Drawing Assassin

Relaxed

It’s been a long time since I’ve gone to a figure drawing session, perhaps since college. I thought I wouldn’t like it, but maybe I’ve learned some things since then. Maybe I’ve also learned some things from one of my favorite drawing books, The Tao of Sketching.

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With only five or ten minutes to make a drawing, it seems you should just jump right in and draw as fast and as much as you can. But last night, I found myself sitting back and looking around the entire room. At the other people and things in the room.

Stand-By-My-Man

Asking what most interests me about this particular pose? How does the pose relate to the room?
Is there a mood to the pose?
What can I add to recreate the mood or moment?

No-Sunshine

What in the room do I want to include? Leave out?
How can I make an interesting composition?

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How big is my page? My pen?
Should I add color or shading?

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I just imagined it might be a little like a rooftop assassin surveys a scene, taking in everything and then waiting for the right time to strike.

Daydream

These are all short poses with the same model from last night’s session.

 

 

 

 

 

Morning Song

Early Saturday morning before dawn, we started the morning with poetry, bird calls, and frost on our feet.

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It was part of a sound installation sponsored by ideaXfactory designed and led by Gerard Nadeau of Drury University’s architecture department called Morning Song Evening Song. Starting Friday evening with a workshop led by Greater Ozarks Audubon members, we each put a wooden Audubon bird call on an orange ideaXfactory lanyard around our neck and headed up to Park Central Square.

There at sunset, we spread through the First Friday Art Walk crowd and started a slow symphony of bird calls noises, first a few, then many. Then more, then faded away.

The next morning we assembled at the ideaXfactory at 6 am, shared bagels and coffee and headed to the West Meadows future greenways park site.

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In the wet grass, Kate read bird poetry, then we started the morning crescendo of bird calls and watched the sunrise over the Grant Street bridge. The morning experience was much different, and I think, much more profound than the evening.

After it was all over, Ed Filmer showed up to video, so we got to do it all again. And I had time to make another drawing.

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For more photos, please visit to ideaXfactory’s Morning Song Evening Song post.

 

 

 

 

 

Drawing People who are Drawing

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Here are some drawings I did last night at Arts & Letters Alternative Figure Drawing night. I like going to these things, but tend to back away from the crowd so I can also draw the drawers. It’s interesting to look at what materials people bring to draw with and how they hold their hands.

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Also it gives me a chance to fill in some background elements that add color and balance the composition. Sometimes I’m completely off on my composition, proportions, and scale, but I like to draw with a brush pen because the mistakes become part of the drawing. People move around and you just have to adapt, which gives the drawing it’s own sort of internal life.

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Sometimes I’m completely off topic, as when I noticed on the sidelines, Laura was crocheting in the most graceful way, and I was fascinated watching her hands.

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Arts & Letters is Springfield’s newest downtown gallery and eclectic boutique, but one of the co-owners is Meganne Rosen O’Neal who has long been involved in our arts community. I’ve worked with her much over the last year and half on various committees, but most frequently Russ and I have worked her as we created the ideaXfactory and on various PechaKucha Springfield events.

So it seems funny to me that I drew her before I knew her. Several years ago she was one of the people behind this Art Factory 417 alternative figure drawing event that I blogged about several years ago. So even if I had known her, I wouldn’t have recognized her behind the bunny mask!

“Love is a….” sketch drawn by candlelight

My friend Stephanie inspired me to create a painting to donate to Hearts for the Arts — a silent gallery and on-line auction to raise money for arts education programs at the Creamery Arts Center.

The auction will end February 4th, so winners will have time to give a piece of original art to a loved one on Valentine’s Day. Which means of course, hearts are the theme.

Here’s some sketches I started doing by candlelight, not to get into the mood although I must admit it helped. Sometimes late at night or early in the morning, I try to sketch by low level light so my thinking brain isn’t too alert and my subconscious is more free to go rambling.

These drawings don’t really make much sense, I just started with the phrase “Love is a….” and went from there. I finished the final painting for the auction this week and dropped it off at the gallery. You can see “Love is a Circus” and all the other auction art on the Hearts for the Arts auction page. Click on a thumbnail below to see the sketches and titles.

Lost…

For those who have been wondering if I fell off the end of the earth, unfortunately for many weeks I was teleported to another dimension called Really Hard Work. Not just the brain-drain kind of hard work, but also the kind that completely wears you out by the end of the day.

I was able to sustain my energy by ingesting vast amounts of red licorice, coffee and diet coke. But at the end of each day, I didn’t feel like writing blogs or making art — all I wanted to do was come home and fall asleep playing Plants versus Zombies on the sofa. And since I sort of lost my sense of humor for a while, it’s probably better I didn’t write much.

Now that I’m getting back into the blogging mood, here are more pages from my sketchbook. While in Japan, we visited a high school, and I got a chance to draw the girls in music class. The school has a blue uniform that sort of looks like gym suits and looks very comfortable. I wouldn’t mind wearing a uniform — It would save having to decide what to wear every morning!

Photoshopping Drawings and other High Wire Acts

This is a rendering for larger project to be made in fabric. I’m pretty happy with the composition — it’s an interesting spin on a portrait of a single character as the center of interest with my typical busyness in the background.

It’s also the first time I’ve combined natural drawing media and computer drawings in a Photoshop collage. The high-wire walker was done with a Pigma brush pen and watercolors. I drew the monks in pen in my travel journal, then scanned and combined them with drawings of buildings I did in CorelDraw.

If you remember, a couple of years ago I did a drawing called Tip Toe Temple. Somehow that original idea has gotten tangled up with these photos of cell towers and electrical power lines from Japan. So now here’s some other more recent ink brush drawings of similar themes…

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and this one:

Clouds have a lot of personality and are interesting characters to draw or paint. Speaking of clouds, here were some really wild ones as I left the studio tonight, just a little before sunset. The wind was whistling in an eerie way, and the clouds seemed over-dramatic over the paper cup factory across the street. I half expected an big UFO to break through at any moment.

7 Illustrated Tips for Surviving a 12 Hour Plane Flight

1. Draw your food. It probably looks better than it tastes anyway, and confuses the flight attendants who keep wanting to take the half-eaten food to get it out of your way.

It’s also good practice to start with something like food before you start trying to draw people in public. I’m a little out of practice of drawing in public, and had forgotten how people like to watch and see how it the drawing turns out.

2. Draw the people around you. It makes them nervous because you keep looking intently at them.

I love this overhead quote…. “I’m not creative about things like drawing and very compartmentalized. When she got to the break in the page…..and then went over it, I thought Whoa, is that allowed?!”

3. Go to the back of the plane and look at how funny all those little monitors in the plane seat look all light up with the lights out. They are kind of hard to draw, but it gets you out of your seat and confuses people who think you’re standing in line for the restrooms.

4. Draw the restroom. It’s very small, so the perspective can be interesting. My drawing didn’t turn out very good, so I won’t show it to you. Oh okay, here it is.

5. Stuff your big down coat into an Eco-sack, fold the handles over, and wala — you have a big fat down pillow. Especially good if the plane’s not too crowded and you can hog several seats to lay down.

6. Make an eye pillow out of fabric themed to the country you’re traveling, in this case I used a blue indigo batik. Try not to think about this project too far in advance — maybe not even until 10 pm the night before your flight. Then you’ll find no matter how much you sew, it’s hard to find a piece of elastic in the house that doesn’t sort of look like a bra strap. All night grocery stores have elastic headbands — cut one of these open, and you have a nice strap for the eye pillow. The eye pillow helps you sleep on the plane, which you need to do, since you stayed up all night making eye pillows.

7. Wake up and use your final slap-happy hour of the flight to write a silly blog post. It’ll make you feel better and look forward to getting off the plane and back to the world of the internet where you can post it.

CandyLand

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Finally got the poster design done for the Japanese Fall Festival, coming up September 11-13. I haven’t done one of these posters/T-shirt design for the Sister Cities association in about seven years. Here was the last one I did in kind of a wood-block style,  a couple of years before I started making cartoon quilts.

Russ and I helped start the festival series, 14 years ago, and for many years I did all the artwork. Until we got busier and more people got involved, and I was glad to pass the job to someone else.

This year the festival will feature a lady who makes Japanese candy sculptures and another who performs Japanese stories with magic, so I decided my cartoon style would be good for the poster. Of course there will also be Taiko drums, martial arts, bonsai and tea ceremony, but you can only put so much into a poster.

Musings on the Creamery Art Center

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Gerrie asked about the motivation behind this new series “Wish You Were Hair” and it’s true it’s inspired by my collection of vintage postcards. Also my fascination with travel and world monuments and landmarks…

But the real motivation — I can’t get out of mind the kids who come through the Creamery Arts Center. I’ve been trying to put stuff into these pieces that I think kids will like, and if they come with their parents, there will be interesting things to talk about.

Just outside of the exhibition space at the Creamery are ballet classes, so I drew this tight-rope dancer. I guess I’ve just always wanted to draw a circus, and won’t it be fun to play with color here! I’d like to add a little tiny elephant on the ground below, and I don’t know what building this is, so for now I’m calling it TipToe Temple.

Meet me in St. Louis

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Getting work done for an upcoming show has trashed my healthy schedule of working out followed by a big breakfast of fruit, yogurt, coffee, eggs and rice. It seems like weeks that I’ve been getting up at some unearthly hour to squeeze in a little more work, and am starting to skip the workout and resort to breakfast at MacDonalds. Oh well, just another week and half, then I can get back to a better routine in September.

If you’ve posted a comment recently and I haven’t responded, so sorry! But really it’s taking all my energy to get these things done. Sydney is finished, Athens is quilted, Paris is almost done — so onto St. Louis.