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!

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Funky Items for Your Office Space

Whether you work in a cubicle, have your own office or even work at home, there are tons of ways you can spruce up your boring work space! Since there are so many options out there, both permanent and easily reversible, I may revisit this topic again or even make it a regular post topic. For now, let’s start with some small ways of bringing color into your space that aren’t permanent and can change with your mood.

Vintage Rainbow Mug (via Etsy)

Vintage Rainbow Mug (via Etsy)

A rainbow coffee mug is a great way to start your morning, or kick-start your afternoon. Having a personal coffee mug at the office always made me feel more comfortable, like I was bringing a little piece of home with me.

Metallic Gold Zebra Business Card Holder (via Etsy)

Metallic Gold Zebra Business Card Holder (via Etsy)

I saw this and had to post it just because of how ridiculous and hilarious it is! Why keep business cards in a boring old wallet or flip book when you could stack them in this fabulous gold zebra holder?! It may catch some eyes in your cube, or even become a conversation starter. If your client takes a card from this and laughs, perhaps that’s a little something to help remember you by. Or maybe it just makes you smile, and that’s great too. A smile or laugh is a great way to perk up on a dreary day.

Kantha Quilts (via Decor8)

Kantha Quilts (via Decor8)

If your building is drafty or you’re like me and always get chilly when sitting down for long periods of time, bring in a nice afghan or quilt to wrap up in. The patterns, colors and price ranges of quilts vary wildly so there’s something out there for just about everyone’s tastes. I like the mix of the floral and textile patterns on the above Kantha quilts. These are a great way to brighten up a boring chair, as well. If you have more space or an office of your own, you could even hang them on the wall to really brighten up the space.

DIY Color Block Cabinet (via Say Yes to Hoboken)

DIY Color Block Cabinet (via Say Yes to Hoboken)

These next two items are ways to change your furniture to give them more color, but they’re at least semi-permanent, so make sure to get permission from your boss first. Or go crazy if you work from home! The above image links to a tutorial on how to color-block wall storage. Without the paint I would’ve thought that shelf a bit old and dingy, but giving it bright stripes of color really helps to modernize it.

The Latest DIY: Faux Snakeskin Table

The Latest DIY: Faux Snakeskin Table

This is one of my favorite finds over the past few weeks: a tutorial on how to re-do a table without painting it, but instead by laying fabric over it! You could use this tutorial on just about any piece of furniture, but simple is probably better and easier. With a bit of glue and a lot of your favorite fabric, the possibilities are endless. Why have a solid block of color on a table when you could have snakeskin?

If you’re going to be spending long periods of time working, I feel that it’s important to make your work space as comfortable and inviting as possible. Even if you don’t have a lot of choice on where you work, there are both small and large ways to make the space more enjoyable.

Groups of Photos or Art on the Wall

Between my art and Tim’s photography, we have way more to hang on our walls than we do wall space. Rather than space things out sparsely, like some galleries do, I’m a fan of grouping images together on a wall. It doesn’t look cluttered to me and instead provides a point of interest or conversation in the room.

secretary space (via the decorista)

secretary space (via the decorista)

If you’re not sure where to start, pick a theme and hang similarly-styled pictures closer together. Most of the frames above are works of art themselves! There’s nothing wrong with hanging frames without art: mirrors or colored paper could be used instead.

(via Refinery 29)

(via Refinery 29)

The paintings in the living room above don’t seem to have a lot in common, but they look great together. There aren’t any overly bright blocks of color in them or the pillows, so they don’t overwhelm the area and still perk up the light walls. It’s a bit unrelated but the blue cushion on the black couch is a really nice idea.

Laura Oakes: Vintage Style, British Made (via Apartment Therapy)

Laura Oakes: Vintage Style, British Made (via Apartment Therapy)

Don’t have any art and don’t want to hang mirrors? Instead of frames you could install box-shelving for a similar effect! These are great to display collections of items, allowing use of the shelve inside as well as the tops of the boxes. I love that they used pillows above, very practical! Most of the color in this space is thanks to pillows, a cushioned bench and the cool lamps hanging down from the ceiling. The only thing I’d be wary about is the width of the shelves, since my cats like to jump on things.

Girly Glam (via A Life's Design)

Girly Glam (via A Life’s Design)

If you have a busy wallpaper or don’t have a lot of wall space to group paintings/framed photos, you could always stick with a safer and less destrtuctive option like an inspiration board. In addition to the paintings hanging in our studio, I have a bulletin board with color palettes, notes to myself and other inspirational items. The great thing about using a board is that if you want to change the content, you’re completely free to do so without making extra holes in the walls.

Now is a great time to buy art or even posters, as lots of places are trying to clear out their back-to-school stock meant to decorate dorms. I really like the idea of doing your own thing, so gather up your favorite posters and put ’em all up together!

Grey Walls Don’t Have to be Boring!

As I showed you all last week, we painted our studio walls grey. On its own, grey is very subdued and can be a bit dull if there isn’t enough variety in decor to accent it. While I was pitching grey as a wall color to Tim before we painted, I looked at several spaces using grey as the wall color to prove that it can be done and it can be fun! It’s especially appropriate in a setting where both of us, for painting and photography, will want to hang lots of work up and edit work in a neutral space.

(via Refinery 29)

(via Refinery 29)

Every color here really stands out from the grey, even the white furniture. Having clear furniture is nice in a small room to give the illusion of more space, but any color would work just as well since the walls are so neutral. When sitting at that desk I’d be more apt to focus on the task at hand, since everything would look so in focus against the grey.

(via Apartment Therapy)

(via Apartment Therapy)

I love how bright the roses on those pillows are and how much they stand out. Almost anything goes for print or pattern in a grey space! We don’t have curtains in our studio yet, and will have to find some, since the sun beats inside in the afternoons and it gets really warm. Those chevron curtains above look perfect for the space, so chic!

(via The Decorista)

(via The Decorista)

Going light is definitely easier to stomach than going dark, since dark walls run the risk of shrinking a space. Something like a floor rug could be the focus point in a space like this. Seeing the flowers and that gorgeous chair, I think I may be a little bit of a sucker for pink in a space, what can I say? Thanks to a recent sale at Kent’s I was able to pick up a pink computer chair, which had me over the moon. That industrial spiral light fixture is superb. Wish I could get my hands on some spot lights, or other industrial lighting…

(via Design Sponge)

(via Design Sponge)

The framed prints on this warm grey wall really stand out. Tim could get a set of prints framed, or I could frame a set of marker drawings and achieve a very similar look. Those prints are an example of how matting something (the white area around the image itself) gives it more presence. Light and bright colors in particular work best against a grey, which is fortunate since I love to work with those colors most. Having the neutral furniture really draws your eye to what’s on the walls. What a smooth, relaxing space.

(via Kitschy Living)

(via Kitschy Living)

This dresser made from milk crates is just awesome. Doing research into grey spaces made me realize how much of an ideal color it is, especially for those just starting out in the renting game! If you find yourself with lots of mismatching furniture, photos and art, but don’t have enough money to rush out and buy color coordinating everything, choose a neutral color for the walls to tie everything together. The decor above is a bit eclectic, but works well in this space. If pure grey looks yucky to you, you could choose a grey that leans more towards purple, or green, or blue.

Surreal Dreaming & a Glimpse of the Future

Whether it’s through the mashing up of texture or through beautiful photo composition, fashion continues to inspire me on a level far beyond what I can wear. Now when I look at clothing, I’m not only thinking of how it would look on me, but how it would feel to draw and paint. Who would wear this outfit? What would he/she be doing in it?

Vogue Korea June 2012 (via Trendland)

Vogue Korea June 2012 (via Trendland)

The oranges and blues give this composition a surreal feeling. The model’s dreamy expression and silvery outfit reflect this as well, coupled with the strange netting covering everything, and the bubbles. It’s like she’s in that state of sleep where she’s still slightly awake, but just fading off into dream land. The netting actually helps draw all these different elements together, where otherwise they might just look cluttered.

Abbey Kee Kershaw photographed by Tom Munro (via Localshop)

Abbey Kee Kershaw photographed by Tom Munro (via Localshop)

Rather than her outfit, this model’s pose caught my eye first. It’s a pose of strength and defiance, like she’s standing up to something. With a black and white photo, the viewer’s eyes will be drawn to tiny details, without color to distract them, which is perfect for this stringy dress. The dress itself is pretty, but the accessories and hairstyle of this model really make it edgy.

dolce gabbana 2006 (via Monsieur J)

dolce gabbana 2006 (via Monsieur J)

The element that makes a piece of art, design, outfit or dress stand out to me the most is contrasting and lining different textures next to each other. It’s hard to explain why this appeals to me so much; perhaps it’s because to do it successfully, you have to be very careful to include one similar element or color in each piece for them to work in harmony. In the gorgeous dress above, we have flowers and sheer ruffles divided by a lace-like ribbon. This works for me because the colors on either side are nice together, and having the black between them really gives the combination a clean-cut look.

Flaire September 2012 (via WanderWorldLust)

Flaire September 2012 (via WanderWorldLust)

So futuristic! Seeing each generation’s version of what futuristic should look like is hilarious and inspiring. Lately it seems to be about mirror-like or reflective surfaces, like the girls’ glasses above. The background is really blown out to draw attention to them, and the pure white has a very clean and modern feel to it as well. Their simple bowl-type haircuts against their layers of clothes and accessories provide an interesting comparison of styles. I like how even though the background looks kind of dated, their fashion screams bleeding-edge.

As the weeks continue before school starts, I find myself settling into the blogger lifestyle pretty happily. 🙂 I’ll have to keep this in mind when I start to make serious decisions about my career down the road.

Until Friday!

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!

The Cool & Sexy Illustrations of Babs Tarr

Babs Tarr’s style is a funky mix of fashion and cartoons, with lots of sharp lines and curves to bring her subjects to life. I love how animated her figures are and all the bright color she uses, along with line-work and splotches of texture that look traditional, even though most of her work is digital.

toothpick by Babs Tarr

toothpick by Babs Tarr

The limited color palette in this image helps draw attention to the figure, grey/green among the pink and blue. Tarr’s grasp of anatomy is excellent, allowing her figures to almost strut across the frame. I love how many little details she includes, like the girl above chewing away on a toothpick, the script tattoo on her arm and the tooth through her ear lobe.

RAD Girl by Babs Tarr

RAD Girl by Babs Tarr

This screams 80’s and rather than being cheesy, it really pops! Unlike the first drawing, this one doesn’t any thick black outlines, allowing the neon colors to really show through and sort of burn your eyes the way neons did back then. The pink cheetah-skin skateboard with bright green wheels is just hilarious! She uses white in subtle ways to brighten the area around the subject, through the cheetah pattern and finger prints.

July 4th 2012 Outfit by Babs Tarr

July 4th 2012 Outfit by Babs Tarr

The chunky brush textures here remind me of a pastel or pencil crayon drawing, though this is digital. It becomes obvious pretty quickly that Tarr puts a lot of effort into the fashion aspect of her work. In fact, in the above drawing of her very own outfit from the 4th of July, she lists off each piece of clothing and and where you can buy them, on her deviantart page! I thought this a really nice touch and love that she shares her style with everyone.

Spy Girl by Babs Tarr

Spy Girl by Babs Tarr

This gets me excited for the new James Bond movie coming in November! Tarr’s subjects are beautiful and flowing but she’s also able to create breath-taking and narrative backgrounds. I struggle with making my subjects really fit into the background, but here the flow is effortless. I love the way the bright pink explosion lays a pink light on everything. I’ll be honest, I just love that there’s a bright pink explosion.

At the Moma by Babs Tarr

At the Moma by Babs Tarr

Though she does a lot of illustration and more cartoon-y work, she has a background in oil painting techniques as well. The above is an oil self-portrait, from a photograph her sister took of her at the MoMa in NYC. I particularly like the way she painted the windows in the buildings across the street. Her shapes are well blended and shaded in a very life-like manner.

The Noise by Babs Tarr

The Noise by Babs Tarr

The symmetry of the subjects here is really cool. This work is another one of her oil paintings. The clouds are vibrant and flow in such a way to draw your focus around the two subjects. The girls’ black clothing really stands out against the richness of the colors in the sky and clouds. It’s impressive that she painted the individual bits of zipper in the jackets, and links in the chains they’re wearing. The texture in the jeans is very nice as well. Her deviantart page for this drawing mentions that the shoes are inspired by Alexander McQueen.

Rolling Bulls by Babs Tarr

Rolling Bulls by Babs Tarr

Drawings on their own are one thing, but making the illustrations appropriately spaced for text and information is another skill all together. The figures above flow in such a way to draw your eyes to the text at the bottom. I love the sketchy-feel of this piece.

To be a successful illustrator, I think you have to have the fundamentals of art down: be awesome with a pencil, know your lighting, be comfortable with anatomy and know how to make a great composition. She has all of these skills in spades and it really shows. Great work, Babs!