Monday, April 7, 2014

Greater Cleveland Drawing/Painting Groups


Here's a post concerning artistic fellowship.

Here in Cleveland we're blessed with a multitude of organizations that help us develop as artists. My own career was at a point where I was struggling with meaning and inspiration. When I discovered the Murray Hill Life Drawing Group a gong went off in my brain and my ability to capture the human figure took off. Both the experience of drawing from life and being exposed to inspiring artists (I'm talking to you Terry Orvis and Larry Zuzik) enabled my work to move up a notch or two.

These are some of the art / drawing / illustration groups available to those that are lucky enough to live in the Greater Cleveland Area

Dr. Sketchy Cleveland
NOIS (Northern Ohio Illustrators Society)
Ohio Watercolorists Society (just starting to learn about and appreciate)

I don't want to sound like a Pollyanna, but the Cleveland Area is ROBUST in all things artistic!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Couple More Note Sketches

Here's two more head studies done on my phone from freeze frames on my TV.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Winter Sauna
























This was the view from the cottage before we went for our winter sauna. That's the frozen lake in the background, with the tree perched on the edge of the cliff leading down to Lake Erie.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Electronic Sketching With The Galaxy Note 3


Over the holiday season I was in Best Buy and stumbled upon their displays of Galaxy Note phone and tablets. I discovered that the Note 3 phone had undergone a serious upgrade in October and has now hit a serious sweet spot as far as ability is concerned. I snatched it up and haven't looked back.

The photos are a little deceiving. Since the Moleskine sketchbook is so large in comparison, the phone looks pretty small. But as most of you know, the Note is one big honking phone.

It's an electronic sketcher's dream machine. The stylus is a little thin, (about the width of a piece of vine charcoal) but its a Wacom stylus, which means quality and superb pressure sensitivity, and the phone comes with the Sketchbook Pro app already installed. The phone has 3gb of ram and whatever the latest Samsung chip is so it's got plenty of processing power to make the art experience enjoyable.

I wish I had more options art app wise, but that's the way it is. The Android OS is what it is as well, but I figure Apple is never ever going to offer a native stylus, so this is definitely the way to go if you're interested in smaller electronic sketching. Unfortunately its loaded with a bunch of crapware that I can't get rid of, but that's the tradeoff. The 8" and 10" Galaxy Notes don't have this much horsepower so I can't recommend them at this time, but the Note phone is definitely a winner.

Once they come out with better versions of their larger tablets they will be even bigger winners. But they won't fit in your pocket.

It has a super dense screen, and you can make sketches that are 1438 x 2560 pixels with 6 layers. The software comes with a bunch of different brushes and also a fill tool, so you can make a super quick outline of a shape with a smaller brush, then select the fill tool and it will automatically completely fill the enclosed area (a great time saver). Its great for value studies or grey scale sketches when you don't want to get into the involved issue of color (not a lot of fun when you have the huge color gamut offered to you on an RGB device… most colors are so bright they are unusable).

But BEWARE!!! In a lot of ways it's an artistic dead end. As you can see from the portraits above, they are no where close to being as interesting or rewarding as the actual watercolor sketch.

Having said that, the phone is a lot smaller than a sketch kit. And the three greyscale on site people sketches below show a nice simple approach to people sketching that's both quick and rewarding.






The plein air greyscale landscapes above show an approach to value studies for landscapes. The portraits below were drawn from freeze frames on the tv. I'm looking forward to refining my techniques with this wonderful piece of equipment until I can really whip out a sketch super fast.



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Waterlogue App for iOS

A while back I got an email from a gentleman named John Balestrieri who was creating a watercolor app for iPad and iPhone. He had seen the still life I had painted at St. Joseph's Vineyard along with the photo of the actual set up. He showed me what he had done with the photo and I asked him if I could be a beta tester.



























It's a lot of fun. If you're a fan of the watercolor look you can get some interesting effects. It's strongest suit is that it's not afraid to leave whites on certain settings. It does a little drawing first, then starts building the paint up, lightest tones first, darkest tones last. I love the texture and the way it breaks up hard edges every now and then with a soft bleed effect.

I enjoyed playing around with it and thinking to myself "if it had just made this decision instead of that one, it would have turned out truly incredible (instead of just WOW)".  So don't worry about it taking away any of your desire to paint. If anything, it gives you the itch to get back to your paints and make your own decisions. It may also give you an idea to take a painting into a different direction than you might normally have.

You've got to wonder if the artist is one of those jobs that will be automated someday, but I'm pretty sure you'll still need someone with a discerning eye to control the process. And hey, the 85 people who have the wealth of half the world's population will still want to by some original art!

Right?

[chirping of crickets]

Oh well.

In the meantime, I'm a firm believer in using technology to aid the analog art world and not replace it. Watching these appear on an iPad makes you want to watercolor even more and make bolder choices than the app itself makes. And if you have trouble unifying your washes, it will remind you how important it is to do so.

Here's some images that the app created from some of my photos.  It doesn't work so well on people, as you'd expect. That's where the artist still triumphs.

Highly recommended. Try it out if you have an iPhone or iPad. There aren't any plans that I know of to make a version for Android.












Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TV Interview!!


I was fortunate enough to be interviewed on the local PBS station the other month.
Bob Moyer, maybe the best illustrator in Cleveland over the last 50 years and the man who taught me how to watercolor, is included!!  Our segment is right at the beginning of the show.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Kristen























This is from the other night at the Lit.