Tag Archives: Arts

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! 😉

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! 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge – Everyday Life of an Art Mom!

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Here is a snapshot of the days that fill my every week in a nutshell (no pun intended)! :)…

Just the basic supplies to get me through the week!…

…and this is what I have been up to in the first 3 weeks of my drawing class!

To find out more examples of this week’s photo challenge

“Everyday Life”

follow this link and join in on the fun!…

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.

A Festival Frolic in Annapolis

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Phew!  In desperate need of a break from Google Sketchup tutorials, I am sharing a fun find here in downtown Annapolis.  This weekend, my oldest daughter & I spent a special ‘Mommy & Me’ day at the “First Sunday Arts Festival.”  Even with the heat, it was a nice post derecho diversion.  Speaking of which, our prayers go out to those of you who are still dealing with the aftermath of power outages and damage!  With the intense and rather unseasonal temperatures in our region, it’s not a time that you want to be without A/C!  What a crazy & unexpected mess!!!

KeyLime Designs by Mollie Dennis
(click here to learn more about this artist)

So in spite of the recent tribulations, the crowd and the vendors seemed to be in good spirits, the music was lively and the breeze was just right…  I wanted to share a few pictures of some of our favorite vendors of the day.  Probably one I liked the most was a table of beautiful children’s artwork by KeyLime Designs.  Artist, Mollie Dennis has a degree in Art Education and has focused her talents on these charming and cheerfully colored collages.

Decorative pieces by Art Sea
(click here to find out more about her seaside decor)

Another table we enjoyed was covered with inventive creations by Art Sea… and who wouldn’t love the name! 🙂  Her specialty was a collection of lovely sailboats she crafted from driftwood and grommeted decorator fabrics.  What a great idea for repurposing natural materials into something, oh, so very Chesapeake Chic!

There were clothing vendors, jewelry, housewares, whimsical garden ornamentals, natural soaps… everything you can imagine, and some gorgeous fine art displays.  It was a textile paradise!

And then there was the food!  My feeling is that it’s just not a festival until you have a taste of the town.  Living in Maryland for around 12 years now, you get used to the usual crab claims of the locals and frankly, I was up for something a little different. As we turned the corner of West Street and found another row of tables down Calvert, we were drawn to a tent bearing the sign, “Mad Flava Catering.”  The grill was flaming, the aroma of Caribbean jerked chicken was wafting and my mouth was watering!  One taste, and we knew this was the real deal!  The chef, Andre Sherwood, is Jamaican born and bottles this amazing sauce.  I bought 3 jars, got home and cooked up a batch of chicken for my — and I don’t use this term lightly — highly flavor-critical family.  It was a unanimously HUGE hit, which, for our 4 kids is practically unattainable… many of you parents out there know my pain!  So 12 thumbs up here, Chef Andre!!!  We will be back for more soon, I’m sure!!!

Click here to visit his website & find out more about Chef Andre’s awesome food!