Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bella Finito!

Bella, 2010
Pastel and Colored Pencil on Arches

The Final outcome is one that I am quite happy with. I think the backdrop adds a nice spatial element to the drawing. I had a great time rendering the black tones with punches of red, olive, and blue.  It feels great to be drawing, and I think I should do it more often.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dolce Bella

Pastel & Colored Pencil on Arches Watercolor Paper

Today I started working on Bella, a birthday gift for a friend.  It's a fun challenge to work on black objects because you have to rely on color to add volume and life to the form.  I used reds, blues, and sage tones in the shadow area to embellish the black and add movement to the piece.  This is the in-progress from day 1, about 6 hours in; enjoy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Technical Tuesday

More About Shadows

This document is a great example of how to shade using compliments.  The end result is a more believable value pattern that enhances the illusion of form in your work.  Be sure to click on the document above for a larger, high-res version that makes the text legible.  Now get out and use this in your work!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday History

Giacomo Balla (1871 - 1958)
Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, 1912

Giacomo Balla was one of the founders of the Futurism art Movement. defines Futurism as "a modern art movement originating among Italian artists in 1909, when Filippo Marinetti's first manifesto of futurism appeared, until the end of World War I. Futurism was a celebration of the machine age, glorifying war and favoring the growth of fascism. Futurist painting and sculpture were especially concerned with expressing movement and the dynamics of natural and man-made forms.
Some of these ideas, including the use of modern materials and technique, were taken up later by Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887-1968), the cubists, and the constructivists."

This happens to be one of my favorite all-time paintings because of the way the artist captures movement in the dog - if I were to describe how a wiener dog moves, I would refer to this painting. The other benefit of this piece is that it is accessible - just go to the Albright Knox gallery in Buffalo and you will see this piece among the many modern art masterpieces in their collection.  

Friday, December 17, 2010

Check This Out

"Fading Into Luminosity"

I stumbled upon this painter today and gotta say, I LOVE her work! This is yet another example of someone dealing with a common subject and doing something different with it.  I admire the way that Ali Cavanaugh obscures her figure in subtle ways that make the viewer wonder the meaning behind the work.  Her technical skills are sharp, but there is a luminosity in the work that makes it more aesthetically interesting than pure photo-realism.  So check her out! (what are you waiting for?)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

White Objects

Whenever using white in a work of art the least important "color" to work with is white.  White absorbs the color of its surroundings and presents an excellent opportunity to add mood to a work of art.  Consider what happens when you use warm and cool tones in the shadows and within the value range - the end result will always be a more believable color harmony. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Favorite

Norman Rockwell
Santa at the Map, 1939

Whether it's the holidays or everyday American life, Norman Rockwell's ability to capture a moment in time is part of what made him an exceptional storyteller.  Although I ogle at his technical ability, I'm more impressed with how prolific he was over an extended career.  The stories may have changed over time, but the aesthetics of his work remained the same.  I wish you all that same kind of success in whatever it is you do.    

Happy Holidays to You and Yours!

~ Denner

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Technical Tuesday

Avoiding Black
Not that black is a bad thing, it provides contrast and often gives images a boost in visual impact, but it does tend to flatten the look of a work of art.  Consider the alternatives to black - dark cool tones that help things recede in space.  As they say in Yo Gabba Gabba - "try it, you'll like it!"

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday History

Guiseppie Arcimboldo, 1573

Guiseppe Arcimboldo was known for creating paintings of organic objects arranged to form profile portraits.  In a time when artists relied on the Catholic church to make a living, Arcimboldo found little success through his religious commissions.  I like this piece for its inventive use of root-work to create the subtle tones on the "face."  So what should you take away from this? Be unique, original, and inventive in your work while still showcasing your strengths as an artist.  Happy Monday! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fridays are for Fun

Fun with Photoshop

In Computer Generated Art students are working on creating "hybrids," which take 3 or more unlike elements and blend them together - a perfect opportunity to create the infamous Manbearpig as my demo file.  Hope you enjoy the randomness...and beware of Manbearpig.

Check This Out

Red Caribou
Acrylic/ Mixed on Wood Panel
I saw this artist first in Juxtapoz magazine (a great source for should consider subscribing) and love the way that they incorporate face painting and cultural inspiration into the overall aesthetic of the work.  I'm always looking for different ways to incorporate concept into portraiture and think that Silvia Ji is doing phemonimal work in this area.  The symbolism in her work incorporates a variety of cultural contexts in a current, street-art-esque manner.  Beyond the conceptual element, Silvia Ji's work blends a controlled technical approach with balanced textural elements and alluring composition.  Check out her work by clicking on the image above or find Silvia Ji in my artists links.  

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wrap It Up

Wrapped Still Life with Gucci Bag

Often as artists we get caught up in trying to make things look realistic, but then fail to observe our subjects close enough.   When you wrap an object you lose the visible detail but maintain the volume and form.  Consider doing a drawing that incorporates paper into a still life composition in a way that puts the emphasis on form and value rather than the detail within actual, recognizable objects.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Observational Drawing Boot Camp

Pinwheel Still Life, 2007
Tonya Kennedy

It's time to get back to basics and then some!  Art schools are deeply interested in your ability to draw from direct observation, so be prepared to do a series of fast turnaround pieces involving observational studies.  Stay tuned for our first series of projects and be prepared to regain that focus you had at the beginning of the year!