Friday, October 25, 2013

Ewww, what's in that jar?

This piece is kind of special to me because it's not like anything I've ever done in art class before, but it's almost exactly like every single thing I do outside of art class.  I'm a big doodler - I love to draw little people on the sides of my history notes, letters, journal, math homework... basically everywhere.  If they're not acting out whatever I was writing about, these little people are actually me, or like a weird little cartoon version of my inner self that describes how I'm feeling.  Kind of like cartoon-Lizzie from the Lizzie McGuire books and TV show.

Anyways, one day in English class, I was thinking about the "That's Buggy" and "Glassed Over" themes and doodling instead of participating in the discussion.  I came up with this little girl:
Hey, it's a very rough sketch.

It's kind of goofy, but I liked it, so I did a sketch for reals in my sketchbook with color and everything:
Haha that elbow.  If you can call it that.
I hesitate to call it a self portrait, but it kind of is.  Actually, I got my lovely sister Laura to pose for me so I could fix that elbow, etc., so it's kind of a portrait of her...?
My lovely Laura.  She's the best.
The dress in the sketch above is a piece of graph paper I found among the papers I've stuck in the front of my sketchbook (good thing I never got around to cleaning it out, right? ;)) which I had drawn this pattern all over just for funsies because I like patterns.  I made it blue with an acrylic wash and glued it in with a glue stick.  Then, I figured I might as well keep going, so I cut the shape of the jar out of a ziplock bag and glued that on.  You can't tell from the scan but it's all shiny.  It was fun, and I wanted to keep on going, so I decided that's how I would do the final project.  I sketched out the final on a piece of poster board and traced it with tracing paper so I could trace the shapes onto my other papers, which include scrapbook and construction paper, more graph paper, tracing paper, a brown paper bag, tin foil, thread, and another ziplock bag.  (I guess those last three aren't actually paper....)  It was tricky to cut it out and glue it down so it all came together like it should and looked like I meant it to.  As is usual when I work with glue sticks, I was hugely frustrated by my inability to keep the glue from getting graphite and eraser crumbs and other nasty stuff in it and making a sticky, pencil-y mess.  Let's just say that glue is not my favorite thing to work with.  I managed to keep damage to a minimum and my piece emerged from my glue-stick nightmares relatively unscathed.  Yay.
One of my topics for this piece is opacity.  I played around with the plastic from the baggie and the tracing paper to try and make the jar look see-through but also like it was, you know, actually there.  I'm kind of still working on that, actually.
So here it is!
"But only with the lid on"
This actually makes me really happy.  I kind of feel like it's missing something...maybe something to emphasize the three-dimentionalishness of the jar.  I'm workin on it :)
I've just been looking back at my other pieces from this year and I've realized that I'm all over the place!  Like I said before, this piece is more like the stuff I tend to draw everyday.  But the other pieces I've made are some of my favorite things I've ever done ever.  Maybe by the end of the year I'll have a more distinctive style as an artist.  Then again, maybe not.  It's more exciting this way :))

Monday, October 21, 2013


Finally! I was so ready to be done with this project.

The brainstorming for this project didn't follow the usual pattern... The idea occurred to me one night at 11:30.  I saw the bottles of sprinkles in the pantry, and for some crazy reason, I decided it would be a great idea to make a sort of mosaic out of the sprinkles.  I wish I had a picture to show you of the first little design I made, but it turns out that Elmers glue isn't exactly the best at keeping sprinkles in a sketchbook. Sorry.
I decided that I wanted to make a face out of the sprinkles. I thought it would be best to work straight from a picture. I found this picture on my computer from a couple years ago.
the original picture

It was perfect, since it already had the highlights and shadows kind of blocked out in different colors. I traced the picture onto a 8"x10" canvas board and filled in the color with an acrylic wash.
After the 1st day

I couldn't find sprinkles sold in separate colors, so I spent a while (read: WAY too long) sorting my multicolored sprinkles into their own little pile. Once I finished that, I used rubber cement to glue the sprinkles on one by one.
It was slow work.
A self-portrait... in sprinkles

I'm pretty proud of myself for not messing up my eyes and my lips.  It definitely felt unfinished...  I needed some way to ground it so it wasn't floating on the canvas.  I decided I wanted to bring out the blue of the eyes, so I painted the canvas with acrylic with a palette knife.  I also dropped some sprinkles  into the wet paint to add some texture.

I chose "warped" as my theme.  My topic is "line."  I was careful while gluing on the sprinkles to follow the contours of my face so the lines give the illusion of form.  It only takes one sprinkle out of place to break the line and change the way our brains interpret the shapes.
  I'm surprised at how well it turned out. I am so ready to be done with this project and move on to the next.  I actually started to add some hair, because I feel like I kind of need it, but that will have to wait for now.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


The brainstorming for this piece actually started way back with the "pairs" piece.  As I was thinking of things that came in pairs, I thought of wings, which made me think of the Greek myth of Icarus and Daedalus.  (If you don't know this story, look it up!  This piece doesn't make a lot of sense without the backstory :)) I drew a little sketch of Icarus, falling out of the sky, but I decided that pears were much funnier and forgot about Icarus until it was time for my third project.  I just had a really cool picture of Icarus in my head that I wanted to put on paper.  Only problem was, it was kind of more of a movie than a picture so I wasn't sure exactly what I was going for.  I found a LOT of pictures on the interwebs of Icarus falling out of the sky.
Yay for references!
  The original plan was a realistic-ish drawing in colored pencil or something.

Haha. He has teeny feet.

 After sketching that out, I remembered one teeny detail... Realism is NOT my thing.  Not when it comes to bodies!  To avoid major frustration I decided to wayyy simplify my idea.  Anyways, I was kind of tired of all the "falling out of the sky" pictures too.... I wanted to show a different perspective, with Icarus sinking deeper into the water once he's fallen into the sea.  Sort of inspired by Matisse, I sketched up a silhouette of Icarus.
Icarus by Henry Matisse, 1947

The theme of this piece is "Over the Edge," which is a reference to the myth.  I thought it would be way cool to draw Icarus in crayon, then crumple him up and use watercolor over the top.  (Inspired by the super cool art project that everyone else got to do in middle school, but somehow I missed it.)  I liked the way the dark color cracked across his body gives a kind of broken, maybe even burnt feeling.  In this way it connects to the original myth of Icarus--he flew too close to the sun and got pretty burnt up.

Icarian Sea
It's really not as washed out as it looks in this picture... In fact, I painted several layers on to get the deep color I was going for to imply he's sinking.  This paper soaked up water in a weird way so that it dried significantly lighter than it was when wet.  I ended up using hardly any water with my watercolor to get the tone I needed.
The final piece is about 6"x18".  Here are some more photos so you can see the color/texture:
The color here is a bit closer to the actual color of the top of the piece

Yay! Texture!

Can you see the bubbles? :)
I used some salt around the figure to suggest bubbles.  Because I wanted it to crumple, I used regular drawing paper instead of watercolor paper, so it warped and got a bit beat up.  The topic I chose is texture, so I actually like that element :)

Overall I'm pretty happy with the way this one turned out.  It's titled "Icarian Sea" after the sea into which Icarus fell in the myth of Icarus and Daedalus.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Object Art: Sheep!

This week we did object art for our sketchbook assignment - taking a 3D object and making a 2D piece of art out of it.  I had some press 'n seal lying around... VoilĂ ! Sheep!
I like sheep.