Friday, March 27, 2015

Some Pages from My Sketchbook

 Draw everywhere and all the time. An artist is a sketchbook with a person attached. (Irwin Greenberg)


Between all the business of life, when you cant get to all the things you want do or dream of doing, the best thing to do is to draw in your sketchbook every spare chance that you get. Most of these sketches are done on my lunch hour at work. I sit quietly at my desk nibble at my food and draw.

Some of these are prelims for an illustration assignment. Two drawings were sketches from life, one of my mother and the other of a man sitting in a jury room.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Couple Of Lessons From A difficult Painting Session

I almost gave up on this one. I walked away with a couple of lessons from the experience.

First is of course don't quit so easily. The thing that made this painting especially difficult was that I used the wrong paper. I used a Strathmore smooth 4 ply bristol board. A very good rag content paper but the smooth surface was not suited to the gouache medium. Paint kept lifting off the surface as I applied it to the board so that I had to paint using thick globs. The paint didn't always lift off, it wasn't plate bristol (that would have been impossible to paint on with gouache), just enough to be very annoying. Half way through I had to decide whether I wanted to continue. There was enough down that looked promising so I gave it another go. There are always things to change in a painting as you go along, using the wrong surface made it that much harder to make corrections.

Next time I need a surface with some tooth and not this smooth surface that I used here.

The second thing was equally obvious, pick the right paper for the medium I'm using. Who knows, even though I managed to finish it with the right surface It could look better than it does now.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Free Digital Painting Software

With the exception of Sketchbook Pro, Art Rage, and Mischief digital painting software has a pretty hefty price tag. However, there are a number of free software available online, Gimp has been around as an alternative to Photoshop although I've never been very impressed with it. There are other software though and some of those can compete very nicely with the paid software.

There are three programs that I was very happy to find. Although you can find a few more I chose these because of their ease of use and the amount of quality features. What I was looking for is the quality of the brushes, layer properties, support and ability to produce high resolution images. The three I chose are Krita, My Paint and Smooth Draw.

My favorite out of the Three is Krita. I was very surprised that this would be given free. It is as good a software as any you can purchase. The above painting was done in Krita  and the image bellow it was done to test out the brushes.

I haven't had time yet to explore more fully My
Paint and Smooth Draw. Only a couple of sketches to test it out initially.  I share these images here but I will post more on these programs in the future, From what I can see My Paint is a very good program it may prove just as good as Krita. Smooth Draw is very easy to use but it doesn't seem at first glance to have as many features as the other two.

I have included a YouTube video bellow of the
 painting done in Krita......

Monday, February 9, 2015

Making Master Copies

After Norman Rockwell

Sargent after Velazquez
After J. C. Leyendecker
The practice of making master copies is a very old tradition. Michelangelo made copies after Masaccio, Rubens made copies of the works of Leonardo and Michelangelo, Sargent made copies after Velazquez, etc. The reasons for making these copies was so the artists could learn from those who came before them.

Taking the time to make copies after artist you admire is a great exercise allowing you to learn a little something more about a painting then you would by looking at it. They are also a lot of fun to do.
Michelangelo after Masaccio

After John Singer Sargent
On the left are some copies I've made after some artist and illustrators. On the right are copies made by Masters of the work of other Masters. The copies I made are all done in Gouache although all the paintings I've copied were done in oils.

Rubens after Caravagio

After Frank Frazetta

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Golden Age Pen and Ink Illustrators

The artist Robert Henri is quoted in the book "The Art Spirit" telling his students"..all the past is yours." I think about this when I look at the work of past masters. Fine artist and illustrators, there is so much work there. So much that gets forgotten and rediscovered and then buried again

The work of past pen and ink artist come to mind. At one time names like Franklin Booth, Joseph Clement Coll, Charles Dana Gibson were widely known, not just by artist and art students but by the public who read the periodicals that published their drawings. Artist still use pen and ink and there are a number of really great illustrators using the medium but the golden age of the pen and ink illustrator is gone. Thats not to say that the medium will never see a revival. Who knows, it just may be that artist can turn another page and and show that there is still more to be said. I enjoy using the medium and will continue to do so, but for this post I will include the works of some of the best masters of the medium from it's golden age.

Joseph Clement Coll

Edwin Austin Abbey

Franklin Booth

Charles Dana Gibson

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Oil Painting on Paper.

My first painting of 2015 actually was supposed to be a pen and ink drawing.

I started with a careful pencil outline on a sheet of Strathmore rag bristol board. I placed a sheet of tracing vellum to make a few quick pen and ink warm up drawings. I accidently got some of the ink onto the sheet of bristol board. Rather than start all over again I decided to coat the
paper with acrylic medium, a clear gesso which would allow me to see the pencil drawing and seal it from the oil paint's I used to finish the work.

If this would have been my original plan instead of the ink drawing I would have probably done a more careful pencil drawing. I didn't stop to think that I could have worked it out a little better ( probably my disappointment that I was not able to use it for the ink drawing ).

I learned to use the acrylic medium over a pencil drawing from watching videos made by artist James Gurney.  I highly recommend purchasing his videos and/or his books. You can view his blog HERE or his YouTube Channel HERE

The image at bottom left shows the progression of the painting reading each row from left to right.

I'm glad I did this piece in oils. I think for 2015 I will return to the medium more often.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

End Of The Year Art Blog Post

It's been a few years now that I started this blog. When I started it I was in a rut artistically. I had let go of my dreams and as a result I felt like I had neglected a part of my soul. I feel that I am a long way from when I started but still a long way from where I would like to be. It has however been a great if sometimes frustrating, humbling and challenging journey so far.

When I look back at the post I made when I started this blog I'm a bit embarrassed by some of the work, but we all start from that point of where we are. It's where we end up that matters.

Makes me think of one of my all time favorite art quotes from the Japanese Master Katsushika Hokusai,

“From the age of 6 I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was 50 I had published a universe of designs. But all I have done before the the age of 70 is not worth bothering with. At 75 I'll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am 80 you will see real progress. At 90 I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At 100, I shall be a marvelous artist. At 110, everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokusai, but today I sign my self 'The Old Man Mad About Drawing.” 

Looking forward to the New Year and working harder and better.

Please stop by Society 6 and take a look through Prints of my work as well as other sale items with my work on it. Your purchase's will help support my work.

Click HERE for Society 6