Sunday, August 30, 2009

60th Post Spectacular!

Here are some quick sketches of the last figure drawing class i went to, before going on vacation.

I was able to go see the ACTUAL Book of Kells and i must say it was amazing. Those drawings will be scanned and posted in a couple of days, with better commentary.

These though are some of the best from that particular class. i don't know if i was tired or the model didn't click with me, but i have about 10 pages of no goods in my sketch book. I did my best. Enjoy anyway.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

On Art, Zen, and Silence

My Husband left to visit the in-laws a couple of weeks ago and I've been noticing a couple of things about myself in his absence. I want to say that I've re-found my inner-voice, but actually quite the opposite. I'm beginning to realize the pleasure I receive from silence. I spend most of my day to day work life talking and being social (it actually is part of my duties), that finding small moments of silence is a relief. I don't mean silence as in switching off the TV, radio, and closing the windows. I mean just not talking for the sake of talking and not listening just because there is noise. I find the silence of doing the dishes in an empty house enjoyable (and i hate doing dishes!).

Maybe this is a form of "moving meditation", because even though i think, i think of nothing. Thoughts wander in and out and i feel contented that i can be silent. After such moments it makes me think of those articles about "finding time for silence", where you have to practice it. You know, tell your friends and family that for 24 hours you will refrain from talking. It becomes a big deal and an inconvenience to everyone involved. Talk if you must, but when alone just stop.

Now what does this have to do with art?

You can take the same approach to art. Listen tot the inner critic, but don't necessarily respond to it. Be silent and just let the line work. let the drawing happen, and if the image isn't right, try again. I've gotten my most profound leaps of skill with this method. It's like when astrophysicists say they spend days/weeks/months/years trying to solve a problem, but the day they decide to give up, that night their dreams figure it out for them. and thus they can continue in the process. That's how it can be with the pencil/pen/brush.

So this is how it goes:
You listen to the critiques (wether your own, or other peoples); You think it over (trying to process all this new information); You shut up (stop thinking about it, don't listen to the same critiques over and over again); Then just do (just do it, like the Nike ad!)

And what does this have to do with Zen?
Well by accepting (and this is going to sound new age-y and cliched) the noise around you but not necessarily contributing to it, you end up striking a balance. Like the reed in the water (one of my favorite metaphors). The noise bends you one way or the other, but never breaks you. and for not straining to remove yourself from the noise, not make more noise yourself, you don't rip your own roots out! Does that make sense? Zen is about learning to be present in every single moment. and in this day and age and culture of city life, it's hard to find silence. But even if i lived in the country I'd still hear: winds, animals, plants, rain, etc. and those noises can be just as distracting. So learning to allow the noise to be around you, but not necessarily affect you... learning to shut up every so often both internally and externally, without the need to lock yourself up in a padded room or box, will, I think, make you calmer and thus happier. And who doesn't want to be happy?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Late night doodlings

So I've taken some advice, and started drawing from the TV. Pausing it when necessary to get the face down right and practicing faces. But also just drawing for the sake of drawing. Whatever i see in front of me (like my tiny plush Mayor from Halloween-town). I feel like I'm getting more confident with them since the ones in pen came out great (at least in my opinion). I'm mostly watching the Daily Show, and the History channel, so if some faces look familiar, you know why (and if I did catch their names i wrote them down next to the heads).

I must say though, that its becoming fun. I think i fall into the trap of most artists after they leave school and that's they get stale, and start comparing themselves to professionals with decades in the field. Now I'm not saying there is anything necessarily wrong with that (it can motivate you to become better), but depending on your composition, it can also become discouraging. And though doing the blog rounds CAN be inspiring, depending on the day, you may just want to throw up the pencil/pen/brush/wacom and call it quits. I know i have.

By the by, These 2 pages are from this nice square sketchpad from NY Central. It's the perfect size for right next to the bed and late night doodling, sketching. I need a bulldog clip to keep it closed, and since no spiral no back of page drawings, but i'm enjoying the challenge. No need to feel like you need to fill up every bit of space. and it has a nice tooth in case you want to add more shading/texture.

Either way, enjoy the pictures, and I'll have more for you in a couple of days.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Another Full Sketch Page

I saw "Brendan and the Secret of Kells" a couple of weeks ago and did these drawings in the pub while we discussed the movie. I liked to composition of the entire page and the color came out nice in the scan. If you get an opportunity to see said movie, i highly recommend it, as it is visually stunning!

I also sat in Borders the other day looking through some graphic novels (mostly Hellboy) and realized that though i am a BatFreak, i never draw him. I guess I'm usually too scared that i'll draw him stupid or messed up. So I said "f"it to the wind, and did a couple of quick pure ink drawings of Batman. If you can't tell the one on the bottom is knitting (another passion of mine).