Monday, February 28, 2011

Music and Figure Drawing

At the last Wednesday night figure drawing session, I was thinking about how we listen to music while we figure draw. Paul Geiger organizes the drawing sessions, directs the models and selects the music. He starts the drawing session with classical music then after the mid break he plays something contemporary with vocals, sometimes edgy, rough, and expressive. Last week was Bob Dylan, and week before that was old blues. Paul has played the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Tom Petty, a lot of amazing albums.

Paul never asks us what we want to hear, he picks the music and we listen, it’s good he picks because I’ve discovered there’s a lot of nice music I never would have thought to listen to while I draw. In the figure drawing sessions I often find myself tapping my feet, humming, and quietly singing along. And if you look around you’ll see other artist doing the same. At the last figure drawing session we listened to Elton John, it was great!

I’ve sketched at figure drawing sessions were there is no music. I think that’s good too, I still produced good drawings. But there’s something about listening to the right music while I draw that I feel inspires and motivates me, it seems to add to the drawing experience. I get a joyous feeling that I can draw forever, and a feeling that at that moment, I am living my life to it’s fullest.

What's your favorite music to listen to while you draw/paint/create art?

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE, GRAPHITE ON PAPER 14" x 17"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gathering Art Work for a Portfolio

Lately, I've been working on putting a portfolio of my recent work together. I'm doing this because I'm visiting fine art schools in the east coast. I want to apply to graduate schools to earn an MFA (Masters of Fine Arts).

It's not easy picking twenty of my best pieces for a portfolio. I like my work, I am proud of it, so looking through my drawings and paintings from the last couple years to pick the best work has been tough.

Here are two older pieces that caught my eye: I like the fresh sketch feeling these two drawings have, and I thought they were nice pieces. I think I draw so much that perhaps I get immune to my drawings and get caught up in the production and technical part of it that I don't see the beauty in my work. It's not until I have set it aside, forgotten about it, then later revisit my work that I say "Wow! what a beautiful piece, did I really do that?" I think that's when I truly enjoy my work.

So what schools am I interested in? There are a lot of schools with impressive programs. Two I want to really visit are NYAA (New York Academy of Art) and PAFA (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art). Impressive programs, I'm looking forward to touring the schools and talking to the faculty and students soon.

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE, GRAPHITE ON PAPER 14" x 17"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Toy Penguin and Loafers

"Hay! What's this penguin doing inside this shoe?" This is exactly what my 4 year old nephew, JD, said to this drawing. I didn't think much of it when I saw JD looking at this piece. He usually doesn't respond to my drawings, but with this one he got it. All of a sudden, he looked up at me, put his little index finger on my drawing and responded! "Hay! What's this penguin doing inside this shoe?" He made my day, I laughed, I loved his response.

These are JD's loafers, I've been wanting to draw them. They are so cute, and I've been wanting to incorporate some of JD's toys into my drawings. JD has a lot of toys, so I didn't want to think too much about selecting a toy, so I grabbed this penguin. It caught my attention, it's a character from the animated film Madagascar by Dreamworks. So I quickly put this still life together and started drawing.

I liked JD's response because when I begin a drawing I try to make sure it communicates clearly, I don't want to confuse the viewer or have them wonder what it is they are looking at. So seeing a child understanding my drawing on paper was a big compliment.

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE, GRAPHITE ON PAPER 11" x 14"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Low Turnout at Figure Drawing Session

This past Wednesday night, I attended the open figure drawing session at Paul Geiger studios and I was surprised to see a low turn out. So strange because usually a good crowd shows up. I really didn't mind, for me it meant more options of drawing the model from different sides of the room. Though it's nice to have a large crowd, there's always that intense feeling of concentration that radiates when a big group is drawing the model. And I really like the camaraderie I feel in a group of artists, everyone with similar interests of improving their drawing skills and drawing because they enjoy it.

Here's a drawing from Wednesday night, this was a 10 minute pose. Paul hired a male model, it was a good drawing session. Paul played classical music and Bob Dylan.

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE, GRAPHITE ON PAPER 14" x 17"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kitchen Countertop Still Life Drawing

This is one of my favorite still life drawings. I've been wanting to post this one for a while. I like it when I create these types of drawings, they are really busy and fill the page.

Now, I believe there is a very important part to these types of drawings that brings everything together and helps make it successful and that is in drawing the tile pattern.

I discovered the beauty of tiled kitchen countertops when I lived in an old house in El Monte California. That's were I first started drawing kitchen scenes and where, for the first time, I sketched in the tile in my drawing and made an amazing discovery! The tile pattern visually added an amazing feeling to my drawing: it filled the page, it added a better scene of perspective, it placed the still life items on a solid foundation, and most importantly, it added a stronger three dimensional feeling.

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE, GRAPHITE ON PAPER 14" x 17"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Drawing Father n Son Nike Air Jordans

Lately I've been been making still life drawings of shoes. This drawing is of the Classic Nike Air Jordan's, the small ones belong to my 4 year old nephew, (he's learning to play basketball at the local YMCA) and the adult size shoes belong to his father (he's the basketball coach).

I struggled with deciding if I should post this drawing. I was concerned that it was just a drawing of shoes: big deal, kinda boring subject. But two reasons I decided to sketch this type of still life convinced me that I need to share this drawing with others.

One reason was simple: I liked the Nike Air Jordan's Basketball high tops, they are so cool! Beautifully designed: the boldness, the shoe strings, the shapes, and most important for me, I saw a challenge that made me want to prop these three items on a stand and try to create a nice bold three dimensional drawing. And trust me, it was tough.

The second reason was sentimental. When I first saw my 4-year-old nephew's basketball high tops at first glance I thought, 'how cute, they're so small". Then one can't help ponder on how innocent and new he is to this world and how father, mother, grandmother, and uncle protect, love and cherish every moment with him. I sketched father and son shoes to possibly represent that bond and I added the fruit to possibly represent god, nurture, teacher, growth and happiness.

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE, GRAPHITE ON PAPER 14" x 17"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Figure Drawing with the Right Elements

Wow! Where do I begin: good model, good old blues music, good drawings, and good vibes at last nights Geiger Studios open figure drawing session. I think all these elements helped me produce a lot of nice drawings last night. I had a tough time picking a piece to share on this blog, I was in the zone, it's a great feeling.

Another element that helped me draw with lots of confidence and ease last night is practice. I've been drawing a lot lately, 2-3 hours daily, still lifes during the week, and Saturday morning portrait drawings. And before I went to last night's figure drawing session, I sat down to draw a still life for 2 hours, so I had a good warm up before the evening figure drawing session.

I strongly believe practicing my drawing daily will continue to improve my skill. It takes time to train the brain to translate what it sees to a hand drawing created on paper.

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE, GRAPHITE ON PAPER 14" x 17"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Table Top Random Still Life Drawing

Here's a new still life drawing I really enjoyed creating. For me its' a random composition---I didn't put this still life together, it just happened. I purchased some fruit at local market for drawing in a still life. I placed the fruit on the dining room table with the intention to create a still life to draw. Well my mom made lunch and she moved everything on the table to the side and when I came to eat lunch this is what I saw on the table. I liked it, I couldn't have come up with it on my own.

Objects and items I wouldn't normally put together on a still life all of a sudden created a nice composition. After lunch, I sat down to draw this scene. I did take out a few items to simplify it, and I purposely included the large white space on bottom to compliment the busy top section and for the viewer to possibly understand that all these items had been pushed aside.

I like it when I find these random compositions. I learn a lot from them. One lesson is my drawings don't necessarily have to stick to a theme to be successful. Drawing these types of scenes with random objects also creates interesting responses and feelings from people viewing my art.

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE, GRAPHITE ON PAPER 14" X 17"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

portrait Drawing Male Teenager

Today we had two new models at the Al Hyter portrait drawing group in Toledo Ohio, Joseph and Jessie, two teenagers with their own unique character. This portrait is of Joseph, he has a great hair style for drawing. I like the way the length of his hair makes a nice shape for drawing. His hair is parted at the face so it frames his eyes, nose, lips and chin. I really enjoyed creating Joseph's portrait. Next Saturday I'll sketch the other model, Jessie.

Good drawing music was played at the portrait drawing session today:
  • Fiddler on The Roof
  • Simon & Garfunkel
  • Ray Davies
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Still Life Drawing With a Slow Tempo

Here's a recent still life drawing I really like! One thing that helps me create these nice still life drawings is setting a pace. For still life drawings, I like to have a slow tempo music, something that can keep me calm. I stay away from Latin salsa and rock music, or even classical music. Lately what I have been listening to is the movie Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince. I have it recorded on the cable box and as soon as I start to draw a still life, I kick on Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince.

This movie has a nice pace, all the dialog and the music is very mellow, perfect for drawing. I also like the visual mood of the movie; it's dark, Gothic and has that classic castle look. So I'll turn this movie on and listen to it while I draw, and sometimes I'll take a break and watch a little Harry Potter.

Well, it's still cold outside and I feel like drawing so I think I'll go look for a still life to draw in the kitchen and listen to Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Drawing Still Lifes in the Winter Season

I've been drawing a lot of still lifes. I could easily post 2 drawings a day, 7 days a week for this whole month with just still life drawings of fruit and kitchen scenes. One main reason I'm motivated to draw a lot is the weather. I'm in Toledo Ohio and the weather out is bitter cold with snow so not much to do outdoors for me but work inside on drawings during the day when I'm not working on illustrations. I am grateful for the weather, it's making me produce a lot of work and I notice my drawings skills are improving.

Well, just got done shoveling snow, and more snow is expected for this evening so I'm going to sit down and draw a still life.

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