Sunday, November 23, 2014

A - Cross the Universe

I am currently taking a beginning drawing class at our local Art Museum.  I am not any good at drawing.  I can, however, get the hang of it if I am taught specific 'tricks' if you will.

We have been studying contour drawing.  This is basically drawing what you see, simply.  Then there is 'blind' contour drawing.  It is what it implies.  You draw the object without looking at your paper.  I am not a fan.  You should have seen the results.  I drew my hand (a lot) and I could only wish for the thin wrists that I 'blindly' drew.

This past week we studied 'cross contour' drawing.  This involves lightly drawing the main lines of the object(s) in pencil.  You then indicate lightness and darkness by adding lines.  The further apart the lines are, the more light appears to be on the object.  Conversely, as the lines grow closer together, shadows start to appear.

For some reason, this style appeals to me.  It's kind of therapeutic in a way.  You have to fill in everything with lines.  It also makes you pay attention to the object(s) and really see the light and shadows.  Believe me, I need help with this.

I have the results below.  The 'object' was a reproduction of a Georgia O'Keefe drawing of Los Ranchos church in New Mexico.  The lines are super simple to reproduce, so rendering the basic outline is fairly easy.  My rendering of Los Rancho in cross contour are also below.

This was fun!

The 'object'.

My version

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

She's Back!

We ran down to Joplin, MO to bring Swim Girl back home.  She has completed her year of Vista/Americorps service and is now ready to dive into making some money so that she can get that 'big girl' job she so desperately wants.

I say 'ran' down, but bear in mind that it is an 8 1/2 hour drive (or more).  Each way.  Now remember, Grocery Boy just moved Alaska Girl out west (2418 miles, he will quote).  It goes without saying that we were not looking forward to this.  Oh, and I got to drive through my all time favorite conditions: snow, dark, county roads, no plowing.

Luckily for us, Swim Girl has learned a few things and she was all packed up when we got there.  She also had 3 friends scheduled to help load the 16 foot truck the next day.  The truck was supposed to be a 10 footer, but they didn't have anything that small.  Oh well.  It's only gas money.

Speaking of gas, I took a picture of the gas prices in Joplin over the weekend.  Now those are numbers we haven't seen for a long while.

We went out to dinner at a local place called Big R's while we were there.  Nom nom.  I had homemade rolls, bear battered onion rings and a great big ole piece of chocolate cherry pie.  Can you say food coma?  I got two servings out of that pie!

Mmm.  Pie.
So, we have sent one child away and in return we cycled one back into the fold.  This one has a cat.  A cat that my cats don't like and will never like because she is an interloper and not of their world. Despite the kitty pheromones being pumped into the air by the handy (expensive) Feliway dispenser, there is a lot of hissing and paw batting going on around here.  Maybe I can get some great cat fight pics.  Laters.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Pencil Pusher

Tools of the trade.  All 36 of them!
Because I don't have enough on my plate recovering from my surgery (still doing those exercises), working, moving kids etc., I decided to take another class online.  Oh, and I start an in-person class at our local museum on Tuesday night.  Oops.

This class is all about pencil work. Watercolor pencils that is.  The amazingly talented Dion Dior (link here) is the instructor and the class is chock full of wonderful little nuggets of information.  So many videos to watch and so many projects to do.

One of the things that she suggested would be helpful in the process of the class was to create a grid of all of the colored pencils (one brand, anyway) and how they mix with other colors. Cool, said I. This will be awesome!  I can sit and watch TV and color away.  Then I can paint them all in and I will be done in a couple of days.

Thank goodness for this thing.
Uh huh.  I have been working on the darn thing for a month.  Possibly this is because I bought a tin of 36 watercolor pencils.  WHY DID I DO THAT?  I mean really, how stupid can one person be?

It took about 6 sheets of watercolor paper to construct my grid and all I can say is thank goodness I live close to the Dick Blick outlet store.  I just happened to have a pad of good paper that I got cheap.

Quite frankly, the easiest part of the whole project has been to draw the squares.  I used a template.

I am well underway.  And my hubby will
soon eat at the table.  Notice the cardboard backing.
So, the ginormous grid sits unfinished on my kitchen table and I attack it with vigor every once in a while.  My husband is getting tired of eating at his desk, so I guess I will have to finish it soon.

Despite the work involved, creating the grid is a very therapeutic process.  I will for sure know how to use my pencils properly and hopefully I will learn just as much when it is time to put the brush to all those yummy squares.

I may frame this thing.  Not for it's beauty, but rather as a trophy so to speak.  I will call it 'Colorus Gridus' and I will hang it on the wall in the Bat Cave.  It will inspire me to greatness.  Mainly because I finished it.

As I am writing this, my husband is measuring the doggone thing so he can cut a piece of cardboard to put it on.  I think he wants to eat at the table.  Soon.

PS - If you click Dion's link above, go to the Classes section and look at the Watercolor Pencils class. I have also taken Mastering Twinks!  Wonderful, wonderful classes.  I highly encourage you to take them.

As an added picture bonus, I thought I would share my first attempt at using these pencils. with water and a brush.  Fun!