|"Christmas Morning" 16x20 Oil on Canvas|
Monday, December 27, 2010
This last painting was a doozy. I showed it briefly to my family on Christmas Eve, and it reminds me of all the wonderful family gatherings. Mmmm.... I really miss how my cousins can mix a Bloody Mary
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I'll probably post my final project, and then I'll be taking a break through the New Year. We leave for Saigon tomorrow night, and then fun Christmas festivities! Don't worry, I plan on painting, but I kind of want to have a week or two to just have fun, without specific assignments over my head. As the New Year approaches, I really want to focus on doing daily paintings as well. I think that will really help strengthen my skills further. In any case, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!
Thursday, December 9, 2010
|"Sunny Side Up" 11x14 Oil on Canvas|
Here is my weekly assignment for class. I'm super excited to report that I got the ellipses correct, and that it scored me another A-! I'm putting forth a lot of effort, but as this semester is coming to a close, I'm definitely noticing that it is getting easier and easier to do the higher quality work. It still definitely takes time, but I'm making fewer mistakes right off the bat that take a long time to correct. I still have so much to learn - the painting I'm doing on the side for fun has ground to a standstill. I'm at an impasse on it, but I hope cityscape next semester can help with some of that. In any case, it is a good feeling, and I thought I would pass it on.
What have I been up to the past week? I'm not totally sure, but I seem to be busy. All the time. Where does it go? I seem to wind up with a lot of "lost" days here in Singapore. Because I am using public transportation it takes a long time to get anywhere, and then if wherever you go doesn't have what you need, you have just lost an hour. Or half a day. It gets frustrating at time, to say the least. In any case, with the holidays fast approaching, I've been decorating, and thought I would share!
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thank you again for all of your support. It has been totally amazing and overwhelming! I've had a couple people ask me for what is available, and I've already sold a couple pieces before they were ever officially for sale, so as per request, here is what is available. Totally exciting, to tell you the truth, especially since I hadn't yet really started thinking about selling anything yet. The ones that are available after Jan 1st have been sent in for my final critique, so I can't guarantee that they would be ready to open on Christmas. Shipping is $25 on each piece, and I would need to have your order by Dec. 10th to guarantee delivery.
|"Strawberries and Cream" 11x14 SOLD|
|"Fresh Squeezed" 11x14 $200 Avail. after Jan 1|
|"On the Rocks" 11x14 SOLD|
|"Cascading Light" 12x16 $250 Avail. after Jan 1|
|"Morning Line Up" 11x14 $200 Avail. after Jan 1|
|"Making Lemonade" 12x16 $250|
|"Motley Crew" 12x16 $250 Avail. after Jan 1|
|"Limeade" 11x14 $200|
Thursday, December 2, 2010
|"Motley Crew" 12x16 Oil on Canvas $250|
Things are finally starting to flow for me. This all still takes a lot of work, but I feel like I have finally learned how to paint. I cannot say enough about the MFA program at AAU. It has been a ton of work, and I spent all summer trying to hone my skills further, but the professors I have had so far have been just fantastic. I've now gotten to the point where I feel like I can paint what I see, I just have to take the time and go slowly. Things fall apart sometimes, but usually only when I am rushed or tired or can't focus.
I'm still amazed at how much focus it takes to paint. None of the professors I have had so far just slap paint onto a canvas. It is a handy illusion that a lot of people seem to think about us (along with the bohemian chic "you don't need money" image that I hate - it's a business people!). But all of the really good painters I've met, spend hours analyzing what they are seeing. You have to look at every highlight, every nuance, and then compare it to every other nuance in order to get it to look believable. And this is all before you even learn how to make it your own - to put your stamp and signature style into it.
Okay, I'm on the cusp of getting slammed with the end of the semester. Finishing up reworks (you can re-paint things to make your grade higher), and three paintings due in the next two weeks, plus Christmas and all if its craziness! I'll keep you all posted, and hopefully as the semester winds down in the next couple weeks I can resume the daily paintings that are a bit smaller. I've been really enjoying those, but just haven't figured out the rhythm and timing to do them in addition to the bigger pieces, schoolwork and travel that has been going on this fall. Rough life, I know! (PS - this was also an A-, wohoo!)
Monday, November 29, 2010
|"Make Lemonade" 12x16 Oil on Canvas|
Friday, November 19, 2010
My wonderful, amazing husband happened to find this link: http://colorschemedesigner.com/. Basically, this is a wonderful place to check any color scheme that you might have, or want to put into play. You start out with a monochromatic scheme (screenshot below):
You can then pick other schemes (accented analogic, or complimentary analagous shown below) and it gives you four color swatches showing colors that would support this theme, with some value and saturation variations. You can also go in and adjust the scheme for value and saturation to get some very sophisticated schemes. So many pretty colors!
Posted by Shelby Dillon at 4:06 PM
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Since I promised to show everyone the good, the bad, and the ugly, I decided to go ahead and show you one of my less than stellar performances. The assignment was patterns. In the past there were some beautifully done pieces, and a few of them have made it into the spring show (big deal at school). I really wanted to go at this assignment full throttle, but alas, I just couldn't find an object that I really liked, and I also ran out of time. So, in the end, I did this. The ellipses are all kinds of funky and the proportions don't quite work, but I did get the pattern to turn correctly around the objects. In any case, you can't win them all, so I thought I would let you all know I have bad days too :)
Monday, November 15, 2010
|"On the Rocks" 11x14 Oil on Canvas|
We had two solid days of rain, and for the life of me, I just couldn't get into this one. I mean, there aren't ANY blues or greens in this paintings. No Shelby colors. Ha! So I brought the foreground and background fabric to 90% finished, and I was looking at the 3 big objects, which were pretty much just blocked in. I decided to tackle the glass with the ice cubes. Ice cubes, and three glass objects, what in the world was I thinking, torturing myself? Halfway through the glass and cubes, I almost scrapped it, but all of a sudden, I got the colors to start glowing. I was able to make the ice look like ice. The ambers started popping and swirling. That was the ah-ha! moment, and from there on, I knew I would take the challenge.
Not to say there weren't a few more awkward moments, as can be seen from the picture below. The middle bottle kept trying to fall forward, but with some insight from my classmates, I was able to straighten it out and get it back on track.
So lesson to those of you toiling away, just wait it out, the teenage years pass. :)
Oh, and to my family of Bourbon drinkers, Jack was the only thing in my liquor cabinet. Next time anyone comes through duty free, feel free to bring some Maker's or Evan... and to Mark, yes, I know I put Jack and a very nice bottle of 8 yr. old Scotch in the same paintings... I apologize to any desecration I may have committed...
Sunday, November 14, 2010
|"Limeaide" 11x14 Oil on Canvas|
Monday, November 8, 2010
This is this week's homework. I had a ton of fun with the oranges, although because the rainy season started, I'm finding that it takes a massive amount of discipline to get through the day, much less paint. Thank goodness that I have a schedule. Otherwise I think I would curl up in bed for three months. Gray days do not get along with me!
I have about three more paintings to post, so you are in luck! I have finally recovered from massive jetlag (four day turnaround across 24 time zones does NOT do a body good...). New Orleans was a ton of fun, fall weather was just kicking in, so it was in the 70s (I totally miss that!) with low humidity and blue, blue skies... Still, it is good to be back and see Joe. He's my buddy. Okay, off to my artist in residency!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I figured I would wrap up my birthday on a high note. Just in a couple months I am astounded at how much I have learned, how much I am finally understanding and getting. I am so excited at how much I have improved so far, but then I am totally humbled by how much I still have to learn. I've completed 65 (ish) paintings out of the 100 for my goal, but I also realized that in those 100 days, I was counting weekends. Silly Shelby!
In any case, this painting got me a B+ with just a couple suggestions to be able to take it to an A. I swear, I have never worked so hard for grades before. Kind of funny that throughout all of my schooling, and all of the good grades I got, I never had to work as hard as I do for art. Who would have thought painting and drawing was so technical and scientific?
I love birthdays. I've always loved them, and my parents did a wonderful job of making sure my birthday was always special. My husband continued the tradition this year, and I couldn't be more thankful. I'm surrounded by wonderful friends (all over the globe!) and family. This support network is not only allowing, but cheering on my pursuit of my dreams. It is terrifying when you realize you are the only one that is getting in the way of your happiness; truly, once you are in the real world, the only thing standing in between you and what you want to do, is you. Well, you and your choices. Granted, if we were back in the US, pursuing my MFA would be much more difficult. But I was still working on painting in the US, and receiving tremendous support, and even seeing a little success. There is always a way, if you are willing to make the choices and changes to get there. So thank you everyone for the support. It means the world to me, and I am working as hard as I possibly can to be worthy of it.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
This was my assignment last week, clear glass. To be honest, it wasn't my best effort. I was just having a lot of issues, especially with all the ellipses in that stupid bowl. The wine glass wound up being just a little bit off, but not too badly. It was mostly that bowl. Ungh. But all in all, I'm okay with that, because this week's assignment went really well. I'll post that tomorrow :)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
This and my refinery painting are approaching complete. Still have about 15% left on both of them, but I'm really enjoying the work. I apologize for the poor white balance and if it is grainy, this was taken with my iPhone, so it isn't the greatest picture quality. I figured I needed to post something to make sure everyone knew I wasn't totally slacking off :). But seriously, I have to do 4 paintings by next Wednesday, when I leave for the US for Margaret's wedding. I can't wait, but I am so totally buried!
Posted by Shelby Dillon at 5:54 PM
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
This is kind of the direction that I am starting to take my work that I do in my spare time (when I have it!). I love industrial complexes and some of the big, huge machinery that you see around Singapore. Out by where Joe works, there are all kinds of big things. His entire job consists of climbing up and down big stuff. The city is tall, with skyscrapers stretching 50+ stories at times. Heck, we live on the 10th floor ourselves. Part of me misses and longs for the blues and greens of the Lowcountry. I miss the rich colors and gentle light of home. I kept trying to insert them into scenes I saw in Singapore, but it just didn't quite work.
So, instead, I'm working to see Singapore for what it really is, what is really there. Scenes like this might not initially be bright and pretty, but I feel like they have an inner beauty all of their own. There is grit, determination, a scrabbling together and resourcefulness that has brought allowed Singapore to be so successful. Quite often, the sky is either gray and rainy, or so bright that it washes out the colors. But there is even a beauty within the grays. I feel like if I can see and find that, I will have succeeded.
Life is good. What can I say? Today was just a pretty neat day, and I met some awesome people. We visited a jewelry school to see a lecture on Kundan jewelry. This is a traditional Indian jewelry that used rose cut gems, 24 karat gold, and enamel to create some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. (Similar to Allison's bracelets that she was importing, but with much more elaborate enamel). The coolest part - I won the lucky draw, so I get to go back and take a gemology class. I'm thinking the class about fake gems. That should help me the best when traveling around, ha!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Here is the final 50% of my first project. In the week and a half since I painted the first 50%, I have learned so much already. I was very pleased that I was able to carry that into the final part of this painting. My professor is spectacular, and the other students are intelligent and helpful with all of their critiques. I love this learning process. Their biggest critiques about my first submission (shown below) was that the perspective was off on the pitcher's ellipse and the handle needed to be adjusted. I had also made the shadows in the lemon too cool.
I feel like I really made a huge leap in color this week. If you look at these two steps of the same painting, I think I can illustrate how. Look at the fruit. In the first versions, the color is just off. Granted, we were really only supposed to show three values, but the apple is kind of dull, the lemon has a shadow that is too harsh and it doesn't look rounded, and the orange is not only too yellow, but the shadow is too blue. They are just all off.
In order to fix the fruit, I used colors close to the local color, rather than jumping straight to the object's complimentary color. For example, for the lemon, as it goes into the shadow, I used a dull red as the object starts turning away from the light, and then used a tiny dab of blue. Before I had mixed up a violet from ultramarine and alizarin, which can be pretty intense, and as you see below, overpower the yellow.
In other notes, I don't think I will be finished with my cityscape this week. I am learning so much, including how slowly oil dries when you are doing multiple layers!
Monday, October 4, 2010
Here is this week's assignment. I am working on finishing up the project I talked about last week, and I'm also working on a larger cityscape, so I should have some more things to post this week. With this painting I really tried to get back to basics and work with color. This was the first week we were really allowed to use a full palette, which is pretty intimidating when you first try to tackle it. My critiques about colors were such that I really wanted to stop for a moment and really focus on how colors turn through space. Basically I had been making the shadows on the objects too harsh, too cool. So my professor was giving some great tips on how to get the object to turn through space.
For example, on a red object, say it is bright red, like the apple on the right. You almost never use bright red straight out of the tube. Rather, as the apple turns towards the light, you will use some yellow, since the light source is yellow. You can't use white exclusively, or your apple will turn pink. So I used a combination of a lighter red paint, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre and a touch of white. Then as the apple turns away from the light, the shadow will get cooler than the red of the apple. Because it is a warm colored object, cooler also means that it will be slightly grayer (not as saturated). To accomplish this, I used some of the cadmium red light, mixed with alizarin crimson (a very bluish red) and a small touch of viridian (cool green).
I've been having the most problem with yellows. I was making them entirely too harsh on the shadow side. In the end, I found a great mixture winds up being a dull yellow from Tera Rosa, Cadmium Yellow Light, Yellow Ochre and a smaaaall touch of Ultramarine. If you just combine cadmium yellow light and violet (ultramarine and alizarin crimson) it can get too cool too quickly. You almost have to combine the yellow with a red violet to get (more alizarin than ultramarine) in order to get a good shadow.
I'm working really hard at mixing colors by using the colors next to each other on the color wheel, so they don't turn muddy. So much thought and science goes into this. Who would have thought?
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I thought I would give you some insight on how I wind up painting, and how I am being taught to paint. This is the first 50% of this project, and all in all, it took me about five hours from start to finish.
First, you start on a toned canvas. I combined black and white acrylic gesso to come up with a mid-value gray. We are using a full palette, so I mixed up a combination of burnt umber and ultramarine blue for sketching the composition. I figured out the arrangement I wanted in a thumbnail sketch, and then looking at the still life from life, started to sketch. I've learned to basically use triangulation in order to get everything proportionate and in the correct positions. Needless to say, I got as far as the sketch above before I realized I had the completely wrong proportions from my thumbnail. So I dipped a rag in turpentine and wiped it all off, to start over.
An hour and a half later, the finished sketch. Sometimes the drawing is the longest part of the whole process for me. Last semester I had several drawing classes, and I have seen a huge improvement, but it is still an effort. The triangulation lines make it look a bit like a mess, but you can easily paint over it, and by checking all of the angles multiple times, I can get a much more accurate drawing. My drawing skills aren't so good that I can wing it yet, so this helps me a lot in the meantime. Another method some artists use is a grid. That involves many more lines and that explanation is more detailed, so I'll save it for another day.
First major step is to establish the background, shadows and mass tones. I started with the farthest background and the foreground because then I can compare those hues and values to the rest of my painting. Similarly to the angles I drew, you walk through the entire painting process by continuously comparing. As you can see, the angle lines disappear easily underneath the mass tones I am laying in.
A mass tone is the overall average hue and value of an object. Basically you try to paint in about 3 values cast shadow, form shadow, light side. You don't worry about the highlights or reflected light at this point. Right now the painting is about 50% done. I know I need to adjust some of the shadows, they are a bit dark, and the book needs to be less of a warm blue and more of a violet color, but overall this is a good beginning.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Whew. I'm really proud of this one. I know this is kind of a different subject matter, but I've been totally enraptured with all the construction equipment here in Singapore. The joke is that the national bird is the crane. Funny, but it hits pretty close to home. The road in front of our house has been totally taken over by construction equipment. In any case, I often find the equipment has its own beauty, especially when the sun is hitting it just so.
Want to know something kind of fun about this painting? I used no green. We were only allowed to use five colors - Titanium White, Ivory Black, Terra Rosa (which is a muted red), Yellow Ochre and Cadmium Yellow Light. The apple is green because cadmium yellow light turns a beautiful green when you darken it with black.
I was kind of unhappy with my last painting, so I redid it. Both these 11x14 paintings seem to be taking me somewhere around 4-5 hours each, which is about what the class said it would take. But when I wind up doing more than 1 in a week, it kind of eats into the time I have set aside for my daily paintings. My biggest problem with the other painting was using a tomato. Because of using only the five colors, the tomato could have never been brighter than Terra Rosa, which at best can reach a terra cotta kind of red. There was no way I could have gotten close to the color I was looking for. I was also trying to paint a pear that was half red, half yellow. No matter what I tried to do, I couldn't quite get it to look right. So I changed that out for a fully yellow pear and a green apple. Much happier with this.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Still catching up, believe it or not. I spent the entire day working on this still life for class. Took much longer than I anticipated. And look, it is Thursday, and already lunchtime. What do I have to show for today? Well, at least I have a clean apartment now. It was dirrrrty after having two guests for close to 3 weeks. Okay, time to get back to work!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Hey guys! Still catching up. Don't quite know how I got behind, but I think it has something to do with being sick last week and still trying to get things together after having guests. In any case, trying to get all my schoolwork done. I thought I would give y'all a taste of what I worked on last week. Bread, an egg and a coffee cup, using only 4 colors. Kind of crazy, huh?
Friday, September 17, 2010
Just a view of the daily commute here in Singapore.
I was very happy with the way that this turned out. The differences between the images in my head versus what I am putting down on the canvas are getting smaller. After I finished this I felt a sense of accomplishment I haven't felt in a while. It was really difficult to work with because I decided I wanted a cool light. Trying to wrap my head around cool midday light rather than the warmer light you see the rest of the day is tough to wrap your head around. And I didn't want the painting to get too cold too quickly. But overall, I'm giving myself a pat on the back. I think I'm going to open a bottle of wine and toast to a Happy Friday!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
These cherries just reminded me so much of the game we used to play as a child. Then, when you are a teenager, you're warned against following the leader. "Would you jump off a bridge too?" I prefer to bask in the innocence of playtime for today.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
As I was walking around the grocery store yesterday, I realized how many things here are served with their eyes still looking at you. In the US you don't usually see a whole fish, head and all, available for sale at the grocery store. You might find the head still on at a fish market, but not the grocery store. There it is usually nice neat rows of fillets. This was a small look at the fish section of the grocery store across the street. I have absolutely no idea what kind of fish these were, nor how to prepare them, but the colors these fish had, even on ice, were really just beautiful.
Monday, September 13, 2010
These guys are just all lined up, ready to go! Of course, there is always that one guy that is just slightly rumpled off to the side...
I was so excited to see cherries available at the store. Some fruit is pretty close to impossible to find, or at the very least, super expensive. For a while you could get cherries, but they were close to $20 for 2 pints. When the price dropped to $11, I grabbed them. They were so wonderful! The produce section here is pretty spectacular, but sometimes you miss the fruits from home.
Whew, I wish I had more to show for the past 72 hours than this one assignment for school, but its been rough. I am trying to get back into something resembling normalcy. Unfortunately, I came down with something pretty nasty while playing Tomb Raider in Cambodia. Rather than having a restful weekend to get life together while the guys were still playing in Vietnam, I wound up sleeping most of the weekend and trying my best to get my assignments in for class. Sleeping that much isn't a whole lot of fun, and I'm still exhausted. But, since I have a full week to get this week's assignment done, it should be much easier. The best part is that I'll have time to get some daily painting done as well!
In any case, happy Monday, and I hope you are feeling better than myself!
PS - I am hoping to have a new Dillon Factor up by the end of the week as well. :)
Monday, September 6, 2010
Hey y'all! I have two more paintings I just completed, but I haven't had a moment to edit them. With our two friends in town, I have decided at the last moment to go with them (despite it being the first week of classes) to Cambodia and Vietnam for the rest of the week. I'll be back on Friday, so I'll check in next weekend. Hope your Labor Day was fun!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Continuing on with the orange theme...
I started slicing these guys up, but the two ends turned out to be such interesting shapes. Without even realizing it, the slices fell into a neat line on the plate and created these beautiful shadows. I just loved the way the oranges looked against the blue sheet. I am such a sucker for blue/orange color combination.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
One of the artists whose work I am currently drooling over is Karin Jurik. One of the things I really love about her work is how she makes her colors just punch, for lack of a better term. My own paintings seem to often come out kind of muddy and dull. Part of this is I am still trying to master color mixing, and part of this is that I am constantly afraid to bring too much color to the table and make things garish.
So, one of the things I am working on a bit to help, is art challenges from one of Karin's Blogs. She is no longer doing the challenges, but I have been mining the archives to see past topics. What she did was post a picture, and have people submit their interpretation of the picture. Nine times out of ten, I prefer her rendition to any of the others, but there have been some really beautiful alternatives. I'm using the pictures to work on my own painting, and then comparing what I like about it vs. what she did. It is a fantastic self-teaching tool.
Ha, but as soon as I have my own photo, I still feel like I have been dropped in the middle of the ocean with no paddle. One great example is my last entry, Respite from Prayer. I had the scene all sketched out, but as soon as I put the first color on the panel, I almost froze. That one was quite the struggle. I want to go back and do it again, hopefully to learn how to do it differently.
In any case, things are going well, I'm learning so much. I found another artist's blog, 120 Paintings, and I really loved his concept. He had been told by another artist that "it takes 120 bad paintings to know something about painting." I am totally working through that right now. My paintings aren't bad, they are so much better than they were even a few years ago. But I still have such a long way to go. It is exciting and daunting, all at the same time.
Okay, enough with the novel. Happy Hump Day!
Monday, August 30, 2010
|"Secrets, Secrets" 5x7 Oil on Panel|
Sunday, August 29, 2010
|"Jostling Line" 5x7 Oil on Panel|
Last week I very much felt like I was bumping up against a glass ceiling. Not so much in the feminism way, but in that I felt like I was overreaching the bounds of my ability. I can see through the barrier into what I want to be doing, but I need another leap before I can get there. My skills just aren't quite where I want them in order to tackle the next level. Eh, so it goes. I figure that I can either mope around, or push through and work through it until I find the next "ah ha!" moment where my understand enables me to tackle what I want.
My biggest frustration? People. I've been working on several pieces that just seem to fall apart. Take for example, this one:
There are a lot of things that I really like about it. I really like the composition. I really like the body language. I did okay making sure that the colors didn't go muddy, and I like the way that I resolved the background. But the skin tones are awful. Totally awful.
As a result, I'm going back to the basics. I went to a figure drawing class yesterday, and this week I am concentrating on drawing from life. Things like fruit help me stop for a moment and just practice mixing color. I'm able to stop worrying about producing something grand and just practice. Plus, I usually really enjoy the way they turn out. So, for the rest of the week you'll see some basic still life setups and exercises I'm pulling from other places. But don't worry, it will be fun!