Sunday, June 28, 2015

Inexpensive Art Purchase and New WIP


Not all artist supplies have to be brand named or expensive.  Last year, I was on the lookout for a drawing easel that was not only light weight but small enough to move into different areas of the house without being a challenge.   While on Amazon, a  photo of the Marquis Artists Desk/Easel appeared in my search list.  Amazingly enough, the asking price was  $14.01 -prime shipping included.  There were complaints by a few reviewers pertaining to the quality of build and hardware... What did they expect for 14 bucks?   Sometimes simplicity and light cheap wood can be the answer for tired arms in the evening.  So, I placed my order for one.  And here it is...
 
 
 


The easel arrived without a finish and will be left that way.  The hardware that locks the drawer is a little flimsy, but I do not intend to keep pounds of artist supplies inside anyways.  The easel can do 4 different levels with the leg resting on notches in the center wood divider.  The upright frame has a nice size edge that flips down for resting the work or supplies on.  For my purposes, which do not involve a canvas currently, I cut a piece of thin cabinet veneer (keeping with the light weight theme) into a rectangle and painted it black to mount my work to.


 
 
The dimensions of the easel are 13 1/4 x 10 inches... Perfect size for a lot of my work.  :)  I found it sturdy for my sketching and will test it later with filling and blending. 
 
Overall, I am very happy with the easel.  It is hard to believe such a small purchase could open up so much space at my desk.  In the summer heat, I can sometimes get a little claustrophobic and agitated being pinched for space in my little corner of the world.  This little easel is just the ticket for my summertime blues.  :)
 
I tested the sturdiness of the easel out on my next subject... Some Scottish Highland cattle.  I was inspired by some Highlands grazing in a field on the way to a flea market in Wisconsin a few weeks ago.  My husband pulled over and I captured quite a few photos of them.  My photos will be references for future compositions, since I stumbled upon a wonderful photo while browsing the internet to correctly identify the cattle.  Although the reference photo is of gorgeous rust colored beasts, mine will be rendered in graphite.  (The ones that I photographed were two rust and one white.)  The depth of their rust color is just awesome... Makes me think that a colored version will be following soon! 
 
 


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Baby in Graphite Finished

This little guy has been finished for awhile now.  I have been letting him sit until my eyes can take a renewed look at him.  The little nubby shirt that he has on was a little flat initially.  I went back in with the click eraser and rubbed in some details.  This subtle addition made me happy and did not give overwhelming clarity to an area that should be understated.  Over all, I am extremely happy with the finish. 
 
There were some challenges to this portrait.  To begin with, the initial photograph was done in a studio.  By the look of the eyes, I question that the trick of digitally enhancing the pupil and life spot was put into play.  Although this can come across as a sharper image in a photograph, it looks flat and lifeless when translated into a graphite drawing.  I took some artistic license and came up with matching reflections to help create a translucent covering to the iris and pupil.  Also, every part of this photograph appeared to be in focus for the most part... Great in a photograph-- distracting for a graphite portrait. So, I let his left arm become less defined as it projects toward the viewer.  It gives some depth to the composition and leads the eye to the main focus of the face.  My final challenge on this piece resides in the completion of it.  Just look at this little guy.  How do you get over the cuteness?  I mean really?  I feel like he is a part of my life now... Captured in a time capsule of my own creation.  Now, I prepare myself to sign my name and move on... With the completion of a piece, there is always the overwhelming sense of accomplishment mixed with a slight twist of emptiness...  *sigh*  This can only be lessened by starting a new adventure.  So, I will move on to a new beginning.  
 
 
 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day... Courtesy of Craftsy!!

I just did some last minute Valentine shopping for myself.  ;)  Craftsy.com  is having up to 50% off their classes for Valentine's Day.  The quilting classes, that I have participated in, are packed with information and easy to understand.  I enjoyed them immensely and can watch them over and over again.  As I was browsing their current inventory, I found some interesting videos in the genre of drawing... Yay!!  The prices are extremely reasonable and are comparable to purchasing a book.  I am heading back over to enjoy some quality time with Kerry Brooks or maybe Eric Johnson... Hmmm... Deciding which one to dive into first will be tough. :)   
 
 
 

 
 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Baby in Graphite WIP 8

 
I am moving right along on the little guy.  Amazing how much work can get done by just setting a little time aside to relax and draw.  ;)  The shoulder cuff and top half of his left arm are all that are left to do.  It might take a little longer with the thermal shirt, but this is where the grid helps me to save a ton of time.  It keeps all the minute details in line.  The  overall piece will get some darkness added to it, once the whole composition is filled in.  My next post should be the finished piece!  :)
 
 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Baby in Graphite WIP 7

Happy New Year Everyone!  My wishes for a wonderful 2015 for us all.  I usually like to start the New Year with a finish, but there were circumstances beyond my control that prevented the completion of  this work.  That's alright!  We enjoyed a quiet and warm Christmas here in Northern Illinois, so I am not complaining.  :) 

Since January has been welcomed in with sub zero temps,  I have migrated back into the warm studio area of our house.  There has been some productive work going on and thoughts are being given to this year's goals.  Very little work has been produced at my board over the past year... *sigh*...  I have been giving serious thought to some goal setting for the year, but that can wait for another time.  Here is the progress on the little man who currently resides on my board.

 
He is a real doll and shaping up well.  The zipper on the jacket is a little tedious, but it has been moving along well.  One of my short term goals is to get him finished in the next week. :)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Baby in Graphite WIP 6

The photo below shows how the portrait looks after the initial blending.  As you can see, there are subtle changes on the skin that give it minimal definition.  Since the graphite is blended over the majority of the area, the missing highlights make a huge difference in the appearance of the skin (easiest to see on the dark ear).   The harsh lighting to the right was left alone for maximum impact.  This step is always exciting and a little frightening at the same time, because I know a major change is about to happen with the chiseling out of the features. :)
 


The right side of the face (from our point of view) held the harshest lighting and darkest shadows.  So, graphite was pulled out with a kneaded and click eraser and more layers added to the folds of the ear, creases under the eye, cheek and jaw line... again, with the most noticeable change being the ear.  This has to be my most favorite part of graphite work.  The initial mapping can be so tedious, which is amazing since I will physically smear all of that hard work, but this step makes it all worth while.  I can still make out plane changes and those careful details simply get built up to the finished product.



I put a few shadows under his face to help determine whether my shading on the lower jaw was dark enough.  The face is going to be left alone until the clothing has been completed.  Clothing is a major comfort zone for me, so I look forward to getting lost in the folds.  ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Baby in Graphite WIP 5

Here is a glimpse into the early work stages of the skin in a portrait.  This photo captures the initial mapping of the rest of the check area and ear.  Although this little guys skin is baby smooth, the beginning layout of graphite is subtle for all types of subjects, even if the person has advanced age lines.  There might be a few areas that the pencil lines are very tight and appear more dense; but overall, this is simply a road map of where the shadows and plane changes appear.   It is a little difficult to see the pencil marks on the Bristol in this size, but you can click on the image to enlarge.  The next step will be to blend the entire area with the exception of small areas of  harsh highlights.  Then, the erasing and building up of graphite will begin.  :)