Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Closing In Day

I was up late into the night working the two exercises. Although spending most of the time on this rose, I did start ink washes for cast and contained shadows. More updates to come later in the day.

Here's a wrap on the oak piece. I ended up getting a slow start--dishes and laundry and groceries. Ugh!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Exercise Drafts

Here are the setups for this week's remaining exercises. Once all the ink lining is in place, I'll try building form with ink washes.

This one absorbs me. I spaced out building shadows and nearly missed band rehearsal. Mixing a bit of violet in to deepen shadows. I even like this one just the way it is.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Portabella Wrap

And there it is. Perhaps I'll let it sit for a day or two before uploading. Nothing like fresh eyes. I seem to have some affinity in this course for mushrooms, although this will be my last.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Portabella Starter

A have a good start on this week's first exercise. Although the oyster mushroom was called for, we are allowed to make substitutions. Now it's time for a break, and then take this one to completion. More tomorrow!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Iris - Wrap

Here's a wrap on the iris. This was one of those pieces that just seemed to go on, and on. I like Verithin pencils, how they slowly build layers. The scan's a bit on the light side but this is still rather high key.

I had a hard time finding dark values. Should I try mixing colors? Or, is there that nice dark color already penciled up? Questions for later as week 5 is already underway and I've yet to begin. It's three exercises this week--oyster mushroom in graphite, oak (swamp?) in ink, and swamp rose in colored pencil. Busy...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Iris - First Steps

I've one more exercise for this week and it's running late. Firstly I had to wait for the iris to open, and now I'm working to find my way through with colored pencils. Here's where I was a few hours ago. More to come tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pastel Landscape

This week we are asked to produce a landscape in pastel. You may remember an earlier version of this piece in oils. At that time, I'd planned to reuse the composition for a pastel piece using my homemade material. I didn't have a bright enough yellow and so simply rubbed in a layer of dry lemon ochre pigment. Worked great!

I tried this same piece last night but got caught up in too much rubbing. Everything had this bland wash look. For today's work I mixed it up with softly rubbed in as well as untouched placement of pastels.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Abstract Mixed Media

One of this week's exercises is an abstract using any course media. I began on another exercise--pastel landscape--that slipped apart. This mushroom was originally going to be a mini landscape but slipped as well. Figured I might as well try for the abstract exercise! I'm having a hard time focusing. I just lost a very dear friend and I'm all over the place.

After posting last night I spent more time desaturating and darkening the background and adding layers of color.

Usually I push my work right up to the Cornell site. I'm learning to hold back. Sometimes fresher eyes a day or two later uncover areas that could use a bit of polish.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Colored pencil work

One of this week's exercises involves autumn leaves with color blending and shading. I think I got into trouble with the background. Just now looking at it makes me think of reducing the chroma. That might help... Time permitting, I'll get back to it later this week. For now, I need to get a jump on the next exercise, a pastel landscape.

First impression of the Verithins is that they are hard! I'd guess about 2H.

This image comes from October 2009 blog work. I'm realizing just what a great resource I have for starter material.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cornell Week 2 Review

Well, I've certainly been delinquent in my postings. The course work seems to consume me. So be it! Here's the week 2 work and Marcia's comments. I will wrap up week 3 and post soon. The new week's work will be colorful--pastel, colored pencil and mixed media!

Good work, John. Nice eye for composition, good shape, you're observing well.

Often I like to see those times in which a drawing is somewhat spare -- as if one doesn't feel the need to include each and every little thing. In this case, I'm feeling that it may be spare, bordering on unfinished. If it's a piece you're invested in, I'd like to see a bit more detail -- perhaps more stippling, root hairs...

Good work here, and my comment is very similar to the one I just reviewed: a little light on detail.

I suspect that perhaps you are simply inclined more toward color -- you'd rather put your energy into the work of something like the pine cone piece, maybe? In any event, for the work you include for your portfolio, you'll want to devote a bit more time to shading, detail.

Your color chart is awesome -- you've stretched the opportunities of color combinations very nicely. From what I've seen in the work this week in this exercise, I think I have a new favorite medium -- not in terms of doing myself necessarily, but I like what students are doing with it. It has an incredibly graphic quality. I can't wait to see the piece you created with the pens.

John, I can sincerely say that in the years of witnessing your work, here it is: this is one of your finest piece to date, in my view. It's -- well, it's kind of perfect. I really like your choices of color, the simplicity of it.

It's a fine illustration, it truly is. Would you permit me to make a suggestion?

A friend of mine runs a company called [edited]. I'd like you to find it on the web. Look over the work, study the pieces they select. Perhaps when you've amassed some other work, you might send an inquiry, tell him how you know me, and that I encouraged you to submit a piece, this lovely cone in particular.

I am thinking as I'm typing that it might be an opportunity for all of you. Steve tends to focus on natural, local elements, indigenous to our area here in central NY. This piece really has me thinking....this course is very exciting as it's evolving. My brain is turning in a different directions here...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Charcoal Artichoke

Charcoal! This stuff is a blast. Smear it all around with my fingers. Spray a layer of fixative and work in some more. The exercise called for highlighting with chalk but I didn't like the smearing--perhaps the opacity of the pigment. Better to leave highlights, I think, by keeping the white of the paper.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cornell Week 1 Review

I have been busy at work on this week's exercises. Instead of working each exercise through, this week I'm first building all my transfers. Last week I got into trouble by not having clear compositions. There is nothing like a good foundation!

With Marcia's approval, I'll be summarizing our exchanges over the exercises. (Her comments italicized.)

I look at this piece, and think, my, how far you've come!
This pepper is rendered so thoughtfully. Excellent, soft shading. I particularly appreciate the highlights -- that you wisely left space in the piece, rather than feel compelled to keep going, and going. For me, that's an important and sometimes challenging aspect of illustration.
The main event for me is at the top, around the stem. I think that's particularly well rendered.
Something feels just a bit funky about the shadow along the right side, as if it's climbing a bit high, though perhaps this is sitting against a backdrop, which would explain it. Somehow my eye wants to see more at the tabletop level. Always a bit of a challenge, communicating feedback in this fashion, but do you see what I mean?

Great job, so bold!

I really like the suggestion of the bends in the leaves, and especially, how thin you've kept the stems. Your background is blackest black.
This is almost logo-like in quality, that is, it's representational, and could work well as a logo for a plant-based business. I like it.

I don't know why I find this so satisfying, but I do, I do. I find it pleasing to sit and simply look at this assignment. It's instructive, too -- worth displaying prominently.
Lovely experimentation with pencil, particularly with the softness of the effects in the lower blocks.

My only suggestion with this is that you also might want to see how incredible hard you can press on the pencil, to create nearly solid blocks of color. In doing so, what does the blend look like?

My journal:

I made it! Well yes, of course back for another fine course with Cornell, but also that I made it through the week! I somehow put off my work and then realized it was due on Thursday, not Friday. Duh!

So I'm thrilled that I'm all caught up and yet wondering if I had more time could make that pepper look a bit less wonky. I spent hours building form but might have overlooked the entire for the pieces. Whatever, I did enjoy the meditative aspects of building form slowly.

The high contrast piece was great fun and I really like it. Good negative space, repetition, strength. I thought about adding some detail but felt it might lose focus. I first drew it in with a Micron and then brushed in india ink.

I used HP watercolor for both pieces. It's the very first time I try it with graphite and I love it. Good smoothness and seems to respond well to many layers, almost like it's spongy.

I will try pushing harder on my colored pencils and I think that HP watercolor paper may help as well. I'm looking for a smoother finish. Colored pencil, although not my fav medium, allows for interesting layering, reminding me of egg tempera. I particularly like burnishing with white or cream, which seems to add depth as well. I have a set of VeriThins that I'll work with on upcoming exercises.

I've a number of simple graphite drawings and some egg tempera work that I'd like to get into an online gallery. This week I reviewed past work, leaving me assured that this will be an easy setup. Testing a Flash gallery on an iPad failed as expected—no Flash support for iOS devices: iPad and iPhone. An HTML gallery worked fine with iPad.

Next for the gallery will be to uncover and scan drawings and publish a test gallery. I am attracted to simple galleries. No wild colors or backgrounds or music. Ugh! I will go with grays and unassuming fonts, leaving all the space for the art.

I became interested in a dedicated online portfolio when last fall I sold my first and only painting. That got me all fired up but I've not filled in with much salable work. I then took part in an exhibition—good experience but poor showing.

I guess I've been leaning more towards finding my space in art. These days I'm interested in oils and Old Masters in particular. I grind my own oil paints and will soon process linseed oil. Can I join botanical with Old Masters? The Dutch did it well. I'm particularly fond of the work of Melendez and have been copying parts of his paintings.

This course comes at a perfect time. It's a good shakeup as I try out mediums that aren't on my radar at all right now. And, I have to come with design ideas fast. I like that.

As always, your reflective writing is a pleasure to read. You have a way of looking critically -- or perhaps, thoughtfully -- without self denigration. You're rather matter of fact about it in a refreshing way. You also seem optimistic and upbeat in your tenor. I am going to be so eager to learn about the process of preparing your work for sale. I have known of a number of people who have done very well using Have you had any experience with this?

And I want to encourage you to exercise some ownership of and "adult learning maturity" in this course, in terms of what you get out of it. You may interpret the exercises as you wish -- for example, if there is a certain medium that is introduced, and you really are just not all that interested in going further with it, you could take that week to go more deeply into the exploration of Dutch masters and botanical works ( and yes, there are botanical pieces by Dutch masters here at Cornell, in fact. The detail in them is absolutely stunning). It's your course, and your opportunity to go deeply into those areas of interest. We'll all learn in the process! You're definitely exploring new terrain, as far as I'm concerned. (Maybe sometime you'll present a workshop to one of my classes at the university!)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

More botanical ink

I has troubles with this ink drawing. I wan't sure on my stippling and didn't want to overdue. I think I underdid! :-)

No worries. I'm already on to a new week's work.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More second week work

Here's another ink marker exercise. I first covered the apple with yellow and then spotted in various warms, softening with hard rubs of yellow. I've a pen and ink root botanical coming and then the weekly journal to wrap things up.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Botanical Ink

I was a bit intimidated by this exercise, flower anatomy with dip pen and ink.

From one of my early publications some fifty years ago...

one of my earlier attempts. ;-)

Monday, February 6, 2012

White Pine Cone

I shuddered when reviewing this ink marker exercise. Ink doesn't erase and tends to spread a bit. The pens have large and small tips, and even the small tips seem likely to bump into neighboring detail.

Well, after all that hand wringing, I'm rather thrilled with the results. My small set of markers doesn't include any whites so I went with Bombay white india ink and a brush for the pine sap. The markers do allow for blending and I was able to pull the black with umber to create some transitioning. Also slipped in a bit of orange for highlights.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Art Markers Chart

Prismacolor's Premiere Art Markers are used for a few of this week's exercises. These are a new one on me and after poking about for a while found little control with tone but began noticing how well they layer and mix. Finally found that rubbing a lighter color (yellow) over a darker (umber) that I could lighten highlights.

This chart is based on the first exercise that calls for experimentation and a starter painting, and then a finished piece. More to come. :-)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wrapping up week 1

Part of the graphite exercise was a small piece based on pencil charts.

This exercise was based on composition, negative space, repetition, etc. I resisted any detail on the leaves.

Today's been a mad scramble to wrap up the first week's work. Didn't realize until hours ago that the week ends on Thursday. Oops! My images are all uploaded. Now I'll journal out the week for my last assignment and then it's right on to week 2.