Be it Art

A reflection about art and all its meanings


Try This: A Unique Drawing Exercise

Jen's copy of %22The Conversion of St. Paul%22

Do you keep a sketch book?  If you are like me, the quick drawings in my sketch book are free and spontaneous, while often my ‘real art’ becomes tight and controlled.  I fight getting locked into my approach to drawing, I get scared that letting loose will take my drawing/painting into a place of no return…..Here is a really great exercise in approaching drawing/painting that forces you to ‘let go’.

1) Pick a painting, photograph or other digital image that can be altered in Photoshop – (better yet have a trusted friend pick an unknown image for you so you do not know what you are going to draw/paint)

2) Open the image in Photoshop and rotate the image upside down

3) Go to Filters: Blur: Gaussian Blur and blur the image so only contrast is evident. Save image.

4) Continue to reduce the blur of the original picture, sharpening the image in small increments and save each stage as a separate image. Now you will have a bank of images to work from.  Draw or paint the image starting with the most blurred version, and moving to the sharpened image.  At the last stage, turn the image right side up and compare your art to the original.  I guarantee you will have a freer, more fluid version of your drawing than if you tried to create a copy from the original. Here is my example:

I picked the painting, The Conversion of St. Paul, by Caravaggio

Here is a picture of my final charcoal drawing:

Jen's copy of %22The Conversion of St. Paul%22


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‘Kitchen Table’ Printmaking

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This summer I did a workshop with middle school students about the basics of relief printmaking.  In order to demonstrate the basics, I had them draw on foam boards with a ball point pen (foam can be ordered from Dick Blick). The pen makes an indentation in the surface. Other objects can be pressed into the surface such as stamps, cookie cutters and round lids….

printmaking 1

Next, the students colored in their drawings with basic school markers. The marker tends to bead up on the surface of the foam.

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Using a brayer, we spread water based printing ink over the surface of the drawing. We used white ink. The marker and the printing ink did get a bit mixed.  We thought this added interest to the print.

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Once the foam was covered with printing ink (I used Speedball brand), we ‘dropped’ colored paper on the foam and burnished the surface using pressure from our hand. We then peeled the foam and paper apart.

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This is a really easy method of creating a unique print. The foam boards can be re-inked and used over again. The work featured in this post was done by my workshop students.

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