Category Archives: Friends

Drawing in the Afterimage

Maya (drawing) - compressed

After completing the drawing of Tommy Kane (see my last post), I wanted to draw another artist who inspires me.  If you have followed my blog over the past year, you know that I am a fan of Artists Anonymous (“AA”), a group of artists in London and Berlin, who are known for painting in the afterimage.  You can read more about AA in my posts, “For the Love of the Game“, and “Artists Anonymous“.

AA’s paintings are impressive.  Even more remarkable is that the afterimages of their works often look more intentional than the originals.  It is rare to find contemporary artists doing something truly original, and yet AA is doing just that.

The members of Artists Anonymous prefer to remain anonymous.  They do so in part to see what happens if they take authorship away from their works.  As a result, AA is as much a social experiment as it is a moniker.  Nevertheless, one of their founding members, Maya van Malden, is their spokesperson, and the only artist whose identity we know.  So in order to draw Artists Anonymous, I borrowed a photo of Maya, and drew her portrait.  Given AA’s unique method of painting, I thought it only appropriate to draw Maya in the negative (see above).  Below is the afterimage of my drawing.

Maya (afterimage)

Artists Anonymous is among my favorite artists, and there is much more to their art than just their painting techniques.  To see some online images of their works, check out www.artists-anonymous.com.

P.S.  It’s been over two months since I wrote my last blog post, and recently, I had been thinking that The Hipping Post experiment had run its course.  But blogs, Facebook, and other social media, can serve a greater purpose than just throwing a voice into the void.  Used thoughtfully, social media allows you to share, collaborate, and connect.  THP has allowed me to connect with people I never otherwise would have met, and for that I am grateful.

I draw and paint for myself because I enjoy it, and I also write mostly for myself.  But I have enjoyed sharing this blog, so I am going to continue with it.  The posts may come more sporadically, but hopefully I will add some value to those of you who continue to visit and give me some of your time to read my posts.

Sisters

R__1R__y, oil on canvas, 10” x 10”

It’s been a busy few months, so I haven’t updated The Hipping Post since December.  But in my last post, I implied that I would challenge myself, and try to push my art forward.

For a variety of reasons, I am interested in painting portraits, so when my friend asked me if I would draw a picture of his daughters, I said, “Of course.  I’d be honored.”  But instead of using pencil and paper, like I did for the drawings of Stacie and of my sons, I decided to give oil painting a shot.  Since he’s a close friend, I figured my buddy would forgive me if the paintings didn’t work out.

R__2R__e, oil on canvas, 10” x 10”

But the paintings turned out better than I had expected, and I learned a lot during the process.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity, J & L – I couldn’t have asked for two cuter subjects.

P.S.  I am still experimenting with oil painting, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that painting in layers, using poppy oil to thin and blend the paint, was a good method for depicting smooth young skin.  I also found that various combinations of Terra Rosa, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Cadmium Scarlet, and Titanium White created a solid foundation for skin tones.  If you have recommendations for other techniques / colors, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Evolution of a Drawing

image-6

“What an artist is trying to do for people is bring them closer to something, because of course art is about sharing.” – David Hockney

Earlier this summer, my friend asked me if I would do a drawing for an auction to raise funds for her neighborhood swim team.  This was technically my first “commission”, so I was nervous that I would not meet her expectations. But since Stacie and I have a strong connection to that pool (we used to belong to that club, and we have a lot of friends who still do), I agreed to give it a shot.

I don’t normally take pictures of a drawing as I am working on it, but I wanted my friend to understand what I was creating, so I sent her these updates as I worked through the drawing.  And since I saved the photos, I figured I would share them here, as some of you may be interested in the steps I took to create this drawing.

image
To make sure I had the basic building blocks and the correct proportions, I started with an outline using a 2H pencil.  So far, so good.

image-1
Then I drew over the pencil with a Pigma Micron 005 black ink pen.  At this point, I was feeling confident that the drawing was on the right track.

image-2Okay, the ink is largely complete.  Do I really need to add color? This is looking pretty good as a black and white.  What if I screw up the color now?  Alright, fine – time for color.

image-3The sky – never easy to capture the sky, but since it’s mostly blue and cloudless during the summer at the pool, that’s the impression I went for.

image-4Now for the water – Tombow markers with a wash.  There was major potential for mistakes, but I like how the wash made the water look like water.  Do I really need to paint the trees?  Aaaah, the color green – Nature’s delight, but an artist’s burden.

image-5

I played around with some different shades of green, stole some techniques from Pete Scully, and finished the trees.  I wanted to keep the drawing airy and light, but at this stage, the drawing still looks flat.

image-7So, I added some black ink to the palm trees to give them more contrast.  And to complete the drawing, I drew Kermit and the Woodlands flag on the shed.  Done.

A big thanks to my friend, Angie, for asking me to do this drawing, and for taking all of the source photos.  It was a team effort.  Go Woodlands!

P.S. Since I haven’t yet convinced Stacie that we desperately need an artist’s drafting table in our back room, I sometimes take over our dining room table.  This is what my creative process really looks like.
image desk

P.P.S. This is my 100th post.  I was feeling rather proud that I was about to write my 100th post until I remembered that Seth Godin recently published his 5,000th post.  I could say that quality trumps quantity, but Seth Godin’s stuff is really good (albeit unrelated to sketching or art).  Nevertheless, thank you for visiting The Hipping Post, particularly to those of you who have stayed tuned through two years of my evolving experiment.  There’s more to come – so please stick around.

Travel Sketches – Hawaii

Mauna Kea

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only one page.”
– Saint Augustine

For the kids’ spring break, we joined my in-laws in Hawaii.  It’s hard not to have a wonderful time in Hawaii.  It’s the only place I have travelled to, where I step off the plane, and immediately decompress. 

We didn’t do much other than swim and relax, but I found some time to sketch.  As Danny Gregory wrote in his wonderful new book, An Illustrated Journey,

“When we document a journey in a sketchbook, we discover the difference between vacationing and traveling; we become adventurers, discovering new worlds through a thousand tiny details…the travel journal keeper clears his mind, refreshes his eyeballs and builds a cache of enduring memories.”

I have great memories from this trip, and here are a few I captured in my sketchbook.

Turt asleep

Condo

Stace & Ba

Lobby

Scan 2

Scan 1

When you travel, you don’t just see new places, you also meet new people.  On the way to LAX, Stacie and I met a family who lives only a few miles away from us.  While we were in Hawaii, we met Joe Sakic and his family.  I’m a Canucks fan, but it was cool to meet one the best centers to play in the NHL. 

And staying in the condo next to ours was a mom and her two daughters.  Her youngest was super friendly, and she entertained our boys for the week.  The eldest girl is an artist.  Although only in the eighth grade, her drawings are amazing.  We talked about sketching, I showed her my sketchbook, and I shared with her some of the blogs and artists I follow.

Before our neighbors left, the artist gave me a sketch and a thank you note for inspiring her.  As you can see from her drawing below, it was I who was inspired.

Morgan

Thanks Morgan.

The Hiatus – 30 Days With An Empty Cup

Empty glass

A common expression in the martial arts is, “Empty your cup.”  The phrase is an analogy for knowledge and learning.  Those who think they know everything have a full cup.  If you try to teach these people something new, their cup overflows.  Therefore, in order to learn and to grow, you must first empty your cup.

For the month of April, some friends of mine and I have decided to go without alcohol.  In law school, one of these friends didn’t drink between the day after St. Patrick’s Day and June 1st.  During that time, he dedicated himself to studying and to getting fit.  I love the idea of committing specific time to learning, and to cleansing the body, so this year, we decided we would revisit his tradition.  Since we don’t have exams to study for, we decided that being alcohol free for 30 days was plenty.

So if you are up for a challenge of self-knowledge and personal improvement, empty your cup, and join us for The Hiatus.

Variety

The range_Paper

I have a hard time committing to any activity for an extended period of time.  I have a long list of “tried and abandoned” pursuits, including the piano, the harmonica, Spanish, speed reading, and CrossFit, to name a few.

Even in my artwork, I don’t stick to a specific media.  Sometimes I sketch in pencil, other times in pen.  In my art class, I paint in acrylics on canvas, but at home, I usually paint with watercolors in my sketchbooks.  I love using art markers, and on rare occasions, when my kids haven’t hijacked Stacie’s iPad, I’ll doodle in an app called Paper.

Range watercolor

As an example, in this post, I included two sketches and a painting, all of the same subject, but each using different media.  The first is a sketch in Paper, the second is a watercolor sketch, and below is an acrylic painting that I recently finished.

Range_acrylic

Sometimes I think I should focus on one media in order to develop my skills.  But I like the variety of trying different tools and materials.  And I think my sketching helps my painting, and vice versa.

The question is whether or not I will add artwork to my list of fleeting interests.  I like to think that all of those activities just led me back to art.  I finally feel committed to drawing and painting, even if it means I have to postpone trying jiu jitsu, gourmet cooking, and DIY home renovations.

P.S. The image I sketched and painted is from a photo my friend took of the Rocky Mountain foothills outside of Calgary.  Thanks for letting me use your image, Jess.

Fette Sau

Fette Sau

Vincent: Want some bacon?
Jules: No man, I don’t eat pork.
Vincent: Are you Jewish?
Jules: Nah, I ain’t Jewish, I just don’t dig on swine, that’s all.
Vincent: Why not?
Jules: Pigs are filthy animals.  I don’t eat filthy animals.
Vincent: Yeah, but bacon tastes gooood. Pork chops taste gooood.
– A conversation from Pulp Fiction

This week, for my departing colleague’s farewell dinner, he took our team to Fette Sau, which Zagat voted the best BBQ in New York City.  I can hear people in Kansas City and Texas giggling, but Fette Sau was exceptional.

With a rolling loading bay door for its entrance, and rows of picnic tables, Fette Sau resembles a garage more than it does a New York restaurant.  Their “less is more” attitude is obvious.  For convenience, the food is served on metal trays and paper plates, and the beer is served in glass gallons and mason jars.  The food is prepared behind the counter, and we watched while one of the cooks cut slabs of pork that were thrown onto a simple wooden table (see the sketch above).

At Fette Sau, they focus on three things: BBQ, whiskey, and beer (the cider was pretty darn good too).  I tried brisket, pork shoulder, sausage, and a variety of BBQ sauces, including a spicy one that I was tempted to slip into my coat pocket, it was so good.  Unfortunately, they were out of the Berkshire Belly (bacon), which my colleague assured me was worth the flight back from San Francisco.

So if you are in New York, and are deciding on which of the countless restaurants to try, skip the white table cloths and cabernet, take the Subway to Brooklyn, and visit Fette Sau.  Because Vincent is right: pork tastes gooood.

P.S. We’ll miss you, Andy.