Three Lucky Pennies at JRB Art Gallery 2010.11.05

Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, acrylic on canvas, 8 x 8 x 1.5 inches, 2010 Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, acrylic on canvas, 8 x 8 x 1.5 inches, 2010

Three Lucky Pennies will be in the annual Small Works show at JRB Art Gallery at the Elms in Oklahoma City (map link) for the month of November 2010. The opening reception is Friday, November 5th, 6-10 pm.

The Small Works show at JRB will feature 100 8x8-inch canvases by 100 artists, each piece priced at $180.00. Artists Skip Hill, Nick Wu, Carlos Tello and Sohail Sheheda will be featured in the gallery's other spaces.

Here's a look at how I created this piece.

Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, graphite underdrawing on canvas, 2010 by Sarah Atlee

The idea for this self portrait popped into my head a couple of weeks ago. I imagined a ratty, thrift-store leopard-print coat, but that item seems to be missing from my closet. I took reference photos of myself wearing this wonderful purple kimono that my Mom has had for years. I settled on the two best shots, and spliced them together in PhotoShop.

I always enjoy painting the edges of a canvas. Luckily, the canvases this gallery provides for the Small Works show have lovely 1.5" edges. Using Adobe InDesign, I created a grid and placed my reference photo under it. This is a useful tool when working from a single reference.

This is an unofficial companion to my painting for 2009's Small Works show. I like to see what I can squeeze onto the edge.

Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, graphite underdrawing on canvas, 2010 by Sarah Atlee

I had to turn this painting around in just a couple of days, so I knew that a good underdrawing would be key. I couldn't afford to take time working all the shadows out in paint alone. I often do underdrawings in graphite, and I prefer not to use spray fixative because it's water-resistant and stinky. Here I've blended the shadows using my finger, from which a small amount of skin oil helps the graphite adhere to the canvas. When I put the first wash down, I do it gently, so as not to smear the drawing. One acrylic wash seals it.

Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, first underpainting, 2010 by Sarah Atlee

Usually I put down a burnt sienna or pepto-bismol-pink wash for figure painting, but I pictured this piece with yellow undertones. The wash here is a mixture of Naples yellow and a cadmium-based pale pink.

When painting patterns, I prefer a loose interpretation to a slavish reproduction. I drew the pattern on the canvas in pencil, mostly not looking at what I was drawing. (I love drawing blind.) I went over the lines using Payne's gray and a #1 liner brush.

Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, second underpainting, 2010 by Sarah Atlee

I put in the big shadows with Payne's gray (how I love thee), and began blocking in the skin tones with quinacradone violet, napthol red, titanium white, Indian yellow, Naples yellow, Pyrrole red, light umber, and burnt sienna. These days I'm using a lot of Golden Fluid Acrylics, recommended to me by professor Bob Dorsey for their high pigment concentration and versatility. He also recommends Windsor Newton Series 7 brushes, which are indeed "worth every penny."

Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, third underpainting, 2010 by Sarah Atlee

Here I've added washes of quinacradone violet and more Payne's gray to the robe. Continuing to block in the skin tones. The background is tinanium white with just a drop of Payne's gray to cool it off, and contrast with the warmth of the figure. I laid it on thick, allowing hints of the yellow underpainting to show through.

Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, edge view, 2010 by Sarah Atlee

To finish, I overglazed the skin with more titanium white, napthol red tint, and Naples yellow, using some Golden glazing medium in yellow ochre and iridescent red. More glazes of quinacradone violet were added to the robe.

 

Dr. Sketchy's OKC, Roller Derby Edition 2010.03.14

Flyer for Dr. Sketchy's OKC, March 2010, feat. Poison Okie
Hey Sketchers, come join me tonight at IAO Gallery for another episode of Dames, Drinking, and Drawing. In that order. Marilyn sez, "If you bring gently used or new art supplies you have a chance to win a fabulous prize. These art goodies will be going to Haiti." Yee-haw!

Abstract Dr. Sketchy's 8, ink on paper, 2010 by Sarah Atlee. Click image to view source.
Abstract Dr. Sketchy's 8, ink on paper, 2010 by Sarah Atlee. Click image to view source.

Check out the new additions to my Flickr site - abstract drawings from this year's previous Dr. Sketchy's sessions.

Feeling Stumped?

Here are some tools that can help spur your creativity. Don't try to execute every idea all at once -- pick a link at random and follow it. The Brainstormer (Read a history of The Brainsormer here.)

The Psychic Sidekick

Directors Bureau Idea Generator

Michael Nobbs' 75 ways to Draw More and Draw Your Life

Doug Chayka's sketchbooks

A methodology for creating new ideas (written by professional illustrator Nate Williams)

An extensive list of ideation tools

Keith Haring knew that anything worth drawing once was worth drawing a hundred times.

I like to go to movies and draw in the dark. And I love love love blind gesture drawing.

Join the BookMooch Journal Project (or just browse their blog or their Flickr pool) or 1001 Journals

Participate in the quarterly Worldwide Sketch Crawl Day.

Illustration Friday suggests a new topic once a week!

Following are some idea-generation links oriented toward writers, but they could just as easily apply to image-makers.

No one cares what you had for lunch.

Idea Generator Blog Writing Prompts

Googobs of Creative Writing Prompts

Now rock out with your socks out.

Related Posts How (and Why) to Title Your Work (Includes some prompts to help you create interesting titles.) Project Idea: Object Sketchbook

Dr. Sketchy's OKC One Year Anniversary 2010.01.10

Dr. Sketchy's OKC Anniversary Flier feat. Ilsa the Wolf
Has it been a year already? Join us tonight to celebrate one year of Dames, Drinking, and Drawing in OKC! Tonight's show will once again feature Tulsa's Ilsa the Wolf. Bring ten bucks, a chair, and your crayons.
Ilsa the Wolf, from Dr. Sketchy's OKC, January 2009. Click image to view source.
Ilsa the Wolf, from Dr. Sketchy's OKC, January 2009. Click image to view source.

Click here to see some more drawings from Dr. Sketchy's OKC, or to learn more about this whole bidness.