Friday, January 16, 2015

A rooster named "Doppler"

No, I do not know why "Doppler"  is named "Doppler," but it seems to suit him even though I know him only through an on-line photograph.

He is a Frilled Serama, the world's smallest breed of chicken. The photo sent is probably larger than life-sized and then I cropped THAT and blew him up to about TURKEY size! (This was before I knew he was a tiny chicken.) Some day we shall speak of Actual Scale versus Perceived Scale.

This guy was painted on a 12" x 9 1/2" sheet of 140 # water-color paper. I wanted to see what gouache would do. I have used this paint only once or twice before. Time to see what happens.

Not trusting my free-hand drawing skills I worked out a large grid system for initial pencil drawing.
The brain fights between wanting to practice seeing and having the hand put the pencil exactly where the pencil should go AND accomplishing more than spending all day SLOWLY drawing a chicken. If the Old Masters could use tools to make marks more quickly then so can we. NO GUILT. Although if you have TIME then certainly taking  TIME to really observe spacial relations on a flat plane is well with the effort. Any exercise in seeing is a good exercise. Except stuff like staring directly at the sun or the lovely light of a welding torch being used...

Once the initial form was drawn it was time to get out the gouache. This opaque water soluble paint is simply FUN to use! Unlike traditional watercolor you can PAINT OVER MISTAKES. At least enough to not be afraid of making mistakes! Doppler was created with about six colors of gouache and three cheap brushes. No, not Cheep Brushes.

These are not the best grade of paints - but that's O.K. One feels more free to goof off and not worry.                                                          NOT WORRY!!! 
Brushes were simply the first ones touched. Yes, I knew I'd need a Liner for eye detail. But I used finger tip to plop in paint on comb and a few places on body, too. Why? Because we never got to finger paint as young youngsters. I still like using fingers for painting and pastels. Use whatever works for you!

If I had him to do over again, which I could..., I would probably start at the top and work my way down. Naw - grab the largest brush, dip it in the black paint and see what happens! I was curious to see how easily the feathers could be addressed. A modified dry-brush method worked from the very beginning. Whew. Knowing this helped me relax a wee tad, not that the always-alert rooster noticed. Tap tap tap. Dob dob dob.

As the minutes ticked by, and I had given myself a particular time in which to finish, I had to make decisions quickly. Some areas needed re-working. Bleah! But that's where opaque White is of great aid. Me being me had contaminated the pureness of color, and was too stubborn to squeeze more out of the tube. thus the shadowy areas created. We will call these areas Art.

It was great fun to know that this wasn't going to be an entry in a National Poultry Art Contest, yet I worked hard to get eye, beak, wattles, ear as correctly rendered as possible. I grew up around poultry but never thought to LOOK at them as a portrait painter would. Maybe this is as good a reason as any to Draw early, Draw Often.

Here is the final "Doppler."

The actual paper is much lighter, but Doppler's color is close to that in actual painting. Dob and peck. Check and recheck. My favorite part is, of course, his eye. Got that glint down quite well - luck or skill? Hard to say. If time permitted I'd still study and re-work beak. Beaks are hard in more ways than one!

No beaks today! Today will probably hold another cat. So. Many. Cats...

You will notice that this Challenge Blogging will not go in order. Such is life.

Time for actual studio work, ordering supplies, applying for shows, and lunch.
Goodbye, "Doppler" - May the real you be happily pecking away in Sunny Southern California even as we type.

Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Drawing Challenge - Day 13

Yup. I HAVE been drawing - and painting - just not posting.

Many cats, a few dogs, one horse, a tiny rooster, and lots more waiting their turns.

Have used graphite pencil, colored pencil, soft pastel, and gouache.

Same have turned out better than others.
None have been complete failures - whew.

I have learned:

* painting with gouache is FUN.
* it's O.K. to resort to graphing out an image (or two).
* to look more carefully - especially AFTER something can no longer be fixed.
* how to fix some things.
* to cut myself some slack.
* to use a timer if I want to use a timer.
* that it's O.K. to spend more time with one image than with another.
* to go with the flow. (That's probably a lie.)
* that painting chicken feathers need not be feared! Beaks? Beaks are a different matter.

Yes, I will post images.
Yes, I an thrill that the owners seem to enjoy their furry friends' portraits.
Yes, more challenges are being added almost daily.

I asked and folks' have shared.
Thanks for the kind words and the kitties. So. Many. Kitties....!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Drawing Challenge - Day 1

German Shepard Dog in straw hat. No problem - ha!

She started out with lots of straight lines. Robotic.  And the eyes from her photograph glowed a strange tan and light blue-green. I kept debated whether to add those colors - just for fun. Still deciding.

As with many sketching exercises, one must try to decide when to stop. Yes,  the drawing, erasing, drawing, thinking, changing, figuring, drawing, smoothing, adding little details could go on for days. Seriously.

One must decide how much Time one is willing to put into an Exercise.

This took perhaps a couple of hours - off and on.

I learned to look at noses again. Bear and dog noses are much alike AND oddly-shaped.
I learned to add and subtract.
I learned more about shapes and values.

 Not enough, but a start.

Working with a simple Number 2 Graphite Pencil takes one back to basics. Pressure and easing up equal Darkness and Light. And, yes, this day the trusty rubber eraser was used early and often. This was "I have no pride day." This was Trying to "Remember Some Rules About Drawing Day."

And the habit of writing notes stays with me.

I'm starting to like that nose. It gave me fits. You do not know.

And whether this will become a Finished Drawing I still don't know. But it IS a drawing, and that's what counts.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Challenge to Me

Happy New Year to One and All!

That darned, rarely impulsive, brain I live in impulsively posted to Facebook earlier today that my Personal Challenge to Me this month was to draw thirty one animals or people.

And I invited friends to share their pals. Thrilled and frightened and thrilled to have already received images of many dogs, one horse, a couple cats, and..... a rooster!

Now on to the choosing of first subject and deciding how to work.

 INSPIRATION from all over the country.

Now to stop typing and START DRAWING!

Apologies to all pet buddies if your Sue-scribbled image does not reflect your True Nature.

But thanks in advance for your existence in the Universe!

Pencils, pens and paint supplies ready? Yes. And GO!

Fare-thee-well, and Challenge yourself to a little something?