Friday, July 29, 2011

Some Artwork From Monhegan

© 2011 Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio

Another week has come and gone with July almost over. Next month we will begin prepping for fall and winter here in Maine. The above images are sketches and plein air paintings I did while on Monhegan Island. I had another sketch but another artist liked it so much they asked if they could have it. I was flattered so I gave it to her. The first of the two sketches was done at Squeaker Cove. It was our first full day there. It was beautiful with the waves crashing onto the rocks. I decided to do a rock study which i was happy with the outcome. The first painting I did was in the Cathedral Forest. It was my second attempt as my first painting fell onto the ground so it had to be wiped clean. Maybe that was a good sign. This was the first oil painting I have done in years. At first I could not remember what to do so i decided to just smear some color onto the canvas. I was fairly happy with the painting. The colors pop more in real life. I did some other paintings but was not happy with the results. One can only paint trees, water, and rocks for so long. I was watching these chickens and a rooster so I took some quick reference photos with my iPhone. The next day I worked on the chicken painting for a couple of hours. This is the result of my efforts. I finished up the faces once I returned home but could not scan it since the paint is still wet. The last sketch was done on the final fay on the island. It was done at Pebble Beach. Yeah, I know, it is a rock and water sketch. Sometimes the place decides what you will draw or paint. Hopefully I will get to go back next year. This trip has really given me the oil painting bug.

The past few weeks have been extremely busy. I finished up one book and have begun a second one. I am really excited about this one. It will be a ton of fun. While I have begun this one, there might be another from the same publisher coming in. Fingers crossed. I also finished up an animation project with a second one waiting in the wings. The animation work ebb and flows. With all these projects I get to design a poster from some dear friends in Lancaster, 26 characters for some playing cards, various logos, and trying to do some additional Photoshop illustrated for myself. Busy, busy, busy! You will not hear me complain. Hopefully everyone is just as busy or busier.

With everything going on, my story concept has taken a backseat. I am still sorting it out mentally and hope to get it mocked up soon.
©2011 Pixel Shavings

The illustrators group I belong to just put out some bookmarks. If you would like one, send me an email and I will get some out to you.

"Every time I paint a portrait, I lose a friend." ~ John Singer Sargent

Monday, July 18, 2011

Returning From Paradise

©2011 Russ Cox|Smiling Otis Studio

I am back after a week away on Monhegan Island which is off the coast of Maine. I went with a group of 20 area fine artist for a week of drawing, painting, eating, drinking, and music (I brought my banjo). It was such a fun trip and much needed. I did not know most of the people who went but with a group of artist, it is very easy to fit in and in a short time. A majority of the group go to the island every year so I was lucky enough to be asked to join them. The island is less than a mile wide and two miles long so we did a lot of exploring. They have many trails so it is easy to maneuver from one spot to the other. It seems like after every turn, you saw something new and jawdropping. From the Cathedral Forest to Lobster Cove to the cliffs of Squeaker Cove and the rocks of Pebble Beach, each step was breathtaking. Everyday was spent drawing and/or painting with a critique in the evenings. I will post some of the pieces I did once the oil dries a bit. I have not painted traditionally in years so I was a bit perplexed on how to paint. It finally cam back after much trail and error.

During our stay, everyone was a assigned a meal to cook with each person taking turns for cleanup which usually had a song and dance involved. Laughter and music filled the air afterwards with the evening ending in some card game. The days were warm but the ocean breeze keep us cool in the evenings. Only 40 people live on the island during the winter but a majority are artist. We also went to the many galleries and studios. There was one artist who I really loved how she painted. Alison Hill does landscapes and figurative paintings. We chatted about her artwork and I asked if she did any workshops. I would be willing to go back for a week of painting and island life. It was very hard to leave and come back to reality. I think all of us "newbies" are going to rent a place next year so we can join the core group for another week of merriment. For now, I need some rest.

“You can't do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh.” ~ John Singer Sargent

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Playing with Photoshop

Hello everyone! I hope each of you had a wonderful 4th of July weekend. We did not do too much. My wife and I mostly worked over the weekend. I did manage to get to a cookout on Sunday which was lovely.

Since I worked all weekend, I decided to play around this morning and do something for myself. After watching Will Terry's Photoshop painting tutorial several times, I thought it would be a good time to try out Photoshop for painting. The alligator image was a quick doodle that I did this morning. What I am trying to do now is develop a more traditional look but still work digitally. Not that I am abandoning Illustrator which I still love, I feel like I need to grow as an illustrator and branch out. I was happy with the way the gator turned out. Especially since I only spent around 3 hours on it. There are some things I do not like such as the thermometer which I may do again. The idea of keeping the original sketch in place forced me to keep the overall look loose. Next time I will probably do a bit tighter sketch so the pencil work is a tad cleaner.

I got one of the two book projects that I bid on a few weeks ago. I am very excited about working on the book since I will have a lot of creative freedom. Hopefully this will lead to a series and a long lasting relationship with the publisher. Speaking of publishers, looks like Molly Kite did get picked up by one so the details are being worked out now. That is all I can report on that for now.

Next week I am heading out with a group of area artist to Monhegan Island to paint and draw. There will be around 20 of us for the week sharing two houses, cooking and cleaning, plus many bottles of wine. I have never done something like this but know it will be a valuable experience. My darling wife encouraged me to go and have a good time. Got love a partner like that!

Once I return from my vacation, I hope to go back posting weekly. It is hard to do during the summer. Especially here in Maine since we have only a small stretch of it before we are prepping for winter.

Until next time, I leave you with this:
"To become truly immortal, a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and common sense will only interfere. But once these barriers are broken, it will enter the realms of childhood visions and dreams." ~ Giorgio de Chirico

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