At 100 I shall be a marvellous artist

Cast several lines and hopefully despite turbulent weather you’ll have a catch!

“From the age of six I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was fifty I had published a universe of designs. but all I have done before the the age of seventy is not worth bothering with. At seventy five I’ll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am eighty you will see real progress. At ninety I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At a hundred I shall be a marvelous artist. At a hundred and ten everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokosai, but today I sign my self ‘The Old Man Mad About Drawing.” Hokusai

Every time I come across this quote it makes me happy.  It reminds me that drawing and painting are interests where the scope for improvement and learning is endless.  And when I came across it again recently it helped me redouble my efforts in thinking up ways to get rid of an old friend, who has overstayed his visit – Procrastination.  While I may not be sitting down to draw or paint everyday these are activities I think about daily, more so on days when I dont pick up that pen or brush.  I’ve been feeling guilty.  I believe both are common when you’re procrastinating.

31 Emily O'Marra

I’m putting up a fight and trying to push my friend out the door.  I’ve added two more portraits to Julia Kay’s portrait party collection.  Came across a post on Lines and Colors about a new weekly column on drawing on NY Times that I hope to follow.  There are some exercises on colour and values that are awaiting attention.  I hope one/all of these will make me forget the reasons that’ve kept this friend here.  Another friend earlier today told me to get off the pity potty and get on with it!  So here I am with this drawing from a couple of days back and the long overdue post.

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

Born (not) to be Wild?

I’ve learnt a few new things in these past two days, some not so exciting. Firstly, my classes will be on for 2 weeks instead of the 4 that I had assumed. 😦 The school closes down for cleaning and preparing for the next term. I’ll be looking around for other learning opportunities in NYC. If you know of any for the last two weeks of August do leave me a comment.

Secondly, you cant be who you arent. In conversation with Philip Sherrod I said to him that I had really liked the painting put on his page by the ASL and signed up for his class. That I wanted to paint more loosely with freedom.  And his reply made complete sense. He said that painting is a part of you and that he had a wild cowboy in him which you could see in his work but that if you didnt have that “wildness” in you, your work couldnt be wild either. Now I understand that whatever style I settle down to will be very much a part of who I am.

He did encourage me to at least try and deviate from my current method. I did but not very successfully yesterday. On one of his rounds he took the palette knife picked up some paint and applied it to my canvas and said that he knew I could’nt wait to take it off. Well, I told him the truth that I didnt want to take it off.  But I was beginning to understand that i may not be able to dab on some more spontaneously.  Just before class finished since I felt that I was just getting sloppy he asked me to see if I could get back to what I had been doing earlier.

Today, after trying that for a while with my limited palette of Primary Red, Blue, Yellow, White and a secret hoard of Burnt Umber I gave in and ran to the store and picked up Yellow Ochre, Bone Black and Titanium Buff :P. When they didnt help me  ( I really need to do something about learning to mix colours!!! ) I gave up and used the palette knife to mix colours and started laying it on the canvas. I had fun and was happier with the results. What do you think? How does it compare with my earlier work?

Seeing it smaller on screen a few things are clear. I need to increase the size of the models head in proportion with the rest of her body. And the face definitely needs more work! And her outer left thigh needs to go in a bit. Shall try and fix them tomorrow.

Lastly, this is my 200th post on this blog 😀

Sherrod 1

A few more KMP’s

The first 3 are from life. The two still lifes were set up with a small table lamp used as a spot light and the 3rd is of my friend painting. The last is from a photo reference. I plan to create a still life setup at home too so that I can continue to inch closer towards the target of a 100.

KMP 15/100KMP 16/100
KMP 18/100KMP 17/100

KMP’s are skill building exercises advised by Kevin Macpherson in his book Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light & Color. I started these in 2007 and am continuing with it in 2010. If you want to know more about this set of exercises click here.

Still Life with Kuhu – 1 & 2

Still Life at Kuhu's

I’m thrilled to be studying with Kuhu once more.  Her exhibition was a big hit.  And while she’s preparing for the next one in March she is giving us a few lessons gratis.  The plan is to learn to capture form and the use of colours using Still Life and a model.

A plaster of paris bust of a woman was set up on the table on a red cloth with a black backdrop.   On day 1, I added colours in quantities I would never have imagined to an object that is white.  I was aware of reflected colours and did notice some pinks here and there.  On my own I would’ve added a few strokes of pink to these areas towards the end.  We used a lot of red, blue, yellow and black.  We also learnt to use a viewfinder to compose.

I was pleasantly surprised to see it coming together today.  It needs a few more layers to make the it look like it’s been made of plaster of paris instead of concrete.  For a while it was looking human and so I’m excited that at the end of day 2 it is beginning to resemble the bust!  I hope you think it looks like one too.