Back to school again!

It feel good to be back in “school” again.  Signed up for a 15 week programme at the Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts (VAFA) and enjoying every minute of it.  Chandraguptha Thenuwara is a great teacher, simple, easy to understand explanations and gives access to great depth of knowledge freely.  The effort below is from my first class where I was making an attempt at capturing a still life setting.  An understanding of perspective, foreshortening is amongst the things that I’d hoped I’d pick up on my own over the last two years but I guess this is the easier way!   Plus a class will ensure that I measure instead of just eyeballing the distances, angles and sizes cause that’s one place where I’m messing up! : )

s1 at vafa

The Life Drawing sessions at Sapumal continue and i hope these Sunday drawings will see some progress based on the inputs I’m getting in the Saturday class.

12 (17) - ld at sapumal

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Opinions

I subscribe to About.com’s Painting newsletter run by Marion Boddy-Evans.  Today it led me to a post on What Hurtful Things Have People Said When Commenting on a Painting? I read a few and discovered that while I didn’t have the same experiences I had shared some of the same feelings.

When I started out six years ago I wanted everyone (!) I came across to comment on my work. It was new to me, I was finding my way and thought that family, friends, acquaintances and online friends were all in a position to help. Sometimes it was frustrating because no one wanted to put me down or be harsh to a newbie. Sometimes they liked the very things that I didn’t.  I also learnt to my dismay that positive comments affected me too.  I’d get stuck, too timid to add anything more in case I messed it up!
netra - another attempt

Netra – another attempt – pen & ink – based on a beautiful photograph taken by Sudarshan used with permission.   An earlier attempt made in 2005 using the same reference.

But that was then.  I still love to hear from people but what I take from it now and how it affects me is different.  It’s more about whether they like the piece and not what they find right or wrong with it.   When I see a painting or a movie or a dress I form an opinion about it.  We all have opinions.  And sometimes mine don’t match with the way others around me think.  It doesn’t upset them or me that our views are different.  And with that in mind  I hear what people have to say about my work as their opinion.  Sometimes, good or bad, it matches mine and sometimes it doesn’t.

pen & ink

pen & ink –  earlier sketches and a painting made last year – Lost in though

Tip : Spot the Flaws with Flipped Images

Here’s a tip on using your computer to spot your drawing/painting flaws.  I was too lazy to grab my camera and take photos of two recent drawings that i did and used the webcam and Photo Booth instead.  What i got was the images reversed and what I saw was a whole bunch of flaws glaring back at me 😀  This is another tool that I will use to spot mistakes in future.  I’ve put a the two examples side by side for you to see.  The first in each set is how you would view it and the second the mirror image.

Photo Booth flipped 1

2nd attempt flipped 2

Didn’t want to go around holding paintings in front of my laptop webcam and googled only to be reminded that flipping images is easy on a mac 😛  Use Preview and use the Flip Horizontal command under the Tools Menu and off you go.  The two below are of a portrait that was started recently.
no name - wip flipped

Mr Bean at an Art Class

Mr Bean has never been one of my favourite shows and I usually avoid watching it. I preferred Rowan Atkinson in the Black Adder series and even in the Thin Blue Line.  All these I have watched because of a husband who is fond of Rowan Atkinson and his brand of humour.

One of the things that I enjoy most about surfing are the jumps.  I can keep myself busy for half a day or more from links found in one blog.  Take today for example, one link lead to another and having started from Making a mark I jumped to the Daily Painters Art Gallery and from there arrived at a post in the Painting a Day art blog.  While scrolling down looking at the art work I came across a post with this Mr Bean episode and was intrigued enough to have a look.  I’m glad I did as it had me in splits.   I was waiting to share it with my husband when he got home from work but he’d seen it on TV a couple of days ago.  He did wonder how I had got around to watching a Mr Bean video 😀 The things one does for love.  Keeping the link handy to watch again and if you’ve decided to watch, I hope you enjoy it too!

Win some. Lose some.

Win some lose some

Not having been successful with resolutions last year, some thought has been put into making some for 2008. Here’s hoping that this year is more successful than the last.

1. reduce the time spent online.

2. exercise regularly

3. lose weight

4. spend time on art and related activities

a. continue to learn

b. art related activity everyday – keep a track

5. try to find a balance – read, listen to music

Discovered last year that it was easy for me to get bogged down if the plan was restrictive. This year I give myself the freedom to choose the medium, try new ones, move on only if ready. Basically, the only constraint is that some art related activity is undertaken everyday and this is something that I can live with happily.

While making this post it became clear that there was need to balance art related activities with others like reading and listening to music which have fallen by the wayside.

In spite of 3 months of 2007 spent out of Dhaka on 5 holidays which were very enjoyable :D, I did do the following:

regular art activity with a group of like minded people

5 weeks of life drawing

4 weeks of creative drawing

tried some new things and many more of an old favourite – two kinds of printmaking activities – linocut and monotypes, digital scratchboards and a lot of pen & inks

Daily blogging through the month of November with Nablopomo

participated in the 4th annual portrait swap at WetCanvas!

two paintings based on imagination here and here

illustration friday – participated quite regularly

A couple of highlights. Sold my first print to a wonderful person and submitted a painting to a juried auction for charity where it raised nearly 3 times the reserve price. I am very pleased with this contribution to the Hurricane Sidr relief fund.

A fair amount of art activity took place and, with it, growth. The plan is to keep up the pace.

Creative Drawing and Art Appreciation 3

Yesterdays CD & AA session was a discussion about using mechanical lines to draw. The orderliness, precision and the weight of such lines. We had a demo by Javed and then drawings of Juan Gris and Stuart Davis were shown and discussed. Both were influenced by Picasso and Cubism and expressed form in terms of line, plane and colour.

The exercise for the day was to make two drawings spontaneously using mechanical lines. We were to continue using black, wet medium – pen, ink, brush, markers etc. A third drawing was to be made using an office stapler as the take off point. I used a thick black marker for all three.

I am enjoying these sessions and the thrill of allowing myself to put whatever comes to mind on paper regardless of what it may mean. All this is a part of my subconscious mind and I am keen on learning to interpret them 😀
CD & AA CD & AACD & AA

Creative Drawing & Art Appreciation – 2

Hard at work

Todays lesson was about expressing emotions using line and then using spontaneity in making an “action” painting.

sorrow   rage
Spontaneity and action

Homework is to do more of these with a title for each piece and an analysis of what we see in the results.

We found the small coffee table restrictive and by the time the second exercise came around the chairs were deserted for the floor.

Three, Four and Five

Self Portrait

In yesterdays post, I talked about the first two of my Going Nuts in November projects. This post expands on the other three 😀

The third project. While reading about Nanowrimo I can across Nablopomo, which is about blogging everyday for a month. Sounded like a good idea to me but when I went to sign up I realised that it was for the month of November. Did that stop me?? And now for everyday in November, I’ll be attempting to make a post a day.

The fourth project.

71979-final-1.jpg ppw - final
And then came the realisation that last year, around this time, I’d taken part for the first time in the 3rd Annual Portrait swap being held at WetCanvas! How could I not participate again? And so I signed up for that too. 😀 ( The portraits above are from last years swap )

And the fifth acitivity is attending an art appreciation course with either Rokeya Sultana or Javed Jalil at the Art Club Gallery. I have to go over in the next couple of days to sign up.  I’d like to take sessions with both of them but then I think I’ll be asking for more trouble 😀

Now that you know the whole story – Wish me luck!

About the painting at the top of this post. One more wip. Started this self portrait several nights back. I’m hoping to progress it further before my hair grows back! There is a slight tilt to the head as I was peeping from behind the easel to look into the full length mirror on my cupboard. Oil on a 10″ X 12″ canvas.

Variety is the spice of life!

At thirtyAt thirty
At thirty At thirty

Finally, I’ve decided to accept that in art I like to do different things all at the same time. I have not been able to stick with one medium though I tried hard. Instead of wasting energy I am going to allow myself to go with the flow. Though I continue to stay focussed on one subject – people, my experiments with various medium will continue unhindered. Makes me happy just typing it in. 😀

The piece above is 10″ X 12″ oil on canvas and the one below is acrylics on a 20″ X 30″ canvas. One is from an old b&w photograph and the second is my imagination. Both need work. The one above a little and the one below a lot more.

wip

Casey and about trading portraits

Casey

I’ve been wanting to trade portraits for a while. What got me started was a portrait swap that I did over at WetCanvas! and I have this lovely painting to show for it. Then six months later I read about digital swaps at Rama Hughes blog “The Portrait Party“. It gave me a reason to consider approaching fellow group members for a swap. And I asked Jana and later Casey.

They both agreed at different times but coincidentally I received their photo references on the same day 😀 And then while I was looking , admiring and deciding which reference to use and what medium to work with, the first drawing was on my screen! Casey’d emailed her drawing of me. Wow! It was beautiful and she had been so quick. I was expecting at least a week or two to pass by before getting to see the results.

Feeling the pressure, I sat down yesterday with Casey’s photograph and drew with a Derwent “light wash” pencil that I’d been meaning to try out. This is the result after adding strokes with the “dark wash” pencil and then water over parts of the drawing this evening.

Casey has always been very encouraging and supportive and I really appreciate it as I’m sure do many other edm’ers. Thank you Casey!

Update : October 1, 2007 : Rama has put this swap up over at the Portrait Party blog.

Pencil on 10″ X 15″ Canson Barbizon paper