Saturday, January 24, 2009

Illustration Friday: Climbing

My son started gymnastics classes this week. The gym we go to can best be described as controlled chaos. It it chock full of young athletes and coaches and a wide array of activities. While my son was in class the area nearest to where I was sitting had a climbing rope and I watch a young girl climbing using just her arms. (She was climbing with straight legs but I thought the legs in motion made the illustration more dynamic) I didn't have my sketch book out during class, so I had to do my sketch from memory. The first sketch I did ended up looking too old, so I redid it. The proportions are better on this second one-but I think her head might be a little too big still.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Art in Action

I taught my first Art in Action class as a parent volunteer today. It was amazing. Part of the 3rd grade program, the lesson used Vermeer's Milk Maid for discussion and I talked to the kids about color, tints and shades and how shading makes paintings have a 3-D appearance. Then I demonstrated and they did a simple 6 color color wheel. It really brought me back to how exciting simple color mixing can be. I take "yellow and red make orange" so much for granted. To watch the kids faces light up as the two colors swirled together and made another color was so gratifying. And when they did it themselves they chuckled with delight. I guess for them it was like performing magic--"I can MAKE orange!"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Illustration Friday: Pale

My first inclination about Pale was the Moon--but I did the moon last week. Then the sea anemones we saw at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve tidal pools last weekend came to mind. They had pale tendrils that were almost see through.

I returned to a favorite style here the fake ink resist and worked directly from a photo. In the past I've traced the photo and then worked from the tracing, but this time I decided to work directly from the photo. I used the photo as my top layer and set the opacity at about 75%. The next layer down was my black layer and I erased out the shapes I wanted (with a custom made brush that leaves the jagged edges.)

So this is my photo I was working from.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Illustration Friday: Contained

As I was contemplating the topic on my early morning walk, I watched the moon set and thought of a song from my childhood about Meekins and Morkins. (by Sandy and Caroline Paton) These two guys saw the moon set and thought they could catch it, they try and fail all week and in the end,

"Said Meekins to Morkins 'I'm beginin' to feel
we can't catch the moon 'cause the moon isn't real.'
'It's a myth!' they both shouted, let's head for home soon,
which they did by the light of the mythical moon.

So that brought me to the idea of something that can only be contained in imagery.

I had some conversations with my Dad to get the artists for this song--since the words came from that nebulous childhood memory bank. And in the process he asked me a very interesting question. He was reading Douglas Adams The Salmon of Doubt and mentioned the idea that the song Do-Re-Mi from Sound of Music was completed with a placeholder. (that "la a note to follow so" was a phrase that was meant to be changed but never was.) Then my Dad asked if I'd ever done something like that visually. Put in a squiggle or shape that stood in for something undecided in the finished piece and then neglect to finish it. I'm not sure, but it really got me thinking. So I've included my sketch here--just to show some process. I would say that the placeholder phenomenon was more likely to occur in my traditional work than my digital as the sketch gets hidden in my digital process. But do any of you use placeholders? Have any of them inadvertently made it into your finished work?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Illustration Friday: Resolve

I have to admit the first thought that went through my head for Resolve was carpet cleaner! But I was unsure how to illustrate that, so the idea that never quite gelled for last week came back and I found that it worked for this topic as well. The herons around here show a great deal of resolve, quietly waiting, staring intently into the water ready to strike an unsuspecting fish. I've watched them watching the water, hoping to catch them in action, but ultimately they have more patience than I do.

Happy New Year. I tried to think about my own resolutions--but with my life so recently turned topsy turvy I don't think I need to introduce anything else new. So I will just keep on learning my new location, looking for local friends, and getting the kids involved in activities.