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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Sketching at the Galle Fort

horse taking a breather between rides

Sketching is so much more fun when you have company.   I’d got so rusty even with drawing as paint is a much more forgiving medium and you can keep going over something till you fix it. Sketching is even tougher having to capture a scene quickly or you have to tackle perspective!!!  I’m shaky on both but some of it is coming back….. slowly!!  And I had lots of fun.

We had a friend visiting who keeps a record of his travels through sketches in small and mid-sized journals.  They’re usually of buildings, seascapes or landscapes.  With me, he is willing to take a break from his usual subjects and occasionally try some of mine.  When he’d last visited us we were based in Dhaka.  We chose the local wholesale market on the banks of the Buri Ganga to sketch and almost created a riot there among the curious street urchins.  This visit we went to the Galle Fort and while people were curious we didn’t draw a crowd which was nice as we could get on with the sketching.

dutch church

All 3 sketches were made while sightseeing at the Galle Fort.   The horse or is it a pony (??)  was being given a break in between rides and was busy chomping down on grass.  We plonked ourselves down beside him to sketch.  He left quickly or so it seemed to find his next ride and we moved on to find ourselves something that would hold a pose a while longer.  The Dutch Church seemed like a good subject as it was beautiful and wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  I found it difficult to work on values with the pen and the perspective is wonky.   The last is a sketch of a cow though it appears to be a mother and child pose : )   The cow moved it’s head when i was half way for the first one and I felt more confident after the first attempt to try a quick second sketch at the back.   And that heart shape was there on her head though it looks a bit foolish in my sketch.


cow

Last day of Pose 1

Flower market

Last day of Pose 1 and obviously I wanted to do everything but complete the pieces I had started 😀 Actually I knew they wouldnt finish so I decided to start work on another piece. Sheer guilt made me work some more on the sketch below for a short while when the paint on the one above was drying. The weeks work with the model helped me paint more loosely for the blue painting. I still need to work on some details but overall i’m quite happy with it.

The first two photos in the ones below are from the work done on Thursday with inputs from the teacher.  One other comment is that several people in class thought I was using oils and were surprised when I showed them the acrylics.  I’m using jars of Liquitex Basics – Primary Red, Blue and Yellow with Titanium White.  Mostly because Dick Blick had it on sale for 10 dollars and back home in India I get one such jar for this price.  I’ve been adding a bit of Golden Acrylics Burnt Umber, Bone Black.  The Yellow Ochre and Titanium Buff I used for one day but have decided to try and stick with the Liquitex ones as best as i can at least for class.  Havent been able to stop myself from using the umber and black.

Sherrod 1 wip 3Sherrod 2 wip 2Sherrod 2 wip 3

Loose or Sloppy?

Sherrod sketch 1

Above: Ran out of ideas on fixing the first one and so started on a smaller piece. It still needs work.

Below : Looks like I didnt manage to make the head bigger even though I thought I had. Thinking too about ways to improve on the background.

Sherrod 2

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

Every day can’t be a Sunday

The Art Group met at my home this morning. Having recently read about How to throw a Portrait Party we decided to try it out while waiting for the others to arrive. The first one is a 2 minute pose and the second a 5. Discovered when I went to get the link just now that the second pose is supposed to be for 10 minutes. Will fix that next time.

Art Group Thursday Art Group Thursday

We were just 3 this morning and the plan was to continue to draw the African sculpture. You can see my earlier attempt from last week and the time before here. Today I messed it up quite badly driving home the point that I need to spend time on drawing ellipses, cylinders etc. Also need more practice of drawing figures, hands and feet! 😀

Art Group Thursday Art Group Thursday

crossposted at 30dayartist

Photos or Life – which do you prefer and why?

self portrait self portrait

I prefer using photographs for my work as they capture moments and locales which are not easy to replicate in a studio setting or using a model. I do believe it to be very important to learn to draw from Life but would not like to limit myself to just that for my paintings. Take the examples above. If I were to do my self portraits only for life (top right) I would scare the pants of everybody! I find the second one has a more reasonable expression.

Would love to hear how you feel about it. Do leave me a comment if you have a moment.

Self Portrait : charcoal from life, pen & ink from photo ref

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.