Friday, August 22, 2008

Berry beginnings

I've had this blasted pre-migraine headache for most of the week. Add to that, the Olympics and the pre-emption of my evenings (amazing how a sports event can encourage inactivity - I think I've gained 5 pounds), and I haven't had much energy or focus to do more than this.

I was having a bit of a scale issue, but managed to sketch in leaves that seemed to fit the scale of the berries. I think the leaves are a bit close together so don't be surprised to see some change there.

Anyway, a massage, more ibuprofen and the end of the Olympics should have a positive effect.

I've had these week-long near migraines before. There have been several bodies of work on artist expression and migraine. Most notably, Oliver Sacks' book Migraine and his discussion of Hildegard von Bingen's artistic and spiritual inspiration as a migraine sufferer. And there are some interesting examples of artwork created while "under the influence" of migraine. That's all well and good, but I don't know how I could even lift a paintbrush while having a migraine unless it's to stab it into my eyeball to make the pain stop.

The whole thing is interesting, but migraine neither diminishes or improves my artistic abilities, which is fine by me. I find drawing to be much more difficult than even having a migraine.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My next artistic boondoggle

Last year I snapped a random photo of a random plant, like so many random plant photos I take all the time. I was looking through my photos to find another plant to draw in my sketchbook and found this:
Not knowing what it was, or even recalling the photo, I had no idea of the scale and would have liked to find the plant again so that when someone looked at my drawing and said "my, what lovely oranges", I could shoot back and say "noooo, those are the berries of the blah-blah tree" (duh.) But what to do? I couldn't find the tree/bush/shrub anywhere. I queried basic terms like "yellow berries", "Oregon", every combination I could think of. Nothing looked like the photo above. Finally flummoxed, I found my old tattered Sunset Magazine Western Garden book, and looked under "Colorful Fruits and Berries" and low and behold we have a sorbus aucuparia or a Rowan Tree. I was unable to locate the tree on line because my Rowan photo was basically of unripened fruit! This is how a fully "fruitioned" Rowan tree looks in late August when the birds are feasting on the fruit:

Well, being a former dabbler in all things "woo woo", I knew I had picked one special tree as an artistic undertaking. I read about all its magical uses, lore, and legend and I find I am totally enchanted by this tree!

I set about trying to find the tree that I snapped last July. (The date stamp on the photo was my only clue.) For days I looked, ceasing all drawing until I could find it. And three days ago, I found three fruiting Rowan trees at the top of my street. I hadn't walked up there in some time since being diagnosed with anemia (hills being difficult for me), but we were driving by and I just turned my head to look out the window, and there they were.

So, with kind permission of the trees (you're supposed to ask them if it's okay to pick, NEVER use a knife and be sure to say thank you), I took a few leaves and berries for my composition.

Some berries have been sketched in the book, but I am finding they are still very yellow, so I decided my drawing is of the Rowan in mid-July. Said drawing will be appearing in some emerging state in a couple of days.

And by the way, since finding the three trees up the street, I must have seen twenty more in various places in the area. I cannot wait until May to see them flower!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tropical Island Art Deco Mandala Thingy Part 2 (Or how to beat up on yourself)

I finished it. Hmmm... not loving it either.

The outlining is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Had I known it would eventually take on a "busy" look (how could I NOT know?), I would have done something far more muted in parts, particularly the center parts. The warm grays are nice, but alternating them as I did seems so... predictable.

It's fine though. I learned alot. If it takes two years to fully learn any medium, I got a compressed education with this project and learned MUCH about markers and colored pencils together. I am not using the wax colored pencils these days and I have learned that I REALLY like the oil based pencils instead. I am actually impressed at how well I kept a steady hand doing that outlining. Ugg! But the outline was really only chosen to cover slop. So much for steady hands.

But the really important thing is that I sat here and stared at the thing (the whole time not loving it) for two weeks and still (finally) broke out the art shizz last night and started again in my sketchbook. And even though I'm not loving this busy, overworked sphere, I have to say it was as fun as anything I ever did.

New t-shirt design

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