Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Yesterday's Cat Gesture Sketch

Ari cat from life
Pigma Micron brush pen
Accordion fold pocket Moleskine

I love that pocket Moleskine for quick pen sketches whether I bring it with me somewhere or just keep it nearby for days when I don't feel up to painting or serious drawing. It's small, handy and interesting. When I stretch out the pages I can see a lot of my sketches together all at once and get an idea of where I was at, what I was doing, whether they improve.

I still usually default to poses where he's standing still. If I'm up to something more difficult like capturing a moving pose mostly from memory, I'm probably going to draw or paint a more different subject in a different journal or something. It's on my mind though, I still want to sketch him clawing his carpet scrap or walking to his food bowl or scampering like a kitten while I dangle the furry snake on a wand - that's almost like a tail, like cats pouncing on each others' tails. I think that's why he likes it so much.

But some days I'm either doing something else or get sick. As we head deeper into fall toward winter, there will be days I'm not up to painting. 

November is NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. I have participated every year since 2000 and optimistically already preordered a Winner t-shirt because all but 2002 I succeeded in writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Some years I wrote a lot more than that. One year I did almost half a million words in seven novels and the last was nearly finished, took a couple more days to finish the final extra one. It's fun. It's my annual noveling harvest. 

So I am shifting from Art Mode into Writing Mode. November is when Daily Art takes second priority over Daily Writing. Some days I don't manage it. That happens with anything. In all those years I have yet to get progress on every single day of November, but I almost always win. 2002 I didn't start till the 25th and still got respectably past the halfway mark. 

So maybe this year I'll win early and get past that and paint more. Or settle into a comfortable chapter a day pace and do both art and writing on the same day - high goal is to maintain this blog and work on the book consistently. Not that I'll get it but I may get closer to it than usual.

Anything can interrupt but disability is the real reason behind that. I can count on doing one thing in a day and this sketch from the 28th is an example of the most I can do on a bad day. In fact it's better than a worst day because I managed to get that in. 

When I get to the end of the long folded sketch page, I'll turn it over and work back the other direction. It's working out well. Gives me a sense of what I like to sketch from life or photos. I'll finish this page sometime, maybe today, maybe tomorrow or the next day. Probably post the whole page when I do.

So wish me luck on my noveling adventure! I will be back to "daily art has priority" in December. 

Meanwhile, new art supplies are in the offing. I have the happy choice of three affordable art treats. Two out of three would leave my budget completely reasonable with no doing without treats. All three would take a very minor tightening my belt over it. May well be worth it since each of them is very likely to improve my productivity.

Though the two things that most boosted the amount of painting I do is a boost when I got 120 Unison Half Sticks and again at getting 60 Rembrandt Half Sticks.

120 Unisons gave me a visual incentive to use my pastels. It worked directly getting me to set up and use the big set to have all the colors I need right at hand, more than any other set. I put it into the aluminum case that came with my 72 Professional (just general assortment) set on sale and slid the cardboard lid under the tray so the pastels are visible unless I move. For taking it out of the house I'd put the cardboard lid back on. But seeing this across the room made me want to paint, a lot of times I looked at it and picked up a smaller set next to me.

Unisons 120 half sticks

That can be inspirational! Even if your pastels are mixed brands organized in a different box, putting something clear over the tray will give you the sight of all those colors in spectrum array. A colored pencils artist with a studio rack organized by hue and value gets the same effect. Seeing the spectrum with tints and shades and neutrals organized creates an urge to use those tools. 

It'll also tell everyone that comes over that you're an artist, if all the art on the walls doesn't. 

The effect of the 60 Rembrandt half sticks was just as profound and that's more disability related. I wanted 120 half sticks but they were sold out of that new item. I decided half that would make a good plein air set because I've been frustrated at not having the right pastels in an easy form to use when I go out. So I bought it specifically to use on my twice a month trips to the clinic and hour painting in the clinic garden.

Only to find that what works for plein air also works for days when my back won't let me get up. If it's in reach I will use it. After months of Unisons across the room inspiring me to use hard pastels in reach, I had pastels in reach that size. Finally I got a little folding table that holds the larger Unisons set in reach, so I'm actually much better set up for pasteling.

Moving 5 Tints and 5 Deep Darks and a Painters 10 assortment in Pan Pastels put those in reach of my limited space and I used Pan Pastels more too. For that my pastel journal is awesome - good paper, sanded if I want to prime it but good if I don't have the energy to prime and so far going very well.

I was doing several pastel paintings a year, at best one or two a month on the Spotlight challenge when active on WetCanvas. Now all of a sudden the logistic is solved and my supplies are in reach, easy to use along with reasonably lap sized pieces of paper and pads. I bought full sheets of Uart paper and cut them down to 9 x 12" or 12" squares depending on shape in 3 grits - 500, 600 and 700 or 800, the finer grits. I like them all but working small it's better to have a finer grit. With more than one piece in those grits I started using them.

Staying stocked up on needed supplies like paper and getting tools that fit my real situation more than my daydreams helps a lot. 9 out of 10 times my obsession with plein air supplies is that they are marginal day supplies. If I can't get outside, I can still go there in memory and paint it.

I'll post again if I paint today. This may be another cat sketch or a good painting. I won't know till it's done. Might just be a writing day as November draws nearer.

Edit on the 30th: forgot to post again but did do another drawing on the 29th. A friend asked for critique on a portrait and I did a loose diagram of face shadows to explain what I meant by breaking the face into two main tonal areas to get the likeness. So here is my diagram of their model's pretty face. Not perfect but gets the gist across!

Face diagram and Ari sketch page
pocket accordion fold Moleskine

I could have added more details but didn't, left out some of the small shadows in the light side for one thing. And linear accents like the eyebrows themselves and so on. But it is a map for where to look for shadows on your model's full face photo or in her face with side lighting. Your shapes WILL vary. These are likely places to find light and shadow values. Eyebrows and eyelashes and the line between the lips or even the teeth in a smile are details. Ears are not in this sketch because they weren't shown in his portrait - either he or the model didn't want to show them.

Human ears are silly looking and placed funny, so I can completely understand!

1 comment:

  1. I also matted and framed Pacific Wave, hung that on the wall, so that's Artish. Cutting mats does count!