Figure Drawing with Light
Pastel and Charcoal on Cardboard
© 1999, Jeff Thomann
Worked on cleaning up the basement a bit over the weekend. It still has a long ways to go, but I did manage to free up some floor room that can become the beginnings of a painting studio again, and also might work out as a dance floor/workout place for using workout videos. I’m thinking it’ll be smarter to do that sort of stuff down in the basement where the floors are concrete…
I posted a couple of delicious links about walnut oil – it’ll be visible at
http://www.mastermesh.wordpress.com within 24 hours or so. I’m thinking about starting to get in to oil painting again, but am looking for a healthier way of doing it then the typcial way since the area that would be the studio does not have a lot of ventilation, actually NO VENTILATION unless I open a door and turn on a box fan. If Walnut oil is safer then oderless turpentine, or other types of oils, I think I might have to look in to using it… I don’t necessarily like shiny paintings, which is why I used to never put damar varnish or any varnish on top of paintings, so that they kept the matte look to them… or mixed the matte look with shiney look via use of oil in certain locations on the picture plane. However, if it’s safer to go shiney with stuff like walnut oil, I might have to try it out. I’m not sure how the heck I’ll scan or photograph the stuff since the glare will be awful in the mirrored surface reflections, but it might work out?!?… Anyone out there tried to oil paint with Walnut Oil yet? I’d love to hear how it worked for you.
As Director of Digital Learning, I might just have the best job in the world. Take today as an example. At 10:00 a.m., I reviewed video for an online studio course about the materials and techniques of Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Barnett Newman (among others) that my coworker Amy Horschak and I hope […] http://bit.ly/d14bAR
The search for Tim Burton took us to four Hollywood studio archives, five independent production company collections, and four private lenders, exposing us to an interesting variety of archival situations. Studio archives are traditionally housed on the lots where their films and television programs are shot, or, if their collections are large enough and the […] http://bit.ly/c3vwHP
Tim Burton Items on Amazon
I love keeping the shavings off pencils as I sharpen them. Sometimes there is just enough color or graphite left to allow for one or two more uses of the leftovers on there that might come in handy someday. Additionally, the shavings are handy for doing interesting things such as creating brush strokes with paint that would be impossible to create with normal brushes, blending color on paintings or drawings by using the shavings as blending stumps, or they can be useful to just have around, sitting in a plastic bottle or jar to look at for inspiration since they various colors and shapes can sometimes give me compositional ideas.
Similarly, I love keeping paint covered palletes and clothing that I’ve used over the years. The splatters on the clothing of various material, whether it’s plaster, paint, tar, or something else mix to create interesting forms and shapes. I think Jim Dine used to keep his studio clothing as seperate pieces of artwork in and of themselves. This is a very good idea. The various materials I see on the various pieces of clothing that I’ve coated with artistic make me think about what was done to create each splatter, and shape, and form. Lately, for palletes, I use paper or stryofoam plates since my latest easel is made to hold those – that makes it a lot easier to keep the pallettes after the painting is done than it used to be when the palletes were expensive items that I typically ended up damaging as I tried to clean them off. It’s a memory jarring thing for us artists. My wife just calls me a pack rat, lol. I might take some digital photos or scans of some pallets and painted clothing sometimes, and create digital works from that. That’s what’s very nice about art – you can recycle ideas, shapes and forms, or elements of various artwork over and over… Infinite possibilities…
I also like keeping old paint brushes. The shapes they can create are likely unique. The same applies to any art instrument or some non-art instruments that can be converted in to art instruments. I love using various items as paint brushes sometimes… Some of the various items I’ve used in the past as a paint brush or brush to apply ink to paper or canvas are tooth picks, old tooth brushes (only use my own for that though so I don’t get a lot of other folks germs, lol), pieces of fabric, sculpey, thumbtacks, branches off of pine trees, pine cones, feathers, blades of grass, nails, screws, and broken light bulbs just to name a few.
I also like to keep a few oddball items around just to play with or to get ideas from… I don’t smoke, but keep a ciggarette lighter in my drawing toolbox sometimes – burnt edges on paper can look neat. I also keep a small handheld mirror or two as well as a full length mirror in the studio to play around with. Knives can be useful for digging layers off of paintings too… or just be neat to look at and draw…
I have one really wicked looking hunting knife in my drawing box that I used to keep in there for protection purposes, not that I ever had to use it. You never know who might come up to you and start bothering you if you are an artist out in the wilderness somewhere at a park or something and are trying to do a pein air painting… I don’t condone violence, but I hear about rapes, murders, and theft in the news way to often to just be out there in the woods by myself on the side of a hiking trail to not have some sort of protection nearby, even if it is just an old cell phone that can be used to call 911.
They say that any cell phone has to legally be allowed to call 911 regardless of whether you still have service on it or not – might not hurt to keep one in your drawing toolbox, basket, book bag, or whatever you use carry around with you to hold your brushes, pencils, or sketchbooks, especially if you are female. In the worst case scenario it could save your life. In the best case scenario it can be useful to call your spouse or significant other to come and pick you up, or to call for a pizza delivery or something. Most cell phones these days have cameras on them – so that is a useful art tool in and of itself, and makes carrying one around with you at all times something you should really think about doing if you are not already.
Here’s an interesting link I found with info on how to create a homemade light box.
I’m not sure if I’ll do something like that or not. I need to get a setup to shoot some descent quality photos of my paintings to get them in to a digital format to have for my own portfolio as well as here on the blog. I do have a couple of pricey 1000 watt lights I bought from Orchelens a couple of years ago for doing this sort of thing, and never opened them yet… I got them because I read online somewhere that some people were using these sort of things to do sort of a photography studio lighting setup on the cheap by cutting the wires off of the front of those suckers. I think the 1k lights are mainly used by construction workers to light up places that they are building that does not have actual lighting installed in them yet, or maybe for farms for some reason since Orchelens main customers are farm folks…. etc.
I am honestly afraid of those things since I suspect they put off a heck of a lot of heat, and also they have this warning label that I didn’t notice at the time I bought them that says something about they having lead in it so it’s a health hazard!… I also have no idea if 1k lights would work too great for this sort of thing, or what sort of lifespan they have – or if you can even replace the lightbulbs in them?!?… Anyone have any ideas on this stuff? What’s your suggestions on how to get images of paintings in to a digital format via a camera? Normal indoor lighting, even with 100 watt light bulbs usually won’t do the trick.
I’m on a budget so can’t afford the expensive lights that real photo studios usually use… although that would be the best bet, obviously.
I’ve read a lot of places that suggest using real sunlight, but I find that sunlight blows things off the charts in light balance sometimes unless it’s positioned perfectly in balance with where the sun is… Also it’s a major pain in the butt to work outside doing this sort of thing because of wind, bugs that are attracted to bright stuff like drawing paper and brightly colored paintings, and then you also have to worry about clouds and rain… clouds can change your lighting almost instantly outdoors. The bug problem is also a problem if you ever create artwork outside. It’s a major pain to try to paint something outside, walk away from the canvas to get a glass of water or something and come back only to find a bug embedded in your paint.