A Beastly Sketch

Art

I’m always promoting the act of sketching. Not every drawing should be a finished piece and we should all learn to sketch out of habit as a way of learning, as a way of reflecting and as a way of observing the world around us.

The more we draw, the better we get at 99% of art forms. Period. Sketch for sketching sake.

That being said, I’m not always great at following my own advice. Do as I say, not as I do – yada, yada, yada.

I get it. If you’re like me, you want every sketch to lead to something grand. Something more than a fleeting thought. Ultimately, something more than a sketch!

But sketches are meant to be unfinished – that’s what makes them magical! Because documenting fleeting, unfinished thoughts on paper help us learn which direction we want to go in and can sometimes lead to the grandest ideas of all.

One of my resolutions for 2018 is to sketch more. Fearless sketching, totally unafraid of the prospect that some sketches will end up being nothing more than a few hasty scribbles on a piece of paper.

This weekend I held true to my resolution and flipped through my sketchbook pages rapidly, producing a number of very quick, very rough drawings. I drew ideas as fast as they came to me. And through this process, found some inspiration.

Portraiture. Faces. Taking a break from inanimate objects (which I do so love) and focusing back on the living and breathing.

Feeling inspired, I kept sketching. And actually did create a sketch I deemed worth sharing:

I love “Beauty and the Beast” and was drawn to capturing Beast’s half-human nature. (Admittedly, humanoid creatures have always been a fascination of mine.)

Because of this care-free sketch-session I’m feeling more inspired than I have weeks. Thank goodness I received a pile of sketchbooks for Christmas!

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FOR THE LOVE OF SNOW

Art

Words cannot explain how excited I was to have a white Christmas this year! With all the Christmases of my childhood having been buried under several feet of snow, the green holidays we have experienced lately have left me feeling – ironically – a tad blue.

This year in New York, much to my excitement, we were surprised with a dusting Christmas Eve which continued through Christmas morning.

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Those of us who had the pleasure of growing up in chillier climates know that to a child, snow is just about one of the most wonderful things there is, especially around the holidays. Snow days, sledding, building snow people… the possibilities are truly endless!

Combining the everyday magic of the element with my excitement for this year’s beautifully white Christmas, I was inspired to create my most recent colored pencil drawing:

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Living in a seriously snowy region, a favorite pastime of the adults in my community is complaining about the winter weather. “It’s difficult to drive in,” “I hate shoveling,” “I’m freezing,” etc., etc. Another beautiful thing dissected and tarnished by the pessimistic eye of adulthood.

In this drawing, I was aiming to capture the love of snow that some of us (myself included) have managed to hold onto into adulthood and perhaps remind others that even as adults, we can still find magic in our everyday lives.

 

HOLIDAY NUTTINESS

Art

It’s the most amazing (and simultaneously most frantic) time of the year! With Thanksgiving tomorrow and Christmas on the horizon, words can’t express my excitement for this season. Food, drink, family and tradition, the holidays possess their own special form of magic.

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With so many recipe and craft posts ahead, I’m ringing in Thanksgiving 2017 with a whimsical colored pencil sketch of an acorn.

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Truthfully, I’ve always found acorns to be 1. adorable and 2. quite whimsical. I tend to imagine them as nature’s lockets, with secrets hidden underneath their quilt-patterned caps.

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As a matter of fact, this drawing isn’t the first time an acorn has appeared in my work. You can spy an unfinished embroidery piece in the photo below:

Part of the appeal of drawing this ‘corn was the color challenge. As I mentioned in my last art-post, featuring a fanciful cuppa coffee, I love finding all of the variations of brown in subject matter that most tend to view as monochromatic. Because when you learn to really look,  you find so many more colors than just brown in the shell of an acorn or within the depths of your whipped cream topping.

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I’ve also been spending time reading Gregory Maguire’s latest novel, “Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker” and believe that the book’s story subconsciously influenced my decision to spend time drawing a nut. (Or at least, that’s the rationale I’m going with.)

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Either way, this little acorn is a symbol of whimsy and a perfect mental transition for me between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Here’s to wishing everyone a simply splendid Thanksgiving! I can’t wait to celebrate this magical season ahead.

 

Capturing Cozy

Art

If you’ve been following my recent posts, you’ll know that the insanity of wedding planning combined with home renovations and our attempts to sell our house has driven me to the Nordic concept of hygge, which is (simply put) the belief in coziness and simple pleasures. Let’s just say I’m trying to keep myself as calm as possible during what has been both the most exciting and most stressful time of my life.

While this has translated to the design of our newly-renovated house, I’m also seeing this hyggelig inspiration crop up in my artwork. Most recently, in this colored pencil drawing of a hot latte:

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While I’m not one to turn down an alcoholic beverage (trust me, I like my craft beer), there is undoubtedly something special about a hot cup of coffee. Ironically, coffee consumption has sky-rocketed in our household during the last few months as a means of keeping ourselves calm. Relevant side note: most of the coffee being consumed is now decaffeinated.

So for this piece’s inspiration I’m writing down 1. hygge 2. coffee (obviously) and 3. the fact that I’m one of those annoying people that’s already excited for the holiday season (I know, I know – but I can’t help it!). I’m already dreaming about sipping hot beverages in front of the fire while simultaneously gazing fondly at the adorned Christmas tree.

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This piece was also a fun challenge, forcing me to pick out the different tones of cream and brown found in a frothy latte – considerably more fun when you have a widely-varied colored pencil set to get the job done!

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Between the combination of the impending winter months and my obsession with cozy I predict there may be a new series coming on!

Wedding Dreams and Flower Crowns 

Art

In the midst of all the wedding planning, I keep finding myself coming back to the dress, the flowers and all the girly things you would expect a 23-year-old artist to come back to.

While my fiancé and I have been focusing on nailing down all of the large commitments first, it’s been all too fun for me to browse through image after image of flower bouquets, table settings and flower-inspired fashion – all of which remind me of one of my most recent drawings.

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Ever since I started drawing with the Premier-grade Prismacolor pencils, I’ve been particularly attracted to hair. I thought it would be fun to do a drawing featuring a hairstyle, excluding the face and featuring a whimsical flower crown. To me, this was perfect summer subject matter (and I am, if nothing else, a creature of the seasons).

 

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Even though we are planning a fall wedding, I’m very much still planning on a classic, “magical” vibe and hope to incorporate a lot of flowers into this theme.

And while the wedding planning has been temporarily put on hold due to home-improvement/moving ventures, I’ve still had plenty of time to daydream about the big day and wrap my mind up in flowers and all kinds of pretty things!

Don’t be too surprised if you see much more wedding-inspired artwork from this bride-to-be!

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Drawing a Real Live Fairy: The Luna Moth

Art

Animal imagery is by far my favorite subject matter for drawing, especially that which can inspire a sense of magic. One particular species that has captured my attention over the years is the luna moth.

If you’ve ever seen one #IRL then you will understand my fascination. For those of you who haven’t, then what you have to understand is that seeing a luna moth is like seeing a real live fairy. Even in the pitch black of night, they positively glow, emitting a soft light as they fly through the air. Truly, you’ve never seen anything like it.

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My comparing luna moths to fairies stretches back to my undergraduate years, during which I time I created a piece that commented on the role science has played in the demise of myth. The piece (seen below) features a repeat silkscreen pattern of a luna moth, meant to mimic a butterfly board, with a 3D soft-sculpture fairy pinned to the center. The fairy, which symbolizes the death of myth and magic in the modern world, is adorned with a luna moth printed on his chest.

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I recently revisited the luna moth, in a cheerier, simpler piece, and was excited to tackle the variety of greens found in their wings with my Prismacolor pencils. I surprised myself, finishing this drawing rather quickly, all the while immensely enjoying blending the colors together with the blending tool. Although wing symmetry proved to be a bit daunting at first, the beautiful things about nature is that it’s rarely ever perfect!

Check out the finished drawing below:

The Fox and the Hare

Art

So I started this project a while ago, back when the big snowstorm hit the Northeast in March. As I watched the snow come pouring down by the foot, I turned my artistic eye to the future of spring and warm weather, and landed upon the idea of another fox-inspired piece, this time in my current media of choice: colored pencil.

As long as I can remember, the fox has always been one of my favorite animals. In fact, at a young age I used to beg my parents to buy me a fox costume similar the one worn by one of the lost boys in Disney’s “Peter Pan!”

The drawing you see now is the result of a combination of this fox-love and an image that inspired me on Pinterest.

Andy laughs every time I show him this drawing, reminding me that foxes and lagomorphs don’t play well together, and pointing out that the photograph I found was probably featuring a predator sleeping with its prey. Despite this bit of scientific fact, I wanted my drawing to display the opposite, providing viewers with a sense of tranquility.

Looking upon this piece, I wanted people to believe that these two creatures could be curled up together in the forest, not as diner and dinner, but as unlikely friends.

I can only hope that the radial symmetry, texture and color palette of this drawing have had this desired effect. I know that this piece certainly helped me through a storm (literally) and it might even find its way into my office space at work.

Celebrating the DVD Release of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Art

The magic is back: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them releases on DVD today! The last four months have certainly dragged – but we all know that it was well worth the wait.

Even though I know you’re very busy, out frantically shopping for your copy and consequently watching the film overandoverandover again, I’d like to take a minute and share with you my latest Beasts piece.

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We all remember Dougal the Demiguise right? The crazy, kind of scary but also incredibly cute creature that can turn invisible and see the future? If not, here’s a quick memory jogger:

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He’s also the first Beast alluded to in the film, as our first look at Newt Scamander shows him speaking to Dougal through his magical case:

This sketch was one of the first I completed upon receiving my Prismacolor pencil set and I was having a lot of fun combining grey and purple tones.

I’m liken to think it has character – very much like the character as a matter of fact!

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But that’s enough about me – get the popcorn going, it’s time to re-watch this film!

Talking about Rococo, Tea Cups and “Beauty and the Beast”

Art, Pop Culture

“Beauty and the Beast” releases in theaters today and dear God I couldn’t be more excited! Although I may not be able to make it to the theater for a few more days, I’d like to celebrate this happy day with my latest art piece, a colored pencil drawing inspired by the Rococo art period, a movement that is very much visible in “Beauty and the Beast.”

First thing is first: what is Rococo? Having been an art major in college, I took my fair share of art history courses and would be more than happy to fill you in.

While most of us have at least heard of movements such as Impressionism (You know, the blurry French paintings? Monet?) or Cubism (think Picasso)  the term Rococo isn’t quite as mainstream.

An art period that unfolded in late 18th century France, Rococo strongly concentrated on light and very much intricate detail. You may be familiar with this piece, “The Swing” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard:

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Well, at least you’ve probably seen it here:

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(Needless to say, Rococo is a wee bit flirtatious).

If not, perhaps you’ve seen my personal favorite of the period “The Embarkation for Cythera” by Jean-Antoine Watteau.

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Either way, you get the picture.

Rococo. It’s light, its airy, it’s pink-hued and it’s intricately detailed. It’s also a style which I’m very much reminded of as I eagerly await the release of  Disney’s live-action”Beauty and the Beast.”

Debate among Disney-enthusiasts has not yet revealed a conclusive answer as to whether or not the fairy tale is meant to be set in the Baroque or Rococo time period. Either way, we know it’s French and it’s beautiful, and maybe that’s all we really need to know.

All of which brings me back to main point, which is to share with you my latest drawing, inspired by “Beauty and the Beast” aesthetics.

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Although they’re no Mrs. Pots and Chip, these tea cups stand up in their own right (literally and metaphorically speaking).

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Inspired by an image I came across on Pinterest, I loved blocking in the variety of colors with Prismacolor pencils.

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The smooth texture was later achieved by blending the pigments together with a blending pencil.

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Hopefully you find this drawing inspiring – I know you’re just excited about tonight’s movie release as I am – and stay tuned for future “Beauty and the Beast” inspired artwork!

(Something tells me there is going to be a lot of it.)

Sketch for Inspiration, Not Perfection

Art

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time drawing with and talking about Prismacolor Premier pencils. While I’ve already shown you my latest hedgehog drawing, today I’m featuring a 45 minute sketch that actually pre-dated the hog.

I titled the piece “Expelling Evil” and, admittedly, it is way outside my usual subject matter and artistic vibe. It all started with a silhouette of a woman’s face, before then transitioning into experimenting with the wide range of colors featured in the pencil set. (Hence the purple-blue hair and bright red lips.)

I’m sharing this drawing not because it is one of my greatest works, but because it is a sketch in the purest sense of the word. While drawing, I reached a point where I gave up thinking about the piece and instead let my hand just draw.

As an artist, it is so, so, SO important to avoid getting caught up in your own mind. To do so would be to become crippled with over-thinking and not allow for your artistic instincts to reveal new perspectives of your creative mind.

Even if a drawing doesn’t turn out quite how you imagined it, there is so much value to be gained from trying new things. Much more value than if you were to draw the same thing over and over agin perfectly.

So get out there and drawing something new. Draw something ugly. Draw to discover a new side of yourself and to re-discover your inspiration.