Monday, June 25, 2012

The Separation of Art & Money

Here's to all my artists who were born with mad crazy talent. To all the ones who practice hours on end, day after day, obsessively maniacal about their craft... but don't have letters after their names to prove they paid for (or are eternally paying for) a man-made degree.

To all the crazy buddies who don't see lack of funds as an obstacle. To the ones who will paint on scrap wood out of dumpsters when they can't afford a canvas. Because creativity can't be bridled by limited supplies. Because creativity is in your very souls.

To my friends who create whatever their artist minds long to create, whether it makes sense, whether it will sell, whether the paper they happened to start drawing on is 100% acid free archival with 100-year guaranteed longevity. To those who must, who are driven to, capture those beautiful fleeting moments.

To those who are brave enough to separate art from money. To be continually enthralled by insane ideas, outrageous ventures, and mad all-nighters.

To all my artists who will never be noticed by the super rich, influential people. Not because they aren't good enough, but because they are too good to perform their craft to suit another person's approval.

To those who don't seek to be under the shadow of someone else's greatness, but who make their own greatness.


PS. I adore you.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Magic Paintbrush

I usually don't buy expensive brushes because I think sometimes people overvalue the brush and undervalue the skill of the one using the brush.


I must give a shout-out to my magical watercolor brush. It's amazing and can produce large washes, tiny detail, and holds water in the perfect amount. I do the majority of watercolor painting with this brush alone. Indeed, it must have been give to me by a fairy godmother sometime in my life.

(Actually, the truth is that this brush is the one that was required in my university watercolor course, tee-hee.) Am I happy that it was required, or what? I'll use it until it disintegrates (which will probably be in 100 years) and then quickly buy another one because I cannot live without this lovely thing. The price is super economical for how excellent this brush is. If you work with watercolor in any degree, I recommend you order this brush immediately.

Windsor & Newton Cotman No. 8 Round, my love.




I see that there's an entire series of the Cotman in various sizes. Uh-oh, where mah Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon be? XD


Friday, June 8, 2012

Thank you, Hayley!

I got something lovely in the post. A couple of thank-you cards from one of my fabulous collectors, and a wonderful letter and three fantastic drawings from their daughter, Hayley! I may have gotten one or two tears in my eyes to see such effort in those sweet drawings. Thank you, guys. You made my day ^^/




Monday, June 4, 2012

Photo References... Models & Such

People often ask me what photo references I use for my paintings. So for your FYI, here are my methods of attack!

1. Models

If I have a model who is conveniently available for photographs, I am a super happy ducky. It's difficult to find a face that translates well into my work. Sometimes the most stunning girls don't make good references for me to draw, and sometimes I'll find a face that I don't particularly find attractive, but there is some magic about the angles that produce my perfect painting girl. However with my bestest friend, I find the best of both worlds in one human being. Here are the refs I shot recently of this lovely lady! (She will kill me for sharing them, eheheheh...)


2. Modeling for myself

Sometimes the only person available to photograph is my own little self. I used to loathe this option because I don't find my own face inspiring in the least, and it's rather hard to both pose and take the photo at the same time! However recently because the new iPhone has the mirror photo feature (in which you can see yourself and capture the image like a webcam.) This method works brilliantly well! I can be as picky, fussy, and take as long as I want when they model is me. I can declare "Gross, not that one. Try again!" without hurting anyone's feelings. And I can always replace my face with a much lovelier one. Hehe.

↓ I can't believe I'm sharing this embarrassing reference photo I took of myself. (Mostly a hand reference. O_O;)


As you can QUITE see, the photo doesn't have to be that good or amazing... as long as it's clear and big enough to use as a reference.

3. Photos from online

I continually collect photos that inspire me on my daily perusal of websites and blogs. I keep them all handy and pull them out when I need ideas or inspiration. I may practice drawing from online photos, but I don't use them exclusively for paintings. I want the idea to be my own, not someone else's (plus, you can get in trouble for direct copying of images that don't belong to you.) But they are very useful for pose, color, facial features, etc. Here are some of my fave inspirational blogs of late:

Ben Trovato

Charmaine Olivia's Tumblr

Heart in a Cage

4. Color schemes

I blogged before about Adobe Kuler helping me to pick out a cohesive color palette. I have to do this before I begin, because I'm the type of person who, during the painting process, completely forgets what I had planned and flies by the "seat of my pants." Then, the painting ends up looking quite different than I envisioned (although this is sometimes good.) Another great blog for color ideas is Decor 8. The colors in every single post are so incredibly inspiring and pop out like crazy. Here's an example of the color "map" I make before the start of every piece. This gives me a good, solid guide to what paint colors I should mix and use throughout the entire piece.


5. Lighting references

As time goes on, I get picker and picker about the type of lighting/shadows I like to depict. I used to love heavy lights and darks like Caravaggio used. However these days, I strangely prefer the flat "flash" look, or else a very delicate rim lighting. It's pretty easy to take lighting from one photo and transfer it to another face as long as the angle is similar. Try it sometime!

↓ This photo of model Jourdan Dunn has the most perfect rim lighting that I just adore.


↓ That photo is the lighting reference for most of my faces, even boys!