Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gord the Hamster WIP

I'm still here! LOL  The second hand is in the process of getting blended.  It probably will require a few more hours, but I felt the need to throw it up for show... and to let you all know that I haven't went AWOL again! ;)   

This poor drawing keeps getting turned back and forth on the board .  It is just too inconvenient to blend with the way you are seeing it now.  The shadows naturally curve around the finger, and I find it awkward to move the blending stump back and forth.  It is so much easier to just turn the drawing.  The middle finger and thumb need a few more blending, highlighting, and darkening sessions, but they are slowly getting there. ;)  

The knuckles are time consuming.  I find myself having to make a choice on how much detail to show.  It can get obsessive at times.  Unfortunately, too much detail in a drawing can distract the viewer and actually make the transitions in skin tone look unnatural and give the hands a much older appearance (trust me on the age part!).  Lighting in the photo can play a strong roll in this also.  My preference is for a harsh straight on light. :)   I guess that is where the artist must correct the tricks that the camera can play.  This is compounded by the fact of my natural tendency to draw everything that I see in focus... Ugh!!    But,  I am having fun with this drawing.  I love working on human hands and would like to take on a human portrait again... First things first though... back to the drawing board! ;)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gord the Hamster Cont.

Moving on to the other hand tonight!  The drawing support has now been turned to the correct position.   The mapping process has come to a halt, and I will start blending the fingers of the left hand.  My drawing hand will be resting in the blank area to the lower right, and I cannot justify  mapping the entire hand only to have the details smeared.  I've convinced myself to finish where I am at first.  

Can you believe that I am looking forward to the background?  There are some cast shadows that will set the tone for both hands.  Yes, you have heard it here before, but cast shadows are the best!  They are the biggest bang for your buck in a drawing and can bring an otherwise flat composition to life.  I'm not sure if the writing on the shirt will remain in the final work (which is why it was left out of the line drawing).  Time will tell! ;)   

Oh... and before I forget.  That new Sanford mechanical pencil is now my best friend.  The funniest part is that I LOVE the weight of it.  Before using it, my thoughts leaned toward the weight being a negative attribute.  But after using it, I find that my hand has less fatigue.  The weight works in my favor.  Less pressure needs to be brought down on the pencil to get the depth of graphite required.  Less stress on my hand... Huge improvement! :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gord the Hamster

Funny thing after starting this new drawing...  I find myself, wandering into my studio at night, wanting to put in a hour or two here and there.   Every once in a while, I look up to see my hubby peeking around the doorway to see what I am to.  That hasn't happened for a long time!  He is finally getting use to the fact that my disappearance from our living room puts me back at the drawing board...  Such a once familiar occurrence that has been missing in this household! :)

I started on the left simply by choice.  As you all know, my style has always been to work on individual pieces of a drawing and not to go left to right.  The photo below is my original view point while working.  The pic is a little washed out.  Graphite is such a pain to photograph!  The thumb and palm area will have some deep cast shadows on the shirt to push the dimensional view of the hand.  The mapping went relatively quick and made me a little nervous.   But after starting the blending process, the same old feeling of solving a wonderful puzzle came over me and happiness reigned in the studio! :)

Here is a view of the drawing to date.  This is not how the drawing was positioned on the board, when starting the fingers.  I turned the paper so that the left side of the composition was the bottom.  It made it so much easier to map and blend.  Plus, the reference photo could be set closer to the work area.  My eyes go back and forth constantly between the reference and Bristol while mapping a subject.  When ever I pause my gaze will be fixed on the reference photo as my hand continues mapping on the support.  It always amazes me how many artists can glance at a subject and draw for a length of time without referring back to the subject.  That style of drawing has never been my gift.  The drawing itself will become more of my main focus during the blending process and less during the pulling of highlights.

A little crooked on the angle with this shot... I had to sit the drawing board on the floor of my studio for the last two pics just to get a descent photo. LOL   Unfortunately, it was a quick photo with me holding the camera a little wonky!  This is how the drawing is taped on the board for me to work on.  The hand will get highlighted and refined again, after the composition is turned to the correct position.  As you can see, the index and middle finger are being blended at the moment.   I am happy with how they are beginning to lift off the page.    I will finish up this hand and will most likely jump over to the other one next. :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year = New Drawing!

Did anyone else see this coming??  I'll let you in on a recurring New Year's resolution of mine.... Simply put, No Excuses.  I do NOT want to continue on with the last drawing.  Was it progressing you ask?  Yes, it was coming along, but I dreaded looking at the loads of leaves that were ahead of me.  Dread is never a good thing.  Since it was not a commissioned piece, I let myself out of my own personal contract.  Will I revisit it at a later date?  Probably... But I will start with the main subject and alter the background to something that makes me happy.  Why not? ;)  For right now, it is shelved...

So you may be wondering what pushed me into this decision.  Well, hubby pointed out a week ago that he noticed  my lack of time at the drawing table over the last few months.  No excuses right...What could I say?  So my tactic was to change the subject, but he is not that easily distracted.  He reminded me how irresponsible it is to turn my back on this blog and the work that I am always saying that I love.  Ouch...Trust me, he has a way of being brutally honest; and of course, he was right.  Rats!

So I guiltily went about cleaning up the remnants of Christmas.  Occasionally, I would walk by my drawing table with the current work taped up and roll my eyes.  I loathe the feeling of dread.  That is when my younger sister called.  I was in the process of compiling next year's Christmas card address list.  The conversation turned to my exchange with my hubby.  She mentioned that she had visited the Sketches blog and was a little disappointed by the lack of work.  (I should have figured this response, since she and my hubby share the same brain! LOL)  What could I do?  I had to agree and proceeded to scratch her off my Christmas card list... Just kidding! ;)  The best thing to be surrounded by in life is honest people.  They keep me in line and help me to recenter my priorities.   She suggested setting the current work aside and finding something new... Maybe even in a smaller format.  Could it be that easy?  

I am happy to say this is the result of that conversation.  The current drawing on the board is a memorial that I promised my son of his hamster Gord.  There were four very nice pics of this little guy to choose from.  The first was on his beloved exercise wheel.  The second was almost identical to Dani in the work out ball drawing.  The third was a profile shot.  The final pose was the one that my son wanted to see completed in graphite.  It is the smallest format so far at 4 3/4 x 6 1/2 inches.  My preference would have been for a little bit larger composition.  This particular photo, having such a little guy as the center of focus, looked better with the hands being close to actual size.    After the line drawing was completed, the size of the drawing really does appeal to me.  And let me add, it felt so right and exciting to be working on this subject.  I sure have missed that feeling... *sigh*

To commemorate the New Year and a fresh start, I loaded up my new PhD Sanford mechanical pencil with a  2b lead.  My hand was cramping bad in the dark areas of the last drawing, and my cheap mechanical pencil wasn't helping matters.  I had purchased a bundle of these new Sanford pencils off of EBay during the Yorkie double portrait but didn't dare start using them mid stream.  The difference in weight is notable and effects my stroke and depth of graphite drastically.  So far, the grip is way more comfortable on my hand.  My hands are relatively small in size; and for some reason, all of my writing instruments work better for me in a larger size.  Go figure?  Due to weight of the pencil, the graph lines go on alot darker.  I almost have to lift up on the pencil when laying the lines, instead of pulling it across under its own pressure.  No big deal! :)

Let me wrap up this long post by saying that I will be working to perfect last year's resolutions.  How did I rate this year?  Well... The amount of graphite pieces fell short of the mark.  A colorized original piece was completed on my Pumpkin Hollow blog and was finished out with acrylics.  My business cards were completed, and a local friend found some art guilds for me to look into for this year.  My "go to" word focus served me well.  Although with so many projects at my hands, I found myself having troubles of letting my focus go long enough to spread my time evenly.  So the only change made to last year's left over resolutions is a new "go to" word, and it is a doozie... BALANCE.  A fair sharing of time to my family, art, work, hobbies, and adventures.  I have been thrilled with my focus on certain areas of my life this year, but the lack of balance threw off  my time distribution.  The year 2012 will be spent combining the two!  I look forward to some great work being created at the drawing table and sharing them with my blogging friends.  Happy New Year Everyone!!