Taming the Teacup

Originally published http://www.rennatatropeano.com/growingunique/?p=147

The hardest part about learning to draw is learning to see.   Even though I used the lines of the towel to help me,  My own learned perceptions still came into play. I drew the plate bigger and rounder than it is.

Layers of teacups

On the other hand, I drew the open part of the cup as much more of an ellipse.

In this image I have used a graphics program to layer the two images together. I find that this can be helpful in helping me “see” what is off.

This comparison also shows the difference in color. Yes, I am drawing a white teacup, but only a few highlight spots are actually white.

Most of the photograph is in the mid tones, neither dark nor light. What I have drawing is mostly darks and highlights.

Usually when I point things like this out, the first words I hear are “Don’t be so critical, your art work looks great.”

Being critical is how we learn.  The important thing to avoid is being a critic of my own work.  Each thing I said about has an easy and specific fix.

It is all too easy to look at problems with our own art work and become a critic.  “I suck at drawing. I can’t draw teacups.”  Those are the thoughts to avoid, as there is not a specifc fix for either.

They are just negative and completely without merit.  By focusing on what you can do to improve, it allows you to see what needs fixing and usually how to fix it.

There is not a quick and easy answer, the only way to improve the way we see things and get them down on paper is practice. Different Instructors will suggest different ways, but there is not a right way and a wrong way. It is a matter of what works for you.





Exploration and Excuses

One thing that I have heard over and over again since I made the decision to commit to creativity and pursuing my artwork is “I wish I was as creative as you.”

I am sure that if I look back over my blog entries I will find that this is a subject that I have written about before.  The thing that is amazing me today is the excuses.  My favorite so far was “I can’t be creative because I can’t afford to go to school for it.”  This was from a women who was complaining about the fact that she could not afford to go back to college, as her life coach was recommending.    It is my favorite in that it was the most absurd.

Seriously, my art classes cost much less than the life coach.  We also offer make and take workshops at no cost at Creative Corner Westfield. So does the local library, and I am not even going to start on what is available on the Internet.

Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, why not focus on what you can do.  Sitting at my desk, I can think of any number of things that I can make or do with the things that are right here. Of course if we are choosing to make excuses,  it is because I am creative. (remember, you have to go to college to learn how to think like that).   I am participating in a creative challenge that is focusing on recycling as its theme for the month, so I have been looking for ways to recycle and create.  Zentangle1

This is a recycled image from last month’s challenge.  It was made from pens and paper on my desk at work. It is drawn on the back of a printing error.

For those who are thinking I can’t draw a straight line, much less a circle, I have two words, Ruler and Compass.  Write them out on a piece of paper. Look, you have made straight lines and circles. ( The L and the o) If they are still not to your satisfaction, go ahead and use a ruler and a compass to help you. ( I traced around the bottom of a vase sitting on my desk).

We all have a choice each day, we can be positive or negative.  Excuses are negative, Exploration is positive.  Try and choose the positive.

“Yes, you can draw.”

Rennata M. Tropeano, Assorted Sketches. charcoal, crayons, 8 x 8inches. ©2009Rennata M. Tropeano, Face Sketch. charcoal, 8 x 8inches. ©2009

I have been doing a lot of work with computer graphics as of late and while that keeps me in practice with composing a scene, it takes a different skill set than basic drawing . I am firm believer in going back to the basics and working on improving your grasp of skills. Working on improving is very different than expecting perfection.  Learning to sketch is really the process of learning to see, and then translating that to the paper.  Many would be artists are very frustrated with their own perceived inability to draw _________.   Tonight an artist whose work I admire, said to me “I can’t draw people”   I bet she can. Maybe not as well as she would like, but I have seen her paintings. I have no doubt what so ever that she can draw people.  I am convinced that anyone who can write their name in both cursive and printing can in fact draw,  All the skills that you need are there. The ability to reproduce a series of positive and negative shapes with curves and lines.  When you think about it, the ability to write is pretty impressive, yet this is something that most people do with out thinking about it.  It is something that we all learned to do through practice and by doing it over and over again. I love how to draw books that tell the reader that you can learn to draw horses, dogs, cartoons, fairies, etc in so many simple steps.  They always seem to leave out the little fact that it takes practice to learn to do each step.  Take a look at a learn to write book.  They are all about practice, and no one expects a child to be able to write after finishing one workbook.  When I start to sketch, I have a set of jewel tone crayons that I like to start with, to warm up, and remind myself that it takes practice, and it should be fun, otherwise why bother?

Day Three and All is Well

I am well behind the word count if you go by the take the month and divide by the number of days goal.  However, this does not  worry me as I know that it will come. 

Cflowers_002  Today’s Artwork is Crystal Flowers.  I made the flowers more translucent, moved them away from the arch and choose sunset rather than moonlight.   I will crop this one a bit before printing so that the flowers are not quite so dead center.

I received a couple of questions about how did I create them. 

The flowers were made in a 3d Sculpt program.  The software lets you create what is called a sculpt map.  A sculpt map looks like this.  When you apply this sculpt map texture to a 3d building block in a 3d enviornment it morphs into the flower shapes that I have “photographing”.  In the 3D environment that I work in,  the basic shapes come up looking as if they are made of plywood.  I then choose a texture. These flowers have textures that are designed to look like cut gems, diamonds and saphires.  I tinted the one flower purple as I wanted it to appear more like an amythyst.