Spring Has Arrived!

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

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

Modern Surreal Vitruvian Man by Jess Naish Lingley

Modern Surreal Vitruvian Man by Jess Naish Lingley

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

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

Beach at Dusk by Jess Naish Lingley

Beach at Dusk by Jess Naish Lingley

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

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

Perspective, Loomis-style

Perspective, Loomis-style

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

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

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Homework homework homework, but also a show!

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

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

Mocha & Java: A Modern Portrait by Jess Lingley

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

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

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

Design homework with Gouache on Mylar.

Design homework with Gouache on Mylar.

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

Product design group project results.

Product design group project results.

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

Fun in metal shop.

Fun in metal shop.

It's all coming together...

It’s all coming together…

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

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

Cavernous pepper by Jess Lingley.

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

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

Ink wash landscape by Jess Lingley.

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

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

Skeleton Study of Adam & Eve by Albrecht Durer.

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

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

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

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

Cheers, all!

Doodling & Flowers

My first week at NSCAD was fantastic, better than I could’ve hoped for! It’s so inspiring to be surrounded by other artists and really encourages me to up my game in terms of skills. I thought we’d be starting with basics for drawing, but we were assigned pretty detailed homework, and I’ve got over 3 hours of drawings due next Thursday. I may share some sketches when I’m done if I feel they’re up-to-snuff, but won’t be sharing every single thing along the way, simply because there will be so much to photo/scan. I will have hundreds of drawings by end of semester.

In our studio class we were introduced to an exercise called Zentangle. You basically divide up a small piece of paper into several sections, and fill each of those sections with doodles/patterns. It’s extremely relaxing and creatively soothing. I highly recommend it to everyone! It’s great for creative block as well, since it’s more intuitive and doesn’t require a lot of thought. Check out the website for techniques and for videos of other people zentangling.

Doodling with black & white oil pastels.

Doodling with black & white oil pastels.

This is a larger version of that sort of doodle done with black & white oil pastels. I’m not a huge fan of pastels as I find them hard to use and blend, but the longer I worked on this, the better I felt about it. I’ve never really been confident working in black and white (with paint and pastels) but the only way to conquer that is to practice practice practice. Hopefully with more practice I’ll get better at pastels and feel more comfortable working with them.

Having fun with zentangling.

Having fun with zentangling.

This is a photo out of the moleskin journal I got for xmas last year; I finally have a use for it! It’s so much fun to doodle and not worry about the outcome. It’s also a great way to kill time if you’re bored! I predict that I will go through dozens of micron pens for this kind of thing. Maybe I’ll involve color soon as well. These kinds of doodles could be a great jumping-off point for a painting, as well.

Gorgeous multi-colored Hydrangea at Public Gardens.

Gorgeous multi-colored Hydrangea at Public Gardens.

On Saturday we went downtown so I could get some architecture sketching in, and walked through Public Gardens. Tim pointed out these hydrangea and I was immediately taken by their beautiful subtle shifts of color. I would love to paint these sorts of flowers and colors.

Alright, off to more drawing homework! Take care everyone!

Female Portrait Tattoos

The female portrait/gypsy tattoo trend is still running strong! There are lots of different takes on this tattoo style floating around the internet. Tumblr is an excellent resource for this type of thing, but instagram is quickly catching up.

by matt_gtp (instagram)

by matt_gtp (instagram)

The traditional style of this line work in the hair brings out the multicolored leaves in the rose. I like that she has tattoos (tattoos within tattoos)! The blending for the simple makeup on her face is well done and really draws your eye to her thoughtful expression.

by Rachel Jamie Baldwin at Modern Body Art Birmingham England.  (via fyeahtattoos on tumblr)

by Rachel Jamie Baldwin at Modern Body Art Birmingham England. (via fyeahtattoos on tumblr)

Loving the colors and style of this tattoo, very different from what I’ve been seeing so far. The wide-eyes and bright pinks and purples make this tattoo really pop. Very fun, like the composition with the blue clouds surrounding her. Her expression and the details draw your eyes up the piece.

by dansmithism (instagram)

by dansmithism (instagram)

Medusa tattoos are becoming more popular, and each artist has a different version of what she should look like. The greyscale version above is more severe, with a barbed wire necklace and live snakes writhing from her head. With black and white tattoos, it’s all about the shading; thanks to the expert job on this one, each snack and accessory is easy visible, from scales to the third eye earring to the rose.

by Chris Bailey

by Chris Bailey

At first I thought this was a Medusa tattoo as well, but I think it’s a gypsy of the sea. The pearls and tentacles entwine with her flowing hair, each with colors that complement the other. Most tattoos that I’ve seen use solid colors for the hair, but in this one they’re varied a bit and shaded more carefully. I like how her lips match her eyes.

by Alex Lazarini

by Alex Lazarini

The style of the gypsy above is more realistic. Even though this tattoo isn’t finished yet it’s looking great so far! The jewels and feathers in particular are very pretty. The soft fade of the blue in the feathers is very nice, makes them look bright. I can’t wait to see how the snack is colored! This design is another that is very well composed, balancing a lot of different elements in the piece.

by J.D. Kittell at Ocala Tattoo in Ocala, Florida (via fyeahtattoos on tumblr)

by J.D. Kittell at Ocala Tattoo in Ocala, Florida (via fyeahtattoos on tumblr)

Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple; the above tattoo does just that. The rose and feather frame this girl’s head and show off her makeup and hair. The blush is echoed in the rose and background, while the feather color is echoed in her eye makeup. This design is very unified and lovely.

With so many options and styles for portrait tattoos, I can’t see their popularity dying out any time soon. If you want one but are unsure of what to get, research your local shops and talk to an artist! They’ll help you come up with something awesome and unique that fits you perfectly.

Fashion Watercolors by Sara Ligari

Fashion illustration is a specialized kind of art, different than what I’m used to doing. Negative space plays a huge role in drawing your eye around the drawing. The model needs to be attractive enough to show off the clothing without distracting from it. Sara Ligari mixes lush watercolor illustration with the world of fashion for pieces that instantly draw the eye.

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

I love her combination of vivid colors and flowing lineart! Most of the detail work in her pieces is dedicated to the outfits in question, but occasionally strays to other elements of the work like accessories and makeup. The careful watercolor splashes above her legs give the illusion of fur, contrasting nicely against the pen work of her lace top.

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

I love those shoes! Drawing shoes, and feet for that matter, has always been challenging for me. When I was younger I would draw people and cut their feet out all together, but now I know better. The detailing on the straps of her sandals is really lovely.

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

The way the above drawing is composed leads me to believe that it might not be fashion illustration, but rather an ad for a skincare or haircare product. Her greens are very vibrant and refreshing; maybe this was drawn for spa-related?

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

Her linework varies quite dramatically, leading me to believe that she works with calligraphy pens and brushes. This method takes a lot of patient but definitely pays off, helping the work to pop and giving it lots of character.

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

The majority of her work uses detailed outlines and contours to form the outfits and models who wear them. I especially like the way she details hair, very believable and flowing. Bodies aren’t fully detailed, with foundation shapes sometimes left in the final drawing. This gives depths to the bodies and faces but at the same time downplays them so they don’t draw away too much attention.

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

The above piece shows that her style is varied and not centered on pen contour drawings. The blending with watercolors here is expertly done, especially with the eye which is very lifelike. By using a few key paint strokes, she’s able to convey the detail in the hat without drawing 100% of it for us. This style sort of makes me think of what you would see if you glanced at someone on the street as they walked by; getting the main idea and colors of the outfit.

Happy Monday everyone! For the canadians among us, enjoy the rest of the long weekend!

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!

Some News & Some Progress

In the interest of feeling better about myself and being a more open and honest person, I finally feel like it’s time to reveal the ~big news~ I’ve been hinting at over the past few months. I’ve been keeping it to myself because I don’t know how well received it would be to some, but in the end, I have to do what makes me happy and need to stand behind my beliefs 100%.

I’m going to art school in the fall!

Two years ago I decided that I wanted to get into art again after having ignored it for a few years prior, and soon after, I started wondering why I didn’t attend art school in the first place. To make a long story short, I decided that it was time to make art a part of my life again in a big way. Spurred on by a particular thread at Concept Art Forums (NSFW language), I began drawing once a week, then a few times a week, then every day. I took as many classes in as many different medias as I could find and hit the ground running. Starting in January 2011 I put together a portfolio of works (contains nude drawings) to submit to art schools around the Maritimes provinces. My first two choices, both of which I’ve been accepted into, are Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (NSCAD U, Bachelor of Fine Arts Interdisciplinary) and New Brunswick College of Craft & Design (NBCCD, Foundation).

As excited as I am for this, it’s also pretty nerve-wracking, as my husband has yet to find work in my #1 choice city, Halifax. There’s a possibility that if he doesn’t find work there we may go out west, as far as Toronto. I’d basically be set back a year since all of the art school deadlines out there have already passed, though in the mean time I could try and take some courses at a community college to transfer for 2013. Either way, as of September 2012 I will be doing art full time.

I decided on today to tell the world about this since NSCAD recently contacted me to say that I could start studying as early as July (and as of a few hours ago, I’m registered for fall classes!). I’m hoping that networking with as many people as possible will help this move happen, so if anyone out there in the blogosphere has any info that could help us along, please message me!

Onto some progress I’ve made since I got back from the big road trip:

Owl of Death by Jess Lingley

Owl of Death by Jess Lingley

I finished off the last owl of the set on the Sunday we got back. Whew! The most fun I had on this one was probably the sky, with the most challenging part being shading the skulls. I enjoyed coloring the feathers as well but was getting a little cross-eyed by the end of it. It’s nice to have this project finally done; I’m pretty happy with how all three pieces have turned out . I’ll post some more photos later on when I have proper frames for them, and higher resolution images.

progress on models by Jess Lingley

progress on models by Jess Lingley

I started into the second color of this under-painting after I finished the last owl drawing. I used blue for the cloth and red/pink for the models themselves, since I wanted to have those colors as undertones and keep the two well separated in the final product.

finished under-painting of models by Jess Lingley

finished under-painting of models by Jess Lingley

I tried to put as much detail into the under-painting as possible, including some shading and patterns in the dresses. The patterns are very hard to see; I had to crank the contrast and dim the gamma on the original image to be able to make out the details at all, but I think it will pay off when I go to paint over it.

first layers of oil paint on models by Jess Lingley

first layers of oil paint on models by Jess Lingley

Last night I started in on the glazes for the background, which I plan to complete before moving into the main subjects. I tried to keep the colors thin since normally, I pile them on, and wanted to try a different technique. I’m still a little worried that the grid is going to show through, but I can always touch that up at the end if I still need to. I really like the psychedelic-vibe this piece has going on at the moment. Hopefully this will be dry enough in a few days for more layers.

Have a great weekend everyone (long weekend for those of us in Canada), and see you on Monday!