Posted tagged ‘create’

How to Draw from a Poor Photograph

January 4, 2013
"Riley and CJ" by Tiana Kaczor, Fall 2012, pastel and conte.

“Riley and CJ” by Tiana Kaczor, Fall 2012, pastel and conte.     Click on images to view larger.

I had a commission that was a Christmas present, so could not post it online until after the holiday. I am now at liberty to share this work with you.

“Riley and CJ” posed a problem for me as I usually work from photographs that show enough detail so that I can create quite a realistic art piece. However the photo that was provided to me was very pixelated. I am not an artist who usually draws from my imagination, except in my private sketchbook, so I would not want to take artistic licence with this commission and just “make up” the details. Instead I decided to try a different style, working like the Impressionists with dots and dashes of colour, and a different medium, chosing pastels and conte. The client agreed to my style change and I set off to create a realistic drawing of a pixelated photo.

Tiana's process of drawing Riley from photo and photocopy.

Tiana’s process of drawing Riley from photo and photocopy.

“Work with what you’ve got.” is a rule I follow a lot in my artmaking. Whether it’s taking whatever materials I can find to make an assemblage instead of buying special sculpture supplies, or using the qualities of a photograph to determine the detail and style of the image when put into a different medium like paint or pastel. Kind of a bit like that saying “When the world gives you lemons make lemonade,” isn’t it?

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Tiana and Warriors on SHAW TVs go! Vancouver

October 12, 2012

Stephen Miller and I were interviewed for “go! Vancouver” the morning of the BC Lions Society’s Terracotta Warrior Banquet and Auction. You can find the segment at the 3:55 mark in the video, after the yoga studio segment. I’m always surprised how long it takes to shoot a TV show or film. In this case I was there for over an hour, getting wired up, walking through different shots, and answering the questions. Thank you to Mana Mansour and her videographer for making this a fun experience.

Grand Prix competition piece for sale

October 5, 2012
Tiana creates during Steveston's Grand Prix of Art 2012

Tiana creates during Steveston’s Grand Prix of Art 2012

A couple weekends ago I competed in Steveston’s Grand Prix of Art. We were told our location only minutes before the race, and then had 3 hours to complete a finished work of art, whether it be drawing or painting. http://grandprixofart.com/?p=890

This is the first time I’ve ever entered a plein air competition and decided to keep things less messy by using conte and pastels instead of paint. The weather was rather chilly and an hour into the race my fingers started to freeze up. Luckily my parents came by and brought me a hot chocolate. Thanks also to Eva at Cannery Cafe for offering to bring me something hot.

"Pieces and Points" conte and pastel, 8x12, for sale $200 framed, $170 mat only.

“Pieces and Points” conte and pastel, 8×12, for sale $200 framed, $170 mat only.

It was great creating on the streets of Steveston as it gave me direct contact with the public; art can be such a solitary activity a lot of the time, working away in ones studio. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to take a peek at my picture and encourage me to finish in the 3 hour time limit. It wasn’t easy working so fast with no break but I did finish “Pieces and Points” just as the Cannery horn blew to signal the stop of the race. The title was chosen because the store Pieces is in my drawing, and points refers to the pointillism style I used, which turned out to look a bit like snow falling. (Maybe that was subliminal because I was cold!)

Tiana at her station on Moncton for the Steveston Grand Prix

Tiana at her station on Moncton for the Steveston Grand Prix

My 8″ x 12″ pastel and conte drawing of Moncton Street titled “Pieces and Points”  is for sale at $200 framed, or $170 with just the mat.

Beginners Watercolour Lesson – Form and Value

August 11, 2012

I don’t think I’ve ever posted and art lesson on my blog, but I realized the other day that there are a lot of people on the internet looking for instruction on the web, including myself. I often turn to the internet to search for lesson ideas, whether I use them directly, or indirectly when they spark an idea of my own. I’ve also learned a few things from my students this week and thought I would share that with people outside the classroom.

Cherries watercolour value notes

Cherries watercolour value notes

I’ve been teaching an adult watercolour class one evening a week, and this week also did 4 days in a row of a teen class and a pre-teen (9 to 12-year-old) class. I know there are many teachers (including myself) who believe in letting the creativity flow freely out of their students. Give them the materials, a subject, and let them go to it. However, I realized this week that direct, step by step instruction is often a better way for students to learn. This was highly evident when I worked on a First Nations reserve and we implemented a teacher directed reading program. Teacher does something and then the students copy it. My adult watercolour students this week said they learned more when I painted the steps and they followed along than when I just told them some tips and let them work through the process themselves.

For the 4 day week-long class for the children I broke the lessons down into 3 areas: colour, form and value, and texture and pattern. Here is the warm up for the form and value day:

Watercolour cherries– Perfect for this time in summer when the fruit is ripe, however I did not bring in real cherries but asked the students to paint from memory. Cherries are a basic circle that they can easily practice layering paint on to make the objects appear three dimensionally round.

Watercolour value notes from class painted examples.

Watercolour value notes from class painted examples.

1. Pencil draw 3 circles. Overlap one. Draw stems, straight lines that go a little into the top of the circles. Draw a “happy face smile” curve under the stem line for the top dimple on the cherry.

2. Mix some blue purple. Add lots of water to make it a light value. Paint loosely, and quickly inside the pencil drawn cherry using U shaped strokes, not straight strokes which would flatten the object. Leave a tiny dot or two of white paper showning – this is the shine on the cherry.

3. Repeat the painting step 3 to 4 more times, each time making the purple less watered down and thus darker. Paint further towards the edges of the cherry with each darker colour. Also remember where your light source is – one side of the cherry will be darker than the other. Letting the paint dry between each layer will keep the shades seperate. Painting the layers quickly while each is still wet will cause the shades to flow into each other. This can make smoother tansitions between the values, but can also be hard to control and if too wet the colours will run all over the place. Practice both ways.

After the cherries I let the students try other objects of their own choosing. They painted apples, oranges, grapes, cut watermelon… I was hungry for lunch and painted hamburgers and hot dogs! All levels from adult to child enjoyed this exercise. I had a teen who even practiced it the next day when she had some time near the end of the class. I also had a parent come to me and tell me how impressed they were with their child’s painted cherries.

If you try this exercise please let me know how it went and whether this quick lesson description gave enough detail. I also must give a credit of thanks to Alwyn Crawshaw, as a couple of his books gave me some help in planning this lesson.

Do You Suffer From Career Complacency?

June 5, 2012

Last week, Mike, a fellow musician, posted a link to a podcast that talked about career complacency. I’m not one to spend a half hour listening to something online, but I did this time, and I went further to find where the text version was (by Scott Dinsmore), and to see the trailer for a film being made on the subject (“I’m Fine, Thanks”). I encourage everyone who has ever had the thought “I wish I were doing something I love,” or “I wish I could be an artist, musician, dancer, architect, astronaut …” to go and check out these sites.

What is true to your heart? What gives you a creative high? Don’t be content to just float through life, spread your wings and soar! What an amazing world this would be if we all decided to try our best to live our dreams instead of just doing what others tell us is practical and realistic. It’s hard to get out of our daily routine, but I would like to try. How about you?

Here are the sites:  http://liveyourlegend.net/   Read the post:

How Complacency Killed the College Graduate (& the American Dream) + What YOU Can Do

Then go to this site to see the trailer, and maybe donate, to the feature length documentary about complacency called “I’m Fine, Thanks”  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cranktank/im-fine-thanks

 

The Value of Tiana’s Terracotta Warrior

May 14, 2012

Here are some facts about my process for painting my Terracotta Warrior “Wu Chang”.

I spent at least 135 hours painting the sculpture. There were days I’m sure when I was so tired I forgot to record the hours in my sketchbook. So, it might have even been 150+ hours of painting.

I spent approximately 10 hours of prep which included accepting the delivery, moving the sculpture upstairs and down, sanding and washing, and painting the 2 coats of gesso.

I spent about 6 hours at the Vancouver Art Gallery and Richmond Brighouse libraries doing research.

I spent an unknown number of hours reading, discussing, searching the internet, sketching and planning, and being interviewed for promotion in the local media (Thank you, Richmond News).

Grand total is a minimum of 175 hours.

I got paid $1000, and I bought my own supplies. This means I made about $5.71 an hour before expenses. Of course my labour is a donation to the BC Lions Society, but I think it’s important for those bidding on the sculpture this Fall to know what would be a good starting bid. If I base my pay scale on what I make as a teacher then the warrior should be sold for no less than $5075.00  ($29 per hour x 175). And this doesn’t even take into consideration the cost the sponsor (City of Richmond) put out to make the fibreglass sculpture and all the time and effort the BC Lions Society put into organizing this fundraising event.

Sketchbook Map of Back Textile Patterns

Sketchbook Map of Back Textile Patterns. click on image for bigger view.

Finished back of Wu Chang in Tiana's studio.

Finished back of Wu Chang in Tiana’s studio.

 

Terracotta Warrior Painting Process

March 26, 2012
Tiana Paints "Wu Chang's" Head

Tiana Paints "Wu Chang's" Head

I’m in the home stretch, but probably have a good week more of painting until my warrior, Wu Chang, is finished. Like the eagle I did with James Whiteside Elementary a couple years ago this sculpture is also going to be very colourful and detailed. Why do I do this to myself? Such a lot of work. But so far those that have taken a sneak peak in my studio have raved about my collage of patterns on Wu. It’s like he has travelled through time to show us a collection of designs from over 2000 years of Chinese history.