front I chose to keep the sky calm and light, though I may go back in with a few greys to give it some depth. What do you all think?

A few weeks ago I went to Michael’s to pick up a few frames:

Male Foo Dog, framed

Female Foo Dog, framed

After looking at these for the first time in months, I wasn’t sure they were good enough to be framed, but they seem to look pretty spiffy. For the time being, I’d like to hang them by the front door (inside, of course) since that’s where they’re meant to stand guard. Seeing my work framed always gives me a little ego boost. 🙂

Now, regarding that new idea I had. I spotted a large collage-type print at Winner’s featuring one of my favorite decor trends, the Union Jack. I’ve been trying to figure out how to incorporate it in my current decor but haven’t had any luck until now. It would be simpler if it was part of some kind of collage and hanging on the wall. I can’t find an image to show you what I was looking at, but it was a combination of the colors in the Union Jack plus some gritty textures and a set of lips, perhaps a Rolling Stones reference. It got me to thinking about why the Union Jack is cool to me; I dig Brit Rock (Def Leppard was my soundtrack in high school, no shame!), BBC and UK culture. I would like to put together a similar collage using the Union Jack’s colors, possibly even the flag itself and a bunch of brit rock memorabilia. It would be a blast researching the bands I’m into now, discovering new ones and looking into the culture further. The question becomes, what medium do I paint on? I have a few smaller square canvases, a bunch of primed masonite boards and a huuuuuuge canvas that was meant for something ~epic~. Hmm…

Whoa. Okay. I just got another idea writing up this post. Instead of limiting myself to british rock bands, I could expand to include all the things I love about the UK (tea, fashion… and an embarrassing amount of TV-related stuff like Top Gear, Doctor Who, James Bond, etc etc). If I were to include references to all of those things, using the bigger canvas would make more sense. One of my friends has this wicked coffee table that has a bunch of rock legends’ heads painted on top of it. Hanging something like that in the living room would be a super cool conversational piece. Am I up to the challenge? HELL YEAH!

At the moment my abstract painting seems to be mocking me a bit. I’m not really sure where to take it from where it is and may just give up and hang it. Maybe I should put it away and look at it fresh in a few weeks, and make a final decision then.

I’ll round out this post with a recommendation to check out Big Wreck’s new album (remember That Song? “So I always get nostalgic with that song… but in my room it’s forced”): 30 second clips tracks from Albatross. I bought this on a whim Saturday afternoon and have been listening to it non-stop ever since. It’s a rock album classified as “neo prog” which just means they’re not afraid of using lots of different instruments. It’s a rocky bluesy mix all rolled into one aurally immersive experience and so easy to sink your teeth into. It’s solid enough that I find myself listening to it all the way through. Ian Thornley’s raw vocals are top-notch and his education at Berkley has given his guitar melodies a rich diversity, without the music being pretentious. So, if you’re looking for some new tunes different than what you’ve been hearing from the Top 40, definitely give this album a spin.

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.

Wrap-Up of Watercolor Painting and Figure Drawing Studio

Watercolor painting turned out to be a lot more fun than I thought it would. I figured there would be a lot of boring landscape painting with dull, transparent colors. I’m so glad I was wrong! Watercolors can be so vibrant and are so versatile. The most important thing I learned about watercolors was to work extremely light (with lots of water), even when I wanted vibrant colors. Colors can be layered continously over each other to create some beautiful effects, but only with a little paint at a time. When paint is applied to thickly/darkly it’s very hard to pick up off the page.

I understand what place this medium has for me. It allows for blending that would be more difficult with acrylics or copics while drying faster than oils. It’s good for smaller works like tattoo art or for situations where you don’t want to worry about cleaning up afterwards. Rinsing your brushes with water is enough, here. I’m looking forward to mixing this with other mediums as well, like colored pencils.

Watercolor Painting 1

Watercolor Painting 1

Here’s where I stand with the first painting from class. I’m going to be honest; I really don’t like it. Painting the eyelids was a mistake. I wanted to make her look less like a child but now she just looks… well, stoned. I’m unsure of whether or not I’m going to continue with this. If I do, I’m not opposed to doing some really drastic/crazy stuff with it.

Watercolor Flowers

Watercolor Flowers

Once I got sick of working on the previous piece, I decided to follow the rest of the class and paint from a photo. This one is quite fun but I keep reminding myself to be patient with it and work in very light layers to achieve those beautiful colors in the flower petals. I think I’m going to give this to one of my grandmothers for the holidays and paint something else for the other one. I may bring some white acrylic into this for highlights once it’s done, I haven’t decided yet.

This class started out more structured with discussion of the color wheel, shading techniques and color theory and then turned into a more studio-type environment where we’d bring in our own projects and ask for help/critique. We were given the essentials needed in order to use the medium and told to have fun with it. I’m happy with this class and feel like it’s opened a lot of doors for me I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Onto the Figure Drawing Sessions! These studio sessions were not intructor-lead. We were simply given a nude model and had 2 1/2 hours to draw him or her in different poses, ranging from 60 seconds to 30 minutes in length. Despite the lack of instruction I learned a lot just from drawing the human form regularly. I learned to expect certain curves and became more familiar with proportions. I think that, even in seven weeks, improvement is visible comparing drawings from the first few weeks to the last few. Here’s some of the work I did:

Nude 1 by Jess Lingley

Nude 1 by Jess Lingley

Nude 2 by Jess Lingley

Nude 2 by Jess Lingley

Nude 3 by Jess Lingley

Nude 3 by Jess Lingley

Nude 4 by Jess Lingley

Nude 4 by Jess Lingley

Nude 5 by Jess Lingley

Nude 5 by Jess Lingley

Nude 6 by Jess Lingley

Nude 6 by Jess Lingley

As you can see I experimented with quite a few different mediums. My favorite by far are copic markers. Pencil felt a bit restricting here as I was trying to describe depth and shadows. Maybe if I had more experience with pencil rendering I might have had a better time of it, but for most of these classes I only used it for the quick gesture drawings. I played a little with charcoal and pastels but they are messy and I don’t have enough control over them, yet. Watercolors were much more fun but weren’t drying fast enough for me to layer shadows onto which leaves the copics. I was able to show muscle structure and shade effortlessly with them. I really enjoyed playing around with different color combinations as well, rather than sticking to flesh tones.

I would recommend Life Drawing to any artist looking to improve, regardless of your level. Becoming familiar with the human figure lends itself in all different forms of art. It’s one of the most beautiful and difficult things to draw and master; no one person is the same as the next. Each night was a different challenge for me; some nights I felt I was doing great and others I really had to push through. Over all I’m very satisfied with how they went and now have a huge portfolio of work to look back on (there are at least 7 times as many photos as what I’ve shown here).

I’m really looking forward to checking out some more classes in the new year! I think I will go in a different direction though to try and expand my horizons. I have always wanted to learn how to sew…

Better Quality Photos of Tables and Mask

Though I had a wonderful weekend with friends and family, it left little time for art, so I will keep this Monday post short and sweet with some better photos of what I’ve been putting most of my time into recently. Enjoy!

Male Foo Dog by Jess Lingley

Male Foo Dog by Jess Lingley

Male Foo Dog (Details) by Jess Lingley

Male Foo Dog (Details) by Jess Lingley

Female Foo Dog by Jess Lingley

Female Foo Dog by Jess Lingley

Porcelain Mask by Jess Lingley

Porcelain Mask by Jess Lingley

detail image of Porcelain Mask by Jess Lingley

detail image of Porcelain Mask by Jess Lingley

I’ve been putting a thin coat of acrylic varnish on the tables for the past few nights. There’s no smell so I can use it inside; it seems to be working well! I’d highly recommend it for similar projects and will absolutely use it again, though not on canvas since I don’t think it’s flexible.

I plan to start a new project in my watercolors class tomorrow night, so look for some progress on that later this week!

Inspiration 17-11-11

My weekend may have been productive but my week sure hasn’t been. It feels like I’m in the midst of a great big artistic slump. I know the only way to get through it is to just push on, so here are some things that have caught my eye over the past little while that will hopefully get the wheels turning in my brain.

watercolor painting by Z.L. Feng

watercolor painting by Z.L. Feng (via The Luxury Spot)

This vivid watercolor landscape caught my eye immediately. The colors are striking and the detail is amazing for watercolor. Landscapes are a bit of a weak spot for me, so seeing beautiful works like this encourage me to keep at it. I love the combination of blending and splattering. The reflection in the water is especially well done.

Soey Milk does "Re-imagine Childhood"

Soey Milk does "Re-imagine Childhood" (via Booooooom)

This piece is from a show at Subtext Gallery in California called Home Room. The artists in the show take drawings done while they were children and recreate them in their current “style”. What a great way to see how far they’ve come! Even if you can’t make it there for the show (I certainly can’t, a bit far away for me) they’ve featured the artists and their works in a PDF available here! The work is amazing, take a look!

This is definitely something that I want to try. I’ve done similar works in the past but only re-drew something from a few years back. Going back to kindergarten or grade one would be really interesting. Back around grade three I created a super heroine and shortly after met some friends who created their own with me. Following this, we all began drawing and writing stories together, which went on for years. I have such fond memories of those days. I think I have a box of these old drawings in my closet and will look through them soon.

by Arturo Elena

by Arturo Elena

Some crazy, surreal COPIC marker work by Arturo Elena, found on the COPIC marker blog. I can’t even fathom how he was able to render that hair on the dogs! When used properly, COPICs can produce some really impressive realism. I’m not quite there yet and anticipate it will take me years. There’s a very fine balance needed to blend colors seamlessly without completely saturating the page in ink, ruining it. Seeing work of this calibre done with markers is extremely encouraging and inspiring. The COPIC blog shows a lot of other great talent as well and posts tutorials from time to time. If you’re trying to learn the ropes of COPICs, or any other art markers for that matter, these tutorials are very helpful.

by Ana Elisa Egreja

by Ana Elisa Egreja (via Trendland)

Colorful realist paintings: they always seem to catch my eye. Maybe because I appreciate the rendering, maybe because I’m curious how one would come up with concepts like these. Maybe it’s not worth explaining and just about enjoying. These paintings of animals in human settings are fun and wonderful to look upon, my favorite being the one above.

I have no work to report on of my own right now and just spent this week’s watercolor class trying to put more detail in my autumn-themed-tattoo-gypsy-thing. I’d really like to have another piece to work on for next class and may actually, ~gasp~, take a photo in to work off of. One of the other things I’d like to do this weekend is go through my sketchbooks and upload some rough drawings and in-progress works. Once I’ve uploaded them I will of course post about them here!

Here’s hoping everyone has a good autumn weekend. I think it’s going to start getting really cold from here on out…