Tuesday, August 31, 2010

BY THE SEA -Persevere

Did you notice the name of this boat that went by us while we were on the shore, PERSEVERANCE. What a great word! Practice it in your drawing!
This was an uplifting word for me all around!

Drawing Lessons of Portraits and Landscapes

This quick lesson along with the below post, are great practice exercises even for the mature.
Perspective drawing for me is almost as complicated as the face. That is what my mind tells me anyway. So turning aside from the artsy fartsy of it all, and more towards the science of it all, I don't want my mind telling me that "I can't do this"! "YES I CAN" and "I WILL". I hope this is enough to say this morning and to encourage you and spur you on also in your drawing skills.

Remember I made mention in previous posts, I learned abstract art, not realism. So if I didn't want to put an eye ball or nose where they go on the head, I didn't have too! Sound a bit rebellious, perhaps, but now, I want to understand and know!

So, copy artists work that you love and lay a piece of tracing paper over them, and begin to draw out where the horizontal line is in the painting or drawing that you are using. Use a marker if you want so that you can see your lines later (not too thick of a marker because it will bleed through the tracing paper). Keep the copies of the original art work so that you can practice again. This is a mental exercise to learn about where the artist was standing when they began to draw this landscape. Look at what was drawn or painted in the distance. That is the background, what is in the middle of the picture-that is the middle ground, and what is closest to you is the foreground. If there is a person in the foreground, draw a line from the tip of their head to the horizon line. Do that with as many objects that are in the painting to see where they meet up with the horizontal line. Select one point on that horizontal line where all the other lines meet. This will show you where the focal point is.
I am doing an example myself and will post to show you how if you are a bit confused.

A Different Way of Drawing with Different Mediums

For years, I have been learning about the measurements of the face; 1/2 down is the eyes, 1/2 down from the eyes and chin is the nose etc. Those measurements have to be practiced and almost memorized for a person like me. The edges of the nose meets the corner part of the inner eye...and so on.
Then there is the practice of the eyes separate, the nose, the lips especially because they are all shadows and pigment colors of the skin.
When I watch Willowing, Suzi Blue, Milliande, or Monica from Hands and Heart, I love watching them place all of the face parts down in their drawings, and then their build up of shadows and color with pencil and paint. "I want to draw like them or paint like them" I think. Well the word is "practice, practice, practice".
And then, the new way I have been doing, make a copy of masters faces, and take that pencil, charcoal or marker and trace and copy on top of their eyes and noses, and lips and ears, hair and shape of face. Believe me, this is so helpful. You are not pliagerizing. I find this tracy affect is so helpful, it seems to make an imprint inn the brain on how the line qualities, shadows and shapes really make up the face. Another way is to lay tracing paper on top of the photo copy and trace and retrace. I am sure that if you practice this different way of drawing-tracing-it will help you with the placement of these things in your own drawing whether you enjoy realism, folk art style faces, cartoon, pen and ink, painting, or whatever, the whole face will be solidified in your mind.
Remember, this is just drawing exercise like when you are working out on the weight bench, and you do and redo curls, this becomes a repetitive pattern, you may go up with the weight, but you are doing the repeat over and over to build up muscle and tonality. This is what you are doing in drawing. Appreciation of art is a wonderful thing, and if you do this type of exercise, you will come to enjoy the masters and begin to see their differences in techniques.
The Mona Lisa that I have in a previous post is a good one to practice on first. I even wanted to check to see if the measurements were right and if the eyes were in the middle of the head. They are!
Have fun and if you want, just throw the tissue paper or copies away later, it is just exercise to make you a master!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pottery and the Gardner

Today, we were invited by a sister-in-law to go for a day vacation to Chatam Cape Cod. The Cape is so different from other beaches in Massachusetts. The feel of the ocean and the shingles of the homes are so different than like Rockport or Gloucester. All being the same Atlantic Ocean, but completely different feels to them. Rockport and especially Gloucester have the real fishermen, colonial home type feel. The Cape is like the Atlantic Ocean set before your eyes. Each home has a rustic beige or greyish look to them. Purplish blue hydrangeas are a main bush in front of their homes. I am told that it depends on the acidity of the ground that determines how purple, blue or pink they are.

The home we visited is at the end of a dead end road. The owner has 3-4 homes all kind of side by side in it's own lilttle neighborhood. We had the second to the best view out of all the homes; facing the wetlands and grasses and to the left the ocean. The best house faces the ocean.

Well, let me tell you about my day. First of all, we wanted to talk to our friends and family because we have not seen them for a couple of years so we had to catch up; until the teens wanted to head to the beach.

I couldn't find part of my bathing suit so I had to wear a tee shirt and shorts but that was ok. The tide was low so there were sand bars where the kids and my husband included swam over to to play and see a different aspect of the ocean. I was very happy with my camera and finding all of the beautifyl pearlescent yellow insides of shells. I am dying to someday make a curtain out of them and white shells. Forgetting a bucket, cup or bag, I had to fill my pockets with the shells and anything else that I found was important to me. I found a huge shell, the kind you listen to to hear the ocean; most of the top part was gone but I took it anyway. I will bleach it and maybe create a little scenery inside of it. Then I found a hermit crab in a shell. So I just had to poick them up and place some wet seaweed on top to keep him moist.

I have had hermit crabs before so I figured maybe I could put him in a little tank and keep him. I hope he makes it. He was quite far from the water's edge anyway and usually hermit crabs live on sand and just need a shell filled with water int he tank so tht they can crawl in and bathe or drink.

Well, anyway, as I was walking on the sand and rocks, I retwisted my injured knee and wasn't sure I would make it the rest of the way but I did; resting it when I got back tot he house.

In the meantime, not just shells did I pick, but plenty of rose hips. I am taking an herb class on and I can make different things with the hips. They may not have been as ripe as I would have liked but hopefully I will get the vitamin C that I want from them for the winter time.

So, I left for home with a full belly, my family always feeds us good, a bit of a sunburn after resting in the 94 degree sun on the deck, a sore knee, but photos, shells, rose hips, dried hydrangeas, a hermit crab and last but not least, a bit of pottery from the man down the street that is not just a potterer but a gardner too.

This man's little black cat almost 17 years old layed out next to my husband in the back of the little cozy shack, snoozing while I looked at all the little pieces of pottery he makes. His store is on the edge of this little street and year after year, I pop in for a visit and never purchase anything even though I would have loved to. His prices ran so inexpensively and you could pick up a little starfish for $1.00 up to about $24.00 for a dish.

I found a wonderful little dish, with a bit of a dip in it as though it could be a very shallow bowl. Rough in texture, this bowl has a glossy shiny fish on top of it. I picked up a couple little starfish and placed them in the dish and I have it next to my sink. I put my home-made patchouli soap in it but not sure if that is where I'll keep it or what I'll keep in it. Ask my kids, I am always changing everything around.

Anyhow, the shack that I was in had glass pieces hanging int he window witht he reflection of light peeking through each piece; purple, blue, gold, green of different shades were these round recycled glass pieces with an imprint of something the middle of each circle. He creates angels with their hands lifted up in all different sizes, he makes sheep in different sizes and colors, lions, vases, baskets and he sells garden ornaments of different kinds. Fountains of water trickle in his tiny little yard with pacasandra and vines growing over the ground with pea stone and stepping stones to walk by. Bird houses and his pieces of pottery along the wall for you to purchase.
I don't know how he makes money, I think he just likes living at the ocean and working in his other shack where the pottery is made piece by piece. To me it seemed like "What a Life"!

We are now home and I am reminsicing.

Thanks to Sarah and Cathy!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Guess Who? Secret-Mona is Her First Name

Mona Lisa

I honestly wonder how many times the Mona Lisa has either been in an art book, a history book, hanging in a museum, re-copied to be used in a new piece of art?

Many years ago, I had Mona Lisa's picture in a frame on my wall overlooking my bed. It was kind of funny because I always felt like she was looking at me so I took it down.

Well, this time, I found a little chunky art book on France in a second hand book store. It is almost perfect in it's square shape, it's paper is glossy but a nice thickness and it has many pages. The photography is so interesting in this little book I am not sure how I want to cover the pages. I don't know if I should glue all of the pages together, cut into them to make a thick frame, and insert something into it like a shrine or work on each page leaving some of the photo that is there to be implemented into my work. Decisions, Decisions, but good ones and fun ones to make.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Antique and Vintage

It seems that more and more people today are loving clothing, furniture, nicnacs and such that are "vintage" or "antique". This statement does not make me an expert in all sorts of antiques or vintage items. My observance of this is because I spend alot of time in antique shops or stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and less, but in Maine. This is because I am a New Englander and that is a pass time of mine. My family has tried to put up with it and my husband is pretty good at taking me or stopping with me and showing me his care for me in going in the stores.

There was one antique shop in the town of Haverhill, that has now closed but was a place I would find myself looking forward to going to as though it was a haven. This building was three floors, two floors of it opened to the public with booths filled with vintage and antique items; antique clothing, antique shoes, antique dolls, furniture, tools, stamps, coins, record players, dish ware, bedroom furniture, instruments, war items and on an on. The factory was split with a wall and both sides of the walls on both floors had booths rented by different people. I had favorite booths.

One booth was shabby chic. Her items were white,, lilac, pink, rusty metal, silk plants, white wood wall hangings. Another booth had kitchen items that reminded me of being a tiny little girl. The bowls were white with red flowers on them, alot of items were tin like the flower and sugar container.

Oh and my favorite was a gardening booth. I actually bought a garden gate from that antique dealer. I still have it. I used it in my house to separate two rooms. This year, I had it out in my yard on my patio and placed clay pots filled with red geraniums in the top of the gate where there is a flower box construction made of the same metal as the gate. I have kept the vintage gate just as is with the rust and chippy white paint.

I felt like I was in a dreamy dream when I would walk through there. When I first moved to Haverhill after being newly married, that antique world was the only place I could find and feel comfortable in. After 2 to 3 hours of lingering with such delight, I would then go home with my brown paper bag of items (except the garden gate of course).

I have found my old bottles, my bird cages, antique post cards and vintage photos in other various shops in the area.

I love old stuff!

Can I tell if something is older than another item? Mostly not, but if I like a crochet doily, it doesn't matter to me if it is vintage or not. I like the doily and I decorate with it. It just so happens that I love old crockery and have a couple of pieces that were left in my old house of Cherry Valley where one day I climbed up into the attack with a ladder and found two pieces of crockery left up there to collect rain drips. Those were quickly snapped up and used to decorate.

This fall, I will take one of those crocks and fill it with my yarrow and other herbs that have dried from my yard. Oh, the scent of dried herbs in a crock up on my hutch is so soothing during the fall and winter months. The combination of yarrow, mint, spearmint, artemesia, coneflowers, echinecia oooo, they are drying on my little porch right now getting reading to be an lovely ornamentation in my country kitchen.