Spray Painting the Total Eclipse

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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

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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.
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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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

3 Important Things to Consider when Working with Wood

When I first got my Dremel my mom requested that I make her a sign for her family property. A sign is a perfect beginner’s project. I immediately found a nice solid piece of wood in my scrap pile and got to work.

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I had so much fun that I got excited and wanted to start working on something more complex. That’s when I got the idea for the Tiger wood project. I searched Google images for cool wood carvings and engravings of tigers for inspiration. (Now my project reminds me of the golfer, Tiger Woods, thank you Google.)

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I’m a Newbie

In high school I took a technical systems class that included wood shop. I made a bookshelf that I still use today. I also spent a lot of time in the wood shop in college making frames and shipping crates. Other than that, I am new to the woodworking world. I want to share some important things I have learned so far that I hope will help you before you begin your wood projects.

1. Type of Wood –

Pay close attention to the type of wood you’re using for the type of project you’re doing. When I chose my piece of wood I didn’t notice that it was a plywood. My sign project is made from a solid piece of wood which is what I had in mind for my tiger project. So, it’s very important to pay attention to the type of wood you’re using. I’m sure I can make the plywood work though, so no biggie.

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2. Characteristics of Wood –

Another problem I ran into was the hardness and softness of the wood. I was in the carving zone, and I got so used to working on the harder spots that when I hit the softer spots my Dremel suddenly ran away from me. Some spots were so hard that I could barely drill into it. I’m glad I didn’t ruin my artwork, but I could have. In the picture below I’m working on a very hard spot which is the sky, the part of the image that is furthest away.

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Be aware of the grain and knots too. Understanding the characteristics of wood is an important thing to remember for any wood project, so that your final artwork is made with craftsmanship you can be proud of.

3. The Blueprint of your Design –

I sketched my tiger, water, bubbles, and mountain directly onto the wood. I could have drawn my sketch on paper and carved through it, but that seemed awkward. As I carved my drawing disappeared. I had to imagine my image which requires a lot of extra brain work. You also run the risk of taking away too much wood, like I did on the image below. I carved away some of his body right underneath his ear. dsc_0024-4

I’m probably going to have to carve away more wood in that spot anyway since it’s further in the distance. Wood filler could also be used. Below is a picture of my progress so far. I still have a lot to do on both the tiger picture and the property sign.

I hope this information helps and If I learn anything else, I’ll be sure to share. If you have any woodworking wisdom or artwork you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you.

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Shark Conspiracy

 

One of my favorite spray paintings. Gets the imagination going.

I really like making abstract paintings with spray paint techniques. I like being heavy handed with my paint and taking basically trash, and randomly moving it around on the paint to get interesting and unexpected shapes. Works great for complex galaxies.

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Shark Conspiracy

When I use this technique I always think of Europe after the Rain, by Max Ernst. He used a technique called Decalcomania. The process is not exactly the same but it’s similar.

For Shark Conspiracy, I used an old painting that I didn’t like, and put it on top of the wet paint and moved it around then pulled it off.  I added some planets, stars, light effects, and finished the black space on the edges.

Kid’s like glopping on lots of paint and moving it around, so this is a fun and easy one to do with them. And they can just be free to squeeze that trigger.

  • Of course, remember to always use spray paint in a well ventilated area and wear a mask.

Aahhhh . . . It’s Friday . . . and I’m ready to start the weekend. Next week I’ll share another type of spray paint art.