I decided to do a take-off on Botticelli's famous "Birth of Venus" -- making her older, but still lovely. I also very loosely based some of her features on my own. Of course, as they say, every portrait is, to one degree or another, a self-portrait. Not a "finished" piece, but more in keeping with the freshness and spontaneity of a sketch.
If I could be anyone for one hour, who would it be? Easy answer. I would be the Pope. Not for any theological reason. Not to make history as the first female pope. No, I would choose to be Pope so that I could spend one, golden, undisturbed hour in the Sistine Chapel, all by myself. Perhaps I would borrow a "cherry picker," so I could look as closely as I wanted to. And, here is a "cherry picker" (yes, as is obvious, I lifted the photo off the internet).
I've blogged about both Sketch Club and the Daily Draw. The Daily Draw group receives a weekly assignment, and we commit to do a drawing a day based on the assignment. You can follow us on Tumblr: http://dailydraw.tumblr.com/ And, check out Sketch Club (see http://app.sketchclub.com/ ), which has both composition contests (Compos) and a Daily Challenge. I have taken on the personal challenge, when possible, of combining the Daily Draw assignment with one from Sketch Club -- which has lead me into some very challenging themes.
Last week, the Daily Draw assignment was insect portraits. At the same time, Sketch Club had a compo going titled "Remix!" Here is the description: "Take ONE of your favorite pictures/drawings/paintings, done by another artist (from Da Vinci to stencil art -- up to you) and REMIX it!!! Don't just copy the drawing -- create something new, cool, funny, touching, romantic or magic. One image load to give you the structure is fine." In addition, one of the daily challenges last week was Renaissance: "draw some famous renaissance art or make on of your own, sort of in that style." So, I double-dared myself to combine all three assignments in at least one Sketch Club drawing. I needed some ingenuity for this dare! Here, I think, is the best result:
The "Portrait of Lucretia Panciatichi," by Bronzino, gave me the "bones" for this drawing, thus, incorporating both the Remix Compo and the Renaissance Daily Challenge into my Daily Draw assignment. To integrate the insect portrait theme, I used Princess Atta from Pixar's "A Bug's Life" as Lucretia's doppleganger. (As I was writing this blog, I googled "Princess Pancitichi" to steal a jpeg of Bronzino's painting and discovered that my drawing was the second hit! Good gosh! Bronzino would be mortified. Well, maybe amused. I can hope.)
The Sketch Club community has given me a lot of positive feedback on this one. I credit Bronzino, 100%. The original painting radiates beauty, elegance, intelligence, luxury. We see Bronzino's signature notes, the long, graceful neck and delicate, elongated fingers. Observe the luxurious fabric and exquisite jewelry. My humble homage in no way approaches his majestic work. I worked on my drawing about 2 hours. How many hours did Bronzino put in? A hundred? We don't know. We do know that his mastery of painting awes and inspires. Princess Atta pales and curtseys before Princess Pancitichi.
Here, with an inadequate jpg, I present to you Bronzino's regally remote Princess. Visit her one day at the Uffizi Gallelry in Florence, Italy.
Many art apps exist for the iPad. I started out with ArtRage, but have been using Sketch Club exclusively for several months. Sketch Club turned out to be more than just an app -- it's also an online community, a social app as well as an art app. Artists from around the globe post their digital sketches online. Check it out at http://app.sketchclub.com/
If you go to my profile -- http://app.sketchclub.com/user/16505705 -- you will see how it all works. At the top, a short bio. Below that, see the sketches I have recently given a "thumbs up" or click on the heart to see sketches I have awarded a "heart". We earn hearts as we go along and, once given, that individual heart is gone. So, people award a heart when they really, really like a sketch. As you scroll down my page, you will see my Recent Sketches. Scroll down further to see my Top Sketches. That's where it gets really interesting. Watching a recent sketch surge upward gets my attention -- tells me I'm on to something. The sketch that just sits there, without much feedback? Let's me know I'm NOT onto something. The occasional heart is always appreciated and sometimes shocking. My "Steampunk Snoopy" sketch, which I almost didn't upload because I wasn't really happy with it -- as of this writing has two hearts, 25 thumbs up and 20 comments. HOLY COW, that was unexpected!!!! I'll show it to you at the bottom of this blog.
Now, let's look at one of the most beloved of the Sketch Club community. I share these sketches with his permission, and all copyrights remain with the artist.
Pastor Bob. Also known, affectionately, as PB. Check him out: http://app.sketchclub.com/user/3149669 He has been a SC member since March 1, 2011. In that time, he has uploaded (at least as of this moment) a grand total of 2,200 sketches! Second only to Peking Duck , who has 2,493 sketches -- check them out: http://app.sketchclub.com/user/12185641
At left, see the good pastor's Top Sketch, titled "Cardinal", uploaded about a year ago -- and, below, a more recent sketch, titled "Harvest Moon."
Impressive technical skill, yes? Even if Anime is your thing, or Abstract Expressionism, or whatever, just admit it. He's good. And, as good as his earliest sketches are, I see a great deal of growth -- and this has happened in the space of about a year and a half. How do you obtain mastery? By working at it! Persistently. Maybe obsessively, even. If you have to ice your wrist after a day of drawing, you are well on your way to mastery! Talent alone doesn't cut it. It helps, sure, but without persistence, it goes nowhere.
Returning to Pastor Bob. Generous with his gifts, he gives online tutorials and classes (with homework, people, so pay attention!)
For some examples of PB's and other's online tutorial/classes, as well as livesketches and other cool content, go to Sketch Club TV on YouTube:
I should probably add that Sketch Club was developed by a gaming architect, Jim Scott, whose Sketch Club profile name is blackpawn. He's on LinkedIn, and has an awesome resume. Does the game "Guild Wars" ring a bell? Check out his Sketch Club sketches at: http://app.sketchclub.com/user/146001
And, as I promised. Below, see my "Steampunk Snoopy" sketch.
A recent assignment in my Daily Draw group was: choose an object and draw that object each day for a week. I chose a mask that I bought last October in Florence, Italy, from a street vendor. It was cheap, probably made in China, but I liked it anyway. Here are some of those drawings, the last being the one drawing that meant the most to me. These were all done using the Sketch Club app for iPad, along with more than one photo editing app to crop, manipulate color, duplicate, flip and collage.
When I saw the assignment for last week's Daily Draw, my heart sank. "Childhood Memories." I don't have that many good childhood memories. As an adult, years of therapy (individual, marriage, group) gradually helped me to "un-numb," grieve, and, as much as possible, move on. These days, I find it is best to not dwell on the events of my childhood, except to answer a question or to help someone else know that they are not alone. I did not relish this assignment. But, I committed to do a drawing a day, based on the subject given. So, I plunged in. I did these drawings on the iPad, using the Sketch Club app, and doing some cropping and color editing with the Camera+ app. I tried to find the positive memories.
So first. I always read, voraciously. The first drawing? I still have my old copy of Winnie-the-Pooh. Not the Disney version, the original. A good memory. And, second, I remembered playing in a pothole after a heavy rain with my best friend, Mary Elizabeth. We were perhaps four years old.
The assignment had stirred up some bad memories, even tho I tried to focus on the positive. I missed one day, due to emotional exhaustion, I suppose. But, the next day, the last day, I found one of the best memories. I did the text below left using Sketch Club, which has a text setting.
The current week's assignment: pick an object, draw it each day using a different technique/style. I will post those drawings next week. And, for your amusement., here is a Chef Boy-Ar-Dee commercial from 1953, the year before I was born:
My favorite week of the Daily Draw Group: pick an album and do a drawing a day based on a different song title each day. I picked Abbey Road, by the Beatles. Usually, I prefer to draw from life. I have the devil of a time trying to draw from my imagination. I enjoyed this particular assignment, tho. Here are my four favorites of that week, all done on the iPad, using the Sketch Club app, then editing in Camera+ and a few other photo-editing apps.
Yes, there were three others. But, I'll stop here. With my favorites.
I have come to peace with myself. I am a draftsman. My lofty goal is to meet the dictionary definition: "an artist exceptionally skilled in drawing." I know the "Art World" considers drawings to be the least important, aka the least marketable of the arts. If we just look at 2-D artworks, the Market hierarchy goes like this:
Paintings are the most important. Oil paintings first, acrylic second. In general, Big is Better.
All other media pale in comparison. Watercolor and pastel jockey around for second place, I suppose. Printmaking -- intaglio, lithography, woodcut, silkscreen, etc. -- might come in third. Collage is in there somewhere. But, drawings? Pencil or ink on paper? Smudgy charcoal? Puh-leeeeeeze! They aren't "finished"!
I am at peace, though. What do I love to do? I love to draw. Do what you love.
Here is a recent drawing. Done on my iPad, using the Sketch Club app, then editing in Camera+.
Playing with an iPad is soooooooooo much fun. Here is a digital drawing I recently did, using the ArtRage app.
And then the fun began.......
I loaded the drawing into several different photography apps. Alas, I should have documented which ones I used when. For, here are the different versions, and I'm not sure which one was altered in PS Express, which in Simply HDR-Hd, or in both. But, here they are. Choose the one you like the best. If any.
below, the 3rd version:
The 4th version.
And, finally, the 5th version:
I have asked friends to tell me which one they like best. I was hoping for a consensus. Nope. Each one has at least one "like."
I may never know which one is "best." And, that's okay.