Sorry – I haven’t been posting in a while. Here’s a work-in-progress painting of a Marbled Murrelet that I’m doing for Seattle Audubon. I’m planning to paint in a background of an old growth forest, but they have some important conversation actions coming up in March, so I also made this badge for them too:
The marbled murrelet is a bird that is endangered because its habitat depends on both the ocean and old growth forests. Although it’s a sea bird with webbed feet, it nests high up in old growth forests and lays a single egg at a time.
Things have otherwise been good. I’ll do another post soon. I’m taking Western Civilization this quarter, so more free time to work on projects like this murrelet. I’m also 4 weeks into an Artist’s Way class in Seattle and I’m just figuring out how to sell greeting cards on Etsy and Amazon. I can talk more about that in a future post.
After sketching thumbnails for my Gerda vs. the Snow Queen’s Snow Bees painting, I created 3 quick 3-value thumbnails to decide on the final composition. I found it really helps separating out the composition and value decisions before committing to a final work. Because I wanted to base the painting on the original Hans Christian Andersen story, I also want to work in the detail that he had about the palace being lit by Northern Lights.
Although I liked the extremes of values in the value study, I settled on the 3rd study because I liked the idea that the shadows on the hill would be pointing to Gerda, my focal point. I added some hills in the background to create greater depth and also added more complex branchwork in the final.
I started out with pencil and watercolor on Arches watercolor paper, but finished the piece digitally using Procreate and an Ipad Pro because I could play around with different color combinations before deciding on a final. I really like Procreate and the Apple Pencil because the process of illustrating with them is so close to real pencil, paper, and paint – but with much more flexibility with materials and undo’s. I had an earlier version, but Phil my teacher and classmate China suggested good feedback about brightening up the colors among other things. Our next assignment should be fun – drawing caricatures. I’ve picked my subject already…Edgar Allan Poe.
We had an interesting discussion this past week about realistic (or hyper-realistic) painting vs. realistic
painting with fantastic elements. A fellow student shared some of the hyper-realistic paintings of Charles Jeong from South Korea. I shared Allen Williams’ If Beauty Were a Book, done in graphite.
I realized while I like representational art, I prefer works that convey emotion or story more than complete accuracy.
In our final assignment of the class (costume figure), I decided to change it up a bit and use color and value changes, and even changes in the model to alter the mood.
It great to get back painting again. I combined a gouache underpainting with transparent watercolor and then Faber Castell Polychromos pencils and little touches of Sennelier pastels for highlights. It was nice to see that all of the media seemed to work together.
Had a great time with the critique group through SCBWI last weekend. Now I have a week off before starting Concept Illustration.
My parents were on the East Coast to give some talks at Landmark College in Vermont. They stopped in at the R. Michelson Gallery in Massachusetts, a gallery famous for its children’s book illustration.
Here are some great photos of watercolor work by Caldecott Award winner Jerry Pinkney. They knew of him because he had talked about his dyslexia, but we’re all familiar with his beautiful animal work. There’s a lot to be inspired about in his work – dynamic composition, expressiveness, and brushwork. It’s especially helpful to see the works close up because I could see how he combined pencil and watercolor in a way that looked effortless.
I hope to post more of my own work soon. I’m doing more sketches of the Snow Queen with the iPad Pro and Apple pencil but nothing to show yet. I recently read a new translation of the Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. It’s very different any of film adaptations. I’m setting my illustrations in Sweden because my father’s side is mostly from Sweden and Norway.
It’ll be my first show. I’ll also have an elk cow and crow in the exhibition. We’ll be driving out on the first Friday, May 6th, 5-7 pm. Food & Wine will be by Springboard Winery and music will be provided by the Lincoln Elementary School Music Club.
This past weekend, I had a chance to attend the opening of the Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds. Edmonds (my home town) is a small coastal city just north of Seattle. The addition of a new art museum is very welcome to this area which has a small arts community. Developers took over an old Safeway building and converted it into a museum and outdoor dining area.
The 11,000 square foot museum had a nice collection of regional artists – works that I haven’t often seen in museums. Visitors are greeted by Lance Wood Hart murals (commissioned by the WPA in the 1930’s) that lead on to several gallery areas. Most of the display consisted of the works of regional artists and illustrators like Morris Graves and Irwin Caplan below.
It’s a nice gift to the Seattle area arts community. At one point last year the city’s art walk seemed to be in limbo because of some disputes with local artists, but since then we’ve heard that the Edmonds Art Walk is returning – all good news. There is a local painting group that I recently joined and I heard that Cascadia has offered meeting space to them – so hopeful there will be more positive ripples from having a new art museum in the city.
I finished my watercolor portrait workshop with Hamid at Gage Academy this past week, but I still wanted to learn more, so I checked out Scott Waddell‘s Art of the Painting video. It’s great! His demo is for oil, but most of his principles work for all classical painting. He starts off ‘posterizing’ the major lights and darks, establishes the values, then shifts into conceptualizing mode, carving the face in 3D in color. I found the method straightforward and much simpler than just trying take in all the information at once. Scott supplements his painting with video illustrations of the behavior of light on 3D surfaces.
I’m trying to paint from life every day to better my eye as well as technique. Today I tried out Urban Sketchers – Seattle and I think it’ll be great. They pick some great sites around Seattle and then at the end of the session, there’s a little share. About 20 people of all ages and backgrounds were there.
It’s part of a global non-profit organization that encourages people to sketch and paint. There’s no cost to join. Complete beginners are welcome. At the end people put their sketchbooks down for a show and tell. Professionals were sketching alongside amateurs and students.
I took a photo of our site before we left. When I got back I was amazed how much photos miss. I understand better why it’s good to paint from life every day.