Thursday, January 27, 2011

Straight Talk - Tap Dance Series Charcoal Drawing

Straight Talk
18" x 14" charcoal on paper
©2010 Stacy L. Rowan
Available through William Ris Gallery

Straight Talk is the second charcoal drawing in my tap dance series. It may look familiar since I showed the start to it here.

Although this drawing shows a simpler step with only one foot in motion, the movement is still what attracted me to the reference.

I love that the foot on the right is a balance of movement and sharper, almost still areas. The best tap dances also have a balance of movement and stillness. A perfectly placed pause gives the steps a chance to breathe and will feel as loud as a stamp when it follows an intricate series of steps. A little well placed silence will help a piece shine much like the way the sharp highlight of the toe tap provides contrast to the movement of the dark shoe in this drawing.

I completed the drawing last year. It is currently being shown at the William Ris Gallery in Stone Harbor, NJ along with several other works in this series. Please contact them through the link above or the one in the right column if you are interested in purchasing this piece.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Don't Be a Loser

sketch of empty pretzel bag* - Day 173
graphite on paper
©2010 Stacy L. Rowan

I was driving home from an appointment the other day and I passed a sign on the side of the road. This sign looked similar to a speed limit sign, but instead of showing the speed limit it had a message on it.

The message said "Only Losers Litter".

Really. It did.

Only Losers Litter. Are you kidding me?

This is not a handmade sign. It is a metal sign attached to a metal pole. The pole is sunk into the ground. It looks like something a road crew would put up. Which means someone paid to have the sign made and installed.

Someone paid for the sign and the best deterrent they could come up with to discourage people from littering was name calling. Really? As if people who litter will be stopped by that.

I only wish I had thought to pull over and take a picture.

*The subject matter for this sketch was properly disposed of after the sketch was completed. It was not hung over the top edge of the above mentioned sign. Although that would have been funny. Good thing for them that I'm not a loser.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sketching on a Snow Day

So last Friday was supposed to be my first monthly sketching excursion, which totally explains why my kids had their first snow day of the school year. Rather than be deterred, I decided to do my sketching at home.

Every time I walk out my front door I pass my hydrangea bush and admire the dried blossoms. But I hadn't managed to find the time to commit the image to paper. I used my canceled sketching date as an opportunity to rectify that situation.
hydrangea in the snow
watercolor and sepia ink
©2011 Stacy L. Rowan

The addition of the snow caps to the blossoms was just too much to resist. The window by my desk looks out over the hydrangea bush, so I parked myself in my nice, warm office with my sketchbook. Using my sepia brush pen, little Cotman travel palette and a water brush I created the above sketch. I was pleased with the result even if I didn't leave the house.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Seeking Recommendations

banana sketch (Day 140)
sepia ink in Moleskine cahier pocket sketch book
©2010 Stacy L. Rowan

I was lucky enough to receive as a Christmas gift a gift card for the local art supply store. (Okay, so maybe it wasn't all luck since I asked for it, but I was lucky that someone actually followed through on my request!)

I need to replenish some of my standard supplies, but I should also have enough money to pick up some new materials to experiment with. I am looking for recommendations from my fellow artists to help me choose between all the options.

There are two things in particular that I want your opinions on.

1) Paper for Charcoal Drawings -  I currently use Rives BFK paper for my charcoals, but I'd like to try another paper. In particular I'm looking for a paper that allows me to easily achieve subtle value changes. I'd also like a paper which is easy to tone since I typically start my charcoal pieces by laying down a consistent mid-value tone.

What papers do you like working on when you use charcoals or pastels?

2) Watercolor Sketchbook - I have been doing more sketching with watercolors lately. Last year I finished up a small Canson book and now I am about half-way through my Moleskine watercolor book. I actually like the Moleskine paper and will probably buy another of these, but I would also like to try a new watercolor sketchbook.

What is your favorite sketchbook for using watercolors or other liquid mediums?

Now I am pretty sure that every artist has one or two things they can't live without. For instance, I find that I repeatedly turn to the Faber-Castell Pitt pen with sepia ink and a brush tip for sketching. And I love my Winsor & Newton Sceptre Gold round brushes for painting.

If you feel strongly about any of your materials and want to share the love, I'm listening. After all, there is always Christmas next year once this gift card is done.

Thanks for your input! I can't wait to go shopping!
For the record, I am not in any way being compensated by the companies above or by Dick Blick (the links I provided). This is just the stuff I regularly use.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sketching Plans

sketch of planter at my mother-in-laws
sepia ink on paper
©2010 Stacy Rowan

This is one of my sketches from last year's daily sketching project.

I really enjoyed having a regular sketching practice. And I love looking back on all the sketches I produced now that the pressure to find a new subject every day is gone. I want to take some of what I liked in that project and incorporate it into my art life this year.

When I decided on last year's sketching project, I envisioned heading out every day and finding something interesting to sketch. Reality quickly set in and I realized that it wasn't feasible for me to go out sketching every day, especially if I wanted to have any time to paint originals.

My commitment to sketch every day, combined with my inability to go out sketching every day, meant I ended up sketching at home. As it got harder to find interesting subjects at home I pushed the sketching off later and later - often sketching right before going to bed. Not the best recipe for inspired sketching. And it explains why I ended the project after six months.

It didn't take me too long to miss the sketching though. So this year I've decided to make it a point to get out of the house for some sketching sessions. Not every day. I know that's not possible. Instead I will target once a month. I am scheduling this Friday morning as my first day out. Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

watercolor sketch in Moleskine watercolor book
approx. 8" x 5"
©2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Happy New Year everyone!

Like many other people at this time of year, I have been reviewing my accomplishments from 2010 and working on setting my goals for 2011.  Last year was a good year for me, and I hope to continue to build on my successes this year.

Although there were many things that I did well, I realized during my annual review that I have fallen behind on sharing new work here. So in my goals I have committed to catching up.

I also realized that I only shared my daily sketches through Day 125, even though I continued the project through Day 181. I probably won't post all of the remaining daily sketches from last year's project, but I will promise to show you some of my favorites.

I also might have a new blog feature or two up my sleeve... but you will have to wait for more news on that.

I'm looking forward to another great year of creating and sharing art. I hope you will join me here.

I painted the watercolor sketch above two days after Christmas. This Santa was a gift from my husband probably 5 or 6 years ago. He is still one of my favorite decorations. I was inspired to be a little looser in my sketching after viewing some of Ronell's magnificient sketches. I love the freshness and feeling of energy she achieves.