Sunday, November 10, 2013

Colour Theory

On my journey to earning my Fine Art certificate are the proverbial "foundation" courses. The course I'm doing now is Foundation Colour or colour theory in disguise. I was looking forward to this course hoping it would be about mixing colour, applications of colour in different art media, and the psychology of colour. But it's really none of these. Our first class was about the "science" or the physics of colour. PHYSICS!!! Oh boy! I had no option to drop this course as it is a required course for the certificate, so I was stuck. The second class we learned about Itten's colour wheel and were taught how to draft it. DRAFT!!! Could this course get any worse? So I skipped the next couple of classes because I was overwhelmed. "I'll work on my project at home," was the excuse I gave my instructor.

The parameters of our project was to use Itten's colour wheel and incorporate complementary colours, split complementary, analogous, tetrads, and Bezold in specific parts of the wheel. The important element of this project was that it had to have a theme. A THEME?? How does a colour wheel have a theme? After showing us some exemplars from past projects, the creative energy started flowing. I finally decided on a Quilt Theme, as it seemed a natural fit since with quilting we incorporate colour, pattern, geometry, harmony, etc....all the components of this project.

The final work was to be produced on watercolour art board using gouache. Here is my Quilt Colour Wheel...

The elements are...centre - 6-pointed star; colour wheel elements - Dresden plate; internal corners - card trick; external corners - compass or star; edge design - spool.

It was interesting to see all the different colour wheels produced by my classmates when they were lined up on the board. Great work!

Next project is about values....and I'm sure I'll stress the same way with this project.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Abstract Art

I recently started a new course at the local college. The course is Abstract Art. This is something different for me because realistic drawing and painting are something I am more comfortable with. Drawing/painting what I see with care and precision. Abstract art is something I've never quite understood...or liked. So this course is a challenge for me. This course will challenge my comfort zone and force me to step outside of it and try something different. I'm really looking forward to it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Lost but not forgotten

I haven't blogged in a long time, mainly because I was busy with work and life in general, but I never stop thinking about what I would share if I had time to actually sit down and share. So, here goes...what I've been up to.

This past semester, I took a course in Life Painting in Oils, below are some of the paintings I produced during this course. Comments and (gentle) criticisms welcome.

(posted from most recent)

costumed model

reclining nude

palette knife

fauvism style


Friday, August 14, 2009

Last drawing class

My course end last Thursday. We got to class and set up our easels as usual. There was a model but no one was really sure what the plan was for this last class as we had done our final project the week prior. Our final pose was a 3-hour nude (below) and after the three hours were over, I felt as I could continue drawing for another three hours. So, what was the plan for this last class?

Our instructor was returning the work and talking to each of us about our drawing and our plans with the program. While he was doing that we were invited to do any type of drawing we wanted, I chose to do a portrait (also below). One by one he called each student up. At first I thought he was being nice to everyone, but then I overheard a couple of conversations that were not so positive. By the time it came to me, I was quite nervous. He called me up, commented that I had drawn the head smaller than scale and added that this particular mistake was better than drawing the head too big - which would make the model look "grotesque", in his words. He also said he liked the hands - which are so terribly hard to do - and he said I had a natural way with the pencil!! Wow!

The insecure me immediately jumped up to tell me that he was just being nice to everyone. So, I listened more attentively to the next few critiques. And...I can safely say...he was not shy, at all, about being honest in what he thought of everyone's talents or shortcomings. By the end of the evening, I was pleased with my work in the course and the progress I had made. I've signed up for the next course. I selected one of the compulsories in the program and my daughter will be joining me in the course. I'm really looking forward to that too. In the meantime, I've signed up for belly dancing again. My first class was last night and I just loved it!

Monday, July 27, 2009

EDM #56 - Draw a self portrait

The exercises we have been doing in my drawing class have been fun and challenging. The most challenging of all was the self-portrait we were assigned. I don't think I've done a live self-portrait since I was in high school. In order to "warm up" I first used a photo of myself in order to familiarize myself with my face from an objective perspective. Then, once I felt I could draw my own features I set up the mirror and drew myself. Well...wasn't that fun!! NO. I must have erased 20 times and then when I thought I was done I asked my daughter (a talented artist in her own rite, and my most honest art critic) what she thought. She looked at it and made one statement. It's interesting how you see yourself. WHAT??!?

I didn't ask her what she meant, right away. I thought about it for a couple of days while I studied my work. A few days later I asked her what she meant. She answered saying, "Well, when you look at your drawing it's obvious you see all the wrinkles in your face that are really not evident when someone looks at you." Interesting. For the next few days, I kept checking myself out in every mirror I passed. She was right, I don't really have a lot of wrinkles for my age, but in the drawing they, sure as heck, are right there...every last one of them.

So, after working on my psychological hang-ups, I've decided to post my self-portrait after all and link it to the Everyday Matters Groups as my re-introduction to the group. Here I am, wrinkles and all...

...looking at it here...I also notice I made my face wider than it actually is...oh well.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My drawing course is almost over...

And I'm going to miss the class. I've really enjoyed this course and have been having visions of artful success! Ah, to create art and to actually sell it to someone who loves it as much as I do, what a dream is that! That is what my goal, but I have a way to go before I get to that point. Everything I produce is still very personal, very much for my own pleasure coming from my heart. I could never part with what I paint, I wonder how you come to the point that you can part with your art.

Here are some of my most recent sketches. I posted these on my Facebook page and got some really positive feedback, which did wonders to bolster my ego, especially during this difficult time in my life.

I hope you enjoy some of my drawings.

every class begins with gesture drawings, here are two I like

skull study in preparation for portraiture

drapery study

2-hour pose

Friday, July 10, 2009

Beginning Portraiture

I've always enjoyed drawing people's faces as long as I can remember. As a teenager, I would draw the portraits of the boys I had crushes on. I remember one portrait of Marlon Jackson (of the Jackson Five) who I absolutely crushed on, as well as one of the Osmond brothers, David Cassidy, and various boys in my classes. As my kids were growing I would draw them, usually fast sketches with little likeness, 'cause they moved around so much. Most recently, I painted my youngest son's portrait and have sketched my daughter's, but haven't started painting as yet.

Last night, we started our class, as usual, with gestures - which is a great warmup to drawing. We then moved on to do a number of conture drawings and after the break we began doing portraits. We had one of my favourite models, Paula. She is very lean and angular. Her face has a "Kennedy" look to it, but I don't think I was able to capture that with her lips. Her face has the look like Maria Schriver's or Caroline Kennedy's. A strong, angular upper lip and high cheekbones. Looking at it now, I realize the lips should be wider than I've drawn them. But, I still think it's a pretty good likeness of her, aside from that.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Exhilarated by drawing

My drawing class goes by so quickly. How three hours of drawing fly by is unbelievable. Last night we had a really beautiful model. Her facial features were so well defined she was a delight to draw. We are studying drapery and moving on with shading. Below is a drawing of last night's model, plus two other models from earlier in June.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stefan Galvanek

Last Thursday, in my art class, my teacher Stefan Galvanek invited me and my friend to his gallery opening the next night. I called my friend and she was able to attend with me. My daughter also wanted to come along. What a great evening it turned out to be.

Downtown at Sam's

Stefan is an excellent teacher who flatters my work...don't know whether he means it or not, but I need to believe he does, otherwise I couldn't go on. I enjoy the exercises we do, the models he's chosen for us to draw, and the dry sense of humour he has. In talking to him, I explained how this was something I had wanted to do all my life, and have finally given myself permission to pursue the study of art. I wish one day to have my own gallery showing and be a self-sufficient artist. ('s not even "Wishcasting Wednesday" and I'm throwing wishes out there.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Finally doing formal training in art

As a frustrated artist, there are a number of things I have been frustrated about. Mostly, that I never got a chance to formally study art. Right after my university years, I took a number of art drawing, ceramics, painting, etc. But none that would lead to a certificate, diploma, or degree. Now, one would say, that's not important but, to me, it is. I think it's my way of validating my artistic skills, my creativity, myself. My self-esteem is wrapped up in proving myself. As I embark on a new workplace and new portfolio, I worry about "performing" up to snuff...proving I am good at what I do. I KNOW I am good at what I do, but there is that self-doubt. That voice in my head that still says, maybe you're just not good enough. Art has been a way to heal myself. To touch my inner child. Yet, I have difficulty giving myself permission to create.

Since May I have been doing the first course in a fine arts certificate at a local college. Below are some of the exercises we have done in the first six classes. My instructor has given me positive feedback and seems to like my work. And, more importantly, I like my work!
First Class: Still Life Thumbnail
Second Class: Gesture

Third Class: Negative Space
(this photo is on end...the model was curled up on the floor...I don't know how to flip the picture in Blogger)

Fourth Class: we learned about body proportions

Sixth Class (I missed the fifth): we studied the skeleton

This was a thirty minute pose

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New painting

I started a new painting, a couple of weeks ago, of the view on my drive home. The two apartment towers in Leaside at sunset look really cool. The style I've painted it in is more abstract than how I normally paint, but I like it and it feels authentic to me, if that makes sense. I've left it for a bit because of what is going on with my father. I was thinking of doing a number of views in this style. Including the view along O'Connor on I drive toward the Trillium building. My idea was to do a series of buildings that are meaningful to me in terms of my day-to-day activities.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My pretty daughter...

Another unfinished painting...this one is of my daughter at our cottage against a backdrop of beautiful fall leaf colours. I've promised myself that I will finish this one this year for sure! (It looks a little smudged 'cause I've moved it around so often...should probably clean it up first.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

found my sketch book!!!

It was in my closet! Why? Who knows...I was probably cleaning and wanted to put it somewhere where I wouldn't forget...and forgot about it! Well, I'm happy and will be back to getting through the EDM list.

Friday, February 22, 2008

My baby boy....

This is a portrait of my youngest son when he was about 5-6 years old, sitting on a lawn chair by the lake at our cottage. He's 17 now but remains my "baby"...and he still has the same wonderful smile.

This is the first portrait I've ever painted. I started painting it in acrylics but found it to difficult to do the details in the face, so I finished it with water-based oil paints. It was a pleasure working in this medium because it was like working with oil-based paints, only without the smell and clean-up.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

...lost my sketchbook

I can't find my sketchbook, so I had to reprint the EDM list. I noticed something I hadn't before, EDM #67 - Draw something Mom. I'm posting this drawing of my mother when she was around 20 or so. I drew this soon after her death and since I've been thinking alot about her lately (well, I always think about her...but more lately), I thought I'd share my drawing here.

I hope I find my skechbook soon...looking at this now, I see I need to taper her cheeks a bit...

Saturday, February 16, 2008 I'm back...

Life's gotten in the way, as it always does, and I let it. But, today I took hold and finished a painting I started last year. Initially, I was focused on doing a simple still life. Apples on a draped satin fabric. I used a reference photo my son had for a project when he was in high school. It looked simple enough. Not so, when I got to working the draping...then the painting became all about learning to paint draped fabric. Once I got it to look just like I wanted, I couldn't even think about finishing the apples...until today! I'm finished... and I think it looks good. What a great feeling. So, now I've gone downstairs and pulled out four other paintings I started last year and plan on finishing those in the near future.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

long time...

Just bought a professional artist easel from someone on Craigslist. It's great...well used, but still about 30-40 canvases, all for about $100. I'm really glad, I've wanted this easel for some time but didn't want to pay the full $250 for a new one. As for painting, I working on "finishing" this year. I have about 6 paintings in process and all very near completion, but I just left them. So my goal is to finish these before starting a new one.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

what is an artist?

What is an artist? Every definition of an artist includes the word "creative." Define "creative" - one who has the power to create. Interesting words. More interesting is the ability to integrate those words into your life, your being. To create through so many different means.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


This blog's purpose was to serve as an outlet for release of my creative energies. I find myself working all day and then coming home and working some more. I had intended to take time for myself, to pursue something I enjoyed. I'm very tired. Surprisingly, though, I'm not as stressed as I think I should be. It's already mid-October - usually by now I'm slipping into a low emotional cycle. Though I feel tired, I'm not feeling the emotional down that mid-October brings. Is this a good sign? Maybe. I will hold on to positive thinking.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

EDM #2 - draw a lamp

I haven't had much inspiration to draw in the past few days. It was a really tough week and the next week is going to be much of the same. I searched down the EDM list to find an object I could just draw from the sofa, as I parked myself there almost every evening after getting in late from work.

So...the easiest to do was the lamp across from me on the make-shift table in the living room.

There's a picture of my daughter beside the lamp. It looks tilted because the "table" is actually a sample kitchen cabinet door sitting on some boxes. I wasn't up to sketching the details...I just drew her there...tilted!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

EDM Challenge #33 - draw an eye

This is drawn from a photo my daughter's eye. I printed in black and white to get the subtle shadows and tried to tint the blue of her eye. I didn't realize the variation of blues - even teal. I wasn't able to capture that, but will try again.

Monday, October 8, 2007

either one thing or another

This Thanksgiving weekend was spent creating. Creating baked goods, beautiful meals, and memorable times...but not too much drawing.

I have created another blog - one focused on writing. I'm taking a night school course in Creative Writing, so I thought a blog would be a fun forum to share my adventures in writing. I've been writing almost all my life - mostly journals, some poetry and (of course) work-related technical writing.

I'm looking forward to the next ten weeks of this course. My goal is to be able to write short stories.

Monday, October 1, 2007


I did a couple of sketches yesterday (Sunday)...the following is only a small part of all the work I brought from my old office....fully intending to take it to my new office...but haven't done so yet! It's all sitting in a pile...disorganized to some, perfectly ordered to me. There's a plastic dropcloth overtop that's been pulled back so I can access files.

Today, after work, I tackled clearing out some of the paperwork I know I'll never need again. (at least, I hope I'll never need them again)

EDM #1 - shoes!!!

I've posted EDM Challenge #1 - Shoes. This is a pair of Amber coloured shoes which are so gorgeous. They are a nice soft leather with a great faux-wooden heal.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Maria a la Modigliani

After the Modigliani exhibit in Toronto in 2005, I was inspired to draw my daughter in similar style. My intention was to paint her...I still intend to...but life has gotten in the way somewhat.

What I am especially pleased about is that she really likes this drawing of herself with bangs!!!