Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jumps and Tunnel

Today was spent with my wife and dogs at "Handling Camp". My dogs, Fizz and Willow, are Bedlington terriers and they love to do agility. It's great training and a lot of fun to watch them do jump over "jumps", run through tunnels, and over an A-Frame/board walk. For their young age (almost 2 years old), they do extremely well.

So, today was "Handling Camp". This is mainly for the people training the dogs. Teaching them methods for effective ways to work with the dogs and efficient ways to cue the dogs to go where the trainer wants them to go.

Since I've got an art business and agility, although fun to do, is not my main interest, I went to just watch and help my wife out. I've got lots of time there waiting.... so, that means that I should pull out the sketch book and get some work done.

So, here's the tunnel and jump that they worked on. Next time, I'll have to get some practice sketching in with the dogs actually doing the jump.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Back to Figure Drawing

Now that I'm attending the Illustration Master's Workshop in June, time to get working on my figure drawing skills. After reviewing the images that most people worked on for the week, it became pretty apparent that figurative work played a major role.

It's been about 3 years since I've done any figure drawing practice and it definitely shows. My first several attempts showed how rusty I was. However, after some perseverance and going back to the basics of simple value work, things started falling in place.

For these drawings (my best drawings for the 3 hour session), I tried out my new watercolor pencils. I must say that I really really like them. You draw as you normally would, but, then use water to spread out the color and create the various value levels. I still need to figure out how to not oversaturate the colors and produce darker areas, but that will come in time. Now, it's just a matter of practicing with them.

In terms of the figurative work, the seated pose was definitely my favorite. The model was excellent. She did some amazing contorted/foreshortened poses and held the poses for a long time. As I get more practice in, I'll have to break down the body into parts and focus on trouble areas. Right now, I think that my major trouble areas are 1) face, 2) hands, 3) calves and 4) feet. More trouble areas will appear as I draw/paint the figure more.

But, it was a good first start back into this arena.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Still Life Study: Lemon - 3

Okay, another still life of a lemon. Yep, this is a "lemon" of a painting. I resolved the issue of the overlaying of too much paint, but it still doesn't look like a lemon.

The main issue seems to be the actual drawing of the lemon. The next step will be just to do a pen/ink drawing of the lemon. Once I get that foreshortened shape done correctly, I'll try to re-tackle the painting of it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Still Life Study: Lemon 2

Last night's lemon was done with the traditional greyscale value painting.

This lemon is definitely causing me troubles. I can get the roundness of the lemon down okay, but the issue is that I'm back to putting on too much paint. Rather than getting the value correct the first time, I tend to put on the mid-value and then overlay more or less of the color. This causes the colors to become duller.

Tonight's solution to work around this will be to try to separate the lemon as a mosaic and just place down the color for each portion of the mosaic. Once that is done, I'll try to just blend the edges of the mosaic.

We'll see how that works out.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Still Life Study: Lemon - 1

Now that I've worked on apples for the last two weeks and I'm done with my website, time to get back to paintings. After trying a couple of failed attempts, I realized that I still need to study individual pieces of fruit.

So, next on the list are lemons. Back to the value studies of the lemon to get the shape correct and the roundness evident. One of my favorite colors to work with for value paintings is purple. It's easy to get the dark tones and light ones by using various levels of grey.

This painting came out okay. It's definitely a rounded object. However, the front "nub" of the lemon is not quite correct. Need to define the shadows better. In addition, the dark part of the lemon definitely loses part of the edge in the shadows, but, there should be a little more area of highlight and the darkest part is a little flat.

Okay, so, these are the things to work on for the next painting of a lemon.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Finished working on my website

Over the last week, I've had to stop working on painting and actually focus on the business side of my art work. For the last year or so, I've been using Facebook as my main website. I just pointed my domain to go directly to my Facebook Fan page. However, after thinking about it, II decided that I needed a website. Essentially, if people wanted to see my artwork or purchase it, it's too hard to look around Facebook to find out the paintings for sale and, then, they had to click on the link to go to my Etsy site to purchase the painting.

So, time for a redesign. The basic purpose for the site was to 1) show my latest work easily, 2) access my list of paintings, and 3) make the purchase of paintings and prints easy. Also, it was a minor financial decision. If I used Paypal to control the purchases, rather than Etsy, then I wouldn't have to pay a monthly fee.

As you can see from the main page, it shows parts of my paintings easily and shows what I am currently working on. Using the dark background, the image stand out clearly. Also, using a simple header, it's obvious what the site is used for and who I am.

For the showing of the images, I created the gallery page:

As the user clicks on a particular thumbnail, you automatically get the image. For each image, I show the size, title, size and whether the original has been sold or not. There are links to immediately purchase the painting or print or view the shopping cart. In addition, the user can use the Next/Previous buttons to flip through the images quickly.

My favorite part of the gallery is that you can easily access any of the paintings quickly and purchase a print/original with a single click.

In the future, I will be adding links for what shows I will be attending.

Now, I can get back to painting

Monday, January 10, 2011

Latest Painting: Differences

"Differences" is an original 9" x 12" oil painting created on a 1" stretched, high-quality canvas. The painting is presented as unframed (Sides are painted).

When thinking about painting a traditional still life painting of an apple, I started thinking about the differences between all of the still life setups. Same apples, but different way of looking at them. So, this concept emerged. In this case, the world looks the same to all of the apples except for this special one. He's just like the other one, but there is something different that your eye can see.

All Artwork is copyrighted to Doug Hoppes Studio and is not to be copied or reproduced in any form without the permission of the artist. Sale of this item does not transfer its copyright.

Latest Painting: An Apple A Day

"An Apple A Day" is an original 14" x 18" oil painting created on a 1" stretched, high-quality canvas. The painting is presented as unframed (Sides are painted).

This painting is about various apples and how different they look when you change the lighting and how they are positioned.

All Artwork is copyrighted to Doug Hoppes Studio and is not to be copied or reproduced in any form without the permission of the artist. Sale of this item does not transfer its copyright.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Still Life Study: Apple - Day 9

Another apple. Actually, these are starting to come out pretty good. The base value color for this apple is using Yellow Ochre. Just like with the Terra Rosa apple, just using the grey mixtures didn't produce enough of a value contrast. So, I went with creating the darks using mixtures of greys with Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, and Burnt Umber.

I'm really liking the base technique of just painting everything, softening the entire painting down and then slowly going over new layers with very light touches of the purer colors. Tends to produce nice strong colors and helps with the fading of the edges of the strong colors.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Figure Drawing in class

Last night, in my painting class, we worked on figure drawing. As my instructor, Karen Winslow, mentions that Figure Drawing is a great way to learn about massing and shapes. You learn a lot about drawing accuracy and you also learn a lot about the rounding of shapes, shadow placement, reflective light, etc.

It's been about 3 years since I've done any figure drawing and it definitely shows. So, the first lesson dealt with the accuracy of the drawing. As with most figure drawing techniques, the human body is generally defined by the number of "head-heights". So, I drew out the head and then drew the line that represents the angle of the shoulders. The second head is generally at the breast line, the third head is at the navel, and the fourth head is at the crotch. Once I figured out the position of the crotch, the next line that I drew was the line that represents the angle of the hip.

As you can see, there's a nice triangle that forms between the shoulders and the hips. This triangle can help position the various parts in the chest.

Once the basic torso is established, the next head defines the mid-thigh, then the knee, then the mid-calf, then the foot.

Of course, this works well if the person is standing straight up. Need to figure out how to get it to work with the person kneeling, etc. After we practice some quick drawings, it was time to spend using the technique with a sitting figure. This was much harder.

In this drawing, once I established the head, I used the head measurements to determine the length of the torso and the other parts of the body. I started out with the line angle for the shoulder and for the torso, but erased those as the drawing went along.

Ten minutes later, I ended up with a stiff mannequin. Need to practice more.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Still Life Study: Apple - Day 7

Well, last night's apple was harder than usual. This time, I started out using strictly Terra Rosa and, as before, adjusted the paint using various levels of grays that were mixed from ivory black and titanium white.

The hard part was that the grays tend to mute the painting too much. Also, I couldn't get the darks that I wanted using the darker grey mixtures. So, decided to switch it up. What would happen if I used some cool purples and warm yellows for the tinting/shading. That worked out much better.

Also, I discovered a workable method for me. The hardest part of these apples is to get the roundness to show correctly. Using the grays on the end help, but it's not the full answer. Also, the heavy brush strokes tend to flatten out the roundness.

So, my method is to draw out the apple using my traditional method of using a thin round brush to just figure out where my shapes are. Then, after that, I lay down the dark area and then the light area. Pretty standard stuff. The part that I have changed is that, once the basic areas are laid down, I use a soft brush and totally reduce all of the brush strokes. This gives the painting a hazy look (as if you are looking through a frosty window). Stepping back, I now can see the general shapes and ensure that the object looks rounded and correct.

Once the drawing/shapes are correct, I go back in and start laying down the lightest light and the darkest dark. From there, I feather out only the edges of those portions. This helps me maintain a strong color and a soft edge. When applying the reflected light to the apple, I also start working with a soft brush and lightly putting on the paint until I get the value that I want.

Doing these value studies has helped immensely.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Latest Painting: Marching Trees

"Marching Trees" is an original 9" x 12" oil painting created on a 1" stretched, high-quality canvas. The painting is presented as unframed (Sides are painted).

This painting is based on a plein-air landscape painting that I did in Cambridge, Vermont.

All Artwork is copyrighted to Doug Hoppes Studio and is not to be copied or reproduced in any form without the permission of the artist. Sale of this item does not transfer its copyright.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Still Life Study: Apple - Day 6

Guess what I painted this morning? Yep... another apple. This time, the correct color! So, the apple paintings are definitely going faster. This one took 1-1/2 hours to paint.

I'm really liking these apple studies. Rather than focusing on the colors of the apples, I'm focusing on the shape, value structure and the "roundness" of the apple.

In this case, I paid particular attention to defining the light area, the dark area and then carefully blending the edges together. Once the edges were blended, I punched up the center dark/light areas and then blended them out towards the edges. I also made liberal use of the grayed background/table to create the edges of apple more rounded.

So, eight more apples to do and then off to another fruit.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Still Life Study: Apple - Day 5

Another apple study: Day 5. So far, I've been pretty good about painting an apple a day (except for the day that I wasn't feeling well). The hard part is being able to get a good picture of the apple. To do this, I usually take the canvas outside and take the picture in shadow. However, it's tough when the days are too dark/cloudy or snowy.

But, it's another apple. This one was tougher due to the fore-shortening of the shape. It was hard to get the correct drawing done and I spent a lot of time "fiddling" with it. This just means that I need more practice drawing.

The other hard part of this painting was that the shadow side was facing me. This made it difficult to get a rounded area in the shadow side and still have it look dark.