Sinead O'Connor and Yule lineart (the final faces of 29 Faces!)

30 September 2013

* I have finished 29 Faces in 30 days! *

Sinéad O'Connor (graphite)
Her album "I do not want what I haven't got" is one of my all-time favourites. So many of her songs have touched my life so deeply, and have been rocks for me through many storms, torches for me in times of great darkness, and wings that have helped me learn to fly for myself. 

 I will love her forever for her bravery and her convictions in standing up for the victims of child abuse.


"I feel so different"

And the 29th face ...

Line art for a Yule card (she's holding holly, ivy, and mistletoe)
ink, on A4 paper

Wow, it's finished, the challenge is finished... 29 Faces in September. I'm shocked that I made it, just in time, too. This challenge has helped me grow as a portrait artist, helping me develop some techniques, helping me progress in my craft, moreso than I had ever expected. Now that it's over, I'll continue to work on illustrations for my mom's book, Even Odd, and get crackin' on some Christmas gifts. I'd like to challenge myself again, maybe in November, to do another series of 29 or 30.

One journey ends, another begins.

Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes)

The wonderful Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes)

Her album Two Suns is such a treasure. I can feel the vastness, transported, an audio astral projection experience into story and sound; I am enthralled, I am humbled, and my heart beats in time.

 "And with two suns spinning
At two different speeds
Was born a hot, white diamond
Burning through the rainbow"

( Both sketches are graphite, on A4 paper.)
... 2 more faces to go.

Marilyn Monroe & The Breakfast Club

29 September 2013

M. Monroe
graphite on A3 paper
29 September 2013

 The Basket Case and The Princess
(portraits of Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald, from The Breakfast Club)
ink and coloured pencil on A4 paper
29 September 2013


The Basket Case
(Ally Sheedy as Allison)
"It just happens... when you grow up, your heart dies."

The Princess 
(Molly Ringwald, as Claire)
"I have a really low tolerance for dehydration."

... 26 faces done, only 3 more to go!

The Black Swan (portrait of Björk)

Vespertine is one of my favourite albums. 
It's so vastly scenic and incredibly comforting.

I listened to it while drawing this portrait. The songs are footpaths through the ice and snow. Everything is crystalline, and in the center of this whiteness, a solitary black swan, stretching her neck, opening her feathered wing...

The Black Swan (portrait of Björk)
charcoal and graphite on A3 paper
29 September 2013

"It's not meant to be a struggle uphill. Undo"

"On the surface simplicity
But the darkest pit in me
It's pagan poetry"

... 23 faces done. Almost there...

Doctor Who Fanart: Matt Smith & David Tennant

28 September 2013

"Bow Ties Are Cool"
(portrait of Matt Smith)
graphite on paper

(portrait of David Tennant)
graphite on A3 paper

... 22 faces done, 7 more to go.

Brahmā, Vishnu, and Shiva

27 September 2013

A trinity of Hindu gods:  Lord Brahma the the progenitor of all human beings, lord of speech and sound, and creator of the sacred Vedas,  Lord Vishnu the sustainer, the all-pervading essence of all beings, and governor of the universe, and Lord Shiva the destroyer, the transformer, and patron god of yoga and arts.

 Brahmā, Vishnu, and Shiva 
ink and coloured pencil on A4 paper
25- 27 September 2013
an illustration for the upcoming book Even Odd

Prettified Photos : Tori Amos

25 September 2013

I'm an Ears-With-Feet, which is fanspeak code for "Tori Amos groupie". I took ooooodles of pics from the 2011 and 2012 shows that I saw (in Paris, Brussels, Antwerp, and Rotterdam), and last weekend I played around a bit with colour and texture, making some edited photos from some of the concerts and Meet & Greets. (These are all my original photographs.)

 Live in Paris, France at Le Grand Rex -  October 2011, Night of Hunters tour

Antwerp, Belgium (Meet & Greet) - October 2011, Night of Hunters tour
(... where I met Tori for the first time.)

 Live in Antwerp, Belgium - 2011, Night of Hunters tour

 Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Meet & Greet - October 2012, Gold Dust tour

Brussels, Belgium, Meet & Greet - October 2012, Gold Dust tour

I'll be making more prettified pics, I'm sure.  ... such beautiful memories.

Little face sketches

I'd been sick for 3 weeks, and fell far behind on my 29 Faces challenge, so I did some catching up in the sketch book (they are nobody in particular, just studies.)

Noses and cupid's bows have always been problematic for me, so this challenge has been a good opportunity for me to focus on those areas and work out some of my logistical issues.

...15 faces done, 14 to go... and 6 days to do them!

White Buffalo Calf Woman

21 September 2013

White Buffalo Calf Woman
black coloured pencil on A4 paper
an illustration for the book Even Odd
September 2013

White Buffalo Calf Woman is a messianic sacred spirit of the Oglala Sioux. Long ago, she appeared, first in the form of a white buffalo calf, who changed into a beautiful woman, to bestow upon the people their 7 sacred spiritual rituals and and to give them the first peace pipe. Before turning back into a calf, and disappearing from the earth, like a ghost, White Buffalo Calf Woman promised to come again, bringing peace and the return of the buffalo herds to the land, saying the omen of her coming would be the birth of a female white buffalo.

 In the early 90's, my mom and I took a road trip from north-eastern Ohio to a small farm in central Wisconsin, where a female white buffalo calf, named Miracle, had been born. I brought her a hand-beaded gift that I'd made, which I hung on her fence, along side the myriad of decorative offerings that visitors had brought for her. It was the first time that I'd ever seen buffalo, in person, and I remember that she was small and shy, and looked so sweet as she nuzzled her mother. That adventure to see the white buffalo is a precious memory from my childhood, and I remembered my feelings of the moment, while drawing this portrait.

A study of shadows

A pencil sketch, studying shadows

. . . 8 faces done, 21 to go (and omg, am I ever far behind!)

Frida II

06 September 2013

 A second go at drawing Frida Kahlo...

A much more successful likeness than the first, and even though it has its share of imperfections, I really like this drawing. I feel that I'm achieving a much better sense of dimension with my recent work; each one, a step in the right direction.

Frida II
graphite on A4 paper
6 September 2013

"Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?" - Frida Kahlo

"Painting completed my life." - Frida Kahlo

"I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim,
 and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling." - Frida Kahlo

... 7 faces done, 22 to go.

Drawing Frida

05 September 2013

Portrait of Frida Kahlo
coloured pencil on A4 paper
5 September 2013

I've never drawn Frida Kahlo before. I've thought about doing it, I've wanted to do it, but I've always been afraid to do it... she's like a holy icon, and I felt unworthy to draw her... yeah, it seems silly, but it's true.

Kahlo's work, and her life (as if one could separate them,) is a great inspiration to me as an artist, and as a woman. Her work is a testament to the power of the feminine creative will, and her strength against physical and emotional pains is deeply inspiring to me.

I'm sick right now, bronchitis again... my immune system and I have never been friends... and as I lay here, forcing to breathe, feeling tired, miserable, and sorry for myself, my thoughts went to Frida, and then I knew: it's time to draw her. Right. Now.

There are things about the portrait that aren't quite right, the likeness could be, well, more like, but as it is, I'm still pleased with the drawing. I'm quite happy with the highlights on the right side (her left side) in particular. What pleases me more is that I overcame the fear of starting it, and I'm certain to draw her again.

Thank you, Frida.

Sketchbook : White Buffalo Calf Woman, Pin-Up Doodles, & Fan Art

04 September 2013

I'm attempting Ayla Art's "29 Faces" challenge this month, starting off with some sketchbook concept work and doodles:

Concept sketches for an upcoming illustration of White Buffalo Calf Woman

Some whimsical pin-up doodles

Little sketchy doodle inspired by the character Akeginu, from the manga/anime series Basilisk

... 5 faces done, 24 to go!

7-point Faerie Star (finished!)

Finished, at last! "7-point Faerie Star" illustration for the book, Even Odd. 
Although it's mostly in soft greys, it's actually all done in black coloured pencil.

 I'm quite pleased with how it turned out -- particularly with the Art Nouveau touches, the irises, and the male fae in the center.

 I don't often draw male faeries (it seems most people don't...) so it was an interesting challenge for me to draw a fae who is delicate, with tapered limbs, and yet still masculine. He became my favourite of all the seven.

I also like to draw faeries' backs, showing how their wings attach to their bodies. Most people avoid this even more than they do male faes, which is understandable, since it's difficult to find live faerie models who are willing to show you their backs... I think it's one of the best kept secrets in faeryland!

Forget-me-nots and Fairy Thimbles...

Lily-of-the-valley and Iris...
(I'm also quite fond of this sneaky guy, who's popping in, upside down)

... which of these faeries is your favourite?