Friday, March 30, 2012

Gord the Hamster Complete

What?  LOL  Yep, the little guy is now forever immortalized in graphite.  Whew!   My son and I discussed the options, after my last post.  Due to the light box throwing off the intensity of the darks in the hamster, my son still wasn't 100% sure how it should be finished.  But once he viewed the original art in natural light, he was adamant that the drawing should have the background added.  (He worried initially that the dark lettering would over power the main focus.)  We both felt that the added letters would or should push the central focus forward... We were not disappointed! :) 

As I finished up the details this morning,  my son ambled into the studio to see the progress.  His facial expression was the same as when viewing the "Dani" drawings.  I knew then,  this composition had been completed to his satisfaction; although, I still agree with my initial feelings and blog comments that this drawing could have been just as effective with or without the background. 

This is just a fine case of familiarity bringing a personal touch to a drawing.  Even though the hands were distinctly my son (by far my favorite hand model), the sweatshirt brought him into the composition in a stronger sense... for him and even for me too.  This feeling was all wrapped up in his choice of apparel. ;)  The shirt was bought on his first major trip without the rest of the family.  It was purchased right before graduating high school and not long before acquiring his first two pets (the little hamsters!).  After giving the situation many hours of thought, in a serendipitous way, the shirt represented the hamster's owner just as much as the hands.  Just one of those quirky things, I guess. ;)

This brings another interesting question floating into my thoughts.  Had my son wore a plain or raggedy work tshirt, would this discussion be taking place?  I seriously doubt it.  After reading the comments left by fellow artists in the blogosphere, I am even more certain that it would not have taken place.  That is a main reason why I do not list original photos with the work.  It keeps my followers from becoming tainted by a preconceived notion of how the finished work should look.  In a sense this is unfair to my viewers, but I am lucky to be in a group of very talented individuals that will speak their piece when different scenarios are played out.  I am forever grateful to have their opinions.  The day that I stop listening to their thoughts is the day that I no longer grow as an artist.  I hope that day never comes! :)

Many thanks to the comments from Andrew, Sally and Teresa.  Their sites can be visited by clicking their names in the comment section of my previous posts.  And before I post this up for view, I will be putting a blog roll to the right side of my page.  Each of their sites will be listed for viewing, along with some other talented people that I like to follow! :) 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gord the Hamster Still a WIP

My son was not much help.  Although with my observation skills on high, I noticed that he did not exude the usual excitement at viewing one of his pets in graphite.  His eyes kept scanning the drawing.  It is a familiar photograph to him, so I am sure the lack of writing made a difference... just speculating here or being paranoid. ;)

So after losing more time to mulling it over, I thought of another approach to the dilemma.  As you all know, my drawings begin as a graphed sketch on transfer paper.  The premise behind this is to have a preserved sketch on file in case of an aborted start or the desire to put a subject into color at a later date.  Well... Why not use the sketch to see what the drawing would look like with lettering?  It may not be as dark as original work, but it will at least offer an idea of the finished piece.  It was worth an afternoon of laying out the lettering, just to see a glimpse of an alternate ending to this subject.  

Below is the updated  transfer paper sketch.  I wasn't really seeing an answer, so I darkened the lettering with a marker and pulled out my trusty light box. :)

The light washes out the drawing to a degree but leaves enough of the shading to allow me to see a little bit of dimension.  It was actually kind of cool to see the lettering appear, and it's nice to know there is another plus to starting my sketches on transfer paper! ;)  The Washington lettering will be dark thread, and the larger DC lettering will be in a very light thread.

Since I am messing around with the idea anyways, a little 2b pencil was used on the transfer paper to slightly darken the Washington lettering for a little more effect.  My hubby walked in during the process and said that he liked the composition both ways.  How's that for decisive? ;)  After seeing it up on the screen (even though it is washed out), I am kind of liking the lettering; although, there are times that I worry my backgrounds could be distracting.   A lot will be going on for a composition that measures 4 3/4 by 6 1/2 inches.  I'm giving myself until tomorrow to make a decision.  Maybe, my son will get home early tonight and have some input.   But... I am really liking the lettering the more that I look at it! :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gord WIP Not Sure Yet if This is a Finish??

Have you ever had one of those days when your mind doesn't want to take a break and for some reason logic waits to step in and make it stop?  LOL  Well, that is how my day went this morning while working on this drawing.  I've spent most of the last week reworking areas of this composition.  First, the minute area of the shirt at the bottom between the hands was smoothed in.  Unfortunately, it seemed to pattern ridden.  The variations were true to the photo but did not translate well in graphite.  Another drawing session was needed to correct the problem.  Then with the appearance of the dark cast shadows, the hands had a look of being washed out.  Next session was dedicated to correcting that problem.  Finally, the background made its appearance.  Again, the hands needed to be darkened in the shadows... Ugh!   Now, I believe everything is semi cohesive... Or is it??

The background is threatening to be a little blah... at least in my opinion.  In the reference photo, there is dark embroidery of a name on the shirt behind Gord.  I made the decision to omit it from the drawing.  My apprehension was that it would distract from the central focus of the drawing.   My mind is still telling me that it very well might.  But for some odd reason, the adventurous photo realistic side of my brain is wondering how the composition would look if the letters made an appearance.  It made me nearly crazy this morning while thinking about it.  Then, it occurred to me that maybe this doesn't have to be my problem.  After all, this drawing was a request from my son.  So as far as I'm concerned, the decision is in his lap.  Whew!   

After walking away from the drawing board completely frazzled in the head, I went out to do some serious yard work.  Believe it or not, we are having some unimaginable warm temps for March... with even warmer temps to come at the end of this week!  I take care of a few lawns in the neighborhood and thought that today would be great for raking up the leaves.  Plus, the workout would get rid of all the frustration over this piece.  Which was a win - win in my book! ;)

Oh... and I have to add, this photo was taken with my old digital camera.  Notice the familiar discoloration  that it picks up from the lights... Yuk!   It occurred to me, while hunting for my new camera, that I had left it on a table at work.  Not the smartest move on my part since that side of the building houses resale items.  Duh!  I raced to the phone to make a quick call and was lucky that it was still there.  My worries weren't so much over the camera but the memory card inside it.  I did back it up a month ago but am sooo happy that it will be safe at home again. :)  Lesson learned on that one!

The next post will reveal the fate of this drawing and a new photo.  I am anxious to hear my son's opinion.  Of course, his Dad will have to throw in his two cents on the subject... I have no doubt! ;)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Gord the Hamster WIP 4

We have some smooth highlighted fur! ;)  This drawing is ready for its background and some fine tuning.  Today has been dedicated to getting the right depth, putting in the whiskers, and adding some fine dark hairs.  I am probably not completely done with the fur but am not going to risk over working it.  Sometimes, it is best to have a cooling off period. :)