Friday, September 28, 2012

Gnome Studies 3

More Gnome sketches for practice. After the work of Poortvliet.

   Hi, pals! I hope you have been enjoying the "Gnome Studies" posts lately (1,2). I know it has been fun for me to share them with you. When it came to doing today's gnome, I wanted to break a bit further away from my reliance on the work of other artists. I also knew that I wanted to test out the use of watercolor pencils.

Here you can see that I have sketched out three gnomes. I went a bit more cartoony with the two children. I came up with the idea of a less friendly and colorful gnome that could be their uncle or something like that. He is a bit of an odd ball and seems gruffer than he really is. (Who knows maybe he's part Siberian Gnome. That could explain it, huh?)

I then began to work in the base colors for some background elements. As you can see here.

After that, I started to paint in light base colors for the gnomes. I then started working in darker tones to define their forms and add some contrast and detail.

And finally, I used watercolor pencils to do this even more. I left the pencil marks dry for some bits in order to add texture and keep the contrast and detail. I also barely wet the marks in some areas to soften them up. When wetting the watercolor pencil marks with varying amounts of water on your brush, you can change how much they look like marks made by the pencil or brush. This is also good for blending colors and softening details.

And here is a computer scanned version of the studies. I painted the vignettes on the same piece of paper and small, so it just happened I could easily scan them. (As you may be able to see, even after adjusting the colors in Photoshop, they still aren't quite the same as in the original paintings.) I thought It would be nice to show them to you all together.

I hope you enjoyed today's gnome post! I'll be posting more of the gnomes I've painting for the upcoming exhibit soon. Until then, God Bless!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Gnome Studies 2

 Oh, hello! Welcome Back! How about I share some more "gnome studies" with you? OK! As I stated in the previous post, I began these studies as practice and preparation for the upcoming alumni group exhibit at Carson-Newman.  Early on, I knew I needed to at least attempt to determine what type of representation of gnomes I wanted to paint.  How "realistic" or "representational" did I want them to be? How cartoony, stylized, or simplified should they be?

In order to decide, I just began to explore different approaches. I guess I still haven't settled on one standard way to paint the little folks, but I usually just settle on what feels right in the situation. What feels right is usually some mixture of all of the above! haha I forgot to take a photo of the pencils for jolly gnome above, but here he is in his final painted form.

After getting the jolly gnome painted, I moved on to paint some of the other gnomes I had drawn. You can see that the little girl gnome understood whatever joke was told, while the green capped fellow doesn't quite get it. Here's a closer look:

And here they all are together on the "gnome studies" page (which is a page of Strathmore coldpress 12"x9" watercolor paper by the way.)

These two chaps are a perfect example of how I used these studies to learn from the great work of other artists. Its pretty easy to see that they were heavily influenced by the work of the talented, Jean-Baptiste Monge when you look at his sketches here and here (top right.) I found that referring to the works of others (as well as photos and my own sketches) during these "gnome studies" to be a very helpful and informative part of the "learning to paint gnomes" process. It's good starting place, but not the destination, of course! I could then do my own paintings of the gnomes a little easier. As always, one of the best ways to learn is by doing.

And speaking of sketches, gnomes, and learning from the work of the masters, here are some sketches I did studying the work of Rien Poortvliet from his book, Gnomes.

I hope you enjoyed looking at more gnomes. There are certainly more to come! And if you want to see some of my gnome paintings in person, don't forget to check out the exhibit in October! Thanks for looking! God bless!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Gnome Studies 1

I mentioned last time that soon I would share some of the pieces that I painted in preparation of the upcoming exhibit at my Alma Mater, Carson-Newman College. How about I share some photos of some art with you now?  As some of you may have gathered from comments on my twitter, I decided to exhibit some brand new paintings especially made for the show. I did the obvious thing to do when making new pieces for a group exhibit. I began planning paintings featuring GNOMES!

As I started thumbnail sketches and roughing out ideas, I realized I needed to decide what approach I wanted to use for the paintings. I sought out inspiration from a variety of artists including Jean-Baptiste Monge, Man Arenas, James Gurney, Norman Rockwell, and many others. But most of all, I studied the work of the Master Gnome Illustrator, Rien Poortvliet. Poortvliet is most famous for he and Will Huygen's classic book Gnomes (which I now happily own!) Though these artists and illustrators have very different styles and approaches to portraying fantasy, figures, and nature, I found that they all have a similar spirit in their work which was what I was wanting to emulate the most. 

After lots of sketching, it was finally time for me to do some "Gnome Studies." I wanted to begin painting little vignette practice images of the gnomes in watercolor to figure them out better. This also gave me a chance to practice watercolor painting again (I had gotten a little rusty doing mostly ink and digital work for a while.) What better to start with than a gnome mother and her gnome baby? :)

Then I got the idea of a gnome fellow riding the back of a wild hare!

 Here are the two gnome studies together:

I hope you guys enjoyed looking at these little guys and a brief look at my process. There is certainly more to come my friends! And don't forget the Group Exhibit that is coming up! :) God Bless!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Upcoming Group Exhibit at Carson-Newman!

This is exciting, my friends! I have had the pleasure of being invited to exhibit some of my artwork at my Alma Mater, Carson-Newman, in Jefferson City, TN. A bunch of friends that I graduated with will have pieces in the show too. So cool!!! Here is the information to inform you about the awesomeness:

Two Years Out; Group Alumni Exhibition, Class of 2010.
13 October through 20 November 2012.
An exhibit of recent artwork in a variety of media, made by Carson-Newman Art and Photography graduates of the class of 2010, including Daniel Aisenbrey, Philip Buck, Gretchen Hill, Cory Jones, Sarah Lynch Jones, Meg Lynch, Alex Smith, Allison Smith, and Kourtney Kelley Smith.
Opening Reception: Homecoming Saturday, 13 October, 9:30am to Noon. 

Isn't That cool? Yeah, I know. And the opening reception is during Homecoming you say? Yes, yes I do. Look at all of those talented artists who are participating! Very cool. 

I'll be posting some bits of my art that you may see in the exhibit soon, but knowing you guys, you probably want to go ahead and plan on seeing this exhibit in person. Your eyeballs will thank you. Trust me, we're internet friends. 

I hope to see you all there so we can laugh and eat some sandwiches and drink punch together.  :) God bless!