I sort of pushed through and got the rest of the piece done. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I decided to add two darker tones so that the shapes were more defined. It still looks a bit flat, but at this point I am not going to worry about it too much and think about how to fix it for the next piece. I also just love the color blue, so the cool blue hues in the piece make me very happy. I also love the amount of variation in corals though I am worried they all blur together.
I spent considerably longer than the time I initially gave myself but I got done a base layer of white. The outlines of the animals are a lot less obvious so you have to search a bit more to see them, which I like. I am thinking that maybe when I present it I will put some explanation and key with it so that people don’t completely miss the point of the piece. I was originally thinking that I might just use white, but I think it will help if I go in with some blues to create some more defined shadows and forms (though part of me does like the ethereal feeling it has now).
Did I procrastinate? Maybe a little bit. But I am starting now so I will have plenty of time during this Coronacation to get it done. I was hesitant to start because there are still some things I haven’t worked out yet, but at this point I just needed to put pencil to paper and hope my worries get sorted out as I go along. I started with just drawing lightly in pencil which I will erase later so that I could make sure I got the entire composition to fit. I think it looks alright at the moment, Next time I will replace what I have with the white.
I decided I still wasn’t ready to start the actual piece so instead I did some more searching around to find some different cool corals to include in my piece. I tried to include a lot of different shapes so that there would be a nice variety and they would be able to fit the shapes of the hidden animals.
Though I do have some preliminary sketches, I am still very uncertain as to how I want to approach my at home project idea. I am planning on creating a ocean scene in which you can see the silhouettes of sea creatures in the negative space. However, none of the sketches so far are speaking to me. I am fairly sure that I want to draw this one since I have a large toned canvas that I want to use, and I have not done a long term drawing since the first at home project.
I spent the entirety of class on this annoying little can of oil and I am not even done with it. I think it looks pretty good so far, but it is taking up a lot of time (and I don’t have a lot of it left). I was going to leave words out of this painting, but I wanted to make sure that people knew that it was oil and not just a random container.
I did the background, and it added some much needed contrast. I am hoping that the transition from nearly black to deep blue will add subtle interest and tie back into the whale painting. I feel as if the octopus and the background do not feel well incorporated so I will need possibly blend out some areas.
In class today, I discussed what my plans were for the rest of the piece, and right now I have a couple ideas that are swimming around in my head. I may add plastic wrap just as before, or clump it is swirls to weave in and out of tentacles. I could also pour a very glossy finish or add wire to finish the cropped tentacles. I also started on the suction cups, but I didn’t get very far.
I deepened the shadows in order to accentuate the fact that the light is being softly filtered through the water from above. Also, since it will be holding the oil at the bottom, I wanted the make the tentacles appear almost stained. I painted the eye, which is a small detail but it really helped the octopus come alive and I am happy about how it turned out.
I am adding on layers of paint to give more depth to the animal. At one point the canvas shifted, so I made the tenctacles line up in the wrong sport and had to move them, which consumed a bit of my time. The piece is moving along slowly as I continue to work on the top skin of the octopus. I like the texture that I am able to create by dabbing the paint on with the brush. This style is much rougher than the whale but has similarities to the cow I painted last summer. It makes the skin look weathered and bumpy which is true to an actual octopus.
I wanted to create a painting that would be similar to the whale, yet still a distinct piece. I chose to stay under water and decided that it would be interesting to experiment with the winding and curling tentacles of an octopus. I used a hodgepodge of different references, so it took a while to create a sketch that looked like an octopus but was in the position that I wanted. After this, i put on a quick layer of paint to get a better idea of the movement. At the moment, it looks like an octopus, but it isn’t a particular kind of octopus so I might need to make up my mind and choose one.
I added the background as a solid greyish blue color because I wanted the tone to contrast the darkness of the whale. After the entire thing had dried, I thought it would be a good idea to try and add a gradient, but that ended up as a waste of time as it didn’t blend easily into the old color and ended up not showing very clearly in the finished product anyway. Thankfully it did not make the piece worse, but it was definitely not a good use of my time. I knew that the background was still missing something, and it had been suggested that I add fish or trash to the background, so on an impulse I decided to cover the entire thing in plastic wrap… and I honestly really liked it. I thought it was a perfect finishing touch.
I had been putting it off long enough and finally decided it was time to paint the trash in the stomach. At first I was worried about how I would portray a bundle of bleh, but then I actually enjoyed creating tiny plastic bottles and cans which you can only see if you look really, really closely.
I worked on the bones and I decided to go with off white and brown to create a more natural look that wasn’t so stark. Indicating each little bone is time consuming but I think it’s worth it.
I worked on some more detailed areas today which were a bit more finicky. The brush I have is small but doesn’t seem small enough and some of my lines aren’t very clean. It took a lot of layering, especially for the mouth, to get the subtle textures, and I’m not sure if they came through. Overall though, I think it’s looking pretty good so far.
I have started to work on the painting and I am taking over the kitchen with my mess at the moment. I have begun by putting down a base layer of color and building a gradient. This part wasn’t too difficult and I really like the color of the whale.
I did the sketch of my painting today which didn’t take too long. It is pretty rough but I am happy with the general layout. I think I am going to want to hang this piece so that the panels are a little bit separated from each other
After a whole lot of planning and going back and forth between ideas, I have finally settled on what I am going to do for this piece. The plan is to paint a whale across three panels and on the middle one paint sort of an x-ray which will show the bones of the animal and also debri from the ocean floating inside. I don’t know how realistic this task is given the time but I will have time over the break to work on it as well.
I added in the background and overall, I think it looks pretty good. I am going to mat it so that the unfinished left edge is covered and if I have extra time, there are some things I could blend or refine, but I believe its time to put it down.
Man oh man the shoe took a while, but it is by far my favorite part of this piece (even though it was done rather late at night). I am really happy with how the soles turned out and the slightly reflective stripes on the side. I also dealt with details such as the rope and the mesh on the lunch box. The rope definitely put my knowledge of braids to the test. Before I’m done, I was to resolve the background so I’ll probably add the suggestion of corner of the room at the upper left.
I pressing on pretty slowly and as we get closer to the deadline, the amount of time is yet again making me nervous. I began the glasses, which turned out to be not that bad after I got the general shape down. There is some subtle foreshortening so I wanted to make sure the glasses didn’t just look wonky. I darkened some areas up, but I think at the end I will want to go back and create some more contrast. Maybe I’ll try and find a darker pencil too.
I started the piggy bank today, which was a difficult task. I think it needs some more work but I need to step away from it right now. The reflection on it doesn’t look realistic, so might take some artistic liberties. I also did the rubix cube but that was a pretty simple form.
I did a bit of blending, which really helped fill out some shapes and smooth out the areas I worked on. I want to keep some of the texture though, because the sweatshirt is looking a bit silky right now. I am getting some little patches from my graphite covered knuckles but for the most part, I just rest it on a sheet of paper and I am fine. I am currently avoiding the glasses because they intimidate me.
I worked my way around the piece because I got bored with the fabric. I should probably have started in the upper right hand corner to minimize smudging but it should be okay. Also, I talked to Mia and she suggested using lighter pencils to fill in the tiny white holes in the shadows so the darks look darker. I will try that out later.
Working on such a large piece of paper, I am beginning to realize just how long it will take to create something realistic. I began to work on the folds of fabric from my hoodie and so far it is still very rough in that section. I am trying to emphasize the darks and the lights before I smooth things out so that I don't lose the contrast.
At this point I think I have finished with the contour of the still life so the next session will be adding value. Drawing the glasses (which I almost forgot to do) was definitely the most difficult part since the perspective is so odd, and I still do not think they look quite right. I will probably end up redoing them. I also have not decided how I want to approach the back wall in the piece because including it clues the viewer into the angle of the piece but I don't know if its distracting.
I started working on the rough sketch of the still life and so far things are going smoothly. proportion is a bit difficult with so many objects in different orientations but I don't believe anything looks too out of place. I am comfortable working in pencil, but I believe the challenge will come when I get to adding value.
I spent a long time gathering things in my house and attempting to make a tower out of them which was an equally frustrating and entertaining experience. I wanted to give the feeling of instability without the set up actually being so unstable it falls. To the right is an image of the general set up and I didn't even need to use tap or glue to keep it standing. For the actual piece, I decided to rotate my perspective to emphasize the element of topsy turvy.
I've started to put paint to canvas which is exciting but I am still figuring out how I want the finished product to look. I spent a while pondering over colors but at the moment I have gone for a yellow background to complement the purple and pink foreground. I need to make the dog the center of attention so I think I will end up dulling the colors that surround him. I'm not used to working in such bright colors, so I am trying to find a balance of feeling like you are in a child's room but not appear as if a child painted it.
I have for the most part finished the initial sketch for the painting. I decided to follow the idea that the dog is stuffed into an uncomfortable position and staged in a child's room attempting to recreate renaissance portraits. I spent a while on the face attempting to make it appear awkward. I think it looks okay now but it will probably be ignored by paint. My goal was to focus on creating a more dynamic composition witch incorporated a more developed background and I think this drawing is a step in the right direction.
It was a bit of a race to the finish and on Friday I worked during lunch and study hall to try the create some finality to it. I added in the crown using some metallic paint I found left in the bottom of the golden acrylic box. I was originally going to keep it matte but it looked fun so I decided to use it instead. I also finished the bottom of the drapery and added some more layering around the piece, darkening and brightening some areas for contrast. I made the staff look like an actual stick and I actually really like how that turned out.
Overall, there are still some changes I would like to make if I ave time to come back to it. I think i may want to add the jewelry and crown details that I had in the original sketch. I would also like to create more depth by muting or darkening the background so the dog pops forward more.
I was kind of having an artist's block and I wasn't really in love with any of the sketches I made in the previous post. I had sort of stressed myself out about having something that would be perfect (as I do), but that isn't the point of this assignment or art in general, so I decided that I would grab some paints and create something that would make me happy. My mom loved the idea of painting a cow, especially since it would connect to the family's mountain house where there are often cattle grazing. Painting this piece really felt like it was from the heart and is linked to the many animal drawings I have been creating recently. There were a couple frustrations along the way as the paint I was using wasn't as opaque or thick as I would have preferred, but it worked out with a lot of layering. Also doing the grass was very tedious and I am not completely happy with it. I was trying to create variation and texture but it still looks flat. Overall, I think she is very cute and I love how the over saturated orange and blue complement each other in the cow. There is definitely room to improve but I think I am getting better at these mini paintings.
My family has a house in the mountains which is very dear to me where we raise cattle. Following my journey of portraying animals, I wanted to depict the serenity I feel while at this spot through a calmly resting cow.
I have drawn some really, really rough sketches of some ideas I have had so far. I am not completely happy with any of them and have not settled on anything yet but at least we have some graphite on the paper. I hope my notes are legible because some of them may help decipher the drawing.
It makes me sad but we have simply run out of time in the year. I want to be able to finish this piece but I don't know when it will happen. It was good practice for the beginning of the oil paint process.
I have started with the grisaille and its going okay. The background is a bit streaky so I will need another coat of paint. I definitely need to work a bit more on this step before i am ready to move on.
I am almost finished with the brunaille now. The painting is still very light but I will define more values with the grisaille. So far, I am really liking the way the pear is turning out but I am worried about getting clean and straight lines for the cup and jar.
I'm getting started on the brunaille and right now it is basically a line drawing but I was able to fix a couple issues from the sketch. The flower is giving me some difficultly so I will probably wait until the grisaille before I attempt any more detail.
I spent a while choosing my composition but I settled on this one and I think it will be interesting to paint, if not a bit difficult for some parts. I am mostly done with the under drawing, but some things are still a bit wonky.
I'm finished!! I just spray painted the whole thing white and I think it brought it all together. I still have a couple issues with the figure and the paint coat wasn't completely even, but overall i think it looks alright and I need to be done so I think this is it!
There was a bit of a gap in progress, but I have made some changes since the last post. I screwed in some loose screws that were being annoying so hopefully everything is secure now. I also added a bunch more wire and since I was out of the old wire, this wire is slightly different but its is only barely noticeable and the wire is evenly dispersed on the piece. I might add a bit more but the last big thing I want to do is paint it. I have not decided what color yet but I am pretty certain now that I will paint it.
I added wire around the figure and I feel like it works pretty well but its hard to see in the photograph. It still looks unresolved so I am probably going to add more screws and wires to create a denser web around her. I am nearly out of time so I'll have to work quickly. If I am still unsatisfied, then I might paint it in hopes of bring the sculpture together.
I covered the rest of the base with screws today. I would have liked to have more smooth variation in heights but working with two different screws and a thin base made it difficult to get a lot of different heights. currently, I am out of tall screws but I still have a bunch of short screws. I am considering adding more small screws on the base and possibly adding them on the figure too but I'm not really sure yet. Next Time, I will probably experiment will wire and decide from there if I need more screws.
I started putting on screws and I think i will need a couple more screws than I thought and I want to try and find more different sizes and maybe some shorter bolts and nails. For now I have decided to leave it white but I might paint the entire thing later. I plan on covering as much space as possible and I might also add wires over top of her.
I have finished putting plaster on my piece and I like the cohesion and how she blends into the ground. I am leaning towards painting her and if I do, it will be probably dark neutral colors. Progress is slow so I am hoping I can get a ton done next class and start adding wires and screws on as well since I am running out of time and my initial idea was to have a whole lot of stuff on top of the base figure. Overall, I am happy with how it looks right now and i hope I don't mess it up.
the dried plaster is very solid and I am happy with the rigidity and glad that nothing collapsed overnight. I finished plastering her, though I am not completely satisfied with the hand. I also began adding plaster around the base to create continuity. I am debating whether or not to paint the plaster and I also need to decide if I want another coat of the gauze to emphasize the drapes.
I have finally begun to add plaster gauze onto my piece. It is a bit lumpier and bumpier than I expected so either I will add another layer or embrace the bumpiness as texture. Right now she looks like she is wearing a body suit so next time I will finish completely plastering her.
With a short class period, not many changes were made. However, I did fix the arm and I think it looks a lot less like a noodle. I also began to more firmly secure her on the platform and add more mass to areas in the arms and legs that looked flimsy.
She is completely covered now, but i might make a few minor changes to the figure before I layer it with plaster. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the general form, but the arm is definitely too long and I am not sure how I will fix that. I also got a board to rest and attach the figure on, which I was excited about because now she is a lot easier and safer to carry. I am considering painting the plaster earthier tones once it is layered and dried so it isn't such a stark white. I will definitely play with that later when I start adding details.
I decided to change the leg and head position of the figure and luckily, since I am working with wire and newspaper, it was a simple fix. Though there isn't a lot of visible change, I made the stuffing denser and more secure, so she hopefully won't fall apart. I also added to the legs and started her arm. I still have yet to do the hands and feet so that will have to be next class. However, I have began to collect materials such as dead moss and screws for her later decorations.
Now, I am stuffing newspaper into the wire armature to fill the framework and using tape to mummify her so she stays in one piece. I am a little scared to do the hands and feet and I don't know how detailed I will be able to make them just yet. So far, the form is very crude but my plan is to layer her with plaster so she will have a more finished look before I add other objects on top of her.
Now that I have a solid idea, I have started to make the armature for my figure. Working with the wire was interesting and got be thinking in three dimensions. There are a couple small issues with the proportion, but overall I think it is a good place to begin. Choosing to depict a person will be a challenge for me but I have already passed the first hurdle.
The painting to the left is my final piece and the painting to the right is my practice piece. In my opinion, they share the same general feeling, though the final piece seems more controlled while the practice was more sporadic. I do like the spontaneity of the first piece, but the practice allowed me to plan for the next piece. I like how in the final piece, I preserved more of the dark under-layer and utilized different textures.
My favorite parts of this piece are when you can see all the different layers of paint built up over time and scratched together. It gives the illusion of depth and layers of trees which alludes to my title: Birch Trees.
I am a Maggie Walker art student in Richmond, Virginia. This blog section is a little window into my art process, research, and experiences. You can follow along with my journey as you scroll.