Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Inspiration and Ideas

People often ask me where I get the ideas or inspiration for my drawings. To be honest, they come from almost anywhere. I take tons of photos when I go to the zoo, and often at least one will spark a drawing when I get home. I try to use my own reference photos whenever possible, but sometimes I have an idea that I have no photos for (the humpbacks are an example). Other times, I will read something or see something on TV that will give me an idea. Just the other day, I was reading a book on the big cat art of Guy Coheleach and part of the text reminded me of a scene I saw in a documentary (probably on Animal Planet), with a pride of lions circling a tree containing a leopard and its fresh kill. Suddenly, it was so vivid in my mind that I knew it would be my next drawing. But there's another drawing I want to do of a bald eagle that just came to mind seemingly out of nowhere. I've been working on that one in my head for months now and it's finally coming together to the point where I could start it. Other times, I have to work on a composition. I have a series of square drawings of African mammals, and the square format requires some serious planning.

I keep a notebook with all my ideas for future drawings. I typically work on one at a time, mostly because that's all I have room for, and once I'm finished I go through my list of thumbnail drawings and pick out the one that speaks to me at that moment. Some of my ideas have been around for years, unrealized, because I simply feel more motivated to do something else. And what is the point of starting a project unless you are 100% into it?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blogs of Note

First, let me say: Wow. Then I want to thank the folks at Blogger for naming this a Blog of Note. What an honor!

First Breath

This is the third in my mother/baby series. I contemplated doing it on white paper like the other two, but the blue matboard was calling to me. I am quite glad I chose the blue!

When whales are born, they come out tail first and only have fifteen seconds or so to catch their first breath of air. The mother lifts the newborn up to the surface with her snout. I haven't decided yet whether I will do limited or open edition prints.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

WIP - Humpback Whales

After much deliberation on several ideas running through my head, I decided to do a pair of humpback whales as my next drawing. This will be the third in the mother/baby series, and I am working on blue matboard. This isn't the best photo, but after laying down some black along the bottom and white sun rays around the whales, I started at the top (the baby is not quite finished). The hard part of this one is drawing above and below the water at the same time - I hope it comes across well. I need to reduce the highlights on the surface of the water, but I like how it's coming along. (Note: the color is way off on this photo.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pastel Lion Study

Every now and then, I like to play around with color. I took out my old pastels for the first time since I started charcoal. I've been scrutinizing other artists' pastel work and some online tutorials, and figured the best way to proceed was to lay down an underpainting with the soft pastels (heavily blended), then add detail on top with the hard pastels. Now, I only have a set of 30 soft pastels and 50 or so hard pastels, so I wasn't able to get the depth I was hoping for (my sets were seriously lacking in dark brown in particular).

My reason for doing this, other than a change of pace, was to see if I liked pastel enough to get a large set of pastel pencils and do some colored work in between charcoal drawings. I think I do!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Italian Greyhounds

Here is the final version of my most recent commission - a pair of Italian greyhounds resting on their favorite couch. The clients are very happy with it. Charcoal on 11"x14" smooth bristol paper.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Change of Schedule; Past the Panic Stage

At the gallery in my town, there are two rooms. In the main room, they hold juried exhibits based on some central theme. In the second room, a single artist (or group) is able to show several of their pieces at once concurrently with the main exhibit. I was accepted to show my work in this second room later this summer, but after a change in management at the gallery, my exhibit has been bumped up to next month, just over three weeks away! After the momentary panic, I realized I'm in good shape. Three weeks is just enough time to get my last two drawings framed, so all I have left to do is print up some promo material and do last-minute marketing. So, if you are in the area of Los Alamos, New Mexico, please stop by the Fuller Lodge Art Center May 5-June 18, or even meet me at the opening reception May 21, 5-7pm. Fifteen of my works from the last two years will be on display, framed and available for sale.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

WIP - Commissioned Dog Portrait

dog portrait commission charcoal drawingI've been working on a commission the past week or so. After getting the layout just right, I started with the drawing sort of reverse from what I usually do. I did the eyes and noses first, then went straight to the background - a dark leather couch covered with a soft fleece blanket the dogs love to sit on. The client has approved my posting of the work in progress, so here it is. Can you guess what breed of dog they are?