Archive for the ‘DRAWING TIPS’ Category

PAINTING OTHERS TO FIND YOURSELF

July 16, 2015
CROPPED, full figure. MAN WITH AN OLIVE WALL. . copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD. All Rights Reserved. Do Not Reproduce or PIN on PINTERST. Caran D'ACHE Neocolor 2 on STILLMAN AND BIRN ZETA PAPER.

CROPPED, full figure. MAN WITH AN OLIVE WALL. . copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD. All Rights Reserved. Do Not Reproduce or PIN on PINTEREST. Caran D’ACHE Neocolor 2 on STILLMAN AND BIRN ZETA PAPER.

Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.

JACKSON POLLOCK

I have been attending open session figure drawing classes this summer. It is the best meditation. Trying to truly see another person takes complete concentration, complete surrender on a certain level. Once the drawing process begins to take form, it is impossible to consciously THINK about anything else: one is fully invested in the present experience.

This sketch has been cropped for posting from a full figure pose.
I am using Caran D’Ache NEOCOLOR 2 watersoluble pastel crayons on STILLMAN AND BIRN ZETA multimedia paper. Strong fine lines are made with Conte pencil or DERWENT DRAWING pencil crayon. Zeta paper is able to withstand layers of wash and drawing without pills or abrasion.
Working over the course of about 2 hours, the slight adjustments of the model make me realize that nothing in life is still. Nothing. Charting movement, light, and singular moments of clear color become the activity. The wordy thinking-mind is silent. The eye is open. When the model takes a breath, so do I.
The end result is a surprise. The journey is everything.

EMBRACING THE UNKNOWN through the known

July 2, 2015
Dad and Me. copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERED. Do not reproduce, or PIN ON PINTEREST. CARAN D' ACHE NEOCOLOR 2 crayons on CANSON MI- TIENTES paper.

Dad and Me. copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Do not reproduce, or PIN ON PINTEREST. CARAN D’ ACHE NEOCOLOR 2 crayons on CANSON MI- TIENTES paper.

There are things known
and there are things unknown,
and in between are the doors of perception.
ALDOUS HUXLEY
Presently engaged in a positive struggle with the medium.
This was a phrase a teacher wrote in my evaluation as an early art student.
Maddening and puzzling at the time,the comment confused me. Consulting a MAGIC EIGHT BALL would have been more useful. Or perhaps a basket of fortune cookies would have been more satisfying. At any rate, I probably responded with a snotty THANKS KRESKIN and moved on…continuing to positively struggle with the medium with no appreciation of what that actually meant.
Later years proved the brutal honesty of this assessment: experimentation IS a positive struggle with a medium. The only way we learn ANYTHING is through playful experimentation.
It is way too hot to sketch on location the past week, but I wanted to learn how to manipulate CARAN D’ACHE NEOCOLOR 2 PASTELS to get some specific effects. Selfies are a good way to manage a new medium. If results are heinous, adding a mustache and a gnome hat are viable options at the end of a session! Antlers are even better.
Pastel is like poetry: it is a short ride to SUPERBAD. Pastel needs to have a sense of immediacy,variation in mark-making, a measure of authenticity, and lack of artifice. One needs to know when to stop. Knowing when to stop is the hardest thing to learn and almost impossible to teach. We need to find the borderland between done and overdone on our own.
Refraining is the most potent meditation.

PAINTING WITH CRAYONS: Caran D’ Ache NEOCOLOR 2 + Stillman & Birn Zeta

June 19, 2015
BETTER PART OF SHADOW. copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DO NOT REPRODUCE or Pin on Pinterest.

BETTER PART OF SHADOW. copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DO NOT REPRODUCE or Pin on Pinterest.

Painting is an illusion, a piece of magic,
so what you see is not what you see.

PHILIP GUSTON
I really want to paint. In oil. In pastel.
But, it is sensible for me to avoid solvents and toxicity issues for health reasons and because there is not a dedicated ” work sink”. EXCUSES EXCUSES…CRY ME A RIVER….
So I have been muttering about exploring casein but slow to pull the pin on that grenade, when there are plenty of art supplies in studio. * {I still have a set of egg tempera in a drawer because at some point I realized I would have a better time dropping beans in a bottle with my nose rather than pick away stroke by stroke like a monk in the Middle Ages}.
Can I reinvent my process with existing materials, to get a painterly experience without fumes, pigment dust, or cruddy brushes? MAYBE. Let’s not give in to a failure of imagination before July.
The pastel yearning can be answered with Caran D’Ache NEOCOLOR 2 watersoluble wax pastels.
The painterly yearning can be addressed by starting with a toned ground which will allow me to manipulate surface paint into smudges and smears. I used Daniel Smith’s watercolor ground with a touch of M. Graham gouache for tint, based on a recommendation from my friend Janis ( a superior watercolorist and pigment poobah of the highest order ).
The need for a versatile surface can be answered by STILLMAN + BIRN’S ZETA mixed media paper.
Working alternately wet and dry with these crayons has opened up some new possibilities in life drawing sessions.  Just beginning to apply some ‘know- how’ to interpreting some other ideas to this method.
Just might be a painter’s summer yet!

STUDIES: TONAL APPROACHES 2

August 11, 2014
DOORWAY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce. TOMBOW Pens in STILLMAN AND BIRN ALPHA journal.

DOORWAY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce. DO NOT PIN: YOU WILL BE IN VIOLATION OF COPYRIGHT. TOMBOW Pens in STILLMAN AND BIRN ALPHA journal.

I am interested right now in light appearing through rectangles.
Um…That’s about it.

 

STUDIES: TONAL APPROACHES

July 31, 2014
OUT THE WINDOW: TONAL STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce. TOMBOW MARKERS + Stillman and Birn ALPHA JOURNAL

OUT THE WINDOW: TONAL STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce. TOMBOW MARKERS + Stillman and Birn ALPHA JOURNAL

Artistically I am still a child with a whole life ahead
of me to discover and create. I want something, but I won’t know
what it is until I succeed in doing it.

ALBERTO GIACOMETTI
Studies. Studies. Studies.
Things happen when you are DOING THEM, and not just thinking about them.

URBAN SKETCHING: SPLASH PADS

July 27, 2014
SPLASHPAD: Huntersville, NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved.

SPLASHPAD: Huntersville, NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved.

It’s a moment that I’m after, a fleeting moment,
but not a frozen moment.
ANDREW WYETH

Splash Pads are a great place to practice gesture drawing, because the activity is so frenetic there is no time to get fussy about perfect contour drawing. The human drama is also compelling: seeing people engage in a group activity even though most are strangers at first.

SPLASH PAD: Kannapolis City Park, NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

SPLASH PAD: Kannapolis City Park, NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Tentative splashers hang back and observe. Those with brio go berserk roaring like monsters. There is the silent spoiler, who jams the jet with a bucket or foot. The malcontent screams to get wet and then screams to get dry.

July in the South is HOT.

Splash Pad: Kannapolis City Park. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Splash Pad: Kannapolis City Park. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Sitting in the shade near a splash pad will guarantee a cooler location for an urban sketcher! You can find one in the local park or in the middle of an upscale shopping mall, just a step away from STARBUCKS.

TRY EVERYTHING: Listen to what you see…

July 24, 2014
FIGURE STUDY: STILLMAN & BIRN EPSILON JOURNAL. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. LAMY SAFARI pen, Noodlers Ink, Pitt artist pen, NEOCOLOR 2 crayon in gray, Davy's gray watercolor wash

FIGURE STUDY: STILLMAN & BIRN EPSILON JOURNAL. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. LAMY SAFARI pen, Noodlers Ink, Pitt artist pen, NEOCOLOR 2 crayon in gray, Davy’s gray watercolor wash.

I have taught my students not to apply rules
or mechanical ways of seeing.
JOSEPH ALBERS

Back drawing the figure regularly after a hiatus of more than a decade.

Clocked a lot of time in dark studios in the past, mostly in New York: Spring Street Studio ( a.k.a. Minerva’s group ), SVA, PARSONS, ART STUDENTS LEAGUE, … the list goes on and on.

Back then, I was using CONTE CRAYON, pencil, or charcoal. Now I am using ink. If the drawing is not truthful in the first few meaningful strokes, all the erasure in the world probably won’t help. Ink keeps you honest. Ink forces you to be AWAKE: every moment, every stroke.

5-minute study. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved.

5-minute study. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved.

The best book: JAMES McMULLAN, HIGH FOCUS DRAWING

McMullan also has an OPINIONATER blog about approaches to drawing called LINE BY LINE.

Check him out!

5-MINUTE STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. LAMY SAFARI PEN, Noodlers Ink, Pitt artist pen

5-MINUTE STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. LAMY SAFARI PEN, Noodlers Ink, Pitt artist pen

 

SNIPPET TIPS: TOOLS & APPROACHES ON THE GO

July 22, 2014
BAR STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. HYBRID TECHNICA PEN

BAR STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. HYBRID TECHNICA PEN

Brevity is the soul of wit.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Using ten or twenty minutes to draw has really taught me a lot in the last two years. The amount of time it takes to wait for my entrée is often enough to quickly describe the moment. Now I have a greater appreciation of what can be accomplished in small increments. These snippets add up on the page and in positive experiences at the end of a week, month or year. Whether drawing from observation or illustrating an idea, sprints of practice can show progress rather rapidly. IMPORTANT NOTE: In general I wait a bit to let ANY INK dry into the paper, if the paper is sized.

Below are some tools I like to use for snippets. Sometimes I combine all 3 tools in the same sketch.

AFTERNOON LIGHT. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. HYBRID TECHNICA PEN.

AFTERNOON LIGHT. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. HYBRID TECHNICA PEN.

PENTEL HYBRID TECHNICA GEL PENS
These pens have a roller ball and are water resistant once dry. They come in several point widths. I like them particularly for really fast, scribbled sketches. A ballpoint pen is a really humble tool and is capable of great variety. I like to use pigment ink for longevity, so I prefer to use these pens rather than the kind used in most office supply. The gel ink gives a really smooth line and rarely develops the dreaded BLOB-ITIS I remember from high school. BLOB-ITIS creates greasy wads of ink on the edges of the rollerball, landing unpredictably on a sketch in defiance.

A scribbled sketch generally takes only a few minutes. I try to create a condition of light and emphasize the overall shape of objects or figures.

KANNAPOLIS CITY PARK. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. LAMY SAFARI with Noodlers ink

KANNAPOLIS CITY PARK. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. LAMY SAFARI with Noodlers ink

LAMY SAFARI FOUNTAIN PENS
These fountain pens are great because they are rugged, easy to use, and are relatively inexpensive. The marks have an expressive quality that is difficult to mimic with a technical pen, and the mess of carrying a dip pen is not a factor. I use Noodler’s BULLETPROOF INK for permanence or completely compromise and use a LAMY cartridge. The NOODLER’s ink is waterproof so I often prefer to use it if I want to place wash on top.

KANNAPOLIS STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. LAMY SAFARI PEN with NOODLER's INK

KANNAPOLIS STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. LAMY SAFARI PEN with NOODLER’s INK

A fountain pen sketch really makes me conscious of the types of lines I am creating and reinforces the idea that all drawing is abstract.

DOWNTOWN CONCORD, NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. PITT ARTIST PENS & HYBRID TECHNICA PEN.

DOWNTOWN CONCORD, NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. PITT ARTIST PENS & HYBRID TECHNICA PEN.

FABER-CASTELL PITT ARTIST PENS
These pens are available in a full complement of gray tones, which are excellent for developing drawings on the go. I usually buy the BIG BRUSH pens because I like to cover a big area fast. The fine-line markers are really nice to render detail. I always have a large black BIG BRUSH pen to fill in large areas rather than crosshatch into madness.

CABARRUS PARK. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. HYBRID TECHNICA PENS WITH WASH

CABARRUS PARK. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. HYBRID TECHNICA PENS WITH PITT ARTIST PENS

Gray toned drawings can really conjure a sense of place and light quickly.

WILMINGTON NC SNIPPET. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. DEAD BRUSH WITH INK.

WILMINGTON NC SNIPPET. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. DEAD BRUSH WITH INK.

THE DEAD BRUSH
When you have a brush that has died you have nothing left to lose: bring a small bottle of ink and work with the dried old crusty hairs. You can throw it away if you choose when you are done!

 

 

URBAN SKETCHING: WILMINGTON NC 2014

July 17, 2014

JOHNNY MERCER PIER in the morning. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Noodlers ink in a LAMY SAFARI with watercolor wash ( lamp black, davy's gray ).

JOHNNY MERCER PIER in the morning. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Noodlers ink in a LAMY SAFARI , watercolor wash ( lamp black, davy’s gray ).

Sunscreen, umbrella, hat, water, towels, t-shirt, beach book ( THE BEST UNREQUIRED READING edited by Dave Eggers. I give it 4 stars ).

The list is lengthy if you are on the pasty side and heading for the beach.

When I looked at my fully stocked pencil case, the large fistfull of PITT artist markers & the full palette of watercolors, I realized that the experience of “BEING THERE” should be primary and not the experience of ” DRAGGING THERE” all the bits and bobs one might WANT but does not NEED to describe the moment. The length of that sentence describes the feeling perfectly. TOO MUCH.

THE SANDEATER. © 2014 ELLEN WARD . ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Noodler's Ink in a LAMY SAFARI, with Watercolor wash ( lamp black, davy's gray )

THE SANDEATER. © 2014 ELLEN WARD . ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Noodler’s Ink in a LAMY SAFARI, with Watercolor wash ( lamp black, davy’s gray )

Doubt Faber-Castell designed the markers to bake on the sand anyway.
I filled 2 LAMY SAFARI pens with NOODLERS BLACK ink, carried a tiny palette with LAMP BLACK /DAVY’S GRAY, and a single flat brush. A paper cup held water for the limited washes on the beach. Less was definitely more.

One toddler was a sand-eater. He seemed to alternate between throwing gobs into the air and filling his mouth. I yelled to his mother “SAND-EATER” and  she replied, ” Yeah. He does that.”  Can’t stop the tide. Clearly can’t stop a dedicated sand eater. With at least 4 or 5 other boys under her charge, I guess she would know. No doubt a lot of sand has worked its way through them at one time or another. Probably puts ALL-BRAN to shame.

THE WILMINGTON tour of port. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. Noodler's Ink in a LAMY SAFARI with watercolor wash ( lamp black, davy's gray )

THE WILMINGTON tour of port. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. Noodler’s Ink in a LAMY SAFARI with watercolor wash ( lamp black, davy’s gray )

A tour of the harbor was full of facts about the history of Wilmington, but I was more interested in spotting some of the dolphins and sea turtles seen on the earlier trip. At 3 in the afternoon it was incredibly hot, so I wanted to capture the feeling of being in a fully shaded interior with intense daylight outside. Just a pen was enough to commit the experience to memory.

STILLMAN & BIRN ALPHA AND EPSILON : INKLINGS

July 6, 2014

No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet, no inclination.
JAMES JOYCE

IMAGINARY WARREN. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. STILLMAN AND BIRN ALPHA SKETCHBOOK: pen and ink.

IMAGINARY WARREN. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. STILLMAN AND BIRN ALPHA SKETCHBOOK: pen and ink.

 NC EXTENSION GARDEN: WILMINGTON, NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. STILLMAN & BIRN EPSILON SKETCHBOOK WITH INK.

NC EXTENSION GARDEN: WILMINGTON, NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. STILLMAN & BIRN EPSILON SKETCHBOOK WITH INK.

Ink is a catalyst for seeing. It is definite and for the most part indelible. By drawing consistently with ink one learns to make clear decisions and develop better aim. I generally do not use a pencil underlay because it hobbles my responses and makes me lazy.

These drawings are done with ink but on 2 different papers by STILLMAN & BIRN.

ALPHA has a slight texture, which works very well when crosshatching. The paper helps to break up lines, and slow the movement of the pen. There are rabbits in the yard, so this piece was drawn in bits over time. Sometimes I will start one of these sketches and use it to focus, warm-up, or just meditate. It may be developed over weeks, with 5 or 10 minutes visits to build the image each time. Imagination comes into play combining different bits of landscape to develop a sense of space.

EPSILON has a smooth texture which I like a lot because it fosters a speedy line. The garden sketch combines marks made by both the PENTEL BRUSH PEN and a LAMY fountain pen. This is observational drawing. Navigating the chaos is the challenge when sketching. Challenging one’s skill level is the point!