Advent Day 7: Ready

Another piece I did for my art club, this time for the weekly theme “Flying.” I based it on this video of an owl swooping down.  Technical stuff: Drawn in Jasc PaintShop Pro 7 with a Wacom Intuos 3 4×5 tablet and stylus.

Owl in flight

Image by Sophie Lagacé 2010, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.

Advent Day 6: Awake

A piece I did for my former art club three years ago for the weekly theme “Coffee.” This is not a giant hummingbird on a regular coffee mug, it’s a normal hummingbird on a demi-tasse. And definitely awake.  🙂

Advent Day 6: Awake

Edit: Art Blah-Blah: Here are the two photos I used for visual reference (cup and hummingbird). I opened the photos next to my work area and sketched both together in one image.  I picked five key colours from the photos and placed them in my palette: red from the cup, and bright green, dark-green-almost-black, white, and orange from the hummingbird photo. MyPaint allows me to “dip” the electronic brush in the colours as needed.

I kept the splash of orange behind the hummingbird’s head; in the original photo it was probably a flower or a feeder, but I chose to interpret it as the sun for the morning coffee tie-in.

Technical stuff: Drawn in MyPaint 0.8.2 with Wacom Intuos 3 4×5 tablet and stylus.  For those who care, the 8 layers are, from bottom to top: green background (pastel paper), palette (hidden), sun, cup sketch, hummingbird sketch, cup colours, hummingbird colours, signature.  No effects, filters, or other gimmicks.

Image by Sophie Lagacé 2010, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.

Mail Art

780x587xpisarro1904.jpg.pagespeed.ic.CJNj_4-R2sThe topic for Week 3 of my online class “Introduction to Art: Concepts & Techniques” is “Correspondence With Memory” and focuses on mail art.  We covered three key artists who do mail art: Ray Johnson and his moticos, Ryosuke Cohen and his Braincell series (neither of which did much for me), and Eleanor Antin and her 100 Boots series (which I really liked.)

Some classmates have posted links to good resources on mail art, including:

I have limited experience with mail art.  My two inspirations are J.R.R. Tolkien’s Father Christmas Letters and Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine correspondence.

tolkien-address1For years, Tolkien entertained his children around the holidays with letters from Father Christmas (known as Santa Claus in North America) filled with tales and sketches of the year’s events at the North Pole.  This book inspired me as a kid and teen to illustrate my own letters.  I don’t ever remember believing in Père Noël/Santa Claus/Father Christmas, but I remember figuring on early that the adults around me liked it when kids sent letters to the North Pole, not only for the cuteness factor but to have a useful list in hand.  So I illustrated mine with water colour images in Tolkien’s style, often writing on behalf of my younger siblings as well (at their request.)

To me, this was a piece of art for my parents and a joke between us.  Little did I know that they were actually sending copies through the post office, since Canada handles the mail for the North Pole!  The year my letter ended up published in a local newspaper, I was in high school and rather mortified that everyone seemed to think I actually believed in Santa!

Mai-Art-MA03Two decades ago, I stumbled on Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence and absolutely loved it.  Bantock’s lush images and collages, which continued to appear in subsequent books, were a delight to discover.  I had to examine each in minute detail to discover little connections and motifs shedding light on the story and the entire image.