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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Collection Highlights Series-Creepy dolls


I have been collecting dolls for a little while. And while not my intention, somehow amassed a fair amount of creepy ones. There are so many varieties of dolls out there, that there is something for everyone. And you guys ought to know that action figures and replica figurines are dolls too. A really creepy one is the doll here whose eyes fell down inside her head. You can hear them rolling around like a baby rattle.

I have quite a few of those dolls of the world-like the kind Richard Schmid paints in his still lifes. Now there's a man who can paint a doll!

When Erik gets scared at night, he asks for this doll with the pink head wrap to comfort him.

I hope to get a chance to paint some more of these dolls. I have painted some, and have used them in still life class as well.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Regency bonnet

I just finished a new Regency era silk bonnet. This is in a soft blue colorway with olive and brown accents. The trimmings are antique and vintage silk ribbons and feathers. I made the rosettes from antique silk ribbons.

This hat was almost entirely hand-sewn. I have another stove-pipe style in a taller silhouette to finish soon. It will be a black cherry and sap green combination. They are going in my Etsy shop.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tutorial-how to grid your canvas-ratio formula

I prefer to use a grid method to transfer my drawing to canvas. I like having a guide-wire that compensates for my lapses in judgment. How many times do you start a figure drawing only to realize you need another sheet of paper to get the feet to fit on the page?
Why use a grid instead of a projector? I have found that the projector is best suited to those who already draw really well....which is odd, since it is a machine to do the drawing for you. Once you have your projected drawing, you must paint on top of it, and it covers up the need to know how to draw well in order to keep track of your drawing in wet paint. I have also found that when I project I get lazy about watching for drawing errors. I assume that all is perfect and I don't have to do any problem solving.
I like to grid as it gives a simple guideline of where to place the large elements. I still focus energy on drawing all the particulars, and the designing of those particulars. I feel engaged and connected to what I am doing. Would I like to just start painting sans gridding? Sure, I wish I could start with an eye or an ear and just work my way out...but I am not there in my skill level. I believe you can train your eye through the grid method to see more spatially. Test yourself once and awhile and jump in without a from life frequently, where it's all about on-the-fly painting. Doing a multiple figure painting with buildings and perspective? Forget on-the-fly! Plan, plan, plan!
So, where to begin? The most important aspect of the grid method is your ratio formula. Your reference must absolutely be the exact ratio of your painting. It's easy if your reference is an 8x10 printout, and your canvas is 16x20...they are both 4:5 ratios (four parts of a number and five parts of a number i.e. four parts of 4=16, and five parts of four=20.)
However, if you know the size canvas you would like to paint, and you know your reference size, you can use a ratio to see if you need to crop in on your reference to make them match. Lets say I want to paint an 18x24 image. My printout is 8x10. These are not the same ratios. I will take the shortest side of the canvas (18) and put it over the longer side (24) Put the longer side of the reference on the bottom (10) and put the unknown variable on top. Multiply 18x10 and divide by 24. This gives you 7.5."

I need to cut one-half of an inch from my reference on the short side to make them the same proportions. If you have photoshop, this is easier, as you can crop an image using a set measurement, and it will remain in that proportion no matter what size you make it.
Lets say you are now good to go on your proportional reference. I always use a 16 "square" grid. I find the half way points of both the long and short sides and draw my first set of lines, making a plus or cross. Into each set of quadrants I divide in half once as well.

On and 18x24, I find the 12" mark on the long side, and the 6" and 18" marks. Divide your reference as the same, and you now have matching grids.

I place my reference in a clear plastic sleeve and use a sharpie to make the lines on it. I can keep the photo for later use when I am done with the grid, and don't want the lines anymore.
Transfer what you see in each "square" from the reference to the canvas. It sounds quite easy...but pay attention, it's also easy to over or underestimate what goes in each area.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Painting

I have been slow to post lately! Been working and painting a lot this week. This is a new piece for the Legacy Gallery Salon competition. I worked hard to get it done in time for the deadline....and then an announcement was sent out that they were extending the deadline! At least I am done early now for once. On to the next painting for another Salon entry next week! This is an 18x24 oil on linen. It is titled "Morning milking." I was fortunate to shoot Lucas' wife for the model, and the cow scene was shot on location in South Carolina.

Friday, January 7, 2011

On the MAN-nequin hunt

I have been searching for a suitable mannequin head to display my hats. This is not an easy search...there are many heads to be had, but most are ugly or just plain scary!

Our modern mannequins tend to be made of foam or resin material.
I do not know who designed this foam head, but it has some serious proportion issues.

This resin piece looks like Glenn Close-a little too Fatal Attraction for me.

These two gorgeous pieces are resin reproductions-very beautiful, and very expensive.

This is another resin reproduction, she is still quite pricey, and her eyebrows a little painted while on Halcyon or something.

Oh to have lived in the prime of the mannequin- the Victorian age! These two are Pierre Imans pieces, and are made in wax.

Wax was the material of choice during that era. Thousands of tiny human hair were even inserted into the scalp, lash line, and eyebrows for a realistic feel. Early mannequins were also made of paper mache, and plaster. Some studios still work in wax, but run in the thousands for a model. I am contemplating making my own model in sculpey...I will let you know if I do!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Maui Trip-Road to Hana

We took the legendary drive around Maui- the "road to Hana." It is a very windy narrow road that takes the better part of a day to see. There is a wide range of terrain and sights to see-
huge waterfalls-

lush tropical landscapes-

On the desert side of the island, a sparse rocky lunar landscape. We did not stop on the desert side for photos, as we were so tired from the road we were wanting to get back to the regular highway as soon as possible.
If I were going to be buried instead of cremated this cemetery would be the place to make my final rest!

There are many banana bread stands along this route as well. The friendly locals appreciate the tourist business-

All in all a beautiful and unique experience!