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!

Big Canvas is now unwrapped!

Thanks to last Friday’s post, I was finally able to settle on an idea for the large canvas (24″ x 36″) that’s been sitting in my room since the beginning of the year. Behold the power of a productive weekend!

Fashion Study, in progress by Jess Lingley

Fashion Study, in progress by Jess Lingley

Out of all the beautiful shots from this W Korea photoshoot, after much consideration I decided on this image because it contained just the right amount of elements to challenge me. I could’ve played it safe by sticking to a portrait shot, but I can’t remember the last time I painted/drew something with multiple human subjects so I figured it was time to give it a try. Given how much I’m blowing this up I thought it’d be wise to grid things out to keep the proportions correct. Normally I’m on the fence about gridding (I’d rather challenge myself to measure correctly with my own eyes) but in this case, it was necessary.

Saturday afternoon and evening were spent laying out the grid and pencilling as much in as I could. Sunday afternoon, I dove in with a mix of blues for the underpainting! The fabrics in the original have a sort of bluish undertone and I’ve been wanting to try underpainting with colors other than Burnt Sienna, so this was the perfect opporitunity to give it a go. I love painting with blue, it’s my favorite color. So far I’m happy with progress but I’m a little concerned that my pencil lines are too dark. Eep.

In between layers of paint, I continued on with night/death owl:

Death Owl, in progress by Jess Lingley

Death Owl, in progress by Jess Lingley

Using a darker palette has been interesting. I’m trying to get the clock out of the way so I can focus on blocking in the horizon, trees and then look at filling in the skulls. I’m not really sure what colors I’m going to use for them quite yet, or how I’m going to light them.

Hopefully my week can be as productive as the weekend was! I got so much cleaning done and even got in some baking. Working in a clean space is important to me. Otherwise, I get distracted by things that need to be put away. A space that is clean is so much more relaxing and serene. Spring cleaning, indeed!

COPIC sunset and Time-Lapse Watercolors

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

Guidance Owl -in progress-

Guidance Owl -in progress-

Guidance Owl close-up of Sky

Guidance Owl close-up of Sky

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

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

Cherry Blossom Landscape original and print

Cherry Blossom Landscape original and print

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cherry Blossom Waterfall & Owl of Life

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

Cherry Blossom Waterfall
Cherry Blossom Waterfall by ~soulexposed on deviantART

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

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

Owl of Life
Owl of Life by ~soulexposed on deviantART

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