Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Face Practice with Prompts

A couple weeks ago, I learned about Galia Alena’s blog where she was hosting a 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge. I decided to join the challenge earlier this month and started sketching faces using her prompts as inspiration.

I haven’t been able to sketch a face every day. Which means I’m taking to heart the second “guideline” for this challenge:

If a face a day is too much for you, don’t let that stop you, do what feels right for you– we’d love you to play along in whatever way feels right to you.

I like that type of guideline. So for me this may be a 30+ day challenge.

I’m committed to finishing this challenge. Regardless of how many days it takes. Because I usually don’t make it to the end and typically drop out or stop participating somewhere along the way.

Right now I’m using my larger sketchbook to create these pieces. Most take about an hour to complete.

Day One: Drips and Splashes

The first piece was created on a piece of pre-splattered, painted paper that was leftover from a previous workshop. I was trying to emulate what I created in one of Gillian’s classes. That attempt, below, kind of failed.

Day1_DripsandSplashes1

I wanted to try this prompt again and decided to move on to my sketchbook. I used a black ink wash to create the background. Once that dried, Conte pastel pencil, white ink, black ink, and thinned acrylic paint were used to create the face.

Day1_DripsandSplashes2

Day Two: Dream

I had a vague idea in my head of what I wanted to create for this prompt. I kept seeing an image of a face with closed eyes. Paint, paper, ink, Caran d’Arche crayons, and oil pastels were used.

Day2_Dream

Day Three: Text

I woke up on Saturday morning with this prompt knocking around in my head. I immediately envisioned a background with words. Before sitting down to create this piece, I burned some sage in my studio, closed my eyes, and meditated on the word “text.”

I asked my creative guides to join me and pulled out a couple pictures to use as a reference. During the process I was inspired to use the strands of her hair as lines for writing more text.

Day3_Text_VeryClose

Day3_Text_Close

Day3_Text

Day Four: Wing

Up to this point, I’ve been stuck on putting circles on the cheeks and noses of these pieces. I have no idea why. Maybe “stuck” isn’t the right word because I’m just following my intuition when sketching these pieces.

That, however, ended (for now) with the day four prompt.

I followed the same preparation process before sketching; burn sage, meditate, and ask for guidance. The piece came together almost effortlessly. Sometimes I continue to surprise myself.

Day4_Wing

This piece was created with graphite pencil and charcoal pencil. Red Conte pastel pencil adds a pop of color. Silver oil pastel was also used on the feathers of her wing.

This is my favorite piece thus far.


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Mixed Up Inky Portraits

I’ve fallen behind with my blog posts. Again. Blah. Blah. Blah. I think it’s that perfectionist critic whining in my ear. Rambling on about how dedicated I used to be posting new blog entries. Keeping up with my art. Etc. Etc. Etc.

So, to keep the little bugger quiet, I’m sharing four mixed up inky portraits that I created a while back during the “Drawn to Expression” workshop.

The idea here was to saturate watercolor paper first with water, then add blobs of ink or watered down paint. While the paper was wet, lines are added to create faces. Black and white portraits were used for reference images.

I did not like these pieces when I first started on them. So I walked away and left them for about a week. When I felt ready to work on these pieces again, I kept the paper relatively dry and added water selectively.

The end result is something I’m much happier with. Materials used include inks, thin acrylic paint, graphite pencil, Marks-all pencil, white pastel.

Day1MixedUpPortraits1

Day1MixedUpPortraits2

Day1MixedUpPortraits3

Day1MixedUpPortraits4


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Inka-Dinka-Doo, Inky Expressions

I truly hoped to have posted another update before now. Sometimes it is hard to pull myself away from other tasks in order to post a new blog entry. Curious how priorities change over time. When I had my business, I was very good about posting new blog entries. It was all part of that marketing, get-your-name-out-there thing.

Now, not so much. The business has moved on and I’m more involved with volunteer gigs, promoting art from the other side of the aisle, so to speak. (Not so much making my own art as bringing art to the community.)

And just as I was getting ready to post a new entry, our 13 year old cat got sick. He started to crash, really. Not eating. Lethargic. I feared the worst for him. And that brought up a lot of other stuff.

Fortunately, and thankfully, after a visit to his regular vet, the emergency vet hospital, and a few days and nights of treatment and observation, Pippin returned home and is on the road to recovery.

So let us now return to our previously scheduled program, er blog post…

Inky Expressions

In the Drawn to Expression online class, we’ve worked with charcoal in its many forms. We’ve sketched faces and tried to loosen up our mark making.

Then Gillian challenged us, again, with ink.

I haven’t used India ink since high school. After we moved, I gave my calligraphy tools to a friend (nibs and two holders that I had since high school.) It was like Murphy’s Law. I hadn’t used them for many, many years, so why keep them now that we had downsized? And, of course, just because I gave them away…

This is why people hold onto things. You never know when you might need those things again.

But I digress.

We started by making small, inky faces. Similar to the timed task when we sketched small faces. But ink is less controllable.

Quite frankly, I did not like working with ink. Well, not the ink itself, but the bamboo dip pen. It took quite a bit of trial and error to figure out how to hold the dip pen in order to get the best flow of ink. It really didn’t work well for me when the paper was on the easel. Working on a flat surface is a bit better.

One Object-Three Ways

Next up, sketching an object from three different perspectives. Tools used included a dip pen, nib, paintbrush, squirt bottle, Marks-all pencil, black and white ink.

Day4.OverlappingGargoyles

Overlapping Inky Gargoyle

This was a bit more fun. Love the drippy ink. My favorites are the Gargoyle on the left and the one facing us straight on.

What I’m learning, though, is the cheap watercolor paper isn’t the best for ink work. Since this is just play and practice, it’s not terribly important. I also found that the ink was drying very quickly which may have more to do with the heat in my studio. In some sections of this piece I had to saturate the paper with water. Which subsequently made it buckle.

Overlapping Faces

A final assignment in playing with inks was to sketch three different faces in three different perspectives. This was a challenge for me as my comfort zone is a straight-on face, facing forward. They are easier to draw and the ones that draw my eye whenever I look for reference photos.

But, we’re not learning if we stay in our comfort zone. So I found some new reference photos and gave it a go. Here we used inks, Marks all pencil, a bit of charcoal, white pastel, nibs, dip pen, and paintbrush and squirt bottle.

Day5.OverlappingFaces_WIP

Three Inky Faces In Progress

Day5.OverlappingFaces

Inka-Dinka-Do Faces

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Left looking face

Day5.OverlappingFaces_CenterClose

Straight on face

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Right looking face

In the end, this turned out to be quite a fun exercise.

I believe part of what was holding me back was trying to achieve a look similar to Gillian’s when she creates her sample pieces. I know that in order to learn it is quite common to copy the samples that a teacher shares. I have no problem with that.

However, she and I have different styles. She has also been doing this a wee bit longer than I and has a bit more practice. Simply put, I find I do better if I let go of trying to copy and just try to make the piece my own with my own style (or lack there of.)

I’m also still learning how to create loose, expressive face portraits. I’ve got a feel for it using pencil and charcoal. Adding another new medium into the mix, the ink, and it felt like I was going backwards.

Overall, I’m happy with the way these overlapping faces turned out. Could I have pushed it a bit further? Perhaps. Or did I over do it, get too detailed and lose some of the expressive quality? Maybe. Self-editing is a never ending learning process. It continues to take practice, practice, practice.

 


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Friday Featured Artist: Maria Pace Wynters

This week’s featured artist is Maria Pace Wynters. Maria is a mixed-media artist from Canada. I first saw her art on Ivy Newport’s blog, GraceandIvy.

I love Maria’s use of color in her paintings and the childlike innocence in many of her portraits. Simply yummy work here.

Check out Maria’s blog and her art here.

Happy Friday!

MariaPaceWynters_faith-trust-and-pixie-dust


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Her Name is Cherish

Next up in the Angel painting series, as part of the Angels Among Us online workshop, is “Cherish.”

This painting was created following some of the techniques provided by Deanna Strachan. Deanna was the instructor for week 6.

How did I get to week 6 when the last piece I shared was from week 2? I got bored. The beauty of falling behind in an online class is that you can choose which lessons you want to watch instead of waiting for the upcoming lesson. And since each lesson in Angels Among Us stands alone and is not built one upon the other, you can work chronologically or start wherever you like.

Anyways, I went to Pinterest for inspiration for the sketch of this angel. I found this painting by French artist Louis Treserras. I love this young woman’s face.

AngelFaceInspiration_Week6

And here is my sketch of this young woman’s face.

Week6_AngelFaceSketch

Once the background of my canvas was ready, I transferred this sketch on to the canvas. As with some of the other lessons, it seems to be popular to glue a layer of torn paper onto the canvas first and then paint on top of it. I’m still not sure if I like this technique. It can give you some interesting texture in your background. However, I’ve also had papers peel off and tear away from the canvas. So the jury is still out on this approach.

1CherishSketch_BackgroundCanvas

Face sketch transferred onto background

Oh yes. Now I remember another thing I don’t like about the torn paper backgrounds. When transferring an image, the texture from the torn papers can sometimes muck up the transfer. In this piece the lines of the sketch weren’t lining up. I had to remove as much of the original transfer as I could and then try again. Poor girl’s nose was looking a little twisted and her eyes uneven. Fortunately I knew I could correct some of this once I started painting her face.

2Cherish_FirstLayerFace

First layer face paint

One thing that was fun with this lesson was Deanna’s loose approach to painting. My confidence in painting faces is also improving. The combination of loose paint strokes, better paintbrushes, confidence and wet paint was a recipe for success.

3Cherish_MoreFaceDefinition

A bold lip color

When I got to this point, I thought I would give her a nice, soft lip color. You know. Angelic like lips. Hah! In Deanna’s lesson she used a magenta color with a small amount of black. I didn’t have the exact same color and ended up with a deep purple tone. I figured I could always change it to something lighter if I found it really repulsive.

I didn’t change it. The color makes a bold statement. Cherish owns those lips!

And then came the wings…

4Cherish_WingsOutlined

Now I’m not so sure about this. I think she’s looking more like a fairy than an angel. Not that there is anything wrong with fairies. But this wasn’t quite what I had in mind.

Unfortunately, my brain seemed to be hitting a wall when it came to figuring out a different way to work the wing. It took a few attempts before I finally felt satisfied with it.

5Cherish_WingsPainted

A few more tweaks here and there and then she was complete.

6_CherishAngel

Her Name Is Cherish

7CherishAngel_FaceClose

Cherish


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Friday Featured Artist: Finnabair

They say it’s nice to share. So with that in mind, I’m starting this new feature-The Friday Featured Artist-a periodic blog post on Fridays on a new-to-me-artist.

Today’s featured artist is Anna Dabrowska also known as Finnabair. She is an artist originally from Poland now living in Ireland. I love her melding of Steampunk, mixed media, and collage, and her use of color.

Check out Finnabair’s blog and portfolio here.


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A New Angel On The Scene

Dropping in here to share my progress on the first Angel I’m creating in Kara Bullock’s Angels Among Us online workshop. The workshop features 6 artists and 12 weeks of inspired creations.

First, here is the sketch of my angel’s face. She looks good on paper. However, will she look the same or even bear any resemblance to this drawing once I put paint onto the canvas?

Angel Face Sketch

Angel Face Sketch

Instead of hoping I might be able to draw her face free-hand on the canvas, I opted to transfer the original sketch directly onto the canvas. Painting her face is challenge enough.

Sketch Transferred to Canvas

Sketch Transferred to Canvas

Okay, first layer of paint and you can see some resemblance to the sketch. Right? Some sort of modern abstract contemporary thing going on here. Face it (haha, no pun intended. Maybe), this is ugly stage. I am digging her turquoise nose however.

First layer of paint

First layer of paint

More layers. Now she’s kind of rockin’ a Picasso look with that dramatic dark eye.

More layers

More layers

At this point I feel like she has too many layers of paint on her face and I need to move onto a different aspect of the painting. Onto adding her hair and a halo. Just because.

Face, Hair, and Halo

Face, Hair, and Halo

Here is what I’ve learned so far.

  • Using a combination of Liquitex and Golden Fluid acrylic paints may not be the best idea.
  • Be careful if you dampen your paintbrush with water, dry it, then paint again. You will pull up a layer (or layers) paint. Then Angel face looks like she has age marks on her cheeks.
  • Put enough paint on your palette. This is still a challenge for me. I seem to have this mental block between squeezing enough paint onto my palette, not wanting to waste paint, and seeing dollar symbols rise from the paint puddle. You know the issue: “I paid a lot of money for this paint. I can’t waste it!”
  • Using a paint extender can counteract the above problem. And, covering the left over paint with some plastic wrap kept it viable for painting later or the next day.

Angel Face still has a ways to go. I’m way behind in this online workshop. Haven’t even attempted the other lessons yet. Fortunately, we have “lifetime” access to the videos. Maybe I’ll be all caught up by the end of the year.