Friday, February 27, 2009

New Directions?

"On the Vine"
oil painting
5 x 7"

Last weekend, my husband gave me a wonderful gift of time alone.  I checked into a local hotel for two days and a night to be silent and think.  I took along my laptop, many books, notebooks, some sketching and a couple of pairs of sweatpants.  It was delicious.

During that time, I planned my goals for the upcoming year, broke them down into projects, wrote my mission statement, planned some directions for my work and just generally was able to focus on my work.

One of the goals I've decided upon is to go back to oil painting - not exclusively, I WILL continue with my colored pencil drawings - but as an addition to.  Every Friday, barring schedule interruptions, I plan to paint.  Painting and drawing for me are very, very different.  I am very slow and methodical in the way I draw - it can take months for one drawing.  However, the way I learned to paint was in school and from life; therefore, my style is very quick and loose.  I like both ways of working.

Today was my first "painting" day and I was amazed that I could still ride that horse - albeit a bit rusty, but I wasn't too disappointed in what I produced.  But I'll let you tell me what you think.

I decided to paint from a reference photo I was currently using for a colored pencil drawing on which I had spent a couple of hours.  The painting took the same amount of time.  The drawing isn't done; the painting is signed.  You can see the results below.

It seems to me that it can be good for my growth as an artist to allow myself to explore, create and enjoy the process.  I hope that doing both painting and drawing will complement each other and allow me to grow as an artist.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bolivian Lady WIP - 3rd Post

Bolivian Lady - Stage 7

Bolivian Lady - Stage 8

Bolivian Lady - Stage 9

Ooooh, I wish I were one of those artists who could work across a drawing from left to right and finish a section at a time, knowing I had nailed the values, contrast and color right from the start. But alas, I work all over the page building and glazing layer upon layer of color until I know the piece is finished.
This explains how, in this post, the changes you see are very, very subtle (look closely at the background and the lady's left shoulder). I usually have a vague idea of my background and develop that along with the piece - this one is begging to be darker and will be - but it can determine, and change, my focal subject in subtle ways as well.
Since I work from light to dark, I have always struggled to get my darkest darks right away. I usually seem to slowly coax them out along with the background.
I am hoping to have this piece done by next week, but I also r-e-a-l-l-y need a break from it and plan to work on the Virtual Sketch Date drawing, too, which I will post before next weekend.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bolivian Lady - WIP, second post

Bolivian Lady
Stage 4

Bolivian Lady
Stage 5

Bolivian Lady
Stage 6

I have a love/hate relationship with this piece now - it is taking a l-o-n-g time to progress (which I hate) but I can zone out and get a bit meditative as well (which I love). I also listen to books on tape while I draw or paint so I think I'm going to get through at least 3 books with this one!

Friday, February 6, 2009

New WIP - Bolivian Lady

Bolivian Lady
Stage 1

Bolivian Lady
Stage 2

Bolivian Lady
Stage 3

This piece is very large for me - it measures 18 x 14". It's pure colored pencil on white Stonehenge paper. If you, too, work in colored pencil, you have an idea of how work intensive this piece is and has been, especially with the background.

As much work as it is, I have enjoyed it- almost feel guilty at times. (Does anyone else feel guilty about loving their work, too?)

I am working from a reference photo I took last year while in Bolivia. I was fascinated by how the women dressed and how they carried everything in their wraps. The Bolivian women are some of the hardest working people I have ever seen. In this piece I hope to capture some of that work-filled life in her face along with her feminity and beauty.

I've been meaning to start one of these large pieces from Bolivia since last year. Maybe because I have my second trip booked for this spring, I felt compelled to begin this drawing. I'm not sure, but it is motivating me to get ready to travel again.
Let me know what you think. Love your comments and suggestions.