Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Streetscape in Progress

"The Streetlight" - 16 x 20" acrylic on canvas.
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
Click here to bid.

Tonight was Gordon Ramsay and Kitchen Nightmares so no long blog post tonight! I'm just going to post this work in progress series of my latest cityscape and I'll catch y'all later!

Just a brief description of my thought process for my painting (each photo's stage represents about 20-40 minutes depending on the complexity).

1. Rough in shapes in the color/ tone that I want the finished painting to have.
2. Adjust values: light, dark, & midtones and start to work on color. Refine shapes with each pass.
3. Continue refining shapes and begin to block in with my stained-glassesque black lines.
4. More refining of shapes and adding complexity to colors. For instance, where I've blocked in orange before, I mix a better orange with a bit more nuance to it.
5. Nearly there. I add complementary colors to make it pop - bright green and blue.
6. I tidy up my black lines and make sure all edges are tidy and make sense.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Yikes! Put Those Things Away!

"Early Morning Test" - 5 x 7" colored pencil on paper.
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
Click here to bid.

I thought today I'd answer a reader's question, scrubbing out all personal names and details so that their identity remains more secret than Britney Spear's career plans.

The reader writes:
We are starting an Art Association in a small town of 3,000. Had 11 at first meeting which I thought was great and more said they are coming. We had a problem right at the first meeting though. A young man brought some artwork that was gruesome and almost pornographic. It's not something I would like to promote on an Art Association Website or say that we are even a part of. (He does have some decent work that is quite beautiful, so he won't be excluded entirely) You are so good with words can you help us with guidelines? What are your thoughts on this?

Having been to a couple different art association meetings, I know that this is a problem that haunts a lot of them. A set of guidelines or a charter of some sort is a very good idea.

This is what mine will say when I'm Queen of America:

The Queen of America Art Adoration Year Round Festival and Artists Group exists for the promotion of artistic types and the beautification of otherwise Ugly Places. We (that's the Royal We) also endeavor to provide a supportive environment for artistic types to further their abilities. A major part of the QAAAYRFAG is the public promotion of our work in the form of exhibitions and college students wearing sandwich boards displaying our art. The QAAAYRFAG does not discriminate by medium, though sculpture should be of a permanent nature (the exception being statues constructed from donuts, because the Queen is very interested to see what could be done with donuts as an artistic medium). Because the Queen does not care to be titillated on the way to work or while going through public places where group exhibitions hang, works of a pornographic nature or featuring Jason Statham will not be permitted. Tasteful nudity is permitted, however, the Queen will have to stare at all of pieces featuring nudity to see if they gross her out or not.

Now, since I understand that not all exhibitions are run by the future Queen of America (c'est moi), I recommend this boiler plate version instead:

Everytown Art Association exists for the promotion of artists (you can specify 2D here) and to increase public awareness of the arts in Everytown. The group also endeavors to provide a supportive environment for artists to further their studies. A major part of the EAA is the public promotion of members' work in the form of exhibitions, which will be juried by ____ (or by an outside juror selected by the members). The EAA does not discriminate by medium, though sculpture should be of a permanent nature. Because the EAA's exhibitions will be held in venues open to the public, works of a pornographic nature will not be permitted. Tasteful nudity is permitted, however, works containing nudity must be approved by the president/ head honcho before being allowed in a public exhibition. We also ask that members do not bring pornographic works or works with gratuitous nudity to group meetings.

Now . . . puppy pics tomorrow!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Work in Progress/ Secret Admirer

"Secret Admirer" - 4 x 9" colored pencil on paper.
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
Click here to bid.

I met up with an old friend from college today - she's been in Europe for a few years, literally - and it was great. Great times, great food (krispy kreme), and we're both much hotter than we were in college, which is always a pleasant revelation to have at a donut shop.

But it didn't leave much time for work, so I only got a quick one hour piece done today, with no background. Here 'tis.

Secret Admirer progress

Secret Admirer 2

Friday, September 07, 2007

Farewell, Dutiful Blade

Farewell to a tireless worker and constant desk companion. My faithful $8 sharpener grinded productively by my side for two years before finally having a psychotic break and massacring eight pencils before killing itself in a grating spasm that smelled of burning wood and melting electrical parts.

I could say that I could never replace you, dear sharpener, but that would be a lie, as I'm heading to Wal-mart tomorrow to do just that.

But until that, work grinds to a halt. Bugger.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ranting and Raving

"Nature Lover" - 4 x 9" colored pencil on paper.
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
Click here to bid.

Another work in progress sequence of a quickie (boy, I oughta get me some great google hits off that phrase). This sucker was probably an hour and three quarters from start to finish.

Again, the key to my technique is using the painter's technique of going from rough to detailed -- so I lay down messy color first, in light layers, and then with each consecutive layer, I tidy, until I'm where I want to be.

May I take a moment to rant? It's about colored pencils, so it's relevant. Sort of. When I was at the CPSA exhibition this year, the docent urged us to enjoy the show and then offered us magnifying glasses, the better to see the detail the colored pencil artists put in there.

Let's take a moment here, shall we?

The ideal viewing distance for an average-sized piece of art, say 11 x 14", is ten feet. That's where most people look at art from. Then, if they're curious, they sometimes draw in closer, to one foot or closer, to look at a detail or two. But for most of a piece of art's life, it's going to be enjoyed from a bit of a distance. Say, while its owner is sitting on the couch, thinking, boy, I'm glad I bought that piece from Maggie Stiefvater because it makes me Happy.

Why in the world are these extremely talented artists spending 200 hours on a piece of art, only to put in details that can be seen with a magnifying glass? Wouldn't their time be better spent exploring more subjects and pieces and really populating the world with their art?

I love detail. But not that much detail. So for me, my messy layers work because from ten feet away, my 11 x 14"s look like a million bucks. Heck, from even a foot they look pretty darn good. But I can guarantee you that all you'll see through a magnifying glass is pencil strokes on mine. And that's how I like it!

Nature Lover 2

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Stick Horses

"Dee's Stick Horses" - 14 x 14" (or something) design for T-shirt
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
Click here to see Dee's website.

Okay, this is still kind of a wimp-out post as I'm still mostly dead (Princess Bride quote anyone?) But I'm hoping to be recovered by tomorrow. Before I typed this, I had to sweep a mountain of used tissues from in front of my monitor in order to see the screen. It was not a happy moment.

Anyway, I wanted to take the moment to plug Dee Kegley's amazing stick horses. She and I met at the Roanoke Valley Horse Show and were booth-buddies; our booths were right next to each other. She does these amazing heirloom quality stick-horses, all by hand, with real hair and just amazing attention to detail. And every one is unique - they were very impressive in real life. She asked if I'd be willing to do a T-shirt design for her and I agreed. After much hemming and hawing, I've finally finished it (you can see it above), and you can see some examples of her horses below.

Oh, and for those of you who were wondering, I've also just gone and ordered two big jugs of Mexican vanilla. Ptooey on McCormick and their corn syrup! Ptooey! With double shots of snot!

Here, Have Some Inspiration

Karin Jurick, one of my favorite blogging painters (one of the very very few I subscribe to), blogged about how she got started, and it's very similar to mine. Enjoy!

The Pursuit of Happyness (remember I blogged about that too, not so many days ago - moral: get off thy buttocks and prosper).