Printmaking

So I’ve been pretty busy with my intensive summer classes this last week or two. Here are a couple of pictures from my printmaking class last week.

Self Portrait Painting

It occurs to me that I neglected to post my last two paintings from painting class.

(I know you’ve been wondering where they were! 🙂 )

In our earlier assignment we were required to include an egg in our still life. The main reason for that was the egg is really difficult to do and if you break the face down into parts it’s mostly made of egg shapes. So we moved on to self portraits.

Like a lot of people, I hate pictures of myself. So I was pretty much going to be uncomfortable with a self portrait no matter how you look at it. My first sketch idea was an elaborate and intricate drawing which exceeded my skill set (possibly) and my time frame (definitely). I went “back to the drawing board” and decided to come up with a different picture to use as a jump off point. Our teacher had taken snapshots of us in class for us to use.

Inspired by a classmates digital manipulation of his photo, I decided to see what pictures I had that I was willing to use.

This is it:

close up picture of my eyes

Revealing, isn't it?

So, I opened it in a photo editing program and fiddled with it a bit until I got something I liked.

I then gridded it so I could transfer it up to the canvas size more easily.

It looked a little somethin’ like this:

self portrait in color and gridded for reference

Ready to Go!

We were pretty much given free reign on this assignment, with one small requirement.

We had to use a technique called grisaille ( rhymes with fisheye -with a z sound in the middle).

This means that you paint the picture in shades of gray (and black and white). When you’ve done that part, then you (optionally) apply a thin glaze, or wash, of color(s) over it. The result is supposed to have a lot of depth due to the under laying of the lights and darks.

So, I also printed it in black and white for reference and got to painting.

my eyes self portrait in shades of grey shown with my reference pictures taped above

Stop Staring At Me!

here it is a bit closer:

a little closer view of my eyes in greyscale

Almost done with the grey

I tweaked the grey a little bit more and then added the wash of color.

I think it turned out pretty close to the photo:

finished eyes in color shown with reference photo

I actually was quite surprised by how well it turned out, but also how much it looks like me. You wouldn’t think that it would since it was only my eyes. But it does.

Here it is finished and by itself:

final color wash over grisaille portrait of my eyes

Ta Dah!

Just one more little thing and then I’ll have finished wrapping up Painting I class. Our final assignment was to do a landscape. In contrast to all our other paintings this one was actually quite restricted. We were given a 2 inch wide flat brush. It was the only brush we were allowed to use. We were also only allowed to spend 2 hours on it. We were supposed to try to actually sit outside and paint an actual landscape. (Known as plein air painting) But it was rainy that week so that was made optional. I was not particularly happy with my results, but will include it in the interest of full disclosure.

This is what I was trying to paint:

photo of cloudy sunrise behind rocks

Glorious Sunrise!

and this is what I did paint.

painting of cloudy sunrise behind dark green rocks

ta dah.

I did receive good feedback on it from my classmates. But I just didn’t really like how it turned out.

I really enjoyed this class and wish that I had the option to take more classes from this teacher as he is one of my favorites.

Today I am grateful for: art, inspiration, books, coffee(!), and music.

What are you grateful for?

Paint the Painting

One of my favorite classes this term is painting I. Maybe because I’ve taken an art class every term since I’ve been back to school, I feel like I’ve crossed some imaginary line into a new zone. This painting I did was for an assignment where we designed our own still life (which must include an egg) to paint.

Here is my still life:

To begin with, I massed in the black and gray.

Then I began to put in the orange. This is where I started to get into trouble, just a little. I was trying to paint those flowers.

My instructor taught me something that I think is a very important lesson about painting.

He said, “You’re not painting flowers. Your painting a painting. Just keep massing darks and lights and eventually the flowers will appear, almost magically.”

It took me a little while to get the idea lodged in my brain. But it seems to be sinking in pretty well. I think it may well be the best lesson for painting. We get so caught up in painting our flowers and getting every little detail right that we lose sight of the bigger picture and lose the whole painting. We end up with one part that looks great, but the rest isn’t as detailed or focused or proportional. You can’t paint the flowers, you have to paint the painting.

Obviously, there are no broader life lessons to be drawn from this painting lesson. 🙂

If we concentrate too hard on getting every little detail perfect, then we lose perspective on the whole and things begin to fall apart. We  miss out on the bigger picture where the magic happens.

So, here is my bigger picture:

You may be wondering why the flower in the front changed from orange to white. Well, it was a real tulip and by the time I got to that part of the painting, it had already wilted. My garden didn’t have any orange tulips anymore. So, I had to switch to white. It was also a different type of tulip so it turned out a tiny bit funky. But overall, I’m pleased with how it turned out. Especially the glass jar. I asked my instructor how to do glass, because I was kinda scared of it. He said the same thing. Just concentrate on the darks and lights and it will happen.

Today I am grateful for: peace and quiet, summer weather, soccer, the library, and ART!

Still Life with Orange

This term I’m taking painting. So far we have painted three still lifes of fruit. We started with a pear. Then we did an apple.

These are my finished pear and apple paintings before matting.

 

 I am using acrylic paints on bristol paper here. This is so we don’t freak out on our first painting because it on canvas and A BIG DEAL. This is just paper, so it’s no big deal, right?

I feel like my pear is a little bit avacadoey. But, I’m not complaining.

Here is how they turned out after the magic of editing and matting.

 

Darn flash!

 

And after we had done those, we did an orange. This one was supposed to be focused on composition. We were allowed to cut the orange up in any way we wanted to make an interesting composition. This is what I chose to do.

The painting is mostly done here.

 

And this is how it turned out. Not too shabby, even if I do say so myself. I’m pretty proud of it.

Here is my orange all finished up prior to matting.

 

I really like this painting and how it turned out. But, the really awesome thing is that that is not the end. It really is a magical thing that happens when you mat a picture or painting. It gives it a presence that it didn’t have before. And, in the case of matting, it’s an opportunity to edit the painting one more time, even though you thought you were done.

So, this is my final result.

That’s been painting so far this term.

Now we are stretching our own canvas and will begin this week on a still life of our own design.

I think perhaps I will do something like this:

This is one of our very first tulips. My son picked it for me today.

 

Today I am grateful for: Tulips, Art, Deviled Eggs, Fishing, and Naps