April 21, 2014

Never stop improving your technique

Practice does make perfect. With art you've got to practice, practice and practice some more.

I know I need to put in more quality time to get to where I want to go artistically. I am taking another 3 day workshop with Martinho Correria titled: Studying the figure through the Masters at the Calgary School of Art at Cactus Arts Supply store. Check out their respective website for more info. Its nice to see some familiar faces as well as many new ones for this intensive in classical atelier methods of instruction. I love the private training, you always get pushed beyond the levels and learn so much, making the price worth every penny. I highly recommend these courses and others like them at Swinton's Art Supply etc. if you really want to learn artistic skills and techniques directly form those in the craft every now and again I ma delegated at the opportunity to improve my skills as a student and devote some time to improving my practice.
After the first lecture we worked on tracing gesture type drawings from old masters works to get a feel for the essence of "gesture drawings". It is challenging to remove what you know and previous skills and learn to work a different way. These gesture drawings are meant to be simple ways of conveying the weight and feeling of a model and freezing it into a moment as models tend to move even when posing for a long time. This means you have to learn to capture the feeling behind the figure being drawn.  We traced a myriad of figures done by different artists for reference.
We learned how to properly prepare a pencil and how to hold it for this type of drawing. This one was plastic composite and not wood, I was fooled at first, until I got my exact blade in it, it shaved weird. Then you make a point in the lead with some sandpaper and use smooth wrist and arm movements to create soft and curved S and C curved lines.
We practiced on a small Brague drawing example. First doing a gesture drawing to capture the feeling of the form and then moving into getting the basic shapes and proportions of the figure in place. I took additional notes during the demos to add to the invaluable handouts our instructor Martinho provided.
After a lunch of a delicious "Manwich" at the Holy smoke Grill across the street, I felt groggy with so much meat and bun in my belly. I set up my drawing board on an easel and set up the reference next to the paper another student was kind to offer me to try and work on. This pose is a little intimidating given how much time we had left in the class.
We worked on drawing our figure larger using comparative proportions. I think my guy is a little thick, in places, there is some definite tweaking needed before continuing onto the next stage. But I did manage to get the majority of the figure blocked in in the time given. I look forward to learning more in the next few days, we will see how things develop, I hope this interests you and you come back to check it out.

Ciao for now = :D

April 13, 2014

Feral art show piece

This busy buy bunny can now see the light at the end of the Tunnel.  Meanwhile, in the midst of business I managed to crank out another thematic piece for my good friends the "Gentlemen Destroyers" for their "Feral" group exhibition at the White Lodge Gallery.  Each artist was selected three things. An life form, an object and an activity.  I got a Squid, a Meat Grinder and Dancing.
The Gentlemen Destroyers are great guys. Jim Laing, my old studio mate when we were at ACAD, dropped off the panel they build for each artist.  I gathered my planning materials and got to imagining.
My first concept is to have the squid going thru the meat grinder as the tentacles remind me of how hamburger would come out the other end. So I begin drawing to get a general composition down.
I realize, in order to get this right I may need to work out my perspective a few times. It took me about three tried to get it how I want it. I then transfer this mock up to my other paper.
Here is the basic design after transferring. To transfer: I rub the back of the sheet with charcoal, and redraw over top the drawing pressing down hard in order to transfer the charcoal to the new sheet of paper. This is the same technique I will use to transfer the final drawn composition to the blank support.
Now I can draw in the squid and its tentacles. This plan is coming along nicely. I decided that with this piece I needed to have it well planned in order to tackle it efficiently and effectively as I don't have a lot of time to work on the painting due to how busy I am finishing up the 5 month Aboriginal Youth Animation Project screening.
I transfer the drawing and use spray fixative to lock down the drawing so that I may paint it without losing my plan or getting the charcoal in my paint. Unfortunately, this magic step is also extremely toxic :(
I decided to use Acrylic because of the limited time and its ability to dry quickly so I can add layers almost immediately. I also have colours and metallic pigments that are still unavailable in oil. Here you can see how reflective the silver acrylic paint is.
I have to give a second thick coat of the squid colour before doubling up on the iridescent silver. Then I add some shading and shine and paint in the squids eye and the handle on the meat grinder.
I paint light and shadow  onto the squid to give it a sense that it is a 3 dimensional form and pattern. It is starting to flush itself out now.
I add a bit more textures and a spotted pattern to its skin and rub in some iridescent purple sparkles over its surface so that in the right light it sparkles a bit.
I add in his sticky suction cups using a light colour and outlining with brown sharpie marker. So I've got the squid and he seems to be doing some crazy moves as he goes thru the meat grinder, but the dancing bit isn't implicit enough.
Here is the finished piece. 

The final step was  to paint in squid dance step instructions to the background and sign it in gold. I love all the pattern and how this piece came together in the end. I am proud of this piece and it reminds me where I should continue to be  putting my efforts and energies into creating art. I know a lot of people including some of my students came down to see the show, thanks for that!

Update: It sold and I know it went to a good home. Shout out to Sabo Forte for grabbing this piece up!