Wednesday, May 04, 2016

:: Moving is such sweet sorrow ::

I can't possibly put enough emphasis on the words "I've been busy".  Not in the normal everyday sense, but in the pack up and move sense.

In January we decided to move, in February we gathered all of our worldly belongings and moved to Sequim WA.  Sequim, pronounced skwim - like swim only add the sk to the front of the word.  There is a lot of nice things about this area ... We won't experience the Lavender Festival until July but they say Sequim is the Lavender capitol of North America,  another nice thing is that we are in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains and Sequim receives only about 16 inches of rain a year. Wahoo !

While there are plenty of things I could bore you with about the move, and finding a place for things I insisted on bringing with me, I'll just share with you that I've already found a painting partner who has told me a lot about the art community & events that I can become involved in.  Best of all as of last week I now have my studio all set up & I am committed to painting at least 4 days a week.  I hope most of these days will be spent doing some plein air work and also more painting exercises. 

Today my painting exercise was to try matching paint colors.  Last week I picked up a bunch of paint color samples from the local hardware store.  What fun ...  Not that it was real easy but that it made me think,  'should I add yellow to make it warmer, should it be cooler, more intense, grayer?'  It kept me on my toes.  I only had one paint sample that I couldn't duplicate even closely, it was a fuchsia kinda color.  I'll try again.

You can't tell very well where I put my paint dabs on the paint chip samples so in the below photo I've circled each area where I put my mixed paint.  I was very pleased with how well my paint mixtures  matched the samples.

Monday, November 30, 2015

:: Value Study ::

I find studying values fascinating and I loved working on this little all white pitcher.

I used Ivory Black and Titanium White oil paint.  I could have made my own black but decided since I had a tube of black I would just use it.

My support was a piece of 1/4" plywood that I found in the garage and had my husband cut it to 6" x 6".  I had primed it and had given it a base of some peachy color I had.  In this photo you can see all the plywood grooves thru the paint in the photo below ... that was fine with me, I wasn't trying to make a beautifully rendered piece of art, I was only attempting to get the values right.

Value Study, Martha's Pitcher,  6" x 6"  ©Nancy Van Blaricom

My prop was a simple but beautiful little pitcher my friend Martha gave me.  The above photo is where I've finally decided to call it quits.  I would paint on it one day thinking it was done then come back the next day only to realize that I wasn't happy with one particular area and fiddle with it more in an attempt to get my values right.  Then I repeat this process for a number of days. Now I realize I probably could have left it alone after that first pass and called it done. 
This is a close up of Martha's little pitcher.
Its aproximately 5" tall and  5" wide.
In the above photo you see the little pitcher sitting on a white piece of foam core inside a small cardboard box.  Looking at the pitcher like this I think I see the values very easily.

My set-up for my value study.  
I had a hard time finding a good way to photograph this set-up and to recreate the lighting I used for this study so I ended up moving my easel and turning on overhead lights for this photo, which is not the lighting I used.


Just about the time I was reworking my values for the 3rd time I was able to watch David Gray on Periscope while he was teaching a 4 day workshop in Langley, WA.  He has some great videos on  youtube you might enjoy watching.

Monday, November 02, 2015

:: My first Bargue Plate ::

 ~ My first Bargue Plate, but not my last ~

I had heard about the The Bargue-Gérôme Drawing Course book years ago but never felt I had the time or patience to try to copy a Bargue Plate. When I started working my way through Juliette Aristides Lessons in Classical Drawing, I realized I wanted to learn more, maybe the proper / Classical way to draw and not my hurry up and scribble it down method I've used for so many years..  

While my Bargue copy is far from good I do not feel it is a failure either.  
I have learned so much.   
  • I used one HB pencil and now wish I would have finished up with a softer pencil or maybe I should have started out with a good vine charcoal. 
  • I felt when I was drawing lines to envelope the face I was not pressing too hard but as I got further into my copy I could see I had pressed too hard, indenting the paper.
  • I didn't keep track of the hours I worked on this but I will next time.  Some people spend as little as 40 hours on a Bargue's Plate.  I rushed thru this and only worked on it about 10 -15 hours.  
  • I need to work on my shading skills. Next time I'll do some hatching ...
  • Plumb lines and measuring is very important. Measuring is my friend.
I did a little research and found a few places on-line where I could get some instruction and copies of Bargue Plates without having to purchase this very expensive book.  If you are interested in purchasing a reprint of the famous late nineteenth century drawing course you can purchase a copy of the book thru  Amazon

Here are just a few of the many web links I found that offer a copy of a Bargue Plate as well as information. 
The Home Based Atelier

Mandy Hallenius, This is where I got my plate and instruction.

Sight-Size ...  This is where I will be getting my next Bargue Plates and instruction.

I have read that Pablo Picasso copied the Bargue's Plates and Vincent Van Gogh copied all the plates once and completed part of them again at a later time. I'm thinking it must be pretty good stuff.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

:: Master Copy Sketch ::

To the left is the master drawing of  Michelangelo Buonarroti's Study for Battle of Casina
and to the right is my copy

One of my favorite books on drawing is Juliette Aristies book Lessons in Classical Drawing.  I've owned this book for a couple of years and recently decided to re-read it and work the exercises along the way.

The object of the first exercise was to become familiar with governing lines and directions.

She suggests picking any master to copy. Because I was anxious to start I didn't want to spend my time looking for a drawing to copy so I chose the same drawing that she did in her example.

I taped the copy of the Master Drawing to the left of my blank paper I was going to use for my copy of the master drawing.  I needed to mark lines at the top and bottom to indicated the scale of the drawing.  Then I needed to take a best guess at a single angle direction to see if I can account for some of  the movement of the work.  I don't think I would have seen the same angle Juliette saw if I hadn't used the same Master Drawing she did as my reference and her show an example of this.  Maybe if I were to attempt another I could use my own judgement better.

The second step was to place a few governing lines to get an overall shape to the gesture.

The next step was to formalize the lines into coherent shapes … and from here it was easier to see that my sketch was looking more closely resembling the original.

The last step was to tone the large planes of shadow to separate them from the light shapes..

After I completed my copy I could tell something wasn't quite right about my Master Copy even though I re-measured a couple of areas I still couldn't find my mistakes.

Out of curiosity I taped the master drawing to a window with bright light behind it and laid my copy over it to see where I had made my mistakes.  Ahhh,  now I could see exactly where I had made my mistakes.  The upper torso was good but the bottom half I had not measured correctly at all.  You can see where I should have drawn  by the red Sharpie lines I've drawn where I the original drawing was.  The hips were off as well as one foot … and the leg that is down was off a lot.

I was surprised that I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise.  Something about measuring, squinting to see the values better and taking my time really felt good to me.

I'm going to continue working on my drawing skills in a number of different ways.  I've been  doing  some simple daily sketches and working on Bargue Plates and also I plan to continue working through the exercises in this book.  All good stuff.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

:: October 25th, 2015 - International Artists Day ::


    Happy Birthday Picasso….

    Have you heard about International Artist Day and that its celebrated on Picasso's birthday?

    I hadn't until earlier this week when Artbiz coach Alyson Stanfield mentioned it in a Facebook post.

    Come to find out for over a decade International Artist Day has honored the contribution artists have and are making to society. On IAD, October 25, take an artist to lunch, or buy that painting that's been haunting you for the last month. Visit a gallery, or go to the symphony or art museum.  Maybe you’ve had your eye on a painting or sculpture, or feel that your garden could use sprucing up with a one of a kind wind-chime. Whatever the case, International Artist Day is the time to get out and bring a little beauty into your home. If you’re the creative sort, IAD can be an excuse to finally get back to your craft and bring something personal into your life through artistic expression.

     How will you celebrate the day?  Me …. I think I'll go work on my drawing skills.