Saturday, December 13, 2014

Project 10: Colored Pencil Magazine Bow Challenge

Our homework assignment for the past month has been to complete the monthly Colored Pencil Magazine Challenge, which for the month of November was a photograph of Christmas bows. In the beginning, I wasn't too excited about the prospect. However, once I started, the bows were a lot of fun. I decided to crop the image because the entire picture depicted many bows, and I preferred to do fewer bows and make each bow larger. 

I really enjoyed the vibrant colors of the bows. I found sketching them out to be tedious but once it came to blocking in the colors and highlights I began to enjoy the project a lot more. The black paper really made the colors appear even more bright, although in turn I wasn't able to push the highlights as much as I would have liked. 

The most challenging bows were the metallic colored ones. While I have both a gold pencil and a silver pencil, they were both darker than the shades shown in the photograph. I added white to both, but that diminished the metallic qualities. In the end, the gold and silver bows were somewhat metallic looking, but not to the extent that I'd desired.

Project 7: Landscape

The scene depicted is of Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest, Hungary, right off of the Danube River. I've liked this photograph for a long a time and have considered making a piece inspired by it, but I have always been intimidated by the level of detail. That being said, I was at first hesitant to choose this subject as my landscape. I wanted this piece to be quicker piece and I was worried that the details in this photo would inhibit my intentions. I ended up simplifying the stonework of the structure in my original sketches which made the whole prospect seem much more doable.

 I chose to do this piece in watercolor because I hadn't worked in that medium yet this year. I started off by doing some rough sketches in my notebook.  I really enjoyed the loose quality of water colors, that a few expressive colors in key places could have a great impact. The color scheme of the photograph  was also very interesting to work with. It contained a wide range of blues, rich brick reds in the distant city, and vibrant greens in the close up trees.

After lightly sketching the scene, I began by blocking off the areas in the clouds I wished to leave white and by putting in a blue wash over the rest of the sky. I then put in the distant mountains and forests as well as the buildings, for which I put in warm light browns and red roofs. I moved my way toward the foreground, using lots of layers of green in varying shades and hues to give the trees depth. The building itself I painted last. I first did a light gray wash over the whole thing and then went back and placed in the dark grays. 

Overall I am happy with the piece. There are a few areas that turned out darker than I would like them to be and I would like to have sharper edges in some places. On the whole though,  I really enjoyed this process. Watercolors were a nice break from oils and I'd like to paint something in them again soon.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Project 5: Self Portrait

This project took a lot longer than I had anticipated for a few reasons. I'm not super confident in drawing figures/faces, so that to begin with made the project a little bit challenging. Sketching and feature placement took me a long time, but I finally got the sketch where I wanted it. Initially I had intended to do my self portrait in oils, but I wasn't fond of the colors I had chosen and I got a little frustrated with the whole thing. I then switched gears and decided to do my portrait in stippling. I'd done a large landscape in stippling in art two, and really enjoyed it even though it was very time consuming. I really like the range of value and the detail that can be achieved with stippling.

The most challenging part of this project was definitely capturing myself accurately. Even though my drawing was pretty accurate, my initial placement of the shadows seemed to distort some of my features, especially my nose. I went back in and deepened the shadows, and that made my features appear more proportional. I had to go back and push the dark values several times, but now I am happy with the contrast. Overall, I am pretty happy with the end result. I definitely feel more confident about rendering portraits as well as stippling.