Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Drawing glass, Drawing class

I've been rummaging again. I needed to remind myself how to render glass with markers. So I can teach my class how to do it. But first I have to get them to appreciate and draw ellipses so they can draw their projects. And they need to be able to do nice, even grey gradations so they can shade and shape their objects. And then I want them to at least be able to take a stab at shading their projects as if they were solid, opaque objects. And then we can start rendering them as the transparent objects that I think they have in mind. That's all. Maybe we can do all this Thursday night.


That's a real brain-fart - - having them start off with a project for which the solutions lend themselves to being transparent. Oh yes, very much so. And, I forgot: Drawing transparency is hard! Doh!

As long as my class is willing to stick with it and seems to be having fun (knock on wood! Which is a little easier to render!), we'll keep going. I think it's going to build a good deal of character in all of us, though.


So, I managed to find exercises that I did, way back when, to render glass objects (imagine that. Whew!), and we're gonna do them in class. Yup. It's scary the stuff I still have, squirreled away. And imagine this! I actually have a pressing need for this old, old stuff! That's all I need - - some kind of validation that it was good to have held onto my really old art projects and exercises. Scary. Very scary.

Yeah. So, I think I'll be practicing drawing glass for a while.

But ... in the meantime, I did find more very old stuff that was done before even the drawing-glass-with-markers exercises.

Imagine: Life, before I needed to know how to render glass, brushed aluminum, concrete, orange peel, grass, chrome...



Circa 1991

I have to smirk here:
I'm going to have to do another one of these very soon.
Maybe I should just reuse this one.

Circa 1990

Break before class

A little bit of calm before the storm.

I think it's a bit funny - the last thing I added was a bit of the acrylic table-top menu-holder in the top right corner. And as I drew it, I was thinking, "Oooo, transparent stuff. That's kinda fun... Swirly-swirly reflection lines ..."
Little did I know ...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

New tires

Instead of finding supplies for a project, drafting lectures, figuring out what we'll do in class tonight, I found myself waiting at the car place, getting an oil change and two new tires. Guess my hunch was right, that something was indeed messed up with my alignment and tires. New tires. Gee, it just never ends. I haven't been able to go in 'just' for an oil change in over a year. But, my Camry is running smoother and should be ready to handle the rain and deliver me safely to where I'm going.

I got to catch up with class reading ("Never Eat Alone") and did a little bit of sketching. All the while listening to daytime TV that was on in the waiting area. Are all these people on these shows: With the wrong man who beats them? Chasing after bad men that use them up and spit 'em out? Suing the guy's wife - oh, he was really still married? - for coming after them with a crowbar? Boy, what I'm missing, not turning on the TV during the day. I get the feeling my life is all the more safe that way.

May you find goodness and gentleness and never have the >tumultuous scandal!< in your life (OMG) that would make juicy daytime TV fodder... Unless that's what you're hoping for.
Stay dry and safe out there.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Small containers

Well, I started teaching a new class, new school, tonight. The first class was great and shows promise to be a great opportunity for all of us to learn and grow. If my class enrollment stays up, I’ll get to complete out the semester with this new gang. What I was looking forward was the chance to just draw. The other class is a lot of reading and lecturing, with slides, no less. “How would you define industrial design?” “What do are your career and life goals?” “What do you really value and how important is this to work into your career?” “What are you reactions to this article?” “Will you get me that updated resume draft already?”

This teaching thing requires so much energy and preparation, and is it any surprise that after talking/lecturing for 3-1/2 hours a couple times a week, all I want to do on weekends is hibernate and not have to be so “on”? Whew.

Anyway, for the new class, we’re focusing on using drawing to communicate ideas, developing and strengthening each student’s individual style and addressing their interests. I have them doing weekly sketches to improve their observation skills – look at a product and really draw it: The overall form, proportion, all the individual component details, assembly, materials. The example was a chair, and earlier today, I had started to do a demo that I was going to copy to use as a handout. As it turned out, I couldn’t get it done in time before class. It’s very humbling to be reminded that looking at things very carefully and drawing them takes time and patience. My chair drawings needed a little more time and work. I’m going to take the lead and do more of these sketches, to remind myself to be more precise in my drawing and less fuzzy (sigh), to get back into the practice of observing and drawing more, and to feel less rusty.

And I have to get back up to speed on working with markers again. With chalk. This is serious stuff here. OMG. But, you know, I get paid to draw, to draw better, and to teach people to brainstorm, be creative and draw better. Seriously, how cool is that?

The far less worrisome / way more fun part is the on-the-fly sketching during class. I take my notebook around and see how everyone’s doing, brainstorm with them and draw for a little bit. A niblet here, a niblet there. I want them to just play and become more confident; the idea is always to practice more and more, and have the ideas go directly from their minds and hearts through their hands onto the paper. That’s the really fun part. It was already late, but I had a nice time going through the scribbles from this evening’s class when I got home, and felt compelled to work up a couple of the really quick sketches. So, with the new class, I expect that there will be more and more niblets and drawings to share with you guys out there. I’m hoping my enrollment numbers stay up, and that we’ll be able to keep the class open. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Artsy note:
I’d heard that one of the brands of pencils that we all normally use … has been difficult lately. Another instructor commented that the leads lately had gotten very brittle and the points crumble easily. He mentioned that he was having his class use Faber-Castell polychromos colored pencils instead. I have so many colored-pencils dating back over ten years, it’s hard to say if I’d have any to notice any difference. But, I figured I’d try the F-C’s and see. Right off the bat, the leads are a little more firm than the Prismacolors (which means that the pencils may hold a point longer and you don’t have to sharpen ‘em so often. This really is a real serious plus - means you don’t have to keep boxes of ‘em sharpened all at once so you can just keep sketching for long stretches of time without having to stop to sharpen pencils to get nice, crisp points…), but you can still get really nice, dark linework. So far, a nice option. You mean I could maybe get by with just buying a couple instead of buying boxes of ‘em? Woo. Will report more.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Alter egos

Okay. I admit it. When I get back from long weekends, I just love to catch up with your blogs and spend some time catching up with the little niblets of life.

Yes, I'm very easily distracted. I won't claim any attention-based disorder, though; I just enjoy tickling my brain with all this whimsy.
(As if you couldn't tell ... )

Here I am as a:

Powerpuff Girl (a Superhero, indeed! I've been saving this for a little bit. )

and as an:

M'n'M. (But this is brand new!)

The drawing utensils shown here are custom additions, but the standard options should keep you pretty amused, as it is...

Go make your own!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A matching pair

She: You know what I was doing last Valentine’s Day?
He: Hm. Sorting your socks?

If I were sorting my socks on Valentine's Day, you might be tempted to suspect that part of it might have been that there weren’t too many other distractions with which to canoodle away. Mayyyyybe. Well, I happen to have a great washer and dryer and really enjoy doing my laundry. The reality was closer to the notion that I would have much rather been doing something I enjoy - doing laundry and sorting socks - than putting up with, how shall we say, mmmm, really inadequate company. No, I’ll just say it: really lame guys. At least with laundry, you know you’ll end up with something nice, clean, warm and comforting to snuggle up with, right? ... um, Anyway.]

He, continuing, smiling, with full knowledge of all that: … because we both know how much you enjoy sorting your sock drawer.
She: Maybe. No, wait. Well, you know I used to do laundry on Fridays, and Valentine’s Day was in the middle of the week last year, so … probably not. Nope, no socks. That’s not what I had in mind.
He: Okay, then. What were you doing on Valentine’s day last year?
She: Well, gee. Hoping for a man like you!
He: … shucks …

Ooooo, that’s so mushy!

No, I don’t make these up.


I’ve been reading different thoughts on Valentine’s Day that have been posted. I know there’s a lot of romance in the air, but am also mindful that there are difficult emotions involved too: childhood spitefulness, empty detachment in adults, defiant bravado, disappointment.


I wish everyone a bit of warmth; one good peaceful moment filled with gratitude and love.

But (bounding back), well, remember, it is Valentine’s Day, after all. ;)

Warm hugs and socks to you all!

And especially you! Mwah!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Right, just a bit

What? Valentine's Day is next week? You don't say!

A little bit of Bellows Beach

- Coffee ice cream
- Getting my toes scrunched into the sand anywhere, but especially at Bellows
- The waft of sweet ginger on mountain trails
- The twang of country
- BBQ babyback ribs
- Panda Express
- The sweetness and joy of a child’s unrestrained laugh
- The feel of pencil on paper
- Finding a nice, graceful new adjective to use
- Soft, fuzzy things
- Periwinkle, navy blue and yellow
- Burying my feet inbetween the pillows and settling in for a nap on the sofa
- A really great rendition of the national anthem
- Crisp white cotton
- The feeling of a new haircut
- The warmth in a long talk to catch up with a friend

Things that I love.

I understand that a bit of distraction is headed my way this weekend ;)
You guys have a good one.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sig Agaid*

Well, I’m sick again (* see above). Sigh. I’m waiting for the cough suppressant to kick in before going to bed. I’m not keeping you awake with all this hacking, am I? Or maybe I should go to bed so I can get some sleep and get rid of the cough.

Shrug. Too late now.
(You're thinking, "Exactly! Go to bed!")

So, anyway, I figured that since I actually sat and drew today, I’d scan and post my drawing. Seems like lately I’ve been doing a lot of reading to prep for class, which I’ve really been enjoying. I get inspired, read some more, try to organize my lecture notes, and then think and revel in all the great ideas! And then, I get tired before getting to the drawing and painting part of the day (night).

I’ll be teaching another class starting in a few weeks which will be more focused on drawing, so I think this will force me to get back to design sketching. I find myself thinking, “Okay, where did I put all my markers?” I’m going through material that another instructor has prepared. One of the course requirements is to keep an observational sketch journal – drawing objects and really observing their form and proportions, material, construction, assembly, little details. This comes inspired by a chapter in a book, “How to Get Ideas” by Jack Foster (I’m going to order it to read the rest). The chapter sounds like it’s in the spirit of “Everyday Matters”.

You know:

Draw every day the everyday things around you and see how much more you notice and appreciate.

So, if you’ve happened upon this blog from a friendly link, or peruse some of my links, you’ll see that there are, happily, a lot of people who are not only doing this, but sharing their work as well. Isn’t it all wonderful? You all inspire me so. I need to do more of this and I think that teaching this new class and assigning this observation notebook may very well inspire me to keep up with it as well. Design sketching requires (demands) less fuzziness and vignetting than I’ve come to enjoy lately, so it’ll be a bit of a challenge to dial in my focus and precision (and craftsmanship. Egh!). Still, I know I won’t be able to suppress it, so I’m interested in how the fuzziness and vignetting ultimately express themselves.

But right now, I confess, I’m feeling a leeeettle bit rusty. I look at this sketch of my eaten lunch and think, "Wow, that's really hideous. And you post that on the internet? Yeesh."

[Big sigh]

It’s the fog of the sick, I think (thig).
That’s my excuse and I’m stickin’ with it.

You guys take care.