Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dark Days, no more.


I received an amaryllis bulb from a co-worker back in the day and it would bloom once every year and then sink back into it's pot and appear to be dead until the next year. I always thought it was funny. As I was researching this one I kept thinking of how weird it was that all of the blooms come out of one stalk. All of the sketches I was doing looked strange, and after thinking about it for a while I decided to create an abstracted 6-blossom version from the top down. (I realize this isn't entirely accurate, whoops). Still, I was happy to make something that looks like I had a bunch of little twigs and curly doo-dads falling from the sky.

I always make my patterns at night, so they also all seem to have some kind of dark quality to them. Maybe it's that combined with the darkness of winter. I'm looking forward to the sun staying out longer and longer in the next month. It's exciting to have a little bit of sunshine still going on when I leave work!

I got to spend a little bit of today talking with a really nice new friend about internships at Light Grey Art Lab. She's great and I'm really enjoying spending (even a little) bit of time with these new friends. It's nice to meet people that are just as much into making art as I am. It's not often that I meet people that have kept up an insane amount of interest in working on personal projects. Maybe it's just that everyone is hunkered down in their own studios and just cranking away.

The more I think about it, I'm almost positive that's what it has to be, and with these Minnesota winters, I'm sure no one wants to venture out into the cold to go anywhere, let alone carry their supplies with them to the corners of the earth.

Even though it is starting to get a little warmer and a little sunnier outside, I have yet to see everyone come out of hibernation and out into the world. I'm really looking forward to it. In fact, I'm craving it. Spring is so close I can taste it.... Come on, weather. Come on.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tomato-red Clusters

Clusters of Guarana Berries

I was inspired by vintage wallpaper and a weekend trip to H&M. I think I've been seeing this tomato red color everywhere and I absolutely LOVE it. In fact, I tried to convince Chris to buy some pants this color. It's cheery and vibrant and I think it may be one of my new favorite colors.

And here's it repeated!

It's been interesting trying to fit everything in to my schedule these days. I'm gearing up for helping out at Light Grey Art Lab with a couple new shows this spring and I'm juggling teaching at MCAD. I'm half way into a 6 week class on Advanced Pattern Development for the continuing education program (which has been awesome and inspirational, by the way) and it's inspired me to try all these new ways to put together a repeat.

I've been thinking for a while now that I'd really like to publish a book on all of my pattern-making methods. Francesca and I have talked about it for at least 6 months now -- on and off -- fantasizing about a time when we'll have a free minute to put it together! The nice thing is that even though I'd need a chunk of time to design it, I'm gathering more and more content by teaching this advanced class! Many of the methods have been really eye opening and exciting.

The beginning of spring is always full of work, extra curricular activities and loads and loads of planning. I think it's me waking up from my long, dark hibernation during the winter months!

The sketch before repeating

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Making Progress

Progress on the color so far! - Second layer of blues layered in

Ok, so I decided to go for something super complex this time - not really in the way that the pattern is made, but the technique that I'm using to paint it. I'm trying watercolor out for the first real time since high school and it's been... interesting.
I wanted to show you a little bit of what I'm working on though it isn't a repeating pattern quite yet.

I have plans for a Damask pattern -- as you can see I'm working on the diamond shape right now. I've set it up so it'll be fairly easy to repeat once I have the whole painting complete. I'll just have to tile it up and let it go!

It's been exciting. I've been making this while watching Discovery Channel documentaries on mount Everest (thrilling and terrifying!) and plugging away at it after I teach night class. I don't think I have much left to do, but once I get it finished up, I'll make sure to post it!

Just for fun you can see a little bit of my coloring process here!

First Layer of Blues

Preliminary Underpainting

So far I'm just using burnt umber and prussian blue (at least I think that's the blue I'm using!) to do all of the lighting and shadows. I've got this on hot press watercolor paper, too, which I usually just use for ink washes. It's been really interesting.
It looks pretty dark in the first photo (my most recent photo), but this morning I looked at it again and the color had faded a little. I'm not sure if it was just the lighting or the way the paint works!

I'm really looking forward to coloring it to look like an old hand-painted photograph. You know the one's I'm talking about? Sepia colored photos with a little bit of color? That's it!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pointy Saguaro


This flower was a challenge for me - mostly because, as I was looking up the Saguaro cactus for reference, I saw that the blooms cluster in these bizarre families around the tops of the cacti. I liked the green blooms so much that I wanted them to be a major part of this pattern.

Here's a never ending field of Saguaro blossoms! (with a little pointy bit here and there!)

It was super late as I was finishing this up last night. I had run out of Pandora stations and started watching documentaries about North Korea. I'm not sure how that happened, but I now know a lot.

Thank you, National Geographic.

In any case, what was hardest about this pattern was trying to create an interesting repeat. Granted, what I did is not the most innovative, it was still a challenge trying to make this one look kind of natural without it looking like a polkadot! I think it turned out alright!