Since 2012 I've been taking spring, summer and fall semester art classes at Saddleback College. The quality of both the instructors and the instruction is top notch and I've been inspired to pursue an art degree at the college.
Long ago, I took "Drawing 101". I re-took it this past summer for a pass/no-pass grade. It was a twice a week, 8 week long studio withVeronica Obermeyer. (Click on the link to read Ms. Obermeyer's impressive CV.) For the majority of my classmates, it was their first college-level drawing class. For me, it was an opportunity to refresh and refine and explore.
A July homework assignment was to draw an article of clothing and an accessory such as a jacket on a hanger. I went home and pulled from the closet a dress shirt, a tie, a belt and a rarely used suit. All the little still-life tidbits I'd picked up from classes, artist magazines and the web broke through the cobwebs and coalesced into a manageable vision. I cleared off my studio (a re-purposed bedroom) drafting table and placed a folding chair on top. On the chair, I arranged the clothes as if someone was inhabiting them.
After crinkling up some sheets of newsprint from a sketch pad, I stuffed it here and there in the suit and shirt. I stuffed newsprint into kitchen trash bags and taped the bags into sausage shapes to support the pant legs. Using a step ladder, I propped the coat above the chair back.
I pointed my photoflood up and at the right pant leg knee and taped it to it's stand. I taped the carpet at each of the tripod legs just in case it got bumped out of position, which happened on a daily basis. I lost count of the number of times I stubbed my toes on that tripod. Anticipating falling charcoal dust I laid out a drop cloth over the rug and under the chair mat and placed my easel on it. I was to live with that setup for the next four months while dust accumulated in inaccessible parts of the room and atop the suit, tie and shirt. I still have dust to find and carpet to wash.
I closed the window shutters and door to my studio to limit any ambient light and maximize light and shadow contrast on the still life, put my drawing board and pad on the easel, pulled out my charcoal and began to draw. For the due date, I blocked in the overall composition and finished one pant leg. It took me another 4 months, until early November, detailing the entire drawing to my satisfaction. The pant leg was well received. Ms. Obermeyer made mention of the hierarchy of values. She noted the pant leg's crease and my use of "simultaneous contrast." I really like the phrase "simultaneous contrast;" it sounds so artistically arcane. Pictured to the right is the drawing as pinned up for the July critique. The finished drawing will soon be posted.
My academic art studies have been taking a great deal of effort, but I've made some time to put together a blog update.
In June I was awarded First Place in the Drawing and Pastels division of the Anaheim Art Association's 50th Annual
Open Juried Art Competition. The First Place ribbon was presented to my "Serenity" charcoal accompanied by a cash award.
If memory serves me there were over 160 entries. Winning the First Place ribbon was significant; receiving a cash award was just yummy.
In August "Serenity" was awarded an Honorable Mention at the Orange Art Association's 17th Annual Orange Open Juried Fine Art Show. The competition was a bit steeper.
The second required Life Drawing portrait was to be a 3/4 view. Our instructor reminded us that we were to have some kind of "architecture" in the background by which to gage our proportions. On the blank wall behind me, using 1" wide blue tape, I taped several horizontal lines 6" apart.
I wanted to see what I would look like without wearing my glasses. Drawing oneself, for the first time ever, in a 3/4 view was challenging enough. Deciding that my image was not going to be wearing glasses was just plain hard.
I got as close to the mirror as possible. I proceeded to remove my glasses, take a quick look at my 3/4 view profile, put my glasses back on, twist around farther to my right, draw a little and then repeat the process several times. Somewhere in the process, in judging proportions against the horizontally taped lines, I elongated my features. I'm blaming that on my eyeglass-less astigmatic vision.
Following the Midterm submittals in my Fall Semester Life Drawing class, we were required to draw a couple of self-portraits. If it had not been a mandated homework assignment, I might never have tried drawing a self-portrait and would have missed a very revealing experience.
Our instructor suggested we tape on the mirror an outline of the drawing paper we were going to use. In my case, this was a mirrored sliding closet door. I diligently taped an 18"x24" rectangle on the mirror's surface. With an adjustable height floodlight to my left, the easel and drawing pad to my right, and a drop cloth beneath the easel and me, I "stepped" into the rectangle. I marked where I was to stand, the location of the easel's tripod legs and the floodlight's tripod legs with blue tape. Then I focused on my reflected image. I explored every detail of that image and tried to capture it using only a a small piece of a chamois, a paper stump, a kneaded eraser and a stick of burnt wood.
Our Fall Semester Life Drawing instructor, Cynthia Grilli, chose a variety of models whose body types and poses would progressively challenge us as our drawing confidence and ability grew. During the unrobed 3 hours of short 2 to 5 minute poses, the quite flexible model pictured above twisted into one coiled form after another.
The two hour clothed afternoon session lead to the portrait shown.
This Saturday evening my linocut, "Goose on Lake" won Third Place at the Orange Art Association "Orange Open". There were 220 entries comprising 9 categories. "Goose on Lake" won in the Drawing/Illustration-Print Making-3D category. The Orange Open exhibit is being held at the Guggenheim Gallery at Chapman University in the City of Orange. By the way, the Third Place ribbon came with a cash prize!
Ali M., a fellow beginner in Vinita Voogd's printmaking class and a film production major, filmed the Steamroller event. His amazing 4-1/2 minute video can be seen in HD at this link, https://vimeo.com/41806497. The photo above is from Ali's video.
While I resolve video problems with my "Saddleback Steamroller Woodblock Party" post, I thought I'd post another printmaking project.
As a beginner, this semester's required projects listed in my printmaking class syllabus included two linoleum linocuts and prints, onechine-collé print, one blend(ed) roll print and one zinc plate intaglio print.
The 3-colored blended roll of my first linocut "Callas of Descanso" (not shown) and the black ink on paper of the "Goose" linocut (not shown) are currently on display at Saddleback College. I learned a tremendous amount on how to use the linocut tools between carving the linoleum for "Callas of Descanso" to carving the linoleum for "Goose".
Above is the linocut for "Goose". It is cut in reverse. One has to carefully consider what is desired in the final print - what areas are to be inked and what areas are to have the uninked paper color show through. It's a bit of a brain twister.
I derived the image from a photo I took in 2006 at Lago Santa Margarita. I've been wanting to use the image artistically for the past 6 years. The orignal photo can be seen below.
I'm attending a printmaking class at Saddleback College taught by Vinita Voogd. I think it's fair to say Vinita is an internationally recognized printmaker. One of the projects was to create a woodblock to be printed by a steamroller. That activity is scheduled for this coming Friday, April 20, 2012.
I finished the block early this afternoon...
For those who personally know me, yes, that is me holding a tool, a sharp tool...and I never cut myself!
Vinita is an incredible instructor and many of the class members produce gallery, if not musuem, quality work.
If all goes well, I'll post a pic of my print, "Cambria".
very, very long time I wanted to combine drawing in ink with watercolor painting.
That was a very readily achievable goal, but I put that off while I focused on
other art-related endeavors (that's just another way of saying I procrastinated
for a very, very long time).
an energetic reception at one of our favorites, Schroeder Studio Gallery, a lonely clipboard,
sitting off to the side, teased my curiosity. As I sauntered up to it, I
spotted a sheet clipped to the board headlined “Ink & Watercolor Workshop
Signup”. I decided not to argue with Fate. I gave Judy Schroeder my deposit.
ended up spending a completely enjoyable Saturday and Sunday with a small, enthusiastic
group of first-time-ever and intermediate level painters. At the very comfortable
studio storefront, Judy Schroeder provided the instruction, guidance and
creative spark. During those two days, Judy made sure that everyone of us got
every penny’s worth of our workshop fee. She paced us through a series of
assignments from testing permanent and water soluble ink pens and pen brushes
by themselves, then in a variety of combinations with watercolors, and onto a
final painting incorporating our favorite techniques.
Water and Pens Test Sheet
studio contained all the source material, vases and plastic produce for still
lifes and reference photos for scenic themes. Everyone us chose and arranged our
objects and proceeded to respond to Judy’s challenges. I had no expectation of
producing frameable work, I just wanted to learn and experiment. I left Judy’s
studio Sunday afternoon feeling fully satisfied at having accomplished a goal, long
I’m finally posting some of
my efforts from that weekend. Judy will be conducting another “Ink
& Watercolor” workshop in June of this year, 2012.
This is my submission to the Alice Thompson Calypso Moon Artist Movement "Landscape Challenge." "Sycamores" began as a plein air painting. I spent a couple of additional hours refining it in the studio.
By the way, "Mattie" (working title: "Matanuska") was completed and is visiting an art show through March 25. I'll be posting her photo sometime after that date.
I'm now focusing on completing the paws. They have been very challenging. The paws are very dusty in the photo from which I'm painting and that doesn't work with the color of the dog's face. So, I've had to change several times the color of the paws and some of the values (lights and darks) to make it all work together.
I'm also dealing with the implied bone structure of the paws themselves, the implied strength of the paws and nails gripping the railing, and the subordinate relationship of the paws to the puppy's face. I haven't studied dog anatomy; so, I'm on a steep learning curve.
I've allowed myself the luxury of generous patience and enjoyment in learning all the subtleties of puppy-dog painting.