Thursday, December 30, 2010

What's on the drawing board

My apologies for not posting in nearly a week. Good grief but where does the time go? Actually I have been enjoying some quiet time over the holidays, and I hope you have been enjoying your holiday time too.

I thought I would share this work in progress, so that you can see a bit of the process. It is colored pencil on Rising Museum board, 8 x 8 inches. Right now it is titled "Roots".
Here it is in the initial stage, what I like to call my "map".  After drawing in graphite a basic outline of the main shapes in the composition I begin by filling in areas of very light color. In fact, it is so light you almost can't see it here although it does show up well enough in real life. I used cool reds and blues for the areas of ground, a peachy color for tree bits and a creamy yellow for the spots that will be the dappled sunlight. The reason I didn't stick to monochromatic or analogous colors overall for this one was that I wanted to create a slight separation of figure and ground with the underpainting of warm colors for the figure (tree) and cooler colors for the ground (ground, in this case).
And here it is after beginning to add local color to the tree. As I did this I also dropped in a little more color to the ground portion at the top. It's really a back and forth kind of dance as I add a new color, extend color along the tree trunk, go back and adjust color in previously worked areas. . .
 This is what I did yesterday, which is the same as the image at the top. I continued that back and forth dance down the trunk and into a couple of the roots. Since I was uncertain just how I wanted to handle the ground portion of this composition, I went ahead and started in one of the smaller sections at the bottom left, to see how it would read. Once convinced that what I had going was okay for now, I continued with that as I moved around the base of the tree. This is a fun, although challenging piece to work on. Having done this much I am now really motivated to see it finished.

With the new year just around the corner, I have lots of new ideas and plans, as well as a renewed commitment to projects already in progress. Next post I'll give a run down of all that's in the works here at BlueBird Hill for 2011. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A holiday greeting for you

Wishing you a bright and happy holiday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A year in sketchbooks

Another page from my autumn sketchbook, one of the last sketches before I moved into my newly made winter sketchbook. I have been making my own sketchbooks for a year now and I must say that it would be somewhat difficult to go back to using a commercially made sketchbook at this point.
Here is a photo of my year of sketchbooks with the most recent edition for this winter sitting on the very top. The sketchbooks that I make for myself are not as nicely made as those you can buy. And with each one there was something that went wrong in the process of putting it together that makes it not quite altogether right. You could call them quirky. But they work for me. They have paper that I like which works well with a variety of media. I also include a signature in the front and back using regular copy paper and use these pages to paste in a calendar and scribble notes. I put a pocket in the back to hold business cards and collect things. The act of making these sketchbooks has become a ritual of sorts throughout the year. I have begun each one with the change of season, either on the solstice or equinox. This has resulted in a greater awareness in me of the turning of the year and increased my desire to make note of each season's special qualities in my journal. For my handmade sketchbook from last winter, I recycled a used book found in a thrift store. For all of the other sketchbooks I made my own covers, which then also became a part of the ritual process. All of the materials, the fabric and end papers, were something I already had on hand, leftovers from past projects now given a new life. There has been something very satisfying in all of this, as a way to mark the passage of time and celebrate the moment that is now.

*There is a new blog on keeping an artists' journal, put together by Cathy Johnson, and well worth a visit. It was her class "Keeping an Artists' Journal" that inspired me with my own visual journaling, which she has turned into a book, Artists' Journal Workshop, and now a blog. And reading all of the fascinating interviews on her blog is sure to keep me busy while I am eagerly waiting for my copy of her book.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Winter Solstice!

Solstice Sun, Shining Bright!
Shortest Day & Longest Night.
Solstice Wish of Hope & Cheer:
Peace on Earth, throughout the Year!

-   Selena Fox 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Some December sketches

Trees. My obsession with trees continues. Just can't seem to get them quite right. Of course, now that they are all bare of leaves it all really depends on the structure of line. So I have been doing a few tree studies in my sketchbook, because I need so much practice with trees. And line.
I have been reading a few books about drawing trees, too, trying to gain some insight, gleaning the wisdom of how others have dealt with interpreting trees in various media. Trees have so much character. And dignity.
I rediscovered my Neocolor II crayons the other day. They allow for drawing and painting at the same time. And unlike the brush, one has to start with line, perfect for trees in winter. With a brush it's all about shape, but with the crayon, I have to find the line first, which is a different way of seeing for me. Do you ever do that? Change your approach in order to train yourself to see in a new way? Do you more naturally draw with line or shape?

The bottom image is a view outside my living room window on a snowy day, done with Neocolor II water soluble crayons. Well, everyday has been a snowy day here lately. The middle image is a study I did in graphite from an old photo, and the top is also from a photo, taken last winter of a pasture near my house, also done with Neocolor II crayon.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Something warm

River Path
oil on canvas
6 x 6 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

A warm scene to remember on a cold day like today here in our southern mountains. This is painting #50 of my 100 painting project, a view of the North Fork of the New River as seen from a nearby park on a summer's day. And boy is it cold here today! Up to 12 degrees F. And snowing. And blowing snow with winds gusting up to 55 miles per hour. This winter's blast has me wanting to curl up with a good book or my crochet projects. And I may have to bake some cookies. That's the thing about living here in the mountains. When the weather here is nice it is absolutely gorgeous. But when it's not so nice, it's brutal. I hope you are staying warm where you are. And that you have some cookies too.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pond - finished

colored pencil on Rising Museum Board
8 x 8 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

At least I am calling it finished at this point. I will live with it for a few more days just in case I am inspired to do a little more tweaking. And the title, well, that may change too, if I can think of something better.
You may remember my recent post showing the first two stages of this piece. Above is what it looked like once I had the entire board covered with color.
And here it is again, in it's finished state. Actually the green and yellow leaf in the lower left is more accurate in the unfinished version as far as color and intensity, the evils of getting color correct from scanning! But the changes that I made from stage 3 to the final were that I felt the orange at the top to be too strong, so I lifted some color there and went over it with a more neutral orange-y color. I also added some veins and texture to the red leaf that is in the lower portion and deepened the color of the water in places. And there was the usual cleaning up and sharpening of some edges, while softening others. And lastly, I intensified some of the yellow areas, which really doesn't show up well here. The yellows are somewhat brighter in real life. You will just have to take my word for that.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Summer Blooms revisited

Summer Blooms
oil on canvas
6 x 8 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Remembering summer today. This is painting #49 in my 100 painting project. Just a few short months ago this was the view in our yard, abundant with color against the rich greens in the backdrop of the trees. Now all that remains is our memory of these glorious blossoms as we head into winter here in our mountains. And it has been cold these past few days. With snow blowing around. Remember our beans? Well here's a guy who really takes counting his beans seriously. I am just hoping he's more than a little off in his calculations this year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In the studio

I thought I would share what is on my drawing board these days. This is a work-in-progress, an image of the edge of a pond in the autumn. I am working this in colored pencil on Rising Museum board. It is 8 x 8 inches. Above is the drawing in an early stage, showing how I mapped in a few basic value shapes with cool grays before starting to use local color. I sometimes find that an under painting like this will help to unify the work. I choose the color of the under painting based on the overall color in my reference or what sort of color I would like in the finished work. Sometimes I use grays, sometimes I use monochromatic or analogous colors of a particular hue. In this case, cool grays seemed to go with the watery feel of this piece.
And here it is as I continue to add local color while moving across the drawing. As I add color to an area I will also continually go back to previously colored areas to make adjustments in color. This process will continue until I have the entire drawing covered with color. At that point, the entire piece is evaluated for color and value and final adjustments are made to unify and finish the drawing. I also need to be mindful throughout the process of where I intend to place the emphasis in this piece. And I need to leave room for what the drawing will tell me as it emerges, because sometimes the emphasis becomes something I didn't plan for at the outset. I love what Twyla Tharp says about planning in her book, The Creative Habit:
"Too much planning implies you've gt it all under control. That's boring, unrealistic, and dangerous. It lulls you into complacency. . ."


Blog Widget by LinkWithin