11 July 2008

Fleur de lise -- New Mixed-Media Painting

I don't think it's quite finished yet, but for now, I'm through working on my most recent piece of art. I think it needs another coat of wash to tone down the gold leaf and maybe some splatters with a toothbrush. I'll have to do a practice wash and the splatters on a piece of scrap paper to see how it looks. I'm famous for not knowing when to stop!

Suzi Blu News

The Artist Cellar is selling art kits made by Suzi Blu. The kits come with just about everything you need to duplicate her "Party Girl" painting. Suzi Blu promises step-by-step instructions that will teach a beginner how to shade and work with mixed media layers.

I was a big fan of Suzi's when she first arrived on the art journal scene. Somewhere along the way, I became a little less enchanted, to be diplomatic. Something made me check her website a couple of days ago, and I was glad I did! I knew that the art kits were now available because I got a notification from The Artist Cellar, but they didn't give a lot a information about it. I thought I wanted one, but after I saw the video, I knew I wanted one! I ordered mine today and now I can't wait for it to be shipped! Her painting is something totally different from what I usually do, so I'm looking for it to really wake up my creativity.

Suzi's other big news is that she's planning an online class. It sounds as though she's setting the tuition at $50 for an eight-week long class. She'll teach how to draw her pretty girl faces, work with mixed-media layers, wood burning, bees wax, and a lot more. I'm planning on taking this class. Even though I'll hardly have time to take it, I think it will wake up my creativity and get me to working on a regular basis. Besides, it's scheduled to start on 15 August, and that was my dad's birthday, so it's almost like it's destiny!

Blind Contour Drawing

As some of you know, I have real fear when it comes to drawing. So much so, that I get a knot in my stomach when I even think about drawing. I seriously cannot do something as helpful to myself as take a drawing class, even though that would probably go far to get me beyond my trepidation. But, I just get too anxious when I even think about it, and I have real anxiety problems.

So, as part of my 100 Day Reality Challenge, I have decided to start drawing. EEK! to me! LOL! I have the book The Natural Way to Draw, by Kimon Nicolaides, and I am working with it. It starts you off with blind contour drawing.

For those of you who don't know what blind contour drawing is, it can be a little hard to explain. Basically, you put your pencil on the paper while imagining that it's on a certain point on the object you are drawing. Then you move your eyes slowly along the contours of the subject, while moving your pencil at the same time. However, you do not look at your paper as you draw! When you come to a stopping point, you can look at the paper to reposition the pencil. Once your pencil is in the new starting position, you carry on as before, moving the pencil as you move your eyes until you have followed this new contour as far as it will go.

The book recommends that you draw live nude models, but I don't have any of those handy! I think I know how to get into a drawing group that meets on Mondays that has live models -- and I may do that at some point -- but I have to take baby steps with this or my anxieties will shut me down -- BIG TIME!

Oh! About the pictures! The top one is the first blind contour drawing I did. It's of one of my teddy bears, Trevor. It was done on 07 July -- just a few days ago. You'll notice that he only has one ear. I started drawing at his right ear, and basically drew in a clockwise fashion. By the time I got to his left ear, I was heading off the page! LOL! You'll also notice that his left arm is coming out of his head, poor thing. All-in-all, I don't think it's too bad for an initial effort, considering that you don't look at the paper while you are drawing. Of course, it's impossible not to peak now and then, but when I catch myself looking, I just tell myself "Don't look" and go back to what I'm supposed to be doing.

The bottom picture is one I just finished on the night of Thursday, 10 July; it is the sixth such drawing I've done. I still started at the top of Trevor's head, but this time, when I ran out of contour line the first time, I repositioned my pencil at his left ear and drew from there, rather than continuing in a clockwise fashion. I continued to do that, working from side to side, as it was time to reposition my pencil each time.

One of the great things about blind contour drawing for someone like me, who has such a blockage about drawing is that the product is not going to look great, no matter how good you are -- especially if you really are doing them blind, or near blind. So, I'm making silly drawings that are supposed to look silly! It relieves a lot of the pressure to "do good".

I'll be honest: I don't enjoy this as much as some other art activities that I engage in. But I'm probably getting more out of this, growth wise, that when I do the same ol' thing over and over. I'm hoping to come to enjoy this. I'm considering contacting an art teacher acquaintance of mine and arrange for a private lesson, just to make sure I'm not developing any bad habits. Have her go over things with me like how to hold my pencil -- and what all the pencil designations mean, anyway! -- in relation to the paper, and stuff like that. I don't think I'm ready for drawing lessons, but I think I'm ready for one drawing lesson!