Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sketch A Day 2015

It has been long established that I am bad at keeping a Sketchbook. I have been since high school. For this past semester oil painting class I had to keep a book updated with regular assignments. Honestly, I did half of them the day before I turned it in.
So, why I am I setting a goal to complete a sketch every day for the next 365 days?  I see the benefit of sketching, and now that I am taking a semester off and won't necessarily 'have' to sketch regularly (Yes, the "having to" part makes a big difference for me) I am taking it upon myself to learn and grow by doing unplanned daily sketches that I will not let be the detailed portraits that often take up so much time and frustration because I am a perfectionist. 
My main goal with this project is to learn to let go (stop thinking of Frozen, that was so 2014)  When i do any sort of drawing or art project, i know ahead of time that have at least several hours of work ahead of me. I often envy the quick and confidant strokes of many artists. I get caught up in the details, and while it all comes together in the end, I would like to broaden my scope by practicing quicker techniques and different subjects.
For this project I will also have to accept the fact that much of What I share will be crap, but I will share it anyway because no one is perfect and I am setting a time limit of 10 minutes each to keep myself from overlooking like I am prone to doing. Be prepared for lots of cats, faces, and hopefully a few non-boring sketches over the next 365 days. I'm starting off with Koopa wishing everyone a Happy New Year. She wouldn't stay still, so I had to take a picture for reference  :/ 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Portrait- Video Review

   Yeah yeah yeah, so I tend to use my blogs for doing homework.  I usually do so on a different one, but I am going to try to just use this one from now on- mainly because more and more of my papers will be art- related anyway.  I am taking an oil painting class this semester, and have to write a review on a video, any video that's relative.  Well, if any of you are in college, you may be aware of Films On Demand, which is an awesome resource for free educational films.  I went through and, while I found many that looked interesting, watched Portrait- a film documenting UK artist Tai-Shan Schierenberg's portrait of Lord Hartington.  
   The film was only just under 30 minutes, so it flowed smoothly and went through Tai-Shan's entire process, from his initial call to set up the meeting with his sitter, to the presentation of the finished portrait.  Narrated by the artist himself, you feel intimately into his studio. We start out with Tai-Shan leaving his modest apartment and soon arriving at Chatsworth House, a beautiful estate that also holds one of the most extensive private art collections in Britain.  Tai-Shan begins with just two three-hour sessions where he initially paints his subjects head and face only and then photographs the sitter in various poses to use as reference for a full body painting. I was surprised to see that he made no other notes and drew no sketches while with his subject.
   Back in the studio, Tai-Shan spends the next month on the large painting (approximately 4x6'.)  Tai-Shan sits in a chair at the back of his studio, often staring and contemplating the progress of his portrait.  He continuously scrapes the paint away that had portrayed the Duke's face and repainting it.  His brushstrokes tend to be large and sweeping.  His subjects hands are very large, as the artist admits he has a tendency to do, and he leaves them that way. The final portrait is quite serious and rather formal, despite the quick and casual style Tai-Shan has with his brush.  Stoker Cavendish feels in the end that his tie is quite nice, and it is hard to be objective when presented with a larger than life portrait of oneself.
  This video offered a nice peak into the day to day of a portrait artist.  He mentions the fact that about 50% of his portraits are either disliked by the sitter or their spouse, as they most likely had an image of what it should look like already in mind.  Painting royalty has changed greatly since Van Dyck and the days of Henry VIII.  History buff, art student, or anyone looking to catch an interesting glimpse into an artist's thought process should pick up this film.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Few Updates

Okay, so I am not very adept at utilizing social media, and am slow to get the ball rolling here as well, but this semester I am finally taking my Portfolio and Resume class, so I need to get my butt in gear!  I have added a separate page here dedicated to my trimmed down and properly flowing portfolio.  The pieces chosen are the most recent and relevant, placed in an order that makes sense- there is actually a narrative that I could include, and perhaps one day I will, but for now I will let it speak for itself.
Also, I am excited about a new group I am part of on Facebook- Sarah's Street Gang. This is not mine, but Sarah Pekkanen's Street Team group.  Way back when I first started this blog I was also working on getting books for the 302nd Bookworms I sent an email to Sarah requesting some copies of The Opposite of Me.  She was awesome, keeping me posted about getting some from her publisher.  With crazy shipping restriction, we couldn't get the books, but she did send us  All Is Bright- her just released short story.  As part of her "Street Gang," I get to virtually hang out with other awesome fans and continue to share her books.
I am such a book nerd, and still hope to one day have the time to do some paintings inspired by some of my favorite books.  So many projects, so little time!  Well, I am learning a bit about oil painting at the moment, so expect to see another twist in my paintings as I find a way to integrate it!  Since I have been working on my Tyrion in Different Media series, looks like I have to throw another one in there.  I will leave you with it's current progress.  So far, Watercolor/ Mixed Media, and about half way through silverpoint.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Class is in session, so I had to create another blog.  Ugh.  Anyway, this is for my portfolio, so here it is in all of it's glory!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Portraits of Another Style

Okay, so I'm still not totally comfortable looking through the lens, and found this to be especially so in taking portraits.  I LOVE portraits.  That is, to draw and paint them.  Taking photo portraits was a little difficult for me.  I tried to think of how I like a composition set up for a drawing, and that didn't really work.  I like snapshots, and I like closeups; unfortunately, they are hard to get at the same time.
These first photos were taken at Oasis Union Ministry where my Art Therapy class was doing a mandala mural project.

I then took some playful shots of Rudd at work.  I love how this first one came out.

Vito in his truck.  I liked the grittier look, so when I edited I tried to enhance that feel.

Finally, training and resting at the Home Depot.

Good practice for when I one day I have time to do more drawing.  I would definitely like to do more original compositions.  
Next project: Series!  I am excited for this one.  Potentially heading back to the Gardens!

Friday, April 18, 2014

From There to Here

So I just read through all of my previous posts, as I have always done every so often with all of my different blogs, journals, on back to diary entries as a kid.  It has never failed to amuse me how my focus changes over time.  Not very drastically for the most part, but enough to make me sometimes wonder "what was I thinking?!"  I am still bummed that the For Your Service project crashed and burned the way it did.  To explain in completely, I'll start from the beginning.
For a while, I had been running a Free Monthly Portrait contest.  At one point, I got this idea that it should be bigger than it was, and should mean more.  I created a Facebook page, then proceeded to reach out to other military pages to help spread the work.  That first day, US ArmyWTF Moments shared my inquiry and within hours I had over 500 "likes."  I was super stoked, and got to work on a Kickstarter page and set up the details.  People started posting photos and showing support.  Unfortunately, it soon became clear and extremely frustrating that most people don't really read or pay attention to posts.  I didn't want to hurt feelings or come across as negative in any way, but I had specific ideas for what the project encompassed and what I was looking for in subjects.  I n=know I went about it wrong in some aspects, as it took off before I really had it all planned out. I got ahead of myself, then it was at a standstill.
On top of it all, when my next semester started, I had almost no time for anything outside of work and school.  I dropped the project mainly because I didn't know how to revive it properly; and getting people to not only pay attention and participate, but understand what the project even consisted of was beyond frustrating.  It's like being a fan of a book you've never read or a movie you've never seen- people blindly clicked "like," half read posts at best, then promptly forgot any of it ever existed.  If I ever try it again, it will most likely not include any sort of Facebook campaigning.


I know I will continue to stumble onto inspiration and take off on crazy new projects, but at least now I have a better idea what will work out and what will not.  I have gotten much better at turning down commissions that are outside of my skill set (which is unfortunately most of them) but I'd rather do something I do well and enjoy than make promises and turn out something I am disappointed in.  I have always spent so much time on a piece, that even when it came out mediocre, I settled for it.  I am working on my scrap bin, where I am keeping all of my rejects from the world.  Just like Island of Misfit Toys, there may be nothing wrong with them per say, but they are just not quite right.  I think of pieces of mine that I settled for, and I cringe at the thought that it is out there.

I have even created a short tutorial to explain what I accept in a submission.  It makes it easier to reject something if I have specific guidelines.

 It's basic, but gets the main points across.

For now, I am sticking with portraits.  I have really come to love silverpoint, and have done several portraits with it over the last few months.  Taking drawing and watercolor classes have really expanded my range, but I always go back to portraits.

Current work in progress:


A Day at the Beach

Back to back posts.  yes, I'm catching up.  This next group was done over a couple of weeks.  I spent one day at Fort Monroe with Mike and his Labrador Rose.  It was one of those fluke Sundays with 70 degree and sunny weather- then turned around and snowed the next day.  Once again, my luck prevailed.  The assignment here was Depth of Field.

 There were lots more that didn't make the cut, but these were the final images turned in for class.

A couple of weekends later my parents came down and we toured around the Historical Triangle.  Most shots I got here didn't fit the assignment, so I only turned in a couple.

The man fishing was my absolute favorite.  He had been camped there relaxing all day, and the sun was just setting behind him.

I found that the shallow depth worked wonderfully for botanical shots.  I took several pictures in the greenhouse at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Yes, I like to put my subjects in corners :/

My final shot came from a session I tried in the grow room ( aka garage) with Brenda's African Violets.  She has mentioned how difficult it is capturing the true colors of petals, especially blues.  I didn't have any luck with it, either.  I tried every white balance setting to no avail, and Photoshop made them awful.  While the colors weren't spot on, they were all still very pretty.

This one didn't make the cut for class, but I like it, so I'm gonna share it here anyway!  If you ever find yourself in Hampton Roads, the historic Jamestown settlement is great for a nice relaxing day of walking and history!

A Sense of Motion

While learning how to take motion photographs was fun, it was definitely challenging. (I suck at panning.)  We had 3 different methods, to include panning, frozen, and blur images.  My schedule is jam packed between work, school, duty, and the daily must-do stuff around the house.  I did manage to make it to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens (I was there for a TAVS meeting anyway, so I got lucky)






Capturing the water droplets was definitely the most challenging and time consuming.  If I ever try this one again, I will definitely use a solid color background instead.  I figured the pattern would be a bit more blurry- especially considering the aperture was set at 1.8.  Lesson learned.  Before this class, I never realized just how much time went into photography, as in when you have something specific you want to shoot and a particular look you want.