This is an image I have wanted to make into a painting for a long time, but each time I have tried I have been displeased with the result. It is still a work in progress, but so far I am please with the progress. Looking at the images that I have produced I am amazed at what a difference a daily practice makes. Skills that have grown rusty with disuse are coming back.
Sometimes an idea hits you at the oddest times. This little sea serpent grew out of an attempt to create a little troll. The troll kept elongating. He needs more work and finishing but I am quite pleased with the transformation. I am finding that creating these tiny creatures to bring some magic into the everyday is quite fun.
Figuring out the decorative elements on a cosplay can be a challenge, there are often buttons, or fastens or just pretty bits that are stuck on in odd locations.
Orochi’s knot that appears on the front of her top was one such detail. It is
possible to just cut the loops and glue or tack them to look mostly correct. However, I approached this one from the idea that the artist likely drew it from a real knot, so I did a google search for a three loop frog knot, as it appears in the approximate location of a fasten.
My latest watercolor was one of the many almost finished paintings that have collected at the afraid to ruin it stage. As I first played around with the idea of posting works in progress I took this picture of its early stages.
I was so very pleased with how the water looked. This lead to me starting several other paintings with water with the predictable result that I improved with practice. Now I look at this water and wish it looked better.
I thought about going in and trying to rework the water, but decided that it was finished. The going in and reworking stands a much great chance of ruining what I have here.
There is a balance between my new-found joy at being able to go back into a watercolor painting and reworking it to pieces. So here it is, my latest work, At the Water’s Edge.
One of the difficulties I have with getting stuff done is jumping into new projects before I have finished the old ones. The other day I was talking about making a public commitment as an aid to showing up and doing the work. I have thought in the past of making Wednesdays a day when I dedicate the post to what is on the easel, the computer, the sewing machine, on the needles, …… The list of where I have works in progress is larger than I thought my list of open projects would be before I started to think about it.
I found myself defending all these open projects to myself.
I have so many watercolors underway because they have to dry or the paint will bleed into the wet area. While this is true, Even the wettest paper on a humid day will dry before I cycle through all the ones I have underway.
The same for acrylic canvases and floor cloths. The same for the bird sculpture. I decided that I need to make a list of all the open projects that I have and dedicate some time to finishing them.
I choose today’s image because it is something on which I want to start working. A triptych of three Merry go Round Horses. I planned on starting by doing some preliminary sketches, as I am not sure of my horse drawing skills.
It occurred to me any number of my painting are stuck at the I don’t have the _____ quite right, and maybe I should have spent some time working on preliminary sketches on those as well. Three seascapes that are just waiting for me to paint in the seagulls spring to mind.
They are all very dry and there is not the slightest chance that the seagull is going to bleed into the water. I am extremely pleased with the way they all look at this point, except of course for those white areas that need birds. So rather than jumping into the horses, I think I am going to commit to creating an open projects list, and studies of seagulls this week.
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.
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.
This weekend I attended an art show where I looked at a number of pieces and felt that I should have entered the show.
I didn’t because I felt that my work just was not good enough to enter this particular show. While looking at the show I found myself measuring each piece of art against my own work. I was thinking how similar or dissimilar each piece was in terms of style, skill level, subject matter, color choices and technique. My favorites were the ones that were of a higher skill level in a similar style with similar color choices. The subject matter and technique seemed to be the areas that I was more willing to be open to something new. Not completely open because subject matter also fell into the the area of which I was most critical.
It was the ones of a different color pallet and subject matter that made me look at them and think, I should have entered. I felt that my skill level was on par or better than a few of the artists, but I would know better than to paint ________ in ___________ color.
The truly ironic thing is guess which paintings won. The painting of the _____ and the one with the odd colors.
While the image I choose is grey, it is not because I am feeling down. It is because it is one that I was thinking of doing for a different contest, one that had to be done in shades of black white and grey.
I am feeling very optimistic, and encouraged as I review my works in progress as I feel more confidant in sending them out into the world. WIP Review, the plane is nearing completion, and I have pulled out the pencils and watercolors to work with those media for a bit. I have not put the acrylic away yet, as I want to create some fall paintings, and I may even go ahead with my monochromatic painting.