Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sitting On My Hands and Thinking About Painting

Although my right hand is still in a splint I took it off long enough to make the sketch at left. My hand got numb about three times before I put it back in the splint.

It's hard to not do anything.

The only other thing I managed to do is the brush drawings I am posting bellow. I made a little hole in the splint large enough to stick a pencil or brush through it. I can hold the pencil better this way but it's still difficult to write or draw.

I remember when I was in Irwin Greenberg's class he would tell us to sit on our hands and think about what we are going to paint before we start attacking the canvas. Maybe the best thing to do right now is to think and doodle about what I'm going to work on when my hand gets better.

Colored in Photosop.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Never Giving Up / Sketching through Injury

The head in profile was drawn with my left hand in sketchbook Pro.
Life has a way of bringing unexpected  surprises at your door. Not all of them good.

About two weeks ago I sustained some serious injuries which included my right thumb nearly being severed. There was ligament damage to the thumb and my right hand remains in a splint. My four fingers are also covered by the splint even though they are intact and uninjured. All this makes it very hard to paint.

I started drawing during my stay in the hospital using what fingers were free at the time and when they put the splint on my right hand I tried drawing left handed. Because trying to retrain myself to use my left hand is difficult and frustrating I switch the pencil, brush or pen from hand to hand. I can still use my right hand though I can’t use my thumb yet.

I can’t begin to express how much I long to be outdoors with a set of watercolors and paint what’s in front of me or to be able to take my French easel outside and paint in oils. Art has always been important to me and now I realize how much it is a part of who I am. It’s like a conversation I’ve been having all these years with a very close friend, (myself?). A conversation that is never finished and I long to return to again and again.
This was done in Photoshop holding the stylus as best I can in my right hand.
For now I’ve been relying mostly on my Cintiq, using Photoshop and Sketchbook Pro to work out some digital sketches but I would love to be able to grip a paint brush. That should happen hopefully in another week, God willing. Still, I don’t want to lose a single day so I use what I can to sketch.

There are other injuries but I don’t care to re-live them here, I only want to say that I thank God that I’m still here. Also want to thank all my friends and extended family that has helped me and my Family, especially the Pastor and his Wife and the members of the Bronx Christian Church.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

More Digital Sketches In Sketchbook Pro and Corel Painter Essentials

There are a few things that keep me coming back to digital work, (1) Its new to me and I like learning new mediums. (2) Its super convenient, no set up or clean up. (3) I don't want to fall behind. I see a lot of older people who are afraid of the computer, (I had a coworker who was a supervisor and was afraid to send emails. He would always ask his assistant to send them until his boss demanded he do it himself). I want to stay current and at the same still work in the traditional media that I enjoy. All media present a life long challenge, not just to master the technical aspect of the tools but to use them expressively. Its the image not the medium that is important.

The first two images on this post were done in Sketchbook Pro. This program is inexpensive and easy to learn. Although I know I haven't learned all this program can do. I can't afford to take classes so I look for videos and tutorials on how people use these programs to learn as much as I can.

The third piece was done in Corel Painter Essentials. I think this program came free with my Cintiq. I wish I could afford the pro version but this version is a lot of fun to use. I really wish I can take a class on this one because it has a lot more tools than the Sketchbook Pro. The good thing is what I don't know doesn't stop this sketching from being fun to do.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sketching In Tradirional And Digital Media

The two sketches included in this post are done from photo's I took at Zuccotti Park. The one at left was done in oils. Although I wasn't happy with the sketch I much prefer to work in traditional media. That's not to say I don't like digital paintings. I have seen a lot of really wonderful paintings done digitally. However I also see that the quality of their work is due to their knowledge of art and traditional drawing and painting skills. In other words the computer is just another medium and not the artist.

There are advantages to working either way.  For one thing with traditional media you have a tangible piece of art that can be framed and hung or sold. With digital media you have a much more portable piece of work that is easier to reproduce.

The painting on the lower left was done in Photoshop. I had a much easier time with this one I think mostly because of having done the previous sketch and also I liked the photo I used for this painting better. I tried to imitate the same look and feel I get in traditional media. I used mostly dry media brushes in Photoshop and the layers were at varying degrees of transparency.

I included a video bellow In which I captured what was on my screen as I worked on the digital painting.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

From Battery Park to Zuccotti Park

A little while ago I took a trip to Zuccotti Park on my lunch hour. Normally I would be doing my water color sketches at Battery Park but I wanted to take a look at what was happening and I took my digital camera with me to take reference shots to use for future watercolors.    

I told myself that this was history and I should go there to take a look and maybe have some record of what was going on, but actually I agree with their stance and wanted to get a closer look at what they were doing and saying. A closer look than the evening news would give.

I wound up staying a little bit beyond my lunch hour, talking to some of the occupiers who were willing to give an earful to anyone who would listen and thumbing through the books at the makeshift “Peoples Library”.
I took plenty of pictures, printed them and filed them away. Life had been so busy these past few weeks it took me a while before I could get back to them. I started to thumb through them early one morning and started the watercolor sketch on the upper left. Wish I had time to do more. I woke up at 3 in the morning and painted till it was time for me to get ready to go to work.

The sketches below are from the last time I was at Battery Park. The leaves were only just starting to change into their fall colors, another thing I need to find the time to paint.

This graphite and wash sketch was painted at the park on my lunch hour. I made the color sketch below using this drawing and some photos I took at the park that day.