anonyrrie: June 2006

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Inspire Me Thursday - Open Studio

This week's Inspire Me Thursday challenge is to "create anything you would like and share it with us, along with pictures of where you created it." Since I did a "show and tell" about the process of turning a small drawing into a large painting for this week's Illustration Friday (you can see it here), I thought I'd continue with a few more steps for IMT.

In order to get the proportions correct, I wanted to see my original drawing scaled to the size of the canvas for the large painting. To do this, I opened the small file in Illustrator and changed it into a vector drawing. That way I could resize it to 24" x 36" without losing the sharpness of the lines. I then printed it in tiles, taped them together, and attached the poster to a bulletin board. I used the poster as a model for my sketch on the canvas. I have to say that I found drawing such a large figure very intimidating...I haven't done this since college art classes! The sketch took me all morning yesterday.

My next step was to gesso the background and put in texture as I did with the small painting. I discovered that I didn't get enough texture this time with one coat, so this morning I mixed gesso and gel medium and applied another thick coat. I used a plastic fork and a mechanical pencil without lead to put patterns into the can't see it yet, but on top of the stucco effect, I etched in vines with leaves. I think it will look really nice when I put color over it.

My studio is a small room that doubles as my office, so it's very crowded. Although I really like having the couch there (so my kitty Jezebel can keep me company), I would much prefer a work table and shelves. The table on the right is actually my desk which has two monitors (23" and 17"), a scanner, speakers, books, etc. I really don't like putting paint stuff on it, because I'm afraid it will get on my screens. Anyway, the couch will be moving to a new location as soon as we tile that area, and...I'll have a new and improved studio!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Illustration Friday - Rain

The First Rain

The first rain reminds me
Of the rising summer dust.
The rain doesn't remember the rain of yesteryear.
A year is a trained beast with no memories.
Soon you will again wear your harnesses,
Beautiful and embroidered, to hold
Sheer stockings: you
Mare and harnesser in one body.

The white panic of soft flesh
In the panic of a sudden vision
Of ancient saints.

Yehuda Amichai (1924 - 2000)

This is a painted version of the pen drawing I did for Tattoo back in March. I've had enough of rain and dreary skies, so I am using this to illustrate how, after the rains, the fertile earth becomes lush with growth, celebrating in all its glorious colors!

I have decided to translate the Tattoo drawing along with some of my other smaller drawings into large paintings. It's been a very, very long time since I've done anything larger than 11" x 14", so before actually putting this lady on the 24" x 36" canvas that awaits her, I wanted to play around with background texture and colors, and think through the kinds of changes I will need to make in a larger, all paint format. I printed the original drawing out on watercolor paper, and then put down the background texture. Although it doesn't come through accurately online, the background has a stucco-like texture that I created by scratching lines into wet gesso with a plastic fork. I then painted in the figure with acrylics and made a few "repairs" to the linework where necessary with a micron pen. To finish, I put the background colors on with a sponge and my fingers. I rather like this as a small piece (9" x 12"), so I'm thinking I'll use this pre-painting process for each work I want to make into a big's a great way to test my approach, and I end up with a small painting as well!

Edit 6/29 - You can see the start of the big painting here.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Illustration Friday - Dance

I finished up at school on Friday afternoon, walking through the doors with the idea that I would immediately begin all the wonderful projects I had put on hold for so long. But by the time I got home, exhaustion had begun to set in, and by Saturday morning I felt completely drained. Nonetheless, I tried to create the image I had in my mind for this week's IF topic. I sketched and erased and sketched and erased over and over until I finally admitted that it wasn't going to happen this time. So once again, I offer you some blasts from the past...

The image above is from one of my high school journals. It was done in traditional pen and ink. My younger brother Matthew, who was a very little boy at the time, named it "Of People, Nature, and Pictures." The image below is a doodle from one of my college journals, and if you can't read the words, they say "Do you wanna dance?" I used some kind of fine line pen and markers.

So, if do wanna dance, I hope it's with joy!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Illustration Friday - Jungle

I don't have time to work on a new piece this week, because I am in the midst of grading papers and finishing up the school year. So I guess it's appropriate that I post this silly drawing I did when I was in high school. I drew it with some kind of fine line pen, probably a rapidograph, and then added the color today in photoshop.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Illustration Friday - Portrait

Robert Browning's poem, "My Last Duchess," which is loosely based on events in the life of Alfonso II d'Este, fifth Duke of Ferrara (1533-1597) employs the concept of portraiture on several levels. The Duke, whose first wife Lucrezia died in 1561 after they'd been married for three years, addresses an envoy who has come to negotiate the Duke's marriage to the daughter of the Count of Tyrol. Stopping before a striking portrait of the young and beautiful Duchess, the Duke takes the opportunity to paint a verbal portrait of his late wife. Ironically, it is through the Duke's description of his last Duchess that the reader discovers even more about the Duke's true character.

Throughout his monolgue, the Duke denigrates his first wife, whose "heart ...[was] too soon made glad...too easily impressed," suggesting that she was a shameless flirt who did not appreciate his "gift of a nine-hundred-years- old name." Yet as the Duke continues his harshly negative portrayal of the Duchess's character, an image of the Duke as an arrogant and jealous man who was both enthralled by his wife's beauty and infuriated by his inability to control her spirit begins to emerge. When the Duke relates how, frustrated by the Duchess's indiscriminate warmth and smiling demeanor, "[he] gave commands; / Then all smiles stopped together," the reader realizes that the Duke was responsible for his wife's demise. This disclosure concludes the Duke's discussion of his last Duchess, and he then returns to the business of arranging for new marriage with another young woman.

Confident that his self-portrait as a nobleman of wealth, power, taste, and intellect places him in a favorable light, the Duke uses his verbal portrait of his last Duchess as a warning to his new wife. Although she may be a thing of rare beauty, the Duke see himself as "Neptune...taming a sea-horse," and will stand for no less than complete submission.

(micron pen, watercolor pencils, and acrylic on 185 lb. watercolor paper)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Journeys - Spirit

How does one just let go and allow images to fill a page without planning, without questioning, letting only one's inner spirit guide the way? That is the challenge Leeza presents each of the Journeys artists when we receive her book, Spirit... we must create art spontaneously, directed only by the spirit within.

I had a hard time doing this. I was so daunted by the prospect of working without a plan that I actually stalled and stalled until this morning, even though I've had the book for weeks. Nervous as I was when I finally sat down to work on the two-page spread, I remembered how energized I felt when I created mixed media pieces for the Inspire Me Thursday's Senseless Art and Five Senses challenges. I decided to take a similar approach of abandoning expectations and just going with the flow of energy. I chose colors that appealed to my mood and then proceeded to make a great big mess all over my work table. I gessoed the pages, stamped in texture, rubbed in colors with my fingers, sponged them around, removed color with alcohol, collaged the horse, scribbled with water soluble pastels...adding and subtracting until I felt like I was finished. I thoroughly enjoyed the process, and I even like the product.

(acrylic, water soluble pastel, and collage on 140 lb. cold press water color paper)