Samstag, 6. Dezember 2014

Painting at the Museum

Last Sunday, our local urban sketchers group went to the Neanderthal Museum Mettmann. It is the site, where the human fossil of the same was found in 1856. Several of us were able to show off an unbelievable amount of creative output, whereas I only worked on this watercolor painting.

Lately, I am concentrating on nailing overall forms and proportions first. I still catch myself diving straight into interesting details. But what is the use of a well-drawn nose when it sits too high and so does not resemble the model. For more than two hours I studied the tent and the Neanderthalian preparing his prey. Having ten minutes left on the clock, working on last details of the hide above the entrance, it struck me! I already did feel, that the structured forms and placed shadows were somehow strange for what I thought it was. And only because of an unintentional visual zoom-out, I realized: Man, this is the head of a bison!

See, even if it is your deliberate intention to follow a thought-through plan, sometimes habits are hard to break. It is practice that will help you leaving those old, wrong-proved paths.

Freitag, 21. November 2014

The Owly Illustrations

Recently, my wife worked on a 12-pager concept about child's care. To give it a neat touch, she asked me to do some illustrations. The theme, or how she called her hypothetical group of Under-Three-Year-Olds, was 'The Owl-Nest'. The painting below is the finished front cover. It was done with watercolor pencils and wet brushes.

Here are the very first sketches from imagination with the help of some internet pictures of owls and their babies, to close in on their basic structure. See... even at this early stage of the process, some of them made it into the final picture.

This is the tight comprehensive pencil drawing I used for tracing the composition right onto the watercolor paper (you might still see the marks). A tight comprehensive is a detailed sketch which will be used as the ultimate reference for the final painting. Of course, since I handle my wife's request just like a job, she had to approve before diving into the full color finish.

I knew, there would not be enough time to do more colored owls. So... as it goes, the last evening before putting the whole concept together, ready to be submitted, I quickly doodled a couple of stand-alones with a brush pen to fill in some blanks.

Montag, 10. November 2014

'The Beagle' in Gouache

Gouache is such a versatile medium to paint with. It was my first try and I am amazed by the freedom it gives you. This is a painting of Darwin's ship 'The Beagle'. 1831, it took him on a 5 year long journey which triggered his most important work 'On the origin of species'. Source was a black & white internet photo of a faithful replica. I intentionally did not do any color research of ocean and ship, but am thankful for the help of an art instructor to push me in the right direction. There was not much time to finish, but, on the other hand, I cannot say I rushed it, since I ended up spending about an hour on one wave,... which was cut off, of course.

I do not have much practice with color and thought, gouache would be perfect to start with. Because it is a water-soluble medium, you can do wet washes as in the sky. And it is also no problem, this time contrary to watercolor, to set highlights with whites or working over parts you don't like.

Mittwoch, 5. November 2014

First Live-Drawing-Session... Ever!

A bit hidden in the internet and else not well known, the drawing club I visited yesterday evening seemed a bit like a secret society. They all know one another very well from the art academy way back... greeting hugs & kisses, they pursue a decades long tradition. Initiated by their former art teacher, they regularly get together to draw from live models. I never would have known this is happening just right around my corner, if it was not for my wife. Probably disguised as a local, small art school by day, it just took a little slip of comment from the instructor whiles chatting.

Actually, this small group of artists turned out to be a very friendly and welcoming bunch and we had a great evening drawing, painting & drinking wine. The model was a young, outstandingly well build guy. He posed, and this was the only thing I was not prepared for, in intervals of 10-15 minutes. Going bold with quick lines and shading was an exercise I am very much in need of, I realized. But there are sessions coming up, which I am looking forward to attending, since drawing from live models seems to be a rare opportunity in this town.

On that matter, you might want to check out this post: DR. SKETCHY’S ANTI ART SCHOOL

Dienstag, 28. Oktober 2014

A quote I cherish

Had to think about this one while talking to a fellow sketcher today:

'Begin with a proper sketch book. Draw in ink. Finish each drawing you begin, and keep every drawing you finish. No erasing, no ripping out a page, no covering a page with angry scribbles. What you draw is an invaluable and unique representation of how you saw at that moment in that place according to your abilities. That’s all we want. We already know what a dog really looks like. I found this was a benefit that rendered the quality of my drawings irrelevant. Whether they were good or bad had nothing to do with their most valuable asset: They were a means of experiencing a place or a moment more deeply.'

— Annette Goodheart

Mittwoch, 22. Oktober 2014

DR. SKETCHY’S ANTI ART SCHOOL - also a great resource for photo reference...

... if you cannot be there in person. 'Dr. Sketchy is when Cabaret meets life drawing'. It is a rare opportunity to draw from accordingly-to-the-theme dressed up live models. The "Faster, Pussykatz! Sketch! Sketch!" Session is what you will miss this coming weekend in Berlin. Luckily, should you be living too far away, like me, or just do not have time to take part, you can visit their Facebook or homepage to look up pictures, which were taken at the event. Turns out, you hardly find any better photo reference if you are looking for a theme like: 'Animals Are People Too', 'The End Of The World' or 'The Little Red Riding Hood'. Have fun browsing their stock! At least I will be using it extensively for private drawing practice.

Montag, 20. Oktober 2014

Project Duesseldorf Thumbnails - Harbor #2

On our second trip to the Duesseldorf Media-Harbor I sketched some more buildings which, I believe, define the uniqueness of this area. Either they are newly build, like 1) 'Colorium', finished in 2011 and the highest building around or are repaired: Nr. 3, now called 'Small Villa', used to also be one. It is the smallest of them all and appears really tiny and cramped. But in my eyes it is the most beautiful. It now houses offices and an Italian restaurant. 2) used to be a silo, and now is referred to as a building of historic importance. A sign was placed hanging from the front wall with people on it carrying sacks of something, probably flour. I will have to find out.

In reality, not all of the buildings stand side by side. I placed them together to capture the difference of height. This are pretty small sketches, too. 13x9 cm, starting with watercolor and wrapping it up with a 0.05 black pen.

Because it was getting late, I did not want to start the Roggendorf-House, also a silo, from scratch. An idea, how this building looks from farther away is shown in the lower right corner of the second drawing. All in all, 24 'Flossis' figures found their home climbing up the front wall. Five more even try to conquer the building right next to it. It is just a crazy sight!

Montag, 13. Oktober 2014

Project Duesseldorf Thumbnails - Harbor

This is the first thumbnail of a series of interesting places in Duesseldorf. Goal is to collect remarkable views, getting familiar with shapes and ideas for composition. They will be pretty rough and quickly done, but always on sight, which so will continue until the final painting. So, no photo reference.

Samstag, 4. Oktober 2014

Outtakes from 'The Miraculous Bilocational Travel Journal': Part 4

Greece - September 24th 2014

On this quick watercolor painting Volker and Christian are celebrating those rare shots of sun. Though chilling on the dinghy, I could not expect those crazies to hold still for too long. As for every activity that involves going into the water, Sebastian was mysteriously MIA. 

This will be the last sketch from Greece this year, I will put online. Much more where done, but while testing the wind, an unexpected big wave splashed down on my book. Learned my lesson for next year!

Please visit my Miraculous Bilocational Travel Journal on flickr for more drawings.

Freitag, 26. September 2014

Outtakes from 'The Miraculous Bilocational Travel Journal': Part 3

Greece - September 23rd 2014

Okay... we had to take a little walk up there, but the view was breathtaking (not quite like that watercolor snippet). It is the scenery overseeing Athos, accompanied by some pleasing weather. Which was, so far, rather scarce this year on our sailing trip.

One thought about watercolor: Using it to just color in areas is like making a party animal do the dishes. How hard it is to stay in control when letting loose, I learned.

Please visit my Miraculous Bilocational Travel Journal on flickr for more drawings.

Mittwoch, 24. September 2014

Outtakes from 'The Miraculous Bilocational Travel Journal': Part 2

Greece - September 22rd 2014

It was a lovely night at that restaurant! Just as you would imagine an old, little bit rundown, but therefore with so much more character, mediterranean place to satisfy your hunger and thirst after a hard days of sailing. The wine from their own grapes, the food instilled with old, tried-out recipes. Men need no more.

Please visit my Miraculous Bilocational Travel Journal on flickr for more drawings.

Outtakes from 'The Miraculous Bilocational Travel Journal'

Greece - September 22nd 2014

We all will have an awesome couple of days sailing in Greek! And sometimes there will be times when painting is not really the most fun thing to do... wait up, guys! Coming in!

Please visit my Miraculous Bilocational Travel Journal on flickr for more drawings.