Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Child portrait

Ok, I have revisited a portrait of an eight year old that I started and never finished from several years back. I think my skills have improved enough to tackle it again. So here is the preliminary sketch. Now I need to get to the store before I can apply oils, and we are having an ice/snow storm all over the state, so this puppy will have to wait for a week or so before I can start the paint process. So, all you folks who know this beautiful girl: does this look like her?
By the way, I heard from the art competition, and I made it through to the first round of cuts! Now I have to frame and ship Modern Day Mother in Zion to the church's museum of Art and History by January 24th for the next round of judging and eliminations. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Modern Day Mother in Zion

Ok, here is the finished painting. What I attempted to portray is a modern day mother struggling to keep herself and her children safe in a wicked and dangerous world. We all know the family is under attack as never before and that as parents we get battle scarred and weary with the skirmishes that the world throws at us. This mother has been in a recent battle of some sort. She is grimy, shows fresh wounds and is tired. She remains undaunted however, and leads others onward with the torch she carries, symbolizing Jesus Christ the Light of the World. She wears armor, symbolizing the gospel and carries various weapons symbolizing the Priesthood. She is protective of her children, who look to her for hope, safety and guidance.
I wanted to realistically depict the difficulties mothers face in raising their families. It was important to me to show that she is leading out, but not obviously surrounded by people and human assistance. Our personal battles often feel as if we are very much on our own, and I tried to show that even so, we are capable and strong while being sustained in our vital work of the the last days.

Modern Day Mother in Zion

This is a close up of the flame and her arm

Modern Day Mother in Zion

Here is a close up of the face.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mother in Zion

Here is the first layer of colors in oils. I applied the paint very loosely and tightened up a bit in the face. I will keep the areas surrounding the woman very loose and brushy with lots of texture. It is about 30% done at this point.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

mother in Zion

O.K, this is a big leap of faith for me, but there is no sense in dawdling, so here goes: I decided to try and create a painting for my church's art competition. I've had this idea for it for five months and it won't leave me alone, so despite my obvious lack of skills, I am going to create this beast even if it doesn't turn out good enough to submit to the contest.

The subject is a modern day mother in Zion. She is carrying a torch and turning back towards the opposite direction to show the way for others to follow. She is sweaty, obviously been in a few battles, and carries a few scars and recent wounds. She is tired, confident and determined. She carries a sleeping infant on her back and a small child clings to her left side. She will have leather cuirrass (chest armour) and a spear in her right hand, symbolizing protection and weapons of the gospel. Lotsa symbolism going on in this one.

I have gotten my photo references and messed with sketches that keep turning out horribly and not at all what I envision in my head. But, when I did a color thumbnail (a very small color rough for values, line and composition about 3 x 4 inches) I felt more encouraged. I think I'm going in the right direction now. I'm going to forge ahead and paint the thing ala prima....which means no detailed sketch, no layers and layers of color. It will be very loose and painterly...my favorite way to apply paint. I will go for mood and emotion, not details. gulp!!!

Posting it here commits me to finish it. This blog is a good task master. Nothing like making things public to keep a person driven and honest! Wish me luck!

Desert Assassin finished again

Ok, I had to post the little change that I made to the desert assassin piece. My friend and cohort Kimberly Kincaid Garfield suggested I make her scarf a green patterned fabric. I should have figured this out, but alas, it eluded me. Of course green made the figure pop because it is the opposite of orange on the color wheel, and this piece is loaded with orange! So many things to remember!!! arg. Check out her wonderful site: http://www.thetwirlingdragon.blogspot.com/ and http://www.artbykimkincaid.com/

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Desert Assassin finished

Here is the finished illustration. I'm content with the face. It isn't Genevieve exactly, but the character does have the expression I was striving for. I learned a lot about using models, color temperature and paint application on this one. I also discovered most of the colors I chose to use were too transparent and fought with me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

90 min sketch

Here is a short portrait I worked on while watching tv with Jim (gotta do SOMETHING while baseball is on. lol).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Desert Assassin second layer

Here is the next layer of paint. I've finished the sky and skyline and her face. I'm tweaking the hair later and now I will focus more on the skin tones and her clothing. The painting is 18 X 20 in size, and ment to reproduce down to a pocketbook novel size of 6 x 9 or so.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

First layer of color

Here I have applied the first layer of oils to the underpainting. I've established lights and darks and a color temperature theme for everything but the figure. I've got to let it dry for a few days so I won't remove the glazes when I go back with thicker paint.

Now that I have a plan for the the surrounding area, I can create the skin tones that will reflect the colors around the figure.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

second assignment from illustration masterclass

Here is the final sketch for my next illustration. The assignment was about a young girl who was sold into slavery as a child and is a trained assassin on a planet that mixes middle eastern feeling buildings with space influences. She is supposed to be wary, smart and skilled in the martial arts. She has to have long wavy black hair and a slender build. She is supposed to have facial scars where she cut herself to hide her own beauty. I dont' know if I will paint that in, if it turns out o.k, I will want this to go in a general portfolio and I don't think I want to get labelled as a combat artist. That's a whole different genre.
I tried a method we learned in a lecture called 'frankensteining'. Its when you take a few hundred model reference photos (yes, I used Genevieve) and take pieces from one photo and put them together with pieces from another. It gets really tricky combining pieces of humans together. I'm not skilled enough in photoshop to do it YET, but I am determined to master that tool this year. This blasted sketch took me a week to do because of all the trickiness involved with the frankensteining. I would get it looking fine, then a family member would come critique it and say "oh, her head is 'way too large" or "her left eye is all wonky" or " what's wrong with her hand?" arg. I think its as good as its going to get right now, so on with the paint.

I will post my first finished assignment from the class this week. I have to color correct some small details and get it high resolution scanned for the magazine contest, then it will be ready to post.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Flower Faery

I have five days until blast off for the illustration masterclass, and I decided to make a few more illustrations to experiment with different mediums. This sketch is a small faery under hollyhocks. It is 9X12.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Master Illustration Class

As you can tell, I haven't posted recently. I have been very busy getting ready for the illustration masterclass. We were given a great choice of illustration topics for our assignments to bring to the class. One more week to go until I leave, and I will be working on fine tuning my sketches and blowing them up to full scale size. I will post the assignments and my versions of them before I go. I will have a flurry of work when I get home then I can post the finished works. Hopefully, my skills will improve!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tracker last layer oils

Its time for tracker to be put to rest. I will wait for a couple of days for the oils to dry and put a retouch varnish on it to bring all the colors up and to have a uniform glossiness.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tracker third layer oil

Tracker's face is done and the cape as well. Now to work on his jacket and the ferns. I will need to get my son to wrap up his hand to model for the bandaged hand as imagining it just isnt working.

This time I didn't try to correct the photo glare and the color is more accurate here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tracker second layer oils

The background trees are done. (and they're not blue). Blackberry vines are done as well as the big tree. Now, what to do with the orb?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tracker first layer oil

Here is the first layer of oil paint. I'm using Galkyd medium by Gamblin. It makes the oils dry in less than a day when it's used it to thin the paints. I'm excited about the oils too, because I'm using the professional grade oils that I bought for the illustration masterclass. The colors are vibrant to the max! My focus with this layer is to firm up the values (the light and dark contrasts). Once again the art isn't showing correctly with the photo. The left side is in reality dark green not grey, the back trees are dark bluish green, not blue and the orb is white, not blue. The large tree and foreground are fairly accurate, so I'll call this photo of the art good for now.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tracker Illustration first layer

I tried a different medium this time. On watercolor illustration board I started with a glossy acrylic medium coating over the drawing. I let it dry and lightly sanded it with super fine sandpaper. Then I used Holbein acryla-gouache for the first layer of undercoating. It acted better than acrylics: no blotches of clumpy pigment and no ridges of thick paint to worry about. Since I used the glossy medium underneath, I am able to wipe out most of the pigment when I want to. So, it is giving me the flexibility of watercolors, but more of the permanence of acrylics. I will let it dry for a day and try oils on top for the finished layers. I like the balance of colors and composition so far, but these are still very light colors compared to how I want it to finish up.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fantasy Illustration "Tracker"

Here is a sketch of another illustration that I am starting in preparation for the illustration master class in June. This fellow is a hunter-tracker. He is glancing up to his left at a floating orb that will aid him in his hunt. I have a ton of forest reference photos I took near my front yard last summer that I will use for the forest foliage and trees. I haven't settled on many of the small details yet, so the sketch is vague in areas.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Watercolor Babe

Well, this is my first watercolor in over 30 years. I'm not sure if she turned out 'hot' or just plain scary. (I was aiming for sultry). The sketch pencil lines are ment to show through the paint and add to the loose feel.

This style of watercolor is free and dashing. It's a lot of fun to do because you can't deliberate too long...eveything happens in one sitting. The colors dry much lighter and you have to take this in consideration when you lay a color in. Click on the painting and enlarge it to see all the different layers of colors. This took about two hours to do. Clearly, I have a ways to go with this finicky medium! This painting is 8X10 inches on hotpress 300 lb arches paper.

Friday, April 25, 2008

large florals

These were private commissions of tropical flowers. The largest is 30X40 oil on canvas. The other two were 10X14 oil on canvas. Once again the glare rears its head in the photos of my art, but you get the idea of the artwork.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Peasant Girl illustration

Part of getting ready to attend this master illustration class is to begin to create some illustrations using mediums and supports (the boards, papers and canvas that paint is applied to) that working illustrators use. I'm making a leap and going for a color rendering of an old fashioned peasant girl. This is my sketch that I will use as a reference for the painting. I drew this girl from a 100 year old black and white photo. Artists have to be very careful not to use other people's work, like photographs from magazines or on the internet. This photo is so old that it is considered in the public domain.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Welcome to my blog spot

Thanks for checking my blog out! I'm working hard at trying to improve my art skills. I'm no where near my artistic goals, but I'd like to invite you to come along with me on my journey. Right now I'm working on my sketching and drawing skills to get ready for the master illustration class that I'm going to attend in Amherst Massachusetts in June. Check out the website and see the fantastic artists who will be teaching the seminar. I am thrilled to learn from these world class professionals. Stroll through the bookstore sci-fi and fantasy section and you'll see all these artists on the book covers. www.illustrationmasterclass.com