I've been spending Saturday mornings learning about gouache painting, and it has been challenging. I have used gouache before, but still have so much to learn and, so far, my work has not been "blog-worthy." However, I missed the sketch group this week and wanted to put something on the Plum Gallery blog. So, here is my painting of a blue umbrella at the West end of the National Botanic Garden, done last Saturday. It was a really lovely spot, with a fantasic fountain. I wish I had taken a picture of that. I think it is called The First Ladies' Fountain. We're going back next Saturday. This painting is very small, about 5" x 8." My teacher, Bernie Dellario thinks I could go even smaller, but I would kind of like to go bigger. It is hard to get used to putting light over dark when I have done the opposite in watercolor for so many years.
I was very fortunate to draw again at the Luce Foundation last Tuesday. The assignment was challenging...it was to draw sculptures that show concepts relating to balance. After last week, I had decided I would focus on work that relates to Nam June Paik's archives for the time being, but I wasn't sure I could find something.
I was delighted to see that there are some exquisite little figurines in the case devoted to Paik's archives, and they were perfect for this exercise. They are ceramic and, as I understand it, Paik collected these figurines for assembly into larger works. They are related to him because they were in his warehouse at the time of his death. They are pretty small (maybe 10"), and are behind glass, but were fun to sketch. I did three fairly quick sketches. The one above demonstrates that, if one leg juts out, you need an opposite arm and maybe a little head action to counterbalance it.
This next sketch shows that the leaning back and protecting with your arms pose needed to be counterbalanced with a strong thrust of the front leg:
I might do him again because his expression was so severe! I would like to capture that.
The next one was actually the first I did, and I think I missed the mark.
It is very dramatic, and the actual figurine shows that you have to have a strong leg and a front arm out if you are going to balance on one leg with your back arm in the air. I may have overdone it, so may do this guy again. I am not sure it would work the way I portrayed it. The drape behind his standing leg does add some weight, but probably not enough to make the center of gravity actually work in my drawing. It does work in the figurine. This is why I keep trying!
It is fun to do these assignments and to challenge my sketching skills..not to mention learning about balance!
My friend Jan recently went to Mexico....now, that is always fun. She had a good trip and was so thoughtful to bring me a "Dragonfly" gift. This is a very unusual little treasure. It is a holder for sticky notes. On the top, it has a woodburned design and some openwork. I love it. It sits on my kitchen counter and I always now have a place to make a note and pull a sticky when I need a quick jot. Thank you, Jan, for the gift and for thinking of me on your trip.
I went again last Tuesday to what they call "Sketch and Discover" at the Smithsonian American Art Gallery/National Portrait Gallery. The assignment was to draw something showing perspective. We talked briefly about various kinds of perspective. Linear perspective where objects in the background are smaller than those in the foreground; atmospheric perspective objects in the background are less clear than those in the foreground; color perspective where saturation of colors is less in the background than in the foreground (and I also think actual colors: warm colors move forward and cool colors move back), and planar perspective, where overlapping planes create a sense of depth. I was fascinated by an assemblage by Nam June Paik, "Untitled (robot)." It is also known as a "Paaikbot." It includes portable tvs, a movie camera, a tv, record players for "45"s, a large speaker and radios. It has real personality and Paik did make a cartoon face on the screen. My sketch of it is above.
I took a picture of the piece, but there were too many reflections, so I lifted a better picture off the web that shows how it looks when it is plugged in: