Archive for November, 2008

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Pocket Camera Found

November 30, 2008

While visiting my mother over the holdiay I spent some time digging through the closets hunting for my old Brownie still camera. She thought it was buried in the house somewhere, but apparantly she was confusing it with a Brownie Movie camera. No luck finding the Target 6-20, unfortunately. As a sort of consolation prize, I did uncover my Dad’s old Tele-Instamatic 608:

Instamatic Box

Instamatic Box


Camera and Flash

Camera and Flash

There was no film in the box, but that flip-flash has a few bulbs still unused. I’m curious to play with it. From what I understand the negatives are tiny, so I doubt it will offer that much for scanning purposes, and new film might be hard to find.

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Ink Drawing: Point Lobos

November 26, 2008
Pt. Lobos Drawing

Pt. Lobos Drawing

Here’s a new ink drawing I’ve finished, about 17 x 13″ on 100# bristol paper. It’s based on a couple of photos taken near Point Lobos California. The figure is imagined. The drawing tool used was mostly a steel nib, Nikko “G,” and a pigmented ink marker, Pitt Pen, for the water. The marker gave me a softer “dry” line.

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Google Search Time-Life Photo Archive

November 20, 2008

timelifearchive

There’s a very useful search facility offered by Google Images of the Time-Life Photograph archive. It collects tons of photographs and engravings from the 1860s – 1970s. For example, using the images.google.com page enter a search phrase such as “dog source:life” to see all images tagged with “dog” in that archive, or specifically access the site at this location. The search results often give back “about 200” which makes me think there’s even more available. It’s a fun way to kill time.

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Composition: Center of Attention

November 18, 2008

I was reading a magazine article recently where a photograph was being corrected to make a more interesting composition, at least to the eyes of the author. It was a photo of two sheep walking over the edge of a rocky cliff, and behind them was a huge expanse of sky and distant mountains. I’m reproducing the photo here as a quick sketch (A) along with the recommended cropping from the article (B.) The criticism of the photo was the sheep were too centered in the frame, and the solution was to crop it in such a way that they were placed in the bottom right corner. It was the wrong suggestion. That might work conceptually if the characters are staring off into the great expanse of “Nature” or if even more space were given to the environment to illustrate the statement of “small characters – big sky,” but that wasn’t available here. Their suggestion was a good idea, but there wasn’t enough space for the sky to make it work, and there wasn’t anything there to hold our interest.

Photo Sketch

Photo Sketch

Article Cropping

Article Cropping

 

By comparison, no image like this is more iconic than Caspar David Fredrich’s “Traveler Looking Over a Sea of Fog.” Notice that the placement of the figure is dead center. The sky in that painting is much more dramatic than what was in the photo, and unlike the figure in the painting the sheep don’t seem too interested in what’s going on behind them.

Caspar David Fredrich

Caspar David Fredrich

Another arrangement to follow the “off-center” rule might be to move the figures to the top right and give more space to the rocks (C.) That design, however, forces the eye off the bottom edge in the direction the sheep are walking without any way of stopping it. The original photo was giving us more information on the environment than it deserved or was necessary, so my recommendation is to just trim off some of the sides and bottom and keep the focus on the main characters (D.)

Alternate Idea

Alternate Idea

 

My Suggestion

My Suggestion

 

It’s perfectly okay to place the main focus dead center as long as everything else in the image balances out properly, not just physically but also conceptually. Sometimes the most effective presentation to use is the most obvious one.

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Serving Tea Painting-Final Phase

November 12, 2008

tea3

This is the latest state of the painting. I did go back into the wall and add some lighter tones. It’s at a point where it’s saying “don’t me for awhile” so I’ll let it sit and study it for any touch ups. 12 x 9 inches, oil on canvas.

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Serving Tea Painting Update

November 9, 2008

tea2

Here’s the most recent state of the painting. I started with the darker areas first, followed by the floor and then the wall. I had intended that the back wall have a gradient of light, but I rather like how flat it is now. The figures seem to pop out more dimensionally. I need to let the paint dry some so I’ll wait on touching that until I get the rest of the figures painted. Another thing that occurs to me is the radius of the table top is too long on the right side, so that needs fixing.

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New Oil Painting: Serving Tea

November 6, 2008

It’s time to get back to painting, so here’s one I’ve just started. It’s based on a sketch I made a few years ago of a couple friends having brunch. You can see here a scan of the sketch made with a writing pen. Next is a rough digital color study of that scan to decide what the colors will be.

Original Sketch

Original Sketch

 

Color Study

Color Study

Lastly I’m posting the beginning stage of the painting itself in complementary undertones (or as I like to call them: “my blue people.”) This is 12 x 9 inches on stretched canvas with oils mixed with a little methylcellulose. Notice that I added the dark shape of a sofa on the far left. I felt it compressed the composition a bit more instead of all that open space in the original sketch.

Undertone Painting

Undertone Painting

It’s been drying overnight and is ready for more paint. My “vision” for this one is to keep the paint application more lose than how I usually work, much like it looks now but thicker. I’ll have to resist my inclination to add small details, especially with their faces and hands. We’ll see how it turns out.