Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Keep your comrade warm...

Sigh. This one's a little different. I'm still along the vein I want to be on, I've just taken a slight detour is all. This isn't as "chunky" as I want to be working at the moment, I've softened the edges too much I feel. (Though maybe that's a good thing in the difference between handling a man and a woman...) The drawing was poorly established, and it shows, but it isn't terrible. The likeness is in the ball park just not spot on. I think I'll have to give it another go, but that goes without saying.

I think I'm getting better at accurately seeing and evaluating the effects of light. These paintings have become less monochromatic "flesh" colored studies, and have evolved into honest portraits in the flesh, so to speak. Even looking back a mere two weeks or so ago... progress is being made. Like they say, "you learn to paint by painting."

The disappointing factor in choosing what to paint these days has been my reference. The pictures are all well and good, just... not very interesting. The self portrait a few posts back I kind of lucked into as far as interesting lighting, but I've been practicing a lot with shooting reference and I think I'm getting the hang of it. Next up: warm light and cool shadow; along with temperature and value changes as the planes change. I think it'll help me avoid the over all... red... feel like this. I tried to cool it down with a purple-ish background, but that actually only made things worse. Sometimes contrast isn't your friend.

Moving on... it would seem that the Graphic Artists Guild is suing the Illustrator's Partnership of America . The idea sickens me. BUT... I'm reposting a link I've stolen from Irene Gallo's blog that any visual artist (or anyone that cares about visual artist's rights) should look into and considering signing the petition to stop the lawsuit:

I'm kind of sick of the Guild. I wish they'd stop acting like they're speaking for ALL artists - because they quite obviously don't. Though apparently they feel they can sue anyone who speaks out against them. Ah... litigation.

Oh. Before I go, it would seem that there were over 5,000 entries into the Societies 51st annual, and only 449 pieces were accepted, which is a scant 8 percent or so. I only stood a 1 in 1,000 chance of getting something in, assuming everyone else who entered submitted 5 pieces. Really I think it was more of 1 in 5,000. So I really don't feel so bad.

I really want to end this post on a happy note, but I've got nothing. So, smile. Just because I said so and because they're infectious. Smile enough and you can't help but feel happy. I promise.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"No one makes their first jump..."

Well, first thing's first, I suppose. The results for the Society's 51st annual were posted late in the day on Friday, and I didn't get anything accepted. I wouldn't really say I was disappointed though. I mean, don't get me wrong, I would have loved to have gotten something in the book, but I didn't have high hopes; and it's hard to feel let down if you don't get your hopes up. A few days after I entered I convinced myself this would be the inevitable outcome. I know there are people out there that subscribe to the notion that positive thinking can change anything - but I'm not one of them. I don't think any amount of "happy thoughts" would have swayed the jury into choosing my work. The truth of the matter is I've still got some ways to go, despite how far I may have come.

I didn't make my first jump. It doesn't mean anything.

That being said, I think may have started a project that's going to drive me insane before it's through. It will serve as an illustration codex if I'm able to stick with it. The plan so far has been to go through all of my notes from all of my classes (though mostly illustration classes) and condense them into one easy to manage book. I'm not very far into the project at all at this point, but it's slow going and tedious. There's nothing quite like transcribing notes you've already taken for your own benefit. I think I stand to relearn a lot that I already know, which is good, but I'm curious how well I'll be able to add to it in the future. Most of what I'm learning at these days is about handling paint and color mixing. I suppose I can make notation on that kind of thing, but I don't know. I don't know how well any of it will transcribe. I can take it to lectures and make notes on feedback I receive, but that almost feels like a flimsy excuse.

Wow. I just realized it sounds like I'm trying to talk myself out of it. I guess I don't know what I plan to do with it past revisiting all of my old notes with a definite sense of purpose. Maybe I'm getting bored and too comfortable in my day to day and needed one more thing to put off doing. As it is I have three outstanding personal projects and a deadline in January for the next contest to prepare for. PLUS whatever else I think of between now and then. Ah... I've got to get cracking!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Insomnia has its uses.

Well, my beloved insomnia strikes again, so I thought I'd take advantage of it and post the mini-painting I did this afternoon in the hour before I had to leave for work. I think I'm on to something. The only problem with being on to something is I want to go back and fix old paintings (or redo them entirely) so that they all "fit". There aren't enough hours in the day...

This pretty much marks the first self portrait I've painted since high school. I did one in gouache in my sketchbook about a year ago, but I don't know... I have trouble calling things in my sketchbooks paintings, even when I'm using paint to make the marks. Ok, fine, how about this; this is the first self portrait I've ever done in oil. I think. I can't remember any others, so therefore they must not exist, right? Right.

I learned a few things working on this little guy. Primarily I pretty much have a dark caucasian tone to my skin. Since I basically got away with using the "formula" I normally use for painting people (and I tend to paint a lot of caucasian people) with more of the slighty darker tone serving as a midtone. Ok, I think that's actually the only thing I learned about my features doing this painting. The nose came out redder than it is in the painting - but I did make my nose redder than it is in actuality. Why? Artistic license - that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Aside from that I learned that I need to learn to mix better greens and that painting a dude is just as easy (or difficult) as painting a dudette. (I was recently asked me if I planned on painting a man any time soon. I guess this is as close as I could come.) I do remember thinking in the early stages of the painting that "painting black people is hard!" but like I said, I'm just a dark white person, so it worked out. I intend to work on that and maybe do Matt Crane proud and finally start painting culturally... (Whatever that means.)

Last but not least I learned I need to find a better way to photograph stuff like this. I know how, actually, I'm just lazy at 3 in the morning and don't feel like setting up a tripod to get a better picture. If I get enough in the way of protest I'll see what I can do. I just look at it as incentive to invest in proper light set up. Well, it's either that or figure out how to create an overcast day on command. Now, there'd be a neat trick.

Friday, November 14, 2008

And the beat goes on...

I know. I know. I've been kind of slacking off with this blog lately. But I haven't really had much I wanted to put up. That is, obviously, until today! I've been hitting the easel fairly regularly these days - not doing anything of much import, but practicing, which is deathly important. Deathly. God's truth. Anyway, I've burned through four more mini canvases doing mini portraits and I'm here to share the results.

Clockwise from the upper left we have; Kari, Gretchen, Bonnie, and Danielle. The fun has been in trying a different approach each time. With Kari I was still drawing with a brush with asphaltum , but I changed my approach to handling of the eyes, which I like. Both with Gretchen and Danielle I did an under painting in terre verte but where I was going for darker shadows with Gretchen (and leaving the picture-plane left eye all in shadow) I tried a higher key handling of Danielle. Also I tried mixing different combinations than my tired go-to flesh formula, and I think it turned out ok. It's hard to see in the picture, but I like the handling of the area around the mouth. Bonnie was kind of a mixed bag of approaches. I did an actual charcoal drawing for the structure (since I'm more confident with a pencil than with a brush) and took my go-to flesh formula and complemented it with mixtures that I learned painting Danielle. The overall handling of paint in this one is more of what I'm after. More chunks. Less blend. We'll have to wait to see where I go from here.

And the beat goes on.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Society of Illustrators: Annual 51

The Society's call for entries poster by John Cuneo

Today was the submission deadline for the Society of Illustrators fifty-first annual. I point this out because I entered five pieces for judging. This will mark my first venture into the competition sphere of illustration, and I'm more nervous than I think I've ever been. Actually, that's not true, nerves aren't really a key factor in what I'm feeling. It wasn't that hard, all I had to do was upload some pictures and send an electronic payment. I think it's going to be the waiting that does me in. I'm anxious. I want to think I stand a chance, but of course I don't want to get my hopes up. I'll find out on November 21 if anything made it in. Wouldn't that be a hoot? I think so.

In other news, thanks to some rabid bidding on eBay, I managed to get a hold on a couple of books from the Famous Artists Course. The school still operates, but the books I got were from its inception period, back when Rockwell, Parker, Stahl, Fawcett, Peak, Fuchs, and others were attached to the school. I've only just begun to flip through these books, but the wealth of knowledge they contain is overwhelming. I think I stand to learn a lot through these books. So I'm excited and all geared up. There may be hope for me yet.