Sunday, September 30, 2012

Newspaper Sketch: Wine Festival

A local wine festival photo in today's Sunday paper provides the model for my almost-daily-graphite-wash sketch.

Notice the extremely subtle and artsy hint of a wine glass on the right. Brilliant. OK, I ran out of room on the watercolor pad, but these kinds of lucky artsy accidents happen to artsy people. Or so I hear.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Thursday/Friday Sketch

The daily newspaper got thrown away yesterday before I could choose a photo from it for my daily sketch, so I went to the office to check email. On one of the blogs I read regularly I followed a link to YouTube. While watching the YouTube movie I noticed links to Queen and Freddie Mercury and couldn't resist watching great live performances of Radio GaGa, We Are The Champions, Bohemian Rhapsody, etc. I paused the video, made a quick pencil sketch of Freddie on a watercolor tablet, then scanned the tablet page and imported the image into Corel Painter where I used watercolor brushes to paint a wash over the scanned pencil drawing. Next, I imported the digital watercolor painting into Photoshop where I used digital paint brushes, the Burn tool, and the Dodge tool to add brush strokes and adjust tones. I also used the Liquid filter to adjust and refine the shape of features. While working I put a screenshot of the video frame on the screen of a laptop and positioned it next to the iMac I was using. And, of course, I was using a pressure sensitive Wacom tablet.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Extra Drawing Session

Occasionally an extra drawing session is arranged at the Argos Gallery. At Tuesday night's drawing group I was told about such a session that would happen the following night. The model would be doing the second 3 hours of a six-hour pose.

At the drawing session on Wednesday night, a limit of 6 artists had been set. I was artist number 6, so no problem. I was told not to set up an easel until everyone from the first session a week ago had set up in their spots. That works for me because I think any angle of the model is interesting, often more interesting than the main view the other artists might have.

The only spot available for my easel was on the extreme right of the model stand.
The woman running the session had the model pose partially dressed for part of the session. I don't know why, but like I said, it works for me.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Daily Newspaper Sketch: Somali Pirate

The third day of daily sketches based on a photo in that day's local newspaper. Pirate business is not doing nearly as well these days. Many pirates have had their luxury cars repossessed and can no longer afford the $1000-per-night prostitutes they used to hire. Oh well, you can still stroll on Somali beaches and enjoy the view. 

The Tuesday Night Group Draws Again

Five two-minute warmup drawings. 
45-minute poses. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Newspaper Sketch A Day

I decided that if I sketch a wash drawing every day, based on a photo found in the daily newspaper, it would be good practice and might also help ease the feeling of intimidation I have a tendency to experience when facing a nice clean sheet of watercolor paper.

Today’s subject shows a female inmate in Lima, Peru, participating in an event that celebrates the first day of Spring.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Graphite & Fiesta

I'm always squeamish about tackling the pristine first page of a brand new sketchpad or, in this case, watercolor pad, but I wanted to try the water-soluble graphite sticks and blocks Robin bought for me at the recent Art Materials Expo that was held at the Buffalo Thunder Resort north of Santa Fe.

I made a quick sketch from a photo in the Sunday paper, a vintage photo from the 1964 Fiesta parade. I started by sketching the head with a water-soluble graphite stick, but realized I was working too small for the size of the graphite stick and the rough paper texture, so I finished the drawing with a brush and graphite wash. It has been a loooong time since I've drawn with a brush. It's a nice departure from the charcoal-drawing effect.

Brush and water-soluble graphite sketch

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One Model, Multiple Faces

Last night’s model, Jesus (pronounced Hey-soos), had dramatic features that made it pretty easy to capture a vague likeness.

Two-minute warm up drawings.

Not good enough to qualify as a portrait, but good enough that you might recognize him walking down the sidewalk.
Or maybe if you combined all the faces from all of these drawings it might look like him.  
Everybody always wants to blame the artist. Hey, maybe his face changed between each pose. That could be the problem.
Hmm, I think he's tired of excuses. Cool pose though.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tree Closure

I haven't drawn a tree in a very long time. I've had somewhat of an aversion to drawing trees ever since the first week of painting class in my freshman semester as a college art major. Our first oil painting was due the next morning and I had nothing but a blank canvas. A senior art major gave me this advice: "If you don't know what to paint, paint a tree." Great advice. Then she said "Use a palette knife so you won't get hung up on trying to make it look realistic." That first painting was such a disaster that I almost hitch-hiked home the next day rather than take it to class. Ever since then trees have not been one of my favorite subjects.

However, on the way to the Arts Material Expo at Buffalo Thunder Resort, just north of Santa Fe, when we stopped at a couple of places to take care of some errands I decided to stay outside and sketch while Robin was in an office. With the available subject matter options being parking lots, cars, and trees, I reluctantly chose trees. I think, hopefully, I might finally have closure on the tree thing.

Black felt tip pen on Canson sketch pad.

Robin reminds me that I also sketched some trees (and a water fountain) at the Roman Forum in Rome, back in 1998.

Just for fun: the original sketch cloned in Corel Painter, then a filter (Poster Edges) applied in Photoshop.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Canvas: Four Women

Corel Painter software provides brushes that simulate natural media (oil brushes, chalk, etc.). I've used Painter a lot in the past. This 44 x 20 inch canvas (300 ppi) gave me a chance to experiment with Painter's oil brushes. The combination of Painter and Photoshop pretty much makes you an Invincible Artist Master of the Universe. Or at least more so than you ordinarily are.

Canvas detail. 
The full image. While watching a football game I paused the TV when the camera focused on a crowd shot. The women in the shot reminded me of a Norman Rockwell Americana type of image. I shot the TV screen with my iPhone, then uploaded the image to the computer and opened it in Painter. I cloned the image with one of Painter's oil brushes, saved the image as a Photoshop file, then opened it in Photoshop. In Photoshop I used the Liquify filter to reshape each face and change the identities of the women.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Recurring Dream

I like sketching nudes, but this is starting to remind me of a recurring dream in which I'm the only naked person in the room.
Rather than overwork this drawing (a 45-minuter pose split into two sessions), I started a new drawing (below) after the mid-pose break. 

The model has an unusually large right hand. Or perhaps the drawing is a little off? No, it must be her because I can see that her other hand is kind of goofy too.

Two-minute warm-up drawings. Looks like I really could use 10-minute warm-ups. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Burlesque Dancer

Deidre, a member of a burlesque troupe that performs on the cabaret stage at The Lodge in Santa Fe, posed for the Tuesday evening drawing group at Argos Gallery. Although it wasn't really apparent, she's pregnant. So the plan is to have her pose at least once every month for the next half-dozen months, to create a sketchbook record of her pregnancy.

Two-minute warm up drawings.

Keeping it simple. And quick.
The "simple and quick" drawing gave me time to do a second drawing of the same pose, this time focusing on the upper body and head.

I think she should duplicate this pose every month, to really show the change her body goes through. I'll plan to montage the drawings into one image. Of course, the final effect will depend on how good or bad the drawings might be.
A different style for this pose.

Monday, September 3, 2012

While Waiting...

While waiting for the regular Tuesday sketch evening to get here, I've been experimenting with existing sketches in Corel Painter and Photoshop.

Starting with an iPhone photo of a page from the sketchbook, I enlarged the image in Photoshop (30 x 40 inches), then altered the color of the paper texture that appeared in the original photo. I opened the image in Corel Painter, used an oil brush clone tool to selectively clone the main lines and some of the background around the drawing. Back in Photoshop I duplicated the image to a new layer, applied a poster edges filter to accentuate the line work, then reduced the opacity of the new layer to 75% and set the new layer's blend mode to Overlay. 

Image detail. Click to enlarge and see the subtle effect of the Painter clone brush strokes and poster edges filter.