Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Renaissance

 



 
 "Renaissance number1 " oil on panel.  2019 by Gemini.H
 
 
 
 
It's been several months since I started this painting, (well not the actual painting but the sketches and research for it) then different  things came  my way and I had to stop several times. Now that I'm looking at the painting I can't help but thinking about all the weeks that I didn't work on it, either because the oil painting was very slow at drying  or because I was hired for other work. All of this had an impact on the painting and not necessary in a positive way.
 
 
The good thing is that during the process there were several steps that I really enjoyed and that were very helpful in stimulating my creativity, my imagination and to prevent me from occasionally falling into some lazy moments.
 


The more I draw, the more I want to learn ( of course the more I learn, the more I want to draw), and obviously the more I draw, the more I want to share about it.
 
Now after these post-painting thoughts, let me give you some explanations about the story behind this painting ( and the few others still to come). A few months ago Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral was on fire. I know all the political nonsense and events around it raised many questions but I'm not here to debate that. Being French and for having walked in front of this monument several times thinking it had always been there and will always be, just like the sun, the sky, the moon...…. and suddenly seeing it on fire and threatening to fall down left me speechless and quite confused.
 
As someone who has been interested in History since a very young age I really wanted to work on this matter of cultural patrimony slowly falling apart, Notre Dame is a worldwide famous monument, but it's not the only one in danger.

 I could see hundreds of artworks representing the Cathedral on fire, I started to think about what I wanted to depict.
 
You may know that quote from Gandhi "Be the change you want to see in the world", well even though  I doubt a painting from an unknown artist these days might have a strong impact on the whole planet, what I do know is that representing a disaster and looking at it everyday wouldn't really have a positive impact.
So after a little " brainstorming" with me, myself and I ( it may make you laugh but we don't always agree) , it seemed to me that the growing interest for restoring a patrimony falling appart regardless your own nationality, your own capacity, the place you live, etc.... and just the fact that people decide to gather to rebuild it was more important to me.





 



 
 

Now let me give some details on the thumbnails and research, or sketches.
Sadly and ironically, couple of days after the fire at Notre Dame when thinking about something we take for granted and which suddenly disappear came into my mind I thought about the Amazonian rain forest, I said "sadly and ironically" because I didn't expect that the day I was going to end the first painting of this series the rain forest would be on fire too.












Seeing these images obviously will have an impact on other sketches I have already started to do.
 
 
 
If you have ever been to a museum at rush hour it's always quite fascinating to discreetly listen at people's interpretation of what they  see or understand.
Even if I have given some clues about the story behind this painting, I wonder what you see now, and if you have explanations to the different elements I chose.

If so I would love to hear about them.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Draw this in your style #2


Im back with a new painting and for this 2nd entry of the Instagram #drawthisinyourstyle challenge, I chose a work by Erin Jaye .
 
 
 
The challenge here was (you may have guessed) this “transparent/jelly/water—y body?!” And because I adore (!!!) going the easiest way I wanted the body to have realistic proportions and keep the transparency from the original concept.
Finding a transparent body wasn’t that simple ( as you can expect) but as a rather crafty person and after several attempts I finally went for a crystal resin mini sculpture as reference once I drew the figure of my character.
 
 
This is a very special kind of creature, looking human when she is out of the water but magically transforming as soon as she enters the sea and that’s why I wanted it to be the focus of the illustration so I kept the underwater natural elements a bit blur.
 
 

 
 
 
 
As I worked on a watercolor paper I was able to use a light table to transfer my sketch on the final paper. Then I fixed the detailed pencil drawing with spray and transparent gesso ( warning if you want to use oil painting on such heavy and textures watercolor paper you need to use gesso before to paint or the paper will absorb all the medium and oil)
 
 
I like to do a brown tones  underpainting (this time I used watercolor) before to use the oil painting with light layers and keep this “old poster” tint.
 
 
Now how should we call this unusual  kind of specimen?
 





 
Art of Gemini.H
 
 
 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Draw this in your style #1


Here we are, it took me one month to write a new article on the blog and complete this artwork for Instagram drawing challenge, the #drawthisinyourstyle . ( well I didn’t only work on this piece so technically speaking it took less than one month)
For this interpretation of an existing illustration I used as “reference” a picture from Bobby Chiu ’s studio.
Bobby Chiu original drawing

My version
 This time I will try to explain my process including my mistakes and thoughts in a more organized way.

I.                    A story to tell.

Something I found interesting and challenging ( in a positive way) with the #drawthisinyourstyle Instagram challenge is the moment you need to start thinking about : what “your style” really is. Is it the lines, the colors, the brush strokes, the medium? I could go on and on for a very long time but the more I was drawing and staring at the original artwork the more I realized that everything should start with a good story. At least this is how I want “my style” to be recognizable.
 
 These last months I also found out that there was no story (of course I still can make up something afterwards) about my pinups or mermaids and I needed more. Maybe is it because I’m pretty talkative and have always a topic I want to speak about (might be that explanation) or an event that made me upset, causes or people I wanted to highlight. So I decided either it’s a retro style illustration, a fashion drawing, a fabric pattern, an oil painting portrait, it should be the start of a conversation between people and a bit more than just a “like” in a virtual world (however a little “like” click is always appreciate).
 So here we go….first mistake, and first lesson at the same time, the story came while drawing and I can’t help thinking this had an impact on the final composition. I can’t really put my finger on it and on how exactly it could have been better but considering the importance I give to stories I thought this was an aspect of the artwork I should take more seriously in the future.
 
Well, will do better next time.

II.                  The learning process

As I mentioned previously, since I was drawing “over” (kind of) an existing concept I didn’t rely on the story enough, but I knew that while staring at it, I wasn’t really seeing the creatures the way they were represented.
In my mind, these two beasts were more like furry animals and there is also the fact that I’m not really into “creature design”(for now…..might need to give a try to a new challenge)
Actually I might have an explanation for this which is that I’m easily amazed, especially by nature’s creation. I live in a country full of myths and legends taking their origin in nature’s wonder and that’s enough to stimulate my imagination.
 
 
 
 
Without really knowing the reason, I immediately imagined Polar bears, maybe I came across a documentary about them or saw a picture. So I simply decided this lady warrior would have polar bears as friends.
 
And while picking a pen and paper I started to reproduce the position of the characters like in the original artwork. The first lines I drew lead me to throw it right away. It was obvious I had no idea what a polar bear looked like! (Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t live under a rock ( well most of the year) so I already saw them in parks, museums, on pictures, in movies ……..but unfortunately I also saw them in animation, children’s books, ……and what I learnt from childhood was basically that a polar bear was a bear…….but white… THE END! Really? And I dare calling myself an artist? I KNEW NOTHING! )
 
So here we were, I spent days drawing from pictures ( google, pinterest, museums’ personal pics  ….TIP 1: bring a camera EVERYWHERE, will always be useful at some point). The more I was studying their anatomy, their attitude ( TIP 2: don’t search only for pictures, check videos because drawing a living creature from picture will make you lose at least 50% of what it really is) and in my eyes I didn’t see cruel animals ( alright I’m not that na├»ve, they are a bit more dangerous than my Teddy Bear…………….no…………….i don’t still own a Teddy Bear….)
 









 I saw many sweet moments between mum and pups, bears goofing with each others, big animals a bit uncomfortable sometimes with all these muscles and fat…I saw a pretty small head compared to the size of this furry body, a long neck, a flat head, tiny eyes (very different from other kind of bears if you look carefully)………and I saw they were everything except white ( from a painter and colorist point of view!).

At that point I still didn’t start anything even close to the main drawing, but I knew I was on the right way because at least now, the right tool was between my hands: knowledge.
 

 

 

III.                Filling your head with your knowledge

Now that I knew some basic information about polar bears I started to CREATE by playing around with the knowledge I absorbed of doing all these studies. I wanted them to be massive but a bit goofy and friendly, you know a bit like teenagers (those who are friendly I mean) who don’t know what to do with their long arms, how to balance their body, always a bit dreaming…..

I want to add that from the moment I started studying bears I no longer gave a single look on the original artwork of this challenge. The main information were written somewhere in my mind, and I didn’t need anything else from it! I also think it would have been dangerous and too tempting to make a simple “ copy-paste” of it! I don’t believe a “style” is only about the way you draw so it’s important to take distance with references. To be honest I don’t even consider the original drawing of Bobby Chiu like the reference for my version, it’s more like a topic…in that case I decided to go for a “ female warrior being surprised/shocked by something she saw in a cave with her two massive friends”.
 
 

(Confession time: I had lots of fun and it was very exciting to create an animal’s gesture and modelling him like if it was made of clay. Not being dependent on reference pictures (made by someone else, it’s even worse, that means its already somebody else’s vision and creation…) really gave me a new kind of creativity and it was only the beginning.)




 

TIP 4: TAKE YOUR DISTANCE WITH GOOGLE IMAGES

IV.                "I got rhythm…….” I got flow….
 

 

Every step of this process come as a result of the previous one. Developing a shape for the bears created a certain flow between the two animals. I stood by this line to place the female character and to add couple of details.
Having a big interest in art history I always love to look at the masters’ paintings and to observe the rhythm and flow they created in their masterpieces.
This is only a personal thought but I feel it’s more useful to find out things by yourself ( when it’s possible) observing and experimenting. If you don’t have a fine art museum around just, look for famous paintings in books or ask your friend “google”, and watch carefully  “ between the brush strokes”.
 Each time I find a pictorial rhythm in a painting I like to tell  my self ( we can have long talk together…..200% gemini girl) that masters were creating the flow and used some composition rules to catch the public attention to make us forget for a moment that it’s a painting and not reality, just like an illusionist has tricks ( oopsy did I say “ tricks”?i mean its all magic of course ) to make you believe he has super powers!! But “rules are made to be broken”, “there is no rule in art”etc… blablabla, yes of course and I can add that when you search carefully  you can always find a rule that will contradict another one.

TIP 5: get rid of excuses…just draw

Do you want a pleasing composition? Then look at how masters composed their paintings, you don’t care about it? Well that’s fine, there is no official bible that said you will burn in hell if you don’t want to use composition rules.

 

V.                  A pleasing composition

As it’s not really the first drawing I ever made, I tend to place my characters in a way that please my eyes almost after one try. For example, in the previous paragraph I explained how I used the gesture of the bears to create a certain flow. But sometimes I need a little help. The following document is what we call the “ golden ratio”. It can be used in every visual art form as a guide. When I don’t find a composition very appealing or that I’m completely satisfied with I place this shape on top of my drawing and usually I just need some small adjustments to make it look better.
 It’s not a rule, it’s not something that should be used all the time, it’s really a matter of personal taste, choices, emotions. This ratio can’t work necessarily with every topic, for every situation. Depending on the effect you want to create you might need another composition style.
 

 By coincidence ( or by experience) if I place this golden ratio on top of my initial drawing ( whereas I didn’t voluntary think of this spiral while drawing) here it what happened.

do you see where are some of the main lines of my characters?

But it’s always up to you in art, just like I mentioned that’s it’s never too good to rely on pictures reference, especially if you want to create a unique artwork, I think it’s also good to keep distance with these composition rules and in my case I preferred  to use them as a guide, to find the right proportions between characters, and almost to comfort my composition choices ( who knows maybe the next drawing won’t need any kind of composition rules….)

 

VI.                Light and shadow

Now that I have all the main elements of my drawing, I know where to place the characters, their costume and props, the background etc… I can start shading a bit to add more information and realism to it. Being able to determinate how light and shadow will impact the outfit shape, the different parts of the body,etc… has always been a huge struggle for me.

Reason number 1 is that in the past I was dependent on other people’s picture and I very rarely found the perfect reference especially in terms of light that I wanted.

Then reason number 2 is that light is  in my opinion a “scientist” knowledge………….and I don’t speak science language……..my brain has a black out when I hear this tongue.
I’m not completely ignorant neither, ( thanks science teachers for teaching us about these abstract stuff in the most boring way) and have some common sense; if the light source is on the left side of the drawing, the shadow part will be opposite! But this way of thinking light and shadow in art really annoys me. It makes the process very mechanical when it’s time to draw, it’s like a mathematics equation……..i don’t want to spend hours trying to think about it and ending up with a headache and a nervous break down.
 
So when I decided that realism should have a bigger importance in my work I started to look for alternative solutions. (thanks to the MacGyver living inside of me, I know he was a scientist but the fun type). The best I could find was to transform my 2d drawing into a 3D version that I could play with and adjust the light according to the vision of the scenery I had in mind.
 
 
 

Look at a tree for couple of minutes, does it have one green tone? Do the leaves have all the same size, the exact same shape? Is it completely immobile?....it’s nature, it’s the world, it’s not a formula and this is the way I see the world. Of course that way of looking at the world request hours of observation, I know working that way means a big time investment, but when you wish to create a work that is unique, special, special for you, special among the art’s community, close to your personality, art that really look like you, don’t you think it’s worth the investments?

 Now I won’t debate about which way of working is better because THAT for sure would be a waste of time (THERE IS NO RIGHT ANSWER FOR THAT), it depends on each artist’ own preference!!!……..that’s why it took me so long to get comfortable with traditional, and what to draw, in which field, because some teachers, other artists were giving their opinion without getting to know me.
The reason I started this blog was to share my process and also eventually make young artists or students understand that there is no such thing than ‘ONE WAY” to work….. I do like this and I enjoy it very much, read other artists process, try and see how it goes with your own work.

 

VII.              Diving into details

 

Someone said that a painting starts way before your brush even touch the canvas. After reading my process do you see what he meant? Now I know my drawing, I still keep around me the small 3d clay sculptures, all the sketches I previously did, the light test pictures I took of body parts, and that’s another step of the process that is just starting.





 

 

VIII.            Giving life and colors

It’s been days now that I worked on it, I’m familiar with my composition, I still have the colors of the original artwork in my mind and even if I ont want to stick  too much to the original colors I still want my version to connect a bit with its reference artwork.
 
 I don’t have a typical way or a habit about the way I choose to color my drawing, in today’s case I spent quite lots of time drawing, sketching, preparing and thinking of the composition so I went for a digital color test.
 
As there were lots of small elements and details it seemed to me better and let’s be honest I was impatient to start the oil painting. Being a bit impulsive I can plan to work a certain way and when standing in front of the canvas I can change my mind 2 minutes before and try something else. That’s also why I prefer to use photoshop to make some tests. Plus it gives me the opportunity to have a new look at my drawing and to push the contrast in some areas without affecting the original drawing.


 

Like mentioned previously I couldn’t wait to start giving life to this drawing, after transferring the main lines of my detailed composition on my illustration board ( this last one has been covered by several layers of white gesso to avoid having too much texture from the canvas) I used a spray to make sure there would be no accident once I start painting, and added another layer of transparent gesso (  SECURITY LEVEL: MAXIMUM) I chose to do an underpainting with acrylic for its fast drying time then went for oil painting.
 
ET VOILA.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Renaissance

     "Renaissance number1 " oil on panel.  2019 by Gemini.H         It's been several months since...