Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Artists' Choice: Real Magnolias

The homework wall sported drawings on toned paper in various stages of completion.
Katie examines the photos for color.

 The critique focused on values both in the rendering of the stones themselves and the shadows they cast.

As Dr. Farthing from the Ruskin School at Oxford pointed out, color is the most complicated element in the range of art we call drawing. Toned paper had to be evaluated as both color and value.

As several of our number went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for Art in Bloom we delayed Grisaille II until next week and their return, and availed ourselves of blooms from our neighbor Stefaan's magnificent Magnolia Tree. 

The drawing
The blossoms
Pam elects to draw in graphite and then to paint in watercolor.
Whether students used graphite or colored pencil it was clear that skill and freedom were very much in evidence

The completed painting.

Therese chose colored pencil. Note the palette choices.

Mary alternated colored pencil and graphite

Despite the freedom and skill of observational drawing we took photos and interpreted them in black and white for further study.
Mary's blossoms in front of her drawing.
Pam's Colored Pencil rendition of a single bloom.
Chris opts for drawing a still life of magnolia, andromeda, and quince bouquet.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Artists' Choice: Grisaille I

Ruskin's Drawing and Watercolor from the Ashmolean
The Spring Session of our Garage School of Art is off to a great start as we tackle grisaille, a method for painting grey monochrome. Our first subjects are stunning stones from the coast of Maine collected by my neighbor Jill Levine and lent to us for our studies. The great artist and teacher John Ruskin used just such stones in his iconic book The Elements of Drawing, making the claim, "Now if you can draw that stone, you can draw anything; I mean anything that is drawable." So we made our way to Oxford and the Ruskin School of Art, compliments of iTunesU, where Dr. Stephen Farthing instructed us in the use of toned paper and the advantages of color. Dr. Farthing emphasized that the addition of color is the most complicated element in the range of art that we call drawing.

Using images of Jill's stones in warm grey monotone and color we experimented using both graphite and colored pencils on toned paper following Dr. Farthing's instructions.

JoAnne started with black and white.

Linda Harvey's drawing in its beginning stages.
Jane begins

Warmly toned paper is hospitable to cool colors/
Chris referencing her color wheel.
Beautiful and elegant drawings appeared quickly. Skill and artistry is evidenced in the gallery of artist at work.
Therese beginning the line drawing.
Cathy adds contrast.
Katie feels out her drawing like Ruskin.
The pans in Pam's set rendered like jewels .
Mary Vetere 

Chris immersed in her work.
 The homework is to make a chart of as many grays in the Prismacolor set that you can, by combining complimentary colors and finally adding white or grey.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Colored Pencil Week Eight

This week we were graced with the presence of Guest Artist and Instructor Joan Benotti www.joanbenotti.com. Joan is a protean artist who works in oils, wood, gold leaf, paper, gesso, and colored pencils to name just a few of the materials she processes into compelling and richly annotated works of art.  She generously instructed us in the ways she customizes Nautical Maps. 

Joan told how she began embellishing Nautical Charts with colored Pencils while living on Eleuthera in the Bahamas.
"The first step is to look at your chart to get ideas. Next", she said, "you want to look for shapes." Joan finds shapes of fish, lobsters, and shells in the topography and geography of the land and the depth of the ocean.

Time, then, to go to the beach and gather things, or to the library or nearby book shop for books on native flora and shells, or the internet for reference materials.
Joan had a President Taft stamp for the chart of the Beverly coastline.

 Joan collects old stamps, post cards, and antique books to help inform the iconography of her charts. When working with a client she might incorporate personal effects, like note, letters, or in the case of her brother who was a Chemist, the periodic table of elements.
Her audience at our Garage School was spell bound.

After thinking about the chart, collect your materials.

Next, make drawings on tracing paper to place your information.

The demonstration chart of Salem, Beverly, and Manchester.

Mary Healy gets her bearings.
Time for everyone to work on their own charts.

Mary Vettere explores the Salem of her childhood.

Pam Price working from her preparatory sketches.

Mary Ellen Leekley finds a turtle on Misery Island.

Linda Harvey plants a Rosa Rugosa.

Cathy Ebling starts with a sand dollar. Her birthday bracelet of sea glass and a shell is just the right accessory for the session.

Success! Next week we start our Spring Session with many annotated and embellished charts on the Homework Wall! We are all so grateful to Joan for a terrific class!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Colored Pencil Week Seven

There has been no class for two weeks, so there was no Blog post a week ago. The Homework wall was filled with studies of Dr. Hu, but the instructor forgot to photograph them. Next week. Promise.

We continued to look at techniques using colored pencils, as well as graphite. More we played with vellum. The homework for the week is to continue working on colored pencil drawings and to see what invention the vellum can be used for. 

Beginning a chart of Flesh Tones

Flesh Tones with and overlay of two sketches of Dr. Hu

We looked specifically at a self portrait of John Marin that was done on a transparent piece of paper, as well as one on tracing paper (vellum and parchment).

The reference for the John Marin Portrait

Next Week we welcome Artist Joan Benotti http://www.joanbenotti.com/pages/work_main.html 
to see Joan's Website and 
www.behance.net/jbenotti to see a sample of her nautical charts.  Joan will be guiding us in some techniques for using colored pencils to enhance Nautical Charts.