Monday, December 1, 2008

Drawn Collage

Last drawing assignment for the semester -- and it ended up being as time-consuming as the Dreamscape! The theme was texture, and for this we needed to create a collage -- and then draw it. I've posted both the collage and the drawing below. Media used: pencil, india ink, gouache, and 'Golden' Absorbent Ground for watermedia.
First the real one:

Then the drawing I did:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


One of the last major assignments for the Drawing class (for this semester) was to create a "Dreamscape" -- something you might find in your dreams. Everything was to be drawn as realistically as possible, but organized in such a way that it could not possibly be a real scene. In addition, there were certain elements that had to be included. We could choose 3 possible things from a list of 15, and they had to be in the composition. My choices were: door, train, and animal. This assignment was to be done in a variety of media, with no more than 1/3 of the picture in color. I used pencil, inck, charcoal, conte, and Prismacolor pencils, as well as image transfer from photocopies (the clock face and the wood grain).

Historical Painting

I finally finished my historical painting: a copy of Lawren Harris's Autumn, Algoma. It was challenging, to say the least, and I definitely did not obtain the same degree of richness of color that Harris has in his painting. That being said, I did learn quite a bit about applying the paint, the use of contrasting colors and values and how to correct my mistakes in a hurry! For the link to the actual painting by Lawren Harris, check out one of my earlier posts.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Answer is 42

Well, the end of the semester is drawing near -- how quickly time flies! One of the final projects for color theory is to do a large self portrait -- 18" x 24" or larger. My paper was 18x24, so I think I qualify. The portrait could be realistic or metaphorical, but color was the key element. It took me a while to come up with a composition, but finally settled on the one shown below. After all, there were only a few months left to paint my portrait in the theme of the answer to the ultimate question of the life, the universe, and everything...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Artist's statement

Also a part of the "Making a Living as an Artist" course is the requirement to create an artist's statement. This statement can (and will) change over time, or with the particular gallery submission. Here is my current statement:

I take a multifaceted approach to my art by exploring the world around me in a variety of media, including watercolor, graphite, fiber arts and acrylic. Since my creative processes are energized when I feel a personal connection with by subject, my artwork usually portrays people I know or places I have been.

As I find the interplay of light and color to be especially exciting, I incorporate both of these conditions in my paintings. Watercolor is presently my favorite medium, as the transparency of the paint allows for some extremely luminous effects on the paper. I may strive for realism in my artwork, or move to a somewhat more abstract or illustrative style, depending on the subject chosen and the mood. I hope, through my works, to portray how I feel about the scene in front of me; to show it as I saw it, touched it, smelled it, while simultaneously giving the viewers a chance to relive their own similar experiences.

This was a challenging task, as most artists write their statements about a single body of work, or a single piece of art. Since I am currently "all over the place" with what I do (in my eyes), I had to come up with a statement that encompassed all my styles all at once. As I look over the artwork posted here and on my website ( I wonder if the statement really encompasses what I do. Ah, well, it can change at a later date...

PS. I'll be updating my website soon -- we need to post artwork online for class, and I promised to update the website to fulfill the requirements for that part of the course. I need a free afternoon to do that, though :-)

Flux submission

The Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George has invited artists to submit up to 6 pieces of artwork for their February exhibit entitled "Flux". I used the idea from the first pop composition in the color theory class, and enlarged it onto an 18" x 24" canvas. The painting was finished yesterday. The paperwork and forms were filled out today and will be dropped off tomorrow. The deadline for submission is Friday. Whew!
January 9, 2009 -- as an added note, I was not accepted for this exhibition, sigh. Ah, well, the process of making the submission was valuable in its own right. Receiving rejection letters is part of the process, too!

First Nations Drum

Another item completed for the First Nations Art and Design course: a drum. This was an exciting project, and somewhat nerve-wracking when it came time to paint the design, as mistakes are not easily removed! I am pleased with the overall result:

Portfolio assignment

One of the classes we are taking is entitled "Making a Living as an Artist". It is a professional practices course, and covers topics of relevance to artists, including curriculum vitae, artist's statements, documenting your artwork, etc. As a final assignment for this class, we have been asked to assemble a portfolio of artwork, with the accompanying paperwork. To make the assignment more interesting, we were also asked to create an imaginative portfolio cover, rather than present the package in a simple twin-pocket portfolio. The sky was the limit for this creative cover, but time was also a limiting factor for me. I settled on something creative, but not too time consuming, as you can see.
Created from plastic artists' palettes glued to a three ring binder, it also has a zippered closure around the outside to contain any loose items I might choose to include.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Series of self portraits

The big thing to do in art school is your own self portrait. The advantages are many-fold: you don't have to pay a fee for a model, you are always available, and you don't talk back or get personally offended when you don't turn out on paper looking like yourself. We've done three more self portraits, in two of our classes. I think one of the portraits comes closest to looking like me. I also have a great rendition of a Harry Potter look-alike, and a portrait that looks very much like a fellow that used to work in the kitchen at Delish! Can you guess which is which?
Graphite and ink on paper

Watercolor on paper

Graphite and Prismacolor pencils on paper

The face drawn as a series of flat planes

Pop composition - Nature vs. Technology

In our color theory class, we are assigned "Pop compositions" occassionally. These are small (8x10") paintings that utilize the color theory we have learned in previous weeks, and allow us to stretch our wings in assigning colors to different themes.

This particular composition had 4 criteria:

  1. Choose a color that represents technology.

  2. Choose a color that represents nature.

  3. Prepare a field (background or foreground) that will set up the mood of the piece.

  4. Make sure that the piece contains one primary, one secondary and one complementary color.

Since this one was done in class on the spur of the moment, I grabbed at the simplest imagery I could (we have changed that method, now, as some of us more linear thinkers need time to assign colors to themes such as "spirituality" and "the human condition"). I am actually quite pleased at the abstract painting that resulted (I'm not usually an abstract painter):

In this painting, I took the stance of technology being "bad" when compared to nature. Nature is yellow, being overshadowed by technology (blue). The background field is red, a color for danger and warning. My contrasting color is the orange in the sun. Altogether, the resulting image, for me, shows global warming, skyscrapers, pine beetle kill, and smokestacks from big cities.

Interestingly enough, all of the class took the same position, with technology as the bad force. I wonder how the paintings would have turned out, had we taken the opposite stance and viewed technology as something good: medical breakthroughs, life-enhancing technology such as water pumps, etc.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Violin Still Life, again

Well, the results are in and there is room for improvement. I guess that's why I'm in school, eh? Here is the newest version, incorporating the instructor's suggestions. I'll take it back in next week and see if she feels if the results are effective. Can't change the mark, but I can still learn from the piece!

Here is my original "finished" version, for comparison.

Owl and Moon on Wood

In my First Nations art class, Peter George, a local artist, has been showing us the basic forms and shapes for First Nations paintings, along with information about the First Nations culture as it relates to art (i.e. myths, legends, beliefs). It has been an interesting few weeks, and we finally had the chance to put all we've learned into practice by designing our own BC animal, using the traditional designs and motifs.

My choice was an owl, accompanied by the moon. Peter says he'd be able to sell that type of work for $900, so I feel pretty pleased. Unfortunately, I cannot sell it, but can definitely enjoy hanging it on my wall without the big outlay...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sketchbook development - autumn gourds

In our drawing class, in addition to keeping up with the many assignments we are given, we are also expected to doodle and draw in our sketchbooks on a daily basis. With the demands of all the classes, I've not been able to do a daily drawing, but do grab the opportunity when time permits. Here is this morning's half-hour of "free" time:

Quilted journal cover

Another challenge for the color theory course was to create a cover for the color journal we are keeping for the duration of the semester. It was to be a cover that reflected who we are. I took the idea of the primary color portrait (earlier post) and transformed it into a quilted journal cover:

I think it adequately displays the idea of me and color, don't you?

Analagous color painting

We're going through different color exercises in our color theory class, and the latest painting was to be a historical painting done in monochromatic or analagous colors. I chose the analagous color route (2 or three colors next to each other on the color wheel), using Lawren Harris's painting Autumn, Algoma 1920. My colors were various shades of orange with a bit of red and yellow thrown in. His original is done with violet blue for the background trees and a variety of oranges and reds for the maple up the front. You can view it at this website:

We'll be producing our historical paintings two more times in the color theory course, so stay tuned for variations on this theme.

Continuous line drawing

Well, it is the end of September, and I have a bit of time to post some more of my September works of art. The first is a continuous line drawing of a carrot from our garden. The challenge: to make an interesting drawing (subject and background) using only one line. In other words, do the drawing without lifting the pencil from the paper. We had to do three of these drawings. This one was my favorite.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Violin Still LIfe -- final edition?

Well, I had a chance to go at it again today, and think I may have reached a stopping spot. Time to put the picture to the side and let it percolate for a bit, so as not to overwork it. I had planned to spend a few hours each day from now till Thursday to finish -- nice surprise to find I am that close to being done!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More still life in Black and white

Ha! I found time to photo the next step, before I add more to it tomorrow:

Still Life in Black and White

In the drawing class, our first major assignment is to complete a large drawing of a still life in graphite. The first challenge was to set up the still life. I kept changing my mind and rearranging things. Once I was satisfied with what was there, I was instructed to color my paper all grey!

After the desired level of grey-ness was reached, I used a kneadable eraser to "lift out" the highlights, and then started in to draw the rest of the picture. It will take a while to finish, from the looks of things, but I am pleased with the progress so far. From beginning to end, we are aiming for a 20 hour picture, but I have a feeling it will take me a tad longer. So as not to leave you in suspense, I will post progress reports.

Here are the first two images:

I am actually a little further along, but am running out of time to take a picture today. Perhaps the next image will be the final product?

Still life in Primary Colors

The color theory course will be running us through various excercises in the use of color. The first one (after the obligatory color wheel), was to do a self portrait, using only 3 colors. The color scheme choices were red/yellow/blue or orange/purple/green. I opted for the first choice, so as to save on the mixing time (the only other color I have in a tube is purple -- we're supposed to mix all of our own colors, even black).

After finishing my portrait, I took a good long look, and was reminded of Andy Warhol's wild use of colors.

School has started!

A new school year has started, and my classes at the College of New Caledonia are going well. Things are challenging, but manageable, so far. I am taking 5 classes this fall:
  • Drawing
  • Art History
  • Color Theory
  • Making a Living as an Artist
  • First Nations Art and Design.

I know people have been curious about what I've been doing, so I will try to post my assignments occassionally, as I have time (that will be the biggest challenge). Stay tuned for new pictures....