Sunday, January 27, 2008

Nathan Fowke's workshop

I went to Nathan Fowke's composition workshop last Saturday. It was a full day 7 hour workshop, and it was worth the drive from SF to LA. He lectured in the morning about the four principles of good composition : Focal Point, Balance, Rhythm, and Grouping Shapes. And in the afternoon he did some demos and we're off to do our own paintings of a costumed model, with his supervision.
Man, the experience was incredible. While we're doing our own paintings he would walk around and remind us what to focus on, and give us individual tips. The first two paintings are 25 minutes quick sketches and the last one was over an hour. On my last painting here I was getting a little stuck at one point, and he did a few simple strokes on it, remind me to keep things simple, and miraculously saved my painting! I'll keep his words in mind from now on, he's doing a color concept/theory workshop in late April, and I'm driving down again for that!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Another sleepy dude and a birthday card

I needed to do a birthday card for this 100 year old family friend, so I thought I try doing it Mark Hammer style. Man, I need a lot more practice to do what Mark can do.

At this rate, I'm going to have a big selection of sleepy dudes in my blog. But they are the only ones that doesn't get suspicious of me peeking at them.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sleepy dude and a shirt

Saw a sleepy guy on the train, he looked so cute trying to get comfortable with his floppy hoody, I couldn't resist.

The emotional cycle of this study is as follows:
Guilt -- haven't painted for a week, should do something about that.
Concept -- green shirt in a sunset, good enough!
Excitement -- first stroke of brightest green color, yeah!
Reality -- crap, I don't have time to do the details of the folds, and the sun is going out.
Despair -- this is not gonna look realistic is it? hmm, now what? another failure....
Silver Lining -- the edge of the paper was torn while taking off masking tape, but that actually made the crappy picture more interesting.

I've attended watercolor classes years ago, doing still life, and learned some techniques about how to control the wetness. But in those classes you do a painting in 2 or 3 hours, not 15 minutes, which is what I'm trying to do now. Maybe I should go back to do stills with stable lighting conditions until I get comfortable with techniques first. Then attempt faster ones with real light. Maybe.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

SketchBook Updates 4

I saw this pot of pink flower when waiting for Caltrain one morning, it was gorgeous. Sketched it over two mornings, luckily the sun was in a similar position. I'm trying to practice sketching with more depth and spacial relationship of the object and its surrounding in mind.

Husband wants to go boggie boarding badly that morning, cause it was our last day in Kona, so I stayed on shore and sketched this woman building a sand castle. It was very important to wear sunglasses when sketching people, so they don't know you are studying them, so they won't come up to you later asking to see the drawing and find out that you draw them fatter than they really are.

SketchBook Updates 3

This was a good day. That summer afternoon around 2pm we had a power outage. People took out board games and card games and boss bought ice creams and we had a blast. I drew this after the group games are finished and waiting for my train to go home. This dirigible just rescued a beached beluga and taking him to a good spot.

Had a piano obsession lately. Old and abandoned pianos are creepy. But I gave them balloons and propellers, hopefully fly them to a happier place.

SketchBook Updates 2

At the end of last summer a few of us co-workers ambitiously went out sketching a few times. This is a unfinished truck. I used to sketch thing very neatly and cleanly, and usually end up with acceptable but rather boring results. I guess that's why I stopped sketching for a few year cause I was merely copying. I think this whole traditional media's looseness and un-controllable-ness is good for me. Maybe I'll find a balance some day.

Also from a group sketch, on top of our office building. I added the boats later cause I think it's fun.

SketchBook Updates 1

I forgot that I can post my sketches as well. And I learned that I should sketch darker from now on, cause otherwise it doesn't scan very well. hmm.
This is a imaginary greenhouse, and I suddenly realized that over four years of university art school "training", that I didn't learn anything about basic perspective in class (I want my money back). I found meself some readings on-line and practices a bit here. Need a better ruler.

Man, this blogger thing make your second uploaded image appears top, and I have to manually copy and paste it down here, how dumb. Anyway, I went to a SketchCrawl back in last summer, and this is the statue on top of Coit tower (It's the only human-like object that didn't move!)

Also from SketchCrawl. People in Chinatown napping on park benches.

Hawaii paintings 4

Second attempt. We were trying to find a nice beach that husband can boogie board on, but ended up with this one cause it's accessible and the parkings weren't full. I now know the difference between beaches, there are ones that are all sandy, ones that has rocks, and ones looks nice from afar but you don't wanna be close to. We also saw many sea turtles napping here.

First attempt at painting sea and rocks. I usually don't like watercolor's watery look, but it seems unavoidable when painting water!

Hawaii paintings 3

Yeah, definitely need to use more than one brush, and I learned that I should keep my mixing board clean between paintings, otherwise everything is muddy, and artist not happy. I was frustrated about this one cause of my muddy paint, but I kinda like it a bit more now, dunno why.
This is our rent-a-condo in Kona, it has this mint-chocolate theme, I was trying to get that light on the wall transition. Also, I started to make uses of all my brushes (up until now I was using one big one, but that got muddy quickly, and so did my paintings.) Small brushes are useful for details, but I try not to get caught up in fixing small things, cause I tend to overwork stuff.

Hawaii paintings 2

Husband was relieved that I finally started to use colors other than green. From this not-very-successful painting I learned the importance of composition. I started painting these nice leaves, until I realized that I positioned them too low :-(. Normally it's easy to fix in Photoshop, but I don't have that luxury now. So after a few attempts to fix things, leaves were not as nice as when I first painted them. Lesson learned: when compositions of reality did not come as nicely as they should, and I need to re-position them in my painting, sketch out the outline first.
I was stranded by the torrential downpour in the volcano village, luckily there are lots of greeneries to see outside our window. (This is the third painting and husband was already frowning and wonder if I brought enough green paint. I did not bother explaining to the non-artist that there are many other ways to make greens, humph.)

Hawaii paintings 1

I tried to get some wet leaves look, but real brushes and paint is really hard to control, I kept thinking I could achieve that easily in Photoshop, but then telling myself again painting it exactly as is was not the point. So I kind of resigned, and hoping my technique will only improve through quantity of painting.
This is the first painting I did in Hawaii, I'm afraid texture-wise you'll find quite different than the rest of the paintings, because watercolor paint drys bloody fast!! So this first painting still have that chunky oil paint look, which I like. Man, I don't want to squeeze out fresh paint everytime, but how else am I gonna get this rich color look, as suppose to the washed-out watery look?