EDM

A Dear College Friend Chimes In…

Secret Silvy

Secret Silvy

On Friday’s I like to post a few critiques.  The artist I had scheduled to chat with this week had something come up at the last minute.  Not to worry though, she made me promise to give her a rain check.  I ran into one of my dearest friends from college on Facebook.  She and my lovely bride were room mates and at one time we did practically everything together.  One day, however, she ran away from the circus to join a home and now she and her husband have a custom jewelry business.  You can see her work at Secret Silvy.  As a matter of fact, if you check there regularly you can watch their website grow as it is currently a Work In Progress!  Laura volunteered to help me out with a few critiques this week and it is greatly appreciated!

The old Washita Theater

The old Washita Theater


Washita Theater is an awesome depiction of times gone by.  The picture sort of clashes with itself though.  The column down the center has a 40’s feel, while the marquee looks like the bumper of a 50’s style car.  I think it’s because there’s no separating line between the two sides of the marquee, and the right end is angled a bit much.  I’m not sure if it’s the re-sizing of the picture, or if the lettering on the marquee are supposed to be illegible, but in this digital copy, there’s a slight cartoon feel since I can’t read the letters.  This is an excellent capture with what I will call “personal touches!”

EDM 121: Draw Something Shady

EDM 121: Draw Something Shady

EDM 121: Draw Something Shady

Looking at the “shady” picture, I am amazed at the depth that it has.  I just want to walk right up and sit on the swing, but I’m afraid I’d bust out the window behind it.  Something about the tree… looks like it’s reaching in under the porch on the right side.  But how could that be if the swing looks like it’s against the wall/window?  Didn’t notice it though until I was just staring at my screen while talking on the phone!  Otherwise, an excellent job!

College Chapel

College Chapel

College Chapel

I absolutely love the College Chapel.  It looks like a picture you would see of a small chapel in a fairy tale book.  If you stare at the tower too long, it begins to look fuzzy, like you’re seeing double.  The clock not showing an actual time adds to the fairy tale style.

Thank You Laura!

Laura, I can’t thank you enough for taking time to comment on my site and my works.  Readers, be sure and check out Laura’s site as well at Secret Silvy.

Open invitation to critique Fridays.

If you would like to participate in Friday’s critiques, please contact me and I will be more than happy to set it up.

EDM 122: Draw A Bell

EDM 122: Draw A Bell

EDM 122: Draw A Bell

Tonight’s EDM challenge, draw a bell, is another of those that pushes my comfort zone.  I still don’t like to draw reflective surfaces.  However, I think that particular set of skills is coming along nicely.  Before long I’ll be rendering Gazing Balls for your enjoyment.  <snicker> JUST JACK</snicker>

College Chapel

College Chapel

College Chapel

I had several long breaks today between the courthouse, the printer, and an old friend with a cool offer.  During one of those breaks I went down to The University of Science and Arts, a local college.  I sat in the shade behind the library over looking the chapel while I ate my sardines in hot sauce and drank my 8oz. Diet Dr. Pepper.  While sitting there, I broke out the mini sketch kit and played around a bit.  I like how this one turned out and am VERY eager to do more.  It’s like that.  When you do something that shows obvious improvement or that you think looks very good, you are inspired to do more and more.  One bad drawing can grind you to screaching stop if you let it.  But if you just keep plugging away, you can look back and see that your bad drawings today are still way better than your bad drawings, and even many of your GOOD drawings from yesterday.

My friend Danny, a preacher, made me an offer to use space in his church to give art classes.  We discussed it at length, and I think that we could come to some kind of arrangement.  I also think that it would be a blast to get to do so.  We both agreed, however, that his congregation might frown upon nude figure drawing.

Sketchbook cover

Sketchbook cover

I spend a lot of my time looking for just the right materials with which to draw, paint, sketch, whatever.  It always seems that what I’m looking for either isn’t available, is incredibly expensive, or is made in China.  I find the labor practices in some of those other countries to be incredibly offensive, so it just irritates me to no end that you can’t find anything made anywhere else.  Anyway, what I decided to do about it is gather some domestic materials and make my own.  A local printer friend is helping me out and soon I will have all the sketch books I want in the sizes I want.  WOOT!

EDM 121: Draw Something Shady

EDM 121: Draw Something Shady

EDM 121: Draw Something Shady

I know that I am supposed to be challenged and develop not only my awareness of the world around me and my draftsmanship, but also my creativity.  But I really find the vague challenges annoying.  “Draw something shady.”  “Draw something you like.”  These kind of challenges I know are designed to force me to decide.  But one of the things that drew me in to the Every Day Matters group to begin with was the specific list of items.  When I come to the end of a long day, it is nice to be able to look and see, “Draw a bowl.”  Then I know that I need to draw a bowl and I don’t have to think beyond which bowl, lighting, and composition.  It’s way more meditative that way.  That said, I am still pleased with the way this one turned out.

It Figures!

EDM 120: Draw some coins

EDM 120: Draw some coins

After two weeks of being rained out, I’m wondering if I’m ever going be able to make it back to figure drawing group.  I missed it this week also because of some ugly personal business, so you know I’ll be scrounging for something to put online for next week.  Maybe I can get my beautiful young bride to pose for me.  I have heard many complaints that there weren’t any pictures of her online anyway.  One of the great many things I enjoy about my lovely wife is that she is addicted to all things shiny.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a diamond ring or an alluminium wrapper from a stick of gum, if it’s shiny she likes it.  I’ll refrain from making any Crow or Bird Brain references here.  Tonight’s EDM challenge, draw some coins, got me thinking that maybe she would pose for me if offered her these shiny coins.  I wonder what a roll of dimes would get me.  Eat your heart out, people, that only works for me.

When Pigs Fly

Swine Flu

Swine Flu

It’s time once again to post my response to the Illustration Friday theme.  This week’s theme is Contagious.  What with all the headlines surrounding the Mexican Swine Flu, I have to believe this is what the submitter had in mind.  I’m also willing to bet that of the hundreds of submission to Illustration Friday, my flying pig will just be one of many.

brain storming

brain storming

I believe a creative mind is just like a goldfish.  Feed it too little, or too much, and you’ll find it floating in the tank.  I spend about five minutes brainstorming these challenges.  I don’t try to think to much about it because it would be very easy to let myself be overcome by indecision.  To many ideas, second guessing and letting doubt creep in are the killers of creativity.  If you’ve ever had a deadline slip by you because someone just couldn’t make up their mind, then you know exactly what I’m typing about.  For this challenge, I set a specific amount of time for deliberation, five minutes.  After than, I grab the one that I think best conveys the theme.  If I am unhappy with the results, I can start over.  Usually, however, there will be at least two that I end up weighing against each other.  I think that if I had gone with the pig in the tie you might have confused the theme for “Men.”

EDM 119: Draw a flashlight

Flashlight

Flashlight

When I went to Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) training, at the completion of the course the instructor handed out these nifty keychain LED flashlights.  They are just the right size and REALLY bright.  The only problem is that they click “on” in your pocket.  Then when you need it, the batteries are dead.  I find it easier just to keep a fresh supplie of batteries around because this flashlight is perfect for the inspections I do.

Book Review: The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook

The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook

The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook

As I cruise around the interwebs, I occasionally (everyday, sometimes twenty times a day) come across a book that interests me.  While perusing Russell Stutler’s site, I noticed his book list of recommended reading.  Among them was The Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook.  Having bought and explored the book, I decided to share my insights with you, my friends.

The Good:

First, I would like to say that this book is just chopped full of valuable tips and tricks!  There are tips on everything from how to compose the painting to how to create your own palette from a used styrofoam meat package.  Gordon MacKenzie has taught watercolor for many years and this is a collection of the handouts he has given his students.  The illustrations and instruction are very well done and easy to follow.  As a stack of handouts, you couldn’t ask for better.

The Not-So-Good:

MacKenzie’s handouts are truly informative, especially in a classroom setting.  As a book, however, they don’t lend themselves well to a sense of order.  That is, there really is no beginning or end to them.  If you are a beginning watercolorist, there is no clear cut place to start.  The first handout in the book discusses topics that won’t be explained for 100 pages.  Every section is written with the assumption that you are already familiar with certain aspects of watercolor, or that the information you are lacking will be readily available from an instructor.  This makes for a difficult read, especially if you are like me and read these books cover to cover before attempting the practicals.

Recommendation: ♦♦◊◊◊ 2 diamonds

If you are looking for an introduction to watercolor, this is not for you.  If you consider yourself at least a little knowledgeable on the subject, there are a lot of demonstrations and examples for you to learn from.  If you are advanced, or are teaching, this book has a great many resources for you and your students.  If you are going to make copies for your class, however, please remember to contact the publisher for permission.

This book is worth buying, regardless of your skill level, but you will get more out of it if you are of intermediate or advanced skill.

EDM 118: Draw some rocks

EDM 118: Draw some rocks

EDM 118: Draw Some Rocks

I picked these rocks up in the yard where I work.  I carried them around in my pocket for almost four days.  Every night putting them on my dresser and every day putting them back into my pocket, intending to draw them when I had a chance to stop.  When I had a chance to stop, I found that I was not interested in drawing the rocks.  Lately, I have been imagining much grander things for the EDM challenges.  I get an idea, like the portrait of one of my high school friends, and then get frustrated when I have trouble relaying that idea in graphite on a 3.5″ x 5″ sketchbook.  It took me a couple of days to get back around to the idea that it’s the celebration of the everyday matters that make every day matter.  So tonight, I drew the rocks.