Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sketch- Across the street in the rain

It is a rainy day today. The sky is dark and the lights are on indoors. It seems that the GTA has switched weather with Vancouver and I don't particularly like that.

It's almost December and we have not seen a sprinkle of snow yet. Meanwhile it looks like a winter-wonderland in Vancouver. Can you believe that?

Anyway. The houses across the street from us never inspired me much before, but the dark wet day left a nice bright reflection on the muddy pathway between the houses and I just felt like catching the view.

The ink I use is a mixture of two Skrip writing inks. A basic black and a yellow. The mixture gives a very deep and rich sepia color. I don't know what I am going to do when my mixture runs out. I hope I can recreate it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My take on the Altoid box pallet


UPDATE: It seems that the people at Home Depot rarely know what they have as products. I have received many emails saying that they don't carry shelf edging. NOT TRUE! The do. They are usually kept in black piping that is hug from the bottom of the wood section in the shelf isle. For your convenience, I stole a bar code so you can print it and take it with you and ask them to scan it and maybe that will alert them to the FACT that they have it!! Here it is:

In preparation for the 12th Sketchcrawl which takes place on December 9, I have made this pocket size pallet. There are many takes on how to make this pallet. Please see here and here. Mine is a bit more elaborate, but I injoyed doing it and want to share the method with my readers:
You will need an Altoid box or a similar box with an attached lid. Empty the box from the mints (don't eat them all you will get sick!) and clean it well.
The first thing I did to my empty Altoid box was to paint the inner lid enamel white and the outer lid enamel black. The inner lid white enamel color was for a functional purpose. It will serve as a good mixing ground. The outer lid enamel color was for fun and to imitate my favorate Winsor and Newton box. These enamel paints take some time to dry so count on leaving each coat a full 2 days to rest and harden.

In the meanwhile, go to your hardware store and buy a length of Shelf Edging (3/4"), a peal and stick white tile and a box of staple gun staples. You will not need the staple gun. I will tell you why soon.

Measure the inside of the box carefully and cut a piece of the tile to fit in the box. These tiles are made of a soft material that you can cut with scissors easily.

Now cut two lengths of the shelf edging that are a tad bit shorter than the box length. These shelf edgings are plastic and you will need a sharp knife to score them and then bend them to cut. Believe it or not, I suspect that the 3/4 size shelf edging was made to hold full and half pans in place. They are the perfect fit!

Now drill or punch tiny holes in the edging and the tile piece together. You will be threading the staples through these holes and folding them on the back of the tile to hold the edging in place. You can't use a staple gun for this. There isn't one strong enough to go through the plastic of the edging and the tile. Once you have the holes done, thread the staples in and tighten from the back to hold the edging snugly in place on the tile piece. No, glue will not do. You need the strength of the staples to allow for some movement without getting the edging dislodged.

Now place the tile piece with the edging on it in the Altoid box and put your pans or half pans in the edging. Like I said, it holds the pans and half pans very well. You can place up to Ten half pans in the box this way. You will also have room in the middle for shortened brushes and a golf pencil. The edging allows you to replace the half pans very easily depending on your mood or the destination. I hope you enjoy making this project.
If you have any questions post them here, I will try to help.
Update:
Since I posted this Altoids box "how to", I have added a flat plastic mixing tray to the box. I have also worked on a smaller version of the Altoids box here.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Value Mate

I am sure I saw this or something like it in a book somewhere so I am not claiming it as an original idea, but I think it is a good idea and I want to share it with you. It is what I will call a ValueMate. A tool used to help you determine the values in your desired painting subject.

How to make a ValueMate:

Go to your local hardware or home paint store. Once there, look for a color swatch with "black" as the darkest color on it. These usually come in five, six or seven gradations from the dark to a light value. I prefer to use a six graded swatch just to keep things simple. These swatches (or at least the ones I have found) don't have pure white in them. That is something you will have to keep in mind when you are using them. Anything that registers off the value swatch is simply white.

Now take the swatch and use a hole puncher to punch a hole in each of the value grades. make the hole on the side of the swatch so you can locate the parts of the subject when you are using the ValueMate

How to use a ValueMate:

Simply hold the ValueMate at arms-length up to the subject you are trying to paint or draw and try to match the elements of the image to one of the values. You do that by squinting and viewing the elements through the holes you have punched. squinting makes the colors in the subject turn to gray. Now move your ValueMate up and down until you find the value grade in the swatch that matches the value of the element in the image/scene. Make notes as you do this across the plain of the subject and your work will be much enhanced.... I hope.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

10 minute sketches

I have always focused on gesture and impressions in my sketches. Today I was challenged to draw the kids, so I did. I think for quick 10 minute sketches these are not bad at all.




Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Autumn leaves....

The Autumn leaves, drift through my window...The autumn leaves, all red and gold. La la la laaaaaa. hm hm hm hmm hmmmm.

If you have kids and you want to collect leave with them this season, there is a neat way to preserve the leaves from crumbling and fading away. Submerge the leaves in a solution of glycerin and water. Yes the regular glycerin you have in your medicine cabinet. Mix one part glycerin to two parts water and place it in a flat pan. Now submerge the leaves in a single layer in the mixture. Make sure the leaves stay submerged by weighing them down, but try to use something that is unobtrusive to weigh them down with. You want the leaves to absorb the liquid. Leave them submerged for a few days so that they absorb enough of the mixture and become soft and pliable. Remove them and wipe with a soft cloth. The leaves will remain soft and pliable for a very long time. Enjoy!

Color Swatches

I wanted to try out some of my colors a bit this morning. I started by putting a bit of color in my pallets for mixing and then figured out that the better way to do this is to use two brushes. Put one color on each brush and then feed one brush from the other with every stroke. Works much better. Unfortunately, I only realized that 2/3 of the way through.
Still trying to figure out the Quind. Magenta as a color. It is very beautiful, but now I need to throw a saddle on it and it is bucking!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The power of squinting

I am working with a few friends on value studies and pushing our values to extremes. It just occurred to me that many may not know how to discover value in a scene so here is my method.
Because our eyes work like a camera on automatic meter reading, we tend to average value from the full visual field. We should, therefore, start by limiting our visual field to the subject we are trying to draw or paint. This is true even if you are looking at a computer screen or if you are looking at a lit image in a darkened room. My method of limiting the visual field is to forming my hand into a fist while keeping a hole to see through (sort of like we used to do when we were young to imitate a pirate's Monocular). This also acts as a means to frame the image you are studying and help you compose it better. Once you have limited your visual field and composed your image, you will want to squint until the colors of the objects you see fade to gray shadows. This is your value study. Capture it in a small sketch and you will have a much better handle on your subject when painting.