Spray Painting the Total Eclipse

eclipse 1

The weather has been so hot and humid that I haven’t spray painted in months. But with all the excitement of today’s Total Eclipse, I thought it’d be a fun subject. The above painting was the first one I did. I wanted to put some silhouetted stuff in the foreground, but I didn’t know what, so I left it blank. Maybe I’ll add some details later. I used a really small bottle cap which made it kinda hard to create the Diamond Ring Effect and the Baily’s Beads.

eclipse from space

This was my second painting which shows the eclipse from space. My proportions are a little off, and my poor finger was getting really tired. I guess I got weak from not spray painting for so long . . . so, I had a little trouble controlling my cans. To create the eclipse I used a larger cap, possibly from a Parmesan Cheese container, but I still struggled to create the effects.

eclipse 2

For my third try, I used a much larger circle which was an old car part that held the headlight, or the tail light. I started to get the Diamond Ring Effect at the top, but I still need to add some details to create the rays. I also managed to create the beginning of the Bailey’s Beads, but I was impatient and didn’t let the paint dry, so it got all gloopy. I might go in later and re-add those beads.

total eclipse pyramids

My fourth attempt was on a larger piece of paper and it’s my favorite one. It reminds me of the Nile.

spray painting supplies

In the picture above you can see all the supplies I used for these paintings. I used a circle cut-out for Earth in my second painting, and the caps and car part to create the eclipses. I used Rust-oleum White for my stars. I also used a Seaside Blue Rust-oleum for the sky and water.  I used Black and Clear Rust-oleum to create the palm trees and rocks. The rest were the cheap-o cans from Wal-Mart, which were Blue, Black, White, and some Green. These brands work really well together.

Remember when you’re working with spray paint to protect your health and wear a mask and some eye protection.

I remember viewing the total eclipse in California when I was a kid. We had a perfect view of it, and my dad was in the Air Force and brought home some special viewing glasses. I also made a pinhole shoebox thing at school. I don’t think I’ll have a good view of it today though.

I actually read that Native Americans believe you should stay indoors during a total eclipse. I’m pretty sure I wont be able to resist trying to get some kind of view of it. You can even use the shadows created by the trees to look at it. (Which reminds me a lot of basic photography.)

Anyway . . . Will you be viewing the eclipse? Everyone have fun and be careful as you enjoy today’s total eclipse. The next one wont be for another 7 years . . . which will be going directly over my area.

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A Basic Lesson on Value – Drawing a Dog with Graphite Pencils

hp photosmart 720

This Picture broke my first digital camera that I got when I turned 15.

Shadows, midtones, and highlights which are caused by our trusty light source the Sun, make all the awesome stuff we see everyday visible. To create a believable and interesting 3D image on a 2D surface you must become BFF’s with these three things that make up the design element: Value or Tone.

As an 18-21 year old student in my early art classes I really struggled to comfortably discern between the three and determine what I needed to adjust to make everything look right.

What Exactly Are Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights?

Basically, Highlights are the really bright spots that get the most direct amount of light. The Shadows are the dark spots created by something that is blocking the light. The Midtones are everything in between the two extremes.

After I got my initial sketch of Dynamite down with correct proportions it was time to focus on building the variety of tones that will form the dog.

  1. I like to start with my darkest darks and my lightest lights. I mark where the white parts and the bright highlights are so that I make sure to keep them clean. It’s a lot harder to remove than to add. And I like adding the darks early on because they help me to adjust and refine placement and they’ll eventually disappear a little bit as the drawing develops. They’re also really easy to see.
  2. After filling in the darks and lights, I start filling in the midtones almost everywhere, following the shapes of the muscles and folds in her coat. I also add a light layer of pencil in the background so that Dynamite has a place to live in.
  3. The last step is to continue adding the variety of values (tones) until the drawing can be called finished. After drawing for a while, I noticed that her belly and her back leg area needed to be moved down some. Both were easy fixes.
dynamite sketch 3

3.

Practice working gradually in a balanced pattern throughout the image being careful not to focus on just one part of the image for too long. If you do work on one single detail you run the risk of making irreversible mistakes.

So that’s Value in a nutshell.

I’ve noticed that at first, the people I’ve taught art to really struggle to discern Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights . . .  and it’s easy to get a little discouraged. Just Remember it will eventually become second nature. I can barely remember a time when my brain didn’t notice these three and all the other elements of design. If you diligently practice seeing these details you’ll get to the point where you can’t NOT see them.

Guy From Burn Notice who sees patterns

The guy in the middle

I always think of that crazy guy from Burn Notice in S3 E5 who said,  “Once you see a pattern, you can’t un-see it.” That’s what we’re going for, minus the crazy part. Then again, if crazy works for you . . .

Quick Tip Before you Go:

When you’re working with graphite, you can cover the entire page with a graphite powder if you like to speed up the process. It’s such a light layer of graphite, that you’ll be able to draw in details with your graphite pencils and your kneaded eraser. Read the label carefully! It’s pretty dangerous stuff to breathe in.

Just Breathe – Willie and Lukas Nelson

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For a few weeks YouTube has been suggesting this Willie and Lukas Nelson cover so persistently I finally gave it a listen. I kept scrolling past it cuz I just wasn’t in a Willie mood but I’m really glad I finally got so curious that I had to click on it.

Willie and his son harmonize so well together. I loved the scenes of them singing together in the bar. I couldn’t help but think of my own Dad, who I’m blessed to know. Then I started thinking of everyone else in my life that I feel so blessed to know.

Then these lyrics stood out reminding me of the ones I miss who unfortunately aren’t in my life anymore . . . or at least for a short time I hope.

Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh if I didn’t, I’m a fool you see
No one knows this more than me

Read more: Pearl Jam – Just Breathe Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Life seems long but we really have such a short time with the people we love to enjoy the world God has given us. I think it’s important that we live in the moment and really enjoy our time with our loved ones. Don’t waste time fighting about silly stuff. Just be there for each other in the good times and bad times, cuz Love Never Fails.

Check out this behind the scenes video of them talking about their family being together while working on this beautiful song.

This song was actually written by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. Here they are performing at Austin City Limits in 2009.  Listen for the violin . . . it’s so pretty and complements his voice nicely.

Both versions are touching and beautiful so I hope you check them out. Don’t just scroll past them like me . . . the Internet might not choose to be as pushy with you on this particular song.

A Few Tips to Help You Draw from a Bad Photo

Ideally, if you’re going to be drawing from a photo you should try to get a good photo with good lighting, etc. If that’s not an option you might be able to make some adjustments in Lightroom, or whatever editing program you like to use.

I zoomed in a little and I adjusted settings in Lightroom to make it a little easier to see the details. If you’re not sure what to adjust, start by just playing around and comparing to the original until you get the desired effect.

What I adjusted for this image: 

  • Increased Clarity (+33)
  • Increased White Clipping (+22)
  • Increased Sharpening (+22)
  • Decreased Black Clipping (-69)
  • Decreased Shadows (-24)
  • Decreased Highlights (-22)

I played around with Exposure, Saturation, and Contrast but those changes didn’t help any. It’s probably hard to see the differences, but the picture on the right has details showing that the picture on the left does not. These adjustments didn’t make a huge improvement, but it’s good enough to help me out.

I also had the 4×6 print to measure and double check things. I admit . . . I guess I got a tad bit dramatic about the difficulty of this drawing. Turned out not to be that hard once I finally put in a little effort.

I started with a page of thumbnail sketches to warm up and work out some quick mistakes. Then I started a larger HB pencil sketch . . . It’s not too bad . . . my proportions look pretty good and it actually resembles Dynamite. *sigh of relief*  The details in her feet and eyes are pretty much indistinguishable in the photo, so I still have a lot of work to do before I’m happy and ready to start the finished piece.

P1050965

I’m not sure what medium the finished piece will be done in. Maybe Prismacolor pencils . . . maybe something else. Dynamite actually died a couple of years ago and her owner has been missing her a lot lately so I was thinking of giving it an ethereal quality to indicate that she isn’t with us anymore but that she’s loved and missed. I still have some time to decide. Better get to work.

 

 

 

Getting Motivated to Make Art

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The days are still long and hot. The deafening sound of cicadas can still be heard. I’m still waiting impatiently for football to start! Summertime isn’t over yet and even though I love those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer (any other Gilmore Girls fans love that song in s3e1??) I can’t waste another second . . . . I miss making art! But as much as I love making art I have to admit that being an artist can be crazy hard sometimes.

Where Do I Begin?

nike just do it

My biggest struggle is getting the motivation to get started. Self-employed artists can’t wait for motivation to kick in. Gotta be like Nike and Just Do It. I’m sure you’re like me and you have plenty of projects and ideas to work on so pick one and just get started. It’s that simple.

Self -Discipline

teddy roos discipline

I remember in High School our band was the best band in the area. For band members school officially started a month before classes started. And two Weeks before classes started we were at the school with the football team doing our 2 a days. dragon band

The Dragon Band had pride and discipline and that’s what made us so great. Or it’s possible that our band director scared the discipline into us . . . but heeey, that’s cool. Band was awesome!

If you struggle with discipline you might try making yourself accountable to someone. Or imagine what the end result will be like. I have a friend who makes bets with people. His last bet required him not to shave his face (which he hates).

Meet Dynamite

dynamite

This picture is the main thing stopping me with this project. I’m guessing it was taken with a disposable camera, or at least a film point and shoot, and they used flash which makes the details in the dog’s eyes and coat really hard to see. It’s just not a fun drawing and I don’t really want to do it.

But I know the finished piece will bring a huge smile to the face of Dynamite’s owner. I also know that overcoming the challenge feels awesome. And my skills will improve. PLUS, I might possibly help somebody who is reading my blog and looking for some motivation encouragement.

What exactly am I waiting for? A Firm Kick in the Pants! This is the perfect project to pull me out of summer time and get me back to work again . . . What do you do to get motivated to make art? Hopefully, you don’t struggle with that and you ARE making tons of art.

How To Keep a Jackabee Busy

There comes a time in every Jackabee owner’s life when they need their dog to, well . . . to put it delicately . . . to SHUT UP!bone_dog

The Busy Bone works every time. I don’t rely on this technique too often, but every once in a while I let her stay busy with a Busy Bone while I enjoy peaceful quiet . . . no barking. No following me around everywhere I go.

Busy JackabeeOf course, the best and most effective way to keep your energetic Jackabee calm is to make sure they get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation everyday.

And most importantly lots of love . . . aka Belly rubs.

sam belly rub

Mystic Midnight Painting

Scanned Image 3

Mystic Midnight

I’m pretty happy with how this spray painting turned out. Notice that there isn’t any sign of life . . . no boat, no bird, no dragon, no human. Usually it’s a good idea to add some kind of life to a painting, but I think the quiet solitude works for this one.

I also cut off the bottom part of the image. Sometimes you can still use a painting even if you’re not happy with a small part of it. Just cut it off.

If you like this painting it’s available to purchase on many products at Redbubble.com. My 2 favorites are the spiral notebook and the tote bag.