Tag Archives: art

The Pastel Portal

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Pastel ClassOnce again I am caught up in a whirlwind of projects and classes this semester, but I wanted to take a moment to share my latest work from my pastel class.  I am currently studying under Bonnie Roth, who is a fantastic artist and thought provoking instructor.  Take a browse thru her gallery if you have a few minutes: http://www.bonnierothanderson.com/portrait2.html.  She is broadening my perception of color every week, and I have been thoroughly enjoying the journey!

For this particular piece, we spent 3 sessions with our model, and I must say that I am really enjoying this medium.  I have always loved working in charcoal, so this seems to me a natural progression into the realm of pastels.  I am looking forward to re-working some of my picture book illustrations with some of these new concepts and techniques.  Thanks for stopping by my virtual studio! 😉

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Emerging from a Cloud of Charcoal

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Scribble gestures of gourds and peppers for homework.

Just another quick post on the fly to update you on some more of my drawing class assignments…

We have been getting more into “Mass Gestures” with compressed charcoal… So other than feeling like I have a constant black film filling my pores, I am loving this exploration of textures and media!  Here are some of my homework assignments, along with some classwork.

My mass gesture study of a stuffed pillow in class.

The objective for this homework was to create a mass gesture of 3 stuffed objects… I couldn’t leave Cappuccino out of that one! 🙂

Exploring my new world through Prismacolor!

Moving right along, we are preparing to take on landscapes soon, depending on how the weather treats us.  Meanwhile, in a whirlwind of personal projects, I have been getting immersed in the world of Prismacolor pencils.  I am developing an idea for a series that I will share when I feel they are ready.  Here is a little cropping of one of the drawings I have been working on most recently.  I have been kindling this desire to illustrate for children’s books, exploring more detailed renderings of subjects and really enjoying the journey!  Thanks for stopping by my virtual studio! 🙂

Healing Through My Sketch Pad…

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What a whirlwind this year has been for our family!  In the past year, we have been through selling a home, building a new home for our spankin’ newly blended family, a honeymoon, a familymoon, and some unforeseen surgeries following miscarriages.  In an attempt to navigate through my grief and mend my broken heart, I began to nurture my love for the sketchpad…

In an earlier post, I described The Carousel Project that I have conceptualized for years.  This project is becoming a healing balm for me now… As I blend my love for whimsical carousel characters with my desire to bring light into my painful loss, I have sketched a Christmas reindeer character for our first son, Nicholas.

Later in the summer, we learned that my father was recently diagnosed with colon cancer.  During some of my prayer time, I was inspired to create a special sketch as a gift.  His wife is Vietnamese and his life has been heavily influenced by Asian cultures.  I chose to sketch a Vietnamese dragon grasping a pearl, as in the Eastern tradition, a symbol of protective strength and healing from Heaven.  He was also raised Catholic, and I felt strongly that the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus should be represented within the pearl… a deeply soulful prayer for not only holistic, but also soul-istic, protection and healing.  Embedded within the border is a scripture I felt led to include.  It is a passage that speaks to our faith from John 11:25-26, translated from a Vietnamese bible…

Jesus said to her:  I am the resurrection and the life:

he that believes in Me, although he be dead, shall live,

and every one that lives and believes in Me shall not die for ever…

This is my first drawing that I have ever colored, so I wanted to extend the symbolism through the Heavenly blues and purples in the dragon against the background sunrise of hope… It is my prayer filled healing sketch on its way to Georgia.

Festival Mayhem at ARTSCAPE

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     Take 173 exhibitors setting up for 6 days…

                   12 city blocks in Baltimore, Maryland…

                              free admission to 350,000 attendees for 3 days…

                                         and you have yourself a pARTy!!!

“Face Forward”
A 16-foot tall kinetic sculpture
created by artist, Christian Ristow.
[Click on this photo to learn more
about this amazing robotic artwork!]

Now, also keep in mind that 2 out of those 3 days poured buckets from the heavens, so the bulk of the attendance was probably counted on the day we decided to take our first look at this annual Artscape festival… That was yesterday, and I am still alive to tell you about it!  Where do I even begin???…

I have heard about this event over the years, but I am not much of a city gal, especially when I have to do the driving and the agonizing parking, so I just never got up the zeal to brave the crowds and check it out on my own. Enter in my new artsy-pal from my class last semester, Josie, who emailed me that she was thinking about going.  (By the way, you can link over to her fun blog site by clicking on her name.)  I thought it over… art, music, sparkly things, food, ART… I was in!!!  Hopped in the car, traffic wasn’t bad, free parking was everywhere… I was looking for the giant chicken foot to descend from the sky to wake me back into reality… But it was all good and soon after meeting up on the grounds, we were scoping out the tents.

This year the festival was situated on Mount Royal Ave., with free performances at The Lyric and by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.  Three sound stages scattered throughout the city featured musicians all weekend long like Brian McKnight, Clutch, Emma White, Easy Star All-Stars… just to name a few.

The Squonk Opera Roadshow entertaining the crowd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there was the Squonk Opera Roadshow who brought their own custom built stage masterpiece to the streets!  I have to say, they were my favorite performers of the day.

Arts and craft exhibitors ranged from the stunningly beautiful to the shockingly bizarre.  On a trip I once took to San Francisco back in the 90’s, I thought I had seen it all… anyone who’s been there has to admit, there is some distinct zaniness going on in that town.  All I can say is that there must be some of the same juice floating in the water out this way, because we just had no idea what to expect at every turn!  I think we were pretty worn out after the 4th hour or so, but pressed on in sheer curiosity over what could possibly be around the next bend!  You gotta love the art-folk!  If you have never been to an art festival before, you may be in for some culture shock at Artscape, but you’ll be hooked on the mayhem and maybe even a little inspired!

 

Forty Years of Video Games

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Summertime blues and boredom have gotten me surfing the web for ideas on how in the world we can get out of this house and explore something new and exciting.  We live in this vibrant area – in one direction you have Washington, DC, then drive north and you run into Baltimore, Maryland!  I grew up in Virginia, and there are still places I haven’t seen in this metropolitan mecca.  So with a Saturday of rest under our belts, we decided to head to the museums in the city after church.  It was a late start, but it was a tad spontaneous — I mean, we did go home and change out of our ‘Sunday’s best’ after all — yet it still qualified as an adventure!

A classmate had mentioned that the Smithsonian Museum of American Art was showing “The Art of Video Games” exhibit through September.  It wasn’t a mind-numbing electronic device — no, no… it was a trip to the museum disguised as a video game!  This was perfect!  So the, “What? We have to go walk around in the heat to boring museums?” morphed into, “Cool!!!  Are we there yet?”  It was magical…  I was even a little excited about it myself.  One area of graphic art that I have been intrigued by is 3D gaming animation.  I was able to get some introduction to creating a 3-dimensional space in my last summer course, but I would like to delve deeper into that virtual arena… especially with its dynamic rate of innovation!  I feel like Marty McFly hanging onto the bumper of technology with sparks shooting out from under my skateboard!  Well, if you think that last reference dates me, take a look at where the genesis of video gaming began with me… That’s right, “Era 1″… bring on your “Pac Man”, the “Space Invaders” and “Break Out!”  Those were the days, alright… when the characters were subtle and the audio was muddled.  Fast forward thirty years, and I am watching my children flailing their arms about while bringing their Miis to life in a virtual game space.  I wonder what the next 30 years will bring… Will we be installing a Holodeck in our basement for our grandchildren?  Fortunately, we’re not there yet, so I have time to savvy myself up to speed with the young-un’s and to jump into this genre of illustration.

While the exhibit was a fun stride down memory lane, it was much smaller than we anticipated.  Three virtual stations were available to people who wanted to showcase their gaming skills in public, with a loOong line of hopeful players watching on.  There were probably three small rooms with video interviews sporadically mounted throughout the exhibit — none of which I was able to hear well with the crowds.  So the obvious lesson learned here was, don’t visit on the weekend unless absolutely necessary… and if it IS the only time you can go, try to get there when it first opens.  For the homeschoolers & parents of younger children:  WARNING… I will advise you to move along quickly past the huge hypnotic wall of multiple screens.  As I was standing there trying to snap a visually interesting photograph, I was dismayed by the images of a topless women at the hub of this digital display that appeared rather suddenly (and then lingered) in the looped video sequence.  I felt that was inappropriately projected considering the target audience for video games, but I will stay off my soapbox for the moment.  At the end of the day, I would not recommend heading into DC specifically to see this exhibit, which we found to be somewhat underwhelming.  We felt that the potential to show 40 years of technological gaming evolution was underachieved.  On the upside, the kids enjoyed seeing all the different displays of games and listening to narratives through the phone tours.  Additionally, there are other engaging exhibits in the museum, and blocks of attractions to enjoy all over the city.

I’m Just Warming Up…

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Michelle Fitzurka's Art

One of my better daily practice sketches.

Continuing my organizational mission in my studio, I found some charcoal sketches from a portraiture class I had enrolled in 10 years ago at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts — WOW, has it really been that long?!  At the time, I wasn’t really sure if I would be any good at drawing faces, but I wanted to give it a try.  As it turned out, I really loved this subject, and I realized that pencil sketching each day would open me up to clearer observations of the details and sharpen my skills little by little.  So now that I am gearing up for my Drawing class that begins in the Fall, I thought I would post a few of my favorites.   I decided to add a few of the smaller sketches that were a part of my daily practice routine, as well.  This is a conscious reminder that I need to get that drawing pad out again for my down times… Did I really write that?  I am a mother of 4, there are no downtimes!!!  So in Momspeak, that is to say that I need to carve some time into my quiet hours ~ which equates to the time that the children are in bed sleeping, and when I probably should be doing the same.  But who has time for sleep when there are creative conquests on the horizon!  These are the moments when you recognize that you are doing what you were created to do.  You are recharged with a second wind of passion that drives you into the wee hours of invigorating process until you reluctantly surrender to your pillow.  With a breath of fresh morning light your workscape beckons to you… ahh yes, THIS is my Fitztopia…

A quick sketch of Gandalf emerging out of my fascination
with “Lord of the Rings” when the first movie was released.

Exploring various exposures of light in the studio with charcoal.

In the Beginning…

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Cotton application of ink onto newsprint
was the method of shading used in this studio art project.

Now that I have finally made it to the end of this summer semester, it is time to return to my domestic responsibilities in full force.  Our garage is still stacked high with boxes from our recent move and my [somewhat] freshly painted studio is buried in the basement by bins filled with supplies begging to be organized.  Do you ever find yourself vowing to purge stored forgotten treasures only to become entranced by volumes of unboxed memories?  Well, as I meandered through this maze of sketch pads and easels, I came across my cardboard, poorly duct taped college art portfolio from a time that predates vector graphics – at least before they were commercialized to the general public.  Yes, I realize that maps my post secondary education on a timeline, but it also serves as a disclaimer for coloring outside of the lines in these projects… in the spirit of ‘We just didn’t know any better’… That was the season when “Def Leppard” played in the Ratskellar, Dana Carvey & Mike Myers were dabombdiggity on “Saturday Night Live” and cell phones looked more like walkie talkies… Good times, good times… So just for the fun of it, I thought I would post a few of my earlier projects that I unearthed in the process of declutterization… okay, who am I kidding… this is just a great excuse to get out of that mess downstairs!  Enjoy!…

An early ink graphic designed for my studio art class at the university.

This design was created with cut Canson paper.

The visual transformation of a sketch into an abstracted non-objective rendering.