30 June 2012

Studio: A Star is Born!

It was way too hot for the attic studio today, so I had to relocate...

It was 100 degrees yesterday (in PA!) and it probably was again today for all I know. Luckily, the Sketchbook Project is a bit more portable than my paints! Today I worked on the cover of the sketchbook from the air-conditioned comfort of my living room chair.

I started off with a template I made in Adobe InDesign...

Then I drew my star shape using the lines as a guide to make sure I stayed straight.

You can't have all the little pieces connected, otherwise you'd just have a big hole in the cover, so I tried to leave some space in between. After the outline was done, I filled it in with pencil...

This will help when I go to transfer it to the sketchbook. I flipped over the page and traced my outline with a black Pitt Artist pen so I could see it more clearly.

Then I transferred it to the sketchbook cover, pressing hard enough for the pencil underneath to create lines on the cover, which I again outlined with the black pen.

Next was the cutting, which unfortunately didn't go as smoothly as I'd hoped! The tip of my exacto knife broke off, and I had some near misses in cutting out the pieces. But overall it wasn't a total disaster. I colored in the star in the middle with black pens to cover up some of the lines I missed.

The star in the center is very fragile... In retrospect, I should have left more room between the pieces, but I'll know better the next time I try something like this. I will probably add a thin sheet of vellum underneath to lend more stability and create a frosted window effect.

The first page of the book will be one of my starscape watercolors showing through the window, which means I'm going to have to add watercolor paper to the book. When I unbind it, I'll be adding two sheets of watercolor paper: one just under the cover and another as a centerfold. Then I'll paint the cover with an indigo blue watercolor wash and rebind the book with metallic embroidery floss.

Next week I break out the watercolors!

25 June 2012

Monday Night Studio!

I know, it's odd for me to have it on a Monday, but I'm on vacation until Thursday. Most of my weekend has been spent out in the sun, shopping and building a new bookshelf/cabinet for my master bedroom. So I didn't get up to the attic until tonight...

Tonight I did the last of my canvas panels... There's a dark purple which will most likely be for Hera...

As well as a lavender that may be for one of the muses, probably Melpomene...

A pale pink...

And a red-violet...

So now I have a full spectrum of colored backgrounds to scan in and use for my digital collages. I like having a hybrid of digital and traditional art, since it lets me have the best of both worlds. I can't do just one or the other! I'll be sure to work on the Sketchbook project stuff while I'm scanning, so there will be something to look at here until the series is ready to start the next stage in the process.

Also, on one of my shopping expeditions, I found this lovely little book that will lend itself nicely to the astro-mythology theme... only $10 and old enough to be in the public domain!

More to come soon!

20 June 2012

Solstice: App Recipe

Happy Summer Solstice everyone!

I was inspired to do an App Recipe for the occasion... Check out the Recipe Book Project at http://www.clearerreflections.com/ for more great recipes!

I started with another dictionary page, this time for the word Sol. (That old dictionary was the best buck I ever spent!)

I took that into Image Blender (85/15 blend) with this NASA picture of the Sun.

And then took the resulting image into Image Blender with a diagram from an old book (5/95 blend) to get this...

After that, I put it into Photo Toaster > Supreme > Heirloom...

Next, I put it into Pic Grunger > Scratched (50%, Studio Style), Iris > Surface > Splatter and Photo Forge > Auto Balance: Exposure with Frame 08.

And here's the result!

16 June 2012

Saturday Night Studio!

Another Saturday Night Studio to beat the heat... It's supposed to be back above 90 degrees again soon and it got close today.

Today I worked on oranges, browns & whites. This is the dark brown... not sure who this one belongs to yet.

And then a nice yellow ochre/tan color to round out my palette of neutrals...

This fiery red-orange will be for Hephaestus...

And this more yellow-orange color will be for Hestia.

I also made my "metallic whites." They were pretty hard to photograph, but I tried anyways.

The white-gold is on the left and the white-silver is on the right... I painted the already white canvas panels with titanium white and added drops of liquid metallic acrylics as I was brushing on the white paint. Then I added some texture with the metallics, and gave a light wash of white over top of that for a muted look that still matches the rest of the series.

One thing I've noticed since getting back to the studio on a regular basis is that I seem to have much more time than I used to think I did. I used to think that I never had enough time to make anything, that if I didn't have a whole day of uninterrupted to work, why even bother? But by breaking down my series into small, manageable chunks, I'm really making progress and learning to manage my time better. And 6 canvas panel backgrounds only took me 2 hours in the studio to make!

Next week will be the last of the backgrounds... I still need some purples. Then I can start scanning and move on to the next phase of the project. I also plan to get started on my 2013 Sketchbook so I can still play around with paint every week, so expect to see some of that coming up soon!

09 June 2012

Saturday Night Studio!

It's supposed to be in the high 80s and low 90s for the foreseeable future, so I thought I'd beat the heat by working tonight instead. As it turns out, my attic is still practically a sauna but I'm sure it would have been worse had I waited until tomorrow afternoon!

Tonight I worked on the Pluto and Persephone backgrounds, as well as a few extras that may get used for the asteroids.

The dark red one belongs to Pluto... reminiscent of the pomegranate that plays a significant role in his (and Persephone's) mythology.

For Persephone's, I just added a little white. Not so dark as Pluto's but not quite light enough to be considered pink...

The black one will probably go to Hekate...

And I'm not sure who will get the dark gray, but I want to have a full spectrum of colors and neutrals in case I end up needing them for something later.

The next few weekends, I'll probably be filling in any colors I haven't gotten to yet. I need an orange for Hephaestus, and some purples for Hera and one of the Muses, and a few others to round out the color spectrum. I also want to make a couple of what I call "metallic whites," which is titanium white mixed with a hint of either metallic gold or silver.

After that comes a long day at the scanner before I move on to the next stage of the project, which is blending all the hand-painted backgrounds with my digital elements. Stay tuned!

03 June 2012

Leo: App Recipe

I put this image together while watching the Season Finale of Game of Thrones. I'm not a fan of the Lannisters (except for Tyrion!), but I do love lions.

For this one, I took a star photo from Wikimedia Commons (public domain) and another dictionary shot, this time with the entry for the constellation Leo.

I took both photos into Image Blender, with an 80/20 blend...

And then I took the resulting image into Image Blender (40/60 Blend) with one of my lion statue pics, taken with Instagram's Earlybird filter, and then put through Magic Hour's Sepia setting. (I also used Photo Forge to give it a horizontal flip.)

From there, the resulting image was taken into Photo Toaster, given a Yellow Filter, Old Paper Texture and the Funky Frame.

And here is the result...

Studio Sunday!

Back in the attic again! A cold front moved in, so it's still sunny, but with a nice cool breeze to keep things from getting too hot.

Today I worked on the backgrounds for Uranus & Neptune, as well as a few other analogous colors while I was at it. Those will be used for the other celestial bodies in the series, mostly a few choice asteroids named for other gods in the Greco-Roman pantheon.

The one on the right here will be for Uranus... an "electric blue" cyan. The one on the left might make a nice Pallas Athene or Urania (Muse of Astrology/Astronomy).

After the blues, I moved on to the greens... the first one might go to another of the Muses.

While this one is definitely reserved for Dionysus...

And this one will be for Neptune... a nice sea-foam type of green. (It's slightly lighter than pictured.)

All in all a very productive day! Next week I plan on doing the backgrounds for Pluto and Persephone, as well as a few other of the darker colored backgrounds for the series.