Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Mountain of Color

 watercolor sketch approx. 1"x5"
copyright 2009 Stacy L. Rowan

Here is a quick sketch that I did a few weeks ago while sitting at soccer practice. The mountains in the distance were a beautiful mix of fall colors set against a blue sky. I was happy that I was able to capture this fleeting view in my sketchbook. And I managed to do it without getting any paint on me. Although I did spill some water on my coat when the soccer ball suddenly shot in my direction. Maybe that's one reason I've never seen anyone else sketching at soccer. It's a bit riskier than sketching in other places.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope today finds you surrounded by people who love and support you.

Pitt brush pen in Moleskine cahier pocket sketchbook
copyright 2009 Stacy L. Rowan

Among the many things I am thankful for this holiday are galleries that partner with artists to help us sell our work. In particular, the wonderful William Ris Gallery in Stone Harbor which accepted some of my work this summer. This gallery is opening a new show tomorrow (Friday, November 27th) which will run through January. The show is A Tribute to 100 Artists. Here is an excerpt from their press release...

"[This show] honors their talented and diverse stable of painters, sculptors, and craftspeople. Each artist has hanging one or more pieces of work. The juxtaposition of these varied styles makes for an exciting compilation, creating a balance and rhythm of color, palettes, pigments and perspectives. The works stretch from landscapes, still life, figurative, realism to abstract and vary in media from watercolor, oil, acrylic, pastel, mixed media, wood to ceramic."

They are celebrating with an open house all Thanksgiving weekend. Please stop by if you are in the South Jersey shore area.

The sketch above is of Indian corn - a staple of Thanksgiving and autumn decorations. For those of you who don't know, Indian corn is the name for cobs that have colored kernels vesus the common white or yellow kernels. I am sure other places in the world must call it something else, but I only know it as Indian corn.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tap Dancer Drawing - Off the Cuff Remark

"Off the Cuff Remark"
18" x 14" graphite on paper
copyright 2009 Stacy L. Rowan
available at the William Ris Gallery

This is my fourth graphite drawing in my tap dancer series. I chose to call it "Off the Cuff Remark". When something is done "off the cuff" it means it is done without prior preparation or planning. This tap step has a nice sharp sound created by the quick snapping motion of the toe as the leg is drawn back.  It makes me think of a witty retort tossed into a rapidly paced conversation.

As I was drawing this I took some work in process photos that I thought I'd share.

work in process - image 1

I start all of my graphite and charcoal pieces with a contour drawing and then move onto the shading. For me the shading makes a drawing come alive. Here I started laying in the shadow shapes using a rough cross hatching technique. It takes quite a few layers to build up a good solid dark on this paper, so I know I have plenty of time to smooth out the hatching later.

work in process - image 2

Next I moved onto the stationary foot. Since this series of drawings is about tap dancing, it is very important to me to get the tap shoes right. I don't want to spend a lot of time on the legs until the details in the shoe are nailed down. Also, I knew I wanted my darkest darks to be in this shoe. I needed to get them in the drawing early so as to define my range of values.

work in process - image 3

If you compare this image with the one above it, you can see that I stuggled a bit to figure out what the hips were doing. I was confused because in my reference photo it looked like I could see the full width of the hips, but at the same time I was only seeing the side of the knee. My mind couldn't figure out how that could be possible. To resolve my confusion I ended up standing in front of a mirror trying to recreate the pose. Believe me this was more difficult than it sounds. The answer is that the knee swings in as the leg moves.

To reach the final image at the top of the page, I darkened a lot of my values and added in the reflection on the floor.

Now a little story about this drawing... Shortly after I completed it, I had the opportunity to take a master class taught by the tap dancer who was the reference for this drawing. It was my first time taking a class with her. (My reference photos were taken while she was teaching choreography to the Tap Ties company.)

After warm-ups, she taught us a short combination and in the combination was this exact step. As soon as she did it I recognized it as the step in my drawing. My mind excitedly yelled at me  "That's it! That's the step!" And that quickly I switched over from the dancer part of my brain to the arist part of my brain.

As a result I completely missed the next couple of steps in the combination. Apparently the artist part of my brain can't learn tap steps when it is comparing the feel of a movement to the lines in a drawing. Luckily for the dancer part of my brain she went over the steps a second time.

This series of four graphite drawings -
Off the Cuff Remark
is available in a set of 8 note cards (with envelopes). Each card measures 4.25 x 5.5 inches. Price for a pack of cards is $10 and includes shipping. Please use the Buy Now button to purchase.

You can also find other products featuring my tap dance art at my Cafe Press store. It's a great place to find gifts for your favorite tap dancer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Time to Change

I have so many things that I want to share with you - a summary of my Open Studio, some tap drawings, a review of the workshop I attended last week - but most of them require that I spend some quality time with my scanner, and I'm really feeling the need to push the jack-o-lantern down the page. It's not that I don't love it, it's just that November is already one third gone. Time to change that pumpkin into pumpkin pie.

Unfortunately I don't know how to make pumpkin pie and I haven't sketched any pies either, so instead I'll share an assortment of miscellaneous sketches. First a sketch of my keys that I did while waiting for my new-to-me car to be ready to drive home. Why does that part of the car-buying process take so long?

Next a couple of sketches from a night at an Iron Pigs game. These were unsuspecting spectators who were sitting in front of us.


Last a quick sketch of a tree that I did while riding on a train. I think I drew it while waiting at a stop.


all sketches copyright 2009 Stacy L Rowan