Self portrait #3

Why do I try to make my portraits with life like skin tones? I think they look better when they are very vivid.

Initial block in
Finished portrait

Maybe I’m really not finished… what do you think? I’m realizing I need to touch up the eyebrow on the right…

And we wait again…

Waiting in the ER as I write this post. I will probably be here for several hours as we wait to see if the new antibiotics help my skin infection.

In preparation I have brought my sketchbook and charcoal pencils, my knitting that I restarted, and a stuffy that my son picked out.

I’m still thinking about the self-portrait from yesterday and realized that I made the mouth too wide. When I crop out the bottom part of the painting, I’m pleased with it.

The background needs some work.

I love that I was more daring with incorporating brighter and bolder colors in the face and then added some traditional skin tones. I feel confident that my next attempt will be even better than the first two. I’ve been using unsanded paper but I think I’m going to use sanded paper for this next attempt. I am working on having a light touch with my pastel application but I think I filled the tooth off the Canson Mi Tientes paper that I used yesterday.

Stay tuned – hopefully I’ll be able to share some good news and creations tomorrow!

Self-portrait progress

Well, I’m still working on my self portrait. I decided for my second practice piece I would do if slightly bigger, 12 x 16 inches. I used the grid method to draw my face but I didn’t put in all the details. By details, I mean the markings to indicate the different values.

Ugh… 2nd attempt

The mouth just ruins this whole attempt. It looks scary and it’s not the right shape. I do like the amount of color I got into the painting – and I’m using unsanded paper, so there’s a limit to how much pastel I can apply – but I’m just gutted over how the mouth looks so wrong.

That being said, I am not giving up. I realize I need to make my marks to indicate each value so that I can paint it better. And I know I can do better. And I will do better! Just probably not today.

Practice makes progress

It’s that time of year when I start to think about painting my self-portrait again. This year I’m thinking of painting it in soft pastels and I had sketched it out on some inexpensive unsanded pastel paper.

This morning I started my practice piece. It turned out ok, but I realized that I neglected to include the part of my face that was in the deep shadows. I didn’t notice it until I went in with pastel pencils to add some details. It’s ok. I’ve learned a lot and will be doing this again on a bigger sheet of paper so I can get ask the details using the pastel sticks instead of needing pencils.

Top: my finished practice piece, Botton: my portrait sets of soft pastels

My plans are to sketch on the grid again for the bigger piece but try and remember to erase the grid lines once the sketch is in place. They blended into the background in a bunch of places but not on the face itself.

Funeral cake?

Have you seen the Facebook post with the recipe for an easy cake recipe. Apparently it was something easy to make to take to a funeral ceremony.

I started feeling noshy earlier this morning and decided to make this recipe because I had all the ingredients. It’s egg free and dairy free, similar to the depression chocolate cake recipe except for a bigger cake pan. My son is severely allergic to egg and nuts and I am trying to avoid dairy and gluten, as it seems I am sensitive to them. I substitute King Arthur Cup- for- cup gluten free flour. I tasted the batter and it was delicious; o haven’t tried the cooked cake yet because I just took it out of the oven

I have also started to take steps in my self-portrait that I will be entering into the Jerry’s Arterama self-portrait competition this year.

I decided to attempt my self-portrait in soft pastels. I don’t use them often but I just love them so much. If I had a way to store them in a way to see them too I’d be so happy! Right now, they are in wooden trays that get pushed under a shelf when not in use.

First step… make it green!

I’ve read the using a green underpainting for portraits makes the skin look more natural so observe – the paper is green. The lighter color is for where my face will be and the darker area is for the dark area in the reference photo. Stay tuned as I make next steps.

Up next, set up an A4 page of lined paper in photoshop. Should be pretty easy now that I’ve done it successfully yesterday!

Wow, has it been a month already?!

Well, I didn’t think it would take me so long to write another blog post, but here it is – one month later. Sorry about that.

I have been doing a lot of things though. One thing that has consumed a lot of my time for the last few months has been my garden. I think I mentioned that I purchased a few raised bed gardens in early spring. In addition to the purchased raised beds, I built another six raised beds. I raised my seeds using old 2L soda bottles and gallon milk jug – I basically made miniature greenhouses for starting the seeds. I transplanted seedlings for tomatoes (3 varieties), cantaloupe, watermelon, jalapeno peppers, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, yellow squash, Thai basil, cilantro, dill, eggplant, and tomatillo. I ended up purchasing some locally raised seedlings for some interesting varieties of tomatoes, eggplants, and additional herbs, plus I started cucumbers and corn.

I have put so much more work into my garden this year than last year and it certainly shows. I have about four baby watermelons, a couple baby cantaloupes, an enormous butternut squash, and lots of tomatoes just waiting to get ripe. I’ve been picking (and eating) yellow squash and cucumbers! Strawberries from last year’s planting produced several but they are over now.

I’ve also done a lot of sewing. I finally finished my mother in law’s birthday gift dress. Her birthday was only LAST SEPTEMBER. Every time I sewed something for myself, I felt guilty that I hadn’t made her dress. I finally bit the bullet and went for it, after making a muslin of the bodice to check for fit adjustments I had made. I got scared when I ran out of fabric, but realized it was because I was trying to cut the fabric in two layers  – once I laid it out as a single layer and traced all the pattern pieces I was able to play pattern piece tetris to make all the pieces fit. It was helpful that she didn’t want the elbow length sleeves though, because I’m not sure I could have made that work with the length of fabric that we had chosen.

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I made two versions of the Zadie jumpsuit by Paper Cut patterns. One in a lightweight yellow/green slinky fabric and the second in a wax print that I got years ago from my sister.  I also made one more pair of shorts for myself. I started working on another pair this morning and had to walk away. I made silly mistakes that required me to rip out seams twice. I decided I should take a break from it all. I’ll probably pick it up again Monday after a weekend away.img_20190609_135901833_burst000_cover_top

In the art world, I have not done a lot. I’ve done a few doodles with watercolors, and one pastel painting, but that’s it.img_20190616_150044623

I have, unfortunately, spent a lot of money on supplies. Most of it occurred today. Terry Ludwig pastels released the Karen Margulis curated set of 60 soft pastels today. They are expensive but had a significant price reduction for their release and I lost self control and purchased them. About an hour earlier, I had a bit of a binge on the LA Finch fabrics website. Suffice it to say, I have spent pretty much all my disposable income for the next few months. I am actually extremely excited to get both of those purchases though. I am looking forward to adding to my self sewn wardrobe over the next few months. I also can’t wait to swatch out the new pastels and see for myself just how soft and creamy the Terry Ludwig pastels are.,

I will say that I have been thinking about the planning process as it pertains to making art. I tend to just wing it when I paint (watercolors or pastels). I will sometimes often take a good amount of time to do a sketch – often in my sketchbook, and then transfer to watercolor paper. But what I don’t plan is the color scheme. Obviously, I think about what the colors should be, I mean I’m looking at a picture that I took of flowers, or whatever. But when it comes down to it, I just start to grab paint. I do try to limit the number of colors that I choose, but I don’t plan ahead to pick harmonious colors, etc.

So, I plan on implementing two changes to my art practice. 1- I will be doing thumbnail sketches to try looking at a subject from different angles or zoomed out vs. zoomed in and 2- I will try to do a value thumbnail and a color theme thumbnail. I think it may be easier to do the value and color thumbnails with pastels than watercolor, but I’m still going to give it a go. I have several attempted paintings that I haven’t finished because I just don’t like the way it starts to look. I want to finish creating the paintings! I don’t mind if it ends up being a mixed media project.

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Oh, speaking of mixed media project, I did actually finish a painting that ended up getting some colored pencil finishing touches. It was a tutorial that I had access to because I belong to the Critique Club on Lindsay Weirich‘s teachable website. Despite some technical difficulties, ie. I forgot to turn off the ceiling fan and my wet paper dried out very quickly, it turned out really well. The colored pencil may not have been 100% necessary, but I prefer the way it turned out with the colored pencil.

Hope all is well in your part of the world and I’ll try to get back here sooner than a month, but I’m not promising it!

 

I’m back… I hope!

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Hi Guys,

I’ve been MIA and have struggled to maintain a blog, but I am really hoping that I can keep it up from here on out.

I was recently asked to participate in a YouTube channel where we record ourselves making whatever art we choose to do. I mostly do watercolor and soft pastels.

So what’s the plan with the blog?

  • post weekly
  • post pics of completed (and possibly in progress) sewing projects
  • post pics of sketches, watercolor paintings, and/or pastel paintings completed during the preceding week
  • I’ll try to provide links to the pattern, fabric, or art supply that I’m using

Wish me luck with this endeavor!!