Sunday, March 16, 2014

Digital Drawing Day - Table and What's on it

What an interesting week it has been! I whined on my blog about my own lack of enthusiasm for writing, lately, and about the dearth of comments; which garnered so many comments I have scarcely been able to keep up with them! I asked if these digital drawing posts were boring and urged you to be honest. Some people claimed to enjoy them and find them interesting. A greater number said they did not enjoy them. I appreciate that honesty, and, in fact laughed out loud at the commenter who said, "... as far as the digital drawing, honestly, it seems to be one of those mediums that can make a good artist seem like a beginner - awkward and no finesse. There, I've said it. Sorry if it offends...."  Very honest, and sadly more than a little bit true! Several people commented that perhaps I should post these on my drawing blog instead of here. Well, that's a thought—but no. I have pretty much given up on the drawing blog, but will leave it to stand as it is. Everything, from here on will be posted here. So you will have to indulge me this, and just click past the digital stuff if it is not your cup of tea.

So on with the show. This week's theme was "Table and What's on it."


Old Wicker Table
This old table was given to me years ago and my plan was to spray paint it for use on the porch, but it charmed me as it was, so it lives in the house and holds the ever blooming Christmas Cactus.  I really challenged myself to NOT start with a photo this time, so it was all drawn from observation and man, was that hard!  The degree of detail was challenging, but working through the layers helped keep me mentally organized. I rather like the crudeness of the line and resisted a temptation to enlarge small areas to clean up blurps  and bobbles.

I am seeing this as a possible study for a fabric piece.
iPad, Sketch Club app, New Trent Arcadia stylus
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The Blue Table, the Yellow Forsythia:
The challenge was 'the table and what's on it.' This allowed me to play
with newly picked flowers, and the little blue stand in front of our
dining room window. I began with a photo, which provided composition and

What I learned this week:
1. Layers are the digital artist's best friend, but they have to be kept
track of, lest they betray.
2. Neither a Picasso nor a Hockney am I; working fast is beyond me.
Following Cezanne's advice is better -- to work the whole canvas at
once. And then work it again.
3. Working digitally, just like working with oil paint, requires coming
back again and then again, adding and subtracting and multiplying of
lines and color, with time-outs to refresh the eye.
4. Layers of colors and layers of forms provide me the images that
please me most. I'm still a painter at heart.
5. A painter can learn to stretch herself through drawing techniques.
Yes I can (repeat as needed).

Sketchbook Pro, S-pen, on Samsung Note Tablet; reworked with PhotoShop
on desktop using wacom equipment."
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Next week's challenge is very open-ended: Something that Pleases

My friend Susan Gallacher-Turner is also experimenting with digital art and posted some nice pieces on her blog this week. Click here to see it.


  1. Your quoting of the blog comment "can make [even] a good artist look like a beginner" cracked me up. Amen, sister, amen. And can a good artist feel not just like a beginner but like a fool!

    That said, I feel like I'm starting to get a feel for the ways to use the tools, something that has to include both me and my oil painting/textile experiences _and_ the digital medium and tools.

    This was week 9 of our digital experiences, and I think both Terry and I are getting better. Last week I thought of giving it up; this week I thought I was getting a handle on some of the intricacies. Part of my progress had to do with deciding what I wanted the drawing to do -- not what things looked like or how the tools worked but what I wanted to depict of the items I selected. That got me over all kinds of neuroses; once I fixed on where I was going, the only problem was to find the best way to get there.

    So this week I'm content (not just determined) to carry on. And maybe one day, I'll graduate from beginner to start class:-)

  2. I am glad you carried on with the digital challenge. I come here to read about what you are doing as an artist. and if the momentary thing (or even slightly longer than momentary) is what is interesting you, then I am interested in seeing it. But more than that interested in finding how you critique yourself and how you take something from it.
    Experimentation can keep the regular work fresh. To help you see it with a different perspective. and as I have commented before, your digital work looks like it is done by Terry Grant and June's digital work looks like it is done by June Underwood.
    Sandy in the UK

  3. I had a post ready last time and it got lost in cyberspace. I am an AVID reader of your blog and hope you never stop. With ANY blog, if I have no interest in the topic, I skip it. That is not hard. You have taught me SO much and given me so much food for thought that I can never thank you enough.

  4. You two seem to be picking up speed here! I really, really like June's blind behind the table, and the forsythia is lovely. I'm impressed with how much you tackled this week in your drawing Terry. There's a lot more subtlety in the lines and textures than in the earlier works. Sure, you guys may look like beginners here, but in a way, you are. You are beginners in this medium and when you've spent as much time working digitally as you have with pencil and paper or fabric and thread, then I fully expect your digital drawings to be as well realized. :-)

  5. It's fun to see what your girls are up to! It inspires me, no matter what the subject.

  6. Terry, is your ipad screen pressure sensitive? Like a light touch makes a different mark than a stronger one? Or is that all in the choice of brush style? I just got a tablet and its screen is not pressure sensitive, so I'm curious. I need a stylus for it.

    I think the quote is funny. I know enough about drawing to know you two are no beginners. I'm a beginner and I wouldn't attempt that complicated of a composition with a pencil and paper (something I'm comfortable with.

    Speaking of beginners, have you heard of The Loaded Brush in SE Portland? For a fee, one of their artists will walk a bunch of beginners through a standardized sample picture. It is a hoot! A friend and I did this one: Mine does not look *quite* like that one, but it is enjoyable in my living room and astonishes family and friends. It is the first time I ever painted anything besides the side of the garage.

  7. I didn't get 'round to emailing you my sketch, and I also wasn't sure what your next move would be after the excitement this week, lol, but i have posted mine on my blog I think your wicker table is very like matisse (except for the lack of black lines) and am very impressed with your detail, especially as I know how long it takes! Junes forsythia (I always wonder what that was called) is very intricate and the table texture is lovely. I also love the subtle reflection of the tureen. I kept going back and back and each time I see more.
    WE are all starting to get a few tools under our belts, and feel a little more confident, I think. I remember reading somewhere by a famous artist, that if you feel like giving up, then you are nearly there. Just keep going and you will crest the rise, it is only your prehistoric brain trying to protect you. from the dinosaurs over the horizon. But there aren't any.
    I think both sketches would be good beginnings for fibre pieces, that's what sketches are for (well for me they are). Hope you are getting over the sore hands fromall that typing during the week ;)

  8. Like many others I enjoy your blog a lot although I rarely post a comment, often someone has already shared my thought. I am always pleased when you are discussing a new quilt journey and I am surprised that I am enjoying the tablet work. I don't draw well and found on the iPad even worse. I am encouraged to play some more and see what happens, your drawing this week really does look like a sketch for one of your quilts. Love the colour in June's drawing, especially as I live in the white side of the country.

  9. I don't have any of the electronic toys. But I think that the drawing up at the top with the ever blooming cactus is very, very good and would make a lovely fiber piece. I think this would also print up nicely as a blank greeting card. I hope a greeting card company sees this and offers you a contract.

  10. Both very different styles...Terry, your textures really come through with the contrast of the wicker vs the soft sofa. June, your use of color with the sky coming through the blind and the bright forsythia makes for a nice contrast, too.

  11. I love that comfy chair--and you have such a gift for using line(s) to portray a wicker table and cactus that are so exactly what they are...and yet not "photographic." While I would have said the drawings have not been my favorite posts, I still appreciate your sharing them and the explanation of your process, the joys and frustrations.

  12. I think it's like anything else - you have to decide why you are doing it, what you are trying to accomplish and how it fits in the bigger picture of your art journey (apologies to Hockney). Does it offer something you cannot get from the ways you are doing things now? I like that Terry mentions that in this case, her digital sketch may be a way to work out a design that will become a fabric piece. So the question might be, does working digitally get her to that place better or differently than if she picked up pencil and paper or some other method? These are the questions I'm asking myself about digital drawing.

    June helpfully analyzes her experience in bullet form - finishing with what might be the answer to my opening question: stretching herself through different sketching techniques. And then she adds more in her comment - it always helps to know your intent and where you want to go, not get too wrapped up in techniques. ;-)

    I see major improvement and growing skills in both of these, and they are both very pleasant to the eye. June's rendering of the forsythia is stunning (perhaps as much because of the bright yellow as anything but so detailed too). The way she handled the shade/curtain makes for an interesting but subtle backdrop for her still life. I'm impressed with Terry's rendering of the wicker table, all the detail. I think the fact that she didn't start with a photo helped to keep the overall perspective in her picture more realistic than in some past drawings. The pops of red are perfect! That chair looks soft and comfy, ready for me to settle into with a book.

    Well done, you two!