Saturday, November 28, 2009

Seal's Process: Swamp Treehouse in watercolor, gouache, and acrylic gesso

Both Monkey and Seal are looking forward to Handmade Ho-Down: Urban Craft Fair this upcoming Thursday, Dec.3rd. They will be selling original fine arts paintings and prints, handmade silkscreened ties, archival reproduction prints, zines, buttons, and more!

Below is one of Seal's archival glicee reproduction prints of her original illustration titled "Swamp Treehouse." So for this Saturday's Process Post, she will be doing a flashback and talking about an earlier work.

The original illustration was done on 15" x20" cold press illustration board, with watercolor, gouache, acrylic gesso, and graphite. The work was inspired by the story of Peter Pan, but Seal had always thought that Pan was a sinister figure, similar to the Pied Piper or the god of mischief, Pan. There is a selfish destructive, yet invitingly playful characteristics of Pan. So she decided that the Lost Boys' home would be in the swamps.

The sky and water were initially laid out in watercolor, she glazed some of the warm colors more opaquely with goauche. Below is a close up of the main tree on the right. She utilized acrylic gesso to create some of the undulations and textures on the moss and trunks.

Before working on the final illustration board, Seal does color studies with gouache on paper. She explored daytime and nightime lighting. These can be very rough, spending only 30-2 hours on each. She liked the mood of the foggy very early morning/late at night with the warm lights emitting from the treetops of the house. She pushed the different range of blues on the final painting to include some purples and greens.Seal is normally shy about showing her line drawings because they are unrefined and show a lot of mistakes, but below is a rare peek at her original line drawing before the color studies. Noticed she added a wooden boat to the left of the composition on her final illustration that was missing from the line drawing below, because she thought the habitants needed transportation to traverse across the swamp.

Seal will continue to do "gothic" series of the Peter Pan story. Please check back soon to see more. In the meantime, she hopes to see you at Handmade Hodown this Thursday. She will be showcasing this original painting of the Swamp Treehouse at the Monkey and Seal booth #41.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Artistic Abundance: Giving Thanks . . .

During this holiday-giving-thanks weekend, Seal would like to write about artistic abundance.

Artists create freely and are more productive when they feel abundant.

Much too often we are stingy with ourselves, with our care, our time, our money, our supplies -- which reflects in our creativity. We deprive ourselves of sleep, of food, of images and ideas by shutting ourselves up in our studio and forcing ourselves to "work" rather than "create" or "play."

I have met many people who tell themselves that they do not have enough time or money to do art. Or when we do create, we may feel that time is running out in becoming "discovered," or that "soon we will run out of ideas." Or if we are successful, we feel it may not last. This is what I call a mentality of lack. Continue on this path and the art will soon be dead. Our society operates in this cancerous way.

But there is a remedy - it is thanks-giving. It is the quickest and most lasting way to feel abundant.

Monkey and Seal practice thanks-giving every chance they can get. They are grateful for the roof over their head, the food on the table, the supportive friends and family, their art, their art supplies, their day jobs, the clothes on their back, this blog, and many more! Thanks-giving switches the brain to break negative thought patterns and focuses on current positive situation and future possibilities.

There are many more ways to feel abundant, name 5 things you can do right this minute to give more care to your artistic self. (buy that canvas I really wanted, fix the sewing machine, buy buttons from the goodwill for my project, eat a warm meal, watch that movie I've been putting off, read that book I've been meaning to read. . . .) then do it. Fulfill your promise. Your artist self will be glad and happy to create. Seal buys herself funny $1.50 stickers, a blank sketchpad, and chai tea with soy.

You don't have to spend money either. She also likes to go to the park, read in the library, and listen to music. Whatever it is that makes your artist-self feels like a million bucks. Remember that your artist-self is like a child in many ways -- it likes treats, acknowledgments, celebrations, and feeling abundant.

At Seal's old work place, there were two signs doodled in bright markers: "it can be done within our budget" and "it can be done within our time." These are very powerful statements. People at this workplace felt endless possibility.

People just want to be around and work with other creatively inspired people. Many artistic connections and jobs happen this way.

start now: "Thank you, thank you so much for . . . "

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Zine review and Raffle!

We were just informed by the awesome people over at Ashcan magazine that our zine, The Bad Date Zine: Issue #2, was reviewed by their web magazine! Woo! You can go over and check it out here.

Also, if you are planning on hitting up the Handmade Ho Down (and you should), you should definitely come and check out the raffle to support DrawBridge, as two of Monkey's serigraphs and one of Seal's giclees have been donated to the cause. Soo, it'll be your chance to pick up a piece of Monkey + Seal artwork as well as donate to a great cause.

DrawBridge is an awesome little organization helping homeless children cope with their situation through art - they could really use a lot of help (their future is a bit financially shaky come February 2010), so if you can give, it's a good time to do so. They also are in need of art supplies, so if you have some stuff lying around that you aren't using, now is a great time to donate it to a great cause.

Specifically, they could really use:

  • Color and white paper

  • Tempera and acrylic paints

  • Face Paint

  • Finger Paint

  • Paint brushes

  • All forms of Clay: Self hardening, Model magic, Sculpey

  • Feathers

  • Mini Pom Poms

  • Googly Eyes

  • Paper maiche strips

  • Masks

  • Masking tape of all colors

  • Irons

  • Small or Child Safe Scissors

  • Buttons

  • Wire cutters

  • Ironing Board

  • Colored Pencils

  • iPods and speakers for art groups

  • Polaroid cameras and Film

  • Digital cameras

  • 4 Line Phones
Thanks so much and we hope to see you at the event!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Seal Process: Tyger Tyger series in acrylics

Above is Seal's most recent illustration. Normally she works in gouache or watercolor, but for the next couple of illustrations, she is trying out acrylics.

She is inspired and repulsed by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster of 1986. Although not a historical accurate presentation of Chernobyl, her piece is set in a similar imaginative setting. She wanted to feature a resilient resourceful young female protagonist, a survivor, who utilizes her art and imagination to navigate through the decimated world. Below is Seal's painting space. She has her inspiring artistic references close by when she is painting: 1) Cannabis Works by Tatsuyuki Tanaka and 2) Revelations of Chernobyl by Nakasuji Jun.

She recently noticed that she also keeps her coffee dangerously close to her paint water bucket. Which is probably a bad idea. Next to her painting on the right is her original thumbnail. Every 30 minutes she checks the thumbnail and adjusts her values as needed. Below: this is what her palette looks like after 4 hours of painting. She has two side by side so she doesn't have to change the palette as often. For the purpose of this painting, she wanted the colors to be muddy and muted. Ideally, it's a good idea to change the palette more often so you have "cleaner brighter colors."

Below is a zoomed shot of a corner of her illustration. She gives herself at least a .25" bleed all the way around and paints beyond the edge. It makes all the difference in cropping if you give yourself extra room for flexibility. All in all, she had fun painting old rusted pipes and the light coming in through the window.

Thanks for visiting!