Sunday, April 20, 2014

kris' mail me art 4 submission

Like me, my wife Kris works on art when she can, because like me, she has a day job that can take up lots of time and energy. When she does make art, the results can be inspired and pretty amazing. Lately she's been doing lots of watercolor work, which has been improving greatly each time she sits down to paint something. I'm so glad, however to see her return to her classic doodle style of drawing for her submission piece for the upcoming Mail Me Art 4 book and exhibit, to be released through the Little Chimp Society. While she was working on this today and last night, she said how she wasn't even thinking and almost felt as if a force beyond her control was moving through her. When she finished, she was so humble about it, shrugging it off as just another doodle. I digress! Anyhow, I dropped it off in the mail today and we will be eagerly waiting for the word on its arrival in England. Fingers are crossed!

Friday, April 18, 2014

wild ocean book and art exhibit about to surface soon!

To coincide with the release of Wild Ocean (Fulcrum Publishing), Off-Rhode Studio will be hosting an art exhibit featuring original artwork from the book, now available for a discounted pre-order at Fulcrum. The show will feature art work from Brooke Allen, Matt Dembicki, Andy K., Steve Loya, and Russell Black. Opening reception will take place on Saturday, May 10, from 1-4pm, with a free storyboarding workshop by Matt Dembicki. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"amazing marvels" ends soon at off-rhode studio

Yesterday I finally was able to catch the Amazing Marvels circus and sideshow-themed art exhibit at Off-Rhode Studio/Art Enables in Washington, D.C. I was there both to see the show as well as drop off some art for the next exhibit there, which I'll blog about very soon here at Go Flying Turtle. In the meantime, I was so glad to catch this truly amazing show in person, before it ends this coming Saturday, April 19th. As usual, the folks at Art Enables have done a fantastic job putting this show together and getting the word out, as more and more people in the D.C. region and beyond learn about this fine arts establishment and what they do.  Also, this show could not have happened without all the artists who exhibited their wonderful works, ranging from sculpture to photography, and paintings to prints, this show had it all, and you can see more HERE at my Flickr stream. On a side note, I was so happy to have learned that my two submissions (bottom two pics) that were accepted into the show both sold within an hour of the exhibit's opening day. I hate to seem like a braggart, but man, if that's not something to be happy about and remind myself of, each time I have my doubts about being an artist. Not to say you have to sell your work to justify yourself as an artist, but it can't hurt. If you make /sell your work, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. Anyhow, if you're in the area, please catch this show before it ends this Saturday, Saturday, Saturdaaaay!

Monday, April 14, 2014

sketch dump: 4/6 - 4/12/2014

All week I decided to focus solely on using an Artist Pitt Pen by Faber-Castell, and I feel I got to know this guy pretty well. It works almost like a brush pen and if you get good, you can control quality and line thickness, which can be difficult. I tried to choose some subject matter that had lots of line in it - fur, bark, etc, to see how the pen works. What's really interesting about the pen is that the more you layer it, the darker an area will get, so you can get some decent depth in a drawing if you want. Since Kris and I went to Dewey Beach, Delaware over the weekend, I wanted to travel light, so I continued to use it on through this week (yesterday/Sunday) and will do so tonight after I post this. I'll also post some shots from Dewey too this week when I get a chance.

In the meantime, I've been thinking about a quote I saw on my Instagram feed that said something like "Art is a good way to say F@%& you to reality". I tend to disagree, and would prefer to rephrase it as "Art is a good way to make friends with reality". That's what I've been doing with these sketches, is making friends with the world I live in, but it doesn't have to be limited to realism or basing your work from literal things. Abstraction and Surealism are also different routes in making friends with reality, and rather than viewing any art as escapism, as many folks who don't make art tend to do, we should view it as a way of making sense of life, in our own personal and special way.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

sketch dump: 3/30 - 4/5/2014

It seems like I've gotten a little bit better at understanding how to use those watercolor pencils I've worked with a couple of weeks ago, and I think it's time to give them a little rest and try something different. As always, when I'm writing these weekly posts I'm never too sure of what I'll try for the new week. I usually haven't even begun my Sunday drawing yet either. The problem with drawing in the evening is you get kind of tired by then, and the light is so poor for taking a photo. For a little while I was also scanning these sketches, but that seemed kind of pointless and time-consuming. Still, I might have to go back and scan some of my better ones. I'm happy if I at least get one good one per week. Still, I have to keep in mind the real reason I'm doing this and not be so concerned about what looks better than what.  As pretentious as it may sound, the truth is I'm learning how to see. I feel like it's a little war I've waged on the indifference so much gadgetry and technology has made us to the world we live in, to the things that matter, and as a result we lose our empathy. It is a domino effect, and I found I have kindred spirits in this mission to see, and as a result, feel, and ultimately LIVE again. I'm using this gadgetry to reverse the effect, at least in myself, if not anyone else. 

All of last week's sketches have helped me to have a better understanding of the subject matter at hand, through seeing, but one in particular was more or less a little revelation to work on. That sketch would have to be the one I did based on a photo I took of some cliffs at Crescent Rock, off the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia. To take a photo, a decent photo requires one to see something in the first place, but after the photograph is taken and the shutter is activated, the subject at hand can fade from memory like smoke in the wind. When I took that photo, it was the multiple colors and striations and cracks and crevices that drew me to the subject in the first place. Looking back through my Flickr archives, I had long forgotten about this image, about these gorgeous, colorful, monolithic rock formations in the earth. After sketching them, especially with watercolor pencils,  they are now etched in my mind for good, and the many colors and angles in this particular image was astounding, even if it was a fairly simple colored sketch. I can only imagine if I had done an intensive study in acrylics or oils what I might have learned and understood. Hopefully, some of these sketches are catalysts for bigger and better things, though I know they are just fine as they currently are, comfortably nestled between the black, hardbound covers of my Moleskine. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

sketch dump: 3/23 - 3/29/2014

So last week I returned to the watercolor Moleskine and decided to finally break open the Faber-Castell Graphite Aquarelle pencils that I had purchased a little while ago at the local Michael's. They were expensive, so thankfully I get coupons sent to me via e-mail, which nearly cuts the cost of materials in half. Other arts/crafts chains like JoAnne's and AC Moore do the same as well. So, if you have any of these shops in your area, I strongly recommend getting on their mailing list, as they send coupons every week. I simply get them scanned from my i-phone.

Anyhow, I like 'em a lot, these pencils, further activated by brush and water for added depth and layering. Still, they have quite a learning curve, and just one week using them daily won't cut it as far as even remotely mastering them, at least in my case. Still, these drawings are merely daily exercises, and sometimes the errors are more evident in some than others. The biggest challenge was trying not to overwork a sketch, which can result in a muddied mess, much like with using watercolor pencils. These pencils, while good on their own, were intended to be used with water, so there has to be some planning and a little patience if you want to get the desired gradations and depth. Still, I found it fairly easy to get a sketch down in a relative short amount of time. One example is my last one, the black vulture, which took no more than twenty minutes to complete. As with all of this week's sketches, the vulture was loosely based off of photos I had taken, both old and new. I say "loosely" because lately, I've tried to get nothing more than a likeness to my subjects, while taking some minor liberties here and there, adding something different, or subtracting an element I find unnecessary for use.

This week I've started out in the watercolor 'skine again, this time getting back into watercolor pencil, only this time I'm laying down the initial sketch in pencil rather than pen, which I prefer a lot more for this type of drawing.  Soon I'll be laying down some actual watercolor washes in the book as well. Looking forward to what April has to offer my eyes.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

sketch dump: 3/16 - 3/22/2014

So spring is finally here, though Jack Frost has been putting up quite a fight. I've been enjoying the snow this year, though am finally, truly ready for some warmth and color to happen my way. With this current batch of sketches, I continued to try out the pens given to me through the Illustration Friday contest, though with the final drawing, I returned to my favorite, Pigma Micron pens. I actually enjoyed the challenge of using the different pens, and discovering the different effects they've had on my sketches. However, nothing could quite match the performance and control I've had with the Microns. Still, it's good to let go of control some, and let the medium speak. I imagine dipping fallen twigs in India ink and attempting to draw. Perhaps in the near future I'll get a little bolder.

In this series, I've focused again on line, both gestural and contour lines, not too concerned with adding depth and volume, as with when I was using pencil. Some were from life, a few were from my personal Flickr stream again. At least I'm using once dormant photos as reference for some of these drawings, mostly due to time constraints. The last drawing in the set is one of them, strangely enough, taken on the Appalachian Trail in the Fall in 2007. I wish I could say it was live and drawn right there in the woods, but most of my Saturday was spent in WalMart, getting our taxes taken care of, then later cleaning some of the house. Good fun! Soon I plan on more Saturdays or Sundays spent on the trails, sketchbook in tow. For now, I'll still be sketching indoors, until Jack Frost decides it's time to move on.

In the meantime, I highly recommend picking up a book published by Harper Collins called Sylvia Plath Drawings, brought to my attention by a friend and fellow drawer on Facebook. I had no idea she drew, and while I'm not too familiar with her written work, one can definitely see the poetry in her gentile, yet bold linear approach to drawing and sketching.

Monday, March 17, 2014

panels in frames art show invades 505 north, frederick, maryland, march 21 - april april 11!

That's right, this coming Friday is the opening reception for the "Panels in Frames" comics art and illustrations exhibit, featuring eleven of the NOVA/MD/DC regions finest cartoon and comics artists at 505 North in Frederick, Maryland. I'll have five pieces in the show as well, including the original cover art for Magic Bullet #8, which hasn't been formally shown publicly yet, as well as some Splotch Monster works. The reception begins at 6pm and ends at 9pm, and there will be refreshments and drinks. Thanks so much to Kelly Phebus who has graciously organized the show, and to Rafer Roberts, who helped get the word out and kindly was willing to take my pieces to the gallery for hanging! If you're in the area, please mark your calendars and plan to attend!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

sketch dump: 3/9 - 3/15/2014

I recently received a nice bag of various drawing pens from an Illustration Friday contest giveaway, so I decided to explore all of them in my Moleskine sketchbook, focusing on line quality rather than color or gradation, as with my previous set of drawings. I'll definitely explore color more, with a different set of watercolor pencils, but not yet, as I'm enjoying working with line via drawing pen again. I know I stated way earlier how I was to stick with pencil, but why make such strict limitations on oneself? As long as I'm continuing my daily sketch practice, I can use anything, right? I made sure to photograph each drawing along with the pen(s) used, and I tried to get into more loose, sketchy and contour-line style drawings last week. One big influence in this shift is a book I'm currently reading (and thoroughly enjoying) called "Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing" by Frederick Franck. I found this gem last week when I did my workshop at Books and Other Found Things in Leesburg, and I'm pretty sure they've got another book by him at the shop as well, which I need to stop by and purchase if it hasn't been sold already. Anyway, Franck's book, published in 1993 has a nice, personal, almost conversational style, as if one were reading letters or a personal blog. It's easy to grasp and it covers a lot of concepts and philosophies about drawing that I've held true for some time now, only expressed more eloquently, even poetically through Franck's writings. While I've relied heavily on a seemingly endless back catalogue of photos I've taken of various things for the last two week's worth of sketches, I'm really itching to get out and sketch from life again. I even brought in an object from a walk my wife and I took in the woods today (at her urging) for this evening's sketch, possibly. Only the Robocop drawing, made for a zine that I'll discuss more, once it's released, was different, standing out like a sore thumb in this batch. I'm hoping to continue on this looser, more intuitive approach to sketching this week, but we'll see. It seems every time I declare what I'm about to do and how I'm about to do it (at least with regards to sketching) I end up doing something totally different.