December 23, 2015

Elephant WIP

Now that I have a tidy space in which to work, I immediately get going on an elephant painting for my Cousin Joe.He and his wife Lisa sent me an example of a piece they saw that they were considering picking up for the room of the daughter they are expecting. I figured I could do better, but as I got working it changed a lot.
 I added a baby elephant since its for a little girls room, I thought that would be a cute addition. I went for more realist style wanting this grand creature to feel physically powerful. When the lights are off there will be a little secret bonus, the tusks and eyes have glow paint.
Here it is as a Work in Progress, I am adding more here and there after sitting with it for more time, if you'd like to see how it came together in sped up time, check out the video below, I time lapsed the process.



December 20, 2015

Out of chaos comes cleanliness!

It is usually a feat to get order out of chaos.  I've been on a roll lately since reading that book, see a few entries ago for more information. I've been doing pretty good but got busy with volunteering, Christmas parities and other things so I neglected finished the room until today.
On a whim, I turned my efforts to the kitchen which was in much need of love and organization.
My room mate let me know that this cupboard has never been cleaned. I could barely fit in the space without cracking my ribs a bit and now my back is super sore from it. I recycled a tonne of tupperware and cleaned all the shelving, it took oven cleaner and a metal scraper to get them looking like new.
Mid tidy, I took this picture then I had to take everything out and reorganize it. You'd be surprised how much one can fit in the cupboard and how much is less than necessary. I also emptied out every other kitchen cupboard and organized it as well, no sense in doing half a job.
I went back to Ikea for more bins and nicely labelled all my herbs and combined other cupboards into this one freeing up more space. It feels and looks good. I moved onto another room witht eh glow of achievement under my belt.
I keep my bathroom really clean, but went the extra mile removing the hard water stains.
I also picked up a unit that goes under the sink to place all my bathroom stuff and leaving the sink less cluttered. Its a joy to shave and sh*t in here now.
My new studio space is finally ready to be used, there is a bit more i can do but its functional enough to make me happy as I really want to get back to work painting! 








December 14, 2015

Draw Droppers

I was eager for session 2 Sunday morning of "Draw 'til you drop". I had a big exciting day ahead and was looking forward to the coffee and the session. I brought a much more compact set up and got a good seat by being early.
 Did a bunch of quick warm up drawings with the tools I brought, a bin of coloured materials, pencil crayons and watercolours.
I also did some quick ones with good old HB graphite pencil too.
It was this burlesque models first time, she was so fun to draw.
I pulled out some golden High fluid Acrylics and empty Molotow marker containers and filled them up. Spilled some tone on the paper to work with.
I found this indigo to be really opaque and dark but used the background snow flake light motif as a pattern in this sketch then I thinned down the acrylic int he marker with the subtraction of the blue an the addition of iridescent pearl.
This is my favourite sketch of the session, and it was done before lunch = morning person for sure! I had fun with the loose use of the colours and the addition of brushed in black watercolour to my toolkit.
There was an overlap with the burlesque models allowing for a more interactive narrative int he pose. The devils minion.
She had a really interesting layered and textured devilish outfit complete with horns. It felt like time moved quickly as I raced to get the colours down for the feathers, metal chain, thick leather strapping, draping silks, soft pillow, delicate lace etc. in the right place before the pose ended.
I skipped drawing and went straight  into the skin tone, followed by the the red and finishing with the black and blue, to get this quick watercolour sketch done quickly.
I reached back for my graphite for the last two drawings before packing up for more adventures awaiting. After the session I had some errands to run before jetting off to fulfill my teenage bucket list to see Alice Cooper and Motley Crue perform for their final tour and last show in Canada at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

A great cap to an amazing week-end!














December 12, 2015

Draw 'til you Drop

Session 1 - December 12, 2015

Once again it's time for an intensive drawing experience, the Draw 'til you drop event hosted by Mark Vazques-McKay. Get up early on Saturday after an arduous journey back from Vancouver Island. I made it back just in time to attend Doug Swinton's Friday night demonstration, immediately followed by the Emmedia/CSIF/Quickdraw Animation Society X-mas party. So I may have been super rusty this morning but I made it on time to draw. As they say.........."No rest for the wicked"
 The first model was a ballerina who did some quick warm up gesture poses, some on point.
 I tried a variety of materials and set ups at the beginning in order to shake me out of my stiffness.
It felt as though things were working against me, but then I discovered the delicious coffee the venue provided when I made a donation to the woman's shelter.
I tried some new charcoal from Japan on the Mellotex paper I've had in my studio a while.
And then went for a warm tinted paper when the pose was held for a longer period of time.
This one was graphite pencil on heavy drawing paper, and I got frustrated at the end when I couldn't get Eva's likeness correct. Instead it looks like a sci-fi captain.
On the other side, there was a simultaneous set up of burlesque dancers in costume, I did more drawings of them but only photoed this one as it turns out. their costumes were spectacular and fun to draw. Look at the obsessive detail it takes to render the fishnet stockings.
I quickly got down some values for the newest models warm up pose. I should mention we got free leftover turkey diner from the locations Christmas party, major bonus to attending this event as I have been out of town and have no groceries.
Here I played a little with white chalk while there was just a little bit of time left in the pose.
for my final drawing I used some toned Canson brand paper, the white, graphite and a fluorescent pink acrylic paint pen. I am looking forward to tomorrows long challenge as well :D








December 6, 2015

Acrylic Sampler Sunday at Swinton's (December 6)

Sunday Sampler at Swintons. This week-end acrylic!

This week-end its acrylic.  I brought a bunch of test panels and examples to show the group the variety of things from  fluorescent, iridescence and textured options. I presented an overview of methods and materials before diving into the paint.
We practiced colour mixing with a palette knife using a closed palette consisting of titanium white, the three primaries (and warm and cool options of each) and burnt umber.  We made black and used white to create a grey scale. then mixed the secondary and tertiary colours.
The students picked their subject, prepared their supports and began blocking in the colours they needed with their largest brush.
They mixed all the hues they need, creating tints and shades of each then blending and applying them to their canvas panel.
They experimented with different mediums, and brushes and how to apply the paint.
We also did a tour of the store to get acquainted with the materials available and so I could answer any additional questions anyone may have by this point. Plus it is really good to take a break before going back to put on the finishing touches.
I thought I got more pictures of everyone's pieces, they all turned out so well for first time painters and in the short time given to try a new medium. Well done folks!


I will be teaching more samplers in the new year check out the link at the bottom for more details and sign up:

Oil Painting January 24
Acrylic Painting January 31 
Acrylic Painting February 21

http://swintonsart.com/instruction/samplers








December 3, 2015

Getting my house in order

A little post about tidying.....

There is that saying "it takes a mess to clean a mess". It certainly has been true for me lately. I have been struggling with having a suitable place to create. I have been living in the same place for quite some time, and without a studio to create in. Mostly I convert my kitchen, but not any more. A good friend of mine recommended a book which helped jump-start my motivation to "get my house in order" and I want to recommend it here because it has really made a difference in my life in a short period of time.
This little book, "the life changing magic of tidying up" by Marie Kondo was around $15 on Amazon and worth every penny. I began reading it the day it arrived, its an easy read, I completed in a leisurely 3-4 days in between tidying spurts. Some of the advice she gives if you follow are habit changing, for the better.
First step Discard! It all started with respecting the things I have and discarding what I no longer need. Here are 2 of the 4 bags of clothes I donated, I still have too many clothes in my closet to process.  I also filled my garbage can 2X with irrelevant things that just kept hanging around. I was surprised by the amount that was easy to get rid of immediately after reading the first bit of the book, this ignited the flame and kept me going.
Then I started in on my drawers. The book recommends getting rid of stuff first then re-organizing. It works. It explains how to fold and store clothing efficiently. You can see what each thing is because it is standing on its side. I managed to not only clear out this drawer of unwanted clutter but I was able to add in a box of hankies, pocket squares and all my ties rolled up, my box of watches (I got rid of 3 watches for various reasons) and my extra wallets and day timers. I enjoy opening it to this pretty sight.
I closed that drawer and moved down to my socks. She calls those little rolled up balls that stretch the elastic band potatoes that roll around. I have been doing it that way my entire life. Up until this point I had such a full sock drawer it was difficult to close. I turfed every extra sock I had, and only have new zombie, dress and soft winter ones now. These too are folded on their side to maximize space and so you can see them. I managed to create 2/5 more space where I took my previously hung up scarves and neckerchiefs and got them in the drawer too. I continued down the remaining drawers and still have the bottom most one completely empty at this point. It works!!!!
I started in on the closet, which is not done yet as I got out of my room to tackle some larger areas next.  She recommends doing stuff quickly. Piling everything of like category together in one room, hence all the boos are getting stacked on my empty shelf for now but will be dealt with soon enough. My biggest burden is the thousands of books I've read but still store. Back to the closet, I have a lot of suits and tailored shirts. It is recommended that you hang the longest clothing items to the left and then allow it to gently rise with shorter stuff tot eh right. In this way, my suits are hung far left, followed by jackets, sport coats and blazers. Then sweaters, dress shirts to jeans etc.  I cant wait to show the finished pic.
My studio space. Until now, I could not get in here let alone paint in here. It is basically a place where I store art supplies so I am ready when inspiration comes to me. It is still pretty disorganized even though I have clear labelled bins, I still want to get this area handled.
One thing is I am a Lego maniac, and I have all the boxes from my many kits. I decided I had my fun with them and I doubt I'll sell any of these so I might as well reduce the cardboard the pieces are delivered in. I was surprised how much room this freed up once I flattened them down and put them in the recycling.
All of this allowed me to move a shelf I had in the room into the newly cleared closet space in my studio. It was a squeeze but it fit. I had to take out the make shift clothes rod. It was put up so poorly I nudged it and it fell out on its own. i also took out the shelf that rested on it which housed my empty Lego box collection.
Oh yeah, in order to do all this I also had to empty out 5 totes of miscellaneous stuff. Admit it, we all have it. I returned these plastic bins to their owner, washed out and empty. Boy, am I glad to be rid of that excess. I am beginning to feel happier and freer, which further motivates me to continue this "spring cleaning" type journey. Its been log overdue but at this point the challenge is becoming quite enjoyable. i want to see what else I can get rid in the process.
I slide back in the totes that were on the shelf, the contents of which I will sort and discard and refill with other things at a later date. Some stuff here like all my paintball gear can be sold on craigslist, while the paperwork etc will have to be discarded at a later date. For now this clears up a tonne of room and then that leads me to clear off the metal shelves and completely re-arrange the studio layout entirely. I like the clear bins because you can see what is in them.
I discover a huge box of DVD's and CD's which is falling apart and I don't care whats in it so rather than open Pandora's box, I gift the whole thing to someone who appreciated this sort of thing way more than me and has a fantastic library to choose what is wanted and throw the rest away. My disk drive on my laptop has been dead for a year so there is no point in me keeping these. Besides, I rarely watch a movie twice as there are new things to see, plus I have Netflix, who needs hard copies anyway?! I am sure there are treasures in there, they have gone to a good home.
It gets difficult deciding what is worth keeping etc. The book really lays it out well. I decided to invest in about $160 of matching clear bins from Ikea for all my creativity supplies. I like everything to look uniform and match so to me it's worht the cost. It is no secret I collect all sorts of art supplies, often when it is on sale I pick it up.You never know when inspiration will take over and I want to be ready to be able to make anything at a moments notice. I have every manner of creative tool. Now its a matter of getting it organized and into the right place.  While doing this I decide to challenge myself to get rid of 1 of the two shelves and everything on it. Concentrate. Thank goodness for portable audio.
Here is where the studio has gotten to this fine morning, awaiting more. It's been tough at points. Piles of stuff to be sorted everywhere. You have to make a mess to clean one and I can tell you its good I have a rec room and a living room to spread everything out. The book is all about lightening what you do have to essentials and things that bring you joy. Why else have the stuff?! It has been a lot more work that it looks and I didn't take pictures of every shift, every step, every piece of furniture I moved or dismantled.What I can say is that there is a noticeable life improving shift that I have been experiencing since I began this project. I highly recommend the book and tidying up to change your life.

I'm on a roll still, much more to come!


November 29, 2015

Drawing 1 - Final class

Yet another sad day when my Drawing 1 class comes to a close. This was my best class to date and I'm sad to see my little blossoming artists go, but hopefully they keep up their practice by drawing often.
For the final class I like to revisit the assignment after the first class, a self portrait. I quickly do a demo that encapsulates everything we covered in the past 9 sessions and bring it all together as an effective system to do a final self portrait, in class, so in about 2 hrs and a bit.
They are observing in mirrors for the most part so they start with a strong vertical axis and find comparative measurements to construct the general layout and shape. I am a bit of a stickler for proper proportions at first in order to help learn proper observation and translation onto the page.
Drawing is freeing. You can work in many medias and use many techniques. You can tone the paper and use the eraser to draw lines in light as you would with charcoal for darks. Allowing you to really sculpt the portrait like clay, only as a flat 2D image on paper.

Once the general look is right, some begin putting in their values. Afterward we have a quick critique comparing their first drawings in the class to their last drawings and comment on their observations and improvements during the course. Here are some of the works in no particular order.



You can see that in 10 short classes one can really take it to the limit with drawing!  If you are interested in classes I have more coming up in the winter, including a "life drawing" course at ACAD int he evening, so you'll get instruction and time to make marks based on live models! 



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