Thursday, August 14, 2008

Childhood Textures and possible 2-week hiatus

The following picture I did two nights ago, wanting to explore further the idea of texture factory drawings, and where I can go with that. I picked an image of mine that's simple, from Childhood Reflections, and drew it again. Of course this is a 9x12 and the original full-colour painting is much larger. Again, pleased with this, and I'm going to explore further. I also experimented a little with different sized micron pens so I could get in finer detail. Be sure to enlarge this one to see the little detail. It was ever so time-consuming, so it would be nice if it were to be noticed!

The 2-week hiatus I refer to is because on Saturday I am going on vacation and won't return until late on September 1st. I don't foresee any time during that vacation to be blogging, but I guarantee that pictures will be drawn and watercolours will be painted in that time. I'm going first on a road trip across the continent to Toronto with Jennifer, then flying home alone. Along the way, we'll be stopping and taking in the sights at various places, including Yellowstone Park. When I return, I'm immediately heading to Parksville on the Island with Cam, and we'll be relaxing and enjoying the beach there. I anticipate creating pretty pictures along the way.

So if I don't blog before, we'll see you in September, with lots of drawings to show off! Then I'll have another month of preparation time leading up to the Drift. Wow, time flies!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


This piece is based on a photo I took in Bogota, Colombia, atop Monserrate. From up top this mountain is the most amazing view of the city, but if you walk around, the top of the mountain itself is quite beautiful and outlines the path of a holy pilgrimage. I don't know the whole history behind it (or rather, it's been a few years and I don't quite remember). What I do recall is it was really beautiful here. The picture shows the view toward another famous hill, Guadalupe.

Technique here was mixing my magic brown ink with a little bit of blue and green watercolour paint. The image itself presented itself a challenge as it combines the buildings, as well as natural elements such as plants and mountains. Also there are various textures, and a need to build depth and perspective. I think I was successful here and am quite pleased with the results.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Texture Factory - Young at Heart and Sunflower

In my pen and ink class, we learned a technique called texture factory. Essentially, the goal is the shade in the object according to their tonal values, rather than their shapes, assigning each tonal value with a unique texture. I had a lot of fun with this, and in class created this picture of the old man. It was a big hit in class, and I must say I truly love what I've achieved here. I call this one, "Young at Heart" as it's based on a photo of an old man with a beard, but since it's been distorted through the texture factory, he looks quite a bit younger, although his face still tells many detailed stories.

I've decided I'd like to take this concept further and explore it with other natural items like flowers and landscapes, as well as cityscapes and buildings. I think this approach would work quite well, and I hope to be able to create some unique drawings of this sort while on my upcoming trip across the continent.

Here is one sample of me trying this again on my own time - a sunflower. I think it works yet again, although here I focussed on shapes (stamen and petals) rather than tonal value patches like I did on the man's portrait, and used textures where I thought fit. I'd like to do this with more flower designs.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Ink and Watercolour

Here are three samples of work I did this week combining ink and watercolour, during my class at Emily Carr. Each one of these is using a different technique, and all using the same brown ink, which to me is magic when you add water, as the colours blend, bleed, and separate in the most fascinating ways. The unpredictability of this media makes it very exciting to work with in that the results never come out the same twice. Here is a still life, which I'd like to explore further. Unfortunately I was looking at artificial flowers, so this would be a good exercise with actual plants.

This here is using the technique our teacher, Stan Hunc, called "happy accidents" where we purposely soaked the paper in water, then added splatters of watercolour and ink. The following day we adding ink drawing to it. Many class members opted for abstract design, but I decided to go for something a bit more representational. Looking at it again. I see other possible directions I could have taken this, but I'm still pleased with the result.

Here I am just goofing off with my new best friend, the magic brown ink, and a little bit of green watercolour paint. I think I've discovered my new favourite method for representing trees!

I think I've definitely discovered a new media for my art that's intriguing, and one I'd like to explore further, hopefully with the coming Art Drift show as an excuse.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


This is the first project from the Drawing With Pen and Ink class I am currently taking at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Here are two clematis flowers.

The exercise was actually to trace the flowers from a xeroxed photo (to save time, and thus be able to focus on shading technique rather than on composition). We were encouraged to use one's own interpretation for how to shade it and do the background.

I didn't rely fully on tracing, as I got the hang of using the classic pen pretty fast anyway, so tracing wasn't all necessary (ie., no need to save time per se). I decided to aim for realism for the flowers and a darker, abstract background. It's a neat challenge to show depth and shadow when you only have one colour to work with - ink at it's full strength, using a classic pen with various sized nibs to achieve different line qualities. Unlike in pencil where blending and various line strengths alters the colour to create grayscale, one must be a bit more deliberate with ink. I used a mix of hatching (lines in one direction), cross-hatching (lines in multiple directions), stippling (dots), and scribbles to shade.

I'm pleased with the outcome, although I think the background is a bit on the busy side. That said, I was experimenting with various forms of shading. If my sole goal was composition and making something pretty, I would have gone for a more simplified, yet still abstract background.

More from the pen and ink class to be posted in the coming days. Just waiting to get them all back from my teacher. Stay tuned!