Friday, July 11, 2014

Greeting Cards

Its been a little while since I have posted anything. I had lost my inspiration due to a loss in my family and have been trying to get it back. During that time, I was doing a host of research and browsing through Michael's every now and again. As much as I am not a scrapbooker, I have become fascinated with greeting cards. Seeing that I do them anyway with my art work, I decided to see what else I could do with them directly.

Having a fascination with how big the scrapbooking phenomena has become, I went through all of those aisles that is specifically for them. The area I have a fondness for are the rubber stamps. Its been that way since I was a child and went through Frankenmuth, Michigan. I recall seeing the wealth of rubber stamps back then and just went, "aww, ooh." I don't know why but knew I would have liked to have at least one. I don't remember if I got it or not, just the feeling when I saw them.

I have a collection of stamps, punches, and various paper pads right now. I also have a collection of pictures from others who have been doing greeting cards for years and are artists in their own rights with the absolutely gorgeous things they have created.

For the last few months, I have been studying the rules when making cards. Some don't follow any thinking that whatever looks good to them should also look good to others. But that's true of any artist - isn't it? The thing is, I am  trying to sell my work. As much as I have researched with the color rules and doing your own thing, it hasn't come together. I have to like it, yet in that small space it can't be overwhelming to the viewer. Its such a fine line.

Here are my 2nd and 3rd card attempts. The 1st one is pinned on my cork board. I keep it there to remind me what not to do anymore - ever!
I stamped this card on multi-media paper and then colored it with the Tim Holtz distress markers. I was looking to make the coloring with some sort of depth. I stippled it at first and changed the colors to shade in the folded areas. It looked too flat to glue to a piece of cardstock so I tore the edges and distressed it a little  - lol. It still looked flat. And then I remembered the raised glue squares. It was too late for them, I had completed 4 cards in this same way. The only thing was missing was the sentiment, I figured I could get a little more creative with that but didn't know with what.

My second attempt was a little more fancier. I used a different stamp but water colored the back ground with a little pink and blue gray. It can't be seen really well in the picture but its there. I also tried to get fancy with the grass but didn't want as much color seeing this is supposed to be a masculine card which didn't keep me from dolling the card up with 3 tiny brads at the bottom of the piece. I used the embossing powders for the first time in the sentiment and found out why the heating tool is needed rather than my blow dryer.

Its my 3rd card and was more pleased with this one then the 2nd. I think I can do this for a little while and do well at it. I was hoping it not take as much time but these 4 cards took almost 2 hours to complete. Eh, I'm new, its won't be like that all of the time. You can see for yourself when I link this to a video.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Makings of Drop Cloth

Before really deciding the career I was going to go into, I was a Youth Specialist caring for the needs or redirecting the behavior of at risk teenage girls (what some circles call, throw away kids). I watched these girls try to cope with learning things we have all taken for granted. They were more concerned with matters that only adults should be thinking about and their development in the matters of a child were arrested. What went tilt after these children were born?

While thinking this, I was in my studio about to embark on another series. I looked at what I had done and wondered if I was really pleased with my work. I know when I initially started back with art about 5 years ago, I was so in love with the style of art nouveau. In studying those artists, I saw they neglected using women of color. It was upsetting. So I began drawing those women in that particular genre. What happened was I started thinking like a business woman and saw what was getting more responses then other pieces. I began concentrating on generating more income and looking at those artists that were more successful then myself. From what I gathered, it was illustrators and caricaturists that were getting the interest that I desired as well. Slowly my work began border lining on illustration. There wasn't anything the matter with illustration art, I liked it...but it wasn't what I know.

Isn't that what is taught with writers? Aren't writers suppose to write what they know. The subject matter is more rich and interesting to the reader. How much different is that lesson from what an artist should do? Isn't that how an artist really finds his/her niche? I then researched how to find the niche of an artist, as you have read in my other entries on this blog. I noticed that other artists did have a particular style they never deviated from. My work has a style but there was something missing....something I forgot about....its the thing I know that I know. I didn't incorporate what I chose as I career.

I have watched people for years. I have studied behavior and have wondered why an adult would do this or that. In so doing, I discovered another aspect of my style of art work.

In this series, called Drop Cloth, I thought about the artists from the 60's and early 70's. I never understood the splashing of paint from one side of the canvas to the other and then for the viewer to understand the artist's message in the work. It looked like a drop cloth a painter used when protecting the furniture or the floor. Enter a child excited about something that happened in school or seeing a caterpillar for the first time. Will the painter, artist, or busy parent for that matter, stop what he/she is doing to listen to the child go on and on about something as mundane as a caterpillar? Who is more important? What about the estranged parent on the phone to a child saying derogatory things about the other parent and using the child as a pawn? What about the parents arguing in front of the children not caring what damage words have on delicate ears? Its like slinging paint and not caring where it lands.

In the series, the children's faces are drawn in my favorite medium, black ink. The canvas is white Bristol. Each piece is cut 6 x 4 1/4 inches. I used only 2 different colors in the water color wash. The two colors represent having two people that created a child and needing two people to raise a child. Whether the parent is estranged or not, he/she has something to do with the development of that child. The parent may never be mentioned, it doesn't mean the child doesn't think about him/her. The eyes of each drawing never see the color wash. The reason for that is the same as the faces looking at the viewer. The innocence children lose is not always from outside sources. Children are like sponges. They absorb what is in front of them. If they are not protected, they will repeat the behavior. There use to be a time when a child's ears were covered from the use of profanity...now children repeat those words. Where did they learn such behavior?

The rest of the series can be viewed on my facebook page, Lenora's Ink.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Just Because

I call this piece "Just Because". The title came from when a man who I am use to asking to see my drawings made a comment. First let me preface, I had been drawing Caucasian women for the most part. It seemed as long as I did, most of the community would come by and be pleased with what they saw. In using a tonal pad or the first time, I found that it was easy accomplishing other skin tones. The response I received wasn't favorable.

I suppose I would have normally gone back to what I have been doing. The only problem with that, I liked what I am doing now and didn't wish to go back. I continued then no matter what the response. Why? Well, just because. Whether anyone likes it or not - I like it. And frankly, its about time!

I have been drawing in hopes that I could generate sales. Whether I liked it or not. If the people like it, sales would be abundant - right? Not so....not like I would have liked.

The sketch wasn't difficult and it seemed like everything was balanced. For some reason, I stopped inking before going on with the color. When I realized it, I stopped to take another look. How did the eye get to look like its looking different from the first?
 I was a little discouraged thinking that it would work itself out as I went along. The thought of tossing this one was something to fight. The tilt of the face was causing the rest of the face to go tilt as well and the balance was getting a little off. It then became to be a challenge. As long as anxiety didn't take over, there had to be a resolve.

I took another step back and was pleased with the final outcome. Every time I draw a woman of color, I can either see myself, someone in my family, or someone I met in my life time. It just seems so cool to me. I am still liking this tonal paper. I am hoping I will find other uses for it.
The final product is posted on my new account on RB. Cards and prints are available for sale. If interested in the original, please email me.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lilly

Lilly is actually the first one drawn in the sketch seen on the Daphne post. It took a moment to draw her as well as it did Madeline because I wouldn't stop drawing them covering up their bodies. I have no idea why. So I put clothes on the last two...still they had to have flowers. It was something I added because it isn't shown with women of color too much.



I saw them all of the time when studying art nouveau with Alphonse Mucha most often...the flowers that is. Definitely not women of color, which I have written about before.

Instead of placing Lilly in a field and being a city girl myself, I really like the texture and design of brick. Don't ask why. I noticed that I have done this several times before in other works of mine. What she is looking at, and it didn't come out too well in the scanning process is a humming bird.

I was talking to a co-worker that deliberately plants certain flowers for the humming birds to come to his garden. In Michigan? I have never seen them. He says after awhile they have got friendly with him and will buzz right to his hand... or rather humm. That was a little hard to believe but apparently on my mind when drawing this one.


You will notice I made some close up shots of her face. This is a little larger then 5x8 tonal paper. I was just trying to see if I could make the detail as fine as I could for such a small work. It isn't an ACEO small still smaller then what I am use to.

The camisole with the pink check and white lace is cute with the blue jeans and polka dot head band.I was a little concerned that the red would clash with the pink but I think it works. I will have this piece on sale at the end of the month. I will link here when it become available.

Madeline

I don't really like doing practice sketches because it seems to be just a waste of paper. I recall when I took drawing classes in between my regular course work, I did so to break up the monotony but I really got to enjoy it. Anyway, as I was learning that it was necessary to warm up before starting a serious drawing, I had to purchase newsprint. It was a cheap paper just for those practice sketches ... I still had to go purchase it. There I was in class watching this one guy who was an architect major. He would no sooner start one sketch then rip it off the easel and throw it to the floor
to start another. I recall thinking, how wasteful? When I saw the teacher go behind the student to pick up the drawing to study and then grade on what was going to be thrown away, I had to get a grip.


Away from the class, I had to start remembering the better habits of the art class to do better work. Here are the sketches of Lilly, Daphne, and Poppy. As you see in the previous post of Daphne, I squeezed them together in my sketch book. I still can't imagine drawing just to throw it away. Madeline didn't make the sketch. She was one of those "happy accidents" Bob Ross use to talk about.


I put clothes on Madeline because I was noticing that how each one had their arms covering themselves or backs turned away. It wasn't intentional, but I was going with it. Madeline doesn't really have a story to tell other than it isn't too often that a girl or woman of color is illustrated in nature, with birds and flowers. I figured it was high time.

You will notice that she has a head covering. It wasn't supposed to be a bandanna but I didn't wish to draw all of the fabric on her head, or a bowl, or carrying laundry as I have seen done with African maidens. Why can't she just be a girl that likes birds, flowers, and the things of nature like fair complected females are depicted doing? I added a bird for interest and color contrast, which you will see for yourself.

The flowers I chose that went well with the color of her skin and outfit are Morning Glory. This particular blue went well with the Prisma-color Scarlet Lake and and the Grass Green background. I was pleased with the finished product which will be on sale at http://www.redbubble.com next week. I will link it here when it is available.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Forlorn

I was in the middle of drawing the art nouveau women of color, when I was inspired to do this particular piece. I was using tonal paper on a small sketch book. Though the pictures make this image look bigger then it is, it is only 5x7.

For some reason, I started coloring the image before inking - again. I think I was just too excited to see if I could complete a full image of color. I hadn't done so in a little while. I also started the foundation of the skin in gold. All while I was putting in the color, I was second guessing myself if the finished product was going to look like a reject from the Simpsons. It was about then when I was doing the eyes, did I realize to establish where the light was coming from for the shadow to be placed around the strands of hair. It started to get tricky around the eyelids and I was about to start all over again if I hadn't stopped and stepped back to see what I had done thus far.

I think I used about 7 different colors to get the skin right. I never thought I would ever have to use olive to tone the skin down from being too gold or too orange. It was good to know. I had made a mistake thinking I could use gray or lavender as I would for Caucasian skin. For black tones it came out ashen.

Thinking I had finished the piece, again I stepped back only to see that the fingers as well as the strap of her garment needed some shading. I also saw where the whites of her eyes are too white. I saw an artist on you-tube practically colored the whites of her subject's eyes all a light gray and then came back to put "China White" only where the light was hitting. They looked very realistic. I'll have to do some more practicing.



  I will link the finished piece here when I figure how to shade the arm without it looking strange. I tried once already and looked like another strap. The sides of her fingers need more detail as well as the sides of her face and more shading in the eyes.  I might be over thinking it. I am already looking forward in doing the next one.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Daphne

This is another at my attempt to not only trying to establish my niche but to also incorporate my favorite style (art nouveau) with women of color. I tried doing this some years ago and failed miserably. I will post one or two of those images later and link it here. These are rough sketches of the three women of color I plan to do in an art nouveau style. For this one, it is the middle image.






With this, like Poppy, I used tonal paper. It is easier to establish skin tone. Pastel paper is good for this as well. For some reason I thought I could get a better tone without looking ashy or muddy if I did my sketch in white color pencil and then fill in with marker rather then lining it with ink. I won't do that again.

I had already knew I was going to use the daffodil flower before I knew what Daphne was going to look like. It was the leaves that proved to be the challenge knowing that not only did it have to fill the page but look ornate as well.

When I scanned the finished piece, I noticed how the white shown through. I went over the line digitally just to cover the white and hoping not to have messed up with the integrity of the work.

Still working on the style, as you can see. I am also doing much research to stay inspired to finish the series. Thank you for all of the views. I would appreciate comments and critiques if you have any better ideas then what I am doing. Thank you again.