Sunday, July 31, 2011

House Portrait in pen and ink - another finished!

I have completed my most recent house portrait commission that I showed you in-progress earlier this month. The final turned out very well, I think. It is approximately 10 x 8 inches and was rendered with a 3X0 (.25) Rapidograph technical pen on smooth Bristol paper (100 lb.)

I have one more house portrait to start on and then I think I will be working on some more botanicals. But you never know what might catch my eye in between, so stay tuned!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Feather - In Progress

I took several photos of the small feather during my drawing process. As I mentioned before, this was a fairly quick drawing (spent maybe a 1/2 hour, interrupted several times by the kids!), so it definitely could have been done more carefully. I was so excited to find it that I didn't want to let the opportunity to draw it pass, so I accomplished what I could in the time I had.

My initial graphite sketch. 

This looks more delicate and perhaps I should have stayed with a graphite drawing to capture the downy aspects at the bottom of the feather.

Ink drawing.

You can see I got a little messy with the pen work on the dark spot on the left. I should have stopped further from the center shaft. I used a 3x0 (.25) Rapidograph pen (the smallest size I have) and it still looks too heavy to me.

Perhaps I should have put less lines down and just hinted at the structure more rather than trying to draw all of it in. It's a learning process!

 Final colored pencil drawing.

You can tell this photo was taken in natural light by the window. The feather looks much whiter at the bottom. In person, that area is more gray and the photos of the previous stages above are more accurate, I think.

I used my Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils: walnut brown for the dark spots, raw umber and burnt sienna for the lighter brown areas, layered with some warm grey V and warm grey II.

Have you ever had done any feather drawings? How do you keep the delicate nature of the drawing intact, even when using ink? I would love to hear about your experiences!

Another Feathery Find!

Feathers are apparently a theme this summer! Ok, I've only found my second so far, but that's two more than I have found in the past 4 years here, so I would say that would count. Perhaps the birds would like me to expand my subject matter :)

This most recent find was on our front porch when I went out to water my hanging baskets this morning. It is about 2.5 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. It has a smoky taupe color with two dark brown patches on it. The downy bits at the bottom are a lighter gray with a bit of the browner/taupe color here and there.

I attempted to do a quick drawing in ink, so I think that overall, my drawing is darker than the feather itself, but I wanted to try out the line work. Because the feather is so small, I might have been better off sticking just with very sharp colored pencils, or graphite.

I added some colored pencil on top of the pen to get a sense of the colors.

I am not entirely sure what bird this came from - any ideas? We have several small birds that hang out around our porch, but I am not sure if they are sparrows or wrens or something else?

Hope you enjoy this most recent find!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Notice anything new?

Why yes, that's a new logo! :)

I am excited to debut the new look for my business - check out the updates on my website, store, and Facebook page!

I love the simple, yet professional look of the logo. It was created for me by a graphic designer, Alejandro Farfan, who walked me through a creative brief and three rounds of suggested logos before I decided on what I wanted.

Three rounds for something so simple, you might ask? Yes! It turns out that analyzing how you want to represent your business takes a bit of brainstorming. I found it very interesting to think about, for example, whether I wanted an emblem-type logo to symbolize my business or just the business name, a logo in color or black and white (the text, especially), what type of graphic I wanted to include, and whether I wanted a larger, more involved graphic vs. a smaller, more subtle one. Not to mention, having in mind my audience, who I market my work to, how I want them to view my business, etc.

Alejandro was instrumental in taking my comments and ideas and putting them into visual form. That gave me concrete examples that I could then look at, think about, decide what I liked and didn't like about them. I was sort of surprised that I decided to go with just the text of the business name, but after much thought, I feel that the final result truly represents me and my artwork. Simple and elegant, yet personal, reflecting my interest in and inspiration from nature. I love it!

Have you ever gone through a similar process for your own business? What did you find most surprising about the process?

Friday, July 22, 2011

House Portrait in progress!

I am making good progress on my current project - an 10 x 8 inch pen and ink house portrait. 

This property has quite a few trees and foliage around the house itself. One of the trees is situated right in front of the front door. I always try to make sure at least part of the door is visible, so I have been working with the owner to determine how big to make the tree.

Here is a progression that you might be interested in seeing - from initial pencil drafts through several revisions of the front tree:

  Rough pencil draft placing house features, trees, etc.

 Additional details on the house and landscaping.
I sent this draft to the owner to see if the scaling-down of the front tree was acceptable.

 The owner wanted to expand the tree a bit more to reach up to the upper window, so this is the adjustment I made.

The owner approved the height of the tree, but I did some additional tweaking on the sides to fill it out a bit more.

I actually did some more revisions on the brick work as I thought it looked too heavy and uneven here. Stay tuned for the next update to see the finalized pencil draft and beginning pen work!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Visit to Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Ann Arbor, MI

So the kids and I were looking for something different to do last week and decided to head up to Matthaei Botanical Gardens for a visit. The weather was warm, but not too hot, and we had a great time.

They have a wonderful Conservatory inside - we took a quick look through where we saw a number of beautiful plants including some I couldn't find identification on. My girls are 4 and almost 2 - they weren't stopping for long to let Mom look for signs - so I snapped a few photos hoping to identify things later. If you have any ideas on what the unlabeled items are, please let me know! :) 

We then made our way outside to the Gaffield Children's Garden. It's a fantastic place for the kids to explore, interact and enjoy. I highly recommend it if you are in the area!

Purple Heart

Not sure - very cool leaves, though.

Not sure? Love the variegation on the leaves.

Pincushion Cactus

Black-Eyed Susans

Another not sure - beautiful leaves on this tree. Any ideas?

One of my all-time favorites - Purple Cone Flowers

Have you had a chance to visit any of your local botanical gardens or other interesting summer-time sites? I'd love to hear about it!

Do you have a favorite summer flower?

As usual, I can't wait to do some sketching, even if from my reference photos. So many fun shapes and textures to capture!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Squirrel on Tree - Ink and Colored Pencil

This is another sketch from a few years ago. We live near the University of Michigan campus here in Ann Arbor, so squirrels are always around. This one was climbing down a tree as we sat outside on a beautiful fall day. It is skinnier than you normally see at that time of year! 

I tried to capture the wonderful curves of the tail as it swished around, so I included some of the line work here, even though it may look a little odd in the finished drawing. 

I quickly added some colored pencil after the fact. It should probably be a little more gray, but at least the color adds a bit more life to the drawing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

African Daisy Blossom - Graphite Sketch

I've been busy traveling a bit lately and haven't had a chance to do much drawing. But I am tired of looking at my last post! :) So, I figured I would upload a sketch I did a few years ago of an African Daisy blossom. 

I love the unique shape of the petals, which are also known as a Spoon Daisy or Spider White. Hope you enjoy it, too!

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