Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Chance to Win Some Art

WC VSD Mar09 bird_S_Rowan WC VSD Jan clementine_Stacy_Rowan

graphite on cream paper
Stacy L. Rowan

“Caught in a State of Undress”
watercolor on paper
Stacy L. Rowan

If you are in the Lehigh Valley or somewhere close by this Saturday and would like a chance to win one of my prints, please head on over to the Miller Heights Tricky Tray fundraiser. This event is being held at Miller Heights Elementary School in Bethlehem, PA on Saturday, April 25th from 10am until 4pm. You do not need to be present at the time of the drawing to win a prize. All winners are notified by phone. If you are not familiar with Trick Tray events, you can read more about them here.

This year I donated two matted prints. A 10” x 8” print of my graphite house finch drawing titled “Waiting” and a 14” x 11” print of my watercolor entry from the January Virtual Sketch Date “Caught in a State of Undress”. Both pieces are shown above.

In addition to my prints there are many other cool prizes – over 240 in all!  If you are in the area why not stop by and check it out?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

3 Things I’ve Learned in the School of Group Challenges

WC pencil jar

graphite sketch of my pencil jar
4” x 8” in Moleskine sketchbook

The reference for the April Virtual Sketch Date was posted yesterday. This month’s reference is a lovely rhododendron bud supplied by Jeanette Jobson. All entries are due by Saturday April 24th.

I was thinking about group challenges the other day – like the Virtual Sketch Date and Karin Jurick’s Different Strokes From Different Folks - and what a great learning experience they are for me, in particular, reviewing all the entries.

When viewing the entries, I love seeing them all together on one page. I start out by scrolling through the entries or glancing at each one quickly. I know that the entries that catch my eye during a quick sweep deserve a longer look.

When I first started viewing these group challenges, I wondered why some entries caught my eye and others didn’t, especially because they are all of the same subject. What was it about some paintings that made me want to linger? For me it comes down to three things.

  • Composition – Many times what makes a painting stand out from the crowd is composition. Cropping can make all the difference in how a painting reads. Same is true for elements that are left in versus elements that are eliminated. Recently I saw two almost identical compositions and the main difference for the one I preferred  was the addition of something that didn’t appear in the original reference. My lesson…study composition until good compositions come easy.
  • Style – I am finding the more I do this exercise the more often paintings of a certain style catch my eye. The surprising thing about this is that the paintings I like are not painted in a style similar to my own. Having learned what style appeals to me, I’ve decided to try to work toward that style in my own paintings.
  • Technical Ability – My studies have revealed that technical ability is actually less important to me than I would have guessed, but there is some base line that needs to be met for me to enjoy a painting. The lesson for me here is to not sacrifice style and feeling in my own works in an effort to prove technical ability.

I love that I can learn from group challenges even when I don’t participate in them. I’m interested in hearing what lessons you have learned from the School of Group Challenges. Feel free to share them in the comments.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Announcing My New Series - Drawings of Tap Dancers

I am very excited to announce this new series because it combines two of my loves – art and tap dancing. I mentioned my love of tap before, but at the time I was not dancing. I started dancing again about a year ago, and in the fall joined a class offered by the Tap Ties company.

Not long after joining I started thinking about combining art and tap. Since the ladies who make up Tap Ties are all incredibly nice, it didn’t take too much guts to ask them if they would mind allowing me to take reference photos during their practices. Lucky for me they said yes.

I now have over 300 reference photos and the ideas for drawings and painting are coming so fast I often find myself scribbling them down in my own strange short-hand. My biggest problem so far has been deciding which ones to start with because I want to start them all right away!

I have a lot more to say about this new series, but for now I want to share the first drawing.

I decided to start this project by focusing on the dancers feet. One of my goals is to convey motion, because so much of tap is about the movements the feet make to achieve the desired sounds.tap dancing feet

tap dancing feet
9” x 6” graphite drawing on Canson paper
Stacy L. Rowan

In this drawing you can see that the front foot is moving fast and probably making multiple sounds, while only the heel on the back foot is moving. I loved the interesting shape of the front foot combined with the realism of the back shoe.

I currently have two more drawings started and a third planned. So stay tuned!