Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Pressure to Donate

I read an article this morning from Fine Art Views Newsletter that brought back memories that are slightly painful. It was called How To Give Without Being Taken. Many of us artists have been asked to donate art for some fund raiser of another during the course of our artistic careers. It's hard to donate a painting that could be sold for full value and pay the electric bill, yet at the same time, we feel guilty and selfish if we say no. So how do we come to some kind of balance?

The above article, written by Luann Udell, offers some good suggestions. Following the suggestions does not guarantee that it will work, but it is at least a start.

One suggestion is to give the organization an invoice stating the value of the painting you are donating, a little blurb about you, the artist, and suggesting a minimum bid. I have donated to a fundraiser and it did not turn out the way I had hoped. I provided a paper with all the particulars on it including the value, size, medium, and info about me. I hoped this information would be passed on to the auctioneer, because it is after all, the auctioneer that is responsible for selling the painting. However, even an invoice, or similar paper, does not mean they will understand the true value of the painting and therefore promote it appropriately.

Luann also suggests that you give to a fundraiser that means something to you. That way, you won't feel so conflicted in offering a painting for free to an organization and losing the value of it (donating a painting to charity cannot be claimed on your taxes as a write-off). I frequently get requests to donate paintings to organizations to raise money for animals, usually shelters. If I gave to all of the organizations that make requests, I probably wouldn't have any paintings left. If you are an animal artist, you know what I mean. I especially do not feel obligated to give a donation to a shelter in Arizona when I live in North Carolina and my local animal shelter needs as much, if not more, help than theirs does. I want to raise money for my local shelter, not one that is on the other side of the country. It is because I care for animals that I am doing my Faces of Love series rather than donating to an unknown organization over 2,000 miles away.

In addition, Luann makes a wonderful suggestion that you offer to sell your painting to the organization at a wholesale price. That way both you and the charity can get paid! It also gives more value to your painting and the organization will work harder to sell it for a higher price. The shame of it is that too many people, organizations, and charities think you ought to give away your art and be happy with the exposure you will, hopefully, receive.

Lastly, Luann suggested that the artist be present at the charity event. That is a good idea, if they let you in without charging you. I naively thought I would be invited to the event because I made a donation to the auction. Not so! If I wanted to attend I had to pay the full price of a ticket - $35.00 per person. Wow! I learned the hard way. Not only did they not get anywhere near the value of my donation at the auction, but I could not attend to help promote my own donation to help raise the bid on it. In addition, I got no future commissions from the exposure I received at the event and that was what I had really hoped for since I was new to the area at the time.

It was a hard learned lesson for me, but it was worth it. I am more careful to whom I donate my artwork. I make sure it's a charity that means something to me, and I no longer feel guilty saying "No" when asked to donate.

Next week, Luann is covering "Part 2: The perfect way to handle requests to donate your work!" I look forward to seeing what she has to say about that subject.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sennelier La Carte Paper Review

I tested a new paper (new for me, that is) the other day. I painted a quick Persian cat portrait on Sennelier La Carte sanded paper and I used pastels. I have already tried this paper with pencils (wrong surface for pencils!) So, now I'm trying pastels. I have to say though, I didn't have high hopes due to what I had already seen in the paper.

La Carte paper is a stiff 200-lb paper that is not easily bent or creased. The surface of the paper is coated with vegetable fiber that actually comes off quite easily. When I rested my hand on the paper, the vegetable fiber was all over my hand when I picked it up, AND there was a bald spot on the paper! That bald spot cannot be covered up with pastels or pencils, so that means the paper, in that one spot, is not usable. If that bald spot happens to be in an area of your painting that cannot be cropped out, then you have a big problem.

In addition, when I blended the pastels with my fingers, as I usually do, the vegetable fiber came off and smooshed around on the paper along with the pastels. Not good.

Finally, hard pastels most definitely did NOT work with La Carte paper; they simply scraped the fiber right off the paper.

Needless to say, I will not be using this paper again. Since it is expensive, I will not miss paying the price for it either. Now, what to do with the left over paper??????


Here's a little mini drawing I did for an artist trade on an artist forum that of which I am a member. Just a simple ole onion on black Stonehenge paper. I used Primsacolor Verithins and Premier colored pencils. I've been wanting to draw this onion for a while now. Size is 2.5" x 3.5".

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blog Changes

In case you have noticed something different on my blog, you're not seeing things. I have changed the look of the blog a bit. Okay, more than a bit.

I have had this blog for several years now and to be perfectly frank, I have become bored with the look. Not only that, but I felt the look was not entirely professional looking. I didn't like the color of the text but I couldn't change it. Now eblogger has come up with new templates and let's me have much more control of the design of my blog, so I took the opportunity to experiment and change the look.

Please let me know what you think. Does this color scheme work? I think it's easier on the eyes, but you guys be the judges and tell me what you think!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Something I thought I'd Never Do!

Have you ever totally disliked something, I mean REALLY disliked something and for some inexplicable reason suddenly decided you might just like it after all? Well, I have just taken a turn down that road.

I have never, ever liked oil paints at all .... nada, nein, nunca and every other form of negative you can come up with. I have always been thankful that I am a pencil artist because oil paints, canvases, brushes, and oil mediums are so expensive! I don't know if it's out of boredom, pent-up creativity, or experimentalism, but I have a sudden urge to give oils a try.

*sigh* I have a feeling I am really stepping in it this time. Mind you I will never, NEVER give up pencils, but I think we all need a little experimenting now and then in order to grow as artists.

I started working with pastels a while ago, but have been indecisive about how far I wanted to go with them considering they are an incredibly fragile medium, and they pain they are to mat, frame, and ship. I love how pastels look, their simplicity, ease of use, and portability.

However, Oils can just be popped into a frame just like my colored pencil paintings, and I like that very much! There are a lot of other issues with oils that I will have to work out, such as the amount of time to dry and the fact that my house is full of cat hair. Artists Cathy Sheeter and Leslie Harrison have the same problem. I'm not sure what to do about that, especially since I cannot shut off one room since we have no AC and need all of our doors and windows open for cross-ventilation. At least I don't have to worry about having good ventilation when I paint!

I am planning on buying some good quality oil paints and archival panels and renting a few oil painting videos to get me started some time in the next few weeks. I don't have to worry about my busy schedule until next month, at which point I may not have enough time. I am very excited to get started, but apprehensive as well. I don't like wasting money and I'm still not entirely sure I should spend the money to do this.

What do all of you think? Should I take the leap and give oils a try or just stay with what I know best????

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


As all of you know, I love horses. I grew up raising and training horses, and taking part in different types of competitions. This painting, Elegance, grew out of my love for horses. I like to focus on the beauty, gracefulness of horses, as well as the horsemanship and showmanship skills of their riders and handlers.

While I was judging a horse show last year, my husband kindly took photographs of the horses and people for me. He got some really great shots too! This was one such shot. Now, I have cropped it quite a bit. My husband took the shot from quite a distance, but I wanted to focus on the graceful curves of this horse, the way he was moving, and the lower body position of the rider. I decided on a gold background because I associate gold with elegance and this horse had a decidedly elegant look. I kept the background simple so as not to interfere with the horse and rider. I let the horse's swishing tail add to the composition in the empty part of the painting.

I enjoyed painting this picture very much and I hope you have enjoyed viewing it and reading about its creation.


Medium: Prismacolor Colored pencils with Neocolor II watercolor underpainting
Support: Pastelbord
Size: 8" x 10"
Accessories: Stencil and bristle brushes for blending
Ref Photo Credit: My husband

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Drawing Class 4: Lighting Types & Techniques

Last night was the class on Lighting: Types & Techniques.

We played with lighting types for portrait art, such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Downstage. We talked about the differences and the effects the lighting had on the subject.

Next, I set up a still life with a silver set, adjusted the lighting several different ways to see what it did to the silver and the reflections. Then I added a red canister to it to get some interesting reflections.

Lastly, I brought out some breakfast items - a bowl, a mug, a napkin, a placemat, and two spoons. Then I had all the students set up their own still life by working together, including how they wanted the napkin to drape on the table, then adjust the lighting. Once they got it the way they liked it, they had to draw it! :D Finding the right view point from which to draw it was the hard part.

They all did very well! I'm proud that they are willing to stick with me through all of these challenges I keep putting them through! I want them to really aim high with what they draw. It is only when we challenge ourselves to do something we don't think we can do that we learn the most. I don't want them to always take the easy way out, whether it's because they are bored or because they don't think they can do it. Either excuse will stunt their growth as artists, and I don't want that to happen.

NEXT WEEK: We experiment with colors, using only the three primary colors, they will have to work out a palette by mixing their colors many different ways to achieve different colors, then draw a picture. They will have a choice of a couple of pics that I will provide. I think it's lots of fun and a great learning experience!!

Here are some pics from the class. Three are of students, the other one is the still life they set up.

Friday, April 30, 2010

It's a Blooming Spring!

Our flowers are starting to bloom all over now and they're making me think that perhaps it's time to paint a floral or two ..... maybe even in pastels instead of colored pencils. I've been itching to use my collection of pastels lately, maybe now is the time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Basic Drawing I Class

I am into the fourth week of the Basic Drawing I class I am teaching at the AoA Gallery (Arts of The Albemarle), and having a great time! I thought I'd take a pic of my students drawing their first "test". The purpose for this "test" was for them to put into play all the things they were taught in the first two classes, namely values, shape, and form.

You can't see the subject they are drawing in the above photo very well, but it is a drapery test. I hung a piece of white material on a 30" x 40" foam board that I placed on my easel so they had a good view of it. It is a simple drapery subject. You should have seen what they had to draw at the end of the class - an inert mass!! I threw a large white piece of material over a chair that I had placed on top of a table, making sure it draped nicely down the chair and onto the table in a variety of folds. Then I said, "Okay, draw it!" A couple of the students hated me ..... until the end of the class when they looked at what they did and realized they really could do it! Plus they said they DID learn a lot from it, so in the end they were glad I made them draw it. I'm glad. I would be very sad if my students hated me. :p

Next week they are going to learn about the different types of lighting. I hope I don't forget to take some pics to post for you here. It ought to be a lot of fun! I'll see if I can get some pics of their drapery drawings too. They did a great job!!! I'm very proud of their work!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pastel Experiment

Recently, I found a pastel tutorial by Diana Ponting using a ref pic of Allsorts that she had taken. Since I very badly needed more practice with my pastels I decided to give it a try, however, I ended up not following the tutorial at all but doing it my own way instead. I began the painting and learned a whole lot in the process.

First, I decided to use a piece of paper that was new to me. I had heard that Fabriano Tiziano was a very good pastel paper and so bought several sheets to give a try. I chose one for this painting. That was my first mistake. I did NOT like the paper! It is too rough and extremely difficult to get a nice smooth look to a painting.

Second, I had always thought that pastels were an opaque medium - not so. I used a combination of my very nice Rembrandts, Nu-Pastels, and Richeson semi-hard pastels along with some Mungyos (a cheaper brand of pastels). None of them could cover up my graphite lines from where I had drawn my sketch for the painting. You could see my pencil lines right through the pastels!

Third, the first painting of this pic being thrown out, I begin again with UART 600 grit. I don't like UART with my colored pencils, but I have never tried pastels on it, so this was a good time to experiment. This time I used white transfer paper to transfer my sketch to the UART. Alas, it too had problems being covered up with the pastels. I'll have to come up with a new game plan for the next piece.

Fourth, UART worked beautifully with the pastels!!! I am very pleased with the results! I will definitely be using UART with future pastel paintings.

So, I have learned several things from this experiment. I need to come up with a better transfer method that I can cover up with the pastels, I will NOT use Fabriano Tiziano again (at least not with pastels), and I love UART paper for pastels. I enjoyed this pastel experiment, but chose not to complete it. Since this is not my ref pic I cannot exhibit it and I can not enter it in competitions, so I do not want to spend too much time on it. Therefore, I am going to move onto one of my own ref pics and continue the learning process.

The first pic is the first painting on Tiziano that is now in the trash. The second pic is the one done on UART. Big difference I think. What do you think?

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Storm's a'coming!

Yep, windy day today with lots of clouds. Could not get a decent photo of Is Your Name In The Book today. Sorry. I tried. I don't like how it came out though, so I'll have to wait until this weekend to see if I can get a good pic.

In the meantime, I rearranged my pastels and cleaned out the drawers I keep them in. Took longer than I thought it would, but they are nice, clean, and organized. Didn't get any artwork done today though. Tomorrow we're going to a concert with Guy Penrod of the Gaithers and will be gone most of the day. It's my birthday present from my hubby! Can't wait, but am concerned about getting home. It's a very long drive home and we won't get home until about 3:00 AM. If there's going to be a storm, I hope it's over with by then.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Christian Drawings

I have spent a lot of time recently working on my work-ups for my latest Christian paintings. All of my work-ups are in graphite, and are the same size as the paintings will be, which means they are very large!

I am very excited because I have spent the past almost two years trying to figure out how to draw one picture in particular, and feeling very inadequately skilled to do it. I have struggled with a sense of inadequacy ever since becoming an artist, but I do have my moments when I am suddenly so inspired I have no doubts that I can do the job! Yesterday was one such day.

Soon after getting out of bed, I felt the urge to start working on a drawing that had been sitting dormant for months. Eight hours later, I had an almost completed the work-up for the drawing and am excited that very soon I will be able to start on the painting of it!!! Some of you know about the drawing because I've mentioned it a few times, so you know how very long I have been struggling with it. The title of it is: Is Your Name In The Book. I know I'm going to be really struggling with inadequacy once I get the painting started, but I believe that, with God's help, I will be able to complete it ........ and a lot faster than the drawing tool! The painting will be 18" x 24" on Pastlebord.

Today, I spent four hours working on yet another work-up that I had not been able to figure out how to do, but now have almost half of it done. The work-up is for another Christian painting called The Great Compromiser and Deceiver. This one is a bit strange shaped. I think it's going to end up being 14" x 18" on Pastelbord.

Now I just need to sit down and finish my work-up of Cowboys For Christ and I can get that painting started too. It, too, will be 18" x 24" also on Pastelbord. I have several big corrections to make on that one though, so it's going to take awhile before I finish that one. There are many more details to work out on that drawing.

I realize that I did not include any photos with this post, but that is because I have not yet taken any. I will take some pics tomorrow and try to post Is Your Name In The Book.

Lastly, I have to get going on my shelter series!! I have seven more paintings I have to finish before December for my show. Lots of work to do!

One more note. One of my followers requested that I would write the second article on conducting photo shoots and I told him I would do it as soon as possible. Obviously, I have not posted it yet and for that I apologize. I will seriously start working on it tomorrow and get it posted as soon as I can.

And here is a drawing that has absolutely nothing to do with Christian artwork. Just some eye candy to enjoy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Red-Yellow-Blue Challenge

In my effort to get back to the basics, I decided it would be interesting to do this project. I have learned in my almost six years of being a self-taught artist, that too many self-taught artists have not taught themselves the basics. Maybe because the basics are boring and we want to hurry up and get to the good stuff. I know that was my excuse. I have also found many students in art programs in colleges who are not being taught the basics. They are told to just paint what you feel, to express yourself! The problem is, if we don't learn the basics our art will suffer for it. So, for the past couple of months I've been trying to teach myself the basics again, and this time, really spend some time and effort on it.

This is done on a 5" x 7" piece of Stonehenge. I wanted to try out some Dick Blick Artist Grade Studio Colored Pencils, so I used DB pencils: Pthalo Blue, Yellow, Carmine Red, and white for highlights. I ran out of Pthalo Blue and had to replace it with a Prisma Copenhagen Blue, which was about the same shade as the Pthalo, but the red, yellow and white remained DB. I only used the Prisma copenhagen for the snow, that's it. So, not much.

I left a lot of the white paper showing and some of the paper has very light layers of blue and red on it. In addition, I blended the colors with a bristle brush. Yes, it actually worked, although not nearly as well as on sanded paper or Pastelbord, but it worked okay.

The ref pic is by DaisyRee Bakker at WC (and at Flicker). The colors of this pic are a bit off, unfortunately. There's not as much red in real life. I think I'll try to scan it and see what happens. The background is not as red as this pic appears to be.

I learned a real lot doing the project and I'm glad I did it! I've even decided that I'm going to have my own students do this as well. I enjoyed it very much, especially having to really think about my color palette and how I was going to mix these three colors to get the colors I needed. I would change a few things in the composition were I to do it over again, but overall, I'm pretty satisfied with it.

I will try to post a better photo of this later.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cowboy Sketch WIP

Here is an update on my cowboy sketch. It's a work-up for a huge cp painting. Getting a lot of details and values figured out before putting it on the board.

Lots more to do still. Got to work out a major flaw in the saddle as well fix the values in the flag. I hope to have another update at the end of this week.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Drawing From Life I

In keeping with my theme for back to the basics, I have been trying to draw from life as well as from ref pics. The gallery director asked me the other day if I wanted to start a drawing class or workshop at the gallery. I told her I would think about it and let her know. So, along with back to the basics I've been doing lately, I've decided it's time to get back to drawing from life and make sure my drawing skills (from life) are up to snuff! If I'm going to do this class, I want to do a lot of life drawing, so I'd better have my skills up to par.

In addition, I've been asked to do a colored pencil workshop by both people interested in taking the class as well as the gallery director. So, I'm thinking up a lesson plan for that as well.

Here is a quick little drawing today from life. It's a small pitcher I bought for still life set-ups. This pitcher has some strange ornamentation near the handle. It's a very small pitcher, and the ornamentation was hard to make out, especially in this lighting.

It's only a quick sketch to practice drawing. I apologize for the bad photo. The weather here is bad today and the sun has not even come out all day. Snow and rain. Love the snow, hate the rain! Yuck!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lessons Learned This Week

This week I have been in the gallery everyday doing demos of my artwork. I started a new horse piece before going in on Monday and have been working on it all week. It's just like when I've done "Artist In Action" in the past at art stores. I just sit there and paint all day. When people come by, I greet them and explain my work. I explain my medium, my techniques, and have several completed pieces on display for them to see. The piece I have been working on all week is very close to being completed! During the course of the past five days, I have learned some important lessons:

1. Shutting yourself into your studio to work is a good idea .... initially, but........ it takes getting out into contact with other people, especially other artists, that will really motivate and inspire you. I have accomplished more this week, even while teaching others how I work and talking to many interested people (and potential clients) about my art. I had become lazy, unmotivated, and uninspired by staying at home working in my studio day after day. By getting out into the middle of the local art world, I was rejuvenated and my confidence was boosted. I had many inquiries about commissions, about selling the art pieces I had on display, and many, many compliments and a great deal of encouragement. Everyone needs encouragement and support. That is exactly what I have received this week. Not that I don't get that at home. This is different. It's by people I don't know and who have no reason to say something simply to please me. That is important and makes the compliment more effective.

2. Don't blow dust and pencil particles off your painting while chewing gum ........... you might get unexpected ...... and undesired ....... results.

3. Be prepared to market yourself at all times ..... even at the most unexpected or unplanned times. Unwittingly, I have been marketing myself all week ....... and I hope to be feeling the effects of that for some time to come. You just never know who you will run into while you are out there in the world working on your art - potential clients or people who know potential clients and will recommend you to them. I also ran out of business cards and desperately need to get more made ASAP!! Never run out of business cards!

4. Exposing your art to the public will give you name recognition in the future....... people will talk about that animal artist that was demoing her art at the gallery, you know Nancy Pingree Hoover ...... ! And if they forget my name, they now know where to go to get it, and my contact information.

None of this means you need to paint in public all the time. It simply means not to be afraid of getting out there and exposing yourself, and your art, to the world! I feel that I have completely changed many of the public's previous (and prejudiced) view of colored pencil artwork now that they have been able to see it done and had it explained to them by a colored pencil artist. I feel more confident in displaying my art locally. Chances are, it will be better understood than it has been in the past, and if someone makes a disparaging remark, I bet there will be someone nearby who can correct them now that they themselves are better educated about colored pencils.

By the way, goals one and two are now completed for this year! I am now established in an art gallery AND I have, as of tomorrow, completed one week of being the featured artist at the gallery! I am psyched and ready and rearing to go with completing a lot more artwork!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

What Are Your Goals for Your Art This Year?

No, I do not call them resolutions. They are goals. Goals that are thoughtfully pondered over and realistically set for both the short-term AND the long-term.

A short-term goal is one that should see completion within a relatively short period of time, such as six-months, one year all the way up to five years. Long term goals obviously then would be five years and beyond. Haven't you ever gone for a job interview and been asked, "Where do you see yourself in five years? ..... in ten years?" I always hated those questions, and usually the interviewers did not like my response (but that's a story for another day). The point is, if one is to succeed, one must first set realistic goals, otherwise one tends to succeed at nothing more than wandering aimlessly.

I find goals easier to manage when they are broken down into small chunks, much like a painting. In case you hadn't noticed, I like to work my paintings one section at a time rather than all over at once. I have to feel like I'm making progress or I get discouraged. When I work one section at a time I am constantly seeing progress. So it is with goals. I break them into smaller, more manageable pieces that can be completed in a short enough period of time that I can see and feel the progress I'm making.

Furthermore, it is important to write how you intend to accomplish your goals. Simply listing your goals is not enough. You need to have a plan of action other wise it becomes too easy to fall by the wayside and never achieve your goal.

Although it is putting yourself on the spot by making others privy to this information, it helps to let others know what your goals are. In this way friends and fellow artists can help you, and I, achieve our goals by occasionally nudging us in the right direction, or reminding us of a goal we may have forgotten about.

So I am taking my own advice and writing my goals for 2010 here. I will not be including what my plan of action is here. That is for you, and me, to do for ourselves, because a goal without a plan of action is probably a goal that will never be achieved.

Here is my list of goals for this next year, and included is the date when I would like to have that goal accomplished:

1. Get established in at least one gallery within the next eight weeks.
Goal = Feb. 28, 2010

2. Do store demos, an "Artist in Action" sort of thing.
Goal = March 2010.

3. Enter at least two national art competitions this year.
Goal for first entry = May 2010.

4. Enter at least two local and/or regional art competitions.
Goal = May 2010.

5. Write at least one tutorial for my website.
Goal = July 2010

6. Finish my Christian paintings!!!
Cowboys for Christ: Goal = September 2010.
Is Your Name In The Book: Goal = December 2010
The Great Compromiser/Deceiver: Goal = June 2011

7. Work on my art basics. Turn what I learn and what I work on into lessons that can perhaps help other artists as well.
Goal: Ongoing throughout the year.

Now what about all of you? What are your short-term goals for this next year? What would you like to accomplish in your artistic life?

I challenge you to think carefully about what you would like to accomplish this year and write out your goals, then write your plan of action to accomplish each and every goal. Make your goals known to others and take their reminders and inquiries throughout the year as encouragement rather than as nagging. You may just find yourself accomplishing more than you thought you would, and hopefully more than you have in other years.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Angles of Light and Shadow: How to Draw the Shadow of an Angled Object

Supplies needed for this lesson:
Straight ruler
Rolling Ruler (if you have one)
8” x 10” piece of paper
2B Pencil
HB Pencil

Yesterday’s lesson covered the very bare basics of shadows. Today, we’re going to tackle the problem of What if the sun hits an object on its corner? How do we know how to draw the shadow and how long to make it? So, take out your supplies and let's get to it!

If you have never used a protractor before, now is the time to give you a brief lesson on how. Look at fig. 1. You will see a line drawn horizontally, and another line perpendicular to that line. Where the two lines meet you will see a circle. That circle is where you want to line up the little circle in your protractor. See fig. 2 to see what I mean.

Fig. 1

Fig 2

To figure out the angle of the light, first decide how steep or shallow an angle you want the light to reach your object. In today’s lesson we will be using a 45 degree angle for the light. Look to the left side of your protractor and look for 40, then count five more bars up and that will be 45. Then, to draw a straight line, you can place a small straight ruler over the protractor (make sure you hold onto the protractor tightly so you don’t accidentally move it), and line the right end of the straight ruler up at the location where the two lines meet, and the other end should line up with 45 degree angle. You can then make a short line along your straight ruler. Lift the ruler and protractor up. You have now drawn a line at a 45 degree angle to your square!

Okay, now that you know how to use a protractor, let’s draw our object, which is a square turned so that the point of the square is facing you. A one or two inch square should be big enough, but you can go bigger if you want. Just remember, you will be drawing lines and a shadow outside of the square too, so you will need a good deal of room surrounding your square.

To help you see just how to draw a square with its corner facing you, look at Fig. 3. Remember when drawing your square, all angles and all sides should be exactly the same! You will also notice that I have drawn in the angle of your light source as well. Use your HB pencil lightly so if you have to erase you can do so without leaving a lot of marks on the paper. I erase a lot since I tend to be a perfectionist, so I draw lightly at first, then when I am sure I have the object exactly the way I want it I will go over the lines with my 2B pencil (using the straight ruler of course).

Fig. 3

Now that you have a 3-d square, we need to finish it off by indicating where the back corner and bottom sections of the square are located. These, of course, would be invisible to your eyes, but are necessary to help you measure where the shadow falls from the object. So, take your HB pencil and, using your straight ruler, lightly draw dotted lines where those invisible sections are located, use Fig 4 as a guide. Ignore the lines in fig. 4 that are drawn outside the square at this time.

Fig, 4

Once you have drawn those “invisible” sections, you will want to draw in some ref points outside your object as well. You will notice the line at the front part and to the right of the object is not exactly parallel to the base line you drew. That’s the way it is supposed to be. You want that line to be just a little bit off of parallel, and you want it to be dotted. Then, from the right corner of the square, draw a dotted line parallel to the dotted line you just drew. Finally, you want to draw one more dotted line from the back corner of the square parallel to the previous two lines you drew. These lines are used to tell you just how long the shadow is going to be.

Before you can continue on, if you have not done so already you will need to draw in the angle of light you want to use. We are using with a 45 degree angle for this lesson. Place the angle of light in the same location I put mine in Fig 4.

If you have a rolling ruler, you'll want to pull it out to use for the next part. The lines indicating the angle of the shadow must be the same as the angle of light. Line up your rolling ruler with the line for the angle of light, then roll it over to the top corner in front of the square and lightly draw a solid line from that corner down to the first dotted line you drew. Do the same to the next two corners on the top of the square going to the right, lining them up with their respective dotted lines. If you’re not quite sure what I’m talking about, take another look at Fig. 4. I circled the points at which the dotted lines and the angle of the shadow intersect.

Now I want you to draw in the lines of your shadow. To do this you will connect the lines from where the solid and dotted lines you just drew meet. Look at Fig. 4 again and see the small circles I drew where those lines meet. Just connect the dots, so to speak. For more help, take a look at Fig. 5.


You can now erase your lines that show beyond your shadow, and then fill in your shadow using your 2B pencil, and your drawing should look something like Fig 6.


Now you can erase your dotted lines inside the square and add shading and highlights to your square and you will have a 3-d square with an accurate shadow. Congratulations on completing your first lesson on angles of light and shadow!

The next lesson will cover how to draw the shadow of a pyramid and how to draw a shadow cast against a wall.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Angles of Light and Shadows: The Bare Basics

Today I worked on shadows.
I only covered the very bare basics concerning shadows for these drawings. But tomorrow we're going to have some fun while I will show you how to determine the angle of basic shadows for yourself. For that lesson the tools you will need are: a protractor, regular ruler, plain piece of drawing paper 8" x 10" in size, and two pencils - an HB and a 2B.

Here are the bare bones basics for today:

Have you ever asked yourself, " How can I know at what angle a shadow falls from an object?" Well, here is are a few examples to help you understand just a little bit. Remember, this is just a beginning.

The angle of a shadow is determined by the angle in which the light is hitting the object that will be casting the shadow. The smaller the angle - the longer the shadow; the larger the angle - the shorter the shadow.

In Pic 1, the angle of the light on the left side of the box on the top is 40 degrees. I've shown how I drew the lines lightly to determine the angle of the shadow that will fall on the right side of the box.

The angle of light on the right side of the box on top is 25 degrees. Again I lightly drew the lines to show how I determined how the shadow should fall at that angle on the left side of the box.

For the box on the bottom of Pic 1, the angle of light on the box from the left side is 15 degrees. This particular angle would be equivalent to a late afternoon/early morning sun. As you can see, the steeper the angle of light, the shorter the shadow is from the object.

You will notice that as the angle gets smaller, the shadow gets longer so that the light at a 15 degree angle casts the longest shadow.

In pic 2, the angle of light on this box is 65 degrees, which is equivalent to the late morning/early afternoon sun. This angle is steep enough to cause very little shadow from the object because the light is coming from almost directly above the box. A perfectly square box will not cast a shadow at high noon because the light is coming from directly above the box and shining straight down on it.

Now these are the very bare basics of angles of light and shadows. What if the light came from the corner of the box at a 40 degree angle rather than hitting it straight on? What would that shadow look like? It's much more complicated at that point to get not only the angle of the shadow correct, but also the shape and length of the shadow.

Tomorrow, be ready to have lots of fun while I show you how to measure the angle of the light and shadows as well as how to measure the length of a shadow. It gets a little bit complicated, so bring your thinking caps so you can get right down to work!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Use of Our Talents and Gifts

"You have been given a gift, and those that get a gift must use it!"

Although this is a quote from a fictional story called Dragonspell, it can easily be applied to our lives.

To each of us is given a gift, and it is not randomly given. The gift is chosen to fit our personality and abilities. Each one of us are unique and although others may have been given the same gift, no two of us will ever wield it in the same way. Each one of us, depending on our personality and abilities, will develop our own style, techniques, and ways of using our gift.

The greatest misuse of your gift is to NOT use it at all! The second greatest misuse is to use it for evil. I hope none of us ever falls into either of those two categories!

How are you using your gift?

Gazing Toward Heaven