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.

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!

Portraiture

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

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.

Learning Photography

Last weekend I started learning the basics of my Canon DSLR which resulted in some photos that I loved. This week, I finished going through the Skillshare.com online course and put some of my new knowledge to use.

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Here is Miss Poppy suffering a long photo shoot session. I used the Av mode on my DSLR to get a cropped image and to capture the sweetness of Miss Poppy’s face.

Here are some of the various photos I took this morning. Miss Poppy has to put up with a lot.

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I managed to catch a photo of Rocket playing with his rope toy. I don’t think I had the camera on the right mode to really catch the moment, but I am learning. And I do love this photo of my poodle.

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Next, I tried to capture Rocket in an interesting composition by getting down on the floor and photograph him from his level. He wasn’t too keen on giving me much face time for the portraits I was trying to take. The look on his face in the second photo says it all.

Jack (above) is a gorgeous boy but he doesn’t believe in sitting still for photos. It took me ages to catch these images and they are a little blurry. I’ll just have to keep trying.

Then I went out to Mapleton which is in the Hinterlands of the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia, and took some photos. The images above were attempting to capture the water fall movement using the Tv mode of the camera.

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This is the view from the Mapleton lookout – or at least, a portion of the view.

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I was striving to capture the expansive nature of the vista and to make an interesting photographic composition in the above image.

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Here’s an image of David, my partner. I used the Av mode to get this portrait.

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Above is an image of my best friend in the world, Edward. He’s also putting up with me snapping photos of him using the Av mode of the camera.

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And, lastly, I had to get in front of the camera. I set up the manual settings and gave the camera to David. He did a great job of these photos, I reckon.

Taking a moment out of the busy-ness of life has allowed me the space to capture images that mean a great deal to me. I’m a total beginner at photography, but I am thoroughly enjoying the process of learning. And learning is what inspires my continued growth and I’m grateful for that.

Learning a new creative skill

Last weekend, after doing some minimising of ‘stuff’ in my house, I wanted to do something creative and different. I wanted to learn a new skill.

So, I decided it was time to take the DSLR Camera (my friend owns it and I borrow it from time to time – he’s good to me like that) and start learning how to use it.

I went to my go-to creative learning site, Skillshare.com, where I created and published my own online class to teach people how to draw using negative space, and looked for classes on photography.

I found a class that focused on teaching beginners how to use their DSLRs. I watched the start and learned how to use some of the manual features of the camera. Buttons, and dials and widgets that had intrigued me for some time but I’d never got around to working out what they were for.

So far I have watched just over half of the course. As I learned about shutter priority, aperture and ISO, I fiddled with the manual settings and had a go at taking a photo or two.

Here’s a couple of photos of Rocket. I know these photos are not professional in any sense of the word and I’m not even sure what settings I used but I love them!

I think I love these photos so much because they really capture the cute attentiveness of Rocket. These are the first photos I’ve taken of Rocket in a very long time where I have been able to capture what his face looks like.

Having a black poodle is one of the greatest things in my life – I treasure him. He is my loving and ever present companion and I want to take images of him as he is, showing his sweet face to the world.

This tiny creative success has inspired me to keep watching the course on Skillshare.com and learning how to use the camera to take photos that I want in my life.

Also, learning a little bit of photography is a great way for my brain to rest after such an intense time of creative writing. I’ve found lately that my creative writing has slowed down and that I need to take a pause. To allow my creative writing bucket an opportunity to fill up again.

Learning a new creative skill helps to enhance all of my creative skills. And I get to share this with you too!

I’ve been cutting out the things in my life that no longer bring me joy or add value to my life. And I’ve been focusing on uncovering my highest values so I can live in accordance with them.

Creative expression is one of my highest values. I love being creative. Drawing. Writing. Painting. Mixed Media. Photography.

Each one of these creative activities helps me to take a breather from a fast paced world and allows me to see what is truly before me. Creative writing helps me to understand the human condition, as does reflective writing and journaling.

I am so grateful for creativity and the journey of continued self-expression.

If you haven’t tried something creative for a while, maybe it’s time to slow down the pace in your life and take a moment to put a creative desire into action.

How to See & Draw using Negative Space

Well … I said I’d do it and I’ve done it.

How to See and Draw using Negative Space on Skillshare
How to See and Draw using Negative Space on Skillshare

After a month of learning and multiple attempts at shooting video, I have finally created a short Skillshare art class called, How to See & Draw using Negative Space.

It was quite a challenge to work out how to break down the steps of how I see and draw negative space around an object, but I did it in the end and I wanted to share this with you.

If you’re interested in checking it out, please click this link.

Thanks for stopping by!

S

 

A little bit of skull action

Three skulls created with indian ink in my visual diary. Artist: Selina Shapland

Three skulls created with indian ink in my visual diary.
Artist: Selina Shapland
Created 15/3/2018


Tonight I came home and decided it was time to do some art. So I got online to my new favourite creative site and did a great class on Skillshare.com about how to draw skulls. It’s taught by this amazing artist/graphic designer, Jon Brommet. He broke the class down so it was easy to pick up the nuances of drawing a skull to rough proportions and he encouraged me (or his students) to break out and build on the basics and to develop their creativity through quick, rough sketching.

I admit, I haven’t had time to do every exercise but I will get around to it.

But for now, here’s a sneak peek at a little bit of skull action I did for my class project.

I’m really happy with my drawings.

They are all drawn with graphite pencil and black ink pen. The ink pen is water soluble so I’m thinking of adding some Indian ink to the design and making it pop off the page. We’ll see how I go.

Anyway, I had a great time and that’s what I think art is about. Fun. And embracing the journey of expressing something personal without chasing picture perfect perfection.

My Creative Projects

A while ago I decided that I’d let my art slide by the wayside just a little too much and so I found this fabulous site called skillshare.com. I joined and took a few short courses on art and had a great time.

On one of the classes, I put up a project of a drawing I did of Miss Poppy (once she finally went to sleep on the end of my bed so I could draw her).  I loved the drawing.

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There it is above.  I didn’t think too much of it. I just moved on to the next creative project in my life – learning how to write a love novella (or as the course is titled, a Lovella).

Then I got invited to do a teach challenge in March on illustration and I thought … what would I teach?

And then I thought … why not!

Then I thought … Oh My God/dess, what have I signed up for?

But I won’t grow if I don’t give these things a go, right?

So my creativity is amping up again in both my art and my writing. I’ve been learning how to do videos for the online course that will be published through skillshare.com and I’ll share my link with you when I finally do get it finished and ready for viewing.

The worst thing is that I’ve got a cold now which has knocked me about and I haven’t been about to video without sniffling. It’s a lot of hard work learning how to cut these things out while keeping the video going.

My online course is tentatively titled, How to See and Draw Using Negative Space. I’ve got a class outline written up, done a video for the introduction and the ending. And I am working on demonstrating drawing negative space to show out a positive object can pop out on the page. I’ve always found this a great way to approach drawing objects that my brain gets stuck on as symbols.

You know, like when we were kids and we would draw a box with a triangle on the top and that would be our symbol for a house? Sometimes my left brain tries to take over and make symbols on the page and I get paralysed. So, that’s when I start looking at negative space.

In my other spare time, I’ve been plotting a short romance between a part faery/part human and a human detective. It’s coming together but I’m not a big romance writer and the romance plot has to take front and centre on the stage with this story. Usually, I write a fantasy/paranormal action plot and have romance as my secondary plot. My stories are very character driven and all about the lead woman stepping into and owning her power.

I’ve noticed that I’m developing a story style and particular type of author’s voice. Having said that, my stories are different in their plots. It’s just an interesting parallel that’s been happening.

In a previous post, I’d mentioned that I was writing a story on Wattpad. It’s called, The Living Death of Toddy James. People were reading the parts I’d published and were asking when I’d finished. I felt terrible cause I couldn’t write it as quickly as my readers wanted it. But now, I’ve finished it and it’s up on the site for beta reading and feedback.  I kept my word to my followers – yay me!

I’m going to leave the manuscript on Wattpad for a while and see what happens, and after I come back from my holiday in the UK in August/September (2018) I’ll submit it for editing and feedback.

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I’m super happy with The Living Death of Toddy James because I feel that I have written a fairly tight plot and there aren’t any tangents (that I can identify). My teacher and editor advised me not to spin off on tangents and I did my best to apply that rule in this story.

Oh and I am so very excited because I will be going to the UK to study (once again) with David Farland in Oxford. I’ll be taking his Fantasy Fiction seven day intensive course and I hope that when I’ve been through this course that my imagination is fertile ground to complete the story in my mind which has dragons and angels and demons and magic in it.

Living in Australia makes it tough to get a sense of how to write a castle and make it realistic since we don’t have any architecture that is steeped in that type of history like the UK.

After my writing course, my partner will be flying across to meet me in London and then we’re going to zip over to Paris for a day and then on to a bus tour of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.  I can’t wait to visit the Scottish Highlands. I admit it. I’m influenced by Jamie Fraser from Outlander (the show and the book).

I’m learning so many new things, from writing to art to video production to working a mic to video editing. This is turning into a very creative year!