Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Same Watercolor Subject - Painted Fifteen Years Apart

I painted this watercolor of my daughter when she was very young. Though I did a lot of drawing during those years, watercolor painting was new to me. On this day I made her pose on her bed with a story book and all her favorite stuffed animals gathered around.

There are many things to learn from this early painting, which I never finished completely. You can see that, although she is the subject of my painting, she is hard to find in the picture! From a design standpoint, there are too many centers of interest. The light source is hard to determine even though there is an open window in the upper right portion of the image. Also, you can tell I didn't quite have a good understanding of color theory.  In those beginning days I just painted what I observed, without understanding why!  

Here is another painting of that same daughter, about fifteen years later. I have a better grasp of color theory, but still, the light source is not clear. This was painted about five years ago from a very poor photo. It's a good thing she is a very beautiful girl! There is a lot to learn from this painting also, most importantly, start with a reference photo that is sharp, large enough to see, and one that has good lighting!

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my personal past!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

DIY Paper Dispenser, Still Life Stage & Overhead Camera Mount For My Art Studio

I have been building tools for my art studio out of wood and PVC pipe, which means I haven’t gotten a lot of painting done lately!

You know, whenever you get something new, it necessitates you changing other things. Here’s an example of how a simple purchase of a big, roll of butcher paper made a lot of work for me! The bigger the roll, the better buy for my money, right? Well, that roll was heavy! I could have also purchased a nice paper dispenser for about $125 but because I like to design and build things, I made one out of scrap plywood for under $10 (plus a lot of time and elbow grease!). I’m really glad it works great!

Rarely do I paint still life paintings. But I would like to, so needed a still life stage to place items on and creatively arrange a scene with controlled lighting for reflections and shadows on the items. These still life stages are also called shadow boxes.

Carol Marine has a nice one she uses and Jeff Nobbe has manufactured it and offers it for sale on his Youtube site.

But I thought it looked simple enough to make myself, so I did…another fine way to mess up my studio and detour my painting projects! I added an extra side extension on mine, in addition to the one on theirs, so it will accommodate a light source from either the left or the right side. These extensions help prevent fires by keeping the fabric drape from touching hot lamps!

Another thing I really want to do this year is make tutorial painting videos. For that, I need something over my drawing table to mount my camera on.

There are some really nice examples other artists use, on Youtube. Camera mounting equipment can be expensive, some with smooth-gliding tracks, booms, and microphone attachments, etc. One of the most creative ideas (and helpful to me) was a young girl’s set-up for her smart phone camera. She had two stacks of books on her desk, placed either side of her drawing paper. Across the top, she placed a piece of glass for her smart phone – so simple  - so genius!!

Of course, I needed a little more elbow room for my painting and my drawing table is slanted at a 20 degree angle. So I couldn’t use a stack-of-books lest they all slide off my table! But I used her idea by making an attachment with a picture frame that holds the glass for the smart phone or tablet and a bar that holds a screw for a regular 35mm digital or point & shoot camera. The attachment snugly slides across two overhead 1 x 2 pieces of lumber and securely holds my cameras.

Thank you for visiting my blog, and may your new year be filled with hope!