Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Transition to Digital

Every time I find a new brush, pen, pencil, or mark maker I get a new wave of excited gitty-ness. I felt exactly this way, but times ten, when I was giving my first bamboo tablet almost a year ago for my birthday. At the time it was just something I would dabble with occasionally but as the months passed I thought about it more and more. Finally I decided that I needed to know how to use it properly. I set out to master the tablet...and it kicked my butt. My most difficult challenge was getting used to making a mark with my hand and looking somewhere else to see the result. Something about that disconnected brushwork troubled my traditional medium brain. I did not give up. My first attempts were...well...first attempts.

I was mainly trying to learn how to use the darn thing. Everything that I spent years on perfecting, like making a straight line, went out the window. There were so many colors and tools to choose from that I didn't know what to do. I either used them ALL or used only ONE. 

I do feel like progress was eventually made. Maybe a little. There is so much more for me to learn! I am both excited and a bit intimidated at how much more I want to accomplish and improve on. Digital painting is not only a new medium for me but also a medium that has made me revisit and re-evaluate what I have learned as a traditional artist. I caved and bought a Cintiq HD13 which has completely resolved my hand to eye disconnect problem but has not made me any better of an artist (which I really hoped it would do considering how much I paid for it). Onward, my trek continues.

As far as traditional mediums, I've been dabbling with Copic and Prismacolor markers :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Light and Shadow

I figured it was time to post some of my progress. This series of work was based off of the Shintoism idea of spiritual embodiment of every day objects. In this ancient Japanese religion all living things (and some non living like mountains and rocks) had spirits. In my recent work i have been depicting and illustrating these spirits.
 Here are some terrible pics of my sketchbook pages~

All three of these images became prints. I decided to use etching, because there is something very satisfying working with zinc and acid. The quality of the line is very fine and because i tend to do a lot of hatching and crosshatching, the medium fit my style.

I really like the way they turned out, the top diptych is called "Light and Shadow" as they are neither good nor bad, but rather opposing spirits of equally important things. I wanted to depict Light as shy and fleeting as it is always changing and moving. Her hair is straight and long like beams of light. Shadow is a lot more bold and daring as she is everywhere. Her hair is curly and flows like the edges of shadows seem to flow. The bottom etching is called "Air" and i wanted her to look like she is taking flight. I got the gradient of the background by doing several layers of aquatint on the plate, which is a process of covering the plate with resin, baking it, and then stopping out all the areas where you don't want the acid to bite. Really fun stuff.

I didn't want to stop there, though. I felt there was something really compelling about the balanced compositions of "Light and Shadow." I liked the idea of the dual portraits, and my mentor suggested that i take up the challenge and make them life-sized paintings. Challenge accepted. 
After many hours of work, i came up with these:
 She is "Light." I wanted her to look tired and worn, as if she has traveled all over the world carrying with her the heaviness of day, I know it is hard to tell from this photo, but there are stars in the background.
 She is "Shadow." I had a lot of fun putting in the red of her hair. Just like the prints, I wanted her to be more outgoing.

Here is the finished product! Each painting is approximately 56 inches by 35 inches in size and the portraits are life-sized.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012


After exhibiting at Catalyst Studios for a while I sold some work:

It was such a fun painting to do. I experimented with several layers of paint and scratching into the surface with my palette knife. It does resemble my current work more than previously and I like that I can see my own evolution.

Catalyst, by the way, is an awesome studio for creative arts such as silks, trapeze, yoga, poi, hoop, bellydancing, and much more. I will be doing more poi seminars with them in the future! More on Catalyst can be found here.

This painting could not have been sold at a better time because I need the funds to support my Europe fund! Yes, that's right, I'm taking my broke ass to Europe. Hopefully I will become world famous....or at least see some cool stuff.

Some art I've been looking at:

Tony OrricoPenwald Drawings, 2010
This guy does amazing symmetrical drawings by drawing simultaneously with both hands. Really stunning work. More here.

Adam S. Doyle, Protect Your Brain Nature & Health Magazine
Fantastic children's book and magazine illustrator. More here.

Alphonse Mucha, Jaroslava Mucha, 1924-25.

 João Ruas " Kaguyahime " (2011) More here.

João Ruas " Dawn II " (2010) More here.

Alright, that is all for now! Cheers! 

Monday, June 6, 2011

SF Day 4: Yoga Tree, Osha Thai, and MoMA

Day 4 started out fairly slowly to allow myself some recuperation time. I never really got used to the three hour time difference so when I normally would be waking up in Charleston at 10am, I was actually waking up at 7am in San Francisco. So for the first time in my life I was waking up and going to sleep at "normal" hours (perhaps I've just always been running in SF terms?). Therefore, by the time San Francisco 10am rolled around and I had already showered and had my complimentary breakfast (I think they put crack in their coffee) I was ready to roam the city. I decided, upon a friend's recommendation, that I should visit the Yoga Tree, a popular yoga studio chain in SF. I took a 10:35 Anusara class with K K Ledford, who was this tiny, far-out lady. She talked to us about this month's planetary alignment, and how all energies will be amplified. So make sure you're not channeling any negative energy this month- good energies only! Anyway, the class itself was very good and I managed, for the first time, to do an actual handstand.

I then ventured forth to the Osha Thai restaurant on 2nd street to meet Steve and Vanessa, his girlfriend. Now I must say I've never been at at restaurant where the service was this intent on serving us. I was actually surprised that they didn't try to spoon feed us our meals! At one point Vanessa got up and while she was gone a waitress actually came over to the table and re-folded her napkin while Steve and I sat silently starting with astonishment. My guess was that they were either really bored or their regional manager was visiting and they needed to get a good review. Anyway, the food was spectacular (yes Steve, I still think our local Taste of Thai is just as good) and they had these really cool elephant sculptures all over the place.
My last endeavor of the day was to go to the San Francisco MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). It was open late on Thursdays so I ended up staying there till about 9:30pm. The special exhibit that was going on at the time was the Steins collection which housed a lot of Picasso and Matisse. Now, I have seen a lot of Picasso and Matisse but it was interesting to see some of their not-so-famous work. Because photography was not allowed I did some sketches instead. The rest of the museum was filled with the fairly standard collection of Modern artists, which was also nice to see. (Sorry for the bad photo quality, there was no flash allowed)
^This one was called "Lick and Lather" by Janine Antoni. One bust was made of chocolate, which she re- sculpted by licking and the other of soap which she re-sculpted by lathering. More on Antoni and her work here.
^Vija Clemins. I love the intimacy and pencil detail in her drawings. This was beautiful to see in person. More on Clemins here.
^Stuart Davis.
^Piet Mondrian. This was another piece that was very interesting to see up close. Although I am not the biggest fan of his non-representational style, what I learned was that even though everything appears to be straight and rigid, all of his brushstrokes are wavy and curved.
^Philip Guston.

My favorite piece I think was one by Picasso during his Rose Period. It is a 1905 oil painting on cardboard titled "Seated Nude." This is the work I did some sketches of and it looks like this:
Except in person the colors look more like this:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

SF Day 3: Japanese Tea Gardens, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Danger Walk

^Das me outside the SF Japanese Tea Gardens.

We managed to get a hold of a car today, which was super nice since both my mentor's and my feet were blown. I was all too excited to visit the Japanese Tea Gardens. I had my obligatory cup of tea (it was delicious), and then totally started geeking out (in a very zen manner) all over the gardens. As a souvenir I bought myself and a friend a pair of those Japanese toe socks, which I plan on wearing on a regular basis.

^There were ponds with Koi fish everywhere. They were very pretty and serene. I liked this photo because of the reflection of the sky.
^Zen garden.
^My yummy tea! Best part of the day hands down.
^The view from the tea house.
^Decorative bridge that everyone enjoyed trying to climb.
^View of one of the ponds and the pagoda.
^One of the waterfalls.
^A fountain I was very fond of outside the giftshop.

Next we drove over to the West Coast to take a gander at the ocean/beach where we took our nature danger walk. We decided that the beach was not hardcore enough and instead went and found some cliffs that used to be old bathhouses (the ruins of which were pretty spectacular) and found a cave to go prowling through. It was really pretty. Wildflowers were blooming everywhere (I might have stolen one or two) and the sun was just coming out. We climbed to the top of a high cliff and from there we could see everything. On the left we had the beach and ocean filled with rocks and caves and to the right we could see the Golden Gate Bridge and the city in the background.

^Old bath house ruins.
^Steve goofing off next to the danger signs.
^Me goofing off next to the danger signs. There was another with a picture of a guy falling off the cliff, that was my personal favorite.
^View from inside the cave.

^The view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
^Very picturesque.

We then went over to the Golden Gate Bridge and decided to walk it because driving would cost $6. It was a gorgeous view but got very windy very quickly. I enjoyed it, but felt that it was a sort of tourist must-see, got some pictures, and headed out. There were also some really ballsy stand-up paddle boarders surfing on the waves under the bridge, we decided that they had to be from an action movie and we named them Ben Afflick and Will Smith.
^Mandatory Golden Gate Bridge photos.
The day ended just as sweetly with a delicious and completely vegetarian meal at Golden Era (which I highly recommend) and some shopping at Anthropologie and Nordstrom.