Personal Challenge: Secondary Triad

29 06 2012

To tackle my second palette challenge I used again the Enchanted Visions Project, I have had in mind for a while this image and I decided to work with a secondary palette: Green, violet and orange. It really proved to be harder than what I originally thought, and I don’t know how well I did honor the secondary theme, but the final image has the energy I was looking for. It, of course, ended up not being like what I had in mind int he first place, but when I envisioned it I was not thinking of limiting my palette choices, so I allowed myself to depart from the original idea in that respect.  It does however show the ecstatic feel that I wanted, the artist envisioning the art in her mind, as in rapture.

Enchanted Visions (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus

That puts my list down by two themes! Yay!

Palettes:
Monochrome
Limited (Circe)
Complementary
Primary
Secondary (Enchanted Visions)
Tertiary
Split complementary
Analogous
Multicolor
Warm
Cold

Composition:
Pyramidal
Spiral
Big group of people
Architecture
one point perspective
two points perspective





Interview with Mitsi Sato-Wiuff

19 06 2012

Copyrighted to Mitzi Sato-Wiuff

Mitzi your art has a clear manga style, how did it evolve into that?

Although I’ve done realism in the past, my current fantasy art style is a result of my years of doodling from my school days (elementary and junior high school).  I was born in Japan, and like most kids there, I grew up reading manga a lot, though I probably had an early start on that even among my peers.  So my doodles were influenced by the vintage shoujo manga of the late 70s and 80s —  very clean, tediously done with lots of details.  I also think that the manga style of art is generally influenced by the traditional Japanese art such as woodblock prints and tattoo art where the line art is an important, integral part of the whole look.  I do feel that my current style reflects my personal approach and taste, and therefore more authentic to me, compared to the works I used to do for fine art exhibitions.

Who are the artists that inspire you?

I find something to inspire myself in most anyone’s work and enjoy a wide variety of genre and media.  I’m usually inspired by originality of vision and uniqueness of style more than technical skills.  Any art that presents a new way of looking at things or a truly magical, personal vision always catches my attention.  But I’ve found much inspiration in the works of the following artists and they’re my favorite: Aubrey Beardsley, Gustav Klimt, John Singer Sargent, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Reiko Okano (my favorite manga artist), and Waki Yamato (also a manga artist).

Even when you work digital, your work has a softness that is more characteristic of watercolors, how do you achieve that look?

I’ve always liked the transparent colors where you can see layers of different colors rather than flat, opaque colors filling an area.  I tend to go for this look whether I’m working in watercolor, colored pencils, or digital.  In my digital work, I use Corel Painter program.  First, my line art is done traditionally in pen on paper.  I’ve experimented with different approaches, and I found that this is what I like the most — mixed media of traditional pen work with digital coloring.  I scan the line art, then color the work free hand on my Intuos 3 tablet.  I use ‘tools’ in the wet media selections with opacity set at very low percentage.  The colors are gradually built up by repeated application of light ‘washes’.  My digital coloring technique is just about the exact copy of the way I do traditional watercolor.  Many washes of colors are used to build up the desired colors, while giving the whole thing the look of transparency.  Layers I use are utilized much like traditional masking steps, so most of my works only have 6 or so layers, which I believe is very low in digital art.  You can see a simplified demonstration of my method in a progressive showing of works-in-progress in one of the psuedo-tutorials I’ve made.

Lady of the Forest

Shades of Blue

Copyrighted to Mitzi Sato-Wiuff

Why do you favor monochromes, as opposed to more variable palettes?

I think the more accurate term to describe my works is ‘limited palette’ rather than ‘monochromatic’.  There’s a predominant color, but there are also subdued hues of colors from other groups thrown in.  I’ve never been a big fan of the rainbow, technicolor artwork that utilizes every color on a color wheel.  I like to stay with a limited palette for the overall feeling of serenity and unity that it evokes.  It’s also a result of my approach.  At the beginning of the coloring phase, I always set a ‘paper color’ — something in the mid to light range of the values within a piece –, which is just like working with a colored paper.   That’s something I used to do a lot working with colored pencils when I was a signature member of the Colored Pencil Society of America back in the late 90s and early 2000s.   Because all the colors I use are transparent, the ‘paper color’ will show through to varying degrees throughout a piece of work and give that harmonizing effect that keeps everything “together”.

I see you speak Japanese, is that your mother tongue or learned later in life?

I was born in Japan to Japanese parents, so it’s my mother tongue.  Mitzi is a nickname derived from my Japanese name, Mutsumi, which most non-Japanese people have a hard time pronouncing correctly.

It is not a usual language to know, do you find it helped you with your career?

I can’t say that it’s been particularly helpful in my current art career.  It’s been quite irrelevant for the most part.  If anything, it gives me maybe a slightly varied perspective on things to fall back on occasionally, like when I’m trying to come up with an idea for a given theme or prompt.  I can always look for inspirations in my Japanese culture and/or Eastern traditions to come up with something what my fantasy art peers would think quite original and unique.   I am a foreign language teacher to American students (private tutoring), just happy to share what I know with those students that are looking for something different to learn.

How did you decide to join PSP Tube Stop?

I originally had a licensing agreement with another PSP tubes company that went out of business several months before my contract term was up.   I was approached by several companies, one of which was PSP Tube Stop.  I have an adventurous streak in me, so I was delighted by the fresh opportunity and the approach to the business the owner brought to the table, not to mention the artist-friendly contract.  When I signed the contract, the site wasn’t live yet, but I felt really good about the whole thing and never worried about going with the ‘unproven’ company at all.  In fact, my tubes are doing better than ever with PSP Tube Stop, so I’m very happy with my decision.  I’m also grateful for PSP Tube Stop for taking a chance on me, a relative newcomer.

Copyrighted to Mitzi Sato-Wiuff

What do you like about tubes?

I like the legitimacy of them the most!  These tube companies legitimately provide the art for people to use, while respecting copyright of the artists and increasing awareness of the right way to obtain and use art for personal enjoyment.  In the age of easy art theft and rampant use of found images online from graphics on web site to outright illegal business such as selling prints for profit, I think the tubes and tube businesses do it right.  The royalty is also generally the highest for any licensed products.  It’s also fun to see what creative tags people come up with using your tubes and other elements available from scrapkits, etc.  I also enjoy the interaction on places like Facebook where taggers would post their tags for everyone to see and comment on.

Where can out readers find your art?

My official web site is http://www.aurorawings.com/

where all my fantasy artwork and related links can be found, including my shop at Zazzle and my Blogger blog.
My home on the web is my deviantART account at  http://aruarian-dancer.deviantart.com/

where I interact the most with people and the largest variety of prints are sold.
My Facebook fan page is  http://www.facebook.com/FantasyArtofMitzi
where I hold giveaways of my merchandise periodically.

My line art for digital download and rubber stamps are available from  http://scrapbookstampsociety.com/index.php
and their Etsy shop.

My fabric blocks are available from  http://www.fantasyfabricblocks.com/catalog.php?category=195
where you’ll also find other products like color-me-sheets and cards.

My coloring book, published by Ellen Million Graphics, can be found on Amazon.com.





Challenging myself for growth

14 06 2012

I never went to art school and I do not regret the fact that I became a biologist, but I always feel that I am lagging so much in art because of a lack of formal education. Yes, you can be self taught but the aid of a knowledgeable professor would be greatly appreciated and now I do not have the time to dedicate 12 hrs+ a day to the study of art. However I do want to keep improving and I will keep studying, so to challenge myself and to avoid falling in the trap of comfort I decided to go through a list of things to do…

Palettes:
Monochrome
Limited (Circe)
Complementary
Primary
Secondary
Tertiary
Split complementary
Analogous
Multicolor
Warm
Cold

Composition:
Pyramidal
Spiral
Big group of people
Architecture
one point perspective
two points perspective

 

Circe

With this in mind I decided to keep my submission for the Enchanted Vissions Project: Circe, very muted and limited. I chose an earthy palette because I wanted to keep an “ancient” look, and I used a roman inspired frame. Also, I wanted to practice fur, which didn’t come out as good as I wanted, but it is a good first attempt.

It was challenging, I hated it for most of the process but towards the end it started to come together. I do like the final look, with the frame in place and the wrinkled texture.

 





Art, nudity and children

4 06 2012

I am not a prude, I never was and I doubt’ I’ll ever be. Though most of the ladies in my work are dressed, I do from time to time work on a nude, which is normally artistic and non sexual… I really am not into sexual art, though my mom says my art is very erotic.

However, when I was working on my last project “The Most Beautiful Rose”, a nude portrait of the delightful Roser Portella, and I had my little one year old sitting on my lap I had to stop for a moment and ask myself “Do I want him to grow surrounded by nudity?” Especially in this society in which nudity is synonym of porn, or “explicit sex” as I read in some news not too long ago. What kind of consequence would it bring to have a little kid seeing artistic nudity?

See, the thing is that I was raised by two Catholic parents, very traditional and modest. And I grew up with full access to my parent’s library which was well stocked with art books, many of them containing nudity. In our home, artistic nudity was not only something that was OK, it was something to be admired. I remember my mom talking about Michael Angelo’s David, talking in awe about the detail in the arms, the veins, the tension that you could see in the muscles along his limbs. I remember looking at Dali’s Leda, the swan and Gala about to embrace, her skin looking white as marble. I studied over and again Botticelli Birth of Venus, always wondering why her toes were not up the quality of the rest of her body, and kind of laughing at the mild (and sometimes not so mild) cellulite you would find in the Renaissance bodies.

And through seeing nudity as something beautiful we grew to appreciate our own bodies. We learned to respect our own bodies. Nudity was not seen as sexual by me growing up. Nudity could be just a way to appreciate creation, God’s work, nature, whatever you want to call it. Neither my sister or I grew to be sluts, or sexually messed up, or too prude to see our own naked reflection.We are two healthy adult women, and in my case, though my mom was (surprisingly) shocked the first time I drew nipples when I was about 14 (“Oh, how not appropriate for a Catholic school girl!”), I learned to appreciate the human body as a work of art, and I enjoy to draw it and take up the challenge of transmitting its beauty and vitality in so imperfect of a medium as watercolors or Photoshop.

As to the question “Do I want my child to grow surrounded by nudity?” Most certainly. And I want him to learn how beautiful we are, and how there are appropriate moments for nudity and other moments that are not, and that we respect our own bodies and those of other people, and that nudity is not porn, and that you can admire someone’s body without it sexually arousing you. And I hope that he will grow up to be a well adjusted adult, appreciating the human body as much as I do.