Wednesday, July 22, 2009

charcoal never dies....

A couple of sketches I did a about a week ago-
This one is of a guitar, eviedently. My guitar. I was just starting off to sketch when I wanted to warm up a bit, and I find that the best way to do it is some rapid sketching. A teacher of mine once taught be about contour sketching- he called it sketching with your eyes. What you do is sketch an object without looking at the paper, but following the lines on the object with your eye and moving your hand on the paper correspondingly. What I observed was that a contour sketch of an object had an amazing feel to it. You never get the proportions right; it takes years to do that. But it looks beautiful in a much more sublte yet energetic way than a regular sketch done by overdrawing and paying attention to detail. Maybe thats what it is- too much attention to detail, which goes wrong. A good artist is not one who paints something exactly as it looks like. If that were true, then the signboard painters who thrive on painting Amitabh Bacchans and Hritik Roshans and Angelina Jolies( occasionally) would be milloinares. I am not saying that what they do is not art; infact, what they do is one of the most difficult things you can ever accomplish, and hats off to them. But art, in its bare sense is a way to express yourselves. And every individual has a different way to do so. It is that original style which an artist has to find, and once he finds it, nurture.
Okay, so we went a bit off track( some call it 'train of thought'. I call it a 'paranoid rambling'.) Anyways, so the sketch. It is not a contour sketch, but it is close enough to it. I was sitting with a charcoal in my hand looking around the room when I saw 'her'. I rushed through the sketch as fast as I could.
The next one I did was supposed to be a study for a painting of a blues guitarist I had in my mind. But halfway through it, I decided to go with the flow than with the plan. Inspired by painting I'd seen before once, on some blog I think, don't quite remember where. But heres how it is-
Again, its charcoal. Anyways, tell me how they are!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The ballad of Curtis Loew.

After I saw the new reference pic of the Different strokes by different folks challenge, I suddenly remembered this beautiful Lynyrd Skynyrd song- The ballad of Curtis Loew. The song is amazing and one of my Lynyrd Skynyrd Favourites. Its a proper country song, with a beautiful story. Thats the best part about country music- its stories. Music is nothing but an effort made to express yourselves. And when the stern tailcoated classical maestroes composed concertos and symphonies in their ivory towers, it was these freespirited country musicians who 'played the guitar just like ringing a bell' sang their ballads telling stories of the people to the people.
Anyways, heres the reference pic-

The song is about a small boy who loves to listen to the dobro( which is a guitar with a resonator, and has a very beautiful sound to it, by the way.) played by an old black man named Cutris Loew. He collects empty soda bottles and cashes them in the country store to give old Curt some money so that he would play for him all day. This small kid is apparently the only audience which Curtis Loew recieves, his reputation among people being that of a worthless drunkard. But the small boy loves him for his music with a loyalty which is fierce and innocent at the same time so much that he calls him the best bluesman ever.
When I saw this pic, I immedietly pictured Curtis Loew sitting on the chair, the dobro in his hands, while the small boy looks on with awe and wonder. I set out to make it with some basic sketches to study the postures of the boy and the man-
I wasn't quite getting the boy's posture right, so I asked my little brother to model for me( he stood mooning at me first, deeply amused and elated at my voluntary request, but then I made him stand the way I wanted to.)

Once I got that right, I started off with the sketch (I decided to do it in graphite.). Heres the end result. How do you think it is?

I am thinking of doing it again with monochrome watercolours. Hope that turns out good.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Of water and colours!

Long time since I blogged. I've been working on a few techniques lately. Especially watercolour. I recently went outdoor painting with an artist in Pune. It was a lot of fun and I learnt quite a few things. Outdoor on the spot sketching and painting requires you have a very good eye and a great command over the medium you are using. You need to be swift and loose while sketching, taking in as much of the detail as you can in a sweep, but not trying to make the sketch look very grand or precise. I decided to use watercolours as my medium. I am a complete illlterate( if you can call it that.) when it comes to watercolours, having worked most of the time with charcoals, pastels and pencils. But after seeing some outdoor watercolour studies of some awesome artists, I decided to give it a shot.
I was pathetic. My brushes were wrong, perspectives crappy and when something seemed to turn out fine, one loose brush stroke sent a gust of water on the good part, ruining the effect. One of the reasons watercolour attracts me is because it is such a lightening fast medium. You have to work with the flow, fast, mixing colours on paper. And there was where I was going wrong. Being accustomed to work on detail, I concentrated more on one part of the painting, the result being that some entities on the painting would be reasonably good, while the remaining parts went wrong.
Flared up by the eminent failure in the task, I went on practising. The first thing I did was changed my paper and brushes. I got a handmade watercolour paper which holds water for a longer time. My brushes were old and starting to fall apart, so I got new natural ones. I went on observing other watercolour artists, and concentrated on the technique more than the end result. Here are a few studies-

Landscapes are a beautiful genre and watercolour landscapes are amazing to work upon. And exceedingly difficult. After many attempts, I did this one for the Different strokes from different folks challenge, but didn't post it because the challenge ended before I could do a version which satisfied me. Here it is-

One more landscape which I did yesterday, to study some wash techniques-

These are some of the paintings I did in the last few days. I was too bored to upload them then. But today I decided to do it atlast. I'm having a lot of fun with watercolours nowadays and I can't wait to go back to Pune again and do some more outdoor painting.

Of guitars and paintbrushes....(and a few other things too) Headline Animator