Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Life Drawing Tuesday

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New model. She is very young, and very confident. I was never like that.
This years sessions are back in what is affectionately known as The Bunker.  It’s a small basement grotto bisected by supporting post, the walls are covered in shelving housing a variety of bulk student art supplies, the tables covered in brown paper topped by scribbles and paint, and it smells like art. I love the space, although it’s cramped. And because it is so intimate in size, artists talk to artists, model talks to artists, and the conversation goes round and round. It certainly beats the silence imposed by are sessions in the local theatre, which was over large, and echoing, and made conversation somehow embarrassing. I certainly clammed up there.
So we heard more about this models life than the usual. An art college grad, owned a horse, does pet portraits for cash, works as a tatoo artist (her limbs are covered with her own art, including horse as stated above), and hangs from hooks as a sideline—yep, you heard that…put an indelible image in my mind. And yes, she means ‘hooks’ as in industrial sized codfish hooks; are you imagining THAT yet.  I could google it, but some things I would rather NOT see, because once seen, they never go away. Bad enough to imagine it, which I did… you too???
And yet, as said above, she seemed very confident, together, self assured in ways I wish I could be, leading a lifestyle entirely of her making.  There is much to admire in that, and you can add in polite, and that infamously much maligned word, very ‘nice’.
I like our little art bunker, where art is made and lives are shared.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Whoot! New Business Card

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I usually stay away from the business end of things here; it’s a journal after all, but having spent ALL MORNING at it, jeepers, just have to crow a little.  I’ve made up a few versions of a business card (always good to have in your possession) but left them at ‘the good enough’ stage. I did these early on, when I was just learning how to manipulate things with GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program), so they were fairly primitive in the area of graphic design. 
In the meantime, I’ve been moving on with my art, and my methods and it was high time to make the change, so here it is.  I’ve lost count of the layers (layers seem to be a commonality with me), but I really had fun selecting (by colour) the black in detail from my image “Man of Flowers” and floating it on top of the card, making it transparent so that it would fall into the background, erasing and moving pieces about so that they would aid flow, etc.. I still used my favourite ‘go to’ font, ARIAL for readability and its clean crisp unassuming line, added in the aka kaslkaos, because while it may be silly, it is a name I use everywhere, and removed all the info on what kind of art that I do (ie. printmaking, watercolour, blah, blah, blah) for the crime of being ‘too much information’. Business cards are not advertisements, they are teasers and contact info, and it doesn’t hurt to make them pretty enough to keep. Well, hoping that these will get picked up and kept.
Also began, at a local gallery, leaving behind little treats, I call “Excerpts from the 365 Art Card Project”. I have no idea what the count is, but they never see the light of day, and I hoard them and wouldn’t trade them for the world, but decided there is nothing wrong with a little reproduction. So, I am weekly printing off one design as an actual size reproduction, and signing them and leaving them in a tiny pile at the gallery community table, free for the taking.  Just to keep things moving, I remove any left behind from last week when I drop off new ones.
This one’s going out this week.
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And this one was done with sharpie markers and pen.  Also available on Etsy if you miss the freebies.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Life Drawing Tuesday

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Getting back into life drawing after the holiday hiatus was difficult for all of us. Feeling rusty, we unanimously called for short poses, but that really didn't help. As one fellow artist declared, while staring at the thing that appeared on his easel, "Tonight I feel like I'm back in kindergarten!" and I felt the same.  I usually enjoy short poses, for their energy and brevity, but this time everything was such a chore, and I yawned, a lot (never a good sign).  By the last pose (30 minutes) I grabbed a mechanical pencil out of sheer frustration, and here's what happened (just for fun, I digitally reversed the values).  Mechanical pencils are an unwritten taboo for the artist, considered too precise for expressive art and best reserved for drafting and geometry, but it certainly worked out for me and in fact, lent a certain sense of freedom to the line (although I don’t quite know why).
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And here’s the sketch as is, without any digital fun. This time I’m not sure which I like better, but mostly I’m relieved that I didn’t leave the session with nothing to show. (the remainder of the evening are getting recycled)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What to do with a Rainbow of Sharpies

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Close-up of atc, using impressed line technique over sharpie markers, final layers in sienna and black coloured pencils.
Just before Christmas, someone dangled a giant 24 pack of multi-coloured sharpie markers right before my greedy eyes and exclaimed, “What the f#@x***!” am supposed to do with these?!?”. I kindly suggested that as I would figure something out, maybe he should give them to me. And he did, washing his hands of the entire dilemma.
And so here, I show you just one of the possibilities: abstract explorations using ‘impressed line technique’.  In this case, I first use primary (mostly) sharpie markers to create an abstract composition in sharpie marker (they have an excellent magenta, cyan and yellow). After I’ve completely coloured the surface (they dry instantly and smell great too), I used the point of a compass as a stylus and gently inscribed lines into the artwork, being careful to indent, but not scratch, the surface of the paper. This took awhile in spite of their small size (2.5” x 3.5”). This was followed by a layer of sienna coloured pencil, then more impressed lines, and finally followed with ink black coloured pencil. Where the lines are impressed, the original pure sharpie colours remain. This is a common technique in coloured pencil, although most often it is used to reserve whites for fine lines (cat’s whiskers, eye highlights, etc.).  You can also use it to reserve successive layers of coloured pencil although pencil colours will be more textured than those laid down with marker.
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I posted all four images to Fineartamerica in high resolution (600dpi) so you could see some extreme close-up details, which is fun with this technique. If you click on the image at Fineartamerica, it will bring up a zoomed square. (a click on the image here, will bring you there—have fun)
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For a more conventional use of this technique, you can check out a graphite landscape I posted previously:  http://kaslkaos.blogspot.com/2008/12/gift-that-lasts.html

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Life Drawing Tuesday on a Thursday Morning

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Greg, being contemplative.  I like his poses when he not being avaunt-garde. 
PS. This and others are too big to scan, so I did a snapshot. Please excuse (or not) the bad lighting effect.
PPS. Still catching up from last years posts, and next week, I'm back at it again, in the flesh, so to speak, although my flesh will be mostly covered.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Clutch of Dragons

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Back from the holidays and my blog break. I’m not much of a social networker; I don’t even own a cell-phone, and I don’t understand people who live tethered to their blackberries or other devices. I have an android tablet (which doesn’t prove that I’m not a luddite, because I am) but I use it ‘offline’ for private matters, like reading and listening to radio documentaries (not to mention games—oops, shhhh). I like being off-line, spending time with myself, or select friends of various species (referring to my cats, my dog, my husband and a few close friends), and wandering through woodlands worshipping (in a purely scientific manner) trees. All of which activities I consider an excellent use of holidays. So now I’m back, sorry for being less than sociable (sort of, because, let’s face it, I am) and I will be visiting with you electronically soon.
Here’s my latest project.  Every year Proof Studio Gallery hosts an international print exchange using the Chinese New Year as a theme. This year it’s Year of the Dragon.  I need to send in 5 to 3 dragons, and I can’t decide. The above image was more than a year in the making, as the background is a gelatin print of many layers that I worked over sporadically between months of storage. It’s one of the few I’ve ever done on watercolour paper, which adds a heavy texture and some technical challenges. Sometimes I get gelatin prints that I LOVE and I’m so afraid of wrecking them that I put them aside, sometimes for a very long time, waiting for the right idea, image, or technique to come along to finish them off. My dragon foam plate is one such. It just all came together.
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Here is my white dragon; the background is gelatin and foam plate printing (swirly design); the dragon is white ink with some red painted in for a one press monoprint.  I added detail in red ink pen and silver metallic pen. This is my personal favourite, and I don’t think I will be willing to part with it.
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This is another year long print. It’s probably impossible to see, but in the background I used horsetail (the plant) on gelatin to create a bamboo-like texture. It was in my ‘stack’, and I fished it out for this project.
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This one didn’t scan well; the background is very pale but quite colourful in the real world (primary colours).  The dragon is reversed as I inked the foam plate, then pressed it onto the gelatin, and printed off of the gelatin. I did a few of these.
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And I can’t for the life of me remember how I did this one, but I think I used the dragon while the white ink was still on the foam plate and the previous layer of blue ink bled through (I sometimes like leaving previous layers of ink just to see what comes up). That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
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This is the ‘back stage’ shot, scans of my foam plate. This is my ‘foam plate’ made up of several polystyrene disposable plates. Since my design didn’t fit the materials at hand, I had to improvise with tape and careful knife work. The ‘scale’ pattern was somewhat dictated by the need to hide seams.
Now I need to decide which of my babies will get shipped off to Toronto, and which remain in the hoard.  And how am I to do that?

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