Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lost Coast Studio Saturdays Begin

I'm going to try out a new regular feature here at LCP called Lost Coast Studio and (at least to start) it will post on Saturdays.  I'm going to aim for every Saturday but let's see how I do 'cause you know things can tend to get a little wild in my corner of the universe...The content will vary from week to week: musings on storage solutions, creative block, prompts and/or challenges, tutorials (please Santa - bring a video camera this year!?!?), product and book reviews - whatever might be cluttering up my brain as I sit in my studio on Saturday mornings.  Hopefully, most everyone will find something useful, enlightening and/or just plain curious in my ramblings...


Today, we're peeking into my sketchbooks to see what I've been up to recently.  I've kept informal sketchbooks long before I ever became interested in art journaling.  I generate lists of random thoughts, focus on research for projects and assignments, write-up lesson plans, and make oodles of doodles for show/product/business scheming, visual daydreaming, and cartooning.  I have a lot of these sketchbooks as I love to compartmentalize content: one book for cartooning in pen & ink, one for painted doodles, one for art show stuff and so on.  My watercolor class has renewed my interest in cartooning and character development so I've been working in this particular watercolor sketchbook rather enthusiastically.  For some reason, I have people heads and woodland creatures on the brain so I am sort of rocketing back and forth between the two subjects (next week it may be a totally different tangent.)  However, I am trying to develop a little more discipline when it comes to cartooning by creating model and expression sheets of individual characters.  Model sheets are great for breaking the habit of having a drawing always cemented in that ubquitious full frontal pose; for more dynamic characters, turn those doodles to the side, make 'em dance or crouch - anything to get them moving!  I also like to take notes on colors I've used or style choices that work (or not).  Eventually, I hope I can make this approach to sketching an ingrained habit as I think my cartooning will improve in leaps and bounds with the addition of a little discipline.

Well, there you have it...Lost Coast Studio - Week One.  Hope your weekend is full of creative energy and inspiration!  And if you have anything in particular you'd like me to ramble on about in a Saturday post, pop it into a comment...    

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Painting Out in the Wide World

"Watcher"
"Touch of Violet"
watercolor
These little landscapes represent my first ever plein aire painting experience (this class has generated a lot of firsts.)  After packing up my folding chair, palette, paint box, brushes, drawing board with paper attached, water jar and a gallon of spare water, I joined my class at a local wildlife preserve to practice three-tiered landscapes.  I discovered several things:
  • It's all about the layers, baby!
  • Clouds move quickly...
  • A perfectly sunny day with only a slight breeze is a blessing indeed...
  • Sunny days can be deceptively chilly...
  • It is impossible to paint with mittens on...
  • It is impossible for me to paint exactly what I see fast enough so the word for the day was "interpret."
  • Another word for the day: "relax."
  • Insect guts make an indelible smudge mark when snuffed out in the middle of their trek across your painting...
  • Wildlife preserves have a lot of wayward insects...
  • Scout your location ahead of time to reduce what you need to carry into the field.  (I was seated on the observation deck right next to the bathrooms and consequently, a source of water - no need for the jug o' water.)
  • Try to burn images into your head so you can continue to "interpret" when you get home...
  • The world is filled with A LOT of shades of green...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

For a Moment, Awash in Inner Silence

As per usual, things have been chaotic for me and mine here on the Lost Coast, necessitating yet another extended absence from publishing.  I think I can only handle one whirlwind at a time and this time, the particular storm keeping me off my feet is college (for myself and my son.)  I'm just taking a single class but the fresh inspiration and new environment has my brain flying off in as many tangents as can fit in a day (and believe me, that's A LOT!)  I'm studying watercolor but I find myself experimenting in all sorts of things as I get a welcome (and long overdue) jolt of outside feedback and challenges.

Last week, for the first time ever, I worked from a real live nude model.  I managed to avoid it all through school, not because I'm a prude but because I simply didn't want to tempt my evil inner critic out into the open anymore than he already is and when it comes to realistically representing the human body, something inside freezes up and the self-criticism gets deafening.  So I decided from the the outset that I would set aside any notion of a "good" outcome; I just "knew" the end product was going to suck so I focused completely on the process.  The challenge here was to capture the figure's essence and energy WITHOUT using a pencil.  This particular pose lasted 20 minutes so there wasn't a lot of time to waste whining anyway; the model settled into her pose, the instructor started the timer, and off we went!  Colors had to be chosen on the fly and unexpected movement of the paint had to be either "corrected" before it dried or left alone.  The instructor did not walk around and help anyone; after the briefest of lectures on human anatomy in the previous session, we just dove into figure painting and it was definitely akin to free diving as opposed to scuba diving with all its reassuring equipment, extra oxygen and all that.  Yep!  One breath, a brush, paint, water, the paper, the model, and the clock.  Tick tock...

Lo and behold, I discovered something.  With the damn critic bound and gagged in a corner of my brain, I was able to fully immerse myself in the process AND I didn't drown!  (This is something I have experienced only rarely in my artistic lifetime.)  In fact, when I finally came up for air after three hours of painting, I actually *gasp* liked some of my work and the stuff I didn't like?  It truely didn't matter.  The critic had not one word to say.  Silence is golden.  I don't know if I'll ever paint the figure again as it simply isn't my area of interest but this experience was invaluable.  Taking control of the critic is possible and necessary.  It is possible to not be afraid all the time.  How refreshing! 

P.S.  More to come as I get stuff scanned and my thoughts organized...stay tuned and once again, thank you all for your infinite patience with my erratic publishing schedule...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...