Friday, September 27, 2013

Fly Guy

The theme of my second project is "That's Buggy." When I was brainstorming, my mind just went straight to actual bugs.  But bugs are boring all by themselves, so I was like, hey, let's combine bugs with people!  As in, people with bug body parts and vice versa or bugs that look like people.  Here are a few sketches:
Get it? Ant Jemima? Yeah, I know, it's terrible.
For whatever reason, I was really fascinated by the picture in my head that inspired the sketch on the far left.  It's supposed to look like a man in a suit that has a fly head instead of a people head, or maybe just a fly wearing a suit, I'm not really sure, but around this point I realized that I had no idea how to draw bugs.  Or suits.  I thought about abandoning the bug idea and trying something else, but I had no idea what and the picture in my head of the fly guy was just too awesome.  So I decided to figure out how to draw it.
Fun fact: That guy in the plaid up there is the Brawny Man.
I decided to do the fly guy in watercolor.  I wanted to give him sort of an "illustrated" look, and I thought watercolor with pen would achieve that effect.  (Doesn't hurt that it's my favorite medium, like, ever.)  The first study I did in the watercolor makes me crack up every time.  Look at his puny little arms!  I did another study of the suit, for obvious reasons:
Ahahaha those arms.  Gets me every time.

After kind of staring at the paper for way too long, I finally started the final product.  I have a problem with being "afraid of the dark," especially with watercolors, so my work sometimes ends up looking washed out.  (Example: those suits up there are supposed to be black.)  Add that to the fact that I haven't had an art class since sophomore year and haven't used watercolors since then... I was pretty timid and a little unsure about how this whole thing was going to turn out.

It went a lot smoother once I got over myself and just went for it.  I chose a limited color palette to make the piece less busy and really focus on the color symbolism.  I think I used six colors - ivory black, phthalo blue, ultramarine, yellow ochre, crimson, and sap green.  I don't often mix with black, especially with watercolors, because it's pretty strong and tends to make the colors a bit muddled or muted.  But that's kind of what I was going for here... so I probably used more black than any other color.   The yellow represents corruption; the red represents power; the colors on the building are supposed to be impersonal and maybe a little intimidating... Really what I think is important is the emotions that the observer attaches to the colors or images.  Maybe it speaks to you in a different way than it does to me.  That's why I love art.

That being said, here's my interpretation...

For Tomorrow We Die -12"x18"
This piece is titled, "For Tomorrow We Die."  The title is inspired by this scripture from the Book of Mormon, in 2 Nephi 28:7-9:

 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.
 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.
 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.

While this piece was not inspired by this scripture, I think it fits perfectly.  The piece is a social commentary on those in business and politics (and really anybody today).  Flies have a lifespan of about a month.  In the same way, some people seem to be so focused on short-term goals and consequences that they fail to make wise judgments and plan ahead.   At times it seems that their only desire is to satisfy their carnal appetites.  This leads to corruption... and we all know how disgusting flies are.  When I think flies, I think of rot.  Unfortunately, our society/governments seem to be rotting, thanks to shallow, selfish people like that nasty fly guy up there.

The topic for this piece is juxtaposition.  I tried to emphasize the grossness of the fly's head by setting it right on top of a sophisticated suit and in front of and orderly/organized building.  It's funny to me to imagine a person with a fly head parading around in a suit, like he thought he was all professional and powerful.

I intend to add some color to the background at some point, but for now I'm calling it finished and setting it aside. 

Enjoy :)

Or, you know, just kind of relish its nastiness.  Whatever works for you.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Pair of Pears

Yay! First piece of the year!

My theme for this piece was "pairs."  I doodled in my sketchbook for a bit, trying to think of things that come in pairs... eyes, ears, hands, feet, shoes, pants... I was feeling a bit uninspired.  And then it hit me: why not paint a pair of pears?  I've always loved puns, especially really terrible puns, so it was perfect.  I printed out a bunch of pictures of pears and even stared at a few real pears for a while, then did a few sketches.
Playing around with the composition... and with my new Prismacolor woodless colored pencils :)

.... And a few more.
These pears are shaped funny.  Whoops.
I experimented with the colors of the bottom two pears, using normal colors on the left pear and their complementary colors on the right pear.  It made me remember that not all pears are yellow or green... so I decided to make a yellow pear and a red/purpley pear.  At this point I also decided to use oil paints for the pears on these cute little canvas boards (each 5"x7") I found in the bottom of my art box.  So I did a couple studies...

...And remembered how much I've always wanted to try painting on a black background.  So I busted out my new oils and started painting!
A Pair of Pears

I painted the yellow pear first and was sooo happy with how it turned out.  My topic for this piece is "form," so I had a lot of fun putting in the shadows and highlights to make the pear look more three-dimensional.  I actually didn't use any black paint (besides the background of course).  Instead, I used purple for the shadows in the yellow pear.  The purple pear was a little trickier.  I figured out that some paints are not as opaque as others, and those colors don't show up very well on a black background.  I had to play around with adding white and other more opaque colors to make the purple pear pop.  (Thanks for the tips Mrs. Rossi! :)) Also, blending and mixing and layering is a lot different with oils than with acrylics because oils take a really long time to dry.  I haven't had a ton of experience with either, but I think I prefer oils.  I tend to work pretty slowly, so I get frustrated trying to go back and change acrylics when the paint is already dry... and they make me feel like a "real artist."  All I need now is a beret and a palette with a thumb hole.

Overall I'm very happy with the way these turned out.  Who knows, maybe I'll paint some more.  I'll have pairs upon pairs of pairs of pears :)

P.S. I'd like to give a special thank you to Rose Datoc Dall-- Her figure drawing/oil painting workshop at SVU this summer helped me overcome my fear of painting with anything besides watercolors.  Y'all should check out her website and her blog. She's the best :))