Figure drawing and portraiture are areas that I need to spend more time focusing on. Luckily, I love drawing people, so as challenging as it may be, the outcome is always quite rewarding. Although I have a number of drawings in my sketchbook, I wanted to have a few drawings created on high quality paper that would look polished and well crafted for my portfolio. With that in mind, I decided to focus this week on images of people with animals.
I referenced pictures in some magazines I had laying around the studio and a few images I printed out of myself and some of my friends. I tried to choose images of people in interesting positions that were large enough to include detail, in order to practice different angles and perspectives. After I had the model down on paper, I incorporated some of the animal images that have been showing up in my other work recently. I am pleased with the end product, which is a series of four pen drawings on toned paper that I colored with washes of acrylic paint.
I am beginning to really enjoy the illustrative qualities that go along with drawing people. I think that often they are more intriguing than some of my straight animal drawings. The qualities of the animal that I pair with each model seems to add to the character of the person. What do you think?
Last week I spent a great deal of time in the studio, which is why I haven’t been posting as often as I’d like. To be honest, I am starting to feel a bit pressed for time. Brian and I have a month and a half before we set out on our sailing trip (if you are unaware, in November we are sailing down to the Caribbean and, if things go well, Central America). If I am going to send out some grad school applications, then I need to get on it. I have made a couple of interesting breakthroughs in my work in the last week and am eager to share them with you, but I am not quite ready. I will do a post about my new projects soon. For now, here are a few more sketchbook pages, and I apologize in advance if I seem absent from the blog over the coming weeks. Hopefully I will have quite a bit to show from it, and of course there will be plenty of boat news soon enough and a small art show to plan before we leave.
As you have probably noticed, I’ve gotten a little behind on my studio updates, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been productive. I’ve been managing my schedule well and have been spending about six hours a day in there. The big news is that I finished my bee painting. It came along much faster than expected. I actually finished it last week and am already in the midst of a new one that is focusing on ants. I am pushing myself a little bit farther on this new one, spending a great deal more time on the background of the painting. My goal is to work on my perspective and draw the viewer into the painting. We will see how it turns out. I like the concept and layout, but it is proving to be challenging. I’ll take it as a good sign, but expect that it will take a little bit longer than the bees.
Also, over the past few weeks, I finally modified some curtains for the boat (just in time for the weather to turn cooler) and worked on several more pages of my sketchbook. I experimented with watercolor and also worked on some portraiture. I also included some design elements, playing with patterns and shapes within my drawings. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how these experiments would turn out at all; it had been a very long time since I worked on the human form. Generally I am pleased with the results and had a lot of fun creating them. Expect to see more in the future.
Also, I signed up for a profile on Society6, which is an online artist community that I stumbled upon recently. If you are an artist or illustrator, you should check it out. The site offers a great number of art grants, all of which sound pretty awesome (designing cd cover art, magazine spreads, art zines, etc. for companies as big as Vans and MTV, or other smaller art magazines and publishing companies). Anyway, my webpage is: www.society6.com/laraneeceart/. Most of what you’ll find on my Society6 page has already been posted at some point on the blog.
In about two weeks, I will be starting a five week batik-painting class at Redux Studios. The class only meets once a week, but I think it will be a great way for me to facilitate some creative interactions with some other people and learn a cool new skill. I figured that compared to a college course, this was pretty cheap ($160, all materials included), and I think it will compliment my screen-printing endeavors in the future. If you don’t know what batik painting is, it is a process of dying cloth using wax to create a design. It’s kind of an advanced version of tie dye. A number of saris and beach wraps have been dyed according to the batik process.
If you’ve been reading this blog, then you know that this is the last post I am going to make about my trip to the West Coast. Later this week, I should be back to my studio updates, lifestyle, and weekly inspiration posts (I hope). As you can see from the many photographs below, Brian and I had a great number of varied experiences in San Francisco. We were only there for a couple of days, but the city is massive, and the only real conclusion I could come to was that I didn’t see enough of it to make a judgment.
We stayed with a Couchsurfer friend, who spent the night on our futon in Charleston back in January before we moved onto the boat. He has an interesting shared living situation in an old sign factory south of market, which he and his flatmates call Langton Laboratories. I didn’t take any pictures, but you should definitely check out their blog for more information. They have been modifying the building as suits their needs and were in the process of constructing an interior porch to connect onto the kitchen and overlook the warehouse garage. They were also working hard on their many Burning Man preparations during our visit.
For the first two days, Brian and I went exploring on our own, by foot the first day and then by bike the second. As I said before, San Francisco is a huge city, so we spent our time in several specific areas. When we first arrived in the city, we walked through Chinatown, ate some delicious Thai food, strolled down to the Mission, where we enjoyed sangria and salsa, and then headed over to South of Market. Langton Laboratories was hosting a Burning Man meeting and dinner to discuss their camp plans. We enjoyed some excellent mango and tofu curry, met some interesting people, and heard all about Burning Man.
The next day, we went to Haight Street and explored a little bit of Golden Gate Park, which reminded me of Vondelpark in Amsterdam. I loved the section of the park that was landscaped according to different countries around the world. We hung out in New Zealand for a while, drank a beer, and then wandered out. We found a Vietnamese restaurant somewhere in the Richmond district. I was surprised to find so many different Asian restaurants throughout the city. I suppose I expected that they would be more contained closer to Chinatown. Not so. We met up with our San Franciscan friend and met his parents. It was really neat to see the inside of one of the town houses. I was happy to find that they had a fantastic amount of natural light. That night our friend took us for some french food from a little stand at the end of his street. We took the food over to the wine bar directly across the street called Terroir Sf Llc. It had a nice ambiance, and I liked the decor. The cheese plate was excellent; they served huge portions of four types of cheese as well as some fruit and nuts, but we ate way too much of it. There were three of us, and we ate nearly all of it!
On our third day in the city, Brian and I borrowed two bikes and biked around the city. Again. Huge city, lots of hills; needless to say, we didn’t get as far as planned. The bike ride was great; we biked to Golden Gate Park all the way out to the beach, followed the road along the shore to Seal Rocks State Beach, and then took the Sea Cliff pathway to the Presidio. The views were stunning and it felt great to see the ocean, the bay, and the bridge. We biked along the edge of Presidio, past Fort Mason, and stopped just as we reached Pier 39. The ride itself took much longer than we had expected. We actually turned around and biked back to Fort Mason to watch the sun set over the Golden Gate Bridge. If I were to do it again, I’d do the same bike route, but break it up over two days, so that there would be time for stopping and enjoying some of the areas.
For dinner that night, Brian and I took a bus to the Mission and ate at Luna Park. It had a nice ambiance, cozy, but still felt like a big city restaurant and the food was good. I especially enjoyed our appetizer, the Heirloom Tomato and Warm Bread Salad with Arugula and Fresh Mozzarella. Simple, but so good, and my Vegan Cassoulet was tasty as well. We were surprised to find grits listed on their menu, as well. We went to the Monk’s Kettle for a fancy beer afterward. I definitely recommend checking it out. I believe they served food as well, but they had an excellent beer selection, and it was a cool place to hang out late night.
To wrap things up, we spent our last day with our host, who took us around to some of his favorite places. We went to see an old rowing club (of which he is a member), we drank Irish coffees at the Buena Vista Cafe, drove out to see some of the coastal redwoods, and finally to the coastline just outside the city past Sausalito and Muir Beach. The views were amazing and refreshing. If you are going to San Francisco, you should not miss it. We ended the trip with a stop for falafel, hookah, and tea, then hopped the red-eye flight to Chicago and finally to Charleston.
Fun and exhausting! My only regret is that I didn’t get to check out any art galleries while we were there. It’s on the list for next time. Thanks for reading.