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.

Sunglasses

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?

Limber-Legs

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

Copper-Light

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.

 

 

 

 

 

First Friday Art Walk drawings

This Friday I had planned on drawing a sound installation sponsored by the ideaXfactory (more on that later) but it turned out to be harder than I thought. So instead I drew some other interesting things that happened downtown on the First Friday Art Walk. There were a  lot of people eating green cake as they walked around Park Central Square…

Library-Ladies

Turns out Park Central Library was hosting an “Edible Books” event, and they had asked local cake shops to make Call of the Wild cakes. The biggest one was made like mountains covered with green pines trees. There was a whole row of ladies cutting and giving away slices of cake. I must say I was a bit relieved as I had originally thought people were eating parsley cake.

Fire-Spinner

The library was so crowded, it was hard to draw because people trying to get free cake kept bumping into me. I went back outside and saw this young guy spinning fire.  The fire glowed nicely against the twilight sky, and so did the string lights hanging across Park Central East. There was a couple wearing hoodies sitting on the edge of the fountain. I would have stayed longer, but it was so cold outside that I couldn’t draw a non-shaky line.

ideaXfactory-DJ

Back at the ideaXfactory, there was a silent art auction going on organized by a lot of Drury University folks to raise money for Rare Breed. They had installed a beautiful folded paper installation on the ceiling for the upcoming Saturday night Drury Beaux Arts Ball, and the paper walls of the temporary gallery also glowed with changing colored light. A DJ wearing fingerless gloves played electronic music for the Friday night auction preview. In the glow of the “cloud” installation, it was a popular spot all evening long.

cloud-pano

Over at Art & Letters, a collaborative show organized by Meganne had an opening. She has started about 20 ink on canvas and paper paintings, then asked other local painters to finish them.

CattyWampus

 Cattywampus was playing in the corner in front of Christiano Bellotti’s painting.

Ryan-and-Guy

 Ryan Dunn of Smokey Folk played a few songs with the band.

Liz-Tyler

I really thought I knew this woman in front of a Tyler Estes and Meganne Rosen O’Neal painting. Turns out I know her sister! The best part about ending up at Arts & Letters was Russ and I had great luck at finding some funky retro clothes for the Beaux Arts Ball on Saturday.

More Sketching at Crystal Bridges

Crystal-Stream

Finally! Beautiful weather for a whole weekend, so we rode and walked on trails both days at Crystal Bridges. A family from India was visiting, the father on one side of the stream telling his daughters across the water how to pose for a photo.

pam-sketching

These were all about 5 to 10 minutes sketches with a brush pen, colored with watercolors later. I didn’t know Russ took a photo of me sketching until I saw this on Instagram!

Desuvero

Looking out a window to a Mark di Suvero sculpture — a little tricky to draw!

Red-Lens

From inside the museum, an interesting view of the outdoor plaza through a cast polyester “Big Red Lens” by Frederick Eversley. The whole scene becomes a puzzle to draw, and probably doesn’t make much sense. I got confused myself and drew trees on the ceiling which I had to cover up later with cross-hatching.

red-lens

Out on the plaza, there’s a funny orange-red Keith Haring sculpture. A museum staff person was passing out drawing boards, paper, pastels and pencils to invite the public to draw.

Drawing-Circle

At first I saw more people looking at their phones. Then Russ got into the act, so I sat down too and drew some more.

plaza

Eventually I noticed a group of five girls, all with drawing boards. Some looked like they were seriously drawing.

Drawing-Circle2

How interesting the plaza bowl was so large, and yet with all that room to spread out, they sat squished together so tightly, their boards almost touching.

Canopy

This guy sitting under a pavilion watching his kids was funny too. “You kids go run around the trails about five more times. And DON’T PICK THE FLOWERS!”

Biking in a Hay Field at Crystal Bridges

Hay-Woman

Makin-Hay-sign

Russ surprised me with a weekend getaway, and we loaded our bikes onto our new bike rack and headed south. Riding around on the Compton Gardens and Crystal Bridges trails, Russ was determined to see a new sculpture that he read about at the entrance. After several trails and up many hills, we chanced upon this crazy installation of hay people by Tom Otterness.

“Makin’ Hay” is a series of sculptures made of bales of hay by Otterness in Montana in 2002 as part of a friendly hay contest. Later acquired by the Alturas Foundation, the sculptures have been exhibited in many places and must be newly arrived at Crystal Bridges because it’s not mentioned anywhere on the website.

Hay-Gleaner

The whole thing was a total surprise as we had the fortunate opportunity to visit Otterness’s studio several years ago during an ISC Conference. Seeing so many of his roly-poly urban bronze figures there, I had no idea he had made these hay sculptures.

Hay-Monster-Woman

Not only that, but happening upon the installation by way of a back door trail rather than the entrance to Crystal Bridges was perfect!

It’s also a good thing we were on our bikes, because these sculptures and the hay field installation were huge. So trekking across tractor ruts to get to the farthest hay woman was rough, but do-able.
Bikes-in-Field

 

biking-in-hay

Drawing People who are Drawing

Alternative-Drawing-at-A&L2

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.

Alternative-Drawing-at-A&L1

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.

Alternative-Drawing-at-A&L4

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.

Alternative-Drawing-at-A&L3

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!

Spring Crocus

Since coming back from Mexico, I’ve had bit of color withdrawal. This one little spot yellow has been waiting to greet me each morning when I walk out the front door – tiny yellow crocus just beginning to peep through the pine needles in the garden.

I did this quick sketch for @wardomatic ‘s “I need to sketch more” creative group on Flickr, and am trying to post this from my phone. Here goes…

(a bit later)

Couldn’t get the iPhone app to work, so now I’m trying this on the iPad. I know I could do this easily from a computer, but I’m trying to learn some new skills.

“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!

540 Stone Monks

Here’s some pages from my Japan sketchbook. At the Kitain Temple in Kawagoe, there is a small plot of land with rows and rows of Buddhist monks, carved from stone between 1782 and 1825. A note on the guide sheet said no two are alike. It’s not just that the statues are all different – it’s that each one has such distinctive personality, each one was doing something different or expressing a different emotion.

Some were laughing, some crying, some sleeping, fishing, praying, planting…. They were difficult to photograph because the area was dark and shady, the statues broken and covered in moss. So I started drawing. I wish I could have stayed longer and drawn more, but it have would taken a long time to draw 540.

If you can’t read the writing, it is a legend I copied from the guide paper that they hand out at the information desk. Our Japanese friend Kazuko said the legend wasn’t in the Japanese version of the guidebook.  So I don’t know where the legend came from, but I still like it.

“It is said, if you feel among the statues in the dead of night, you will find one that feels warm. Mark it and return in the day, and you will find it is the one most resembling yourself.”

I haven’t posted many photos of Japan, since I’ve given all those to Russ to organize with the thousand he took. But I’ve been studying the stone monks because they have become part of project I’m drawing, except instead of stone plants and baskets, my monks are holding cell phone and kindles. These photos aren’t very good (Russ has much better ones) but they give you an idea of the place.

Here’s another drawing from the museum of the Third Shogun which was near the stone monks. You couldn’t take photos in there at all, but I wanted to draw these things after I found out what they are.
Farm tools?


no
Torture devices?
no.
They were used when chasing people to catch onto their kimonos so they couldn’t run away.

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.