Figure Drawing

I’ve been enjoying figure drawing at Featherstone Center for the Arts this fall.

Block print, February 27, 2016

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I met friends to go dancing last night at a fundraiser for SailMV. A lovely young lady agreed to let me snap a photo of her with my phone to carve from. My carving does not do her justice, to say the least.

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This block print from several nights ago is my attempt at an arm chair, at night, lit by a lamp. There is a view to the room beyond behind it. I am going to need to try this one again. It is all a learning process.

Block Prints, February 24, 2016

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I wanted a small tea kettle to use as an accent and on envelopes – so I carved a 2 x 2.5 inch one, with rather lumpy results. My second carving was inspired by a game of cribbage.

Letter, week of October 15

This week was more stressful than some, and it reflects in the letter I sent to Hannah. Playing with foam stamps and collaged paper made with mono prints pulled from a gelli plate. Then drawing on top of everything with posca pens

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Letters, week of September 12

I’m continuing to work every night on mixed media and am then incorporating my experimentation in to letters. Here are some letters that I mailed the week of September 12 – 17. I was playing with foam and linoleum stamps that I carved, and paper collaged from mono prints that I pulled with a gelli plate. The writing is on the back.

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Letters, Week of September 5

Two of our children are in art school. Our son, Gordon, is attending both Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design in a dual degree program. Hannah, our middle child, is a painting major at Syracuse College of Visual and Performing Arts. Gordon is very much of his generation, on his phone more often than not, and very comfortable in the digital world. Hannah is a traditionalist. She does not believe in holding a phone while having a conversation with someone, and she loves to get letters in the mail. She has been pining for a pen pal. I decided that my exploration of mixed media would be the perfect opportunity to create letters to send to my children. Since I started, only Hannah has written me back, and she composes beautifully illustrated letters, so she has become the primary recipient of my snail mail endeavors. I am going to start posting some of my letters on this blog, since some weeks, working on letters every night is the only visually creative activity that I am doing.

One of these letters is just doodled on. The other is using a combination of a linoleum stamp that I created, and collaged mono prints pulled with a gelli plate and acrylic paints. Most of the letter writing is done on the backs, but where it is on the front, I’ve blurred it.

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Creative July, 2015

It has been seven or eight or more weeks since a daily digital drawing has posted. That does not mean that I’ve abandoned daily creativity, rather,  the need to branch out from digital work overcame me.  This summer, I’ve been playing with other mediums, and having a great time while I learn and practice. It is a self directed art class taught primarily by YouTube videos,  trial and error. I haven’t been posting my efforts, because, frankly, it is student work, experiments and pieces (as the photos show below).

When I first started my daily drawing project, I decided to draw digitally because it was a very easy transition for me. I didn’t need to set up an “art space” in my home. I didn’t need to buy materials and papers. I didn’t need to worry about cleaning up after myself. Already on a computer all day for my work, drawing digitally made the daily discipline very easy. Now, after drawing on the computer since February of 2012, this spring, the need to create an art corner, work with materials that would be messy and sticky and tactile, and apply texture to surfaces came to the forefront. I cleared out 20 boxes of books from my office (my favorite science fiction and fantasy authors) to make room for art supplies, set up a table to work, and started to get messy.

My eventual goal is to incorporate digital drawings in to collages and mixed media pieces, and I started experimenting with this last spring. I realized I need to learn more about collage, about mono printing, block printing, and painting with acrylics.  I have a day job, so my free time to draw or explore new mediums is limited to the evening (and in the summer, with all the events and social gatherings, not every evening).  The freedom to work on a piece, or practice a technique, over days, and not feel the pressure to complete a work in one night, has been a great balance to the summer chaos.

It has been a big mess and a lot of fun. Here are some pictures from my home schooling.

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Daily Sketch, June 2, 2015

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PROCESS

I took photographs of some old bottles that I placed on our window sill. When I am drawing on the computer, my monitor is large enough that I can look at the photograph while I draw on the software canvas. I am drawing using an intuos tablet and pressure sensitive stylus. The software that I use is Painter 12.

I start with very loose sketching and blocking out some colors to try to get the composition worked out.

On the left of my monitor is the photograph that I’m referencing, and on the right is the Painter 12 canvas. I am using the fine tip marker tool in Painter, using various widths and opacity.

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Brandy Brow Illustration

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This is an illustration that the Vineyard Gazette asked me to do for their new “Streetwise” series, short columns that research the history of different neighborhoods on the island. The third article is about Brandy Brow in West Tisbury. I decided to focus on a visual reference to the location of Brandy Brow, as it took me awhile to figure out where it was.

Experimentation April 11, 2015

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I participated in a creativity workshop today run by Fae Kontje-Gibbs. A good part of the time was spent free writing, but we did also do some drawing/painting towards the end trying to draw in the moment, from a visceral place, not thinking about representation at all, but rather marks on the paper. Tonight I decided to try scanning my drawing and then working over it with layers of color and texture, experimenting with different techniques, looking only at the layers of colors and patterns and how they interact, abandoning realism entirely.

Daily Sketch, March 16, 2015

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I’m visiting my daughter and granddaughter for a week, which is why I’m not getting much drawing done. I had forgotten how exhausting toddlers can be, no matter how delightful.

Mixed Media Collage, March 3, 2015

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I printed out my abstract drawing of the woman writing and then painted, drew and collaged over it with other drawings that I drew and printed. It will take lots of practice to learn this new medium. I stopped experimenting with this one last night.

Mixed Media Collage, March 1, 2015

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Today was Sunday. I gave myself permission to ignore my web design work today, and draw instead. Here is more experimenting with cutting up drawings and collaging them together, adding paint and pen, working from my imagination.  This is 8.5 x 11 inches.

Here is another that I played with last night, a variation of a previous collage that started with the same base drawing.

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Explorations, my stay-cation

This week is spring break for the island schools, and my husband and son are up North skiing. I stayed home with the dogs to work. However, part of me decided since it was vacation week, I would take a break from my daily sketches and start experimenting with collage and mixed media at night, a vacation from my usual routine.

I had some sketches that I’d printed out when I was first learning how to use my printer, and they did not print right. I decided to see what would happen if I applied collage techniques and painted back in to them.

It was a struggle and a mess. For example, I tried applying masking tape to mask the edges and keep them clean, but the tape stuck and tore at the paper, so I ended up painting the edges as well. I pasted one drawing on top of the other, but didn’t line them up correctly and it stuck on skewed. With no idea what I was doing, I doodled on the piece with pen, painted into it with acrylics, added charcoal pencil, and pasted cut up sketches on it.

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Each time I put a mark on the piece, it ended up not at all as I’d intended, one accident after another. Fingers sticky from glue and paint, I experimented and finally filled it to capacity.

Last night (and today) I worked on a piece entirely from my imagination. I drew wall paper patterns and layered them in the drawing, added an abstract figure reading, added some crows, and then printed the drawing and pasted, painted and drew back over it.

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My visual vocabulary is so very different when I’m not trying to draw what I see, but rather am just putting marks on a canvas. The disparity bothers me. I hope if I keep experimenting and working at it that a more unified voice will emerge.

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I want to keep exploring this direction of expression – so I’m extending my stay-cation past the spring break week, and am looking forward to more accidents, surprises and challenges.

Dodger’s Hole illustration

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This is an illustration that the Vineyard Gazette asked me to do for their new “Streetwise” series, short columns that research the history of different neighborhoods on the island. The second article is about Dodger’s Hole and mentioned spring peepers and snapping turtles. I worked on it instead of my daily sketch, and incorporated earlier studies of the frogs.

Daily Sketch, February 16, 2015

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I visited my daughter in Quincy, MA this weekend, and they had almost two more feet of snow fall Saturday night. Walking Sunday late afternoon, I was struck by the beauty of the light hitting the houses contrasting against the shadows on the snow drifts.

Daily Sketch, February 13, 2015

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I wanted to make a valentine for my husband. I started with an image of hands, envisioning corny phrases like, “I give you my heart” or “you hold my heart”, thinking I’d work a heart into the image, but I ended up with a frog, which probably does not give the right message. Now it is more like, “if I kiss this, will it turn back in to a prince?”, or “take me as I am, I’m yours.”

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Daily Sketch, February 12, 2015

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A very quick drawing tonight..

With all of the snow, my dogs need to be walked where it has been plowed, which means leash walking. We go round and round and round our neighborhood. This is often my view.

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I am drawing using an wacom intuos tablet, a stylus, and Painter 15 software.

I like to start with a neutral color canvas, so that I can draw in darks and lights.

Here are screen shots from a drawing in progress, February 11, 2015.

My computer screen is large enough that I can easily view my reference photo beside the drawing canvas, which facilitates sketching from it.

For this drawing, I created a dark brown canvas to start.

I then created a new layer and started a rough sketch with the fine point pen brush. I use the fine point pen brush for the whole drawing.

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Once I have a rough sketch of the composition, I start blocking in solid colors on a new layer. I work with an opacity of around 30 on these brushes, so that the background canvas shows through.

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As I start adding in details, I create new layers for each grouping of details.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 8.40.19 PM I added the ukulele strings on their own layer. With the brush tool in painter, one can choose straight edge or free hand. Most of the drawing uses free hand, but for the strings and edges that truly need to be straight, I switch to the straight edge brush. By drawing the strings on their own layer, I can draw/paint under them if I need to add colors to the fret or body of the instrument.

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This screen shot below shows my layers at this point. The sketch is still very rough.

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At this point I zoom in to the photograph, and in to my canvas so that I can put in more detail and clean up the scribbly-ness of what was put down from the more distant view. My eyesight is not great, so being able to zoom in to view the detail is an amazing luxury.

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This shows all the layers that I was working with at this point in the drawing. The beauty of working in layers is that you can draw under a layer that has already been created, or manipulate the opacity of a layer, or turn it off completely. The process is very facile.

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Daily Sketch, February 8, 2015

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Yesterday, I treated myself to an all day workshop on collage taught by Alexandra Sheldon at her studio in Cambridge, MA. http://alexandrasheldon.com/index.php?page=bio&display=311

It was a very fun class and taught me some basic techniques used in making a collage. After transferring and painting on papers to use in our collages, she had us work on multiple 4 x 4 inch pieces of heavier stock. It was refreshing to work non-digitally and completely abstractly, without thought to anything except texture, color and pattern.

She encouraged us to put our finished pieces in to a blank book or journal, one square per page.

At some point I hope to combine my digitally drawings with collage techniques.

“Chicken Alley” illustration

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This is an illustration that the Vineyard Gazette asked me to do for their new “Streetwise” series, short columns that research the history of different neighborhoods on the island. The first column is about “Chicken Alley” and should be in tomorrow’s paper. I worked on this drawing over a handful of days and incorporated Saturday’s daily sketch of the pigs into it.

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I am drawing using an wacom intuos tablet, a stylus, and Painter 15 software.

I like to start with a neutral color canvas, so that I can draw in darks and lights.

Here are screen shots while a drawing progressed on October 1, 2014.

 

I start with a new layer that I sketch the composition on with the fine point pen brush. I then created several layers, one with a darker blue and one above with the teal blue. I then used the eraser tool to scratch down between the layers. The color of the canvas is seen in the flowers. 

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The flowers were drawn with the fine point pen brush, adjusting the size and opacity.

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I then drew over the background with the fine point pen brush using different layers, adjusting opacity.

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Here is what my layer pallet looks like. I’m rather embarrassed that I don’t label my layers, which means if I want to find where a certain color is to change it, it involves hiding them one at a time until I find the layer that I need. Ideally, each layer would be neatly labeled. But since these sketches are all, for the most part, done in one sitting and very spontaneously, I can get away with my lack of self communication.

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Daily Sketch, October 2, 2014

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Having a very busy day and unable to start my sketch until 11:00pm,  I stuck with a quick draw and a model close at hand. Thus, we have another drawing of my puppy.

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I draw digitally, using a wacom tablet and Painter software. My computer screen is large enough that I can reference a photo, putting it beside the canvas that I am drawing on.

I like to start with a neutral color canvas, so that I can draw in darks and lights.

Here are screen shots while a drawing progressed on September 30, 2014.

Today, I drew from a photo that I took of my  husband, filleting a fish for our dinner.

I start with a very loose sketch.

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I then zoom in so that I can see what I’m drawing.

 

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The Month of May to Illustrate

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My imagination has been brewing an idea for a children’s book. I realized that I don’t have time to do both a daily sketch and to work on illustrations for my book in the few evening hours that I have to draw. I have decided to take the month of May to draw every night, but instead of producing a daily sketch, to work on my book idea. I may still be posting drawings, but they won’t be a daily occurrence.

Daily Sketch, April 6, 2013

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I went up to Chilmark, hoping to catch some signs of spring. Although I did see some clumps of daffodils, their blossoms pointing to the ground, not the sky, with a rather defeated air, what caught my eye was the stream meandering by the field, with the tree overhanging.

Heather Goff, Daily Sketches, February 2012-January 2013 e-book

coverToday marks my 1 year anniversary of drawing (nearly) daily sketches.

In appreciation of the Facebook Community who has been so supportive of my efforts, I have put together a free e-book containing a selection of the sketches most “liked” on Facebook.

I started on February 2nd, 2012. The first seven months, I limited myself to an hour per sketch, but by January of 2013, the evening ritual of drawing spanned 2 – 4 hours most nights. Without the steady appreciation shown by the Facebook Community, I might not have always been so diligent.

For this book, I have selected the sketches that garnered the most “likes” on Facebook.

Here is the link to download the book.
https://awesome.thunderpenny.com/xTmrz

Daily Sketch, January 19, 2013

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My dog and I startled these geese as we walked on the golf course this morning. We actually startled them more than once, causing them to change location, and on this flight they were abandoning ground all together and heading towards Sengekontacket Pond.

Daily Sketch, December 5, 2012

I was looking through photographs that I’d taken from years ago, and I found one where everyone else was engaged in talk, flipping burgers on the grill, turned away from the camera, but my niece was posing, staring at me, an energetic focus in a mediocre photo, and I decided that I had to draw her.

A drawing in progress

I am drawing using an wacom intuos tablet, a stylus, and Painter 12 software.

I like to start with a neutral color canvas, so that I can draw in darks and lights.

Here are screen shots while a drawing progressed on December 4, 2012.

 

 

If you could zoom in and see my pen strokes, you’d see that the image is drawn with very loose and, often,  scribbled lines.

Unit 4, August 26

Unit 4 Assignment

To turn in two illustrations. One based on criteria outlined in the lesson, where they can use their own characters and one colored drawing using all three characters.

 

SKETCH  1

Featuring Rosco, his friend, Crow and Cat.

I think I probably blew the collaboration part on this portion of the assignment. In using the characters that I created, I left out the motorcycle and driver. My initial thought was that Rosco would chase Cat wildly, all over the road and risk getting hit by a car, so the cross walk guard is trying to stop him. I brought the cross walk guard forward because it worked better in the composition to have her in the foreground.

SKETCH 2