Saturday, January 28, 2012

Christmas Memories

 I just finished a Christmas painting this week.  I was so inspired by the photo of my best friend's granddaughter that I couldn't help but loading up my brushes with bright red and green.  Christmas is past but I just couldn't wait when I first saw the photo of 3 year old Aubrey, I knew that I had to try and capture that image.  It was like something straight out of the Hallmark Store or a Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post.  I've tried to capture that Christmas memory on canvas.  The smell of the pine, crack of the fire and the sweetness of childhood are hopefully all present in my rendition. I made my little girl a bit older and I had to add the old brick fireplace, complete with hung stockings on the mantle and a stuffed bunny to finish off that memory of Christmas past.

"Christmas Memory" is an original work created in my studio in Las Vegas.  It is painted with Acrylics on a 16 x 20 canvas and is framed in an antique wooden frame that just goes with it perfectly.  I sure hope you enjoyed your visit and please come in and check out what is going on in the studio.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Drawing lessons- a priority in 2012

I have recently been reviewing a portrait drawing lesson series that I have had for a year produced by an outstanding pencil artist named Darrell Tank using what he calls his 5 Pencil Method.  His ability to draw with only 5 pencils is astounding.  You are certain that you are looking at a photograph and not a drawing.   Now I have always been able to draw better than most and I am generally able to produce a reasonable likeness of my subject matter.  Except for taking drawing 101 at the local community college 3 years ago, I have never taken any formal drawing lessons.  Since the summer of 2010, I  have become very motivated to become a better artist.  A good painter must also be a able to draw well so these drawing lessons are now on the top of my artistic priority list.  

This week I did a sketch of my cousin's daughter, Allison.  There is just something about this photograph of her that makes me want to grab a pencil or paintbrush and attempt to capture that thin smile and elongated facial expression.  My sketch has a long way to go to be Darrell Tank status, but I'm encouraged by what I see as improvements in my technique and shading.  I've included a couple of older sketches that I did in 2009 and 2010 to make comparisons.
 This next sketch is one that I just drew from my imagination trying to reinforce the shading techniques that I had just observed on the drawing lesson DVD.  Mr. Tank starts with the darkest areas and then shades his portrait from that value going lighter.  He also returns to the darkest areas in the drawing to reevaluate if they are still represent the correct value gradation.  You are always considering your edges and making things appear darker when they are behind or under to give that depth to the facial features.  An example of that is the area under the noise or the ear in comparison to the jawline.  There should never be a boundary line that gives your portrait the color book feeling. The edge should just disappear out of sight.  While this sketch is far from perfect, there is a good amount of correct shading to demonstrate some of the things I have learned.
                                                2010-Gavin                          2009- Jason & Tiffany (frightful)