Real Jobs and Upcoming Art Show

Boy howdy! We have been busy here in Colorado, mostly doing real world stuff like working at our jobs. It’s great to have a job again, or in my case, two part-time jobs, but it does leave very little time for doodling.

I have still been drawing though, but mostly just when I can scrape enough spare time together. It seems like I only sleep, eat, drive and work these days. We are still looking for a place of our own which is proving difficult because of the high rent rates and the lack of available housing where we want to live.

I do have something artsy in the works however; next week, on May 11th to be exact, I will be hanging my doodles in our local public library. My art will be on display for a month and I’m pretty excited to see all of them up together. One sad part of this is I had to take my sketchbook apart, which also means I need to finish the straggler doodles soon so I can have a safe place to put them once again.

Repeat States with Birds

So I haven’t made it all the way through the map as far as state birds, but I wanted to try something new to mix things up. I decided to add state birds to a few of my doodles. I only have two completed and two halfway done, but it is pretty fun.

The first bird is the Cardinal. It is the state bird of many states, including Illinois where I spent my primary school years. Cardinals are the most fashionable of all American birds in my opinion, and it was pretty fun to color them.

A cold and blustery day in the Midwest is sure to bring out the Cardinals.

A cold and blustery day in the Midwest is sure to bring out the Cardinals.

I must confess, I had no idea what the state bird of Colorado was until I looked it up, and I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen one. This black beauty is a Lark Bunting, complete with Colorado state flag motif, purple mountain majesty, and some vibrant columbines.

Lark Bunting

When it comes to symbolic images, this doodle is chock full of them.

There are a few more bird in the works yet to come. Hopefully I can get them finished before my big solo art show debut! If you live in Colorado, it would cool if you came to see my art (even though you will have seen most of it on my blog). There is something to be said for seeing the drawings in person.

 

The New and Improved Thinking Cap

Hanging out with family I seldom get to see is super fun. Whenever my parents have any grandchildren over, they always like to do fun and special things. If you are wondering where I get the wherewithal to create fabulous doodles, you need look no further than my awesome Mom. She has always been creative and is on the lifelong search for the perfect project. Sometimes she finds that project and needs to find a new one.

Get Outta My Space!

This year, when my brother’s kids came from Texas for Spring Break, my mom decided she needed to do this cool planet project. The original idea is to use oil based spray paint to make sweet planets and moons on a piece of paper. We were going to try it out on some T-shirts. We soon discovered some problems with the initial plan, and my mom created this ingenuous work around to make sweet, sweet shirts for the three boys.  (My Brother and sister in law have seven kids, five of which are quintuplets).

Like Saturn, but without the rings

Like Saturn, but without the rings

Neptune-ish plus mini-Mars!

Neptune-ish plus mini-Mars!

Excellent Black storms on a green planet

Excellent Black storms on a green planet

Riley is Too Cool for School and also the dining room

Riley is Too Cool for School and also the dining room

The gun show is apparently across the solar system

The gun show is apparently across the solar system

So, as you can see, my mom is ridiculously awesome. Also, space puns anybody?

Flower Hats

Upon further consideration, my mom decided the planet shirts were cool, but that the girls might want something a little different. At the last minute, we decided we should do some hand-painted hats, similar to a hat my mom painted for herself. We did three pink hats for the three young girls, a black hat for the tween, and a pillbox-type cap for mom.

yellow flower hat 1

Kaydence

Kaydence

purple flower hat 1

Kassidy

Kassidy

Kyndall

Kyndall

teal flower hat 2

Kaiya

Kaiya

My sister-in-law got a special hat to commemorate the state where she grew up, Hawaii.

Rachelle

Rachelle

hybiscus hat 2

Going downtown wearing their color coordinating duds

Going downtown wearing their color coordinating duds

 

 

What is Abstract Art Anyway?

One of the things that is often confusing for the casual artist or art observer is understanding the meaning of abstract. The precise definition is not really important for everyday life, but it is something that one runs into when going to a museum, gallery, or schoolroom.

Two Main Types of Art

Understand what abstract is, is easiest when a person understands the opposite of abstract. In the case of art it the opposite of abstract is representational. When something is representational, it represents something. In the case of this Picasso portrait, it clearly represents a woman wearing a hat. “But, it is abstract!”, you may say. In fact, almost all Picasso paintings and sculptures are not abstract, but at the same time, they do not represent their subjects in a strictly realistic way. The style in the following painting is called Cubism, but that is a lesson for another day.

Oh, Cubism. Y U so confusing?!

Oh, Cubism. Y U so confusing?!

True abstract art does not represent anything seen in either the natural or imaginative worlds (sorry unicorns). Abstract art may remind the viewer of something, like a sunset or a tree, but its very nature in non-representational. (Muslim art is almost entirely abstract since portraying the prophet Mohamed and other important religious figures is against the religion’s beliefs.) A great example of a painter who almost exclusively paints abstractly is Jackson Pollock.  Many people do not hide their disdain for Pollock’s work because it looks like paint splatters, and in a way it is , but in another way it is much more than merely streaks and globs of house paint. I like Picasso and Pollock, not because their work is the most amazing and beautiful art ever created by man, but because it pushed the boundaries and experimented with new techniques and concepts. Its like hair rock of the painting world.

I detect no representational things.

I detect no representational things.

My Own Work

For the most part, my doodles are representational. Most have a flower or feather or something that can be directly compared and recognized as something from the world. Today’s doodle, however, has only two slight flower things, and the rest is just geometric and free-flowing shapes, and of course, a duck. I’m very pleased with my color choices for this doodle. I find that I love orange and want to include it in all my drawings.

More abstract than usual

More abstract than usual

Throwback…Tuesday?

Packing has given me ample opportunity to see all the mounds of stuff I have accumulated throughout my relatively medium length life. Lots of the junk has been donated or been tossed straight into the trash, but some things are just too precious or whatever to get rid of. I’ve kept most of my art from junior high and high school, mostly because it’s all on paper and not a big deal to store, but it’s also nice to look back and see some improvements.

Calender Project

My senior year in high school is when I discovered I had a particular talent toward the arts and when I seriously considered changing my plans from pursuing an engineering degree to a fine arts degree. The outcome is still being deliberated by the jury of life, but the past is what it is.

These drawings are from a project where I needed to create a themed calendar of some kind. I only needed to draw five months worth of the calendar, and I chose mammals as my subject matter. I know, really specific right?

Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows I’m mad for critters. That’s probably why we have four pets at the moment, so an animal calendar makes perfect sense.

The most fashionable of all the mammal on Earth, the Zebra always makes a statement.

The most fashionable of all the mammals on Earth, the Zebra always makes a statement.

Sea mammals needed to be represented somewhere.

Sea mammals needed to be represented somewhere.

I can't really remember the name of this particular fox species, but I really liked the bay kind of coat pattern.

I can’t really remember the name of this particular fox species, but I really liked the bay kind of coat pattern.

Although ducks have turned into my spirit animal, moose are among my all time favorites, but I have yet to actually see one. Alive.

Although ducks have turned into my spirit animal, moose are among my all time favorites, but I have yet to actually see one. Alive.

How did africa get all the really awesome herbivores?

How did Africa get all the really awesome herbivores?

Even MrE was impressed with my skills as a high schooler, but if there was ever a time where I wished I had a better photo taking system, it’s with these. Lots of little detail is lost with the cell phone camera and poor lighting.

Flashback to Fine Art

I have plenty of doodles in the works, but I thought I would go back to an actual, real-life painting I did several years ago of a beloved doggy. My friend, who owns Gannon Grooming, lost her best puppy buddy, and I wanted to give her something to remember him by. Before I started doodling in my free time, my natural media was acrylic paints, which I used for this precious Cocker Spaniel. I took several photos to illustrate the process my painting go through.

1. Initial sketch (Not pictured. Use your imagination if you so desire)

2.Laying the Color Foundation

When I begin a painting, I like to lay down the first wash of colors for as much of the painting as possible, then go in later with darker or lighter colors, in some cases adding a dozen or more washes before the painting is complete. As you can see in this snapshot, the colors are muted and lots of canvas is showing through.

 

Early stages in my painting style

Early stages in my painting style

3. Adding Rough Darks

Here it is easier to see the brush strokes, especially in the fur under the chinny chin chin. I believe I was concentrating mainly on the nose and tongue, which is why they look more finished and life-like.

With my style, I like to lay darks, then use slight washes of near transparent creams or whites to scale back for the right hue.

With my style, I like to lay darks, then use slight washes of near transparent creams or whites to scale back for the right hue.

4. The Creepy Phase

There is always a point in a portrait that looks a little weirder than it should. This is that phase. I also have added some richness to the shadows if you can get past the empty eyes.

AHH!

AHH!

5. Details

The longest part of a painting for me is working on the details, which makes sense. Sometimes, the details are overwhelming. My mom can certainly attest to this since she still has a half-finished painting that I never got around to completing in her basement. It is complete enough to get the general idea of what it is, but the details were so subtle that I just couldn’t work on it any more. (Sorry mom! I’ll repaint it soon!). To me, the most important details are the eyes and expression. I could have left the painting like this I think, but that’s not my style.

Phew, no more soulless eyes. I love working on the eyes, since it makes the work come alive.

Phew, no more soulless eyes. I love working on the eyes, since it makes the work come alive.

6. Knowing When to Stop

It is important for me to accept that no work of art is going to be perfect. It can approach perfection, but not knowing when to stop will only lead me down a trail of misery and tears. There will always be something that I can look back and see that I Should have done differently, but as an old Vulcan Proverb says, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”

Happy Guy! Baxter makes a handsome pup.

Happy Guy! Baxter makes a handsome pup.

Every dog story ends in tears, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the unconditional love of the best friend you will ever have! Adopt from a local shelter or go give your canine companion a big hug and some peanut butter. If you would like to see more posts like this, let me know in the comments!

Oldies but Goodies

Since I have slacked at finishing my Iris doodle, I have decided to post some old work that my mom and dad emailed me. These are arranged in the order that I drew/painted them. They are not quite doodles, but they will have to do.

Pencil sketch of a Lion Fish. About the size of a piece of office paper.

Pencil sketch of a Lion Fish. About the size of a piece of office paper.

Acryllic. About 3"x4" in size. Painted mainly with a signing brush.

Sara the Beagle. Acrylic. Small. About 3″x4″ in size. Painted mainly with a 1″ calligraphy brush.

Guache on paper. Doc Martins

Gouache on paper. Doc Martins

Guache (this is a paint similar to watercolor)on paper. Painted plein air style.

Gouache (this is a paint similar to watercolor)on paper. Painted plein air style.

Painted in Acrylic. Commissioned by my mom. about 4' square in size.

Aspens. Painted in Acrylic. Commissioned by my mom. about 4′ square in size.

Acrylic. About 2'x4' in size

Acrylic. About 2’x4′ in size

Acrilic. About 2'x4' in size

Acrylic. About 2’x4′ in size

 

The shoes and the landscape are the only pieces that I did not use a photo as a reference, but instead used my very own eyes and some real objects. Sara the beagle won a community student art contest when I was a senior in high school. Most of these my mom has hanging on the walls in her house.

Hopefully, I can get the Irises over with and begin a doodle I’m excited about instead.