Sunday, March 28, 2010

Watercolor Sketchbook

I recently pulled out this sketch book of watercolor paintings for a watercolor workshop I did for high school students. Before demonstrating a few key techniques in applying watercolor, I presented several examples of watercolor illustrations and personal works I had done in explaining the different ways of applying watercolor for various effects and styles.

These are just a few paintings I did while I was in Pont l'Abbe, N.France (Translation: Bridge to the Monk) and Galicia, N.Spain during the summer of 2006.

The page to the left was done at the bottom of a very high cliff in Galicia, Spain. This coastline is called the End of the Earth. My favorite story on how this location received it's name is the fact that it is the furthest west of the European continent. Therefore, during the time when the public considered the earth flat, they assumed that they could see...The end of the Earth at the horizon. Furthermore, they believed that when the ships would sail beyond the horizon, the ships would fall of the earth and perish.

As for the page on the right, I was sitting alone, outside at a restaurant table, drinking a coffee and drawing the church, peeking through two buildings. My intention was to paint the whole page in color, but the older waitress and I got into an argument over me possibly making a mess on her table if I used my watercolors. Despite leaving with a unfinished painting, I have fond memories of defending my cleanliness to a Spaniard in a language a barely knew. The page on the left was one of the first drawings I did in the sketch book. This page sure is dark and somber. I still recall how burnt out and exhausted I was when I began my vacation in France/Spain.

On the right was one of the last paintings I did in this sketch book. This page is much more upbeat. I obviously returned to the US in a much better mood. As I walked in this unknown town called Galicia, I purposely got lost in the narrow streets and discovered this amazing plant bathing in the sun. Growing from the crack within this outside wall, the flower discovered one of the few places the sun can beam within the street. So lucky I am to have discovered the flower's discovery.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

In Progress...Part 2

I managed to squeeze in a day of painting during this busy week.

I know that I am going to devote at least 15 to 20 hours of time just to do a painting. Therefore, I don't want to gamble with the possibility that the painting may or may not turn out well because I didn't devote 2 two 3 hours gathering reference and experimenting with the sketch paper and pencil with layout, composition, lighting and emotional impact.

Below, on the left, is my page of photos I gathered from magazines and the internet to help guide me into drawing convincing hair in the wind. To the right is my second attempt to design the hair blowing in the wind.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New Header!

I finally managed to update the header of this journal. After all, the top of an artist's journal should have something representative of one's creative lifestyle. The execution of the header went through a couple of changes before it evolved to a retouched photograph. First, I began a drawing with a white pencil on black paper. But, I was working with reference that did not have the proper lighting I prefer. After spending a very frustrating hour trying to guess how to "dramatize" the lighting upon my face, I abandoned the drawing and the photograph.

Fortunately, my friend and master photographer, Robert (Bob) Golding offered to help me with my lack of reference information. His appreciation for detail and lighting made me confident that he would successfully direct me into an expressive pose. After I showed him my failed first attempt for the header, we got to work.

With one, very bright, spot lamp, a tripod, camera and a few experimental poses, Bob captured several usable shots

My original intent was to paint a self portrait with oil paint. After all, I am a painter more so than a photo-retoucher. But, after a few hours of adjusting, some retouching, adjusting some more, then a little more retouching, I was very pleased with the results.

Here are the multiple layers I used in Photoshop CS4 to achieve the header created. My favorite layer is the layer named "Stampface." On that layer, with the amazing "Stamp tool," I managed to soften my caveman eyebrow.

Thank you Stamp Tool!