In order to grow as an artist, regular practice or training is necessary. Just like any skill, the more practice the better the skill becomes. Over the last year, I started on a journey of drawing portraits of Canadian musicians. This journey had two purposes. The first being practice. Committing to drawing a variety of Canadian musicians in my sketchbook is a good way to incorporate regular specific practice sessions. Although I have not posted a Canadian artist for a while, it is still a journey I am continuing. What I find interesting as I continue to practice is the freedom in trying new styles, techniques, and artistic feels.
I love any opportunity to explore Canada. This brings me to the next reason for these weekly practice sessions – a celebration of the diverse and rich landscape of Canadian musicians. I had no idea when I started this trek how many great musicians Canada had/has. With this newfound appreciation for Canadian Music, I now find myself incorporating more songs from Canadian artists into my playlist. I think that is pretty cool.
Measuring the Growth
Every once-in-awhile I like to compare portrait work that I have done. I am always surprised by changes that I see in my work. Sometimes it is hard for me to measure where and how growth has happened, but when I compare pieces from a year ago (or even six months) I can see improvements or style changes that I have unknowingly incorporated. What a great feeling!
With so many amazing female musicians it is hard to choose which talented lady to feature. Each artist has made a contribution to the music scene in Canada. This week, however, I chose to highlight Joni Mitchell (Roberta Joan Mitchell). There is no question that she has had successes as a singer and songwriter, it is, however, the poetic and musical intellect that I am fascinated by. Also intriguing is the evolution and progression of her musical styles that include folk, rock, jazz, and pop. Her willingness and ability to explore music through piano and open-tuned guitar show a great depth and understanding of complex harmonies and rhythms. Poetically developing her music from many genres, she has had a strong musical presence in North America. It is hard to sum up in a few words the influences that Joni Mitchell had during an exciting musical time in our country.
Check out the Joni Mitchell website for more information along with her collection of paintings.
Earlier this year I watched an interview with David Yaffe, author of the biography Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during his interviews with Ms. Mitchell. I guess the next best thing would be to read his book. I am excited and looking forward to reading it and learning more about the influences and factors that led to the growth of Joni Mitchell’s musical career.
Another reason I chose to highlight Joni Mitchell this week was the artwork. In comparing the four pieces seen here I decided to be less rigid and closed with the drawing I did of Joni Mitchell. I feel it gives a lighter and unbound feeling. Each style has a different type of beauty, but for me, there is something refreshing and freeing when I don’t get too detailed.
It comes down to knowing when to stop the piece. Is it finished, or should I add more detail? Do I want it to look like a photograph or artwork?
This type of self-reflection along with studying artwork that intrigues me is what helps me grow as an artist. I am hoping to develop a more open style as I continue to study art.
The list of Canadian female musicians is a long one. I am looking forward to exploring more great music as I spend time with my sketchbook.
Follow me on Instagram for weekly art updates @eisycindy
As I continue on my journey exploring Canada’s Music Greatness I am astonished as to how many amazing musicians have helped create the Canadian musical landscape. I know we have an abundance of great musicians in Canada but was not mindful of the vast numbers until I starting exploring the Canadian music world. Just when I thought I had compiled an extensive list, I would receive a message or email with a couple new names. That is amazing, and I love it!
At some point in an artist’s career, they are unknown. What is that pivotal moment when they move from just a singer to a household name? Singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer, Michael Bublé had such a moment.
Michael Bublé was born in Burnaby, British Columbia in 1975. As a child, he had a passion for singing. His musical talent allowed him many performing opportunities and even talent show wins. He recorded three independent albums. The wheels of change were set in motion when Michael McSweeney, a former aide to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, saw one of Michael Bublé’s live performances. He played one of Mr. Bublé’s independent albums for Prime Minister Mulroney, who then decided to hire him to play at his daughter’s wedding. As it just so happened, Grammy-winning producer David Foster was also in attendance at the Mulroney wedding. Meeting David Foster set a new trajectory for Mr. Bublé’s career. Many albums, hits, tours, television appearances, awards, and specials later, Michael Bublé is a household name known worldwide.
Michael Bublé has been a favorite singer of mine for years. His soulful and classical jazz performances are mesmerizing, helping to reinvent and keep the classics alive.
Thank you for joining me on my journey as I continue to celebrate Canadian Musicians. Please feel to comment below who you would like to see next.
Diverse and rich, Canada celebrated its 150th birthday this past summer. This focus led me to explore many facets of Canada’s history. As I journeyed through some of its histories I was reminded of the countless Canadian musicians that have laid a rich musical foundation for our society. I love music – all types of music. Celebrating some of these musicians through drawing seems like a good fit.
Working with Tan Paper
With a variety of subjects in mind and a goal set out, I have decided to explore the warmth and tone that tan paper can add to a drawing. After purchasing a new Strathmore Toned Paper sketchbook and grabbing my charcoal pencils, I set out to sketch and learn more about the various artists that have enriched Canada. Three Canadian Artists portrait’s that I completed this summer include Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot, and Terri Clark. Each of these musicians has helped shape Canada’s musical landscape. I will post more information on each artist in the upcoming weeks.
Canadian Musicians/Hand Lettering
Deciding that I should continue to develop my hand lettering skills, I plan on incorporating hand lettering with each portrait in upcoming posts. As I continue drawing portraits of more Canadian Musicians, I will incorporate hand lettering. The hand lettering will give more information about each artist. Although Canada is only 150 years old, it is wonderfully rich and a diverse musical country which should be celebrated. I look forward to exploring more Canadian musicians as I grow and develop as an artist.
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please feel free to comment below or send me an email at email@example.com. Thank you for joining me on this journey. I look forward to seeing where it will lead.
You can also follow me on Instagram for more photograph updates at eisycindy.
For some time now I have wanted to draw portraits of my three children and incorporate these portraits into a rustic window frame. Well, I have the frame and have completed one portrait. The challenge that I have is what style do I want these portraits to be? Which look will satisfy my eye? Soft? …maybe heavy, or loose? What style would complement both the window frame and the artwork? There is never any harm in doing multiple portraits. In fact, the process of pairing portraits with the frame is a great exercise. With endless combinations and many questions to be answered, the best way for me to learn is to jump right in and try a collection of different styles.
Softer Style Window Portrait
The use of graphite in this sketch complements the dreamy nature of the pose, creating a gentle feel. I also chose to keep the background (negative space) light to help create a balanced softness.
The Window Frame
This well-preserved old window frame will make a great addition to my decor. Little needs to be done to this treasured piece, however, removing a bit of the white paint will keep the frame and the artwork from competing for the viewer’s attention. I am very excited to try a variety of styles to see what will unite the window and artwork into a beautiful composition.
As the summer progresses I will post updates with the different styles and pieces I create. Feedback is always welcome and may be helpful in my decision-making process, so feel free to comment below.
Hand lettering is a beautiful art form which is easy to fall in love with. Its power has great impact on society. Yes, fonts and lettering are functional, helping us communicate words, but there is so much more. Fonts can evoke emotions, tell stories, influence our mood or choices, and even trigger memories.
Here are a few examples of my hand lettering adventures:
Gaining skill in any new art form takes practice; muscle memory must be created to allow for lines to flow. Remember the numerous pages of practice loops in elementary school when learning cursive writing? Consequently, all that practice made for quick, beautiful letters which required very little thought in creating.
Adobe Illustrator and Hand Lettering
Along with learning letter forms and styles of hand lettering, I decided to explore adobe illustrator. I’ll be honest, it was the source of many headaches for me. Determination builds strength! I persevered, and even though I still have tons of learning to do it is getting easier. …the headaches are less frequent.
In this practice piece I incorporated hand lettering with illustrator. It was fun playing with the different tools that illustrator has to offer. Some days I felt like a kid in a candy store – too many choices. How would I ever decide?
Portrait drawing is an art form that I can completely lose myself in – hours feel like minutes. Sometimes however, I have an innate desire to learn more and try new techniques, that is the case with lettering. Follow my weekly progress on Instagram @eisycindy to see where my hand lettering journey takes me.
Many, many, many tiny dots later the leopard piece is complete. Stippling uses tiny dots to create solid and shaded areas. Sections that contain large concentrations of dots close together, as seen in the eyes, create depth. Fewer dots with greater spacing are used to form the leaves producing a soft presence of the leaves.
For this particular piece I used tinted paper.
Size: 15 X 12 completed in 2012
The technique of pointillism which incorporates colored dots was developed in late 1880 by George Seurat, a French painter. http://www.georgesseurat.org/
Also check out Artsy which features 16 artworks by George Seurat, exclusive articles, related artists, and exhibit listings of Seurat works
A few weeks ago I did a quick morning sketch of a dancer and posted it on Instagram @eisycindy. After posting, I had numerous inquires to purchase this piece. The quick morning sketch was done on a cheap piece of tracing paper, not something I would sell. The interest in this piece gave me a chance to play with Hahnemuhle Sumi – E fine art paper. The paper has a beautiful, delicate texture that I feel suits this type of drawing well.
Utilizing open lines in both the hands and the skirt helps to create a feeling of movement. Since I have been studying letter form lately, I wanted to include words in such a way that would add to the feel of the dancer and not distract. Softly incorporating color in the skirt helps to increase dimension, which adds to the free-flowing feel of the overall piece.
Sun, Fun, Sand, and a Quick Charcoal Drawing.Lately it seems like all my art projects have been everything but drawing. This week I really needed some draw time. Flipping through old photographs I found a great reference picture of my little girl. Okay, maybe she is not so little anymore, and maybe it is from fourteen years ago, but beach times were favorites of mine and I will always cherish them.
Many summers were spent sand covered, wet haired, and sun-kissed on a warm British Columbia beach. Friends were always near. Adventures were plentiful. Life was simple.
There is something pure and refreshing about working with a charcoal pencil and a blank sheet of paper. Maybe it is the rhythm, or maybe it is the break from the focus of daily life. Whatever it is, it is good.
For this drawing I used Meridian Drawing paper by Pentalic. The paper is a beautiful soft white color which helps give the drawing a warm look. It also has a great tooth which is perfect for charcoal work. It is one of my favorite papers.
Beach Time 11 x 14 Charcoal Drawing
Who doesn’t like sun, fun, sand, and a little beach time?
Moments are precious, especially at Christmas when more time is set aside to get together with family and friends. This is by far my favorite time of year. I love the change in focus, in pace, and in activities. In our fast paced world time marches forward at an ever quickening pace making it even more important to be deliberate about setting aside time for family and friends. For me this is a constant struggle, but relentlessly I will keep trying because I treasure those moments spent with family and friends.
Enough about me, let’s talk about the wood projects. I really enjoy taking old wood, that no longer serves a purpose and is usually unsightly, and transforming it into something meaningful and beautiful. Sometimes the wood pieces that I find have great character due to weathering, age, and flaws; those pieces are the ones that become the most beautiful. I am sure there is some philosophical connection that could be made to humanity — I won’t go there, but feel free to explore those thoughts and let me know.
By far, the clock is my favorite piece. Although both pieces hold a certain charm, the character in the wood pieces from the clock really give it an old world almost antiquities feel. Incorporating wire art in the pallet projects is fast becoming a favorite for me. I like how the rustic look of the wire plays off the old recycled wood.
Clock: 20 X 20 pallet wood
Faith Plaque: 13 x 16 pallet wood and wire
A couple quick notes on the process.
Make sure your pallets are safe to use and know where the they come from.
Barn wood also has a lot of character and works well for wooden art projects and has not been used to ship chemicals.
Pictured are the two pallets cleaned, cut, and glued together. (Thank you to my husband and son.)
To avoid having the paint bleed when doing the lettering or numbering I covered the surface with a light coat of Mod Podge.
I warmed up the color of the boards with acrylic craft paints mixed with Blending Gel. The blending gel allows me to control where and how much paint I work into the wood grain by slowing the dry time down.
With the surface prepared, the sky is the limit — create away.
When I was happy with the lettering I applied a thin coat of Acrylic Wax – Flat to help protect the artwork.
That is a quick rundown of the steps I used in creating the two pieces here. For the next projects I will add a more step-by-step version including some tip and tricks when working with wire.