Tuesday, December 31, 2019

From photo vs from life

Celebrating 4000 posts on my blog today, by the way! There are days when I wonder why I continue, I don't even know if people read this. But it's my way of keeping track, of my life, of my art, of my thoughts! So if you're reading this, thank you.

Anyways. There is this on-going debate in the art world - Art from photos or from life? Which is better? Which is more deserving? Which is more arty? I don't have the answers. Being an urban sketcher and a life drawer, I lean towards drawing and painting from life always. There is more energy, more passion. I have to be in the moment 100%. It's also more of a challenge. Is drawing from a photo even art? Surely, I have the photo there, and it's better than anything I can draw? But when it comes to watercolours, I tend to work from photos I've taken (unless I'm working plein air, which I would love to do more of, but wet and windy weather doesn't agree with easels and watercolour layers). And I'm just about to embark on my next challenge - 30 faces/30 days on Sktchy Art School, which is all about drawing from photos. And the artists who are leading this challenge are amazing. And they draw from photos. And what they draw is definitely better than the original photo. So where do I stand on all this? I really don't know. It's all part of the journey. To set aside my preconceived ideas. And enjoy the ride!

So, I thought I'd leave you with a good example of what I'm talking about. Sumi, our very own box of frogs. Which do you think represents him best, and how he is most of the time, and how I feel about him? But which is the drawing that looks more like a cat?

From a photo:

From life:

Living the classical life

Just sharing this because I enjoyed watching this interview.
Anthony Roth Costanzo has got a lot more depth than I'd assumed at first. An amazing performer and an interesting person.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Always learning

I'm inspired by Uma Kelkar, but I'm not half as good! Maybe if I focused on one thing rather than jumping around, I might make progress some day!
Next time she's giving workshops in Europe, I'm booking!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Life Drawing - Luana

Sometimes, you just end up with one drawing that you like out of the dozen or so that you do during a two-hour life-drawing session. On this occasion, for me, it's the one directly below. There are a few others that were ok, but the ones I've added at the end didn't work out for me - lack of concentration, preoccupied mind, being in a different spot in the room even, there is so much that can contribute to a great drawing, but also to not-so-great ones.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Urban Sketchers Dublin Christmas portrait party

I was distracted by family issues, but since there was nothing I could do from here, I decided to go sketching all the same. I didn't do much. But better than staying at home and fretting.

Winter scene

So I did my quick thumbnails and decided that a portrait format would be better, with branches coming from only one side, and no bin, no extra tree. So a very simple painting. A little bit bare, but quite representative of a winter morning in Ireland.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Thomas Street

I'm so grateful for my urban sketcher friends. I don't know how I'd be without them. We meet, we sketch, we chat. And when life is too complicated, they make things simple again. It's just about following the line where it takes you or finding the right shade of green for the ceiling. All it takes is an hour or two and life becomes straightforward again.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Sketching moments

These days, life is so busy that I grab sketching moments when I can! That means the cat or a self-portrait. I think I've got worse at the self-portraits - lack of practise! But maybe better at drawing the cat!!
All done from life, because it's better, even when it doesn't look so good!!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Kitty Kitty

Is he starting to sleep more? Will we get back to a normal life? He's definitely no longer the tiny but feisty kitten I brought home. He's still a bit crazy. But I was actually able to do the three sketches below from life. Yes, he was moving his head, and switching sides, but it was nice to be able to sit down and sketch him!

And then I tried to draw from a photo, and that didn't work out so well!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Yoga and life drawing with Ishtar

An hour of yoga and an hour of life drawing the yoga poses. Best time ever!

Winter in Ireland

This one was from a photo I took on one of our dog walks. There was something about the sky that I really liked. Up to this point, I was still happy with the painting. But then I added a bin and a tree on the left (which was there). And I ruined the whole effect. You can't win them all. And a reminder that thumbnails to decide on composition are essential before starting a painting!

Friday, December 20, 2019

November tree

The trees are bare now. But only a few weeks ago, there were still some beautiful autumn colours in the background. So I took a photo and I experimented with the triad of ultramarine blue, hansa yellow medium and permanent alizarin crimson recommended by Shari Blaukopf. I added some cobalt blue to the sky for more contrast.

Amazing how many colours and tones you can create with just these few pigments!
I struggled with the sky, as it was quite difficult to paint around all these branches. Maybe a case where masking fluid would have been useful!