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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On Nudity & Sexuality in my Blog & the Art of Daniela Uhlig (nsfw nudity)

First of all, I want to say thanks to my readers, because I was recently told by WordPress that I officially have 100 followers! I hope that everyone is still enjoying the blog! I’ll do my best to keep it up during school, because it’s important to me to keep inspired and to keep writing. This blog has been largely about narrowing down what things in particular inspire me and what things I want to focus on as an artist. Over the past year I really feel I’ve made progress on this.

I’d like to follow up by quickly discussing nudity and sexuality in regards to my posts. To dismiss a piece of art because the subject matter is sexual or relates to fetish is a huge mistake and something I refuse to do. I’ve been a bit hesitant on posting nudity or sexual content in this blog because I don’t want to offend readers, but at the same time I need to be true to myself and to what inspires me.

Sometimes inspiration comes from landscape, sometimes from kittens, and sometimes from leather or fur or skimpy clothes or nakedness. I’m not ashamed to be inspired by any of those things and so I’ll be honest on this blog and feature them. The skill required to properly render a fairly-realistic nude body is impressive, and there’s nothing more beautiful than the human form. That being said, I realize some of you are reading my posts at work so I’ll tag & title any nudity or sexual content NSFW – Not Safe For Work, so that you can bookmark and read later. 😉 Now, onto your regularly scheduled blog post!

Daniela Uhlig’s art is a fun digital mixing of caricature and sexuality. Each of her subjects are carefully styled, from hair to eye shape to accessories, to create images that draw the viewer in with characters that seem to tell stories through the paintings. Daniela does a lot of pin-up & sexual work,  showcasing the female body and playing on sexual imagery without being overly vulgar.

by Daniela Uhlig

by Daniela Uhlig

The juxtaposition of angels wings against her punk-inspired shaved head drew my attention and makes me want to learn more about this girl. The simplicity of her styling (minimal makeup or accessories) and painting’s soft color palette create a relaxing atmosphere.

by Daniela Uhlig

by Daniela Uhlig

The triptych framing is an interesting choice for this image. The colors and patterns in the background help draw attention to the girl and tentacles. It’s definitely a pin-up inspired piece and the tentacles are a little worrying (trust me when I say not to google image search them…) but it’s a fun and colorful image, and I like it anyway.

by Daniela Uhlig

by Daniela Uhlig

There’s more of a graphic design feeling to this work. The style is more flat and cell-shaded while the background is full of patterns. Artists that have a style that’s recognizable across mediums seem very successful to me and are people I want to emulate. Working with a limited color palette is important in screen-printing and other print matter, and she these few colors very well. Also I absolutely love her haircut and I’m a sucker for pink!

by Daniela Uhlig

by Daniela Uhlig

Two of my favorite colors, pink & blue, are a winning combination in any painting I see. The duality here between these two girls is intriguing. Evil versus good, hot versus cold? Despite the two very different colors, Daniela’s achieved a comfortable balance in this image.

by Daniela Uhlig

by Daniela Uhlig

This image is one of the most beautifully rendered I’ve seen from Daniela so far. I especially like the detailing on this girl’s dread locks. Everything from the freckles on her face to her jeweled necklace are stunningly realistic. She looks like she’s about to say something, but what?

Make sure to check out her website (obviously NSFW) for more of her work. I had a hard time choosing just five images to post here since all of her paintings are striking. Daniela paints not only beautiful women, but women that are more than simply bodies. Everything from their facial expressions to their backdrops contribute to a new world in each painting, somewhere beautiful and mysterious that begs a closer look.

Realistic Beauties Painting Roundup

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about traditional media painters as opposed to illustrators, so I’ve decided to give them some love, especially since I’m working on a piece of my own at the moment (that is VERY close to completion save a million little things left to fix). As much as I’m fascinated with the effects that digital painting has, there’s just something about putting a brush to canvas that excites me, completes me, something rich and organic that’s hard to reproduce.

The Three Daughters of Mara by Emily Burns

The Three Daughters of Mara by Emily Burns

If a hyper-realist approach is taken with painting, the composition becomes so much more important because simple still lifes that are rendered realistically may fall flat for some people. With the oil painting above, it’s almost impossible not to look at it. The pinup model with an animal’s head is intriguing, especially set against this backdrop set with the addition of the pixelated effect. Beautiful Decay has an article on Emily that explains the various aspects of her works, including objection of females and its progress over history as well as many other things that I can’t explain as eloquently as she does. She’s found a way to bring seemingly completely unrelated elements together in a striking way.

Shadow of a Doubt by Gina Higgins

Shadow of a Doubt by Gina Higgins

The attention paid to the creases of fabric flowing over her curves is painstaking. I love how she’s laying against a wash of colors with dramatic stripes of shadow playing over her face. The blending here is really well done for an acrylic piece. The color palette is romantic and pale, almost relaxing, but the ominous shadow over her tells a different story.

The Passage by Markus Akesson

The Passage by Markus Akesson

I can’t get over the expertly painted reflections in this beautiful scene. The pool bar on the right goes from industrial straight, dissolving into beautiful swirls of color in the water. The further down our eye travels in the painting, the more wavy and distorted our subject gets. I can’t help but wonder what she’s thinking about as she sinks back in the water.

Autel by Till Rabus

Autel by Till Rabus

This painting is another example of hyper realistic techniques paired with interesting compositions, this one a lot more creepy than what I’ve posted above. The colors drew me into this piece initially, but my questions about how this composition came to be kept me around to look at the artist’s other works. The bright colors in the dismantled toys and CDs stand out against the cool palette of the forest background. It looks like some kind of alter, or maybe a trap? It’s funny how these objects on their own look perfectly normal, but put together in this context look super creepy. Really nice work here.

I’m hoping that taking advanced art courses will teach me technique as well as composition. I’ve had fun painting still lifes so far but would really like to take it up a notch and find out how to give them depth and emotion.

Sarah Joncas

Thanks to Beautiful Decay, I’ve been introduced to the richly rendered oil paintings of Sarah Joncas. Her art is an example of how, once you know the rules of anatomy, they can be successfully broken and reshaped to one’s desire. The over-sized lips and eyes of her subjects hint at inspiration from cartoons and anime, helping to enhance their expression and deepen their beauty.

I Think I'm Paranoid, 14x18", oil and acrylic by Sarah Joncas

I Think I’m Paranoid, 14×18″, oil and acrylic by Sarah Joncas

The backdrop in the above image really jumps out at you; The red and turquoise vibrate against each other, reinforcing the anxiety she’s experiencing. To further this, the moths bring a sensation of tingling skin (I just want to scratch them away!). Looking at this image, her discomfort is tangible.

Leave your Makeup on, and I'll Leave on the Lights, 16x30", oil by Sarah Joncas

Leave your Makeup on, and I’ll Leave on the Lights, 16×30″, oil by Sarah Joncas

On Sarah’s facebook page, she was kind enough to show a progress collage of this piece. It’s really interesting to watch how the painting changes from the initial sketch to the finished piece. Objects change shape, some are painted over and then repainted again. Slowly, the painting takes shape and comes alive through layers of light, shadow and detail. I love the styling of the model above, vintage with her pearls and swooping blond hair. The soft cushions make the blood splattering all that much more disturbing.

Off with Their Heads, 10x20", oil by Sarah Joncas

Off with Their Heads, 10×20″, oil by Sarah Joncas

This girl’s eyes drew me in right away, so vibrant against her red hair. I enjoy her use of symbolism throughout her works, whether it’s obvious or more subtle. The roses only partially dipped in blood, the hearts on her cheeks. Her work, though extremely detailed, seems quite intuitive. It’s as if she has a very clear idea of where she wants to take a painting from the get-go and sees it through to the end. Most of her works come from her mind, rather than from life or live models.

Migraine Moans, 12x16", Oil by Sarah Joncas

Migraine Moans, 12×16″, Oil by Sarah Joncas

I like how she contrasts highly-rendered surfaces against flatter ones in some of her paintings, breaking up the reality of them a bit. The expression in her eyes is so pained and I can definitely sympathize, having suffered a few migraines myself.

Hard Candy, 20x30", oil on canvas by Sarah Joncas

Hard Candy, 20×30″, oil on canvas by Sarah Joncas

Several items jump out at me from the piece above: the upside-down hello kitty poster, the koi jumping off her arm and the different-colored nails. I appreciate the little details that she sneaks into her works. On her website, she posts a lot of her work, going back as far as 2007. It’s plain to see that she’s made a lot of progress since then, both technically and in terms of style. Even while she was attending art school, though, she had a very strong artistic vision and seems highly self-motivated. Good on her!

Beauty in the Breakdown, 18x24", oil on canvas by Sarah Joncas

Beauty in the Breakdown, 18×24″, oil on canvas by Sarah Joncas

The rich color palette in this painting is especially beautiful, from the soft white sheets to her sunken blue eyes. Paintings like this draw you in to share the subject’s world with her, and with Sarah, all of her paintings are like this. Choosing the paintings for this entry was a challenge since I kept getting caught up in them!

I’m really inspired by Sarah Joncas; she’s known what she wanted to do since she was very young and has been striving for it ever since. She’s able to paint from her mind and come up with consistently beautiful works that way, something I hope to be able to do exclusively one day. Moreover, she makes a living off of commission work and has her work in galleries all around the world… and she’s my age! I’d better get moving, eh? She keeps an art blog which she updates with progress shots. It’s great being able to see her workspace and methods! I have the same sort of setup that she has for painting, hopefully a good sign for me.

From an interview:

How do you want the viewer to feel when they look at your work?

Inspired would be the best feeling, at least it’s the feeling I enjoy getting from artwork the most… Like you just want to run home and grab a brush yourself. 

This is exactly how I’m feeling now, so I’d say she’s totally successful in that!

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.

Guidance Owl and Copic Techniques

Thanks to the lovely day off, I’ve been able to finish off my Guidance Owl drawing:

Guidance Owl by Jess Lingley

Guidance Owl by Jess Lingley

I enjoyed doing the sky the most, but doing the snake with little dots of color was great too. I employed that type of “stipling” technique a lot: with the snake, the grass, and the walls. The image is sort of split in half: light versus dark, day versus night, heaven versus hell, and the owl sits in the middle. I paid close attention to the nuances in color, which are visible in a higher-res version of the drawing at Deviantart (though it’s still a cellphone pic). I’m feeling good about this and am ready to tackle the third and final owl of the series!

After absorbing Naoko Takeuchi’s work I was inspired to start looking up traditional manga techniques. I think I’ll take a separate post to elaborate on what I found, but while I was doing my research I found a few youtube tutorials on COPIC coloring from an artist by the name of Ocean-chan. To blend, she start with a dark color, then goes in with a lighter color, then uses a mid-tone to blend the two. It’s different than what I do and very intriguing to watch. She also uses tons of layers, and I’m curious what kind of paper she uses since my COPIC paper only absorbs ~5 layers or so before looking blotchy. Anyway, take a look at the video below to watch her draw:

 

 

Have a good (and hopefully long weekend everyone! I’ll be posting again on Monday, for those with computer access during the holidays.

Elements of Nature in Illustration

There has been a ton of inspiring art surfacing over the past few weeks. Maybe I’m just more receptive to it right now? Either way, it’s exciting to see so many new and fresh paintings and illustrations! Keeps me on my toes. Narrowing it down to a few is going to be difficult, but at the same time there’s enough material to allow me to keep a theme. This time I’ve chosen illustrations and nature.

Jon Snow & Ghost by Douglas Holgate

Jon Snow & Ghost by Douglas Holgate (via Skullduggery.com)

I’m really enjoying Game of Thrones aka Songs of Fire & Ice, though I’ve only made it to book four and watched the first season. This is a really great illustration; the trees and snow frame these two characters wonderfully and the shadows give it an edgy atmosphere. The texturing on the fur and the blood splotches on the snow are well done too.

by rachel idzerda

by rachel idzerda (via tumblr)

This illustration is so rich with detail, though it may not be obvious at first. Making water looking convincing is very difficult but there are many different ways to tackle it. Here, Rachel has used a combination of lighting and texture to, very successfully, simulate the depths. If you look closely at the waves near the top they almost look like spirits dancing around the bird. I really like how the ruffles in her dress mimic the current in the water as well.

Nocturne by Rodrigo Enrique Luff

Nocturne by Rodrigo Enrique Luff (via Deviantart)

The color palette in this work is very dark and moody, the sky holding a very subtle gradient from black to blue to brown, causing the blue to glow. Each one of the owls were carefully drawn and detailed so that they don’t simply fade into the background, but each have a unique character and personality. The floral pattern on the dress flows and compliments the opaque background.

Flutter by Jason Levesque

Flutter by Jason Levesque (via http://blog.stuntkid.com)

The girl in this drawing looks completely strung out. Her glazed eyes are accentuated by the puffy red lids which in turn are complimented her her lush lips and pink nails. All of this guides your eyes to her face and hands, giving a strong expression of wonder. Her greenish skin tone and with the butterflies give an other-worldly appeal to this image. Jason chose a fairly difficult angle to draw at as well, from below eye level of the subject, strengthening the wondrous nature of the image.

Glitches by Goni Montes

Glitches by Goni Montes (via Chrome Yellow)

Finally, we have an awesome contrast of mechanics and nature: flowers against wires, snow against metal. The reflections in the metal and detailing of the bark in the trees are eerily similar. Is this a nuclear wasteland or a snow storm? The pattern in the kimono is very nicely done as well and the green brings life to the neutral tones in this piece. One of the things about illustration that really pulls me in is that one single image can tell a whole story and spark so many questions.

The last image with snow is fitting since apparently the maritimes are going to be hit with another snowstorm this weekend. Oh well, just another reason for me to shut myself inside with a warm drink and my art. 🙂 I started testing some colors on my owl sketches last night and I’m pumped to finally get coloring this weekend!