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Monday, March 28, 2011

Graphite Custom Portrait Commission - Update #4

The ceiling looks slanted but really is straight,
just my poor photography skills.
I am happy to say I now have graphite from one end of the sheet to the other, and all over myself...  The islands on the left side have now been blocked in and a bit of the details added.  I am also starting to block in the details on the doors a bit more.  I am jumping around a bit at this stage to keep the values correct, I find it easier to jump around, perhaps it is my limited attention span....

The island on the far right was actually much higher than I had realized from the reference photos.  The photos of the landscape were taken at night so a little tricky to distinguish between land and water.  You can still see some of the graphite below the island which I will continue to lift off.  It is amazing how you can remove even the darkest darks if you have not already pressed too hard when applying them.  I wrote the process below for those interested.

Erasing Areas of Graphite
To lift off most of the dark area, I took my kneaded eraser warmed it in my clean (yes I did this at the beginning of the drawing session) hand and kneaded it around while I contemplated what needed to be done.  You can also use the cheap white mack tack at the dollar stores for this if you don't have a kneaded eraser or want a softer version.  I actually started using the mack tack when I was learning as I did not know about the kneaded erasers and still use it in a pinch.

Once the eraser was warm and somewhat squishy, I gently pressed the eraser onto the paper and lifted off.  Each time I pressed on the paper the graphite that was removed was of course on the eraser, so by kneaded after each press, you end up with a clean eraser which is much better able to lift off the graphite.

Most of the graphite can be erased in this way, slowly but surely, without pressing too hard with the eraser or rubbing.  If you rub with the eraser, it actually pushes the graphite powder down into the grain of the paper which is not what as then it is near impossible to remove.

Once I am happy with the lifting off with the kneaded eraser, then I use the white rubber eraser  to remove any remaining powder that is still lift-able.  I may not be able to remove all of the powder, which in this case is not a problem as it will evolve into reflections in the water, but I should be able to remove most of it :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Graphite Custom Portrait Commission - Update #3

Custom Graphite Portrait Commission
Slow but steady.... I am moving to the back wall for a bit and building up the texture on the doors.  There will be some smaller bits of wood detailing above the doors as well which I am starting to build up.  Things take much longer when working on a piece this size, roughly 21x28" so online does not do it justice...but it sure looks nice on my easel :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Graphite Custom Portrait Commission - Update #2

Graphite Commission
Although it may not look much different than the last update this represents several hours more work building up the dark values and texture on the wood.  The dark values on the piano are nearly complete and then I will start to add the details on the outside of the piano and the rest of the drawing. 

The wood grain is being built up on the back wall and once the texture is created I will start to draw in the detail of the wood pieces (no I am not a builder obviously) on the wall and the door.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Graphite Custom Portrait Commission - Update #1

As there are so many dark values in this commission I am working on building up all of the darks and will then work in the details.  This way I will be able to keep the details crisper as when building up such dark values graphite tends to get everywhere, even on the areas that are covered up with protective paper.   

Building up rich darks in graphite is a slow process as many thin layers need to be added and gently worked into the paper so that more darker layers can be worked up without getting shiny.  It is so worth it though as the darks are very velvety and make the lighter values really shine once added in. 

Graphite Custom Portrait Commission - Full Sketch

The rough sketch has been transferred to the full size sheet and now I will start to add in the details. I took a photo of the original sketch on the 8.5x11" paper to show the size difference on the 22x30" sheet of paper.  Now onto the fun stuff!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Oil Still Life Painting

Oil Painting in Progress

I have not made it into the studio for the past 3 days (gasp) due to spring break and I am getting very twitchy!  I finally get to work (I love my job) on a graphite commission later today but I thought I would post a painting I have been working.  It is oil on 11x14" cradled panel and it is just starting to take shape.

The box for the still life is a hand made box created by first nations artists and is on display at the Fraser Discovery Center.  The seashell I have had for I think two years now and have been dying to paint it.  The butterfly is a resident of the Vancouver Aquarium whom I have painted before in oil on panel, Torn.

The butterfly on the wooden box is carved into the wood with beautiful stones inlaid in areas which I am hoping to capture.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fraser Discovery Center - Artwork on Display


Not Quite White
Several of my pieces are on display at the Fraser Discovery Center in New Westminster.  The discovery center raises awareness of increasing the sustainability of the Fraser River.  The gift shop carries artwork and items from various local artists and changes it display frequently so there is always something new to check out.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Graphite Custom Portrait Commission

Rough Sketch

This is a very rough sketch that I have done for a commission I am working on.  The images have been pulled from several sources, cottage images of the lake, the cottage walls and my client's dad playing the piano.

The rough sketch was scanned and the lines darkened in photoshop so that it is easier to see online.  I have filled in bit of the dark and light values just to make it easier to see the different dimensions. The lines will be measured and drawn out with a t-square to ensure that they are straight.  The piano will be the darkest value with the background trees and his coat jacket slightly lighter.  There will also be reflections in the water of the trees which will look really nice once completed and will help add even more dimension to the piece.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Child Oil Portrait - Monochromatic Block In

Oil Portrait Block In - 8x10"
This is the beginning of an oil portrait I started awhile back.  I have been trying several different methods of painting in oil and was itching to try doing a block in or poster study (not sure of the technical term) and then build up the layers as I go and glaze on the flesh colors.

I created a mix of burnt umber and titanium white making six different piles for each value.  I then tried to block in the basic shapes TRYING to ignore the details but obviously I did not manage to ignore them all ;) 

I started a commission today (nothing post-worthy yet) so I will have to hold off on working more layers on this one until after the commission but I thought it looked so cool that I would post it.  It is really surprising how much of a likeness is captured even at this stage with so little detail!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Abstract Acrylic - Splash

9x11" Framed (roughly 4x4" image)

This is a painting I did awhile back but I forgot to post it on my blog, which is kind of funny as it is one of my favorites in the series.  I have done several of these (Trickle Down, Flow, Blue Nebula etc.) are I really like how much fun they are to paint as well as to look at.

This painting is larger than the others but in the same color scheme.  A very zen painting session which is a nice break from commissions and learning new mediums!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Lord Help Me!

I went to the new art store in Colours in Port Coquitlam to buy pencil leads for my upcoming commission and ended up with a new medium, pastels. I need a new medium like I need another hole in my head but I could not help myself :)  I have wanted to try pastels for years but the thought of a zillion pastel sticks and dust all over my studio kept me at bay. 

Well now they have the pan pastels that I have been eyeing for over a year now and I could not take the temptation any longer.  I have an obsession for boxes/containers & these come in nice little discs that interlock together, very cool.  They are much lower in dust (they say) and can be applied with a sponge so I am guessing it will have a feel of painting/drawing combined.

I am very proud of myself as I resisted getting the portrait set which includes several colors and tools.  I only got two colors to play with and a couple of sponges so I plan on doing a few monochromatic pieces to get the feel for the. Of course they did not have the pencil leads in yet that I need so I need to go back soon...it may be a very bad thing to have an art store so close by!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Registration Now Open for Realistic Pet Portrait Workshop - April 9 & 10, 2011

Time has been going by at warp speed it seems and registration has already started for the pet workshop in April at Leigh Square.  I am looking forward to this one as I have not had an opportunity to draw or paint many animals lately so it will be great to focus on them for the weekend :)

This course is suitable for beginner and intermediate artists. There will be many demos & one on one instruction so each artist works at their own pace. Supply list will be provided upon registration.

The workshop will be held at the Outlet in Port Coquitlam (Leigh Square)

April 9 & 10, 2011
Saturday & Sunday from 10am-4pm

Prerequisites: None

If you are interested in this workshop, you can register directly online by phone at 604-927-8400 or contact me at info@stateofartportraits.com for more information.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Under a Blackened Sky - Abstract Acrylic on Cradled Panel

Under A Blackened Sky
11x14" Acrylic on Cradeled Panel

This idea has been burning a whole in my head for many months so I had to get it down on canvas, or should I say panel, to stop it from keeping me awake at nights.  I can get a little obsessive with art...anyway, I think it turned out pretty close to how I saw it in my head.

Of course the photo does not do it justice.  It is tricky photographing shiny acrylic paintings.  I may need to do some serious experimenting to figure out how to capture the layers and texture on camera.  The black and white areas especially do not photograph well and just look flat in the photo but in real life you can see the built up layers of texture and values.  Acrylics are SO much fun!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Art Focus Spring Show - April 30 - May 1, 2011

First Frost
9x11" Framed

9x11" Framed

Trickle Down
9x11" Framed

It is time for the annual Art Focus Spring Show again so that must mean spring is finally here!  I will be exhibiting several pieces in acrylic, oil and watercolor.  I hope to finish my Dalia painting in time for the show as well as a new oil painting I am working on.  I will also have several unframed pieces and minatures on display.

The show will be held on Saturday, April 30 & Sunday, May 1 at the Outlet in Leigh Square in Port Coquitlam. I will be at the show from 3-5pm on Sunday, hope to see you there!

Click here for a map of 2253 Leigh Square, Port Coquitlam, BC