Recovering and Looking Forward to Thanksgiving

It’s been a long week and unfortunately, due to the sinus infection that just won’t quit, I haven’t had a lot of energy to put into my art. Fortunately I’m on the mend and have many nice meals to look forward to this weekend, so hopefully I’ll have the energy to make up some time. Here are some photos from earlier in the week:

Potted Plant

Potted Plant, 12" x 12" oil on canvas

I finished this still life on Monday night and may have already sold it! I’m satisfied with this painting; working on it in a constantly changing light source was a challenge but it really forced me to study the way the light hits the leaves and the way the leaves stem out from the plant, so I was able to kind of make it up as I went along, so to speak, when the plant moved or the lighting changed. I haven’t painted a lot of organic material so this is a nice addition to my portfolio. Is it wrong that the floor was the most enjoyable part I worked on? Creating the ripples in the wood was fun and went by quickly. I’d like to paint a vase of flowers next but if I do so, I think I’ll stick to acrylics so I can get it done before the flowers wilt.

End Table 1 in progress

Foo Dog Table, inked

End Table 2 in progress

Female Foo Dog Table, inked

Over the weekend I finished “inking” the design on the end tables. Doing line work with brushes was fun but I’d like to get some brushes specifically for this purpose. I say this because most of my brushes end up caked with paint and even after cleaning them, it’s hard to keep their shapes and single hairs tend to stick out a bit. Last night I started into color a bit, just on the clouds on the male foo dog table. I hope to really get into color this weekend.

Watercolors

Watercolors

My first work from my watercolors class. It was mostly an introductory session but we did study some fundamentals of drawing, namely foreground/middleground/background. Our teacher encouraged us to experiment with the paints and get comfortable with them. I tend to paint quite thickly so it took a bit of practice for me to learn to water them down quite a lot and paint in layers. I’m really looking forward to getting to know this media more.

Watercolor Color Wheel

Watercolor Color Wheel

A watercolor color wheel! No matter how many times I make these I never get bored. Something about seeing all the colors of the rainbow on one page makes me happy. It’s a really good idea to do one of these, especially after buying a new set of paint because it gives you a chance to mix paint and figure out how much of each color you’ll need to make orange, green and purple. The popular opinion is that it’s 50/50 but this is not so. As with acrylics, the dark colors are overpowering so you’d only need a dab of red added to a bigger glob of yellow paint to achieve a rich orange, and a dab of blue in a bigger glob of yellow paint to achieve a grassy-green. We looked at tints, tones and shades (adding white, grey and black to colors, respectively). The stripes below the color wheel describe the effects you get depending on what you add. Because I had some extra time, I attempted to add a compliment color from the color wheel to purple to achieve a neutral. It didn’t quite turn out since it should make more of a grey than a brown, but I suspect adding some grey to the original color might’ve fixed this… this is precisely the reason color wheels are a good idea, so you don’t discover this in the middle of a painting.

I’d like to take a minute to remember Steve Jobs. I won’t say much as most other have put it in better words (Stephen Fry for example). Say what you want about Apple; maybe all of their ideas weren’t 100% original but they’ve been the ones to set the trend for other tech companies and really bring their ideas to the public’s full attention. The iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone in existance but it was the first smartphone to really appeal to the consumer market and it sent competitors scrambling to come up with decent competition. Many will argue that even today nothing compares. It’s hard to ignore Apple’s influence looking at other laptops and smartphones on the market (for example, the Motorola Atrix and Samsung Galaxy both use similar icons and layouts). Last year during a keynote I remember him saying that Apple was a mix of cutting-edge technology and liberal arts and how important each of those pieces were to making a quality product. As one of the few companies that puts so much stock in design, this really resonated with me. Steve Jobs didn’t reinvent the wheel but he was an intregal part in making Apple what it is today.

It’s worth your time to either read or watch the commencement speech he gave at Harvard. I wish I’d read it sooner; his words are truly inspiring to all of us regardless of our career choices. On his first departure from Apple:

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

Here’s hoping everyone has a nice holiday weekend!

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Movin’ on up!

Over most of the day Sunday I moved into my new “studio” AKA the second bedroom in our apartment. I haven’t got it totally set up the way I want it, but I expect that to take a few months anyway. It’s so nice having a window right next to me with beautiful natural light pouring in, and a heater in the winter when I get chilly (which is all the time)!

Studio I

Studio I

Studio II

Studio II

Studio III

Studio III

Studio IV

Studio IV

Studio V

Studio V

I also finished off a still life that I spent most of last week’s free time on. Overall I’m satisfied with it and pleased at the amount of detail I was able to get with acrylics. Normally I’d use oils on a piece like this.

Greek Memorabilia

Greek Memorabilia

I’ve been slowly but surely getting used to spending longer amounts of time working on art. After going to my abstract art class earlier this month and painting (usually several pieces) every day, I want to keep up that momentum to finish as many pieces as possible over the next year. The more I paint, or draw, or do anything artistic, the better I’ll get.

My next project is designing and painting two end tables for my brother in law. He has an interest in fu dogs, more specifically mentioned designing a tattoo for him awhile back with them. After looking into what they are a bit more, I found that they’re more suitable for end tables to decorate the front of his apartment, and since he’s given me tables to paint, it just fits better. I’m still getting comfortable drawing them. Animals have never been my strong suit, but I was able to draw a dragon for Dad earlier this summer so there’s no reason I can’t do this as well. I’ll just need to practice, practice, practice. Teaser:

Shi Shi Lion Design

Shi Shi Lion Design

an early new year's resolution

Upon recently discovering Etsy.com, I’ve decided that in the new year I would like to open up my own shop. This will allow me to continue buying art supplies/fueling my inspiration provided I can actually sell anything. Thing is, I haven’t really decided what I would sell. I’m thinking that prints would be a good way to start but I need to look around to see what my city has to offer for printing services. It might be more economical for me to do the printing myself. I would love to sell prints of my paintings, drawings, tattoo designs… which would motivate me to complete more of them in the first place. If I can get this up and running I think it will really keep me motivated through the next year while I work this day job.

On Friday night I finally completed what I consider to be my “final” lotus tattoo design. I’m going to let the idea settle for a few weeks and see how I feel about it; it feels right. I’m satisfied with it. If I don’t have the urge to change it again I will go forward with getting it done, probably locally. I’ll try and update this post a little later with a photo.

The goalie mask I’ve been working on is almost complete; I touched up the paint job and I’m working on sealing it, sanding it, and sealing it again. I didn’t seal the back-piece enough, so when I sanded it down the first time I lost a little paint with it. I’m going to seal it a few more times and see if the paint doesn’t come off. I just don’t want the paint to chip off it the first time he takes a puck to the mask.

I resumed work on the Greece statue painting last night; I have a love-hate relationship with it. I love that I took on a project so large and ambitious but hate it for the same reason. Honestly, I’ll be happy to finish it off so I can continue painting smaller canvases. Having to dedicate soooo much time to one painting is exhausting. I don’t want to look at it anymore.

One of my colleagues asked if I’d be interested in making a print of my Doctor Who painting for her. This is the first time that anyone has wanted a copy of my art. 🙂 She’s leaving in mid-December and a friend suggested I give her a framed print as a going-away present. I think I will do just that.

I’ve fallen into an opportunity at work to do some photography for our annual holiday event. I’m excited and nervous; I’ll just be taking photos of people so it shouldn’t be terribly complicated. Nevertheless, I jumped quickly on the chance because it was the first creative endeavor I’ve had, and I’m now thinking I shouldn’t have leaped so quickly. Hopefully everything goes well; I’ve been having discussions with a colleague regarding photography so I should be well-prepared.

I haven’t been doing my posemaniac sketches but I’ve been pursuing art in other ways, via markers, paint, and doodling. For now, that’s good enough. I want to have a diverse portfolio to show off to the art schools I apply to.