Welcome to the new realm of colored pencil art
Go behind the scenes with a career artist at the start of her career
View works-in-progress and read about the techniques and tools used by artist Christina Langman

Monday, April 7, 2008

Another Addition to the Studio

Once I had mounted my drafting table, it became very apparent that I needed a better place to put my TV... which I almost can't work without! I had resorted to setting the TV beside and behind me on a shelf, but I found it distracting that I couldn't see it in my peripheral vision. Of course, I had always planned to wall mount the TV at some point, but now it had become a necessity! And so, here it is:

Because of the weight requirements, I mounted a 2x6 to the wall first (screwed into both a stud and into drywall anchors) and then mounted the swing-out arm unit to that 2x6. It is solid as a rock, and is the perfect height not only for viewing, but also for changing DVD's (which would have been difficult if I had mounted it closer to the ceiling which I originally had planned!) And, as you can see, "The Simpsons" is in my DVD player... right now it's Season Two.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Focus WIP - Part 3

This is the latest step in "Focus", the colored pencil cougar that I am currently working on. Dimensions are 15" x 21.5". This photo shows the piece with the entire background done, leaving the foreground and the cougar left to finish. I find it much easier to do a background first, as the cougar will have hairs that extend over top of the background, which can easily be done by layering with the pencils. The struggle with this piece is maintaining the varying levels of camera focus in the piece, from distantly blurred (in the sky/trees) to close, but still fuzzy (the rocks/snow just behind the cougar), and next will be the foreground (more snow and rocks), which is mostly in great focus, but also blurs as it approaches the bottom of the image (closest to the photographer). I also find that the blurred backgrounds tend to look disjointed or off somehow when not put into context by a focussed foreground - meaning that I usually am unhappy with how my background looks until I finally put a foreground in. It makes it all come together and it is then easier for our eyes to place the blurred background where it is supposed to be - in the background! I must admit that I am excited to be able to work on the cougar soon - the animal of the scene is always the most enjoyable part to work on, which is part of why I leave it for last. I will post again soon with a look at the foreground in progress.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The First Day in the Studio

This is the first official day that I have been able to work in my studio - I mean REALLY work, on my art, in a functioning studio space. It is great... no, better than great! The wall-mounted drafting table is excellent, and although I first thought the 4' x 6' drafting table would be WAY too big for my needs, it allows me to spread out all of my supplies and still have my laptop on the table for my reference photo to be displayed. I've moved some of my numerous house plants into my studio as well, which makes the whole room a lot more inviting. I can now say officially that I have an art studio. It has a nice ring to it.

Today I worked on my cougar colored pencil piece titled "Focus". I am in the process of doing the background and foreground around the cougar. I plan to leave the cat for last, as it is the most precise and detailed part of the picture (and the most fun to work on). Look for a new post soon with an updated picture of "Focus".

One thing I am always asked as an artist is what I listen to (if anything) while I work on my art. I know one person who listens to music, and I even know an artist that listens to books on tape/CD while working. While it may be hard to believe, I actually have the TV on. Yes, I actually have TV on while working on my art. I don't actually WATCH the TV, I simply play DVD's of TV shows that I have seen before, so it doesn't require my attention to actually watch it. From now on, my blog posts will include what is in my DVD player that day. For example, today I started (for the umpteenth time) "The Simpsons" (Season 1) on DVD. "The Simpsons" has always been a favorite for me while working on art, as it is easy-listening mindless background noise.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

An Addition to the Studio

I have finally (and I really do mean FINALLY) finished wall-mounting my drafting table. I purchased this drafting table (just the table top - no stand) last year when we first bought our house, with intentions of one day having it in my art studio. It has been sitting in the garage ever since. Of course, my studio is 9' x 11', and the table is 4' x 6'. Do the math. There is certainly NOT enough room for this table to stand in this room, with space to move around comfortably. Hence, the wall-mount idea. I designed this entirely myself, using supplies I purchased at Rona, Princess Auto, and Napa Auto Parts. It was a lot of trial and error. More error than trial. But finally, it is working, and working WELL. More impressive than I even expected, in fact! When raised up, with the legs tucked under, this table takes up exactly 4 inches of my room, and is completely adjustable from a flat table to any height/angle, including a standing easel height. Below is a picture of the table at a working height:
And this is a close-up of the winch system (which happens to be rated for 10,000lbs... nothing like over-doing it right?) and also shows the rollers that hold the table in the tracks that run up and down the wall:
All in all, despite 3 days straight of construction work, and 5 (or more) trips to Rona, it was a success, and I can now say that I have a functioning studio, a space where I can actually go and work on my art AWAY from the rest of distractions that come along with working out of a home!