Saturday, August 30, 2014

August ATC Cards - Circus Theme

The theme for August for the ATC cards for Blue Twig Studio's ATC Swap is "the circus." I really don't remember going to a circus as a child, but I do remember taking my own kids to the circus several times when they were young. I think I enjoyed it as much as they did. So I have fond memories of the circus

In spite of this, I found the circus a tough subject for this small piece of art. It took me most of the month to decide what I wanted to do. I did several searches on circus images and quotes involving the circus to help inspire me.

I finally found a saying that I liked:

      "If you surround yourself with clowns, don't be surprised when life resembles a circus."
             - Steve Maraboli

This made me think of a picture of a bunch of clowns. This is the ATC card that resulted from this saying. I found an image of clowns and used that for inspiration for my collection of clown faces for this ATC card. I used watercolor pencils and Sharpie markers to paint the clown faces.

"Life Resembles a Circus" - 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" Derwent watercolor pencils, Sharpie
 Fine-Point Markers on 140lb watercolor paper. Saying by Steve Maraboli.

The other ATC card was inspired by an image called "Circus, Circus" by Marco Bombach. It reminded me of a 3-ring circus! It was full of color. All the shapes were created by simple geometric lines, curves, and shapes. It was very interesting how he created all the various elements. My version is simplified and doesn't connect all the lines, curves, and shapes like he did to create the various elements. I created the elements and then tried to connect the lines to make them look like they were meant to be created by flowing lines and curves. I also didn't use as much shading as Bombach does.

"Circus" - 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" Derwent watercolor pencils, Sharpie Fine-Point Markers
on 140 lb watercolor paper. Inspired by Marco Bombach's "Circus, Circus". 

I finished these late on Aug 29th and got in the mail on the 30th! Aargh!! I forgot about Monday being a holiday - Labor Day! I hope Deb waits to receive cards till Sept 2, instead of the 1st like normal! Oops! Need to get inspired sooner, next month!!!

Keep creating!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dyeing Socks

A couple friends and myself got together for a day of tie-dyeing. We mainly dyed socks, although Rita also dyed tee's and shoelaces. Rita suggested this, as her granddaughters wanted some tie-dyed t-shirts. Since she was heading their way next weekend, we decided to play. Roberta and I decided to do socks, so Rita decided socks with matching shoelaces would be fun for the girls, too.

Rita and Roberta had a tie-dye kit which contained three colors - yellow, blue, and red. We used only those three colors for this session. We used marbles, folded and/or twisted and bound with white embroidery floss or rubber bands to prepare the t-shirts and socks for dyeing. Once done, everything had to sit in plastic wrap (or baggies) for 24 hours before rinsing and heat-setting.

Rita added marbles in various spots on the tee's for her granddaughters. (There isn't any
dye added yet. the color of the marbles is showing through the fabric.)
Rita adding red and yellow dyes to a tee prepared with marbles for a granddaughter. 
The dyeing process is completed and under plastic ready to sit for 24 hours. Rita used red dyes on the marbles, and splatter the rest with the yellow and blue dyes with just a bit of red dye splatters.

Rita's dyed socks and shoelaces. Ready to be wrapped in plastic. Rita didn't do
any special preparation before dyeing. She just squirted the dyes at random and let
them bleed and run together. The shoelaces she put in baggies with various dyes.
They will dry and rinse lighter than pictured here.
Roberta's socks twisted and tied with floss (top), folded and banded (bottom right),
and rolled with rubber bands (bottom left) ready for dyeing.

Roberta dyed the twisted and bound with embroidery floss with red and yellow strips
- the blue was accidental (center). The folded and bound socks (left and right) used
blue and yellow dyes with just a touch of red along the folds. The 3rd pair of socks
(rolled and bound with rubber bands at top left) were dyed in wedges in all three colors.
A pair of Lynnita's socks rolled in a ball and bound with rubber bands.
Dyed yellow and then spots of blue and red were added.

Lynnita's socks shown above after rinsing and drying. The blue and yellow bled, creating
green. The spots of red and blue (green) make the socks appear to have measles or some
 spotted-disease! Lol!! Everyone loves them! These will probably go to my daughter! 
A pair of Lynnita's socks with marbles and rubber bands ready for dyeing.
Lynnita's socks (shown above with the marbles and rubber bands) after
rinsing and drying. I rubber bands helped the colors from bleeding
together so much. I like the red in just the toes, heels, and top of cuff. 

Lynnita's socks that were twisted and tied with white embroidery floss. (Unfortunately
 the photo of the socks prior to dyeing didn't turn out - it was a bad sector
on SD card). Bleeding is more evident than in the ones rubber-banded.
The white embroidery floss was dyed along with the socks they bound.
It is now nicely variegated and will create some lovely embroidery work. 

Unfortunately, I cannot show you Rita and Roberta's finished tees and socks, as I haven't seen them. We had to wait 24 hours and we haven't had a chance to get back together since then. Rita will already have given hers to her granddaughters, as she is visiting with them now for another couple of weeks. But this gives you an idea of the process and you can see how mine turned out.

Rita, Roberta and I enjoyed the tie-dyeing process. We plan to do more of this. I, especially, want to dye more socks. The bamboo is so comfortable and wears well. Several have told me they would love to have a pair of my tie-dye socks. I want to make them for Christmas presents for my sisters, sisters-in-laws, daughters, and grandchildren. Should be fun and to try other colors, too! I also have a dress to dye. Rita and Roberta want to do more. We had a great time playing!!

Keep creating!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Week 33 of 365 Days of Art Challenge

This week went by quickly. I've been able to get out!! No more cabin fever!! Whoo-hoo!! It's wonderful to go out, even if it is hot. Although this week, we've actually had 4 days in a row below 100 and  in the middle of August - that is unheard of here in the Arizona desert! Certainly have been enjoying it!

I've continued with the dragon studies from J. "Neon Dragon" Peffer's book,  DragonArt Evolution: How to Draw Everything Dragon.  I started the last chapter (and largest chapter) of the book last week on dragon exercises - putting everything from the chapter on dragon anatomy together. This chapter includes exercises on types of dragon heads (see post Aug 6 or Week 31), dragon expressions (see post Aug 13 or Week 32), different types of dragons, dragon hatchlings, dragon riders, and dragon scenes.  This week I started the first of the different types of dragons - medieval dragons from European folklore. 

Most Western dragons are generally serpentine with four legs, wings, a long tale, and the ability to breathe fire. This week's study starts with differing medieval dragon heads in side view, front view, and 3/4 view.  

Horned Medieval Dragon Head, side view - pencil on mixed media paper. Overall, I am pleased 
with this dragon head. However,  I think I will limit the number of horns on each side of the head
in my own work and add a larger frill. (For these exercises, I'm not adding my own quirks, yet.)
Crested Medieval Dragon Head, front view - pencil on mixed-media paper. This head is
my favorite this week. I like her expression - she looks happy or pleased about something.
The other two dragon heads just have neutral expressions. The front view seemed a bit
easier to draw, too.
Spiked Medieval Dragon Head, 3/4 View - pencil on mixed-media paper. The 3/4 view is the hardest to achieve; although, this head doesn't show as much of the other side of the head as I would normally do in a portrait. Also, shading was more challenging, since this dragon is lighter than the others.

Next week, I continue with the study of medieval dragons, drawing the entire dragon. I'm looking forward to that!

Keep creating!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Week 32 of 365 Days of Art Challenge

I am finally feeling better! Three weeks of being sick is just too long. I'm ready to start doing things again - like finishing a couple of quilts that should have been done a month ago and working on a challenge quilt that should have been started last month (or it won't be finished on time)! Oh, well, you do what you can with you have - make lemonade when life gives you lemons!

I continued to work out of J. "Neon Dragon" Peffer's book,  DragonArt Evolution: How to Draw Everything Dragon (see past posts). This week I worked on dragon expressions! Peffer demostrates six expressions - a neutral feeling, pleased, roaring, worried, growling, and being silly. The good thing about being sick is it allowed me to get more sketching done than I would normally have had time to finish! Instead of taking me 2-3 weeks to do all six, I was able to get them done in just one week! :) The same dragon is used to "model" all six expressions. 

Dragon with neutral feelings - Pencil on mixed-media paper.  She is not happy or sad, glad or angry, ....- she's just remaining neutral to what is happening around her.  She's looking straight ahead, ears are relaxed, and her mouth is straight. A neutral expression was similar to the type of dragon heads I've been drawing so far. However, I had trouble getting her nose right. I knew it was wrong, but didn't figure out why until I had taken a photo of it - then I could see it. I didn't fix it, though - I decided to just worked harder to get her nose correct on the following expressions, as she modeled for all of them.

Dragon with a pleased expression - Pencil on mixed-media paper.  In this one her ears are up, she's showing her teeth, but with a smile, and her eyes are a little more crinkled at the far corners.  Her eye and mouth were a bit harder to draw than in the neutral expression. 

Dragon roaring - Pencil on mixed media paper. She's got her mouth wide-open this time, letting out a huge roar at someone that needs to pay attention to her. Her head is lowered and forward to further show her impatience. Her ears are pinned back, as she glares at the object of her attention.

Dragon worried or upset - Pencil on mixed-media paper. She is worried about someone or something - her ears are laid back and drooping a bit, she's grinding her teeth together, with the back part of her lips open a bit as they quiver with tension. Even her horns and crest seem to be laid back in anxiety.

Dragon growling - Pencil on mixed-media paper. This one was somewhat similar to worrying, except her back lips aren't quivering, - her teeth are bared and her lips are thinned as she growls - her nose and eyes are wrinkled as she glares at the object of her anger. Her ears are up and turned back, as she's too angry to listen to what anyone is saying. 

Dragon being silly - Pencil on mixed-media paper. She is being silly and just goofing around in this shot. With a huge smile, she's laughing so hard, her tongue is hanging out.  Her ears are perked up and her eyes are slightly crossed, as she's making those around her laugh, too. She's cocked her head in a silly pose. This was a fun expression to sketch, but I had a hard time with the shading on this one. I also see that I have a front curl on her crest making it look like her nose has a circle at the top of it! Hahaha - guess that's to go with her goofy expression! 

This lesson on dragon expressions was entertaining and challenging. I've never tried drawing a variety of expressions when I've done portraits previously. Most portraits that I've done the person is either smiling or just has a neutral expression.  Trying to show different expressions was a stretch for me. I'm not sure I would've achieved it without Peffer's exercises.

Keep creating!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Week 31 of 365 Days of Art Challenge

Still fighting this upper respiratory infection! Doctor put me back on antibiotics and said it may take one or two more rounds of them! This has sure been a rough infection. I'm tired of being stuck mostly in bed!  At least I'm getting some sketching done! Did do a bit of hand-sewing, too. I've been working on a Baltimore Album quilt for a few years now. I'm doing all the applique by hand and adding beads and metallic threads for embellishments. I want to quilt it by hand, too, once I finish the last few blocks. I'll show what I have done in another blog.

Back to sketching for this week. I'm continuing exercises from J. "Neon Dragon" Peffer's book: DragonArt Evolution: How to Draw Everything Dragon (see post from Week 30 of the art challenge).  Last week I finished all the limb studies, which finished the chapter on the different body parts of a dragon. This next chapter puts everything together. Peffer started the chapter with four types of dragon heads. 

Medium-sized Sleek-Crested Dragon head - pencil on mixed-media paper. The eye, webbed frill, 
and webbed spine make me want to get to know this dragon more.She appears intelligent and wise. 
She also looks like she enjoys swimming, so she might be found in deep rivers, lakes, or in the oceans.

Large Earthen Dragon head - pencil on mixed-media paper. The teeth and horns makes this
pebbly-skinned dragon seem scary. Although, I believe these dragons are ancient guardians 
of the earth. I think I got his eye a bit small for the size of his head. I'm not sure about the small  
horns around the eye, either, but I put in the details Peffer shows.

Squat Scaled Dragon head - pencil on mixed-media paper. This dragon seems fierce, protective, and loyal. I wasn't sure about the globe-type eye when I started this sketch, but I like it once I finished the head.  I also like the nose and horns on this dragon. They are not as scary as the Earthen Dragon's horns. 

Elongated Chimera Dragon head - pencil on mixed-media paper. This is definitely a scary dragon, with all the sharp teeth, and many horns below the jaw and down the spine. He also looks like he would be a swimmer. This dragon head was the hardest of the four to sketch. I had a difficult time with the nose, jaw, and teeth. 

I enjoyed drawing the different dragon head types J. Peffer gave in the exercises.  I like that she's introducing both benevolent and scary dragons. Otherwise, I would only draw kind ones!  I need to understand the different types, as I develop my own style and work towards my goal of adding fantasy art to my repertoire.

Next week -  dragon expressions! That should be challenging!!

Keep creating!!