Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Virtual Paintout 19: Beautiful Luxembourg!

For the month of November our fearless Virtual Paintout leader Bill Guffey led us to a lovely place to visit: Luxembourg. It's a very small country bordered by Germany, Belgium and France.

I thoroughly enjoyed toodling around via Google Street View, and settled on this location for my painting:


Funny story: This is a small country, yes. But it was hilarious to me that as I traveled around randomly, I saw this SAME man walking his dogs FOUR times, in 4 different locations. I recognized his bright yellow shirt. 

Anywhoo... I thought I'd experiment a little with ink and watercolors on this one. And it turned out... well, not as I had expected. The good part is, I finally understood what some other artists had been talking about in Sketchbook Skool. They said: 

Either the Line leads, or the Color leads, but not both.

 I wanted the Line to lead here, but failed. So I kept adding color, trying to get the definition I wanted in the foliage. But then ended up too saturated, losing a lot of linework. After looking at artwork by others using both ink line and watercolor, I realized I could have re-stated some key lines again at the end. Well, live and learn. 

Anyway, here it is: "Over or Under?", a street in Luxembourg:
(can click on any pics to enlarge) 


"Over or Under?"
Luxembourg
6 x 9 sketchbook
Ink, watercolor, gouache
and colored pencil





A close-up of the hilltop house:






Silhouette of MrYellowShirt walking
his dog through the tunnel:



Happy painting,

Retta


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sketchbook Skool &Remembering the Colors of Rembrandt


Oh no, say it ain't so!

This was the last week (of 6) of this session of Sketchbook Skool, called Storytelling.

I've enjoyed it SO much, so decided not to rush this lesson. I'm taking my time with the homework assignment, and thoroughly "sucking the marrow out of it", to paraphrase Henry David Thoreau.

I took my color scheme for the first page from some Rembrandt sketches I studied online. He's famous for the drama of his paintings, but Rembrandt also did wonderful preparatory sketches (ha ha, how's that for name dropping).

This is the first page of several to come. I'm loosely planning on 5 pages. This is the Intro page, with small sketches featuring our fearless leader, Danny Gregory. I took the reference photos from his road trip video he filmed for this Lesson.

First, the close ups (can click any to enlarge):


Mugging for the camera in 
Albuquerque, New Mexico:






His yellow sunglasses caught my fancy 
at the Grand Canyon stop:





And I couldn't pass up the cowboy hat in Texas:






Here's the whole Intro page for my homework 
project I'm titling "My Trip to the Moon & Back":


Intro Page from 
"My Trip to the Moon & Back"
Pitt pens, colored pencils, 
watercolor pencils, waterbrush, 
white gelly pen, on paper 
toned with acrylic


Happy sketching,

Retta

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sketchbook Skool: I need Practice!


Week 5 of Sketchbook Skool: Gesture Drawings

Yikes, that was a hard week for me. 

I am NOT a fast sketcher, painter, drawer, anything-er. But I signed up for this Sketchbook Skool, plunked down my hard earned money, so by golly, I was gonna get my money's worth by giving it a try, ha!

First homework assignment up: Group Gesture Drawing;  Spend the afternoon in a local cafe sketching groups of people. Goal:  gesture, movement, a small "story", not a likeness.

Well... I couldn't go to the local Cafe and hang out (mobility/transportation issues), so I hung out with the singing group Train, recorded singing live on Letterman. They sang a favorite song of mine "Calling All Angels" (thank you, Mr Youtube). (can click pic to enlarge)


"I Won't Give Up"

9 x 12 sketchbook
Pitt pens Med and Brush
watercolor pencils
waterbrush



This assignment taught me several things:

I DO enjoy dancing lines, thick and thin lines, dashes and dots and squiggly lines.

I do NOT enjoy drawing just in black and white, nor do I enjoy drawing under a time pressure, in a hurry.

At first, I did NOT like my finished piece; it seemed stiff and gawky.

So I decided to just cut loose and have fun with it! I added some border lines, lettering at the top, a few of the colors I saw on the stage, and stage lights. Now I like it. :-)


Last line in their song: 

"I won't give up. You don't give up."

If you'd like to hear Train sing the song, visit youtube HERE. 

----------------------------------------------------------


Next up: One Person Gesture Drawing.  Follow one person around and make gesture drawings of them.

This was HARD!
Me not LIKE it.
Felt rushed and stressful.
But me DID it.

My "subject" was available for this overcast
and chilly day in Southern Oregon.




He couldn't mow grass until leaves raked.
So I sketched husband while he worked.
(He thought he was working while I was playing).

Filled mower with gas.
Raked.
Raked.
More raking.
Chewed on bone (dog, not husband).
Finally mowed lawn.
By that time I was cold (and complaining 
"but he keeps moving").
Wimped out and went inside to hot tea.


There you have it, my homework for Gesture drawings. 
 
And I learned WHY I didn't enjoy drawing in a rush:
I don't like the results. 

And that's just lack of practice. 
I get better results when I go slow 
but it's not natural and easy,
like the teachers of this kind of gesture drawing. 

My take away: practice, patience and persistence!!


Happy sketching,

Retta

Saturday, November 01, 2014

My Favorite Homework Assignment Yet!

Jane Filer is one of my favorite acrylic artists, creating amazingly imaginative, wildly colorful and unpredictable paintings. 

So, I was excited when my latest Sketchbook Skool homework assignment was to create an imaginary book cover, done in the style of a favorite artist. Here's an example of her art (can click on any pics to enlarge):






Since my husband and I recently celebrated our 37th anniversary, I chose to make the imaginary book cover for our Wedding Photo Album.


My sweetie proposed to me all those years ago on a bridge at a park, in front of the children's wooden playground.

Doing this assignment brought back such memories. I enjoyed 
doing it very much!




It all started with a line drawing. 
I drew many of the shapes as an homage 
 to Jane Filer, such as pointed arms and 
feet, angel in the air, fish  seeming to 
hover, flower and tree shapes, and
the running rabbit with ears
streaming behind:







I scanned it and played with color 
schemes in photoshop:





And the finished colored sketch:


"The Proposal"

Done in 9 x 12 sketchbook, Pitt pens, watercolor pencils, 
waterbrush, colored pencils, white paint pen, 
and gold Pearl-Ex for the lettering. 





Close ups:







Thanks for looking, and happy sketching!

Retta



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Flying Pigs, Enhanced Reality & Sketchbook Skool


Wow!! I had no idea what went on in my studio after I went to bed. But thanks to Mattias Adolfsson from Sketchbook Skool,  I found out about the secret lives of my studio inhabitants. 

I wasn't able to sleep, thinking about the homework assignment. So I got up and shuffled in half asleep to my studio. Lo and behold... my Flying Pig collection was having a party!! The Flying Pigs were being rowdy, the Blue Birds of Happiness were singing, and Mr Skull was grumpy about being kept awake.

I grabbed pen and paper, crouched low and drew while trying not to giggle. Here, then, is my homework from Week 3, drawing Enhanced Reality:

(Can click any pics to enlarge)



"Flying Pig Party"

9 x 12 sketchbook
Micron pens, watercolor pencils,
waterbrush, colored pencils,
and white gelly pen




And some close-ups for you:








Happy sketching,

Retta

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sketchbook Skool: Unleash Your Imagination!


This 3rd week at Sketchbook Skool our teacher was Mattias Adolfsson. His "specialty" is drawing from imagination. His 1st homework assignment for us, after his excellent teaching videos, was to sketch a memory from our 1st day of school.

Say what?? That was in 1956!! 

But, I did come up with a memory. It was my Mom having to push me from behind, with me digging my heels in to resist. School was not a "fun" memory for me, but as a family we've laughed at this incident over the years.

So... here is my memory. Not of the actual event, but rather the feelings of a little girl, self-conscious in orthopedic shoes, with no friends, starting this strange new place called School.

And for those who aren't familiar with Vincent Van Gogh... he was known for the black crows he painted in the sky of his last painting, right before his suicide. Yeah... this memory was a day of "drama" for that little 5 year old. 

 
First, the inked line drawing (can click any to enlarge):








Next, the shading, done with Inktense 
watercolor pencil and waterbrush:







And lastly, the finished drawing:


"No! No! No! No!"

9 x 12 sketchbook
Sakura Micron pens, watercolors, 
waterbrush, watercolor pencils, 
and colored pencils



Here are a couple of close ups:





This weeks homework was a challenge, but I thoroughly enjoyed the teaching from Mattias about making drawings from our imagination. Highly recommended!


Happy sketching,

Retta

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Week 2 of Sketchbook Skool - What Was I Thinking?!


Yikes! This 2nd week of Sketchbook Skool took me far outside my comfort zone. The homework assignment was to sketch moving people in ink. Go to the park or somewhere similar and go for it, loosey goosey. No pencil, no eraser, just let the ink fly! The instructor, Melanie Reim, is a professional who travels around the world and also teaches art. She calls this style "Reportage".

That sure isn't my style, but I tried to have a go at it. I know I'd like to loosen up some, but had no way to get out of the house and go to the park this week. So... into the "park" of my backyard I went!

Joey (my girl Mini-Schnauzer) gets ecstatic when her Hero gets home from work. After the quite vocal demand for immediate pets, she tells him "Come on, let's go outside!!" He puts his stuff down, and then she leads the way to the backyard, impatiently looking over her shoulder to make sure he's coming. It's dark by now, illuminated by a yard light. 

So I drafted them as my subjects. Some of it I had to finish later, like the color and waterbrushed shadows. And the top right face of Joey was made the next day, too.

I appreciate that each of the 6 week lessons are taught by a different instructor, and we experiment with different styles, mediums and assignments. I've learned a lot already! I know I need work on drawing people, so this got me started.

Here is the link to Sketchbook Skool, should anyone be interested. It's a 6 week course, with sessions starting and re-starting at varying intervals. And there is a huge online supportive community of artists of all degrees of skill, full of enthusiasm, who will make you feel welcome.

(can click pic to enlarge)


"Daddy's Home"
9 x 12 sketchbook
Kuretake Sumi brush pen,
waterbrush, watercolor pencils



I mean really... what was I thinking, trying to sketch an excited Mini-schnauzer while she streaked around the backyard at night, ecstatic cuz Daddy was home??! But it was a lot of fun and challenging, too.

Happy sketching,

Retta