Smoking in Leather

I liked this woman’s pose–one hand in her rumpled hair; the other dropped casually to her side, dangling a cigarette–and it offered the challenge of rendering her leather jacket. I did the pencil sketch fast, adding detail and shading, trying to keep it light, and then went for the watercolor. I took the color a little further than I meant to–I had planned only subtle washes and no background–but I still like the final effect. I went back touched up the drawing when it was dry to tighten it up a bit. I think next time, I want to try watercolor over charcoal.

Week in Review

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Got a little extra time with the holiday weekend, but my efforts seem lopsided. The first few days I did much stronger work, but as the days went on, I felt the burden of chores and Christmas requirements and getting ready for the week ahead…and the steam goes out of me. But I got a few things anyway. It’s all I can do with the choices I’ve made.

This lot includes French peasants…lunch crowd at One Oxford… dapper gentlemen…and studies from Olivier Vatine, Michael Mentler, Jean Cocteau and Francis Picabia. I especially liked combining the watercolor and pencil in the figure studies, and also attempting the clean line style of Cocteau and Picabia. Forever there’s the wish to do more… more and better. Even so, this is a good crop.

Creative Energies: Week in Review

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Ah, the vagaries of creative energy…where does it come from and where does it go?

A week full of desire to work–finally!–but not enough time, never enough time, though I did use more shreds of it than I thought I could. I guess I should just be happy that I have forward momentum again, which surprisingly, I actually do. I’ve been channeling more of my creative energies into cooking and food lately rather than art. My sister got me watching Top Chef, and for some unknown reason, it’s sparked my entire energy level and motivation. Why? Who knows. Drawing still happens on a daily basis, and with a bit more enthusiasm; obviously, I’ve been looking at Toppi and am thinking book characters again. My favorites are the overhead crowd drawing, the dapper gentleman in gray, the crossed legs (men’s trousers and shoes!) and the springy men running.

This week is dedicated to Zach and Kimmie, Art Institute students I met on Monday night, who inspired me with their excitement about the creative possibilities around them. When you can “make someone’s life” with a little kindness, how bad a world can it be?

Week in Review

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Reviewing another week of drawings…more pencil…Oh, how happy I am working with pencil!–though it doesn’t always scan well. It’s so nice to get the subtle effects, especially when highlighted with a wash of watercolor. And for bolder color, there was another round of the Francis Bacon fascination. I didn’t get much done during the week…who knows why…but the weekend felt productive. Let’s hope that’s momentum for the week ahead.

Retro Friday: Fashion sketch (1992)

Fashion sketch, pencil and marker, 1992.

Fashion sketch, pencil and marker, 1992.

Just after grad school, I turned from scholarly research back to drawing. I was a burnout case, weathering a breakup too, trying to get a career off the ground in a lousy economy…and drawing was a way back. She stands there defiantly, even though she’s half empty, surrounded by darkness… it’s a cool drawing.

Week in Review

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I’ve had a lot of weird, uneven results with my drawings this week, possibly because I’ve been doing more live sketches which can get so messed up as people move. Here are two unsuccessful efforts, odd palimpsest effects created by trying over and over to get pose and likeness.

The first went wrong because the man shifted his pose, along with the fact that I somehow made an older man look young on the first try.

The second one I rather like, except that I never got the full pose on the page. This man was quite a character. Everything about him was unsavory–his threatening tone of voice, his sidewinder pose, his appearance (a slinky, disco-tight striped shirt over dirty dark blue workman’s pants and expensive loafers, burnt-red skin tone livid against the green shirt, thinning hair greased into a nub of a ponytail). Then there was that pose. It was as if he was hiding something (or from someone), but he was in a large public lobby on a comfy couch, coiled tight, left hand cradling his phone, right wedged between his knees. Maybe Elmore Leonard or Quentin Tarantino could have used him; he was that kind of guy. I sure would like to do more sketches of him, but I’ve never seen him there before; I don’t think he’s a regular in this boutique mall with an office tower full of lawyers and accountants.

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These are the better things I made. There are flaws in this Marie Prevost drawing, but I’m enjoying the play between detail and massing of tones in this series. I continue to enjoy the watercolor/colored pencil fashion sketches; there will be more. As for the life drawings, my shading patterns are becoming more consistent and effective, but I’m wondering how I can push them toward something with a little more texture or aesthetic interest. Just a thought for the week ahead.

Week in Review

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A great variety this week… It was good to get back to sketching from life, even if I can’t finish them before people move. Doing the detailed silent movie actress drawings (both Marie Prevost) was fun, but playing with color is the best. It’s about my favorite thing to do artwise. I’d do it more often, but it takes more time than I have most evenings, especially as this flu-cough lingers. Soon…

Week in Review

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Let’s see… was away in Wisconsin for a much needed vacation–drew everyday, but only made two things I was really proud of–came home and promptly got sick… so there isn’t much to show recently, but there are a few really nice things. Pencil took a supporting role to pen, markers and watercolor. Fashion is back on my mind: with the SS 2014 Fashion Weeks now wrapping up, I took a look back at last season before diving into the new one. I especially like the sprightly Duro Olowu-inspired watercolor. I also looked to television for study opportunities–TV as Art, as my sister puts it–this time using Project Runway to study emotions. (Check out my sister’s version, here.) Last is a postage stamp size drawing for Adam Wiebner’s #DRAWtoberfest challenge on Twitter. The theme was “The Kiss” and I got mine in rather late on the very last day. Better late than never.

Fashion will probably stick around this week and maybe I can find some time for life drawings, too. I have story ideas I’m itching to write; well, less story ideas, than a character situation I’d like to work through. I’m definitely feeling better and in a groove of good work, so here’s hoping for the week ahead!