Gray Matter

No, I’m not talking about brain tissues. The heading “gray matter” refers to the palette of colors that was used to create these three digital abstractions. At first glance, the colors (hues) in this palette don’t seem particularly varied.

On closer inspection of these “grays” we see that there are many variants of “warm” hues from pinks and oranges to subtle greens. Using the blending modes in Procreate app for iPad, I was able to intensify and, in some cases mix these colors to achieve the finished results below. The blending modes, which I have mentioned in previous posts, allow for changes to hue, transparency and intensity of colors that are placed on layers. When the upper layer has a blending mode applied to it, the layers below are affected by that change. To make the final compositions more interesting, I applied a canvas texture to the central objects in each of the three designs.

Life Drawings / Oct 13 2021

All of the drawings this week were done with NuPastels on 18″ x 24″ paper. Chunky Charcoals from Cretacolor were used in some of the drawings as well. Our session started with five minute poses mainly for gesture followed by longer poses. The extended poses allow for more finished drawings. The model was wearing a mask due to the pandemic.

five minute pose / Nupastels and Chunky charcoals in background
five minute pose / Nupastels and Chunky charcoals in background
five minute pose / Nupastels
five minute pose / Nupastels and Chunky charcoals in background
five minute pose / Nupastels
twenty-five/thirty minute pose / Nupastels and Chunky charcoals in background
thirty minute pose / Nupastels and Chunky charcoals in background
fifteen minute pose / Nupastels

Red and Black

There is something rich and almost velvety about deep red colors against the boldness of black. These new digital abstractions take advantage of this striking contrast. They all share the same color palette and have very similar content. One of my favorite techniques in Procreate app for iPad is to experiment with blending modes. These images are built up of layers of color and shape. If you select one of the higher layers (as at the top of a stack) and apply different blending modes, you end up with very different colors and sometimes transparent results. The blending modes change the relationship of color and transparency with the layers below. Many subtle gradations of overlapping textures and colors can be achieved this way.

Here are some possible combinations of the designs as triptychs.

Life Drawings / October 6 2021

All of the drawings this week were done with NuPastels on 18″ x 24″ paper. Our session started with five minute poses mainly for gesture followed by longer poses. The extended poses allow for more finished drawings. The model was wearing a mask due to the pandemic. I either left the face out or “faked it” to complete the drawings.

Five minute pose / NuPastels
Five minute pose / NuPastels
Five minute pose / NuPastels
Five minute pose / NuPastels
Five minute pose / NuPastels
Twenty-five minute pose / NuPastels
Twenty-five minute pose / NuPastels
Twenty minute pose / NuPastels

Life Drawings / Sept 22 2021

All of the drawings this week were done with NuPastels on 18″ x 24″ paper. We followed our usual format, starting with five minute poses mainly for gesture followed by longer poses. The more extended poses allow for more finished drawings.

five minute pose / NuPastels
five minute pose / NuPastels
five minute pose / NuPastels
five minute pose / NuPastels
five minute pose / NuPastels
twenty-five minute pose / NuPastels
fifteen-twenty minute pose /Nupastels

Digital Dapples

These new digital abstractions were done in Procreate app for iPad. Using a brush called bonobo chalk, I’ve created images that have a diffused, spatter-like quality. One has a white background showing subtle overlapping color mixtures that are almost like miniature pointillist painting. The other two compositions have dark backgrounds that emphasize the intensity of the speckled colors. A technique that helped create them is to use a “brush” as an eraser. It can cut through or around dappled areas to create negative lines.

White background with “pointillist” overlapping
Dark background emphasizing bright areas of color
Dark background emphasizing bright speckled areas of color
negative lines created with “eraser” brush

Life Drawings / Sept 15 2021

We had a new model today and she offered wonderful and challenging poses. As with last week’s drawings, I used mainly NuPastels adding to the backgrounds with Chunky Charcoals. Working with a new model, I was a bit hesitant but managed to get a few drawings that I felt good about.

five minute pose / NuPastels and Chunky Charcoals
five minute pose / NuPastels
five minute pose / NuPastels and Chunky Charcoals
five minute pose / NuPastels and Chunky Charcoals
twenty minute pose / NuPastels and Chunky Charcoals
twenty minute pose / NuPastels and Chunky Charcoals
fifteen minute pose / NuPastels and Chunky Charcoals

Life Drawings / Sept 8 2021

This week we had a special treat. Our excellent model came to the drawing session with the most delightful butterfly wings on her back. She kept the wings on for several of the poses. It brought a bit of levity and a drawing challenge to the group. The wings were also a nice contrast to the more serious face mask she wore to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

five minute pose / NuPastels (I left the butterfly wings out of this one.)
five minute pose / NuPastels (butterfly wings included)
five minute pose / NuPastels (wings included)
five minute pose / NuPastels (winged)
twenty minute pose / NuPastels (some Chunky Charcoals used in the background)
with mask and no wings
twenty minute pose / NuPastels (some Chunky Charcoals used in the background)
with mask and no wings
fifteen minute pose / NuPastels (some Chunky Charcoals used in the background)
with mask and no wings

Circular Thinking

Well, it may not be “circular thinking” as such but at least thinking about circles. That seems to be what was on my mind while working on these abstractions. Circular shapes of various textures, colors and sizes are the subject matter of all three compositions. The backgrounds of all three have a stippled or textured quality giving a sense of “dry brush” or of being “rolled” on. All were created digitally with Procreate app for iPad using an Apple pencil.

Life Drawings / Sept 1 2021

This week I tried using mainly NuPastels with only occasional background work with the Chunky Charcoals. I’m trying to avoid too much buildup of chalk dust on the drawings. If I was able to use an easel as in the past, it would be less of a problem. In the present circumstances, I’m working on a tabletop, the drawing board leaning against a cardboard box at about a 25 to 30 degree angle as I work standing. The pastel residue accumulates on the surface of the drawing, sometimes smudging and contaminating the colors. Since the Chunky Charcoals leave more residue, I’m trying to minimize their use. The NuPastel colors I used are generally lighter and more “pastel”. They result in a slightly lighter and less dramatic composition. I will probably have to add more colors and darker values to my collection of NuPastels.

five minute pose / NuPastels
five minute pose / NuPastels
five minute pose / NuPastels
five minute pose / NuPastels
five minute pose / NuPastels, some additional color in background with Chunky Charcoals
twenty minute pose / NuPastels, some additional color in background with Chunky Charcoals
twenty-five minute pose / NuPastels, additional color in background with Chunky Charcoals
twenty minute pose / NuPastels