Oil on Canvas
© 1999, Jeff Thomann
This image was one of the 3′ x 3′ works I did for my BFA show. This, along with the other images in the show were derived from dream imagery. I had started several dream journals in college, and the images for this show were painted versions of some of the images from those journals.
Capturing dreams in a journal is not always easy. I ‘cheated’ a little some of the time that I was doing these images since I had to come up with some of the dreams to put in to the paintings. I did this by sleeping with the lights on and covering my eyes when I slept, and I kept the sketchbooks and journals next to me within an arms length of where I was sleeping, and would start writing as soon as I awoken from a dream. Covering the eyes while the lights were one forced me to remember the dreams as I awoke when the light hit me eyes. However, I had to work quickly to put the dreams down in the book as quickly as possible before my conscious waking mind took over the subconscious train of thought and started putting too much ‘real world’ left brained stuff in to the images and cause/effect relationships and stories beyond what the dream actually contained that I was trying to capture. You have a very short span of time to do that sort of thing if you dream journal as the waking mind sort of takes over within 5-10 minutes or so after you wake up.
There is a lot I learned about dreams in doing this. My dreams are very much based on architectural ideas and archetypes. Many times multiple people in real life will join in to one being in a dream… creating a construct of sorts.. and these archetypes/constructs play roles. Dreams really do have a meaning and reflection that comes from the waking world, and there is a method to them. If you every try to dream journal, you can learn this methodology and the meaning behind the dreams. Most dream interpretation books are way off. It’s much much more personal than any of those can every really get to the real reality of because every person’s personal archive of images that they draw upon from their own waking lives is unique to them… I might make more posts about this in the future. There is a LOT to dream journaling.
Galveston Harbor, © Jeff Thomann, 2011
Media: Watercolor Pencil, Color Pencil & China Marker
I still don’t think this image image is ‘done’ but it’s getting close to where I want it to be. I’ve reworked it many times. I’ve been technically working on it about 2 or 3 months, but most of that time I was just looking at it. Since I started The Artists Way again this week I’ve been working on it an hour or two every morning and night, every day.
I have no idea how many real working hours have been put in to it, but there’s been a lot. I’ll put multiple layers in, erase them out, scatch out highlights with a burnisher, add more color, erase out some with an electric eraser, add more color areas, rework, etc. The gesso in the foreground has probably lost most of it’s tooth, as has most of the ‘water’ area to the left, but I keep adding new marks to it all the time, so I may have another few hundred hours of work to put in to it before all is said and done?… I’ll probably move on to some other artwork for now so I don’t really overwork it beyond a point that I can’t fix it any further. The scan was taken without any fixative added. I hate how shiny color pencil glare causes an image to really get a lot darker looking in the scan then it is in reality. The image is based on a couple of photos that I’m putting together in to one image in the drawing. I’m trying to be careful to leave some of the white of the underlying gesso. Most of the cloud area is almost pure white from the gesso with very little color pencil. I probably need to rework the middle ground and the ship in the background a lot more, but maybe not since some atmospheric perspective isn’t necessarily a bad thing here.
8/3/2011 Self Portrait #1 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
8/3/2011 Self Portrait #2 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
8/2/2011 Rose Study #1 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
8/2/2011 Rose Study #2 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
Jackie’s Rose © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
Palm © June, 2011 Jeff Thomann
Palm 2 © June, 2011 Jeff Thomann
Self Portait © 2011 Jeff Thomann
This was created using an old car rearview mirror so I could only see half of the face without shifting location so it was a bit of a challenge. As you can probably tell, I was focusing primarily on the lower nose/chin/neck area more than the rest of the face.
It took me 29 minutes overall, and time flew by because I was so intently focused. Getting good greyscale gradation levels with a small drawing surface like a ball point pen is challenging, especially when on a timeline like I was with this. I did complete it in under a half hour though.
I can see some improvements already in the self portrait drawing skill vs the last self portrait like this I did. I use self portraits as sort of a checkup on my skills since the human face is a good indicator of art skills on a lot of levels. Drawing faces with glasses on is always a bit of a challenge too since it changes the lighting a lot and gives areas that need new details.
I did the glasses on though because I’m working on a color pencil drawing in the mornings that has Tekla with glasses on, and I wanted to study a little in these ballpoint pen drawings how the glasses affect the light and shadow on the face so I can do better in that and future drawings with glasses. The color pencil drawings are very tricky since I’m using a lot of different colors, layering techniques, and a lot of erasing and actual burnishing techniques – actually in some areas on those I’m using real print making etching tools to do scratcherboard type techniques in limited areas since I’m using gessoed hardboard. That is definitely something I would not be able to do if I was using paper for the color pencils. The color pencils are almost like mini-oil paintings. Now it’s after 6 Am so I better start on the color pencil as the time allocated to it is before 6:30 AM, lol.
17 Minute Drawing – 6/6/2011
17 Minute Drawing – 6/6/2011 © Jeff Thomann 5/26/2011
Media: Ball Point Pen
I almost skipped doing this drawing last night, but decided to stay up a little bit after doing the speed challenge in the last post to do it. I’m trying to work on color pencil drawing in the morning, and quick sketches like this along with the speed model stuff in the evening. Since I’m using ballpoint pen for these types of drawings, I really have zero excuses to not do one every day of the year! 🙂
5/26/2011 – 22 Minute Self Portrait © Jeff Thomann 5/26/2011
Media: Ballpoint Pen on Paper
I’m not too keen on the that big right eye and super dark area right below the chin in the neck, but that’s the sort of stuff that happens when you are doing a self portait. Actually, the eye kind of adds to that expression I think. I probably went in to too dark and harsh lines too quickly about 20 minutes in — easy to do in this type of drawing. Also, working near the edge of the paper is always a tricky thing to do, but an important thing to do.
Emotions play a big part in drawing. I had a pretty rough/stressful day at work, so I think that played in to this a little in the expressionism gestures in the line quality, etc.
I stopped it at 22 minutes instead of half an hour because I felt that if I kept going I was really going to overwork it way too much. Getting fine details in a quick sketch is always a tricky thing to do. How far is going to far. How much time is left. The clock starts to not matter much but I want to keep these below 30 minutes for now.
I ultimately want to do one quick sketch like this daily and then one longer work that takes a long time on the side after that. This is a transition in to that. Currently I’m working on some color pencil drawings for the longer drawing, but didn’t work on it yesterday or today. I want to make the quick sketches be done every single day regardless of how I feel or if I want to or don’t want to draw that day. If I keep them below half an hour, that’s a lot more possible and realistic then trying to do a masterpiece that takes hours daily, etc. Time management is an important and difficult thing to master.
20 Minute Sketch
Media: Ball Point Pen and China Marker on Paper
I’m not super happy about the results here. I got the proportion off a little on this and was a bit distracted too since the tv was on when I was drawing. I was going to skip tonight since I skipped working out tonight due to the weather (tornado watches and warnings earlier this afternoon) but really don’t want to do that. I really need to do at least one drawing a day to get in to the good habbits I need to develop. Ink is not a forgiving medium, but that makes me know that I need to work harder to get it right the first time.