Saturday, November 24, 2012

Inspirational Illustration

Illustrations are everywhere, for certain: amusing us, enticing us to purchase, or to read, or to be safe or to have fun.
Hudson Valley Seed Library, in Accord, New York,
employs unique and creative illustration to urge us to
grow heirloom plants. 
 Beautifully blending art and science.
(Watch right to the end!)

And then feast your eyes on their catalog:
HVSL Seed Packets  
I'm normally a cheapskate, buying vegetable seeds from the "country living" store down the road, or from the hardware store, or from Johnny's. But at only $3.75 a pop, heirloom seeds (more flavorful vegetables) AND outrageously beautiful artwork?!?  
I am designing my heirloom garden right now. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Monday Night Sketch Club

I finally made it back to sketch club, the Monday evening life drawing session at the Art Center in Saratoga Springs. I don't know why I waited so long. Well, perhaps I do. It's hard to motivate myself to leave the warm house in the dark, on a work night...but then I rationalized that if there was one place that would be warm and cozy, it would be a room where there's a nude model. 

Dark, it was, but there was warmth.

Her face is a little cartoony, but her hands and knees look real!

I'm a little queasy about posting a nude study. Are there some internet police who will be knocking at my door to accuse me of spreading pornography? However, the Sketch Club major domo posts members' works most weeks--lots of skin--and I haven't yet seen his name in the police blotter.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Further Splitter Progress Plus

I present to you "The Woodsplitter," nearing completion--or nearing removal to a deep, deep closet.

An alternative title might be "The Magic Fence." Those vertical hunks of wood are not supported by any kind of horizontal bracing. Better fix that! And I'd better mess up Handsome's shirt a bit, because he attracts dirt like a supermagnet, and I don't see him this clean except at family weddings or when stepping out of the shower. 

Here's another view of the painting...

...which shows another current project of mine. Stage props! The mess on the right will become the uberplump turkey that Scrooge brings to the Cratchett family after his night of revelations.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Portrait Sketch

I keep attempting to improve my portrait-drawing skills, and in particular, getting accurate facial proportions.

This quick sketch was kind of a cheat--from a photo in a magazine instead of from life.

 Lyra-Rembrandt pencil on tan toned paper

Can you guess what she was modeling?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Progress on Two Fronts! Portraiture & Rituxan

Beautiful day. Instead of a jog at the gym, we went for a long walk through the village and down to the river. It was very breezy, very dry--not a cloud in the sky. On the return trip, we stopped to chat with some neighbors who were doing yard work (unexpected yard work, because who ever thought that in mid-November it would be 68 degrees?!?)

...and it suddenly hit me...

I was able to talk! To breathe comfortably! On an average day, after a few minutes of walking, my mouth is so dry that I cannot speak because my lips are stuck to my teeth and my tongue to the roof of my mouth. Ugh. On a dry and windy day like today, speaking is so out of the question that I look for ways to avoid people, and conversation.

In the past, I have not been very good about keeping track of Sjogren's Syndrome symptoms pre- and post-Rituxan treatments. Maybe because they are usually anything but profound. But this, today, was enormous. (And I'm sure completely uninspiring and confusing to those without Sjogren's Syndrome.) But believe me, it's big. Thumb's Up for Rituxan infusions!

On the art front, I've been spending some time on the Woodsplitter portrait every afternoon, and also fitting in some sketching. Please look past the shine from the wet paint, and the doofy background that I made up because I didn't like where he was actually standing. (One lesson in this: use a photo reference for an alternative background instead of making one up.).

detail from work currently in progress

The shots from the version that I set aside and was certain that the computer deep-sixed the other day turned up in a file.

My woodsplitter's other body parts...those, you don't want to see.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Return to Rituxan

Monday was the second half of my semi-annual Rituximab infusion. Went it at 8:00, was hooked up within a few minutes, and the infusion was over with soon after noon--quicker than the first session, two weeks ago. I felt fine during the treatment, and I continue to feel fine--even a little better than usual, and I don't know if it's the drugs or if it's all in my head. Anyway, my joints, lungs and head have been well enough this week for lots of activity and fun, including taking in an awesome performance of Wicked! 

Being out of the infusion chair by 1:00 also offered me a nice block of afternoon to get some errands done. I bought several "new to me" colors of the water-mixable oil paint. 

I bow down to people who master this medium. And I keep trying to learn. Here's the only part of my unfinished "The Woodsplitter" that I dare show:

[I am not making this up. The photos I just downloaded are nowhere. Apparently, my computer agrees with me that they are better off hidden! Imagine a close-up view of a left ear and one of a right elbow.]

One thing I have learned, as I paint this fellow over and over: take the time to make some thumbnails, a sketch or two, and a decent drawing before shmearing paint.

Tune in again for progress reports, and shots, computer-willing.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Portrait Struggles and More

I am hesitant to post my progress on the portrait of The Woodsplitter. I'm on my second version after the watercolor sketch, and in this version (not shown) he is decidedly apoplectic. (Sorry, apoplexy sufferers. I'm not hating on you. Only on my skills at painting a likeness.)

Yesterday, to take a break from painting, I wandered down to the Greenwich Library, where painter Leslie Peck is having a show of her recent work. Feast your eyes on her light-filled depictions of the people, animals, products and machinery of our upstate agrarian community. She's amazing.

I'll just partake of a little feast, though, so I can get back to fixing the mess on my drawing board.