Saturday, July 31, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #76 - Interpreting Van Gogh

In response to yesterday's plea for creative bear ideas, wonderful watercolorist and blog buddy Rhonda Carpenter came up with the idea of emulating an old master, such as Van Gogh or Matisse.  I loved the idea, and thought the style of Van Gogh would fit the bear beautifully.  What better inspiration to use but Van Gogh's famous Starry Night.

And here's how it looks on the bear:

Starry Night Bear

Gotta admit, I loved doing this one, and it's one of my favorites.  It practically fell on the page by itself.  Thanks for the suggestion, Rhonda!  Keep those creative ideas coming!

As promised in yesterday's post, today we're going to take a little trip to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Bustling Michigan Avenue in front of the Art Institute

The beautiful architecture of the Art Institute

One of the two famous lion statues in front of the building.  Arguably the most photographed lions in the world.

The gorgeous entrance hall and admissions desk.

The Grand Staircase.  It is so very aptly named.

Here are a few pics of the Alsdorf Galleries, which showcase Indian, Southeast Asian, and Himalayan Art.

Some scenes from the Impressionist galleries.

After walking, browsing, and examining some, a bit of lunch in the McKinlock Court cafe was in order.

The pigeons knew we were easy marks when they saw us.

More scenes from the various galleries.


And a few artifacts:

If they had garden gnomes in the Han Dynasty, they would look like this.

Can you imagine painting on this easel?

This is one of my favorite sculptures in the museum.  It is a 'Chimera', a tomb guardian from the Han Dynasty. To me, it looks like someone crossed a dragon with a Corgi.  Would it be called a Dragi?  Or a Corgon? Either way, I want to bring it home.  Wouldn't it make a great painting?  

Thanks for sticking around and going on the tour.  If you haven't been to the Art Institute, I highly recommend it.  And if you come to Chicago, drop me a line, and we'll feed the pigeons in the cafe together!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #75 - Single Value

When lolling in the artistic doldrums, an excursion to the Art Institute of Chicago is a sure cure for what ails ya.

Whilst browsing through the Impressionist gallery, an inspiration snuck up on me.  The Impressionists painted light, and used color temperature more heavily than value to describe form.  Why not try that with our bear?

The inspiration coalesced into the idea to create the bear using one single value, and mold the form by using a limited number of colors, and changing the temperature rather than the value of the colors.

Single Value Bear

I used three different blues: a cold Ultramarine for the background, a warmer Cobalt for the eyes, nose, ear, and halftone shadow, and an even warmer Cerulean for the body.   The temperature differences show up much better in person.  Looking at this now, I see that using a single blue, and maybe a green and a violet would have been a more effective demonstration.

For the warmer part of the body, I used a Yellow-Orange Azo, and cooled it with a Pyrrole Crimson.  Chroma also played a part, as I greyed the legs a bit by adding a dash of Cerulean.

Now...if I judged my values correctly, when I convert the above bear painting photo to black and white, the bear should disappear, and it should be a simple flat grey at the value I picked for the colors.

Close.  The bear is still a little visible, the Cobalt areas were a little dark, but not bad for a first try.

Okay, time to put on your artistic thinking caps.  We're in the home stretch of this challenge.  I have inklings on how to do the last 25, but I'd love to get your method ideas.  What would you do with this bear?  The only caveat I would put on the proposals is that it has to be something that can be done fairly quickly, since a bear needs to appear here on a daily basis.  An unusual color scheme or substrate suggestion would work.  Creating a bear out of 1,000 pounds of various flavors of cheese probably won't.  You get the idea.  Send in those creative challenges!

And more on the Art Institute visit tomorrow.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #74 - Sunset

I was at least able to engage Brain into first gear today, so was a little more satisfied with the color choices.

Sunset Bear

This one had to be done very quickly under extremely distracting circumstances.  We made the unforgivable mistake of mentioning "going to the dog park" out loud within hearing distance of the dogs, which is akin to screaming "Disney World!" to a bunch of six year olds who are hopped up on sugar.   Only the concept of 'later' doesn't exist in a dog's mind, it's only NOW NOW NOW!  So I was surrounded by whiny, barky, jumpy, whirling, panting Tasmanian devil dogs, and painting as fast as I could was my only defense against them starting to eat my art supplies.  

Needless to say, we went to the park.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #73 - Midday Light

Didja ever have those days of artistic torpor?  Where ideas are vague and won't fully gel?  And then somewhere between the bewildered brain and the hand holding the brush there's a giant 'Detour' sign so the spongy little idea that's already on shaky legs takes the wrong neurological path and wanders aimlessly, never reaching it's destination?  And then the hand holding the brush realizes the brain isn't in control, and it laughs maniacally ("Bwahahahaha") and proceeds to do it's own thing?  So then you paint for awhile, and realize what's in front of you bears little to no resemblance to that spongy little idea you thought up hours ago?

That's how I'm feeling these past few days.  Like my brain isn't fully gelled.  Sometime earlier in the day, somewhere up there in the sloshy grey matter was an idea of how to paint midday light.  It didn't look anything like this.

Midday Light Bear

I think I thinked about using cool shadows on this one.  Then Brain punched out early for the day, and Brush Hand reverted back to the cool light/warm shadow formula.  The one thing that did get accomplished was strong value contrast.  At least Brush Hand was thinking clearly about that.

I just realized that this goofy little blog got a mention in Katherine Tyrrell's Making A Mark blog.   Egads.  And here I am showing off works not of deep meaning, technical acuity and artistic angst, but the works of a Bewildered Brain.  It's a wee bit embarassin'.  Sort of feels like walking into a class reunion wearing  the least holey sweat pants that were in the closet because you've suddenly gained 50 pounds from the allergy meds that the doctor gave you to control the pervasive rash of unknown origin that suspiciously developed after eating the potato salad at your mother-in-laws barbecue, and it's making you itch uncontrollably, causing one eye to twitch continually, put your sweat glands into overdrive, and given you the world's worst case of halitosis.

Yeah.  Like that.  ;-)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #72 - Morning Light

Well, I should say it was more of an attempt at trying to create morning light.  The thought was to use a cool Hansa Yellow, and complement it with a warm violet, with a bit of yellow-green to add more coolness to the shadows, and keep the value range high key.  The yellow-green is quite chromatic, and it got out of hand, overwhelming the weaker Hansa yellow.

Morning Light Bear

Hmmmmm.  It didn't work like I pictured it, possibly because I used the cool light/warm shadow plan again. Perhaps if I reversed it?  Your thoughts?  

Monday, July 26, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #71 - Analogous Complementary

Our final color scheme is the auspicious Analogous Complementary, wherein you take three analogous colors, and add the complement of the middle color.

Today we have a yellow-orange, orange, and red-orange, with a nice cobalt blue complement.

Analogous Complementary Bear

Yep, that is one hot bear...but these studies are the perfect excuse to just splash paint and be free with ridiculous chroma.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #70 - Split Complementary Tetrad

Today's scheme takes two sets of complements and separates them by one space on the color wheel.

So today we have a yellow-orange/blue-violet set, and a yellow-green/red-violet set.

Split Complementary Tetrad Bear

I'm getting more comfortable using the colors in a more pure state.  One more scheme to go!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #69 - Cross Complementary Tetrad

This scheme also uses four colors.  The two sets of complements cross each other on the color wheel.

Today our complements are yellow/violet, and red-orange/blue-green.

Cross Complementary Tetrad Bear

Sticking with the cool light/warm shadow idea, I used the blue-green and violet on the light side of the bear, the yellow and red-orange on the shadow side.  It would be interesting to try this scheme in other combinations, maybe using one set of complements for the light side, one for the shadow side.  So many things to explore, so little time.  Two more color schemes, and we're on to other things.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #68 - Adjacent Complementary Tetrad

Today we get to add a fourth hue to our color scheme.  This scheme uses two sets of complements that are next to each other on the color wheel.

The complement sets used in this study are yellow and violet, and yellow-green and red-violet.

Adjacent Complementary Tetrad Bear

Meh.  Maybe not the best color combination for this guy, but it's my first try using this tetrad.  It bears experimentation later on.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #67 - Modified Triad

Let's take the triangle used to denote the triad, and squish it until the color choices are almost analogous.

The colors in the modified triad are quite close, having only one space on our color wheel in between them.  This bear will be light and bright, created with a yellow-orange, a yellow-green, and a red-orange.

Modified Triad Bear

I hope you're enjoying these color scheme bears, but if not, fear not, there are only a few more to go!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #66 - Complementary Triad

This scheme produces an interesting mix of colors.  First pick a pair of complements, then pick one of the two colors that lie directly between the two on the color wheel.

For this scheme, I picked the complementary pair yellow-orange and blue-violet.  To complete the triad, I picked magenta (it probably should have been more of a red).  My other option for the third color would have been green.

 Complementary Triad Bear

I went with the cool light/warm shadow idea with this scheme, and like the way it works.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #65 - Tertiary Triad

As I logged onto Blogger to begin to scribe today's bear update, I noticed that the dashboard read '99 posts' as of July 19th. 

  That means that, as of today, I've done:

*sound trumpets here*

I feel woefully under prepared for this momentous occasion.  By all accounts, today's page should be monumental, filled with elegant rapier wit, razor sharp observation, keenly penetrating insights, and masterful timeless art.

Instead, you get a digital cupcake and a psychedelic bear.

Oh well.  Here...I'll cut up the cupcake and we'll all share a piece as we examine the tertiary triad.

This is my mostest favorite triad of all, probably because it contains blue-green.  The colors for this occasion are a wonderful golden Diarylide Yellow, a vibrant Cobalt Violet, and a stunning Phthalo Turquoise.

 Tertiary Bear

Looking at the bear now, if I were to do this color scheme again, I'd use the turquoise for cool light on top of the bear, the yellow for the shadow area, and grey down the violet a bit for the background.  I think this guy has always looked his best in a cool light/warm shadow environment.

And now, (having no keen insights or timeless art to entertain you), in honor of this Centeni-blog, I dug up some fun facts all having to do with the number 100.  

  • Polar bears can swim up to 100 miles at a time.  (Of course that had to be the first one.  And I could swim 100 miles too, provided the polar bear was right behind me...)
  • If you laugh 100 times, you get the same cardiovascular benefit as riding a bike for fifteen minutes.  (Woo-hoo!  Time to put the bike in the basement, sit on the couch and watch comedy movies!)
  • The biggest pizza ever made was baked in Norwood, South Africa in 1990.  It was a massive 100 feet across.  (How many times would I have to laugh in order to burn off all of those calories?)
  • There are about 100 billion neurons in the human brain.  (Some people seem to only use about 50 of them at a time.  And I'm usually behind one of them in the check-out line.)
  • A scallop has approximately 100 eyes around the edge of it's shell.  (Ewww.  Remind me never to do anything embarrassing around a scallop.)
  • Eskimos have over 100 words for 'ice'.  (Around here, there are over 100 words to describe the tumbleweeds of dog hair that roam freely around the house.)
  • Cats have over 100 vocal sounds, dogs have about 10.  (What?!  Sorry, I can't hear you!  The dogs are barking again!  I never have this problem when the cats meow!)
  • Cna yuo raed tish?  Olny 55 plepoe otu of 100 can.  (Ok, dats enuf fer wun day.)
Is all that stuff true?  Why, it must be...I found it on the Internet!  :oD

Monday, July 19, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #64 - Secondary Triad

Welcome to the secondary triad.  Our colors today are Cadmium Orange, Emerald Green, and Dioxazine Purple.

Secondary Triad Bear

Another nice color scheme, although it would be much more appropriate for landscapes, or possibly florals, as it certainly does nothing to flatter this bear (Does this green make my butt look big?).  I know these are looking garish, but my mantra with these scheme studies is "Fear no color.  Fear no color.  Fear no color.....". 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #63 - Primary Triad Y, M, C

Today't triad is also a primary triad, but is based on the CMYK color model.  It's a subtractive color process used in printing which uses yellow, magenta, and cyan as it's primary colors, with the addition of black.

Normally I use Liquitex paints, but for today's triad I used Golden's Primary Yellow, Primary Magenta, and Primary Cyan.


You can see by the experimental color swatches below the bear that this set of primaries produced nice, clean secondaries, rather than the somewhat muddied secondaries of yesterday's color choices.  So I tried using the green in the shadows again, and it didn't turn out half as sickly and alien as yesterday's attempt.

On the gardening front, here's proof that Mother Nature has a sense of humor.

I look at this and see a cherry tomato version of Jimmy Durante (gawd, am I aging myself with that reference!).  Others have made, shall we say, less savory comments about it's appearance.

And as happens every year, the Furry Critic has proclaimed herself 'Guardian Of All Things Tomato'....

...with the ulterior motive of sneakily attempting to consume the entire crop by herself.  What's amazing is that she only picks and eats the ripe ones, so it becomes a race to see which one of us can get to them first.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #62 - Primary Triad: Y,R,B

Today we're going to take the primary colors out for a test drive.  

And today's colors are Yellow Medium Azo, Pyrrole Red, and Ultramarine Blue.

Primary Triad Bear

I wanted to create a violet and use it in the bear shadows to differentiate it from the background, but the Pyrrole Red and Ultramarine Blue created a dull violet that made the yellow light painful to look at.  So a re-grouping was necessary, and a green was tried in the shadows, which made the bear look ill and strangely alien at the same time.  Oops.  With time being short, I conceded defeat, used the blue in the shadows, and called it a day.  

Friday, July 16, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #61 - Cool Dominant Split Complementary

Here's another interesting color scheme.  I'm liking these split complements.  Today's color varieties are Cadmium Orange, Cobalt Turquoise and Prism Violet.

Cool Split Complementary Bear

Well, it was supposed to be a cool dominant split, but I got a little happy with the orange.  There should have been more violet in the shadow area of the bear.  No time for a do over, there's a busy weekend ahead.  

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #60 - Warm Dominant Split Complementary

Here is an interesting color scheme.  It's like the complementary scheme, except one of the complements decided to take the day off and had two of it's analogous pals stand in.

Since I am addicted to Cobalt Turquoise, it had to be the first color.  That left Cadmium Orange and Medium Magenta to round out the split.

Warm Split Complementary Bear

I have to admit, for the first time in sixty days I found myself....what?  irritated?  disinterested?  irked?  vexed?  about having to paint the bear today.  I can't quite put my finger on the particular feeling, but I do have an idea why I'm feeling it. 
  • Summertime was not the time to take on a challenge like this.  With working full time, household chores, lawn maintenance, garden tending, dog exercise and amusement, outdoor festivals, friendly gatherings, block parties, get the idea.  Too much to do and not enough time to do it in.   At times I just squeak a post in under the wire.  I'm eternally grateful to have a partner who's more than willing to pick up some of my slack so I can carve out some time in the studio.
  • One of the ideas behind doing this challenge was to learn some things, but with only a day to do a bear, it's just scratching the surface of the concept, and there's no time cushion for any re-do's.  Good or bad, it hits the blog, then on to the next.
  • On that same note, one day allows no time to explore an idea more fully.  I think today's color scheme is quite eye catching, but I've never used these hues in conjunction before, therefore I had no idea what I was doing.  The color scheme bears repeating (no pun intended) until I get a better feel for it, but can't do it right now.
  • It's 95 outside with a heat index over 100, so maybe underneath it all this whole rant is due to the fact that I'm just an overheated, tired, stressed, menopausal, multitasking crabby gal who needs to turn on the AC, grab a good book, a glass of iced tea, and put her feet up for a few hours.
I feel an ice cream binge coming on...that always cheers me up.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #59 - Cool Dominant Complementary

Time to try another complementary mix, and this time we'll let the cool color dominate.

Today's color choices are Cadmium Orange, and Cerulean Blue.  I debated using Cobalt Blue, but thought it would recede too much given the strength and warmth of the orange, so the warmer Cerulean was tapped for duty.

Cool Complementary Bear

The difficulty with this pair of hues is that they're much closer in value then yesterday's yellow and violet.  It's easy to lighten with white, but impossible to get a good strong dark.  Because of this, the whole value key had to be raised a little, and I found myself having a hard time wrapping my brain around this one.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #58 - Warm Dominant Complementary

The next two posts will deal with the complements - colors directly opposite each other on the color wheel. Complements create great visual contrast, grey each other when mixed, and create visual vibration when placed next to each other.

The colors for today are Cadmium Yellow Medium, and Dioxazine Purple.  I picked these hues because I like the combination, and they are at the opposite ends of the value scale.

Warm Complementary Bear
Acrylic on paper

Monday, July 12, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #57 - Cool Analogous

Where there's warm, there must be cool to balance it.

Cool Analogous Bear
Acrylic on paper

This time our flavors are Brilliant Yellow Green, Emerald Green, Cobalt Turquoise, and a bit of Pyrrole Crimson to reduce chroma and value.  Yes, I confess, I'm one of those 'I Don't Like Mixing With Black' artists.  Not that I feel I'm losing my artistic soul or anything if I do, I just like more colorful solutions.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #56 - Warm Analogous

We'll leave the simplicity of a monochromatic scheme behind us, and venture into the land of analogous hues, where friendly, amicable neighbors on the wheel create the basis for congenial color harmony.

Our color menu for today consists of a tart Cadmium Yellow Medium, a tasty Cadmium Orange, and a spicy Cadmium Red Light, complimented by just a taste of Ultramarine Blue for a reduction in chroma and value.

Warm Analogous Bear
Acrylic on paper

A part of me thought that moving from a monochromatic recipe to the slightly more complex analogous mix might stir the pot a bit too much, but this bear baked up pretty quick and easy.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Artistic Polar Bear Challenge: 100 Ways In 100 Days. #55 - Cool Monochromatic

Same song as yesterday, just applying a favorite Cobalt Turquoise color from the cool side of the wheel.

Cool Monochromatic Bear
Acrylic on paper

Wanna know the meaning of the phrase 'pure unadulterated panic'?  That's when you click on your blog link to sign in, and Google Chrome comes back with 'Blog Not Found'.  Twice.  Once I stopped swearing, shaking and hyperventilating, I tried using Firefox instead.  Thankfully, the fox quickly fetched the blog from the interweb.