Archive for July, 2012

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Sloping Houses and Translucent Trees

July 20, 2012

Here is a really old sketchbook drawing I came across. It’s the view from the front window of our old house, and it must be at least 10 years old. I did this back in the days when I thought it was cheating to sketch things out in pencil first. One clue (aside from the fact that the house appears to be sitting on a hill that slopes downward from left to right) is that you can see the lines from the roof of the house showing through the palm tree. Since most palm trees are not translucent I must have added the palm tree as an afterthought. And look at that other tree. Nice big hatch marks, Carrie. Way to flatten out a drawing.

By the way, the candle in the foreground is fake.

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Who’s Scruffy Looking?

July 15, 2012

On the flight home from Buffalo I got trapped in the window seat, with Richard in the middle and a somewhat portly fellow in the aisle. Given this obstacle, as well as the wonderful hospitality of the Southwest Airlines flight crew and their “No standing in the aisle!” rule, I never attempted to leave my seat. Also there were several (I’m talking dozens) of crying babies on the plane, so it truly was the skyway to hell.

To distract myself from this excruciating insanity I did what I always do…got out my sketchbook and started drawing Richard. And since I had a lot of time and no place to go, I gave it way more attention than I normally would and really tried to focus on capturing what was actually there, versus what I thought was there.

The biggest challenge was that section that goes from his chin to his neck. My natural instinct would be to make that more of a horizontal angle, which is what I did at first. But as I studied and restudied it I realized that the chin/neck thing actually angled downward, and at a much greater degree than I would have thought. At least, that’s how it appeared in that moment from where I was sitting.

I really struggled with this because drawing it the way I truly saw it made him appear, well, kinda fat. I went back and forth a dozen times, sketching and erasing, sketching and erasing. By drawing it the way I¬†thought it was, it came out looking more like Richard. By drawing what I saw, he came out looking fat. In the end I went with the downward angle version because the whole point of the exercise was to draw what I saw, and dammit that’s what I saw.

As you can see, this was done at the end of our vacation, when he hadn’t shaved for several days.

I sketched the whole thing out in pencil first and then went over it in ink, adding details and using pens of various thickness. Richard watched as I put the finishing touches on the hair–which is one of the things I have the most trouble with. As I continued to add more swoops, and curls, and hatch marks, he warned me to stop before I went too far.

“Otherwise the entire focus will be on the hair,” he said.

I think Richard may have learned a few things by osmosis.

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A VanGoghish Chair

July 14, 2012

Richard and I recently traveled to Buffalo where his aunt and uncle were kind enough to put us up for a few days. I loved the entire town and was particularly struck by houses, which were colorful and historical and so so so different from the rows and rows of cookie cutter houses here in AZ.

(For the record I hate the term cookie cutter houses.)

Anyway, the houses all had a real sense of history. The room we stayed in had this awesome old chair that I became obsessed with drawing.

The reason I was so drawn to it was because it reminded me so much of this painting by Van Gogh.

I’ve been trying to draw more chairs lately, as well as trees and buildings and other non-human things. I have a bad habit of just drawing people all the time, so I’m trying to make myself branch out. The chairs have been quite a challenge because there are so many angles and you really need to get them right or else it will come out pretty wacky looking. Drawing people doesn’t really pose that problem (although it poses many others). Also chairs usually sit still (unlike people) so it forces me to exercise some patience and take time to study the details.

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A Few Random Sketches

July 4, 2012

Last year my friends, my husband, and myself took a quick trip to LA for the weekend. We went there specifically to see a couple of art exhibits, yet my best sketch from the whole trip is from this burger joint. That was a damn good burger. If I could go back in time I would have made that burger about four times bigger and really spent some time on the details. But then again, if I had done that it would have gotten cold before I could eat it. There are some sacrifices that I just won’t make for my art.

 

 

This is a stuffed dog that my brother won and then gave to me when we were at the Santa Monica Pier back in 2007. Notice I say “won and then gave me”, and not “won for me”. My bro has an addiction when it comes to carnival games. His desire to win stuffed animals borders on obsessive. But when it’s all over he doesn’t really want the poor creatures. In this case I was the lucky recipient of this floppy little dog. Ain’t he cute? We named him Thestral after the creatures from Harry Potter books 5-7.

 

I did this one at Royal Taj, a little Indian restaurant in Tempe. I guess it’s a teapot or something. It is definitely not a magic lamp because I rubbed it and no genies came out.

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Cups and Caps

July 2, 2012

This is a quick sketch that I did at a bar recently. To the naked eye this is pretty insignificant, but to me this represents a lifetime of sketching practice. Why? Two reasons:

1) One of the hardest things to draw is a person in a damn baseball cap. There is something about the bill of the hat, the way it covers part of the face and has that curve, it almost always comes out looking all distorted and weird.

2) Catching this guy mid-drink, figuring out how to show the nose and the mouth through the glass…well, it was harder than it looks.