Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What We Do To Our Cats!

I saw the funniest thing last night and it reminded me of one of the reasons why I have cats as pets.  Of course, I have cats because I love them, they are affectionate, interesting and fun to pet...
Also, I found after my eighteen year old cat died a couple of years ago, I just couldn't sleep well at night without that feeling of a cat in the room. Weird!  The room felt less comfortable, odd to say.

Anyway, back to what reminded me about why I have cats at all... And the answer is, comic relief!
Sometimes, they do things that are just downright hilarious... 
So, basically, you are sitting there, minding your own business, and the animal that always lands on it's feet, doesn't.

Or, the epitome of grace that walks among us, walks, and is definitively not graceful...
And when they go off the rails, they are so totally shocked and appalled by what is happening, that it only adds to how funny the situation is!
Have you ever seen a cat fall backwards off a coffee table?  Their expression is priceless!  That's what I witnessed yesterday, and boy, I didn't stop laughing for ten minutes!
The other thing that's pretty entertaining what we do to them... They are so stiff with dignity, I don't think pet owners can really resist it!
I have a yearly tradition of putting these antlers I bought at a pet store years ago on whatever cats don't move fast enough to avoid me... (Yes, I tend to do this every year!)
But nowadays, you don't even have to do this type of thing yourself! 
The Internet is full of YouTube videos of cats in embarrassing situations, and they are funny, some incredibly so.
I feel sorry for the cats, but on some level, I know they deserve it;-)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Recent Glass Paintings by Teresa Young


Here is a selection of my latest paintings, which are on glass for a change.
 


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http://teresayoung.artistwebsites.com/
 
http://teresayoung.artistwebsites.com/


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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Glass Painting Workshop in Tantallon, Nova Scotia



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I'll be running a workshop at the Creation Station in Tantallon, NS on glass painting. Depending upon enrollment of course!  In this evening workshop (four weeks, two hour evening classes) participants will learn how to prepare a piece of glass or mirror for a glass painting.
How to put in a skeletal drawing using liquid leading strips and/or paint, and also planning out the colour scheme so that the finished product is pleasing to the eye...

The class dates and times are Thursdays evenings from 6:30 pm till 8:30 pm.

Dec.5th & 12th
Jan. 9th & 16th.

Class price is $99 + HST.

The website to sign up for the class is the following:
http://creationstationnetwork.ca/index.shtml

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http://teresayoung.artistwebsites.com/











http://teresayoung.artistwebsites.com/






 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How I Create A Glass Painting

First, I prepare the glass for the paint by using a prep fluid I buy at Michael's and let it dry overnight.
For the next step, I sometimes prepare a design in advance and draw it on a white piece of paper which I put behind the glass as a guide (only works with clear glass this way...). And you can also draw on the glass with permanent ink that is not too slippery. Just make sure that the liquid leading completely covers your guide lines... The other side effect of drawing directly on the glass is that you see the lines through the other side, which I don't like, so I don't do that myself.
-Usually though, I play it by ear and do the drawing using the liquid leading that I apply to the glass. The initial drawing is very, very simple, like the photo at left, because applying the coloured paint always goes over the initial lines, so I have to redo the lines again after the coloured glass panes are done. This also makes sure that the leading ends up being raised like real leading which increases its similarity to real stained glass visually.
I have pen tips that I screw onto the tops of the liquid leading bottles I buy at Michaels.  These allow me to create much finer lines than what the bottles of liquid leading create originally. I bought the pen tips at Michaels as well, but I have no idea what they are designed to be used for normally though.
I usually buy frames with glass on sale and use those myself. What I've done is remove all the backing from the glass in the frame, then put glazier's putty (available from some hardware stores, it's grey in colour and dries fairly stiff over time) over the edges of the glass and then put small pieces of wood over the putty and paint the wood black. Once the putty dries, the wood is securely held in place, just like a window frame...
Sometimes, (when I have the time and money), I put another layer of glass over the back of the glass again, with special glass that filters ultravoilet light out to preserve an especially good glass work that I want to hang in a west facing window that get a lot of light. Direct sunlight when the sun is especially bright can fade the colours over time, so this helps a lot. But it can get expensive.

Back to the process itself.
I have many bottles of glass paint that I use for the painting, you can use qtips and toothpicks to refine what you've put down on the glass for coloured areas, I used to use the toothpicks a lot to remove bubbles in the glass paint layer at the beginning, but now, I find the even side to side motion I use works just as well. But this stroke has to be very even in motion to avoid bubbles, and never, ever shake the bottles or it will take overnight for the bubbles to settle out of the paint. Otherwise, you end up with a paint that ensures bubbles over every square inch. Which, now that I think it over, could an interesting effect in itself!
I use many layers and overlapping colours to create shading and visual interest and also to avoid that plastic/fake look that I dislike so much!
Different paints give varying levels of opacity and translucency, so you've got a large range to play with. I use cameo ivory and white pearl for dotting a lot because they are fairly opaque and give nice effects.
Once the paint layers have dried, I use liquid leading over top to clean up the painting and smooth out the finished product. I use it to balance the composition if necessary, and correct any air bubbles I might have missed by putting in new divisions of paints to hide them. I add different colours to the new panes so that it looks like I planned the 'accidents' as part of the original composition.  I often end up with something new and totally different that I like much, much more.
Once I'm satisfied, I leave the painting dry for a week, and then varnish it with glass varnish (two coats), to protect it from the elements and allow it to be washed with gentle soap and water in the future.
Slate Blue is pretty transparent and it's great for shading
other colours because it gives a nice, attractive shadowy effect, as does charcoal black and champagne.
Amber is one of my favourite underpainting colours because it works with pretty well everything as well as by itself.
Rose is especially beautiful and mixes well as well...  High colour paints that work well are morning glory, aqua, fresh lime, sapphire, ruby red and so on. But I'm pretty careful with those, because the larger the area of high colour, and the smoother it is, the faker it looks.  I also use crackle a lot to create texture in larger areas, it work extremely well and gives a close match to a lot of stained glass textures.

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As you can see by the glass painting at right, I used a lot of very bright red in large panes in the composition. To combat the fake plastic look that I initially ended up with, I used dotting of another paint colour to texture the panes and give visual interest. It also made it reminiscent of pointellism or ink drawing by using the dots, which made it attractive.
Putting crackle over a paint layer that is dry, cracks the paint evenly, giving one style of effect. Putting it on a wet layer, cracks it so that the edges get extra paint stuck in it, so it's almost like bolding the broken edges, putting wet paint over dry crackle areas give pools of darker paint in the cracks, and put wet paint over wet crackle layers gives the same effect as layering them in the opposite order. There are other types of glass paints like crackle that give textures available, but I haven't really experimented with them much as they don't appear to work as well as crackle does...
Once the paint layers have dried, I use liquid leading over top to clean up the painting and smooth out the finished product. I use it to balance the composition if necessary, and correct any air bubbles I might have missed by putting in new divisions of paints to hide them. I add different colours to the new panes so that it looks like I planned the 'accidents' as part of the original composition.  I often end up with something new and totally different that I like much, much more.
Then, I leave the painting dry for a week, and varnish it with glass varnish (two coats), to protect it from the elements and allow it to be washed with gentle soap and water in the future.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

On the cusp of a new direction

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I've been at a roadblock lately, looking at my own art with a different viewpoint.  It just doesn't seem to work for me anymore! Not that I've given up painting and drawing, but I've been mulling things over and figured out what the source of my dissatisfaction is...

http://teresayoung.artistwebsites.com/I seem to have descended into the gloomy depths somehow and lost that bang of colour!  Maybe too much overworking of detail, a loss of freshness and verve somehow.

So, I took a step back to figure out where I'm going and how I want to change my direction to point there...

It's like learning to zig when you normally zag...  I've made a bit of return to glass painting, because that particular medium forces me to more simplicity. A return to the roots of my own painting style in some ways, I believe.  It will be an interesting experiment anyway!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Peggy's Cove Festival of Arts Studio Tour - 2013

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Hello everyone!  This weekend (Saturday, July 20th [today] and tomorrow) is the 2013 Studio Tour weekend for the Peggy's Cove Festival of Arts.  Since I don't have a studio, I'm hanging my artwork at Bay Hammock's Company in Seabright, NS. Which is on the lighthouse route, about fifteen minutes down from Peggy's Cove itself. (Thanks Anne and Archie!)

I'll be demonstrating acrylic painting (in other words working on a current painting) at the store today and tomorrow from 1PM until 4PM as part of the Studio Tour weekend!

Here are the pieces I've created in honour of this year's festival, and they will all be hanging at Bay Hammocks for the weekend. Feel free to come down and buy an original painting by me if you're in the area! Thanks!



Mermaid Pin-Up by Teresa Young

Fish Story by Teresa Young








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Mermaid Mage by Teresa Young



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Shell Fractal by Teresa Young
http://teresayoung.artistwebsites.com/
Slice and Dice by Teresa Young






Friday, July 12, 2013

Peggy's Cove Festival of Arts opening night

Well last night at the opening was loads of fun!  We had six artists doing their art for people to watch (live!) and they called us 'Fresh Fish Artists'.... Which is pretty funny, because I found out when I was doing a bit of preparation practice that I cannot do a fish to save my life!  Hahahah! 

So I did the closest I could come, I painted a mermaid.  What?  She may be imaginary, but she is half fish!  LOL!

Here's the painting I worked on during the opening night. It's only about two thirds done, but people at the event got to see me paint this from the barest of underpaintings to the current state over the course of a few hours.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Peggy's Cove Festival of the Arts - July 11th to 21st

We have the Peggy's Cove Festival of the Arts going once again and our Opening Gala on Thursday, July 11th at Shining Waters Marina in Tantallon, NS. Tickets are $20 and are available through the PCAFA website.

There will be a silent auction of arts and crafts, with six member artists will be demonstrating art at the event. I'll be one of the artists demoing, the theme is fish based art, and since I like painting, (and not fish, generally!) I'll be stretching that definition by working on an acrylic painting of a mermaid;-) There will also be a live band, a silent auction, a fish tank game, and other things going on at the gala, so if you are in the area around that time, don't miss it!

Events will be going on throughout the festival, including live band concerts, the Paint Peggy's Cove weekend event, and other events.  I'm just pasting the descriptions from the website here because they certainly explain it clearer than I could!
Primarily a “coastal festival’ - this is an early summer celebration of the wealth of artistic talent in an area just south of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The focal point is our beautiful St. Margaret’s Bay with its iconic Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse.

Our resident artists live along Highway #333 (Prospect Rd. - Peggy’s Cove Rd.) parts of Highway #3 (Hubley to East River) and the Hammond’s Plains Rd south of Pockwock Rd. or on the many sideroads leading to picturesque villages. Our STUDIO TOUR  2013 extends from Prospect to East River, following the coast. See our Get Involved page for details.

We offer two weekends of signature events - Paint Peggy’s Cove and a Studio Tour, along with a feature concert. Plans for mid-week activities are in the works. Our festival is growing!  We plan to make waves on the art scene here in Nova Scotia!

The festival is also a celebration of fine artisans, musicians and performance artists. Concerts, demonstrations and workshops will become part of the event over time. In this area so near Halifax, you’ll find over 70 artists living in a wonderful setting where forested hills meet the sparkling Atlantic Ocean.


Monday, March 4, 2013

How to draw a face (Part 2)

This is a series of blog posts I'm starting to try to help others learn how to draw as I did.
http://teresayoung.artistwebsites.com/I used to do these techniques when I was initially learning portraiture from another artist that was trained in Germany. Of course, over time, I've stopped using the guidelines, as my muscle memory seemed to train in position and guaging the proportions by eye and hand. But this is a good way to learn, as it gives discipline and helps create a good result.
I started drawing faces as a very young child, but never caught a likeness until I was ten. After that, I was on fire! I drew constantly trying to get that almost mystical connection, the portrait that looked like whoever I was drawing...
I went to Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) constantly when I was thirteen and on vacation there one summer, learning from the portrait artists... They took pity on a young girl and let me sit and watch, and after awhile, they starting looking at what I was drawing and helping me! It was a wonderful two months...
Later on, I started selling portraits on my own (very cheaply!) to fund private art lessons to learn portraiture from a local artist where I lived, her husband was in the military, so she had originally trained with a classically educated portrait artist in Germany... She learned in the late fifties... I learned from her in the early seventies.

General sketching guidelines, explanations and tricks to train your hand and artistic eye to draw faces. This excludes shadowing, which I will go into later.

How to draw a face (Part 1)

How to draw a face (Part 2)

Now, let's take a look at how to draw the nose. The previous section was on drawing the overall guidelines and how to draw the eyes. See the previous post for this info.

Noses:  They come in all shapes and sizes and on top of that, they are constantly stretched and pulled out of their 'resting' state by the facial muscles, so you can get many different views of a specific nose even viewed face on. 
The larger the size of the nose, the more distinct the lines (and later on in this workshop, the shadowing) around it…

Generally, within the framework of the lines we have added to the egg shape, the nose fits centrally in the face.
The length of the bridge itself is approximately the length of the third eye we discussed earlier. Where you measure the bridge as it starts to slope outwards from right between the eyes and end it at the bulb of the nose itself.
The top of the bulb of the nose generally starts just below line e in the diagram above, which is the top of the bottom third of the middle section of the egg.
If you place the nose too far up, it looks unrealistic, but it’s a very common mistake when first learning to draw the face.

Tips:  The nostrils are always drawn darker; this gives the nose depth and makes it appear more 3D. I like to draw in a suggestion of the light shadow line on the bulb or nose tip as it gives it a more defined shape.

The parts of the nose are the bridge, nostrils, nasal septum, philtrum, and bulb (or protruding tip of the nose). See diagram to the left of a front view of the nose.


You can indicate the bridge of the nose by drawing a line on the darker side of it, in a line drawing this gives a feeling of depth. Shadowing can be used instead in a drawing using shading techniques. Which is a post for another day!

I draw a curved line to indicate the dip under the nose, properly called the philtrum.
The nose is generally two eye lengths in total from between the eyebrows to the tip. Although it can vary slightly, from the tip of the nose to the centre line of the lips is another eye length. The width of the nose is about one and half eye lengths.

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To determine the eye length, I've included a modified diagram showing the invisible third eye covered in part one of this post series...

Note:  If you enlarge the eyes, make sure your measure of an eye length is based on the unenlarged size. Which shouldn`t really be an issue as the enlargement should be in the height of the eye, not in the length horizontally. The eyes I've illustrated above are almost comically large, you can see even though the distance between the eyes is correct (which is why if looks attractive!), the eyes are so big, they give the impression of a child's eyes (with makeup on, somewhat creepy!).

Below, I've illustrated examples of how the angle of the nose can affect how it appears, even from a front on viewpoint.
Note that you have a nice, clear view of the nostrils, and their shape is almost circular...

As the nose angle changes, foreshortening changes the size and shape of every part of the nose, including the nostrils.

Even when you can't see the nostrils, it's a good idea for composition's sake, to draw the line delineating the bottom edge of the nose darker, to give the drawing depth and make the nose appear to project.

 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How to draw a face (Part 1)

http://teresayoung.artistwebsites.com/This is a series of blogposts I'm starting to try to help others learn how to draw as I did.  I used to do these techniques when I was initially learning portraiture from another artist that was trained in Germany.  Of course, over time, I've stopped using the guidelines, as my muscle memory seemed to train in position and guaging the proportions by eye and hand. But this is a good way to learn, as it gives discipline and helps create a good result.
I started drawing faces as a very young child, but never caught a likeness until I was ten.
After that, I was on fire! I drew constantly trying to get that almost mystical connection, the portrait that looked like whoever I was drawing...
I went to Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) constantly when I was thirteen and on vacation there one summer, learning from the portrait artists... They took pity on a young girl and let me sit and watch, and after awhile, they starting looking at what I was drawing and helping me! It was a wonderful two months...
Later on, I started selling portraits on my own (very cheaply!) to fund private art lessons to learn portraiture from a local artist where I lived, her husband was in the military, so she had originally trained with a classically educated portrait artist in Germany... She learned in the late fifties... I learned from her in the early seventies.

General sketching guidelines, explanations and tricks to train your hand and artistic eye to draw faces.  This excludes shadowing, which I will go into later.
Fig 1 Start with an oval (or an egg shape if that’s easier to remember) and divide it into thirds. Split in half vertically as well.  (These 'guide' lines are useful in setting the proportions of the adult face.)
Split the centre portion of your three main horizontal sections into three sections as well.

Finally, divide the vertical halves of your oval into halves again. 
Note: This process of proportional guidelines is based on a system called 'the golden mean', which was developed in renaissance times by artists.

Generally, the top of the eyebrows will line up with your top main face line labeled A in the diagram above. I've thrown in the nose and mouth on the sketch just for vanity sake here, I will go over that later on, step by step as well...
The eyebrows are centred on the secondary vertical lines f and g.  The nose and lips are centred on the middle vertical line C.



Our eyebrows actually rest at the top of the eye sockets, so you can draw in circles to represent the underlying curvature and the eyes themselves will be situated within these circles.
For illustration purposes, I am going to draw in circles to represent the eyeballs, but it's totally unnecessary to do this as a regular practice, even while you are learning, just using the general guidelines to train your hand and eye to the correct proportions is best.
Also note, these imaginary eyeballs are lined up with the inner wall of the sockets, this is because of the great rule of thumb, we all have a 'third eye' between our eyes. If you look at ninety percent of people, and use your thumb as a measuring stick to judge, you will find that the width of the space between the eyes in full front view, edge of inner tear duct to inner duct, equals the width of the eye itself.

Kind of creepy looking, isn't it? Wow! But it won't stay like that, this is just for illustration purposes.
I've divided the eye socket circles again, with a line between the centre line d and the top A and labeled the line j.
Unless we are in a horror movie, we never see the full eyeball, since they are covered top and bottom with skin and muscles.

I designated the halfway points of the eyes for illustration purposes with lines labeled h and i.

So, I've sketched in very basic eyes here, so that you can see a few things:

First, the eyebrows always extend out past the eyes; they're never lined up with the outer edge of the eyes.

Second, as long as you observe the 'third eye' distance, the viewer is more comfortable with the appearance of the face in general. It just 'feels right'.
Start changing that inner proportion and your portrait will just look wrong, wonky, and out of whack. It actually makes one feel uncomfortable when you look at it. You can make your eyes proportionally larger or smaller, just the spacing in between seems to be the most sensitive point. Most portrait artists will unconsciously slightly enlarge a person's eyes when they draw them, to make a more attractive portrait. Probably because we are all hard-wired to find children attractive, making the eyes slightly larger appeals more strongly. Children actually have larger eyes than they do once they reach their full growth. Since we're born with our final eye size and our faces grow around it as we age.
Don't go too far on enlarging the eyes to enhance the portrait, or you can end up with a cartoonish look. Too far would actually be the point where the outer edge of the eye lines up with the eyebrow end above.
Third, this is proportionality for an adult face, so our eyes are usually small compared with the size of our faces. The larger you make the eyes; the harder it is to maintain realistic proportions...
Since we aren't always shocked or surprised, the eyelid usually covers part of the iris and pupil of the eye.  (Unless of course we are looking down and the bottom section of the eye is hidden by our lower lid.)
When viewing the eye (depending on the distance), we often see the width of the lower lid due to the way it sits on the eyeball.  I often draw in a small circle or dot to represent the tear ducts, and make the upper eyelash line darker to represent the thickness and size of the lashes in comparison to the lower lashes.  I'll put in a few sparse lower lashes, but not too many or too dark, or once again, it starts looking cartoonish. A line is drawn above the upper eyelash line to represent where the upper eyelid ends. This can vary greatly, so there's no shortcut to figure out where it 'should' be.
Beneath the eye; dark shadows, bags and wrinkling will always follow the contour of how the eyeball sits in the eye socket.  This essentially mirrors the proportions of the eyelid above, so I think of it as a 'ghost lid’, I draw a partial line to identify where the edge of the curvature ends.
Since the eye surface itself is covered with fluid, it's glossy and reflects light. A good way to bring 'life' to a drawing of an eye is to leave one or two white dots on the pupil. I usually use one dot. Leave that white dot out, and the eyes usually look wrong or lifeless.
Pupil size can vary greatly due to lighting conditions, in bright light, the pupil can be quite small, in low light conditions, and it can be quite large. I generally like to go for the midrange; it gives a more attractive and realistic result.
(If you are drawing from a photograph as a reference and a flash was used, the pupils will be smaller than normal.
To make your drawing more realistic, I'd recommend drawing the pupils larger to give a pleasing result.)  
As the eye gazes in different directions, it moves partially out of sight under the upper eyelid and the rest of the face. 

This means we rarely ever view the whole circle of the eye (where the eye in this case refers to iris and pupil), so we are always drawing partially to represent this. 

When drawing the face, keep in mind the viewing distance you are working with in your image.
If you are close, you'll see a suggestion of lower lashes, width of lower lid and tear duct on the inner corner.

The further away, the more indistinct the details become. Drawing in eyelashes on a distance drawing of the face, appears very cartoonish and unrealistic.