Friday, April 30, 2010

drawing THE BABY~ from J D Hillberry's book

Yesterday when art class was cancelled, we went to the art supplies shop again~
Females set loose in any environment where all it takes is a credit card to achieve self gratification is what keeps the economy moving along! Especially when all the items are innocently priced at less than RM10 (about usd 3) …..ayeiiiiii thats when my innate shopoholic instincts gets full arousal and I've lost "it" (my senses that is) one more time~~~~~shopping won , I admitted defeat with glee .

Today I unwrapped all the stuff I bought … many kinds of pencils , new watercolors, acrylic paints, brushes, sketch books ….decision decisions decisions….the dilemma of:
what to draw,
what to paint,
what to sketch ??????

Then my eyes fell to a book "Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil" by J D Hillberry.
Many a times, I had been flipping the pages and then closed it back.
Today I saw a detailed instruction of how to draw a baby's head….now that was a challenge I had battled previously without success , my baby looked like a miniature old man…..
today however, I was drawn to the intensity of those gorgeous eyes of the baby.

A quick checklist of the tools needed, made me realized very quickly that I dont have :
F graphite ,
6H pencil,
3B pencil,
HB charcoal,
treaded eraser , had bought it, cant find it now ;(((
and perhaps most crucial of whats lacking…..
last but not least, the know how….hahaha~

What I do have are lots of 2B, 4H, 6B , 9B, light/medium/dark charcoals, a chamois, a full set of tortillons for blending….so is it gonna stop me from drawing those eyes?
Noooo, of coz not ;) I am well known for improvising after all o.O
Isnt it wonderful being an adult art student?
The beauty of not having to stick to assignments and modules….
the flexibility of going whatever art directions wherever our fancies of the day take us~~~~~>♫♬♪♥

First I had to get hubby to chase away 2 fruit bats hanging on my fragrant coconut trees, destroy a bee's nest that was almost reaching full construction …..
and amidst all the adrenalin of all these 2 flurried activities ….
when I could finally sit at my art space without fear….
then only could I get to the task of tackling to the best of my ability to draw my baby with the most gorgeous eyes ;)

160gsm acid free* A5 cartridge paper
title: Gorgeous Eyes of Baby

if and shld I decide to focus on portraiture , I will definitely want to take another look at the online workshops of JD Hillberry.

And a big thank you goes to Andrea Boult , the best best classmate EVER~for loaning me a gem of a book.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ahmad, the cabin boy at Komodo~

It all started when I received in my google reader the link to Carl Dalio' s video on "How to Paint Cloud-filled Skies" …it was mesmerizing.
At first I was pondering if I could get Andrea to buy me a similar sized palette and then it got me thinking of how to paint a composition that has a sky horizon .

I found inspirations from one of my own Picasa albums , a shot of Ahmad that I took during our year end 2009 dive trip to Komodo Island…..
I had selected it to be the cover of yet another coffee table book (yet to be printed) to remember our escapade to Cabo da Flores ….
As I gazed at it, I immediately knew that I had to attempt to watercolor the photo of Ahmad too!

I quickly drew some outlines on the first piece of cold press art paper that Andrea gave me.
I made Ahmad bigger than life, the focal point of my painting.

Then I somehow lacked the confidence to finish the water color and actually put away all the sketches for nearly a fortnight.

Last Sunday, I had put up all the preparations and organized my work table but somehow the timing wasnt right, the sun was too hot, my workload was too messy…I didnt have the mood for portraiture, I drew my lotus and frangipanis instead.

This evening while waiting for hubby to come back from his game of golf at 7pm…he was late…..
On a spur of spontaniety I decided to attempt the "project" and just I had started, D came back and I could barely concentrate on dinner ....
One thing about watercolor , to me somehow it all must be done rather quickly or the watermarks set in.
Or was I just being me? After all when I decide to do something, somehow I must complete the job in one sitting….and sevenish is a lovely time to do painting, oh yea!
so here IT is~

7" x 11.5 "
watercolor on cold press
Title : A penny for his thoughts

It feels so good to put a title , description and my name to the first solo attempt on my own piece of watercolor….aaaaah

its a wonderful world

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Happiness Quotient for the day~

quote "Unless you're extremely poor or gravely ill, life circumstances account for only about 10 percent of happiness. The other 40 percent depends on what you do to make yourself happy" unquote .

The internet is officially announced to be down till May 2nd…..
which means I cant upload my mac software upgrades ,
which means I cant upload my shots from my new toy EOS 550D,
which means I cant chat on FB or messenger or read emails ,
which means I have to fulfill my authenthic happiness quotient for the day through
my ART….

My lotus bloomed last night and gave me the chance to shoot some shots for inspiration~
My frangipani dispensed their flowers to grace my flower bowl for a chance to paint them~ and it was a lovely sunny afternoon , just nice to get a feel of what it would be like in future to try en plein air drawing.

I love my work table, recycled from an old dining table… was just what I needed ~
I can only work in a big space !

again quoting Dianne Hales "Laughing out loud is exactly the kind of adventurous, bold action that makes you feel happier"….

yess, I totally totally can vouch for the positive effects of the laughing out loud~
because after I have finished with my painting, signed off my signature with a flourish….
I look back at them paintings and I definitely laughed heartily….
so loud it made my beagle, Elmo barked out in fear….
art mission accomplished, I rewarded myself to a fresh icy cold honey lemonade….
aaaah my happiness quotient achieved , what a great Saturday it was today~

Life is a Gift


lesson 8: attempting still life , free hand watercoloring

exciting morning indeed….

Ms Shia showed us a quick demo on how to do it , of coz when the sifu does it….it looked darn easy :

We all scratched our heads and paused for several minutes before diving into our imaginations. The initial uncertainties and lamentations soon gave way to enthusiasm and chuckles.

Yup it was definitely more fun composing a bowl of fruits from imagination, definitely more exciting than everybody trying to do same drawings of an actual bowl of fruits!

Our endeavours completed, we then gleefully reorganized Ms Shia's wall of fame, removed past students' works and unabashedly putting ours up in their places…..
Tadaaaa, below is a shot of our works for posterity, what a scream right?
I'm betting that Ms Shia too is having alot of fun with this boisterous group of students!

Top L (Chris's) Top R (Andrea's), Bottom L (yours truly) Bottom R (Jessica).

We were also reminded to treasure and archive our first completed piece , or for that matter all of our art efforts.
When told to compose a unique signature that identifies all our works, I proceeded to practise onto one of my previous completed pieces that in my opinion was so badly done…..Ms Shia promptly said "Aiyoh, so sayang! nice, like crystalized…keep it"
wow, it is an eye opener indeed ….
one golden rule learnt today, "Artists must above all else value any output from their own efforts".

A very satisfying morning indeed ….
After lessons, the "accomplished artists" went for vegetarian lunch…..aaah

Life is Great

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lesson 7: more wet on dry, wet on wet

"Water colour is a medium that takes great skill to control, yet appears to be free of control. Painting in watercolor requires a disciplined approach that at the same time does not stiffen the results. The course offers participants the basic techniques, to how they can be used to paint wide variety of subject."
The above description on MIA brochure couldnt be more true.

Handling the brushes, learning how to control the water, the amount of color, understanding about pigments and the flow of the watercolors onto the different textures of paper is not as easy as it looks….for me at least with that many years of never holding any brushes in my hands, that is!
Inspired by my uw photos of my best dive buddy~aka as Eddie my hubby…I attempted to do some monochromatic flat washes of the blue ocean and a dash of contrasting graded washes…..hahaha, goodness me….my efforts were blotchy and messy is the key operative word of the day !!!

Though armed with many new supplies e.g easel, mounting board, more brushes… I nevertheless had an enthusiastic afternoon as I tried tackling more exercises on wet on dry, wet on wet and even some stroke practises (ooooh, this is even harder than the the attempts on flat and graded washes….hahahah, it makes me laugh to see my ghastly trials ~
But hey laughter is after all the best medicine to replace all the other awful happenings around the world….earthquakes, volcano eruptions, airflights in chaos…what on earth is happening to our blue planet~ sigh.
I'd rather be doing blotchy art than reading the news.
So yess, ART cheers me up plenty ….I'm having so much fun with my adult lessons and I'm so glad I found

Plus it was even more exciting when I finally got around to organize my own private art space at home.

Life is simple, Life is Good

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Holly Molly, there are more than one type of graphite pencils?

I came across this article by Charley Parker on Brian Boulton's art and read about a genre of artists who drew photorealistic rendering in graphite pencils….

I just couldnt get those Brian Boulton images out of my head even as I waded through other websites and art blogs throughout the week.

If you take a peek at the links below , you will see for yourself why Brian's drawings are so fixating!

"10 drawings" from Brian Boulton
"Untitled" drawings of Brian Boulton
"Drawing the anonymous subject" drawings from Brian Boulton

I mean, who would have believed that all those images above are not photos…right?

In the end I said to myself "Hell, here I am..just a newbie art student and how on earth am I going to know what type of art I like or can do if I am going to be disheartened by a page that had discouraging words or looks too tough an act to attempt?"

So I went ahead and gave it my best first shot as u can see above….and its nowhere near photorealistic. It looks obviously like a pencil sketching but it was exhilaratingly consumingly intoxicatingly engrossingly and fascinating enough for me to want to keep on trying it with photos of people on the streets!

During my attempts, I felt that no matter how I tried, armed with just a 2B pencil …I just couldnt get quite the soft shadings I wanted and it was rather frustrating.

Then it struck me that perhaps this "graphite" that kept being mentioned was a more special grade of pencil lead …

Today, when Ms Shia confirmed there are indeed many kinds/types/brands of pencils with different effects for drawing , this prompted me to bug my classmates to bring me along to check out the the art supplies store they had been talking about on and on …..that supposedly had anything and everything catering to all the fine arts students from Malaysian Art Institute (MIA) nearby !

Wow, right from stepping through the door and taking my push cart to browse aisle by aisle….indeed my jaw fell to my chin to see the whole array of what they kept in stock there….

Gee there's nothing more satisfying than going to the right place to get the right supplies to get things done better and hopefully the right way…..
Ehem, after 1(?) hour , it was with some controls that I only purchased those stuff I needed and not everything that I laid my hands lovingly on !
I'm so proud of my will power la, hee hee.

Here's some of my new found tools: graphites in 2B,4B,6B,9B,2-9H, red & white chalks/charcoals in light,medium and dark….

I even fell in love with the store's display of a dreamy polished wooden casing of complete sets of colored/watercolor pencils in every conceivable shadings imaginable but sadly the owner refused to even quote me a price saying it was not for sale~

Now nothing beats fanning my desire to acquire an object more than those casually uttered words : "NOT FOR SALE"….
oh nooooooo, I'm gonna be dreaming of that ultra complete collection of colored pencils for many nights until I find a way to somehow compile my own that looks as stylishly handsome if not more than the display set at Weststar !!!!

If you are interested other fancier items can be found and available at bargain prices ...that I gleefully grabbed too, all the while with Ms Shia's advise ringing in my ears "'Dont buy too much stuff ah, you may not need them"…..
LOLs, now if we only always buy stuff that we need where's all the fun in shopping leh? :O

shopping for art supplies with arty farty classmates

It was love at first sight and if Andrea/Jessica wasnt there to talk me thru logically, I might hv ended up vacuuming a whole carload of art supplies…
As it is, I only managed to get half a bootload filled up with stylo mylo new stuff but it was enough to make me smile as wide as "Alice in Wonderland's" cheshire cat …humming all the way on the MRR2 highway from Tmn Melawati to home….and feeling like I've reached seventh heavens~
large A2 portfolio bag to keep mounting board, art blocks n sketchbooks
portable art box easel with handle and compartment for brushes, paints etc
easel placed on top of wooden 3 Tiered drawers for pencils/chalks/markers
the easel all boxed up and ready to go on the road with the "artists"…..
All of the above plus 14 other miscellaneous items for less than RM220 with The WESTSTAR card…..woooo weeee! What a bargain ;)))))

Sunday, April 11, 2010

sketching ideas~copying from nature or a photoshot

In fact, the artist recently revealed a secret of his process. One might not expect that such beautifully stylized artwork sometimes begins with photo reference… but look:
(Translated from Spanish by Google) Agreda writes, “The truth is that you learn a lot making notes in the street, and as on this occasion I could not leave the house, I did the photos. In any case, copying from nature is essential to try something a little better. If not, just pulling the mental library itself, which is not always updated too.”

I did my own version to see if the theory fits :

Definitely!!! Yess….
with that I proceeded to snap a photo my darling ELMO ~ and then to sketch him.
How else would I have achieved it if not for the lens of the camera freezing him in perpetual pose?

Now thats the beauty of the internet,,,,,sharing good stuff, ideas so that theres no need to reinvent the wheel~ thanks AGREDA!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lesson 6: and too many ideas --~~>> insomnia

Andrea handed out all the painting supplies i.e watercolor paints, brushes, palettes that we ordered from her amidst much excitement from us , not dissimilar to a kindergarden classroom! heheh.
We've affectionately taken to call Andrea, our class monitor as she fits the role to a tee….she's so organized and seldom needs to ask Ms Shia to repeat her art instructions unlike me who even with taking notes, am often blurry about the task to be performed.

This morning with giggles around, we found that even after ordering our art supplies ….all of us (except for class monitor) still lack one or two or in my case several items!

Ms Shia gave some hints on how to organize the work table e.g "Michelle, here take this chair and put your big bag away from the table" and u get the idea of where I am coming from ok….hahahah.

Now onto the subject proper, Today's lesson was about painting flat and graded backgrounds using
1) dry technique
2) a wet in wet technique

Believe you me, Hey, it is not as easy as how Ms Shia showed us ok!
Dont believe me, you try it for yourself based on what is shown on these online tutorials here ……

Painting a Flat Watercolor wash
Painting a Graded watercolor wash

Definitely 2 hours was not enough to complete even these 2 basic exercise and I ended up clocking one more hour before packing up!

Here's one of my fumbles in the class.

wet in wet technique tutorial shows how it should be done~ the professional way.
:) ;P *O* hee hee

I felt so inadequate that I just had to browse and research online tutorials the whole night long to augment what Ms Shia tried to show us in class.

Oh my, there's even one on how to hold a brush and
6 secret brush skills
Aha, no wonder my strokes are all going nowhere that I wanted them to.

Wow, this weekend is gonna be real busy as I replied to Andrea's FB status ……hee hee, it is so true what she said about all the monotones onto graded background taking over the dreams…hahahaha

too many ideas ----------~~> insomnia

Thursday, April 8, 2010

food for thought~ interesting questions on art

I continue to be amazed at the marvellous art blogs I stumble upon when I browse the net.
The internet is really an amazing trove of endless wonders waiting to be discovered.

and this one at artbizblog posed some intriguing questions to art lovers which attracted many comments. I found the comments themselves to be very interesting food for thought indeed~ clink on the links below to take a peek at what people are saying to :

How do u define art quality ?
Is making money on art greed?
Is commissioned art inherently of lesser quality?
Art is….

But trying to discover good new art blogs can be quite time consuming, not to mention risky if you click onto a nasty scammer link that is not verified.

I find that signing up for google reader is a easier route to get the art news/info that are of interests to me because once I start adding subsciptions to blogs I like, the beauty is google reader will continually make recommendations of other blogs that match the genres of my subsciptions…kewl!
Also I can mark articles with stars, make comments and share it in numerous formats ….plus my google reader comes with a unique URL that I can even embed / post/ email anywhere/whomever I like to view my shared items.

Here's the link to my google reader.
Browse it and try building up yr own.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

5 lives of an artist~ featured artist on TED

As I watched Raghava articulating his charming stories about his art journey, it really was a refreshing take on how art can influence people be it positive or negative.
The link to TED video
Very very endearing anecdotes indeed~ and of course a very talented artist.

Raghava KK's Artist profile

Lesson 5: Tell me again why are we doing this exercise? ~michellechoongkhoo

April Fool's Day, 2010 saw our group laughing and (I speak for myself ) fumbling with the technicalities of getting the color shades right… complementary, split complementary, achromatic monochromatic, analogous/harmony, tetrad,triad, tint and lowkey…..oooohh, all the terms and squinting to get the right shades from my color wheel was causing my poor head to throb ….

One hour into the exercise , this is a shot of my classmates diligently working on their respective color wheels while I just had to take a breather to get away from the headache~
I heard Shairin piping aloud for the 2nd time…."errr, someone pls tell me again WHY are we doing this exercise" …and with that everyone just burst out laughing!!!.
Just to be on the safe side, I just had to ask Ms Shia whether she was pulling an April Fool's joke on us, hahaha.

This is my takeaway on lessons 4 & 5 on the color wheel/tonal scales :
primary colors : are yellow, red and blue. They are so called because all other colors can be derived from mixing them.
secondary colors : are orange , violet and green derived from mixing 2 primary colors with equal intensity e.g yellow and red produces orange
tertiary colors : are the different shadings of primary colors mixed with different intensities of another color e.g less yellow and more red produces dark REDorange, while more yellow and less red, produces YELLOWorange.

Every color has a complementary color that lies opposite in the color wheel.
e.g the complementary color of Yellow is Violet , the complementary of orange is blue etc as per above chart.

And today's exercise was to see the effects of a color (in my case, I chose orange) when we put it next to its:
a) complementary (blue) generates a vivid contrast
b) split complementary (one shade up and down of blue),
c) tetrad :combo 1 (4 shades up from orange , 4 shades down from blue)
:combo 2 ( 2 shades dowm from orange , 2 shades up from blue)
:combo 3 ( 2 shades up from orange , 2 shades down from blue)
B&C, generates various cool or warm contrasts
d) triad : 2 shades away from both orange and blue, generates a fresh effect
e) tinting of all the triad colors, a pale effect
f) mixing of all the triad colors, a dull effect

Summary from my book sounds logical because I can see the effects as we went thru it :

same tones of color next to its complementary will exite it to its maximum vividness yet if the complementary is mixed into the color, it will be reduced to a brown or dull effect.

But I'm guessing lots of practise will be required before all can sink in fully... before I can thoroughly understand the effects of mixing the different combos and can judge how to apply the tonal scale values !!!
Hopefully, by the time, we actually get to dab our brushes into the watercolors, I may get a clearer picture.

Art lessons still fun for me? You BET~ smile

links abt color spectrum
links abt primaries & secondaries
links abt printer's primary CMY