Painting from Photographs

  The Old Lansing City Market
This is a demonstration I started in class, and they asked if I could finish it next week, but I don't think I can keep my hands off it.  I could hide it so I am not tempted.  Kind of like sending the potato chips to work in the trunk of my husband's car.

I'm working from a photograph that I took a couple of years ago before they tore the old (beautiful  -  to me) buildings down and rebuilt. With the photograph as reference I did a contour sketch including only the things I felt were necessary to say what I want to say about this particular scene.  I scanned the sketch, enlarged it, printed it out and traced it onto my watercolor paper.

I'm using the sketch as my reference now, not the photograph.  I have pretty much blocked in my lights and darks, and those are more important to me than the colors.  At this point, the photograph has more information than I want.

It's Friday already!  Who has some sketching plans for the weekend?


Another Salt Shaker

Salt Shaker at the "Sugar Bowl" Restaurant

A few posts back  Michelle asked what the five colors are in my little palette.  The palette pictured here is my seven color palette. I use a very limited palette anyway, so using only five or seven is not a big deal.  Here I have cobalt violet, quinacridone rose, ultramarine blue, hansa yellow, manganese blue, thalo yellow-green, and thalo green yellow shade.  If I were to suggest a very basic palette for sketchbook journal painting, I would say ultramarine blue, lemon yellow, quinacridone rose (or permanent rose), hookers green, and burnt sienna.

Do you find it odd that I am discussing color along with this image using one color?  I do too.


Green Paint Chips and My Favorite Chair

Green Paint Chips and a Pencil Sketch
This is a sketch of my favorite chair in the world.  It is glossy black, slender looking and sculptural.  She (don't you think it's a girl?) had been in my family before I could remember  -  so long, in fact, that no one could remember what branch of the family she had belonged to, or how old she might be.  Just a few years ago, I came across a picture of my father, about seven years old, posing for the picture on this chair - maybe about 1924.  Back in the 60s I painted it glossy black, made a pink and orange striped cushion, and glued hot pink ball fringe along the edge of the seat.  It was great.

It is COLD COLD COLD here today  -  in the low teens.  It has finally reached 65 degrees in the house and I am wearing several layers  -  and a down vest and wool scarf!  Maybe if I did something active  .  .  .

I am sitting around reading a book about painting figures, sketching the chair, and making notes about painting with, and mixing, greens.  That "fear of orange" comment a few posts back triggered something in my brain about painting greens.  Makes sense, doesn't it?

For anyone reading this who has been in one of my drawing classes, you might be glad to know that I STRUGGLED with this drawing today.


Coffee Table Pencil Sketch

 not TOO serious
Feeling the urge/need/desire/obligation to do a halfway serious drawing, instead of the cartoon-like contour drawings I have been doing, I challenged myself with the foreshortening of this table.  The top book and bowl got a little floaty, but oh well.

We have a winter advisory warning here this afternoon.  It's a nice day to be working on sketches and lesson plans for my new classes starting this week.  This week we are going to be working on breaking up shapes to keep things interesting and, at the same time, cohesive.   We'll be breaking them up with lines, softened edges, variations in value, additional shapes .  .  . Fun stuff.  Stay tuned.


Still Life Shelf and a New Plan of Attack

Contour Drawing of Classroom Shelf

This is a small painting of about half of the high shelf that runs the length of one wall in my classroom. I keep my still life props here.  The walls really are orange  -  I know  -  very inappropriate for a studio/classroom.   It makes us happy, okay?

I'm still going through a stack of papers that I piled up as I weeded out things a couple of weeks ago.  Some of the things are inspiring, some are loose ends, some just need to be filed, and some could really just be tossed.  The problem is I never get to the bottom as I sort, so it all gets stacked up again if I get interrupted.  So, I see something here  -  the organized way of sorting into categories of action is not working for me.  Now I am going to take one paper at a time and do whatever needs to be done with that paper, right then and there.  Okay, we'll see how this new plan of attack works out.


Drawing Table

A Very Quick Contour Drawing of my Drawing Table
Trying to pay attention to the negative spaces  -  the spaces between things.

This drawing looks as if I wasn't paying much attention to anything, but, hey, there is a lot going on with this table.

I decided to paint my drawing table semi-gloss black, and I love it.  It was a little tricky because there are a LOT of pieces to it, and I was afraid if I took it apart, I wouldn't get it back together.  So, I took off one part at a time and didn't paint its corresponding part until it was painted and replaced. Yeah, I know, a little nutty and time consuming, but it worked.

Tonight we are attending Middle Granddaughter's Christmas program at school.  That's what I love about living in snowy northern Michigan  -  you never know when a scheduled event will actually take place.  Cancellations because of weather definitely keep things interesting.

Are you sketching?


Drawing, Planning, Creating

 The first drawing of the year. 
I didn't say it had to be good  -  I just said I have to keep 
that pen moving.
I've been hibernating
and it really felt good, but enough is enough.  I've been de-cluttering, cleaning, and rearranging my studio space.  Now I'm ready to start painting again, and I feel like doing some acrylics.

We have all of our Christmas things put away  -  some kind of a record for the Careys.  Because we live here in Winter Wonderland, no one takes down their Christmas decorations until as late as February.  Christmas trees stay up until at least 12th Night, and wreaths don't come down until Valentine's Day.  But this year, just like my hibernation  -  I'm done.  Moving on.

I hope you had a great holiday, and you're rarin' to get into the new year with plans and goals for drawing, painting, creating!  What are your creative plans  -  we want to know.