ART

Posts tagged ‘young artists’

Girls In Sight

bshowpostcrd copy

I’m pleased to invite you all to the opening of my show.  It’s called “Girls In Sight”.  If the images above look familiar it’s because the paintings that will be on exhibit are the very illustrations/portraits of the young women in my book “Portrait of a Girl and Her Art”.  They are oil,  mixed media, 30″x 40″ and incorporate a collage of the subject’s work in the back round of each painting.

If any of you live close enough to attend to opening, I’d be thrilled to meet you!

bshowpostcard

BIG KIDS Magazine:Rachel and Me

My  artist friend Rachel is seventeen years old.  It’s difficult to assign a chronological age to this young woman because she is both wise beyond her years and as uninhibited in her creativity as a pre-schooler.  That’s how I knew she was the perfect candidate to collaborate with me on this illustration for BIG KIDS Magazine.

Tah Dah! Our collaboration is above.  The prompt for the illustration is “Treasure Maps”.  We’re mapping our creative journeys. Rachel created the left side, I worked on the right.  On my side the journey relates to Rachel, as her friend and mentor.  It helps to have an older artist friend, for encouragement and suggestions; that would be me.  I’m  in my skinny yellow house complete with family and cats and plants and that’s where Rachel comes to make art.  Rachel’s is more comprehensive… the journey so far.   Rachel wrote the beautiful poem.  The entire work is about being an artist; from play scribbles through adulthood.  Rachel, moves from scribbles scanned from an actual construction paper masterpiece she created as a very little girl, through growing pains, to near independence.

Rachel and I  decided to keep the tone or feel of the illustration light and full of kid inspiration.  After all, the inspiration was and is BIG KIDS Magazine-truly a work of collective art.

*The image accompanying the first post is a collaboration of Rachel’s work and mine. The second post, all Rachel and this post is our published collaboration in BIG KIDS Magazine.

BIG KIDS Magazine: Interview

Last post was an introduction to the fabulous Big Kids’s Magazine.  This link connects you to the homepage of the BIG blog.

You might say that BIG KIDS Magazine discovered my blog for young artists called  Portrait of a Girl and Her Art.  Lily (one of the creators),  left a wonderful comment and requested that I take a “peek” at the Big Kids blog.  I was instantly entranced by the vision and esthetic beauty of the project and left several comments on her blog.  A lovely cyber connection grew, and I enthusiastically agreed to make a collaborative illustration with a young artist friend of mine for the upcoming “Treasure Map” issue.

It made sense to me that if my excitement was any indication of the success of the up and coming magazine, you all will be excited and interested as well, so  I requested an interview with creators, Lily and Jo and senior editor Luca, to share with all of you:

December 2011

Elena: How do you (Lilly and Jo) know each other?

Lilly: We met when we were both living in Hobart, Tasmania, about 12 years ago but lost touch once I moved to New York and Jo moved to Perth. I had finished studying at art school and Jo had just left Tasdance and was the co-director of the Hobart Fringe Festival on which I was working. We met through a very brave, imaginative and generous mutual friend and while sharing care of her apartment wrote notes to each other on a large piece of brown paper that revealed an unseen poetic and charged connection between us even then. We last saw each other in 1999 but will finally meet and layout the next edition in the same city in January!

ElenaDid you grow up with unplanned time and an aptitude for daydreaming?

Lilly: I spent much of my childhood climbing trees, and one in particular, a liquidambar in our backyard that was the launching pad to witchland – an imaginary place above the clouds I frequented for much of my childhood. I have memories of collecting sticks and flowers and making elaborate installations on tree branches and in hidden parts of our massive garden. I have three siblings and the television was rarely on. We made up shows almost every day and worked on projects and performances that spanned days and weeks. Jo’s mother was a folk singer and they lived across the road from a travelling circus. I know she spent much of her childhood under the next-door neighbours house in a ‘kids’ world, and was surrounded by song.

 Elena:Do you think that the experiences of childhood have changed since your were children?

Lilly: Yes I think when we were kids there was much more time to just be in the world without structure or guidance or expectations of a particular outcome. It feels like even unstructured play has become a commodity or something to be evaluated and assessed. Though I think there are elements of childhood today that are enormously valuable and can be celebrated as well – the access to information and how that inspires inquisitiveness is wonderful: At least 10 times a day Twyla will ask a question I can’t answer and then say “Let’s look it up mum!”. I think there is a danger in romanticizing the past that can diminish the beautiful opportunities for connection and play with our children today.

Elena: Are you both moms, and if so how does being a parent influence the content of the magazine?

 Lilly: We are both mum’s and cannot imagine that we would have made BIG without this grounding, limiting, uplifting and propelling element in our lives to balance and stretch us beyond what seems possible. I think in giving birth and mothering it becomes clear that seemingly impossible things are actually possible. That you can meet a sun rise having not slept at all and still make it through the day.

Elena:You come from different artistic expressions. How has that enriched your collaboration?

Lilly: BIG is a multidisciplinary arts publication and our immersion in different arts practices broadens our base and provides us with a much wider platform to draw from. We are both connected to extraordinary artists working in varied fields and feel that exposing children to many different art languages provides them with a much wider range of investigative and expressive tools.

Elena: I know of so many children and organizations who would adore enjoying a subscription to BIG magazine in the USA, and I hope many will subscribe today! Do you hope/plan to bring the magazine online so that one may subscribe without the shipping expense in the US and other parts of the world?

Lilly: We are in the process of considering a digital version of BIG Kids Magazine so that it is more accessible to International readers. We have received enormous interest in an online option and while we don’t want to dilute the tangible experience of hand held BIG pages, we also want them to be as accessible as possible to distant readers. We are currently looking at international stockists but in the mean time it is encouraging to have received so many overseas subscriptions.

Elena: How about an ipad version?

Lilly: We are very interested in new technology and developing meaningful, interactive, illustrated apps for ipad in the future, though obviously we believe there is enormous value in having an object that can be held, ripped, scribbled on and altered in a very physical and direct way. We are working on some allegorical stories and our Books that Grow series that will most likely be adapted for ipad and other devices.

Do you accept submissions of work from children outside of Australia?

Lilly: Yes we invite and receive contributions from children all over the world. Work that is scanned at 600dpi or high quality photographs can be emailed from anywhere and we are passionate about facilitating both intergenerational and International conversations.

Are there any new projects in the works, together or individually?

Lilly: We have just launched the Mother Artist Network (our new MAN) on our blog to invite discussion and creative response to the challenges of working as a mother-artist.  I have just held an exhibition of new work and Jo is working on a new dance duet. Together we are expanding our collaboration on Books that Grow and we are currently in the middle of making of the next edition of BIG!

Your Facebook page  www.facebook.com/Bigkidsmagazine  is flourishing! How did you get the word out?

Lilly: We honestly just opened the page to our friends and it went from there. We have never pushed or asked for ‘likers’. The magazine has received many wonderful reviews on various blogs and book sites so I think they bring people to us as well.

Economies are suffering worldwide. Why did you decide to launch a new magazine now?

Lilly: Now, more than ever, kids need a place to be able to hone their interest, imagination and the ability to respond to the world in creative and curious ways. We need the next generation to be expansive and out of the box thinkers and see BIG as a way to encourage that leadership and wider view on politics that will feedback back in personal, social and dynamic ways. Yes, it definitely is a risk and nerve-wracking with it, but both Jo and I are seriously committed to engaging kids in best practice and in opening communication lines between artists and kids to foster future thinkers and movers! We are hopeful BIG will attract some best practice creative organizations in the near future and that we will find financial support for our work though contributions from larger voices and structures. We trust the work and each other, somewhat bravely, and believe in generosity as a key stakeholder in future economies.

With each subscription you give away a copy of the magazine. How do you decide where to send it?

Lilly: We are developing partnerships and donating magazines to all kinds of people and organizations that work with children. Sometimes people contact us asking if they can participate in the program, often we will reach out to an organization that we feel might benefit. We love the idea that BIG can be accessible to kids that may not otherwise be able to get hold of it but we are also interested in facilitating relationships and finding mentors who can support children to interact and contribute to the BIG world.

Elena: And now, a word from eight year old senior editor, Luca.

Elena: What do you like to do when youʼve got nothing else you have to do?

Luca: Play with my little sister, play video games, read The Phantom Tollbooth, invent lego and duplo characters and games and stories.

Elena: What is your favorite subject in school?

Luca: Free drawing

Elena: Do other kids know that you are an editor of a magazine?

Luca: Yes, they respect me a lot

Elena: What do you do as an editor?

Luca: Well, make decisions about what goes in the magazine

Elena: Whatʼs your favorite part?

Luca: Being in charge of making decisions

Elena: If you had a magic power, (maybe you already have one) what would you do with it?

Luca: Shift shaping – means you can take the shape of any object, like I could take the shape of a million dollars, I could change into a flower, or massive bumble bee, I would re build the Guilford hotel and save people and stuff like that.

Part 3 tomorrow

BIG KIDS Magazine!

Exciting stuff.  Lots of excitement…where to begin…..Big Kids Magazine.   Go on, have a click on the link, then come on back.

Back?    Did the animation alone take you to the most magical of creative places?    It literally takes me to a place where my creative energies start a-jumping.  Now imagine riding that creative wave with thousands of kids through the pages of BIG KIDS Magazine.  It makes NO difference how old or young you happen to be.

A little back round: B-I-G stand for Bravery, Imagination and Generosity.  Indeed it does. Big Kids Magazine began with a note between two friends, Jo, a dancer and Lilly a visual artist.  In the note, Jo shared with Lilly a dream that was to become a reality; a wildly creative arts based magazine for children.

The senior editor is eight years old.  The magazine is both green and ethically produced.  With every subscription, a copy of the magazine is given to a child who may not otherwise be able to receive the magazine. Children, artists, parents and educators equally share a platform for collaboration, opportunity, discovery and a passion for making art a living breathing presence in everyday life.

I’ve so much to say about the philosophy of this Australian magazine, the creators, how/why they began this creative journey, and a little about my experience with  Big Kids that this is only the first post of three about this phenomenon of pure joy,  “..A world class artistic exchange”.*

*http://blog.bigkidsmagazine.com/p/about-creators-of-big.html

Two New

Two new posts spotlighting creativity on  Portrait of a Girl.  Exciting artists from age seven to young adult.  Plus new young art on the ART SHARE page.

Book Trailer!

Apart from the cringing ache of hearing my voice in the voiceover, the trailer for Portrait of a Girl and Her Art was a joy to make. Many thanks to the artists for their vibrant contributions and thanks to my son Julian for his music.

If you don’t already know about my book and are not already acquainted with my blog for young artists, they are both called Portrait of a Girl and Her Art.  The blog is devoted to young artists and their work.  The book celebrates young female artists. The trailer provides a teaser of the amazing art created by these very young artists.

If you haven’t already visited the blog, please have a look around by clicking here.   If you have visited, I can promise more about the book, and additions to nearly every page on the blog.  If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, students, or young neighbors who have an interest in art, please direct them to the blog. It is my hope to keep the blog growing with more projects, ideas, and interviews so it may become a place of true artistic community.

All of you readers inspire me through your blogs, comments and support.   Through the book and attention to the blog, I hope to pay it forward to the next generation of artists.

*Flowers, pastel by Elizabeth

The Unsuccessful Portrait

(An unsuccessful portrait study and unsuccessful painting)

A portrait by definition, must embody the personality, the light, the very being of a subject, filtered through the artist’s eyes.  Of course, this does not have to be in a traditional or figurative fashion.  But, if we are talking about a figurative portrait, a likeness of face, gesture and personality is essential.  Sometimes-HA CHA, it all comes together naturally. When this happens, an artist may feel a little bit like a magician or an instrument of an artsy spirit;)  When it doesn’t happen, a young or novice artist may become frustrated.  I’m sure there are parallels in all of the arts.

I am personally awed and  thrilled when a piece just happens seemingly on its own. But, I’ve been working long enough to know that I can’t count on the magic.  There are times when a portrait becomes a bit of a struggle. It can seem as if everybody but the subject have made an appearance on my canvas.  When this occurs, I don’t worry , I don’t stress about it.  I walk away…

But I do come back.  Here are my tips. They can often save a portrait;

I always work on at least two pieces or projects at a time, so when I abandon one for a while, I move to another. This allows me to disentangle from the work and when I see it again, it’s with fresh eyes and attitude.

I’ve also created a “formula” for getting at an elusive likeness. The formula link will take you to my blog for young artists (directly under the sketchbook info, at the bottom of the PRACTICAL INSPIRATION page). It’s useful for helping me analyse the spacing between features. Since none us are completely symmetrical, the shape of a space surrounding a feature and the shapes that comprise a feature are great places to troubleshoot a portrait that isn’t working.

I use a mirror behind my easel to check the subject against the work. This changes up the perception and allows for delightful moments of discovery.  It invites the magic in and what’s not quite right in the work often becomes clear.

If working from photos I turn them and my canvas upside-down. This allows for the same sort of magic as the mirror.

I include errant hairs and moles and wrinkles in a portrait that I’m struggling with to act as landmarks or anchors within a face. If I’m working in an opaque medium, I can easily edit and remove them or make them more subtle later on.

I always try to get to know the subject a little, see how the subject interacts with others, and pick up as much as I can understand about the individual.  If I must work from photos that I have not taken myself  (because the subject is no longer with us), I ask lots of questions about the subject and request as many photos as I can get my hands on.

If the subject is a child, but appears too young or too mature in my portrait, I check the spacing of the forehead. As you see below, the spacing of a forehead does make a difference.

Values play a huge role in the molding of form. So, correcting the value of an area can change the structure of a face or body in subtle but important ways.

HOWEVER….

Despite using all of these tips, this portrait isn’t working. You can clearly see it in the progression below.  This subject’s youth and freedom of spirit inspired a really loose and colorful underpainting that soon became a loose cannon. As you can see, I’ve wrangled with this likeness, and it shows.

Occasionally, despite all of my tried and true tips, a painting simply does not work.  If  (for lack of a better word),  the “spirit” isn’t there, then I don’t have a good painting.  Sometimes the struggles show, and the painting  reflects the battle, so I’ve got a bad painting all ’round.  I’m showing off some really bad work here, because it’s honest and part of the process. Every now and then it happens.  It is not a reflection on the subject, just a poor attempt.   This portrait is a perfect example of a do- over.   But that’s ok.  The experience just gets me more fired up to paint a much better portrait.🙂

The Shadow Knows..

                                                                                                                                                                    Shadows-from the MORE IDEAS page –

There are many new posts up on Portrait of a Girl.  Parents, artists and art teachers, wander on over.  I’d love your comments and ideas.

Click the new page tabs–MORE IDEAS, INTERVIEWS, GREAT LINKS, ART SHARE, PROJECTS and PRACTICAL INSPIRATION.

Interesting Artsy Interviews

Two more young artist interviews just a click away! (Click the click:)

Kid’s Art/Bold Linoleum Block Prints

Rachel ‘s block prints are clean, graphic and really cool!    Rachel is a featured artist in my new, soon to be released book,

Portrait of a Girl and Her Art.

New Project Ideas!

Art teachers, parents, grandparents, uncles, friends and aunties, new projects with “how to’s” for artsy young people on

Portrait of a Girl and Her Art Blog.    Subscribe! Many more projects to come.

Sneak Peak/New Book- Cover!

VERY soon now, Portrait of a Girl and Her Art will be available in hardcover, paperback and PDF .

I’m working on additional electronic formats.

Very soon I’ll have purchase info ready for one step clicking.

Portrait of a Girl and Her Art  already has a dedicated blog where art tips, exciting interviews with young artists, and submissions of art by young artists will keep the inspiration momentum flowing!  Please visit soon.

Portrait Of A Girl-Featured Artist Interview

Just in case you did not catch this interview of Leah on my Portrait of a Girl and Her Art  blog, I’m reposting it here, center stage.

Leah Olbrich is a fascinating young artist, and a wonderful young woman. Enjoy.

(Leah is featured in “Portrait of a Girl and Her Art”on page 43 and page 70).


8/5/2011

Leah was instrumental in literally putting “Portrait of a Girl” together. She helped write, design and layout the pages, so it’s  natural to pick Leah for the first blog interview.  I am so very proud to bring you up to date about Leah’s Master’s degree work in puppetry:

Elena:Why did you want to pursue a Master’s degree?

Leah:I have an undergraduate degree in illustration. I chose that major because I am compelled to draw, and illustration satisfied the drawing and experimental component of exploring quirky creatures and people in my work.  I decided to go to graduate school to take the quirky creatures and people to the next level and create them in three dimensions. By the time I got to the end of my undergrad work in art school, I felt I had just gotten my feet wet with the 3-D work. I decided it was important to try to find guided exploration in the 3-D realm and that became puppetry.

Elena: What is your definition of puppetry?

Leah: I’ve come to realize that my definition of puppetry is less the performance aspect but more the craftsmanship of building puppets.  

Elena: You would rather create the creatures and leave the performance to others?

Leah:I’m not one hundred percent, sure yet what I’ll want to do in the end, but things that I’m currently exploring are stop motion animation, special effects, character design and development, sculpture, and 3-D illustration.  Once you really start paying attention to how much “puppetry” is used in the art world, you can see just                                                                                                                                      how much you can do in the field.

Elena: Who are your heros of 3-D?

Leah:I love the Brothers Quay, Jan Svankmajer, David Michael Friend, the early work of Tim BurtonBrian Froud‘s work with Jim Henson, Red Nose illustration studio, Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, and Ralph Steadman just to name a few:)

Elena: What would you like to leave us with?

Leah: I find that things are most interesting when they are imperfect in life and in art,  because you have to discover the beauty in them or define the beauty for yourself.  Beauty does not have to be beautiful.  It can be grotesque or grungy. In puppetry, this can be challenging because there is a desire for anthropomorphic qualities, but human movement is not always achievable nor desired.  You have to make specific decisions; should the creature be real, representational? It boils down to aesthetic style- perception, or how you would like the audience to perceive what they are viewing.  An example is Sesame Street where the puppets simply bop around and a marionette that moves as close as possible to how a real human or creature moves. 

Elena:Any advice for young artists?

Leah: Don’t be afraid to try a million materials.  Put you brain in your hands and let your hands do the thinking.

http://leahno.blogspot.com

Cordoned Off/KiDs aRT

Anna, an elementary school student and burgeoning artist, rose to the challenge in this cordon off  assignment.  Essentially, I ask a student to take a paper frame and zero in on anything she finds interesting in the room.  The task is to cordon off a section of a 3D object, focusing in on any part that may be pleasing, then to reproduce  that composition in detail, using Gouache on illustration board.  Not only did Anna capture her subject beautifully, but she learned a lot about color.  In fact, this is Anna’s first piece rendered in full color.

The only problem with the work above is in its presentation. This  is my blunder. Unfortunately you are unable to see just how well Anna studied her subject, because I neglected to shoot it from Anna’s point of view,  Instead , I shot the subject from above. This is a perfect example of the student teaching the instructor a thing or two about paying close attention to her subject 🙂

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: