Saturday, August 28, 2010

Breaking Storm

I made a deal with hubby tonight.  I'd take little Izzy for the night (KJ was already in bed) so he could have some free time, and I'd take tomorrow morning to do some painting. He was happy with that.  So I sat in the lounge with bubs in my arms and played one handed on the laptop.  Fortunately I managed to get her to sleep for some of it and could attempt some two handed scribbling with DeviantArt Muro.

I didn't have anything pressing to do, because I've already submitted to the Creative Color Challenge, but I thought, hey, what else could I come up with that used Sea Green?  I was so happy with my 'Crystal Wave' submission, I figured I would play with some more waves and this is what happened...

Breaking Storm, DeviantArt Muro, drawn by mouse on my lounge chair arm
It looks awfully traditional a subject, don't you think? I had fun playing with it though. It is as rough as anything, mainly because I don't think you can actually save in that program mid-creation.  You can only submit to DeviantArt for display or export an image, both of which kill off the ability to edit further.

I don't think it is as successful as my previous effort, particularly since it is probably my first landscape in any medium since high school (that was a long time ago). I am quite happy about the fact that like 'Crystal Wave', I used no references and just built it out of my head. I also think (and hope) that the slap-dashiness of it gives it an energy I don't think it would have otherwise had.

These exercises are certainly teaching me about my own abilities and giving me confidence that I didn't have.  I've always known I could draw, but have always considered myself not quite good enough, as deep down I'm a perfectionist.  During these exercises I've been lining up that perfectionist in front of a firing squad and killing it off (it tends to have multiple lives unfortunately) and not caring so much about the placement of every single line. It's giving me so much freedom.  It is wonderful.

So here you have it.  A not so perfect scribble.  But being not so perfect, doesn't mean it shouldn't exist, and I'll  sign my name to it :D

(finding myself)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Creative Color Challenge #4 - Sea Green/To the Sea

I had big plans for this challenge - sea dragons and serpents.  I drew a roaring picture of a sea serpent, twisting slimy, scaly body, ready to be traced down onto pastel paper and brought to life by my pastel pencils (I needed a little more detail than I was capable of with my soft pastels).

Didn't happen. A combination of illness in the extended family (took out my Tuesday art day), lousy weather, and an abundance of sleepless nights thanks to my little five month old baby blew all my plans out of the water.  I'm too tired to think. Also the due date for this challenge was earlier than the previous ones, removing Saturday morning from the equation.  It wasn't going to happen and it didn't.

It had me depressed for a bit. It has been a real challenge for me to both find time to do these challenges and actually complete them. I've managed three and to bow out on the last one was just crushing.

But I stumbled across something yesterday.  I've been playing around Illustration Friday, looking for like minded souls and their blogs, when I found myself on someone's DeviantArt page (definitely a place I have to explore more thoroughly) and I remembered that I have a DeviantArt Account. I have never really used it, only joining a long time ago (apparently five years) to comment on a friend's work. So I faffed around until I remembered by username and password and broke into it. While poking around in there (telling myself I really should find something to upload), I discovered Deviantart Muro, a drawing program they supply with their site.

I'm not new to graphics programs, I have Corel Graphics Suite and have played around for years, but I was feeding little Izzy and had nothing better to do (apart from my crochet, I guess ::grin::) and started playing.

It was fun :D They have some interesting basic brushes and I just let myself doodle with no real design in mind, something new to me that I'm enjoying immensely.  That was yesterday. This morning I played around a little more and came up with this...

Coil, DeviantArt Muro, drawn by mouse, mostly by my left hand
I thoroughly enjoyed playing with the colours and intend to play more. But then it occurred to me that I could submit some digital art to the challenge, so tonight, while little Izzy was asleep (in my right arm, of course, so I had to draw with my left hand - fortunately I have developed some ambidextrousness), I chose a sea green and began to draw to see what would happen.

Crystal Wave, DeviantArt Muro, drawn by mouse
Forty-five minutes later I had the above. Kinda impressionist, alot scribbly, it's got some hard edges that prompted the 'crystal' in the name, but I'm quite happy with it.

I'm finding that the more slapdash I am with my drawing the more energy there seems to be in the paintings. I think 'Coil' is literally writhing, and 'Crystal Wave' has movement that I wouldn't expect from hastily dashed lines.  I'm really happy to have discovered this new medium. It gives me even more freedom to play.

(so happy that even though she hasn't managed a pastel piece, can still submit some work)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Creative Color Challenge #3 - Turquoise

By Moonlight, 420mm x 230mm, Soft pastel & charcoal on black pastel paper
I had decided on this subject before the challenge had even been announced. I had been watching a David Attenborough documentary and thought fish might be an interesting topic to play with as scales can be mesmerising (and time consuming, though they can be worth it), so when 'Turquoise' was announced, I was beside myself with excitement.

Unfortunately, this week has been one of sleeplessness due to my children and I haven't been very on the ball. Fortunately it was a simple design and I managed to execute the majority of it today (there is a total of about three hours work max here). It's a bit of a rush job, but at least I finished it on time.

It is not a subject I am very familiar with so the painting was new ground for me and I'm mostly happy how it turned out.  I love how pastels lend themselves to brilliant colour and wonderful blending.  I love colours blending into each other, particularly tones of the same colour as above.  Also, apart from some quick glances at some photos of the sun underwater, all this came straight from my brain and was constructed with logic (this is something new to me and during these challenges, I've been really excited to be daring enough to try to go out on my own without stockshots to work from).

I'm happy :D

(with blue pastel fingers on her keyboard)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Creative Color Challenge #2 - Raspberry Red

Blood Lily, 300 x 300 mm, soft pastel & charcoal on black pastel paper

And this is my entry for the second Creative Color Challenge - Raspberry Red. It proved to be an interesting challenge despite me having drawn many flowers before. Firstly, this flower does not exist, I made it up from various references (mainly stemming from the basic oriental lily) so I had to work light and shadow myself, and also, to work light and shadow correctly you usually use contrasting colours, something the challenge did not allow, so I was reduced to juggling black and whites to get the shades I needed.  I think I mostly succeeded, but the addition of other colours would definitely bring more life into it.

This was also not my first choice in subject, after all, flowers, been there done that many, many times.  My original idea was to draw a phoenix in a style reminiscent of fireworks (think Fellowship of the Ring and Gandalf's fireworks dragon), but I couldn't gel a design quickly enough.  It would also be a bigger project with quite a bit more of a challenge to it and since my biggest challenge in this whole exercise is to actually finish something, I decided that was more important.  I also had the idea of a dancing brolga in reds and whites and greys, but again, great idea, not enough time.

So we have a Blood Lily. I did learn a few things from this exercise. Charcoal turned out to have some interesting attributes when it came to darks, lights and edgings.  Also, I had to purchase some rather expensive red pastels as my current stock couldn't do the job I needed it to do. Oh, well, any excuse to go buy art supplies ::grin::

(I finished another one!!! Yay!!)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Creative Colour Challenge #1 - Sunflower yellow

Streaming Headlights, soft pastel on black paper, 300 x 420 mm

This is my entry for the first Creative Colour Challenge. The challenge was Sunflower yellow and I spent some time trying to work out what to do. I wanted to use my pastels as the media I am currently experimenting with and they also are the type that stops me from being too precise, something I want to happen to loosen up my drawing. So I wanted a pretty free and easy subject that needed little detail. I came up with the concept of yellow light. I liked the idea of making light the focus of the composition.

The first idea I came up with was a child reading either with a candle or under the bedsheets with a torch. The yellow light would be able to sketch out the form. I discarded the idea because I felt it would require too much detail and time to perfect (time is very short in this household at the moment). I did like the idea though.

I also pondered various sunset options, but I knew my palette for the challenge would not support a decent drawing.

I then considered attempting a mandala. I've been inspired by both White Violet and Dream it then Create it.  I have some green pastel paper that would go wonderfully with the yellow, but then I thought that might be cheating and the mandalas are opposite of my attempts to lose detail, so I discarded that one too (though I might pick it up again in the future).

So I ended up with light reflecting off water. Initially at sunset, but due to the lack of a multicolour palette, it more resembles headlights, so there you have it. Also, I didn't have sunflower yellow in my pastel palette (well not enough grades of that bright yellow to do a piece with), so I had to shift slightly in the spectrum to lemon yellow, which, interestingly turns green when you add black, whereas sunflower yellow turns brown. This is where I learn a little colour theory :D

The four on the right are Lemon Yellow

It became an exercise in perspective and tone. A good thing for someone like me who is learning the medium. I don't think I managed to give the concept the skill it deserved, but I've learnt from it. I didn't use any reference to work from, the entire thing is straight out of my brain and constructed by what logic of light I know.

Here are a couple of photos I took a few years back that give the concept some better illustration.

(I did art, sloppy art, but art!)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Celebrating each step

Every Sunday, Concetta from Glittering Shards sums up her accomplishments in a post to celebrate all the little milestones and Celebrate each step.

I'm going to have a go at the same.

So, this week.  I did some pastel painting. 'Tree of Cyclones' is still not finished, but is slowly getting there as the children allow.  I've set up a space for it in my studio (also decided to call my art corner a studio, because really, that is what it is) on the easel and it is working well so far, though I'd prefer it outside on a sunny day.


I've started my first painting for The Creative Color Challenge over on Louise Gale's Dream, Inspire, Create.  The colour chosen is certainly an challenging one and not one you usually see by itself. The results will be interesting. The topic I've chosen is a little bizarre and I'm not sure I can pull it off to any degree of success, but then this is supposed to stretch our boundaries.

I've designated Sundays and Tuesdays as art days. Sunday because Hubby is home to help with the children (he can have Saturdays), and Tuesday because my eldest goes to playgroup with Grandma and it's just me and Izzy and sometimes she will sit and allow me to work as long as she can see me.

Oh, I forgot, I definitely achieved something in crochet this week.  I completed a scarf I was making and started another. The results can be seen over at Ravelry, but as one or the other is for a gift, I'll have to leave piccies here until after they have been given.

So in the meantime here are a couple of piccies celebrating the Creative Colour challenge this week.

Wattle, Margaret River, Western Australia

I think the bug is the Giant Jewel Beetle, Julodimorpha bakewelli. And 'giant' is the key word. It was a good ten to twelve centimetres long. North of Cervantes, Western Australia.

In summary, juggling the house, the kids and my creative works is hard, particularly this week with Izzy having undergone immunization and has been feeling poorly for the last few days.  But I'm getting there. I'll just spit a few chips along the way.

Oh, I nearly forgot to mention! I won a beautiful mosaic piece over at Glittering Shards!   I'm tickled pink and a little stunned. What an introduction to the creative community. Check out Concetta's mosaics, she has some lovely stuff over there.

Here's hoping I can squeeze in enough time to complete the challenge this week, because I reeeeeally want to.

See you on the otherside :D