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!

Exciting News!

In the spirit of kicking off 2013 with a bang, I’m very excited to announce that I’ve been accepted into Argyle Fine Art’s Pre-Shrunk show! This will be my very first time having work shown in a gallery! INTERNET HIGH FIVES!

Pre-Shrunk at Argyle Fine Art

Pre-Shrunk at Argyle Fine Art

Ahem. Last fall on one of my visits to the gallery, I spotted a call for artists for this show. Pre-Shrunk is a show of 4″x 5″ works both from new and established artists. The goal is to make affordable art available to everyone. The fact that it was open to all artists caught my eye immediately, and I figured, why not? I was especially intrigued by the small canvas size, which was ideal since I wouldn’t have to dedicated large blocks of time to it in between school work. Nothing to lose by trying, since every painting I do helps me grow.

This will be an incredible opportunity to have my work seen by the public, and to play meet ‘n greet with lots of other artists in the HRM. I’m beyond psyched to have gotten in and can’t wait to attend!

Eye Shadow by Jess Lingley

Eye Shadow by Jess Lingley

This is one of three paintings I submitted to the show. All three are acrylics on canvas board, 4″ x 5″. They were very fun to paint! It was a little restricting to paint that small, but at the same time it was very rewarding to finish a piece so quickly. When trying to come up with an idea for what to paint for this show, I was a bit stumped. Fortunately I received an early xmas gift of some colorful items that instantly inspired me! All three paintings feature elements that I really enjoying rendering, from shiny reflective surfaces, to bright colors, to pretty things.

Come on out from 7pm-9pm on Friday the 25th of January to Argyle Fine Art in downtown Halifax to see my work! I’ll be hanging around for a bit as well, taking in all the other amazing art that’s bound to be on display. See you there!

Local Pop Art

Before my recent road trip I learned of a pop art exhibit opening at our local art museum: Hot Pop Soup.  It’s on until June 10th and if you’re in the Fredericton NB area, I strongly recommend you check it out!

I’m starting to think that rainy days are some of the best days to visit galleries. When you enter the gallery from the grey skies and cold rain, the paintings seem even more alive and colorful than usual. On the day I went to see this exhibit I was in a poor mood and feeling down on myself. When I entered the gallery and saw the first painting, I was immediately uplifted and smiling.

Beaverbook doesn’t allow photography as a rule, but I can show you a few pieces from some of the artists in the exhibit that I’ve scoured from around the internet. These photos a) aren’t my own and are sourced as such, and b) are not the exact paintings you will find in the gallery. You’ll have to visit in person for those. That being said, here are a few of the featured artists in this exhibit:

LITTLE DANCING SUPERHEROES  by Alexandrya Eaton acrylic on canvas 24 x 24 in. unframed (via Gallery 78)

LITTLE DANCING SUPERHEROES by Alexandrya Eaton acrylic on canvas 24 x 24 in. unframed (via Gallery 78)

WOMAN ON THE EDGE by Alexandrya Eaton, acrylic on canvas 36 x 36 in. framed dimension: 38 x 38 in. (via Gallery 78)

WOMAN ON THE EDGE by Alexandrya Eaton, acrylic on canvas 36 x 36 in. framed dimension: 38 x 38 in. (via Gallery 78)

I really enjoyed Alexandrya Eaton‘s paintings because of the repetition of the subject, something I’m sure was inspired by Andy Warhol. Having a subject repeated using different palettes forces the viewer to see the subject in a different light, in a different way. Having some of the repetitions overlap creates a sort of optical-illusion effect. Seeing pop art like this brings a few questions to mind: how did she choose which figures overlapped? How did she choose colors, and how to color them, and even what kind of texture?

The Crimson Canoess by Peter Manchester

The Crimson Canoess by Peter Manchester

The smile on my face continued as I browsed Peter Manchester‘s paintings. He combines soft realism in seemingly calm backdrops with completely absurd situations and subjects, aliens and sci-fi being quite popular. His images have the campy fun vibe of old sci-fi movie posters and describe amazing stories about their subjects. His works are extremely enjoyable as you try to piece together what’s happening, and what’s real versus what’s not.

by Jean Rooney (via Artists Wanted)

by Jean Rooney (via Artists Wanted)

Jean Rooney‘s piece in the gallery is absolutely huge! I love seeing works that span multiple canvases, wall to wall. The image above is only a fraction of the entire painting. Upon seeing it, I was hit by a wall of nostalgia. Growing up in the 90’s means the neon colors and cassette tapes resonate with me; they brought me back to simpler days, walking to school with the tape-of-the-moment in my walkman (Weird Al’s Allapalooza and Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill, if I remember correctly.) Her works as a whole are extremely bright and demand to be noticed, whether they’re funky portraits or rolling landscapes. Shapes and patterns pop out at you, weaving different parts of the painting together in a surreal way. Work of this nature begs a closer look to take in the wonderful hues and imagery. Some of her other works are available online.

Novella   oil on canvas   24"x30" (by Cliff Turner)

Novella oil on canvas 24″x30″ (by Cliff Turner)

by Cliff Turner

by Cliff Turner

My readers may have seen me mention Cliff Turner before and will know that I’m already a fan, so seeing his name on the list of artists for this exhibit really sealed the deal. His pop art paintings (some from Technicolor) evoke different feelings in different people. Some of us get nostalgic about certain kinds of food, some of us with color palettes, some of us with cartoons. Because his paintings involve so much different subject matter, there is something for everyone to focus on. It sort of feels like what you’d get flipping through a magazine in the 70’s, all captured on a single canvas. His stunning realism continues to impress and looks especially good on the larger canvases in the exhibit.

Seriously, go check out this exhibit if you can! There is so much more there than I could describe in my tiny pokey ol’ blog here.

Though I don’t have a progress post today, there will likely be one next week. After seeing this exhibit I finally decided to start a pop-art piece of my own, an idea I’d been toying with for awhile. This will give me something to work on in between layers of the large oil painting I’m working on.

Have a great weekend guys, HAPPY JUNE!

Liudmila Kondakova

Alongside the dreamlike paintings of Felix Mas, while I was in Martin Lawrence Galleries, I was greeted by bright, stunning super-detailed landscape & city by paintings Liudmila Kondakova. Normally, landscapes don’t float my boat, but her paintings are quite extraordinary.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA,Cote d'Azur, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA,Cote d’Azur, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Miel aux Fleaurs de Lavande, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Miel aux Fleaurs de Lavande, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 inches.

Photos of her work are difficult to find in decent resolution online; fortunately the Martin Lawrence gallery website has a slideshow of her work with larger images. This is important since in the smaller versions, some of the meticulous details in her works are overlooked and lost. She paints every single detail, from the peeling away of the walls to each bloom on a rose bush. It’s truly astounding to see in person.

It’s one thing to paint a street-scape with shops and windows, but completely another endeavour to paint the shop’s details inside the windows! Her observation and attention to tiny detail leaves me speechless. These paintings are absolutely captivating for that reason. I especially like the signage on each building and the bouquets of flowers pouring out of the brightly-shuttered windows.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Full Moon in Cassis, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 30 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Full Moon in Cassis, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 30 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Paris Panorama of Ten Bridges, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Paris Panorama of Ten Bridges, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches.

She paints a lot of inner city landscapes but also does a few “greener” paintings as well, the detail in every one immaculate. Moreover, she does this with gouache and acrylic paint. With oils, since they stay wet for so long, they’re generally preferable for blending and small details. Achieving the same effect with acrylic is very impressive. Her canvases appear very smooth as well, something difficult to achieve with acrylics since they dry so fast. For example, the surface of the tables I painted a few months ago clearly showed the brush strokes I used.

It’s easy for hyper-realistic paintings to fall flat, especially if they over-reference photographs. I mean, why render something realistically when you could just take a picture? To be successful, you must add something to the image that a photograph can’t reproduce. While a photograph captures a moment in time, a realistic painting can reflect movement and change, making the painting feel alive. (Not to say that photography isn’t an art, rather, I’m referring to the point-and-shoot/cell phone method of capturing a photo.)

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Daybreak on the Seine, hand-pulled serigraphs on gesso board, 16 x 12 inches, edition size: 325.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Daybreak on the Seine,
hand-pulled serigraphs on gesso board, 16 x 12 inches, edition size: 325.

I’m trying to fathom how she painted the spokes on that bike! Did she paint with a magnifying glass and a needle? She then had to repeat those strokes in the shadow of the bike… not to mention the tower on the horizon.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Le Vieux Chalet, hand-pulled serigraph printed on Coventry smooth white paper or Ebony black paper,  paper size: 23 x 29 inches, image size: 18 x 24 inches.  Signed in pencil and numbered. Also available in deluxe format on canvas.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Le Vieux Chalet,
hand-pulled serigraph printed on Coventry smooth white paper or Ebony black paper,
paper size: 23 x 29 inches, image size: 18 x 24 inches.

I wanted to spend hours examining every single one of her paintings. She was able to bring out the character of every scene she painted and render it in detail like I’ve never seen before. I can’t help but wonder how she was able to paint lines so thin or blend so well with quick-drying paints! She may have used a retarder medium to slow the drying times down. Whichever methods she used, they’ve worked beautifully.

I absolutely recommend visiting a gallery with some of her works or prints to view everything close-up. It’s nearly impossible to reflect on this blog how awe-inspiring these paintings are! If you can’t manage that, a flash-animated brochure of her works (with slightly larger images) can be viewed here, and an HTML slideshow with the larger images is available here.

Felix Mas

A lot of smaller galleries will put the most striking of their works, whether it’s sculptures, paintings or jewelry, in windows to try and encourage pedestrians to come in and explore. While I was walking down Newbury Street in Boston, sniffling in the rain, this is exactly what happened to me outside of Martin Laurence Gallery.

FELIX MAS, El Mar, serigraph on canvas, 25 × 32 inches.

FELIX MAS, El Mar, serigraph on canvas, 25 × 32 inches.

Felix Mas’s work is dreamlike and full of wonder. His subjects, mostly beautiful females, are rendered in a light and airy fashion, blending into more starkly colored backdrops. This is the opposite of what I’m used to seeing, which is artists who use bright bold colors to make their subjects stand out against a softer background.

FELIX MAS, La Dama, oil on canvas, 32 x 26 inches.

FELIX MAS, La Dama, oil on canvas, 32 x 26 inches.

Nature is a recurring theme in these paintings. Many of his subjects are adorned with shells, feathers, leaves, but others are dressed simply in flowing fabrics as to not take away from their rich surroundings. His colors are so rich and warm, perhaps because he actually mixes his own paint, using oils and pigments.

FELIX MAS, Memories (Recuerdos), serigraph on canvas, 23.5 x 36 inchess.

FELIX MAS, Memories (Recuerdos), serigraph on canvas, 23.5 x 36 inchess.

His paintings stood out to me more than usual because of the grey weather we were experiencing. Looking at them, I found time slipping by very quickly as I was drawn into them, exploring, learning. He takes a lot of time to ensure that every color is perfectly blended. I love how his subjects sometimes appear foggy; it makes me want to look at the painting harder to sort of… draw them out.

FELIX MAS, La Perla, oil on canvas, 16 x 36 inches.

FELIX MAS, La Perla, oil on canvas, 16 x 36 inches.

I especially like the luminescent qualities in his paintings involving water or sparkling fabrics. These kinds of techniques are taught in traditional painting schools and are something I really look forward to learning.

FELIX MAS, Transparencias, serigraph on canvas, 19.5 × 23.5 inches.

FELIX MAS, Transparencias, serigraph on canvas, 19.5 × 23.5 inches.

All of Mas’s subjects appear relaxed and serene in their settings, giving a peaceful feeling to all of his work. His use of exquisite, deep colors, female form, patterns and wildlife make for enticing paintings that beckon the viewer in.

I learned a little something extra through his work: the difference between lithographs and serigraphs (which I’d never heard of previously). Lithographs are high quality digital prints of paintings, while serigraphs are a much more complicated screen print. Different screens are made for each color, producing hundreds of screens which are then hand-pressed onto the material of choice (in this instance, canvases). This is the closest thing to an original painting that one could buy, much better quality than a lithograph but also much more expensive.

Holiday Harvest at UNB Art Centre

As the holidays draw closer, my brain prepares for winter hibernation. It’s getting harder to buckle down and get work done (re: writing this blog!) but on the plus side I’ve been doing a lot of baking! Over the past few weeks I’ve made gingerbread ninjas, chocolate-covered pretzels and sugar cookies (thought the latter didn’t turn out so well) and last night Tim & I made peanut brittle. In previous years I’ve felt very unprepared for the holidays but this year I’m totally ready: shopping done, decorating done and baking pretty much done as well. Bring on the good eats, movies and lazy days!

I had a chance to check out the Holiday Harvest exhibit at the UNB Art Centre this week. There are so many beautiful paintings for sale there, all prices and sizes! Here are a few of my favorites:

"Deep" by Lise Dumas Richard

"Deep" by Lise Dumas Richard

I did my abstract art class with Lise earlier in the summer. Her work is beautiful and she was great company! “Deep” is vibrant and mesmerizing and caught my eye almost as soon as I walked in the door. Love the transitions from the gold and green to the blues and purples… deep indeed! The colors drew me in for a closer look which revealed small intricate swirls to lead my eye throughout the work.

"Red" by Estelle Nadeau

"Red" by Estelle Nadeau

Bold bright colors always catch my eye so this piece was a no-brainer for me. I love the blend of abstract and reality, how the background slowly begins to blend into the flowers in the middle. It’s hard to see in this photograph but the piece has a lot of texture as well that helps distinguish the flowers from the background.

"Mother Goose" by Lynn Billings

"Mother Goose" by Lynn Billings

I feel like I could run my fingers through the water in “Mother Goose”. The blues and purples in the water allow the mother and her chicks to really pop. The detail in these birds is incredible as well; the feathers look so soft.

"Around the Bend" - Don Gould

"Around the Bend" - Don Gould

Pieces like this are great because they are almost two completely different works, depending on how you look at it. Up close you get a more abstract piece, bright splotches of color next to each other. From further away these colors blend together to create a beautiful fall scene. For a landscape such as this, I think the pointillism style used here is one of the best ways to represent all the colors that make up this beautiful autumn forest. The thick paint and texture give the illusion of crumpled leaves.

"McCallum Lake" - Joanne Violette

"McCallum Lake" - Joanne Violette

Normally landscapes and wildlife aren’t my thing, but this painting stopped me in my tracks. Again, this photo really doesn’t do the color palette justice. There is a lot going on color-wise and it requires a few minutes to take it all in. Not a single detail is left unpainted here from the reeds of grass to the shafts of light from the sun to the moose’s reflection in the lake. This piece radiates serenity, warmth and beauty. As I studied it more it became obvious how many hours it must’ve taken to paint each portion of this scene.

There is so much more to see in this gallery: oils, acrylics, wax and more. I love going to exhibits of local talent; it really makes me appreciate the art scene in Fredericton that seems to be very underground and quiet most of the time. If you can, go check out the exhibit at the UNB Art Centre (admission is free!) before it ends this Sunday the 18th.

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…