Monday, February 28, 2011

The Final Spoonbill

 After another hour or so.
And then the finished piece.  ~6hrs in total.  By making all those gestures initially, it not only made the painting process faster, but I was able to emphasize the bird structure as it is about to flap it's wings.  

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Starting a project

It's time I started a project.  I first selected the poses that I wanted to illustrate and then did a couple of 1minutes in pencil and 5mins with acrylic.  Then a 20min color study.  Now that I'm back in the mindset of gesture I chose the last bird to finalize.  

Here's 30 minutes of gesture and value painting on a 8x11" scale.  

And then 50 minutes of painting.  More to come tonight.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

 The one on the top right is my first 15minute paintings.

I focused on the spoonbills only on the next page.  I painted the 1min gesture over and over until I was able to capture the most info within that time limit.  Eventually, I moved on to some 15min versions and a 20min.  The bottom right is my most successful bird so far.  

Wing Anatomy

It was time to study the wings.  The more I know the better I can draw them.  

I've had some confusion on the bone and muscle structure of the wings for some time now.  As you can see below, the arms do not attach to the outer lining of the wings when it's outstretched.  Instead, the humerus and radius/ulna are still slightly bent and there is a flap/ligament that connects from the shoulders to the "wrist" of the wing.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I think I found something!!!!

I learned so much today through these exercises.  Today was a good day.  The first few just didn't work out.
I started with 5minute gestures first.  Well, the 2 on the bottom worked but it was hard to get into the mindset.

So I went back to the 1 minute gesture drawings to get warmed up again.  #160 worked out well here.

Then I went back to the 5 minute gestures.  Still not so great. It's hard to get proportions correct while still trying to establish the force and gesture of the birds.

I took a break and came back later in the day.  I realized that every time I do this, I need to do 1minute gestures first, and then move on to the 5 minute.  This time, I decided to try something new!  A few weeks a go, my doctor told me that my right arm (my drawing arm) got tendinitis.  This was caused by me having to draw so much for college classes as well as fencing on the side.  It turns out that fencing and drawing uses the same exact muscles in the arm so therefore, those muscle became overused.  So I've been wearing a cast and that helps stop the consistent aching.  The only problem was that I could no longer draw.  Any activity that requires me to add pressure to the paper(which is most dry-media) will result in pain.  On the other hand, I found out that I can still paint, which is why all these studies are in acrylic.  Thanks to the bristles on the paintbrush there is practically no pressure/stress on my arm.

Besides that, while I was waiting for an appointment with the doctor, I decided to start training my left hand.  I guess I'll post some of those up here soon.  I was influence by artist such as Frank Frazetta who went through the same problem, tendinitis, at some point in his career and trained his left arm as well.

So what's the big deal?  Well, what if I drew in the proportions of my bird studies with my left hand before I paint them with my right hand.  I can't use a pencil with my right hand.  Otherwise, I would have just done it with my right hand.  Here they are!  I was able to draw the proportion lines and paint the gestures within the 1 minute time limit as well-I didn't think it was going to be that easy at first.

 After my 1 minute gestures, I moved on to the 5 minute one immediately.  I still have a lot to work on but this makes things a lot easier.

 And this is my favorite page so far.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


More in the order I've done them from today. The first 2 are 5mins and the third is a 10min. 

 #25 worked out the best because I was able to capture the gesture in the limited time as well as get the proportions correct. It's absolutely difficult to do both.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Slow Progress

 So today I started with gestures again.  I felt I needed to get into that mindset again.  After doing all these one minute gestures, I just started to see things quicker and apply it faster.  I felt that I had to paint my subject as soon as my eyes experienced it.  For example: When I look at a bird, the first initial second gives me the overall gesture.  So I paint the gesture line.  Then I look again and in another second, I see the next bit of information.  So I put that down and it continues till time runs out.

I then decided to explore my painting method once I was in this mindset .  My goal here is to start with the gesture and then create a full-value painting with that one dark color while still maintaining the overall gesture.  The time limit here is 5mins.   

And then just because I was impatient, I tried a ten minute.  I learned that I need to look into my line and brush stroke confidence.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Next, I decided to look inside and find out what these birds are made of.  The following is a skeletal drawing based off of my research.  Like plenty of other animals, they're not too far off from the human skeleton.  If you were to cut off everything past your ribs and attach smaller versions of your legs to your spine, you'd be pretty close to a bird!
I never knew this but birds have an enormous sternum called a Keeled Sternum covering most of its chest/belly area.
The femur(upper leg bone) is partially visible from the outside but is mostly hidden within the body.
The wings looks very similar to arms except their humerus is shorter, and their metacarpals and phalanges are extended.

More Gesture Drawings

With the 1min time-limit I had, I tried to really focus on finding the most important lines.  These are much better than the rest. 

I stopped at 129 for now.  I'll need to do a lot more later.  

Gesture Drawings

I started with gestures.

Mattesi's book focuses on portraying the personality and experience of your subject.  This requires close analysis of the muscles, tensions, areas of stress, etc.  Every line should have an opinion by drawing in verbs.  Each line you draw should describe ONE idea and ONE explanation.
The books also talks about how it is important to increase your knowledge about your subjects by studying the bone and muscle structure underneath the skin.

Here is the first set.  I'm sticking with acrylic for these exercises.  I figure building efficiency may require a focus on one medium. All of these gesture drawing are timed for 1 minute each-to increase my speed as well as focus on the main aspects of the birds only.

I hope to display force by painting in lines: where the lines thicken resemble the push towards that area.  If the bird is standing still, I still need to show the sense of gravity pulling the bird down.  I think #20 displays that best.

Painting flight is much more difficult than birds that are standing still.  I have to pay attention to the 3 main forces= the head and the 2 wings.  It looks like the head of the bird is usually the leading force of its movement.  #25, 26 & 27 are my favorites here.

I realized that some of these are confusing.  There are too many equally thick lines all over the place.  I need to try and find one line that shows the main gesture and then let all the other lines play off of that.

If only that tail line on the bottom-most bird was thinner, this would've been perfect!


Hello and welcome to my blog!!!
It's time to keep track of my progress in art.  Currently, I have 2 goals that I would like to pursue:
1. Discover an efficient painting method.
2. Capture the gesture, character and life of my subjects in my artwork.

Process:  This is how I attempt to do this.
a. Focus on one subject matter-Birds.
b. Do master studies of excellent artists who have achieved certain aspects of my goal.
c. Practice gesture drawing using the book "Force" by Michael D. Mattesi as a guide.

Thanks for viewing everyone!!  Feel free to comment anytime on anything!  I really appreciate it!!