Sunday, September 30, 2007

More AK (Animal Kingdom) sketching.

I saw a small, chubby lady at Sports, waddling briskly toward the bathroom, and drew her, and then added an idealized female next to her at AK (on used paper). Got the anatomy a little off, but cute anyway. Just goofing around. ... And then a couple of caricature-style sketches, one rather glamorous and one just funny. Some of you might recognize that one dude. Or maybe not. It's such a bad likeness I dare not mention his name. Good friend of mine, though.

Me and Duron at AK

OK, this was a quick sketch, just for fun. If you work 9 hours and only make 9 bucks, it's likely you have plenty of time to do sketches.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Learning Acrylics

My bed, my art station! ...LOL... (See photo. ...I just shove stuff to the side when I want to sleep!)
Acrylics, I suppose, can be separated into two endeavors: technique and color. One technique, I've been practicing is "sfumato," the gradual blending of one color onto or "into" another. Think of the appearance of airbrush, and you'll understand. But it's all BRUSHWORK. In the one photo here, notice the "bright star" effect on the right side of the little painting (NOT the lousy planet). That's my best sfumato effect so far; it really seems to "glow" like airbrush (or spray paint), although it's done totally with a sable brush. It's somewhat difficult to do smoothly, and requires a special technique and lots of practice. (The rest of that little painting is just "celestial experiments," really, no big deal.) ... But sfumato can be used with any color transition on any subject which needs that "smoky," smooth blend.
As for color, besides wrapping my brain around HUES (and their mixing) I'm also learning how to adjust VALUE in each of the hues ("colors"). To lighten, just add white (or, really, add the original hue TO white, which is more efficient usually). To darken, you can add black, but that will distort some hues (especially yellow, which will often turn green, since black has a great deal of blue as a component, e.g. mix ultramarine blue with burnt sienna for a nice black). So to darken, it's better to simply add darker versions of the hues. For instance, add yellow ochre to yellows (or add burnt umber for a really dark yellow); add thalo green to darken greens; alizarin crimson for reds... etc. This really works well. Note the photo of the color bars I did, practicing this stuff. ....
....Now, there's one more characteristic of color which is fundamental: CHROMA. I've always been confused by this concept, because it's a completely separate idea from VALUE, yet they're similar at first glance. But it's pretty simple, really. First, start with a hue (color), and then think of a gray (white mixed with a little black) but not just any gray. No, this gray must match the value of the hue. For instance, yellow has a light value, and red has a darker value, naturally, in their normal state. So, for a lemon yellow, mix a grey that is mostly white, you know, very light. And for a cadmium red, mix a darker grey, one which is the same "darkness" of value as the cad red. Now, to reduce the chroma of one of these hues (or, in other words, to make the hue DULLER) simply add some of the grey. And to make even duller? Just add more of the grey. But remember, you're NOT making the color darker (or lighter) when you do this. The color will remain at the same value, but will get progressively duller and grayer as you add more and more of the correct-valued gray. ... Does that make sense to anyone? LOL. ...Oh, well, I tried.
Anyway, that's what I've been up to this week.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

OK, this is a little better...

I adjusted the ocean, and got most of the glare out, too.

My first real painting

I consider this to be my first "real" painting, EVER. Now, I've experimented with oils (a simple apple) and spray paints (easy and kinda "fake" paintings, really) and, of course, watercolors (I color my caricatures with 'em) ...but I've never sat down like a real painter with only my brushes and canvas and paint (and an idea) and painted a composition, with a variety of OBJECTS and textures and hues and values and even chroma considerations. I really haven't. It's a frightening proposition.
I think I WANT to be a real painter, and be (in my own mind) in company with the old masters, from Michelangelo to Vermeer to Gauguin to Norman Rockwell, to be in company with history, in an emotional way. I think that's where my heart is wishing to lead.
Anyway... I'm somewhat satisfied with this. (Although I just noticed I didn't adjust the chroma in the sea [the distant waves should be duller], nor did I add white highlights [sparingly!] to the waves under the moon.) ... The medium is acrylics (on canvas), and I'm slowly starting to learn how to use the acrylics. I have a lot of knowledge of colors and art and whatnot in my head, yet I've amazingly delayed doing any real painting. Now, I'm IN it, and can't hide behind statements like, "Oh, I'm just experimenting," and, "I just taught myself to draw a few years ago, give me a break." No, now my work must stand on its own, even if I'm really just beginning.
To be honest, I'm excited by this painting. I drew and painted a dolphin, and it LOOKS like a dolphin. I drew and painted a moon, and it LOOKS like a moon. I created a night's sky from my imagination. The weak part is the ocean. Maybe with the chroma adjustment and the highlights it will improve. We'll see.
And there is a big GLARE from the camera flash. I need a new camera. The buttons on this one are broken, and I can't adjust anything (like turning off the flash).
Next painting: a sailboat!