Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hummingbird Hunt

This was a post from a while ago, but what the heck, a classic is always in style, and I am beginning to have visits from these lovely creatures in my backyard again.

Many a seemingly complicated drawing project is really simple if you just break it down into steps. When teaching a lesson, I always start with a black line coloring book style drawing. Most details and color blending is done as the last steps in a project, but tends to get seen first and can distract you from finding the "bones" of the drawing. I obviously used a still picture to do this project and drawing from life is much more challenging, but the principle is the same. Practicing gesture drawing in quick sketches is the best way to get the structure of your drawing and then go back and add details later.
This blackline came from the Jan Brett website and is available as a free coloring page.

I tried to break this down into manageable pieces without making too many steps.
If you find it confusing, just try to break it down into even smaller steps. What does a shape look like to you? Do you see a triangle or maybe a Hershey Kiss. Do you see a sideways letter C or maybe a rainbow or happy face? Making those kind of connections is what turns you into an artist, not simply following someone else's steps.

The finished hummingbird at the top of this post was completed with watercolor pencil and white oil pastel for highlights.

Below you will find some images of real hummingbirds to reference for color ideas.

And now, not quite as small as a hummingbird. but just as beautiful and amazing, in my opinion...

Emberjayne Grace
Seven Weeks

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You Know it's Spring When the Zinias Zoom and...

oil pastel and watercolor resist

the art teachers start pullin
g out lessons
on Georgia O'Keefe's flowers.

Yes, spring has sprung where I live and the rainbow
in my backyard is blooming again!
In art class last week and the week before we focused on Georgia O'Keefe.
She has a very interesting biography and you ca
n read more about that here,
but for now I have two projects for your consideration
and a little surprise at the end!

Project # 1 Oil pastel and watercolor resist

Materials needed:
black oil pastel
water color paint
watercolor paper

masking tape
a flower of your choosing

(before you begin, use masking tape to attach your paper to a board. Go all the way around all four edges, the end result will look like a crisply edged print!)

1. Start by looking at your flower, really looking at it! Look inside as far as you can, notice the parts and their shapes.

2. Sketch out what you see. Remember O'Keefe's flowers were done in a tightly cropped and very "zoomed" in composition. Use oil pastel instead of pencil and try to capture what you are seeing without worrying about mistakes. The point of this is not total drawing accuracy, but connecting with what you see through drawing.

3. Once your sketch is done, decide what colors you are going to use- they do not have to be the same as the original flower. Paint right over the pastel which will resist the watercolor.

4. Once the painting is dry, remove the tape and enjoy!

Project # 2-(intended for older or more advanced students)
pencil floral element composition

Materials needed

drawing paper(3 sheets each)
flower or picture of a flower of your choice

1. Sketch the flower as accurately as you can. Really look at the shapes of the petals and the details of the leaves- are the veins prominent? Are the edges straight or serrated?

2. Once your drawing is done, look at that shapes again. Try to pull out at least ten elements of shape or pattern and draw them on another piece of paper.

3. Using these elements, create a new design or pattern. It shouldn't really look like a flower, just a composition made up of floral elements.

4. Once your the basics of your design are in, then shade. Really try to create an array of pencil tones and shades that go from very light to very dark. The more shades you have in a drawing then the more interesting it will be!

Have fun!

Now for the surprise...

Emberjayne Grace
Six weeks old

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

4 Weeks

I know it's not an art lesson, but... Art lessons will return soon.

Little Miss Emberjayne is four weeks old today. Time is moving entirely too fast! She has actually only been home for eighteen of those twenty eight days, so that is probably distorting my time time perception somewhat, but still...
Things are going well. Save for my paranoia. The fun thing about coming through something like this is the hyper-vigilance that occurs as a result. I find myself constantly questioning the normalcy of her every stretch, wiggle, and grunt. Not to mention I did myself the severe disservice of trying to educate myself about what happened via the internet. (It's sort of like leaving a hypochondriac in a room full of medical diagnostic journals.) I can joke and make light, but I am admittedly still worried. Her next neurology appointment can't come quite soon enough for my liking. I have so many questions to ask of the doctors. This is the time where leaving it in God's hands becomes difficult, and yet this is what I must do. He is the Great Healer and she is in His hands, not mine and if this is true, then worry will accomplish nothing.
On a different note, our neighbor, friend, and sister-in-Christ just did a family portrait session for us. She has really become an amazing photographer. I can't wait to see all the photos. The one above was me taking pictures behind her. And just to wet your appetite for how awesome these images are going to be let me just say two things... baby and a bass drum!