Worth sharing: in our neighborhood, there’s a row of five houses including ours that all have kids who often play together. The house next door to ours has… I’m still not sure how many, it’s a blended family with a lot of little girls. On the other side of that one is my kids’ best friend R, who is turning 13 today. At one point, kids and barking dogs from all three houses were in the backyards, and I heard R shouting over the fence, “Hi! It’s my birthday today! I’m 13!!” Followed by a chorus of “Happy Birthdays” from small voices that went on for several minutes. Very cute, and a reminder of how blessed we are to live where we do.
On the one hand, as a digital painting in a lot of ways this goes faster than it would as a real painting. On the other, I have been stuck at the layer I’m on (the second band of buildings from the top) for months now. There are several challenges in the area, one of the biggest being the relatively narrow range of both colors and shades. Everything is sort-of-sepia-ish, and very few spots are particularly light or dark. Even so, there’s a ton of detail. Which goes to my other challenge, which is simply my lack of discipline and tendency to do everything like I’m finger painting, then try to pull it all together at the end. Anyway, even with all of that I am making slow progress, so here’s where it stands at the moment:
The real irony is, the part I’ve been fussing over will be largely hidden by the figure’s hood when all is finished, but I still can’t leave it alone.
Depending on your screen, this is what the actual size of the area will be.
Saturday we had a real, honest-to-goodness snow day. It was the first time my kids have ever been able to watch the fat white flakes drifting down from the sky, catch some on their tongues, and throw snowballs with the kids in the neighborhood. It only lasted a couple of hours, but now they know what it looks like when the whole world seems to have suddenly transformed. Could be another 20 years before it happens in our neighborhood again.
While my kids are in TKD class, I’ve been working on some quick sketches and figure studies. In class is a great time to practice things like gesture, scale and perspective, as the students are all ages and sizes and often stand in a line. It’s tricky to convey what’s happening when a grown, heavier-bodied adult is standing next to a petite child, with a medium-sized kid on the other side and a taller adult behind. Most of those sketches are extremely simplistic, basically just arrangements of blocks. For more dynamic figure studies, it helps to take a photo when the students are in action, then work from the image. All that said, here are a couple of sketches I did earlier this month:
When the raptor guy brought out the owl, the local crows went crazy. They didn’t care about the hawks, the snakes, or the massive lizards, but one dapper little owl, just standing there minding its business, and they lost their corvid minds.
I was all set to make some kind of clever statement about whatever avian equivalent there is to the trapezius muscle in a human, except when I looked it up I discovered there is no avian equivalent. Birds don’t have much in the way of muscles on their backs. Instead, the flight muscles wrap around under the breastbone like the strap in a slingshot, which explains why the breast muscle tends to be the largest muscle in a bird’s body. Funny, I’ve cooked and prepared plenty of whole chickens, but somehow never noticed the significance of the relatively nonexistent back muscles.
So, it’s been more than a while once again. Lots of reasons, but probably one of the biggest was simply that what had once been a simple process had become an ordeal of navigating and coddling aging hardware that was just functional enough to do the basic things, but could barely handle anything serious. Even so, I had been meaning to get back to this for a few weeks now.
Then last week, a power surge that at first seemed calamitous turned out to be a blessing. My old Mac mini croaked. I couldn’t justify buying a new mac, but a new mini PC desktop has turned out to be both affordable and a powerful little box that can do All the Things I have been wishing I could do for years, and do them quickly. I finally plugged in my camera’s SD card to find a couple hundred photos I haven’t even been able to examine yet, and some of them are even worth sharing. Plus working on some new art projects, both digital and analog, and it seems that it’s finally time to get back to this blogging thing, and try to stick with it for a while.
For anyone wondering about the big digital painting project, I have started plugging away at it again, too. Once there’s a decent amount of new progress, I’ll be posting updates.
Well, it’s been on the back burner for a bit, but never completely out of my mind. Without further ado, here are the first building blocks of color:
If you open the image in a new tab or window, you can zoom in for more detail.
The background section, just below the sky level, is more or less finished. The sky still needs a good bit of touching up, and for the rest of the big blocks of color, those are the different sections I’ll be working on, starting with the background and finishing detail in the foreground. When all is done, there shouldn’t be an obvious, sharp delineation between the different zones, it’s just easier for now because zooming in it is very easy to get lost in the details.
There is a ton of detail in the background. I think, finally, I have the underdrawing pretty much done. Took longer than expected, mainly because of the holidays and my general tendency to shy away from painstaking detail at this level. I could never be a pointillist.
The background seems very faint at this scale, but if you click on the picture (or open it in a new tab or window) I think you can see it. Next step: color!