Thursday, 30 July 2009

4 O'Clocks and My Art

Tonight I want to show you a drawing I did recently of wildflowers. These are one variety of 4 O'Clocks -- so called because that is the time of day when they usually start to bloom. Sort of the opposite of morning glories!

The proper name for this plant is Mirabilis nyctaginea. Mirabilis means "wonderful" in Latin; while nyct is Greek for "night". The plant blooms each evening (night) and has a wonderful fragrance. While it is lovely to look at and has a fragrant odour, it also has little black seeds that look like peppercorns and which are extremely poisonous!

One of the more interesting things about this drawing for me is that the photograph that I worked from was taken just outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico -- a place very dear to my heart. If you know that area of the state at all, you know how unexpected it would be to come upon such lovely, sweet-smelling flowers at wild 4 o'clocks.

Now, I want to try once again to do a bit of clarification of how I do my art work. If you are not interested, skip the remainder of this post.

In a recent discussion with an acquaintance, I realized that there are still people who follow my blog who don’t understand how I do my art work on the computer – so let me try to explain again about my artistic abilities.

I managed to take three art courses years ago, but never did any serious study of art techniques. I took one course in landscape painting with oils; one course in portrait drawing and one course in life drawing. I did a number of works in oils, acrylics, watercolour and pastels over the years – most of which have ended up in the homes of family and friends or have gotten lost.

In the late 70’s I got very interested in calligraphy and taught myself to do lettering and decorative capitals and borders. I continued doing this type of work until the arthritis in my hands caused me to have to put my pens and small brushes aside.

It wasn't until about 2006 that I realized that my card making software contained the means to enable me to do freehand drawing so I taught myself to use the mouse in such a way as to cause me the least discomfort and begin to draw. Those of you who have followed my blog these past years have seen the results.

From the very beginning of my artistic adventures, I knew I could not draw, easily, directly from nature or from pictures in my head. I needed someone else’s drawing or a photograph to work from so that I could judge the size and placement of people and objects. This became even more of a problem when I started trying to draw on the computer screen as my working space was so small.

So, I learned that if I scanned the painting or photo into my computer, then I could place it in the corner of my screen so that I could see it easily and measure distances. I also discovered that I could easily place the image over my working space and mark the location of different items in the photo before trying to draw them, occasionally even tracing a particular item so I know it is in the right place – this was especially important when it came to the physical aspects of the human body since I have never studied anatomy.

Once I have laid out the placement of items and their size and relationship to each other, then I can begin to draw. As many of you know, the drawing itself is of lesser interest for me – I really focus on the colour. I love working with colour and consider the use of colour to be my real talent. That is why I called the business I tried to establish “Colouration”. Colour excites me, challenges me and frustrates me. I could never be a pen and ink artist – I need the colour to keep me going when there are all sorts of little details that have to be drawn in.

The reason for going through all this information again is because this acquaintance said things to me that suggest that she thought that somehow I can take a computer mouse and quickly draw a masterpiece! So just in case anyone else out there thinks something similar, this commentary will, hopefully, give them the correct “picture”.

May peace be with you all.


kanishk said...

good information.

Work from home

Anonymous said...

I guess that I was not the only person who was curious about your technique. Raquel