Sunday, January 30, 2011

How Do I Feel About Drawing the Human Face?

Drawing the human face is something I struggled with during my adolescence. I enjoyed drawing faces of pretty girls and turing them into princesses as a child but it became my belief that if I was going to draw faces and figures as a serious artist they had to look realistic. One of the journal prompts given to us in Suzi Blu's La Serina Mermaid tutorial was this: How do I feel about drawing?

first face drawing on a grid

What was revealed to me in my writing was why I gave up drawing the human face in the first place. At the time, because I couldn't get it right, I imposed a self created belief that went something like this: I can't draw the human form realistically so I give up. I'm just not going to try to draw them anymore. Did you get that? -A self created belief! WOW! That was an eye opener.

2nd drawing with higher nose placement

Perhaps what I didn't understand then was that they don't have to look realistic as long as the proportions were correct.  Shouldn't that have been in the book I was using to study from back then? I think I was so hell bent on realistic that I must have missed that message entirely. Just like so many things in life, we don't hear the message until we're ready for it.

3rd drawing - narrowed eye width

Suzi Blu, Kelly Rae Roberts, and Gritty Jane have made it okay for me to draw pretty faces that don't look photo realistic and use them in my art. The message finally got through and Suzi Blu delivered it in exactly the way I needed to hear it.

eyes only - getting them both the same shape

What you see here are exercises in learning. There are differences in how I approached each face from the standpoint of layout. Those small, subtle changes have made the difference in every face. I am excited about drawing pretty faces again and I'm excited about combining mixed media painting with my paper art.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Painting Acrylic Ocean Backgrounds

Try adding some acrylic paint and some water to a spray bottle and spraying on your color. Here I played with drizzling very wet paint over my spray and dabbing at it with a paper towel. I also added some spatter. 

You can have fun with your painting even if you don't quite like the outcome. That's what experimenting is all about. You learn what you don't like which better helps you move in the direction of what you do like which is a good reason to be grateful for the things you don't like. 

Above and below are actually part of the same background. In the above photo, you can better see the plain water spatter on wet paint technique. It looks like bubbles and is great for sea backgrounds. I also added some glitter swirls and some sparkly stars although they don't look very sparkly in the photo.

These are the background colors I plan to use in my final painting. The colors are bright, cheerful and peaceful. Art is such an emotional experience for me. Colors speak to me on an emotional level which is why I like this so much. I can't wait to try a salt technique for painting some pink coral on this. It's gonna be a divine sea atmosphere for my mermie and I can tell she loves it already. (tee hee :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Painting Backgrounds for Mermaids

It's very freeing to play around with different painting techniques before you lay paint onto a final project. I tried what are called subtractive techniques and here's how they look.

Plain water spattered onto a wet wash and lightly dabbed with paper towel to lift color. Looks like bubbles or could even be snow.

 This one uses the same technique as above only I dropped alcohol ink into the wet paint. The citrus looks rather heinous but the technique is very useful for making rings or bubbles which is excellent for mermaid backgrounds. I think I'll try a different color or use the blending solution next time.

This one is a two color wash. Lay a wash of one color over another and press wrinkled plastic wrap into it to reveal color underneath. I used wax paper which also had the desired effect.

The last one is part of the same background as above only you can see where wet paint was allowed to drizzle into wet paint. I also used the end of a paint brush to draw in some shapes. These were quite fun to try and very helpful in determining which techniques might be best for my mermaid project.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What Color is my Mermaid Environment?

There is nothing particularly interesting or noteworthy about color value scales unless you happen to be a painter of course. Mixing color is the foundation of a good painting next to composition. I have painted value scales while I was in art school yadda yadda, so on and so forth. Big deal right? I guess I never really fully understood the value of such an exercise until now. Haha!

Blue + Titanium White
 Choosing a color pallet has new meaning because I'm not randomly choosing color anymore. I learned something from my exercise in mixology yesterday. First, I can see at a glance how the blues in my supply stash stack up when put next to each other.  This will better enable me to select the right blue for my mermaid environment.

Color + Compliment = Mr Right Brown
I also want to have a nice green to use for sea foliage. I know I don't want them to look like a citrus tree so I'll keep my color on the darker, bluer side. Of course I couldn't resist playing with the browns and the fiery reds. They'll make good accent colors. The most important thing I learned about mixing a color with its compliment is that you get the perfect brown for your color pallet. 

Blue + Yellow = Green
I still have not completely decided upon my mermaid color pallet but this exercise has put me closer to making good color choices that will work well together and not create a visual circus that repels the viewer. I'm off to have some more painting fun!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Dream of Mermaids - Vision Boarding

I dream of the legendary mermaid. What is it about this mythical creature that captures our imaginations? Perhaps because it is so much fun to believe in something that adds a touch of magic with the promise of mystery to our every day existence. It's simply too irresistible and decadent an idea not to believe, isn't it?

Dreamy Sheer Fabrics
I am taking an online video tutorial with Suzi Blu called La Serina in which Suzi will teach us how to paint pretty mermaids. The first instruction she gives is that we gather ephemera, fabrics, trimmings, papers, photographs or anything that helps put is in a "mermaid" mood.

Mermie Trimmings
Ya know, I have actually never considered creating a vision board to help inspire my finished artwork but I am in love with the idea of it all. It's fun to go within and think like a mermaid. What kinds of things is my inner mermaid drawn to? Who is she? What am I meant to learn from her wisdom and perspective?

Blue Green Fabrics and Sequins
I ended up at the craft store yesterday . . . okay 2 craft stores and the art supply store in search of my mermaid materials. I went a little crazy and spent a small fortune, but what a treat. I wouldn't trade a thing. Just look at all the booty! So far I know my mermaid loves shiny, sparkling, pretty things in shades of aqua, blue and green with a few splashes of warm pink and coral mixed in as accents. It's all so très sea-chic.

Mermie Bling

So far, I have learned that it is good to pay proper homage to my ideas so that they might in grace, bloom more fully. Through vision boarding I can practice cultivating moods. I can let the idea evolve, grow and become what it wants to without judgement of the final outcome. My inner mermaid whispers that all the adventure of the journey is in the "becoming" and not the end result.

Glitz and Glam
I'll leave you with a question. Have you met your inner mermaid lately? What say you? Feel free to leave links to your mermaid art or mermaid art processes in the comments.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

13 Steps to the Official Kell Bell Website Lunch

Today is January 15, the official lunch date of the Kell Belle Studio website. It's a good day for me to reflect on how far I've come. I began the project with one question in mind. What will it take for me to feel ready to "launch?" What this actually translated to was what steps do I need to take to make me feel like a professional, organized artist with a viable art business?

What will it take for me to feel ready to "launch?"

The first thing I did was hire a planner. Okay so the planner wasn't exactly a human, it was a $6.00 planner notebook on sale at Barnes & Noble but I found it to be one of the most effective tools I used. I started work on this project in July of 2010. Armed with nothing more than an idea, a pencil and my new notebook, I began to write a list.

Prioritized List of Tasks

I wrote mainly to keep my thoughts organized because it got them out of my head and on to paper leaving my brain clutter free, and ready for new input. I wrote the list in no discerning order, basically doing a dump of every idea about what I needed to do before I could launch this new website. Once the list was created I went back in and prioritized the order in which I would accomplish each task. As it turns out, I had 13 items on my list. I ask you, how can 13 be unlucky when it got me where I wanted to be?

Block off Time in a Planner

Of course there were sub tasks to accomplish under each of the 13 items but the point is, something that smacks of monumentally impossible task was broken up into smaller, measurable pieces that helped me stay on target. I gave myself deadlines and blocked them off in my planner. Most of the time I didn't complete the tasks by the target date. My original web launch was scheduled for October then November . . . *ah-em* January but that's okay. The point is that I didn't let missed deadlines discourage me. Life happens and I just kept going. I love Dora's line in "Finding Nemo" - "keeeep swimin' just keep swimn' swimn' swimin' . . .  You'll get there!

New Business Card Front

All my love,

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