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…

Porcelain Mask

For the first time in quite awhile, I had a productive weekend!

Mask

Mask Illustration by Jess Lingley

I wanted to do another still life involving more detail. Originally I’d intended to pick out something mechanical, something I could take apart to be able to draw the individual pieces. Unfortunately I was unable to find anything like that around my apartment. I was about to try and draw my house keys when I spotted this mask in the corner of my room and had a “eureka!” moment.

I was very meticulous with this piece right from the get-go. I wanted the details to be as exact as possible so I made sure to get an accurate sketch down before starting in with the colors. In total, the piece took around 10 1/2 hours to complete. I worked on it for a bit each day of the weekend. My goal for this work was to feel like, at the end of it, there wasn’t anything more I could add to it. Frequently when I’m working on something I get thoughts like “oh, I should have put more detail here” or “what if I painted that a different way” but push through to not lag behind. With this drawing I put as much detail into is as possible so I wouldn’t have any second thoughts.

This lead to doing pointilsm in the background to blend colors and using gold paint and a needle at the end to try and capture some of the intricate gold weavings in the fabric and on the face.

mask detail

mask detail

It was around this time that I learned why people use brushes instead of needle-point. I was almost cross-eyed by the end of it but I’m pleased with the result! Another reason I was able to put so much time and effort into this piece was that I really liked the subject. Often about halfway through a larger painting I have to go away for awhile, sometimes for a few weeks, because I’m simply tired of looking at it. With this I didn’t really experience that.

This took most of my weekend but I did manage to get a few coats of krylon acrylic coating on the end tables. Now I’m looking into an acrylic varnish to finish them off, something non-toxic/stinky and something I can brush on (and do out back on our deck).

Better quality photos will follow one I pry the DSLR away from Tim, or persuade him to help me. 🙂

Progress 24-10-11

The weekend was fairly quiet. I spent Saturday being lazy (though I did paint the box canvas edges on the plant still life) and Sunday stacking wood for Tim’s father. On Friday, however, I went to see the gallery opening at the UNB Art Centre for Paula Keppie. It was a fabulous exhibit and I managed to snag a beautiful catalogue with some of her works in it. I’d like to discuss it more but will give it a special post later this week.

Here are some decent photos of the foo dog/shi shi lion illustrations I finished a few weeks ago:

Male Shi Shi Lion

Male Shi Shi Lion

Female Shi Shi Lion

Female Shi Shi Lion

The end tables are coming along nicely! The first one is awaiting varnish and I’m well into the second one. I’m finding it easier this time around knowing how the paint will act on the gesso surface. Since I’ve taken classes and have more experience with paint now, mixing colors is a lot easier as well.

Foo Dog End Table 1

Foo Dog End Table 1


Foo Dog End Table 2, in progress

Foo Dog End Table 2, in progress

I really enjoyed watercolor class last week! We experimented with different effects in the paint using salt and plastic wrap. Salt, when sprinkled over watercolors that are still wet, soaks up the water and gives the area a spotty-look, while crinkling plastic wrap into wet paint, letting it dry and peeling it off gives a really cool frost effect. I didn’t get a chance to do anything with plastic wrap, but I did enjoy using salt. Rock salt would create a different effect than small-grained salt and I look forward to playing around with both kinds. We also used a substance that would resist the paint. After applying the putty-like liquid and letting it dry, we painted freely over top of it without worrying about paint seeping through. This works well when painting a large area, like a sky, and wanting to skip over areas like clouds or air planes. To remove the putty you can use fingernails or an eraser.

After our teacher demo’d those effects and left us to do our own thing, I was struggling to come up with an idea for where to use that kind of effect. Staring at a blank page is one of the toughest parts of art. So much potential, such a wide open expanse and you can do anything with it. For me, starting a project is the worst part. Once I get a good amount of line work down I start to gain a bit of confidence, but until then I really have to push myself.

I’ve been looking at a lot of tattoo art lately and have noticed a trend in gypsies & traditional style work, lots of reference to animals and nature. In paricular with gypsies I keep seeing them wearing animal heads:

tattoo by Paul Dobleman

by Paul Dobleman

tattoo by Stewart, Frith Street, London

tattoo by Stewart, Frith Street, London

Being autmumn, having all the color in the trees and the night sneaking in earlier and earlier, I felt like starting a painting full of these elements. Combined with the theme of a gypsy and pelt, I was inspired to start work on this:

Watercolor Effects

Watercolor Effects

Watercolor Effects Details

Watercolor Effects Details

I only had time to do the sky since I did several washes over it but I’m super impressed with the effect the salt gives. Really excited about giving this background an awesome subject! Once I stopped worrying about what to draw and just went with what I felt like, it was easy going.

It’s surprising how fast time goes when I have two art classes a week! I love it though, knowing that even if I don’t feel like doing anything during the week there will be two nights where I will end up having something to show for my efforts. Things are sure to be busy but I’ll try and line up a few more posts in the coming days.

Head cold? Must be autumn…

Apologies on waiting this long into the week for a post. I had intended to post it on Wednesday evening but ended up coming down with a head cold. They always seem to hit me around the same time in the fall. Seeing as I’ve been sick twice already over the summer, I really hope this is my body getting the last of it out of my system…

I decided to start up an oil painting last Sunday. Immediately I was thankful for the window in my room; with the linseed oil the paint is very “aromatic”. I used an acrylic yellow ochre for the under-painting so that I could start laying in some color almost right away. It will likely take me a few weeks to a month to finish while the layers of paint dry and while I try to adapt to my changing light source.

Plant Still Life in Oils

Plant Still Life in Oils

In addition to the painting I was able to sketch and ink the sister piece to the male Shi Shi Lion I drew last week. This week I started in with some color. I really like starting projects on the weekends and getting all the foundation work out of the way. That way, when I come home from work during the week I don’t have to think too much about what to do, I can just dive in!

Female Foo Dog in progress

Female Foo Dog in progress

While out with the hubby I also picked up a set of business cards to go with my inkjet printer. I’m looking forward to designing a card that I can give out to people who ask for a website or contact information. They’ll be especially handy to have when I go to my classes. Less than two weeks to water colors!

The Ever-Illusive Short Week…

… why do they always seem so long? Anyway, despite being a bit quiet here I’ve been working on a finished design for one of the bro-in-law’s end tables. I spent most of Monday hashing out the sketch and inking it, and then added markers in gradually through the week. Now that I have one down I’m hoping the other will come together just as quickly. Then I can finally start painting the actual tables!

Male Foo Dog

Male Foo Dog

I’ve been keeping an eye out for life drawing classes around Fredericton and they’ve been very hard to find. Fortunately, I found out about a possible studio starting up at NBCCD mid-October. I’m anxious to see what their line-up of fall evening classes is and I’ll be sure to add life drawing to the list. Drawing a model from life is so much different than copying a photograph. It’s good to study from both, of course, but I find drawing from life much more challenging and rewarding. It allows you to see the subject from all angles with varied lighting, something that’s difficult to capture in a still photograph.

Stay tuned to hear about the last two days of my abstract art class, and maybe a blurb about the Golden Acrylics workshops I did a few weeks ago! Better late than never, right?