Monday, October 31, 2011

Backgrounds -- Put Your Art in Context

Still with Laure's class. More assignments follow in my blog, though the class has now ended. Laure taught us about the importance of backgrounds... planning them, perhaps putting them in first, not making them an afterthought. One exercise was to build our "vocabulary" of backgrounds by creating several, whether inspired by fabric, wallpaper, rugs... whatever.

Next, we put several items together, having planned the background first. I took the cherries that were used in the assignment -- wanted to show black cherries, standard red ones, and then Rainier cherries. Hmmm... not sure if that worked!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Artful Journaling #6 and #7

Word Art: AJF 6
I'm behind on my assignments for my Artful Journaling class. Each assignment is more challenging than the previous ones. The two here are "Word Art" and "Designing Borders". It was very difficult for me to let go and actually design a word for myself, but as soon as I thought of "laugh", it all came together. The word, that is... not the background, colors, or anything else. Still, I think that it's pretty lively.

The borders were fun. I really got into a zone here, while discovering just how much I love pen and watercolor work. We had to create at least two borders each of watercolor only; pen only; watercolor and pen. Well, I went a bit overboard. Our next assignment is to design a piece with the border as a part of the design but not overpowering it. I think I know what I want to paint, and I can already see which border or variant I'll pick.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cantaloupe on a Plate

As part of my Artful Journaling Foundations class, I painted this as an assignment. Here's what I originally posted on the class page but then decided to put on this blog instead, with just a short reference over there. The class page can get very long when we all post...

I love cantaloupe, so my choice this time was very easy. (My cats also love cantaloupe, but they had no say in this.) I wanted to create a bit of tension in the painting, so I deliberately changed the directions of the three key elements -- cantaloupe, plate, lines -- to be slightly different. I think that in fact the painting looks more unified as a result, without the tension I'd hoped for. Oh well.

My line widths were broken (cantaloupe edges); narrow (plate edges); and thick (lines of fabric as well as border). I thought about extending the thick border all the way up and across the top, but I thought it might make the colorful part too top-heavy. I'm glad now that I didn't do that. I went with the vertical format not just because I liked how the photo looked, but because I really needed the height to create the upward thrusts. Once I'd decided on this approach, I tried a couple of thumbnails to see if they would work. As soon as I added the dark lines, the image just popped for me, and I decided to incorporate them.

The biggest challenge was the color of the cantaloupe. I kept seeing "orange" but it was far more than that. I layered it a couple of times to get the right sort of color and contrast. Next, the shadows. I kept them cool as a contrast to the warm cantaloupe. They're a bit too bland for my liking, but on the other hand, they don't detract from the focus, which I want to be the cantaloupe and the patterned fabric. (Actually, I don't think of it as fabric, but I'm not sure what else to call it.)

The black border over "cantaloupe" is to hide the paint that strayed from both directions, since my brush picked up some cat hairs and dragged paint around before I realised what was happening. :) I considered doing the same for the outer edges of the plate, but thought it would give too much weight where I didn't want it to be, and would visually separate the cantaloupe from the colors more than I wanted.

I really like the colors at the top. Mixed three puddles of blue, yellow, red, then dipped into each one to get a variegated pattern. Unfortunately I wasn't able to keep the blue and red as pure as I wanted, but perhaps that's not so bad, since now they're more muted.

I'm not happy with the word "cantaloupe" at the bottom. I colored in each letter with the same colors at the top, then put green over it. Maybe I should have painted a very dark color around the letters. I also put a light wash of yellow over the plate to remove some of the starkness of the white -- also because some yellow paint got onto the plate and I couldn't get it completely removed!! I don't know if the yellow shows up very well in the scan.

Fun assignment!