I didn’t bring anything to the Studio to paint on Sunday, and my fellow artist Candace had these bananas from Vietnam that she was sketching; so I shifted myself over to her corner and shared her still life. Very interesting bananas. I did a watercolour first and then I was at the point where I thought if I did anything else to it I would muck it up so I got out the pencils and charcoal. And I discovered that I’m a bit rusty at sketching! I found the sketch harder to do than the watercolour. Clearly I need to be doing a sketch every week as well as a weekly watercolour. Mind you, I was also thinking that I need to be doing an acrylic painting every week. I’ve really noticed how much doing a weekly watercolour has helped me and I know that I need to step it up even more than that. Do more, paint more, ponder more. A friend of mine told me a while back that I should do a painting a day and while I scoffed at that at the time, I think I might need to be moving towards doing something like that. I just know that I need to be doing more.
My mom gave me some money for my birthday so I splurged and bought some professional quality watercolour paints. They are M. Graham brand—the same brand that I use for oil paints—and so far I LOVE them! I’ve decided that I actually really like doing watercolour. My new set of paints also means that my daughter has inherited my old set of watercolours. She did an amazing first painting with them full of super vibrant colours (the dots are all the birds).
I think I was inspired by her bold use of colour to choose something a bit more vibrant to paint this week, and now that I’m looking at the paintings together, I see that I also chose pretty much the same colour palette as she did. Very interesting.
I’ve been reading about David Hockney. I am enthralled by his sketches. I was looking at his sketch studies for paintings and comparing them to his final paintings and my preference is still for the life studies. It got me thinking though, about my reflections, and it suddenly occurred to me that I should be doing quick sketch studies of them as well as photographing them. I did a couple sketches of some morning reflections on the entry wall and it was good—the light changed very quickly and, as fast as I am, the reflections had completely changed over the course of a couple of minutes so I photographed them as well.
This all also got me thinking back to my years at University and shaking my head at the young, hot-headed Dayna who tried to exist and paint outside of the art world. I ignored so much of it; so many lost years! I think I am now where I should have been in my first year at University. Now I am open to everything around me and soaking it all up and trying new things and thinking constantly about my art. Oh well, I guess it’s better late than never.
Then in the Drawing Club at work we were discussing David Hockney and his Hockney–Falco thesis which, true to form, I had missed entirely. This theory suggests that Renaissance painters used camera obscura and light boxes to make images which they then traced. Essentially that they used photographic techniques, pre-photograph. This blew my mind. The whole hierarchy of painting would be in question if this is how they worked. The pinnacle of the painting world worked from projected images?? My whole prejudice for life painting over using photographs would also seem rather pointless. I guess I need to remember that I am not trying to be a photo-realist, but rather I am more influenced by the Impressionists and capturing moments and moods. For me it may be less about using photographs as source material, and more about my hang up with the “finished” work of art. I am always trying to loosen up and not focus on the length of time something takes to do as a measure of how complete or incomplete it is.
Then in reading about Hockney for this post I got sidetracked by all his iPad drawings. Phenomenal works. It’s interesting how he did something that so many people are doing, but he took it to the next level and made it into “high art” in the way he did it. He made it into a project—he did a still life every morning and then immediately e-mailed it out to his friends. He talked about the immediacy of working in this way, having everyone see what he was working on almost as he was doing it. He has already bypassed blogging.
All this with David Hockney does make me think though. It makes me think about Galileo theorizing that the sun was actually the centre of the solar system and not the Earth. I’m that kind of blown away.
Here’s a good article about his iPad drawings, if you’re interested:
Yup, that’s right: me, Dayna, in a Drawing Club. And not only that, but it was actually a co-worker and fellow artist Marie Flynn and myself who organized it. We had our first session today, and I am very excited. Although it is still very early days, as in, it is still the first day…but still, I am excited. It is going to be an informal drop-in club for staff at my work during lunch on Fridays and it sounds like everyone who came today is really excited about it too. Oh, just think of all the things we can do!
For today though all I did was a still life sketch of a mason jar :)
Ugh. I’m in insane project mode. If I was pregnant I would be overkill nesting. If that makes any sense. I’m so tired.
I’ve started painting the inside of the house because the non-stop rain has made finishing my outdoor painting projects impossible. My friend’s Facebook status pointed out that right now Northern Alberta is on fire and Southern Alberta is flooding. Strange days indeed. I feel like we’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop though I hope that’s not the case. Knock on wood.
Today I painted the guest room. It’s beautiful but the last thing I want to do right now is work on a painting. I’ve been working off and on for the past three weeks on another reflection painting, but I’m still not happy with it and it seems that I need to resolve that one before I can move on to another painting; after waiting and waiting for my flowers my garden is full of the yellow and white sweetheart tulips and I’m not painting them! I did have some of the tulips in a vase in my kitchen and I did a charcoal study of one of them a couple of weeks ago. It’s very dramatic and it made me think that I might want to do a painting based on the study. I was also thinking of waiting and posting the sketch with the painting but here May is almost over and I’ve only done two posts this month and if I wait until everything is perfect before I post I may never post again. I just need to finish that first painting…oh and the master bedroom and the hallway…then I’ll get right on that. There’s so much to do right now. How did I ever have time to watch whole series of T.V. shows on DVD?
She nearly breaks my ribs
Those strong, tawny legs struggling
What a poignant sight she is.“
– Melanie Hudson
One of those 1000 journals (or 100 journals) was dropped down the book chute at work. The 1000 Journals was a project that was started in the States where blank journals were just passed around and people put whatever they wanted in them and many similar projects have been done since then. My co-worker Melanie convinced me to draw something in it if she wrote something as well. I’m not sure if this is a journal that someone forgot to return because I think that all the journal projects are over but I thought I would do it anyway. It could also just be someone starting their own roaming journal up for fun, who knows.
So anyway, this is our collaborative effort done during our lunch break. I drew a sketch of her—although she is prettier than this (as my self-conscious sub-title dictates)—and she put in the poem. I think the poem is what makes it.
I’m in the middle of working on my next shadow painting. I took my time sanding and priming 4 layers of gesso on a lovely 2 ft. by 3 ft. piece of masonite, but it wasn’t until I was done the first layer of the drawing that I realized I had used charcoal rather than paint. Apparently it wants to be a charcoal work. So far I’m pleased it; I’ll see how it goes. Hopefully I will be posting that one next week.
For now I have a quick charcoal study that I did after doing my painted self-portrait. I guess I did it because I got a lot of feedback that the painting that was very nice, but not quite “right”. My husband told me that in this one I had captured my likeness pretty much bang on and my response was that yes, I had captured my big ears, big nose, and stringy hair perfectly. Maybe that’s why it looks more like me. Maybe without meaning to I had idealized myself somewhat in the painted portrait. I’m looking at the charcoal study now and wondering if I did the opposite. Are my ears really that big? I think yes and no. Yes because they are pretty much that size, but no because I think I did a bit too much shading on them which actually draws attention to them.
I still love the painted portrait, even if it’s not a perfect likeness. And I am warming to this one. I didn’t like it at first, but I am starting to see that it just looks like me. I wish I could look like me without my glasses. They seem to have permanently altered my face so that now when I wear contacts it looks like my nose is missing something.