Monday, April 28, 2008

Gallery Painting, I hope...

I'm starting to focus on trying to get my work into galleries, cafes, salons, wherever to attempt to get some exposure. In focusing on this, I realize that I have a very tiny body of themed work...certainly not enough to go in a gallery (maybe a group show, but certainly not a solo exhibition, well anywhere, be it a gallery or coffeehouse.). I'm always trying to do new work for L'Elizabeth R., so I thought I could kill two peasants with one stone. This is another painting based on a series of beautiful photos I found from Kentwell Hall. The lighting at that place (and consequently in the photos) is so pristine, so Vermeer, that I just had to paint it after I was done drooling.

I have a question for you all, now. How close is too close to photo reference? This painting uses the same pose as my reference photo, and the same lighting I somehow lose artistic integrity by painting from someone else's photo? Do I need to buy a good camera and take my own photos to paint from, and will that then make it okay? Or is there nothing wrong with it at all? In school, we were downright scolded for not getting good reference, but we were also not to be slaves to our reference. I don't feel like I was slaving, just maybe that bad? I love the painting, and it seems very much independent of its reference photo....what do you all think?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Line Design

Here are some new shirts I've been working on at work. The skull is a work in progress, inspired by (ripped off from?) Hydro Seventy Four, and the buildings are all contour line drawings then painted in Photoshop. I like these shirts a lot because they are definitely more artistic and unique...not your typical Cal shirts. My boss doesn't think CLC will approve the bear skull, and he's probably right, but at least it's a nice portfolio piece that is new territory for me.
My apologies for not responding to comments in a timely manner. Sorry, guys! I've been very lazy, but rest assured that I appreciate every little comment you leave me :-)

Friday, April 18, 2008


The verdict on the portraits drawn for last faire, Sonora, was that they were too light...too hard to see from afar. I decided to get some practice in, this time using my actual materials, and keeping in mind a couple inspirations I've run across. The first was a portrait of a Black man (a celebrity, but I can't remember who it was now, darn!), that was drawn with passion. The marks were bold and sure. The second inspiration was the movie "Goya's Ghost," which presented Francisco Goya as a kind, effusive, and moral sort, despite his darkly disturbing images we in the present have come to judge his character by. I have no idea how Francisco Goya really was, as a person, but the actor played him as a very likeable fellow. More importantly, the way he drew and painted--bold, passionate, dark, and uniquely. His portraits, I would either say lacked glow (as we find it in human complexion), or contained darkness. His technique was loose, but detailed. He was a master in every sense, but seemed to have gone his own way. And if we have any doubt to his success, remember his portrayal of the Spanish royal family, and that that painting was accepted, paid for, and exists today. Anyway, here are some of my practice drawing, with bolder strokes:

And then there's Rubens:

In flipping through some of my books of old master's drawings, I notice a couple things they do that I am not doing--one is the anatomy of the eye. Look at the way Rubens drew her eyes, in this sketch...every piece is there! This doesn't mean that it always has to be that way (look at Sargent, who somehow implies things with his marks, and they look nearly photographic), but it's a good place to start...especially for drawings of women, which should have the focus on the eyes (a tip from Ryan Woodward I scratched down in my sketchbook back in 2004). Another idea/observation to practice: for women, less lines more tone; for men, more lines and more tone and darker values. Just some thoughts :-).

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Behold, Lauren the Zombie! I did this to get the preciousness out of me about portraits. Last faire, I was drawing SO timidly, afraid to make a mistake, with all those eyes on me, and not wanting to start over. I ended up barely making a mark on the page! This portrait isn't anything at all like what I do or want to do at faire, but it was an extreme go at pushing my comfort level. I'm not sure if my exercise will even help with my nervousness at faire, but maybe if I spend the mornings before we open scribbling and loosening up, I won't be quite so tight when it comes to drawing patrons. Think like Sargent and Goya!

Man, it's an ugly one, ain't it?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Design Time With Miss Lala...

I'm posting up some of the more creative things I've been doing for my part-time gig at Bear Basics, on Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley. I'm the official Bear Basics licenced Cal apparel designer, which is actually kind of cool :-). Some of the designs are pretty basic, but others I get to be more creative with. Who knows if licencing will actually APPROVE these designs, but I think they're pretty cool.

The Bear Basics job is turning out to be great. I work there 2 days a week, and when I'm not crashing the computer (bluescreen today, ouch!), I'm designing shirts and making store signage. I know Illustrator better than I ever thought I would, and am building an apparel design portfolio that may come very in handy when I move back to SJ, and may want to look around to be somebody's employee.

At any rate, I hope you like this vectored side of my work :-). Some of these are based on beer labels, and coats of arms, while others are purely out of my head. Hopefully someday we'll see one or two of these shirts walking around on the street...:-)