Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Forest Among the Mist - Independent Studies Project 1

I took a trip to nearby Lake Pine to take some photographs, and came upon this particular spot. It was foggy this day so looking at the lake through the trees made for some really cool shots. I loved this particular one because you feel like you're in your own little world surrounded by the canopy of dead trees waiting to come back to life in the spring, and you can see the calm serenity of the foggy lake in the background. I also love the little concrete island with the weather monitor on it in you can see peeking through the branches because it's lined with ducks resting on it while they watch over the water. 

One of my favorite hobbies has always been photography. I grew up with my mom constantly taking pictures and getting fancy new cameras every few years and spending probably twice as long taking family photos as other families because she wanted to take them herself and they HAD to be perfect. I get my perfectionist habits from her when it comes to testing different angles for photos. I would like to work on learning the different settings on my camera so I can manipulate things like the lighting and white balance in my photos. I'm hoping to do more with photography in the future and learn gain skill throughout this school year. 

Casa Sopeña - AP Art 7

The last project I did was with the same medium I used for this one. I was so excited with how it turned out that I decided to do another piece similar to it. This photograph the project was based off of was taken on a property called Casa Sopeña, located in mexico.  I almost used this photo to create a project using chalk pastels, but I loved how the metal framework in my last project like this worked out so I thought I'd give it another chance.

I decided to add a bit more detailing to this piece and put some grass next to the pathway leading to the door, as well as the bricks you see on the wall in the photograph.  Even though there's obviously not as much detailing in this piece compared to other projects I've done, I wanted to keep it simple because I love how the shadow looks when you cast a light through the piece.  Doing a project like this may seem easy to complete, but the truth is you  have to have a very steady hand in order to prevent any mess ups and be able to go turn out his. I'm not always good at making clean lines, but I was able to commit to the project and make the final product of the shadow look more realistic I love how everything turned out in this and I definitely plan on using it for future projects.

Shadow Daze - AP Project 6

I bought two wooden picture frames for two of my recent projects I did this year, but because they were on canvases, there was no room in the frames to put the glass back in. Because of that, I was left with two spare pieces of glass, and decided to have a little fun with them. Growing up, my grandma always loved doing little art activities with me when I came to visit, and one time bought me a little "stained glass window" kit where you could paint on this plastic ornament and hang it up in front of your window. I remembered how much fun I had doing that activity with her, and thought I'd do something similar with this piece of glass. 

I drove around a nearby neighborhood where a lot of fancy houses are located, and spotted a grand french doorway with two giant wooden doors and swirly metal working decorated over the windows of the doors. For this piece, I decided to recreate my own version of the doors by painting black acrylic paint all over the glass, and scraping it off in certain areas so it looked like two doors with fancy windows. This project can be 2D as well as 3D because when you stand the glass up with a light shining behind it, it casts a shadow that looks like the doors. I haven't seen anyone else in my class try something like this, so I was excited to try something different and I was so excited about how the final product turned out.

Zen House - AP Projet 5

I've been walking past this house in downtown apex for years and always loved how simple yet classic the architecture was. It seems so welcoming with its giant pillars up front and the grand doorway front and center.  I managed to get a good centered shot of the home, and thought it'd be fun to do a piece based off it. Originally I was planning to draw this with charcoal, but thought I'd give pen and ink a try.

The last time I used pen and ink was back in art 1 about 3 years ago, and one of my favorite projects we did was creating zentangles. Because the house is so simple, I decided to draw different patterns and make a zentangle rather than just draw the regular siding. Since the piece was so busy I kept the pillars, the doorway, the window on top, and the shutters simple like the original photograph. I was nervous I would mess up the lines and not be able to erase anything since I was using pen, so I started it in pencil and went over with pen. I was slow to starting the piece because I wanted everything to be lined up well and spaced out evenly, but once I finished the pillars and the doors, I was able to decorate it any way I liked. I forgot how much I enjoyed using this medium, so I'm glad I used it for this project and I'm definitely considering using it for another project soon.

Hanging Treasure - AP Project 4

I said in one of my other posts how I love making photo transfers then painting over certain details in them to make them stand out more. I still love doing so, but there are some days where the photo transfers just don't work out well and they start falling apart. This particular photo worked out very well in the center and I was able to make the image look clean and clear where I most needed it, but the surrounding areas of the picture started coming off. It was hard to clear up the image in certain areas so a lot of the details in the white window frame were difficult to make out.  

I painted over the door in the background as well as part of the wind chime so they would stand out, and I love how they turned out but it still seemed like something was missing. I added detailing and shadows to part of the window frame to make the piece seem more complete and had a bit of trouble making sure the colors didn't look muddy, but once I cleaned it up I think it complimented the piece very well. I would like to maybe add even more detail to the top of the frame at some point in the future, but I still love how this piece looks and I found a nice wooden frame for it as well. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Four Doors Down - AP Project 3

This is one of my favorite pieces I've done this semester. I love making photo transfers and painting over certain details so parts of the photo stand out. I was really pleased with how the doors turned out and I was able to make each door unique by using different shades of brown and grey for the wood. I knew they all looked different in the original photo so I thought I'd do something similar to make each one unique.

I had to be really careful to make sure I had a steady hand when painting the general shape of the doors as well as when I added details because I had to make it seem like you were looking at them from an angle. When I started on this project I was afraid I would ruin the picture altogether if I made even the tiniest mistake; since I was working with acrylic paints, whatever you put on the photo, you can't take off. I tried to add a bit of a shadow next to the first door to make it look more realistic but quickly realized I didn't like how it looked and when I attempted to wipe the paint off while it was still wet, most of it stayed on. I was a bit upset by this but I managed to get off enough of it that you don't notice the mistake very much.  Even though not everything went as planned, I'm still really excited with how the piece turned out and I was lucky enough to find a great frame to go with it.

Seeing Red - AP Project 2

A few weeks ago I set out to find different doors or gateways to use in my concentration, and found myself at my Dad's friends' farm. I found plenty of barn doors on the property, but one thing that surprisingly stood out to me was this gate. I love taking pictures of objects that catch my eye or capturing a setting and messing with the photo so a detail you might have originally overlooked stands out more. 

For this piece I, once again, used white charcoal on black paper, but added a twist: I made the originally grey gate bright red. I was afraid the gate would get drowned out because of all the different textures surrounding it, so I had to come up with a solution to make it hard to miss. I'm used to seeing people use monochromatic colors in their pieces, so I thought I'd take a step in a different direction and make everything but the gate black and white. I tried out pastel pencils for the first time and had trouble blending them out, but eventually got to a position where I was happy with the smooth texture. 

Unparalleled - AP Project 1

I love the idea of painting, but when it comes to making exact lines with oil paint I would rather avoid the activity altogether.  I'm a perfectionist so when I have to make clean lines in pieces like this one, I take a lot of time to complete even the littles bits of a picture.  I decided to challenge myself however and used oil paints because they are easy to manipulate when it comes to making textures and I needed to be able to do so since I was painting things like grass and wooden planks. I added my own twist to the photo and included purple details in the wood and on the chimney.  I think it complimented the piece well and made it a bit more eye catching and quirky. 

The downside of using oils is they take much longer to dry so it was difficult to make sure the colors didn't blend together and become muddy when I needed to make clean lines. It took a lot of patience to make this piece because it was so easy to make mistakes while using this medium, and I had to paint and repaint in many areas because I would accidentally smear the paint in certain areas because I wouldn't realize it was still wet. As time went on however, I slowly got better about avoiding resting my arm against the canvas while working. There were many moments when I just wanted to give up and move on to a new project because this one would frustrate me so much, but I knew I wouldn't let myself live it down if I didn't finish it.  Even if it was a pain in the butt to work on I'm glad I chose this medium because I learned a lot of new techniques and definitely gained skill with shadowing and creating good textures.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tucker's Attention - Animal Portrait - Project 9


I haven't had any experience before with watercolor prismas so I decided to do something different from my usual projects and gave them a shot by drawing and painting a picture of my dog Tucker.  I had a lot of trouble with littler details when it came to darker colors but I was surprised by how much I liked this medium.  I didn't have much guidance in how to blend colors and still make it so my dog's picture still had a furry texture, but after practicing a few times on another paper, I gave it my best shot and I'm proud of how it turned out.  I wanted to make him brighter than the picture so I kept the original orange from the pencil and just mixed reds and yellows with it, rather than making him more brown.  He looked a bit creepy however when he was all orange then had these big beady yellow eyes, so I went ahead and made them darker so he looked less demonic and more like the adorable puppy with sweet, attentive eyes I look at every day.  He's a big part of my life so I'm glad I had the chance to do a portrait of him; all the bright colors really show off his personality and making this project helped me gain a lot of skill with a medium I'm usually so hesitant to use.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Merry Christmas - Prisma Bows - Project 11

The original picture we were supposed to draw was completely covered in bows, but because I'm not that experienced with prismas, I decided to draw three very detailed ones but instead one was stuck to a gift bag while two more were sitting next to the bag. I didn't want the bows to be the same colors so I actually changed the original color of the green bow from yellow to green.  It was confusing to try and follow how one bow looked when it was a completely different color, but it was nice to challenge myself and figure out what highlights needed to go where.  Usually my prisma drawings look muddy or unrecognizable, but I kept pushing through and got a lot better at blending and highlighting.  

Whenever I work with colored pieces I prefer to stick with pastels, but because this project required us to work with prismas I had to practice a whole lot and challenge myself as an artist to work with new mediums. I'm excited with how the piece turned out and I might consider using prismas again for another project at some point.

Doorway to Creativity - Free Choice - Project 10

More often than not we get carried away going through life looking at everything in black and white and forget to let our creative sides out every once in awhile.  I loved taking this picture because all my surroundings were bland and covered in boring colors, but right in the center of it all was this bright blue doorway with the word "create" welcoming you inside.  I wanted to rely on my photography for this piece because I didn't think I could do it justice by recreating it with paint or pastels.  The only change I made to it was that I painted over the words on the ground to make them a little more legible, but other than that, the photo has been left completely untouched and unedited.  I haven't done a piece before that was only photography so I was excited to just use my skills behind a camera for this project.  I got to experiment and use my mom's new 50 mm lens while walking around Downtown Apex one afternoon, and found this door at just the right time so the light wasn't casting any shadows and the blue looked extra bright.  I'm hoping I can do more with photography in the future since I had a lot of fun exploring with my camera and practicing photographing in different lights.

Working My Way Up - Free Choice - Project 8

If you looked at this picture before I transferred the photo you'd just think it was a staircase on the side of a building, but there's actually a reason I took the photo.  In my youth group a couple weeks ago, we talked about how our path through life isn't an easy trek and isn't straightforward like we think it should be. We go through three stages of life, being a kid, becoming an adult, and finally we reach old age; that is what the three doors represent.  We work our way up in life and we'll always have to face different turns and keep making our way up the steps until we reach the top.  The reason I used photo transfer is because I knew it would give the picture a distressed look, which in a way represented how our path isn't always clear and easy to recognize.  I had a lot of trouble with the ink coming up when I was peeling back the paper, but that ended up adding to what I wanted the piece to convey.  The paths we follow may get a little worn or become hard to recognize, but we have to keep moving along until we reach our goals.  I am starting to leave the stage of my life where I am still considered a kid and am transitioning into adulthood; it has been a difficult journey to make at times, but I know it'll be worth it when I make it up the stairs into the next stage of my life.

Lei-ing Around Diamond Head - Landscape - Project 7

I have had a lot of trouble in the past with using acrylic paints and making my paintings "too cartoony" or just not adding enough details so the piece looks bland and doesn't have any depth.  It's still not fantastic but I am very proud of how much I improved my skills during this project.  I've gotten a lot better at blending and I am usually horrible at painting clouds, but I managed to make them look like actual clouds and not weird abstract white things floating in the sky.  I took the original photo this past summer on a trip to Hawaii and I fell in love with how colorful the landscape was and how laid back the lifestyle was there.  I am one of those people who loves summer and absolutely despises the cold, so by doing this painting I created my own little bit of summer when it was really about ten degrees outside.  I surprised myself and did most of the painting relatively fast but saved painting the lei for the very end.  I cranked most of it out but had a LOT of trouble with adding shadows and making sure the whole thing still looked light and flowery, instead of a muddy unrecognizable mess.  I took a step back and figured out where I needed to push some values and where I needed to define the flowers so they didn't look muddy and misshapen.

Bionic Elk - Mechanical Animal - Project 6

For my mechanical project I decided to draw a bionic elk using black and white charcoal pencils.  I got the idea from looking at the light up reindeer decorations people were putting up around christmas time.  I didn't have any ideas for what I was going to do on the body minus using goggles for his eyes and the lights wrapped around his antlers, but I knew if I got everything down on paper I would get inspired and figure out what I wanted to do.  I watched transformers recently and got the idea for the design of the ribs from one of the decepticon's that looked like a scorpion. The spine and the tail looked similar to the ribs in my animal, and I decided to have half the ribs be natural and the other half were mechanical.  For the rest of the bits on the inside of my elk, I looked at different tattoos people had that looked like parts of machines, as well as photos of gears and springs from motorcycles.  It was tricky trying to make the parts of the elk look different because it incorporated all different materials, but I asked for a lot of ideas from friends and they helped me come up with ways to blend the black and white pencils to make different shades of greys, as well as how to make the whites brighter and the blacks darker.  Charcoal is probably my favorite medium so learning new tricks for using the pencils and blending the colors was a lot of fun for me and I was thrilled with how my piece turned out.

Pieces of Me - Portrait - Project 4

For this piece I decided to photoshop a picture and use photo transfer, but I took it a step further. Instead of just putting the picture on a regular canvas, I made the piece even more abstract than it already was and put it on a collection of mini canvases that were all different shapes.  I wasn't sure about how I would arrange the canvases or if the finished product would even look like me still, but I took the risk and put them together like a puzzle that doesn't exactly fit.  The canvases aren't arranged to be a usual square or rectangle, but I managed to make the picture itself line up and I am very happy with how the whole thing turned out.

It was difficult to make out certain parts of my face, mainly my eye, after I transferred the photo, so I asked some of my friends how I could make it stand out more and they gave me the idea of painting over my eye.  Instead of making the eye look exactly as it did originally with all different colors, I stuck with the monochromatic theme and painted it in different shades of blues.  I was excited with how it turned out and the eye turned out to be my favorite part of the piece.

Stuck in the Clouds - Free Choice - Project 5

This project is a chalk pastel drawing of a building I saw on the way to a stargazing tour on the Big Island of Hawaii.  I have made projects in the past using pastels, but I have never used them on something so detailed.  I wasn't sure when I started the project if I wanted to follow through with the pastels or if I wanted to restart and make the piece black and white, but I realized if it wasn't in color, nothing about the piece would stand out.  I am more comfortable with drawing in black and white, but the lack of color would have taken away from the piece, so I chose to step out of my comfort zone and continue with the color version.  I had a lot of trouble getting the smaller details to look realistic using regular chalk pastels, so I had to get smaller pastels that were designed for detailed drawings.  The smaller pastels were a bit tricky at first but I finally figured out how I could utilize them and ended up being pretty successful in drawing clean lines and adding the grass.  I still prefer the regular pastels because they are definitely softer and easier to blend, but I had a lot of fun making the piece and practicing my skills with the small pastels. I actually had a lot of trouble doing this piece because I didn't have much inspiration or motivation to do this project, so instead of torturing myself, I went ahead and worked on some other projects and eventually came back to this when I was ready to get it done.  I obsessed over getting everything exact in the picture but when I stepped away for a bit and came back to the piece, I was able to look at it with fresh eyes and a clear head on what I needed and wanted to do next.