Thursday, April 28, 2011

Studio Work

Stopping in for a quick post today since I am focusing on maximizing studio time this week. Thought I would share a work-in-progress of one of the paintings I am working on.

Peonies WIP
20" x 16" watercolor on Aquabord
©2011 Stacy L. Rowan

I have been working on this painting on and off for over a year! It keeps getting pushed aside for works that have a deadline. But I am always anxious to get back to it.

At first I was a little daunted by the complexity of it, but once I figured out how to handle all those petals I really began enjoying the process. It is nearing completion now and I am excited to see how it looks all put together. (Unfortunately the colors seem a bit off on my screen. I took the photo on a cloudy day and I think that proved too much for my meager Photoshop skills.)

I am also hoping that once it is finished a title for it will appear. I have been calling it "Peonies" but that doesn't quite have the ring I am looking for. Anyone have any ideas? Maybe I should try a naming contest of some sort. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jumping Off Point - Tap Dance Series Charcoal Drawing

"Jumping Off Point"
18" x 24" charcoal on paper
©2011 Stacy L. Rowan

This is my newest charcoal drawing. I finished it earlier this month and then had to wait for a bright day to snap a photograph of it. (And I might try again since I'm not 100% happy with this shot.)

I had so much fun working on this drawing. As with the rest of the series, my "jumping off point" for this drawing was the motion. I love how everything is moving in the drawing except that front foot, and I love the contrast between the sharp detail of that foot and the softer lines and edges in the legs.

This drawing is bigger than my other charcoal pieces in the series. I wanted to create a sense of space for all of this motion to take place in without feeling cramped. I also worked to create a feeling of distance between the front foot and the back foot. It is a big movement and I wanted to convey that to the viewer.

My model for this drawing is my friend and tap teacher Rochelle Haynes. I met her when I began taking the Tap Ties advanced tap class and I was blown away by her talent. She has a style of dance that is very intricate and that squeezes so many sounds into a single eight count. But somehow her dancing never looks hurried and she manages such clarity in each of the sounds. She makes it look and sound easy, but I can tell you from experience that it is not!

In addition to choreographing some wonderfully complex and intricate pieces she occasionally also pulls out some mad tricks to challenge the class. The reference for this drawing is a shot of her landing after one of those special moves. It might have been some kind of wing, but I was watching through the camera lens so I'm not really sure.

Rochelle was an awesome muse and I have many references from our photo shoot. I am sure you will be seeing the product of some of those references again in this series.

Thank you Rochelle! When I grow up I would be thrilled to be half as good at tap as you.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Decorah Eagles

I am sure if you spend any time on the internet or if you watch the news you have already heard about the Decorah eagles webcam that was set up by the Raptor Resource Project. If you don't know what I am talking about, you can read about the project here.

Earlier today I decided to check in on the eagles and see how their cute little eaglets are doing. When I clicked over to the live feed there was the mama bird sitting on the nest keeping her babies warm. Or maybe it was daddy? I have no idea how to tell them apart.

Anyway, I was watching the adult eagle sitting on the nest and quickly found myself getting impatient, waiting for a glimpse of those cute, fuzzy eaglets. Yes, I realize this is a sad commentary on our society and how we constantly need to be entertained. What can I say... I was supposed to be in my studio and I might have been procrastinating and I might have been feeling guilt. Guilt doesn't feel so good so I shifted it to impatience instead and felt better about myself.

But I digress.

As I watched the streaming video, I realized how incredible it was to be viewing nature up close from the safety of my desk chair. And I realized that I shouldn't be impatient because the whole thing is really pretty amazing.

So I started thinking about how I could pass the time while I waited for mama bird to move. And that's when I decided to sketch while I was watching. (Good-bye guilt. Please don't come back anytime soon.)

sketch of eagle on nest
marker on paper
©2011 Stacy Rowan

But all kidding aside, when else in life am I going to have the opportunity to be this "close" to an eagle? Why not take the opportunity to sketch it from "life".

I couldn't find a pencil anywhere in the desk, so I went with the materials I had at hand, which happened to be a fine line brown Crayola marker and printer paper.  It was a challenging sketch because mama eagle is very serious about her job and is constantly moving her head to keep an eye on everything going on around her.

Just a few minutes into my sketch the adult eagle shifted and two little grey, fluffy heads peeked out from under her. One quickly turned it's face back out of the wind, but the other was more curious and checked out the surroundings a bit.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Concert Sketching

I have been busy working in the studio but am not ready to share my progress there just yet, so I thought I would post a couple of quick sketches I did this evening.

My husband and I attended our kids' band concert. I often listen to music in the studio so I decided to try a few sketches while we enjoyed their performance. I haven't been sketching much at all this year, and after my daily habit the first half of last year, I am finding I really miss it.

sketch of band conductor
graphite in Moleskine pocket cahier sketchbook
©2011 Stacy L. Rowan

I chose the conductor for my first sketch which, of course, was a challenge since she was constantly moving. You think I would have realized that before I started, don't you?

For the second sketch I decided to take it easy on myself. I chose an audience member thinking a spectator would be more still than any of the band members. And I did feel more confident with the second sketch.

sketch of audience member
graphite in Moleskine cahier pocket sketchbook
©2011 Stacy L. Rowan

It was nice to be sketching again. I would love to find a system for fitting in more sketching without taking time away from my studio work. Anyone out there have any suggestions?