Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Spring Show

Well the spring semester has ended! I've been in school for one full year now. It seems so long ago that first day when we were stressing out about drawing our sphere. :)

The Academy of Art Spring Show is running now, showing the best student work from the year:

when: May 23 through July 25, 2008, 10am-6pm, (closed Sundays and Holidays)
where: Academy of Art University

601 Brannan Street (at 5th St.)

San Francisco, CA 94107

I really recommend going to the show. I went to see the entries for Fine Arts, and there are some amazing pieces. It should be interesting because of the range of fields like art, illustration, fashion, animation, etc. The facility is pretty kid-friendly, and there is a lot of 2 hour parking near the Caltrain Station on Townsend between 4th and 6th.

It would be fun if we could get a group of people to go together on a Saturday. I'll coordinate, so email me if you are interested.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

HW #4 - The Masha Objects

For our final homework in still-life painting, we had to find a still-life by some master artist, then try to copy the composition, lighting, and painting style. I chose my favorite still-life artist, the 18th century French painter Chardin. This is the painting I chose:

Chardin's still-lifes aren't as complex or photorealistic as, say, the Dutch masters. But his paintings have a wonderful feeling of light and space. I was actually trying to get this effect in my HW #2, with unsuccessful results.

This fourth assignment is composed of objects found entirely at Marta and Pasha's house. :) I had run out of interesting objects in my apartment, and they have an abundance of cool stuff. For some reason I wasn't that motivated to do this painting (probably end-of-the-semester burnout), but it turned out extremely well. This one finally looks like a "real" painting. My reflective teapot painting is nice, but I always thought it was kind of flat. This last one starts to have that quality of light and space that I've been looking for throughout the semester.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

High Key / Low Key

In consecutive weeks we were to do a 'high key' painting, and a 'low key' one. 'High key' simply means that the painting consists mainly of lighter values, and 'low key', darker values. I really struggled with the high key one. Part of the problem is that I didn't get much sleep the night before, and all my colors and shapes seemed to be off. But the main problem was trying to paint in light colors. I usually start with the darkest values, which in this case is a middle value. However this leaves only half the value range usable, which is very constricting. In particular I found it very difficult to go lighter, since many colors were so close to white already.

In contrast, low key is very easy, and this is one of my best in-class paintings. My prof really liked the bottles on the left side. I like the way the green bottle fades into the background. The brass vase, though, is really weak.

Friday, May 9, 2008


This didn't turn out super good, but I'm posting it anyway because it's interesting, and it's a nice break from those tiresome still lifes. Our final assignment for Anatomy is a two figure composition. I've had this idea floating around in my head for awhile now about a 'modern Annunciation'. The Annunciation shows up in a lot of Renaissance paintings, and depicts the angel appearing before the Virgin Mary to tell her that she is pregnant. I wanted to show Mary in a contemplative reclining position, with the angel sweeping around her.

I can't really draw figures from memory, so I had to find two photos that had the correct poses, which actually took quite some time. Placing them in position was fun, but I had to be careful to get the relative sizes correct. I was constrained a bit by the fact that we were supposed to show as much as the figure as possible. If I ever do a painting of this, it will be a lot more cropped in, and with more overlap. Also, again to show as much of the figure, I only put a hint of the angel's wings.

I think the angel turned out pretty well, but Mary is a bit stiff. Also the light around the angel really makes him stand out, but Mary is sort of fading into the background. It's been awhile since I worked on charcoal paper, and I'm a bit rusty. But also working purely in value has always been difficult for me. But it's a good exercise, because value is very important. In a color painting, you can differentiate by color, but if the values of those colors are too close, it can detract from the effect. The overall value pattern is important. One of my profs said that you should be able to take a black and white photo of a color painting, and it should still look good.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Complex Setup

We inherited some pretty complex setups from the previous class. The issue with these is mainly time management - trying to get everything done before class finishes. I'm pretty happy with how this one turned out. I've been wanting to paint that blue and white vase for awhile, and I think the old teapot turned out pretty well also. The flowers (supposedly chrysanthemums) are only marginally successful, but it's good to get in a few attempts before we do florals the last week of class.