Tuesday 30 August 2022

Portraits in Procreate

I’ve been drawing digitally for a number of years now. Starting off with the iPad Air and a convention stylus - difficult and clumsy. An upgrade in 2018 meant that I could use an Apple Pencil which is a game-changer. Then two years ago I treated myself to an iPad Pro. The large screen size is luxurious to say the least. One of the major advantages is that one can work with drawing and image side by side. 

My skills have improved considerably due to making use of the numerous tutorials offered by Sktchy - or Museum as its now known. Taking part in a #30Faces30Days challenge is like a drawing boot camp. 

I’ve done couple now and it’s great fun to keep up with other artists drawing a portrait every day for a month. When a new challenge was offered in June I signed up. 

Each day a different artist presents a tutorial covering their favourite techniques. This year all the drawings would be done using Procreate. Ten artists each did three portraits, each video is  roughly an hour long- some even longer, then one has to draw the portrait so the time commitment is considerable. The major of using a digital medium is that it’s portable, one can draw literally anywhere and there’s no clean up!

SIDE NOTE - What is Procreate?

Wikipedia says:

Procreate is a raster graphics editor app for digital painting developed and published by Savage Interactive for iOS and iPadOS. Designed in response to the artistic possibilities of the iPad, it was launched on the App Store in 2011. 

Well, I don’t know about you but that doesn’t tell me much…

Procreate says the something similar in a more creative way:

At the risk of stating the obvious I’m going to try and explain. Essentially Procreate a way of drawing digitally using an iPad and stylus - namely the Apple Pencil. The many brushes create marks that mimic analogue tools - pencils, pens, crayons, different paint strokes in fact an almost endless number since each brush can be modified to suit your own style. 
By adding layers, one can add a textured paper or colour, insert images or photos. On my Instagram page I have added a portrait and time lapse so you can see how the image develops.
The time lapse shrinks the drawing time of 4 hours 12 minutes to 30 seconds! 

Here are a few favourites from the June challenge. Other portraits done for the challenge can be seen on my Instagram profile. 

Friday 12 August 2022

Windarra Forest Walk - finding inspiration

A few weeks ago I was house sitting for my daughter. (Actually I was cat-sitting). I took a walk down a track that I had first explored in 2011 soon after arriving in Brisbane. The track is very different now. It’s much more established with wider paths. Some sections now have concrete stabilising the track where water runoff has caused damage. The trees, once small saplings, now tower over the path. The stream is almost hidden. 

It seemed like a strange, new, place. Nothing was recognisable.Then I caught a glimpse of water and remembered the image that inspired a number of paintings.

I caught sight of the bridge, reflected in the stream. 

The stream as it is today

The stream in 2011

Often you take a photograph because something in the scene speaks to you but it can be a while before that initial inspiration takes shape. It’s almost as though the idea and image need time to incubate, waiting for the right moment to be given life. So it was with the images which inspired the painting, Windarra Reflections.

This is what I wrote in 2013 - 

I took the photograph of the creek on Windarra Estate some time ago. It's been there, waiting to become a painting. Excited        by the light on the water and the patterns of the reflected reeds, I wanted the painting to convey the light, colour and a little mystery. 

This one was selected for the Lethbridge Small Scale Exhibition in 2015 and later exhibited it along with others at a group exhibition at the then Percolater Gallery in Paddington. (The gallery is now Lethbridge Gallery)

Windarra Reflections - oil on canvas 600 mm x 500 mm

I returned to the same image for Reeds Rise from Water. The title comes from From the poem by Samuel Menashe 

I selected a small crop of the original photograph and began the painting with loose bright colour and drips of paint. Most of these remained in the completed painting

Reeds Rise From Water 760 mm x 760 mm oil on canvas

Recently I pulled out some Daler Rowney FW Acrylic inks some of which I had purchased for a workshop many years ago. I also purchased a basic set of Liquitex inks - primary colours, black, white and burnt umber. 

For inspiration I returned to my Windarra stream image and used the inks for this painting. Acrylic ink is extremely forgiving. The layers add vibrancy, cover mistakes and are really fun to use. 

Windarra Reflections  II - acrylic ink on watercolour paper 320 mm x 400mm

Monday 1 August 2022

Poor neglected blog!

I realised that it’s been six months since I published a post here on Art Matters. 

When I began the blog back in 2010, shortly before I emigrated to Australia, the custom in the world of blogging was to post on a daily basis. I decided then that I would only write when I had something to say, rather than be obliged to write a daily post. 

The blog landscape has changed somewhat since then. Blogging has been superseded by Instagram. Now Tik-Tok has become the new big thing.  (I’m not there in case you go looking)

I post most frequently on Instagram and connect the posts there directly to my Facebook page. However the big issue with Instagram is that artists are at the mercy of the ghastly algorithm, the bullying push to noisy reels, and constant advertising. One sees fewer and fewer posts from people one follows. Currently there’s something of a rebellion going on with people complaining loudly about the current state of affairs at Instagram. The changes have resulted in many asking for fewer videos and more photos  - in other words, wanting the old Instagram back. I’m not sure that anyone at Meta cares or will actually do anything to revert to what everyone clearly wants. 

I love that this blog is mine and I can write what I like, and publish when I like. The trick, however is getting anyone to see the posts.

So I plan to write a little more often including photos that I hope you will enjoy. I’ll still be posting links to Art Matters on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter - much as I would like not to rely on these currently there aren’t any other options.

I’d love if you would please share a link with your friends. 

Camila - muse from Sktchy. Digital painting using Procreate