Art Practice this week

This week I have been diving deeper into portraits, busy developing my observation skills by focusing on drawing and painting fruit and vegetable compositions and I have also played around with creative doodling in my visual diary.

Here’s my week in art.

The above portraits are the start of my 100 portrait practice challenge which I set myself. They were entered into the Sktchy Pouty Portrait party this weekend. It’s a bit of fun focusing on drawing pouty lips. The little girl’s face is done in soft pastel and the guy’s face is in graphite. I’m still learning and developing my crosshatching technique.

I really enjoy the Sktchy app and the teachers there too. Such a great community.

The portraits above were completed with pen in my visual diary before I decided to do the 100 portraits practice challenge. There’s a few things I would do differently if I were to do them again but overall I’m happy with how they turned out as they gave me more practice at drawing faces and using crosshatching.

I am working on creating a new skillshare course on drawing and painting fruit and vegetables your way. To put my class together, I wanted to spend some time today capturing fruit and veg in my watercolour diary using various watercolour mediums. It was a fun exercise and I even managed to do a timelapse of this project.

Going forward, I plan to fill up the two pages with various fruit and veggies with bites taken out of them. It could be fun.

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Lastly, I sat outside in the Aussie winter sun during the week and did this doodle in my visual diary. It was a lot of fun and I think I’m becoming obsessed with drawing sunflowers now.

Portraiture – Wrinkles

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I have been learning how to create wrinkles using cross hatching techniques. It’s through a Sktchy course called, Faces with France: Wrinkles.

I am absolutely loving this class. Here’s what I’ve done so far…

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This one was done with a Bic pen on cream acid free paper. I loved seeing it come together and took some progress shots to show you.

It’s a little scary putting ink down on paper cause you have to be happy with whatever marks are made and move on. For me, crosshatching in ink is a lot like using watercolour. If you make a mistake, you need to embrace it as a happy one.

Here are another couple of pieces I’ve done in 2B and 8B graphite pencil.

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This one was focusing on capturing wrinkles, light and shade and creating volume but not going into the whole face. This was my first attempt at capturing wrinkles.

Here’s the second one.

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I didn’t focus on the beard cause this class was all about the wrinkles. I’m so happy with this piece and in time I might spend more hours developing the hair or better still, I might have another go at drawing this guy with the beard in full.

Here’s some progress shots of the above piece coming together from initial sketch with one eye done through to developing the second eye.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this technique develops over time as I get more practice hours ‘under my belt’ and make it my own.

I’m also loving how I have finally been able to get the whole person on the page. I used to struggle with keeping the person inside the page and no matter what I did I couldn’t seem to draw within the boundaries. But lately something has clicked and now I can do it.  I think it’s got a lot to do with learning how to measure and use anchor points to place each part on the page. Anyway I am celebrating.

I’ve also been focusing on my Redbubble shop and added some of my art to the products available to buy. It’s a bit of a challenge for me as I am not (yet) a digital artist and not very familiar with out to erase the backgrounds and enhance my artwork, but I will get there. I’ve got plans to keep learning and playing.

Yesterday, I figured out how to turn this cute little blue teddy bear into art for my Redbubble shop. Check it out if you’re interested or go to my shop to see the other items.

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That’s it from me. Hope you are having a creative day no matter what you’re doing.

Portrait practice

Last week was super busy so I didn’t have an opportunity to do a lot of sketching. But I did manage to fit in a couple of portraits over the last two weekends.

Here’s the portrait I just finished drawing/painting in my watercolour visual diary. It’s of a fellow artist from the Sktchy community.

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The inspiration photo hinted that this image showed him in a moment of self-doubt about his art. I really identified with that and wanted to support him. Living a creative life and following dreams is filled with moments of self-doubt and those stories our inner anxiety tells about ourselves.

I think I captured a likeness in this portrait. It’s not exact but I wanted to capture the mood of the post and I think I’ve done that.

I’m pretty happy with this artwork.

The images above are the reference photo, the initial sketch and a progress shot of the portrait as I was moving through the creation phase.

A week ago I chose a young lady who was exploring her creative individuality by dressing up with horns and playing with black eyes. I liked how it had a hint of the paranormal to it. Of course I’d like that since that’s the genre I write in.

I changed the bow in her hair so it reflected the rainbow and entered it into the Sktchy Pride Portrait party. It was a challenge to draw and I’m happy to say that the person I drew really liked the image.

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Below is the original reference photo, my initial sketch in graphite and then a progress photo in pen.

On another topic, I’ve been stuck on a particular scene in my novel and have had a lot of trouble pushing through to finish writing the current chapter. But today in a few moments of quiet, I managed to make some progress. It felt so good to finally get through the blockage and see my story develop further.

One more step along the way to completing my novel for the next round of editing.

I hope to be back at life drawing this week, so I may have some more images to share in the coming weeks.

Until then have a great time living a creative life, expressing yourself in the world in your own unique way.

Artistic Playfulness

It’s been another busy period of artistic playfulness. Here’s my next arty update for anyone who may be interested.

Last Sunday, I tapped into the inspirational photos of people on the Sktchy app and found a photo of a fellow artist. She had a beautiful face to draw and I was inspired.

The above photos show how I moved through the stages to get to the final image, which I am pretty happy with.

I started drawing a sketch of her face in graphite, then added a layer of black and brown crosshatching marks and followed up with watercolour pencils, indian ink and white marker pens to capture the light and shadows.

Prior to that I played around crosshatching and adding watercolour pencil to a sketch of my own hand. It was from a photo so that’s how I managed to capture my right hand (which is the one I use to draw).

I also spend a couple of days creating a watercolour portrait of this Mexican Hairless Dog. It’s probably not accurate to the image since I had to shorten the ears to fit him on the page, but I like him. This one painting was created with watercolour paint and watercolour pencils. I had a great time creating a glaze effect on this one. I probably could push it more, but watercolour is a new medium for me so I am in the learning and experimenting phase.

Last Wednesday night I rushed over to life drawing class and here are some of the sketches in various mediums. The drawings are not all accurate or in proportion but I like how my drawing is developing. I especially appreciate that I can now capture the whole person on the page and draw what I am seeing rather than what my brain thinks it’s seeing.

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This one (above) is probably my favourite sketch from the night. It took 20 minutes to do and gave me a challenge with foreshortening as well as capturing the form with crosshatching. I used black ink pen to do this one. There’s only one part of it that irks me as I think I didn’t capture it as accurately I would have liked, but that’s the process of drawing – learning to see and draw exactly what I see. I’m still learning and I’m grateful that I can continue to do that too.

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And just for fun, I’d seen this horse sitting in a shop window, and I liked him so much that I snapped up a photo so I could draw him in my visual diary later. After a long day at work, I decided to chill out while on the train home and that’s when I drew the horse in water soluble black ink pen. Then I used brush pen to get the shading and I’m totally in love with this sketch.

I’m also still writing… dun dun dun. Yes, one day… eventually I will finish my fiction story and I am still clinging to getting it published, even if I do that myself. It’s a long road from concept to first draft to editing to polishing to publication. I will get there – one word at a time.

Both art and writing are about establishing and maintaining a regular practice. It’s tough to do with a busy life but because I love living a creative life, I continue to return to my passions.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you have creative day whatever you are doing.

Ramping up my Art Practice

In the last month I’ve ramped up my daily art practice. Sketching and using water colour paints in my sketch books most of the time. I’ve also been to another life drawing class, attended my first water colour painting class and today, I have just finished a Sktchy course on cross hatching.

So if you’re interested… here is some of my work.

The cross hatched portrait below is my first one using black pens. It is the image the teacher used in the Sktchy course so you may see it around and depending on who drew it, it might be better rendered than I’ve done here. But having said that, I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. I just need to practice the art of seeing and capturing shadows with fine cross hatching marks.

Below is my graphite pencil sketch of the guy we did in the Sktchy course. I put him in a frame as I needed to mark out lots of lines to get his features down on the page with accuracy.

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A lot of people like this pencil cross hatch and I’m super happy with it.

I went to a beginners water colour class and learned about blooms and glazes and all sorts of other techniques. I’m a bit heavy handed with the delicate medium but it’s fun to learn, make mistakes and see where they lead.

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Above is my finished water colour mushroom. I had a lot of fun creating this small art work on the paper we stretched. It was a great class run by Holly from Life Drawing Caloundra.

I’ve been doing a botanical workshop on Skillshare and that’s stretched me a lot. Here’s one of the pieces. It’s a vintage inspired flower with petals and stem.

 

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I think I like the stem and leaves the best. It’s all water colour and took a while for me to layer. I’m not the best realism artist but you got to start somewhere right?

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Above is my botanical alphabet project from the skillshare workshop. It turned out pretty good, but I’m not a big fan of fancy fonts. Maybe one day I will embrace them but it irritated me a bit because I kept making mistakes with the pen and had to keep starting over. For me that’s too painful to do and I doubt I’ll become a calligraphy lover… at least not someone who does calligraphy, but I’ll always have respect for anyone who does the art form!

Then it was off to life drawing class on the 29th May to celebrate their first year of regular classes. It was a great night with every spare spot taken up by artists trying to capture the gesture of the model. Above are two of my pieces. I gave drawing on black paper a go and it worked out pretty good. Quite a few people liked that drawing with the soft pastel.

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Then, totally inspired by Sketchbook Skool, it was time to sketch book my way through my life and capture everyday moments. This image as you can see is of my M&M slippers which I picked up in London in late August 2018. I love them and taking time to draw my feet on the coffee table was excellent fun. No need to feel precious about my lines and marks. It was just an impression of my life and an opportunity to practice drawing what I am seeing rather than what my brain thinks it can see.

I intend to keep practicing and learning new techniques. I hope that as I grow as an artist, I will also be able to create better skillshare courses of my own. I’d like to pass on things I’ve learned but only after I’ve practiced enough and made the techniques my own. I’m not very comfortable in front of the camera yet and it has taken me a long time to learn how to video my art as well as to think about the classes I could teach and how to teach creative writing from my own perspective. I face a lot of internal fears every time I come to create a skillshare course, but I’m moving through my fears and into creativity. I even made a course to help other deal with their fears around creativity based on the tools I use to manage anxiety.

They say one of the best ways to learn is to teach and I’m on that road now too.

On the creative writing front.. I’ve been chipping away at my edited manuscript and had to change a few characters which has lead to a chain reaction of changing what they do and don’t do. I’m about a third of the way through my manuscript and I’m so grateful I’m doing lots of art because it stops me from having anxiety brain.

When I write, I feel a lot of angst to get things right. But when I do art, most of the time the angst just vanishes. I can spend hours and hours doing drawings and not even realise time has sped past. I love writing, but it is a different experience for me. It’s a complex and sometimes analytical experience which somehow triggers off the inner critic in me more than art ever has.

I guess this is all part of a learning curve for me. I’d like to publish my story and I’ll keep at it, and I’ll keep drawing every day because the practice is so good for my mental and emotional well-being.

Until next time, happy creating!

Life Drawing

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Recently, I decided it was time to start sharpening my observation and drawing skills. So, I did a bit of research and found a fortnightly life drawing class held in Caloundra, Queensland. I’ve been to two sessions so far. The first one had a male model the second had a female model. They were great to draw.

This charcoal drawing was done in 10 minutes and I thoroughly enjoyed drawing this model. She had beautiful curvy lines to follow and when she sat in this position, I loved how her legs crossed and she sat up. The photo has a few charcoal smudges but that’s because I had to flip the page and move on to the next drawing fast and I didn’t erase any of the marks before taking this photo.

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Charcoal on acid free paper. Life Drawing, 10 minute drawing, 15/5/2019. Artist: Selina Shapland

The last time I did life drawing class was in the first half of 2005 when I was at Art School in Melbourne, and I remember it being quite a challenging class as I had a lot of difficulty getting proportions and drawing what I was actually seeing in front of me.

Now fourteen, nearly fifteen years later, I have jumped in to life drawing and it’s been a lot of fun. I was nervous returning to life drawing class, but I am so happy that I have done it. I am connecting with other artists, being inspired by their approach to drawing what they see and I am deepening my ability to observe and draw with more accuracy.

This drawing below is in graphite and I was pleased with the result as it was accurate in proportion and I finally got the hands right. I find hands, noses and ears really difficult to draw. I will have to keep focusing on them and develop that skill.

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Graphite on acid free paper. Life Drawing, 10 minute drawing, 1/5/2019. Artist: Selina Shapland

Below are two of my favourite drawings from my most recent life drawing class. The model was so beautiful to draw and she did some excellent poses that added interest and challenged all of us to stretch ourselves.

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Graphite and charcoal pencils on acid free paper. Life Drawing, 15 minute drawing, 15/5/2019. Artist: Selina Shapland

The reclining drawing below was a real challenge for me as it wasn’t easy for me to get her arms down as I saw them. But in the end it worked out and I do love this drawing.

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Graphite and charcoal pencils on acid free paper. Life Drawing, 15 minute drawing, 15/5/2019. Artist: Selina Shapland

What I love about drawing and art in general is that it takes me to a special place where time, worries and anxieties fall away. I am in the moment. Completely. Utterly. Consumed by what I am drawing. For someone with anxiety as a constant companion, it is magnificent freedom to be in a space where the constant chatter is quiet.

Art, for me, is a like a meditation. When my inner critic gets involved, my art turns out a bit crappy. But when it is hushed and nothing more than background noise, my art seems to come to life.

Here are some other drawings and sketches from my life drawing classes so far. Some of my favourite pieces are the 30 second gesture drawings where I’ve scribbled madly using charcoals so I could capture the overall twist and movement of the model.

I’ve also been chipping away at editing my novel, The Living Death of Toddy James. I do that while sitting on the train on the way in to work during the week. I have to admit that my writing is much more fun when I take the pressure off myself to make it publishable or perfect. Also, returning to art has helped to free me from the inner chatter so I can get on with being creative.

I’ve also been learning cross hatching techniques, portraiture, watercolour botanical painting and how to draw with one line and not to judge the outcome.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve treated myself to three new visual diaries to fill. One is filled with good quality watercolour paper, the other two are ‘lay flat’ mini visual diaries for drawing and mixed media. Now I just have to get over the fear of making a mistake on the blank page and fill them with the things I see.

Whatever you’re up to, I hope it’s creative. Thanks for stopping by and supporting my creative life style blog.

Gouche and Crosshatching Creative Art

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This week I have been playing around and creating botanical art in my new Windsor and Newton Watercolour visual diary. I also bought a pack of 18 Gouache paints and combined them with watercolour, watercolour pencils and a black pen to bring my back garden and front garden to life.

Below are two of my botanical compositions. The first one is a representation of the plants in my back yard. I think the part I love most about this artwork is how I’ve captured the aloe vera leaves in the terra cotta pot. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this artwork.

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Below is a short timelapse video of how I created the botanical composition above.

This image below is a selection of the plants in my front yard. I enjoyed putting the deep red on the page. It’s a lovely contrast to the green hews of the other plants. And I love how lively the other plants are too.

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Below is a short video of photos I took from the concept drawing of the plants through to the finished art piece.

I’ve also been learning more about crosshatching lately. The three images below are a potato, a nose and a sphinx cat. They are all in my visual diary. I had a great time learning to cross hatch with my retractable pencil and focusing on the light and shadow in these images.

Art is all about observation and enjoying the process of playing with marks on the page.

I’m so pleased that my art mojo has come to life again. It’s wonderful to be back in the flow.

I’m off to do my second life drawing class since 2005 this coming week. I hope I’ll have some images to share. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I’ll keep drawing and editing my novel. Writing a novel and editing it is a long term game for me, so I am very grateful to have art flourishing in my life again.

I hope you have a great day and do something creative that nourishes you too.

Portraiture

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I’ve been studying portraiture with graphite in the last two week. It’s been so good to apply my art and observation skills to the page again.

Below is my first animal portrait in graphite on acid free cartridge paper (my visual diary). It’s a side view of Miss Poppy and her fluffy ragdoll ruff.

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Below is a short time lapse that I created of me drawing the above portrait.

I’ve also been studying the basics of human portraiture using graphite. Here are some examples of the lips, ear and hair that I’ve done.

I’ve also been studying the nose and eyes with a focus on light and shadow.

I enjoyed sketching each section of the human face and learning about light and shadow techniques. I also learned about the angles of the eyes, nose and lips. Each technique built on the other and I’m another step closer to creating portraits that look and feel the way I want them to be.

I’m going through a real art phase right now. Still writing and editing my story, but for now, I find that when I get absorbed in my art, I forget about everything that has been bothering me. All the anxious thoughts disappear and I am in the moment. There is no future, no past, only the present moment. That’s why I love art so much. It is a truly healing activity to do.

Until next time, I hope your creative projects are underway and you are having wonderful time too.

For anyone interested in learning portraiture drawing techniques, I recommend ‘Start Drawing: Techniques for Pencil Portraits by Gabrielle Brickey on Skillshare. That’s where I’ve been learning all about portraits in the last two weeks. She’s a brilliant artist and a great teacher who makes it easy for you to learn and apply your new knowledge too.

Thanks for dropping by.

Intricate Line Drawing Class

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It’s been a big artistic week for me. I’ve spent hours creating a new Skillshare course called, ‘Create Intricate Line Drawings’, and I’m super excited that I’ve managed to pull this off.

I’ve had to learn how to create effective time lapse videos, create video content that flows and makes sense, draw and draw and draw, get comfortable doing voice overs and figure out how to edit on iMovie too.

Below is a sneak peek at my course thumbnail and I’ve created a super simple, super short time lapse video to show you a snippet of the content.


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Below are three of the intricate line drawings I created as part of my Skillshare course demonstration.

I really do hope people enjoy the class. I’m happy with it. It took days to create the content and now I am utterly exhausted.

Tomorrow, I’m back to travelling on the train to go to my day job. That means it’s time to return to my story, The Living Death of Toddy James. I’ve finally finished the second edit and now I am going through plugging plot holes and polishing it to the best of my ability.

Another step closer to getting my manuscript back to the editor for the next round of creative publication preparation work.

I’ll update you on my next art project in the near future. I’m currently studying portraiture and hope to show you some of my work soon.

In the meantime, happy creating and thanks for dropping by.

Gesture Drawing the Figure & Watercolour Fun

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Happy Easter to you all!

I’ve spent my day drawing naked women. It’s an artist thing and it’s all about learning to create gesture drawings of the human figure.

Each sketch below was completed in less than two minutes and are from models who provide images for artists to develop their skills.

Here are the five gesture drawings I created this afternoon.

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Taking time out of my long weekend to draw and listen to David Bowie was fabulous fun. I have really missed just putting pencil to paper and making sketches that are quick reflections of what I see in front of me. I really should do more of this on a regular basis.

And since I was having so much fun, I took one of the gesture drawings of a half naked woman sitting on a stool with fine fabric draped across her legs and did a free hand drawing of her on watercolour paper.

Once I had a good sketch put down on the paper, I used black ink pen to outline her figure. Then it was time for some watercolour to make her pop off the page.

Below is a close up my watercolour drawing. I think it moved past being a gesture sketch but I’m happy with how she has turned out. I can still see areas that could be ‘fixed’ but art isn’t about perfection. It’s more about creative expression and rendering what I actually see on the page. So I am not going to allow my inner critical voice have any say in this one.

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I realised I haven’t done a gesture drawing or any life drawing since the start of 2005 when I was in the first year and a half of a Diploma of Visual Arts (which I never finished because I moved from Melbourne to Brisbane).

That’s a fourteen year gap where I haven’t practiced. So it was great fun to focus on the human figure again.

In time, when I have a better work/life balance, I hope to get along to some life drawing classes and create drawings and paintings that are from a live model rather than from photos. One day I’d like to be able to draw without having to focus so closely on a model or use them for inspiration and jump off into fantasy art.

I’ll get there. One arty mark at a time.

Hope you’re having a fantastic and happy Easter.

Whatever you’re up to, I hope it’s a creative day.