Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Animal Wednesday - the Bronx Zoo

We went to the Bronx Zoo on Sunday - a cold crisp day - almost perfect for the zoo. This was directly after a lovely trip down to Brooklyn to show the kids where I grew up, my grade school, my high school and to be honest...I just wanted the chance to drive around Brooklyn again. Loved it - it was a beautiful Brooklyn Day - quiet, sunday go-to-church dressed people, no traffic.

Anyway - onto the zoo. The only problem with the cold weather was that alot of the animals were not out and about - particularly the gorillas, but there were many other interesting animals to see and their environments were pretty good for a zoo.

Grapes could tell you all the animal zoo-logical names. I'll tell you what I remember.

A monkey. He is a particular kind but I don't remember what. Cute tho' and very photogenic.

This is a frog. Maybe called a "very green frog" - but I don't remember. But a classic face eh?

There were some gorillas showing themselves - gorgeous animals - and I took the best pictures I could thru the glass. Most of them didn't come out very well, glare off the glass and hazy, but these two were the best.
I literally could watch these guys all day. I'm going to try to go back in a few weeks to see if it's warm enough so that they are outside. Since their enclosure is called "Congo" and it was only 40 degrees out - they stayed inside where they are (one would think) warm and cozy.
Yup - Sea Lions and I love this first Mother and Child photo. Isn't her head at a rather Madonna like angle?
Probably the Pops - yelling his head off. Whew - his breath was wow-strong.

A tortoise and I'm proud of this photo cause you can't really see the chain link fence. I mean, yeah - you can SEE it but I managed to get my little point and shoot to focus on the turtle instead of the chain link.
Madagascar - and a NILE Crocodile. Again, stating the obvious, photo taken thru the glass. White teeth - the better to bite you with.

Mean little eyes. Poor croc - maybe he's really a sweetheart but I wasn't going to ask.

Mr. Elegant Lizard - smirky.
Some red/orange birds - maybe ibis? No matter - they were gorgeous - especially against the green leaves.

Another special bird I call curly cheeks.
Penguins lying down being lazy in the cool sun.

Now this guy I remember - a Kookaburra - I remember cause of Helen and I thought of her when I saw this bird. Not that it resembles her or anything like that - just cause of Australia.

It was really a wonderful day. Nothing like being with those you love right?
Happy Animal Wednesday!!
( I just noted the date in my Mr. Linky. March is supposed to go out like a lamb and it isn't)

Noo Yawk

After a few days in NYC - I start to yearn for my hometown boys. Oh those Guido's - nothin' like 'em. Pictures of a fun and wonderful weekend coming soon. love, Mim

Friday, March 25, 2011

Illustration Friday - Toy

It's been a long time since I've contributed to Illustration Friday - and this is an old piece that I did years ago when I started doing ATC's and playing with art. But it's one of my favorites - I think prompted by a story of child abuse that - as usual - made me sick.

I can see how I could have made this piece slicker, covered those white edges, etc. But to me the message is still clear and focused - children are to be cherished and loved...and are not toys for amusement and neglect.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Animal Wednesday - Bunnies

I made these bunnies from ...what else but PaperClay. Cute huh? They're going on Etsy (after some better pictures) and I hope somebody snaps them up and enjoys them.

This is the "boy" one - he's got a bow tie and is surrounded by little jelly beans and carrots.
So I guess this is the girl bunny -- as she's got a necklace but also has some carrots hanging around.

Happy Animal Wednesday!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friday night drawing - last class

My Friday night Drawing class was over last night and we had a life drawing model who was awesome. For the first time I understood why people would want to stay with one model and use them over and over. This woman was young and not gorgeous or anything - but had a well proportioned body with fluid lines and her poses were graceful and natural. I truly understood how one could use her as a model over and over for painting. You could easily ignore the butterfly tattoo on her tummy (ouch).

We did about 19 drawings last night and in the spirit of honesty - I'm only showing the 4 best - but overall it was a good night. We did quick drawings, gesture drawings - 2 minutes at a time. The top one was about 1 minute as my paper fell on the floor and I had to scramble to get it all set up again. Guess I work well under pressure.

Then we tried an approach where you try to stay away from straight lines - I like this wiry approach - lots of room for adjustments.

This last one was done with my left hand - which was hard but surprisingly fun and not as bad as I thought, altho I did run out of room for the head.

At the end of the class, we went to a local gallery opening where Tom had a painting up of him as superman dad. It was a good show, some great stuff some not so great stuff but fun to be out in the city on a friday night hobnobbing with "real" artists and their fan clubs.

Back to real life today - lots to do before I go away next weekend to NYC with my nephews and their mom. We're driving down on Friday night - staying in a swanky hotel (at a discount rate thank goodness) and doing sightseeing on Saturday and Blue Man Group show on Saturday night. If we get the chance I want to pop over to brooklyn to show the kids where I grew up and where I went to grade school. It'll be fun to show them the area...but just thinking about it I got a bit nostalgic. Haven't been back to Brooklyn without my Dad....ever. He loved Brooklyn so much, knew so much about the history, and there was nothing dad loved more than going out for breakfast with me to a local greasy spoon. Whew. Nostalgia wave just hit me. But it's good to remember.

I have to figure out what classes to take this summer. The comic class appears to be an abbreviated one - which I'll take but it's making me realize that I'm going to have to go into Boston in the fall for a professional class if I want to move this genre forward. So this summer I might just take fun class like a watercolor class. I've been so impressed with the work KatieJane is doing that I'd like to try my hand at it. or maybe mixed media. or painting. We'll see...

Have a lovely weekend, send $ thoughts to KJ and her auction this weekend (which I never got my stuff to her to sell, but she understands)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Little Clay People

One way I learn something is to try it over and over again, using different methods and different looks and techniques. Each one of these little clay people has a different core, different armature (if one at all) different paint etc. By the last two I'd gotten a few things down to more of a science.

But they've been so much fun to make! Each one comes out with it's own personality and look.

This one I call the Professor - and he's standing on a rock cause I couldn't get him to stand up on his own two feet.
This is the Old Lady - she has a silver bun and movable arms - which I have not mastered yet - these are a big wobbly. Notice her blue eyeshadow - doesn't she know that it's passe to have your eyeshadow and dress match? Tsk, tsk....she tries hard to be with it....

I think this one - who just got borned this morning - is a librarian out for a fancy dance. Not really sure yet who she is.

Now this one is my favorite. She was easy to make, I like her dress and love her little balled up hair. She's pretty calm and easygoing.

This was the first one that I made a few weeks ago. I've gotten fond of her worried look and lumpy head. I call her worry wart and have found that she will take on the burden of all ones' worries and make them her own - freeing you from keeping them close. Handy gal to have around.

Oh yes - the hippie lady - or tree lady or sea person. Not so sure about her, different type of dress and kinda weird hair. But friendly and patient I have to say. Maybe a mermaid tail would help, or leaves for hair - we'll see....

Posing all together. What a funny crowd.
Whadda you think? Fun or nutty? Seeing them all in a crowd, I still like the red lady best.

Another bigger dog in the works - which might have a rider, and the fish is still being painted. What the hell am I gonna do with all these little people?????

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Animal Wednesday - Silly Lab

HA HA HA - Love it!!!

Silly Labs - sledding is for kids!! (NOT)

I don't care what anyone says - labs are the best dogs. Yes, they're big and yes, their tails are deadly and they smell and drool and have giant poops and they are silly - but they are lovely and wonderful and angels in doggy clothes.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Paint brings out a personality

These guys were interesting when not painted, but I like the personalities that have come out after color.

In Drag?

"But he was such a quiet neighbor! " they all said when the details were made public "he wouldn't have hurt a fly"

Mardi Gras in Old Thebes

Next lesson we start to make bodies out of cloth. Should be interesting.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

...the bad and the ugly.


Since I show my successes - in order to maintain a humble feeling - I also must show my failures.

Last night we did portraits again. I like portraits and last week, I think I did pretty good! This week he had us work in black and white paint and it was an AWFUL night for my art. I of course, had a good time, learned a bunch but was off, off, off! We drew in Pencil and then were supposed to add paint, different black and white values. Above was my effort which I eventually abandoned. I started another which was SO bad that Tom finally came over and said "stop, stop" and proceeded to give me a lesson and fix my horror of a portrait - the results of which are shown below, painted over my attempt.

Tom is a lovely guy and very patient with his students. I would really like to take a full painting class with him - it's hard to just get snippets every friday night. But I don't know paint, don't know how to use it, don't understand it and it shows. So I'm not in the least bit worried about a bad approach with paint, I at least give myself that break. Maybe someday I'll get more proficient with it. And my other problem is seeing something in just darks and lights - I'm not trained to see that way, and my brain keeps trying to see color.

Anyway, as usual, it was a fun night. My artwork was awful, but I learned.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Animal Wednesday - Fish Face

I get involved in one medium and right now (as you all know) I've been playing with paperclay. Last night I started an ambitious project - a walking fish model. Here it is - just the beginning of the fish face...altho to me it looks like a lizard face at this point. I know that fish don't have eyelids, but I like to make eyelids so this guy will have them.

Details to be added will make this fishier - and I have to work out the details of the legs...hmmmm - should they fold backwards like a birds, or forward like us humans. I'm leaning towards frontwards...cause it might be easier to balance him. This guy will take a while to finish, so I'm keeping him wrapped in plastic in hopes that the clay will stay soft enough to work with without having to add water.

Happy Animal Wednesday - hope you have real animals in your life and not just clay one.

Oh yeah...one more thing! Last night driving home there was a lovely yellow lab in the road, an older fellow with a grizzled snout. Of course I stopped, as he was just standing there. He was SO friendly and lovely, wriggled up to me to say hello and looked like he would easily go into my car. And he SMELLED so bad! I was hesitant, it's a residential neighborhood, and while he didn't have tags, he had a collar - so somebody cared for him. Luckily a younger couple were driving down the street, they stopped and recognized the dog as belonging to someone nearby, and took him home. My hands reeked of dog, but that's no biggie. Usually I have a leash in the car, but I must have lost it somewhere which is why I was holding him with my hands. I was so glad he was rescued, as it was getting dark and I would have had to put him in my car and call the dog officer (isn't that a great title to have?) - and he was such a lovely, happy dog.
All's well that ends well.

Happy Animal Wednesday!

Monday, March 7, 2011

3 heads

The online class suggested that we make three heads to practice and you know me - I listen to instructions...sometimes. but I did want to try this more than once, so I did the three heads. It was like creating three different people. They don't even look alike at all - you'd never know they are supposed to be triplets.

First - the Eqyptian - you've seen him before.

Second - the Next Door Neighbor - rather lumpy and bumpy waiting to be sanded.

Third - the Poet. Pensive and also waiting for his sanding.

I used three different paperclays. First was Creative Paperclay - which is very soft. Second is La Doll - which I assume is common to Doll Makers. Third is Diamond Paperclay - which is harder than Creative, but smoother overall.

Note: the recommendation in the class is to make a woman's head. I tried. It didn't work. Maybe the last one might be feminine but the others - no way. They're guys. I think it's because I haven't gotten used to any kind of more delicate features - I tend towards the Hulk look in noses and ears. Hence the guy features. More practice needed.

I have to wait a week for the second lesson to be published so these guys will just dry and wait for their buffing and polishing and painting. As usual, I probably like them better without paint - but I'm trying to learn the entire process from this class.

I had NO idea how many people are into making dolls. The amount of stuff out there for doll making is amazing. You can buy little eyeballs to put into these guys. Cheap! I ordered a package of 4 sets of eyes for $1.25. I think it'll be very odd to use them but I couldn't resist seeing how they look and giving them a try sometime.

I have to admit - it's fun to make these creatures. More to come in a few weeks.

By the way - which head do you like best? Only one of them will be chosen for the final complete treatment. The others will languish on my shelf as potential.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Art Week update

OK - here is Miss Em painted. I'm getting used to her now but she was a shock at first. Combination of not knowing what I am doing with clay and paint and liking the anonymous stature better. And I've decided that in the future, any statues of her will be blanker, more statue than personality - if you get my drift. I'm still working towards the canoe scene that I've envisioned. And to that end, I signed up for an online course in using paperclay. The course makes an art doll, which isn't what I'm looking for - but it gives hints and instructions and I like that. Here is the head that I'm working on for the course....very rough at this stage....

About 3 - 4 inches high - just so you have a perspective.

oops - those eyes are a bit bulgy - must be a thyroid problem. Nothing that some sanding won't help. I worked on him on Saturday - and it was right after a Friday Night drawing class where we worked on head anatomy, so the timing was perfect.

The instructor brought out a plastic skull and did some drawings about circles and ovals and - boom - a light went off in my head. Never thought about the back of the head before...and I think it helps in the final portrait drawings.

Proportions are off in this - it was quick as I was trying to copy what he was doing. I'm going to try a portrait with a grid - might be cheating but who cares.

And finally - KJ is heading up an auction for Childrens Hospital and I'm donating these items. I hope they make a few bucks for the cause.

That's my art week. Since it's raining today - I'll be downstairs puttering with paint and clay. Couldn't be a better prospect for a rainy day (please stay warm to melt the snow!)