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.
I continued to experiment with water soluble-graphite this week. In this quick drawing I loosely sketched the dancer, then with a wet brush freely and quickly went over it. After allowing the paper to dry a little, I went back and added more detail with my graphite pencil and a wet brush. I also played with a dry brush.
Leaving the lines of the skirt open helped create movement in the dancer. Painterly motions of a wet brush also help add to this effect. I have to admit though, I am terrible at just walking away from a drawing and saying it is done. For me there is always something to tweak. Therefore some of the free-flowing effects that I had, have become more detailed. Next time I will walk away, maybe.
I have to admit, this sketch was a lot of fun. There are definite benefits to working with water-soluble graphite as opposed to regular graphite pencils. For anyone who has ever used graphite, they will know all-to-well the shiny effect that graphite can create; with water-soluble this is no longer an issue.
While working with water-soluble graphite, I was pleasantly surprised by a couple other great results. This medium grants the ability to create fine detailed lines. It also allows areas to be worked into a darker value. Drawings can be rendered quickly creating either a loose water paint feel or a more rigid real life look. The only drawback is that it is very difficult to remove graphite from highlighted areas after water has been used; therefore, plan ahead.
I think I might have to do one more drawing using this medium; I would like to experiment a little more before I move on.
Paper Used: Canson Mixed Media
If you have any comments or questions regarding water-soluble graphite please feel free to comment below, I am always happy to talk about art.
It is always the drawings that I do on scrap paper with an everyday pencil that seem to produce the result I am looking for. There is a certain freedom that comes from knowing that this is not the final piece. For this reason I do a lot of my planning on tracing paper. I know I can be hard on the paper and still erase without breaking down the tooth of the surface. The funny thing is, however, that because I am more relaxed I erase less; the lines tend to flow uninhibited. Tracing paper also enables me to see proportions and layout before I have committed them to art paper.
As I sat down this morning to plan images for a watercolor or water soluble graphite (I haven’t decided yet), I quickly came up with this simple sketch. I wanted something uncomplicated and loose that I could try finish with a couple different mediums to see which result I like best.
For those that have been asking why I have not blogged anything for a while I will try be more diligent in blogging as I play. Thank you for keeping me accountable, it is good to know there are people out there that miss seeing the artwork.
I am happy to announce that I will be selling two new limited edition art pieces at the Millarville Farmers’ Market on August 16th. The first piece is titled, Fallen Timber and is inspired from photos that my husband took at the family farm last year.
Original Graphite 20 x 13
The second drawing is a charcoal piece, which I will be posting next week. Watch for the update.
The Millarville Market on August 16th is also the Millarville Fair. Mark your calendar for this fun-filled day.
Becoming a vendor at the Millarville Farmer’s Market has been a valuable experience. Besides actually selling prints, originals, and cards, many other benefits have come from this journey. The way people respond to each piece gives great information to help guide me as to how I want to direct my art focus. Whether it be other artists, customers, or just “window-shoppers”, knowing what draws them in and why has been very encouraging and energizing. The exposure of my art pieces and potential commission work is another great spinoff. One other benefit has been “talking shop” with a veteran artist. Hearing her art story and the many lessons she has learned on her journey has been invaluable.
As-fun-as the market has been art is still more fun for me, so back to the art. Thought I would post a sneak-peak…what is on the easel.
Sun, summer, and art, could there be a better combination? Looking forward to some great drawing time this week. Keep posted for the update and enjoy the summer.
Spring is like earth’s orchestra coming together to compose a beautiful song.
With spring on the horizon, I find that I pick up my sketchbook more often. This week’s quick sketch was refreshing, reflecting on the new songs that new life brings. The graphite sketch is on a toned, medium surface paper. White charcoal was added to blend and highlight fur texture.
I love the collection of movements which embody the kata, Unsu. They vary and flow from one technique to another. It reminds me a lot of our Canadian weather. In the course of one day we can go from serene clouds to violent winds, thunderstorms, and even tornadoes.
The Chinese’ characters for Unsu mean cloud hands. The character for hands may also refer to technique. Just like clouds that bring many types of weather, the kata incorporates many types of hand movements and techniques. It opens with a movement of the hands that depict the parting or separating of clouds and continues to move through a variety of symbolic weather patterns.
I thought a drawing of the Unsu kata would make a great cloud study. For those of you who know this kata, I opted not to use the opening movement of the hands, the separating of the clouds. For me, the chicken-head-wrist block (keito-uke) is a signature move of this kata.
The cloud study for the drawing was a lot of fun, but the actual study of the kata has proven to be a little more difficult. I always enjoy a good challenge; I think I found one.
I wasn’t completely satisfied with the Gankaku sketch when I posted it a couple of weeks ago. I wanted the figure to standout a little more. Adding more contrast and atmospheric perspective to the background I think the focus moves to the figure. Have a look, and see what you think.
Traveling in France with my family in 2009 we came across breathtaking ruins of a church. Just down the road from these church ruins (half a kilometer) were Gallo-Roman ruins that included a temple, theater, and baths. Unfortunately we did not get to see the Gallo-Roman ruins since we did not realize they were there until we got home and started to research places we stumble on during our trip. The church ruins were beautiful, but how cool would it have been to explore the ruins down the road – next time.
This sketch was inspired from photos of the church ruins. When we arrived a couple cyclist were just starting their day after camping for the night at the church ruins.
If you want to see what we missed check out these Gallo-Roman photos. Now back to the Vintage sketches. 🙂