Children portraits

18 10 2013

I’ve never been a fan of just portraits, I like art that has a twist to it, a bit of fantasy, a lot of beauty… but I have to admit that I am working on portraits at the moment, and I am enjoying myself so much!
It all started when I was thinking of what to give my mom for mother’s day (in Argentina we celebrate it in October) and since it is usually a struggle to find her a present followed by a fight (you needn’t buy anything, don’t spend money…! etc.) I thought that giving her a portrait of her grandsons would be a better idea than buying her something. I am not very confident in my realism skills, especially working traditional, so I went for something a little unusual, a bit modern. I liked them so much that I made a set for my mother in law, and then an idea started to form in my head.

Portraits of my boys that I made for my mother.

Portraits of my boys that I made for my mother (I really need to learn to photograph art).

I actually had missed doing traditional art, and here I was working on paper, with a brush, with pigment (for me traditional art is a sensuous experience), actually relaxing while working; and I thought that every mom should have a portrait of her children if she so wants. I worked out a fast and easy technique so I could offer this kind of art for a very affordable fee in my neighbourhood (anybody that saves me the stress of shipping art gets a discounted rate from me!), suggesting it to be purchased as a present for grandparents who say that they have it all already, and it was a hit. A lot of moms asked for portraits, some of them multiple copies to give to grandparents and keep one for themselves, one of them even left a special empty spot in a photo wall she was making to hang her son’s portrait! They started thanking me for providing “such a great service”! I have very few times felt so loved as an artist as in the last two weeks.

This is being a great experience for me as an artist, I love sitting with my tools, drawing, painting, and thinking that one happy mother is waiting for a portrait of her child that I will have the honor to paint.

I still have slots for these to be ready for Christmas, so if you are thinking of commissioning one, please drop me a line, I will be happy to talk with you about it.





Home made Halloween decorations (toddler friendly)

11 10 2013

If you didn’t know, I have a two year old, and I am a little paranoid about my little child being in touch with chemicals… Okay, I know technically everything is a chemical, but I don’t like not to know what he is in touch with. Some day I will just buy stuff, but for right now, a period in which his organism, his neural system, is undergoing such a rapid development; a time in which industries just dump substances of dubious effects in everything, I am making a lot of things myself: play dough, paints, and today we did some home made plaster to make some Halloween decorations.

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Cute ghosts and Jack-o-Lanterns to decorate your home.

The recipe was simple, I took it from a website:

Two cups of flour

One and a half cup of boiling water

One cup of salt.

Dissolve salt in boiling water, mix everything, knead, voila!

… Except that it didn’t work, I was left with a mess of very thick bubbling salt. It looked like some prehistoric swamp. So I went ahead and started reading about making brine, and it so happens that different salts occupy different volumes so you should actually work with weight. Since I don’t have a scale, I had to eyeball it, and since I don’t know what kind of salt you will use I cannot give you an exact recipe, so I will tell you what I did and you can work things out in your nook in the woods.

In a bowl add two cups of flour. Boil one cup of water and start adding salt (I started with 1/4 cup) stirring to dissolve, stop adding salt when the water cannot take any more. Add this water to the flour, mix with a spoon and once the mixture is cool enough, knead with your hands as if it was bread.

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Cutest little helper

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Cutting shapes

Before doing this, I separated the dough in three and added some food coloring. I used orange and purple to evoke Halloween colors. As I kneaded to integrate the color and make it uniform, the plaster took a good smooth and elastic consistency.

Then I took the rolling pin and stretched the dough thin, as if making cookies. We used cookie cutters to make shapes: pumpkins, ghosts, and just because my son loves them also hearts and stars. With the help of a straw I made holes to pass string. We put the cut shapes on cookie sheets covered with aluminium foil (the tray and the cookies) and put them in the oven at 200 ¤F for three and a half hours, I turned them half way through. Poor Ignacio, he truly though we were making cookies, it took a lot to convince him that the plaster is not for eating.

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Before baking, nice pastel colors

The dough baked, and even at such a low temperature the colors became muted and dry. I didn’t much care because I wanted to evoke fall, but if you want vivid colors, which I will want for Christmas, I would suggest to use a lot of coloring.

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After baking…. :/

After the shapes cooled off we proceeded to decorate them. I didn’t have a lot at home that was toddler friendly, and my other baby was napping, so I wanted to be quiet, therefore I took pencils and crayons. You could use markers, paint and brush, anything you want. We also used stickers…. because stickers are awesome.

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I used pencils for simplicity, but use whatever you fancy!

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The last thing was to pass some string through the holes and hanging the shapes.

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We made holes with a straw before baking, then we passed some red yarn through them.

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While these are definitely not pinterest perfect, we enjoyed making them, especially since I could keep my child quietly entertained while the baby was napping. And he loved picking where to hang them.

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Interview with Aaron Pocock

11 09 2012

Copyrighted to Aaron Pocock

Hi Aaron, can you please tell our readers about your artistic formation?

Like the story goes… I’ve been drawing from a very young age. I was a very shy little boy who mumbled and stumbled over my words, I found it a lot easier to communicate visually and so developed a great love of drawing and it kind of went from there. I used to copy my favourite pictures from comics and annuals and from picture books I loved. I’m totally self-taught, every now and again I wish my ability would have come a lot quicker (which I’m sure it does when you have instruction) but as a Taurean, I think teaching myself has made the lessons sink in a lot deeper, I’m a self-taught musician also, if I love to do something I intend to take it as far as I possibly can, to do what I love for a living is fabulous.

Copyrighted to Aaron Pocock

Who have been your inspirations?

Goodness, too many… Nature always inspires me, the writings of my favourite author Charles De Lint always inspire me, he’s so visual, I’m not sure if he plucks images from out of my head or places them there, but his work is tangible, living magic-I was very fortunate to have him allow me the use of some very kind comments he made about my art for my latest book ‘Touched By Magic’. (very blessed fellow I am…)
I’d love to list all the artists that inspire me but it’d take too long, from the top of my head I’d list: David Wyatt (an old pal from my 20’s), Charles Vess, Michael Hague, Michael Wm. Kaluta, Arthur Rackham, Frank Frazetta, Alan Lee, John Howe… there are so many more…

What are your tools of choice?

Pencils, pens, dip pens, brushes, watercolours, acrylics, oils and photoshop, and sometimes all of the above.

What is the importance of daily sketching? How do you keep up with this practice?

To me, it’s all important. I draw for a living and I’ve found that if I slack-off for even a day or two, my work becomes stiff and lifeless, I’ve been on month long holidays and it’s like a nightmare if I haven’t drawn to then try and get back into the swing of things… Nowadays, even when I’m on holiday I’ll sketch, at least one thing, or get at least one idea down, on a normal day though, I’ll sketch 3-4 things or see an idea take shape  just to keep my eye and my hand loose, there’s no shortcut I’m afraid.

Copyrighted to Aaron Pocock

What are your best assets? And weaknesses?

My best? I believe I’ve somehow harnessed the ability to make people nostalgic, and to wonder.
My worst? Impatience. I’m terribly impatient (for a taurean).

How would you like to see your art grow?

Well, in a number of ways… I think I’d like to see it become more well-known, I’d like to actually ‘master’ a medium, like most artists, I just want to get better and better, I think that’s a thread we (artists) all share, not to strive for perfection as such, but to develop as best we can.

What attracts you to take part in SketchFest every month?

I would love to take part every month, but I get so busy with commissions and things that it’s hard to find the time so I do it when I can. The camaraderie from all participants is incredible, Ellen has done a wonderful job promoting and maintaining the sketch fest. I’ve made some lovely friends from my time there. I believe it promotes growth as an artist and more importantly, it’s great for people to bounce ideas and receive praise from their peers.

Where can our readers find your art?

My blog:
aaronpocock.wordpress.com

My website:
www.pocockillustration.com

my youtube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/thatspaceinbetween

Copyrighted to Aaron Pocock





Interview with Lisa Cree

2 05 2012

Lisa, can you tell us something about your background as an artist?
I never had any formal training in art, although I was quite talented all my life, I never pursued it as an education because I saw art as a freedom of expression and didn’t see the logic in being told what to paint and how to paint it. I learned a lot about art techniques and history from my local library.

All art (c) Lisa Cree.

You have a very peculiar style, how did it evolve?
I think that a big part of my style comes from a need to depict a certain element in something that I see or imagine and I find beautiful. For instance, eyes are the worst for me… a person is looking to the side, and logically, the eye should be ¾ of the size that it normally would be. I can’t let that eye go! I have to try and squeeze the whole eye into the portrait anyway! Legs too… they have to be super curvy, hair, unable to draw a straight hair, and outlines, I can’t seem to just leave a line to the imagination, it must be drawn and so it goes on. We end up with a sort of medieval look from the centuries before people had a clue about perspective. I can’t shake it, hard as I try sometimes.

All artists have other artists that they admire, who do you draw your inspiration from?
One of my biggest influences is video game art, the small details, the atmosphere, the exaggeration of physical traits. If I had to pick specific artists, I would say that my friends are the biggest influence I have… I have been lucky enough through social networking to meet a lot of great fantasy artists and each of them will influence me in one way or the other. I find that rather than looking at someone who has found their artistic style or niche is less interesting that joining others who are still en route.

What is the reaction of people to your style? Do you find you cater to a niche?
A lot of people like my style, but I don’t think I have a niche. My art seems to touch all kinds of people. When I ask my close friends about which pieces they like, it’s often very hit and miss…some of my pieces touch them and some they do not like at all. It seems to be the same with everyone.

What challenges and advantages there are to be an artist in France?
I really couldn’t say there are many advantages for an artist in France. I’m quite surprised, as when I didn’t live here I imagined it to be the artistic capital of the world, with so many of the greats having spent their time here
The good materials are very hard to come by here, like copic markers, and prismacolour pencils, micron pens, Daniel Smith Watercolours, things like that you have to have them shipped over and I end up having to buy almost everything from Ebay and paying a lot of shipping…

All art (c) Lisa Cree.

…and the taxes! They don’t like the little guy to be self-employed here lol! I pay a large percentage as a sole proprietor then again in personal income taxes, and am unable to claim my materials or even my postage costs.
Art is very traditional over here, they seem to like still lives, landscapes and portraits, so there is not a lot of support for fantasy art, and when I have to explain what I do, I usually end up just saying “I paint fairies”.

How do you juggle art and motherhood?
When my son was younger, I used to work a lot while he slept, or when he was playing on his own with his cars but now he has grown up to be quite the little artist himself so sometimes he works right along side. For example, sometimes we’ll both draw the same thing, or use the same paints and paint together (I think I am the only mother crazy enough to give her 6 year old her best paints and pens to play with hehe). He even has his own micron pens, prismacolor pencils and a few copic markers… a real pro 😉 I sometimes even set up the laptop next to me when I am working digitally and he has a little graphic tablet that he uses with gimp.

I often draw in the living room while the family is watching a film, I’ll sit there and sketch; which is why you don’t see a lot of paintings from me at the moment… I do what the situation allows.

It’s not making the time to do art that I find the challenge, more being able to switch off and have some real dedicated time with my family.

Tell us about your many artistic endeavors.

My first professional artworks were portraits which I did part time in my mid twenties, but my full-time job soon took too much of my time for me to pursue that… the money was never enough for me to live solely from the portraits and I also found that people wanted an exact copy of a picture rather than an artistic interpretation which was kind of off putting.

All art (c) Lisa Cree.

When my son was born, as I gave up my work to care for him, he was quite a good sleeper, so it gave me some time to continue a part time career at home during nap-time J My husband and I decided to make a jungle themed video game together and I learned to make 3D animations for that, little “sprites” of a monkey running and jumping, explosions, jungle animals walking and attacking… that sort of thing. It took a lot of time to learn to do everything myself, the modeling, texturing, rigging, animating and rendering… about two years in total.

After that project was finished, I started trying to sell my works on Ebay, and found ACEOs. I created a lot of those in a semi-abstract style in all sorts of mediums.

I’m not sure how I made it into fantasy art… it’s been something that was always there. I had books about fantasy art, and was very big on video games, but for a long time I never considered that I could do it myself. I think it was my friendship with Katerina Koukiotis which got me to cross over. I had met her because I very much admired her portraiture work, and as she is a fantasy artist too, I guess it gave me the courage to try.

What are Tubes? And what is PSP Tubes Stop?
The best way to describe tubes are to make reference to paper scrapbooking… you cut images out of magazines, pictures whatever and stick them in a book. Tubes are digital “cut outs”… we take an image and remove the background, so that it can be used in another setting. Some people have been doing digital scrapbooking for many years now and it is amazing what they create.

The PSP Tube Stop is a website that I created to sell the tubes of fellow fantasy artists. I started to create my own tubes when I was licensed with another company and when they closed, I wanted to continue as it was something that I enjoyed doing. It’s very satisfying to take an existing work of art and create a way for others to interpret it in their way.

I also wanted to create a licensing company which caters for the artist. Knowing what it is like to be on the artist’s side, I try to create the environment that I would have liked to have had when I licensed my work.

How do you coordinate all those artists?
I have a background as a programmer, and have created a website and database that helps a lot with the co-ordination.

Do you realize that you do organize a lot of things for the artists and you give back to the community a lot? What motivates you?
I try to give back as much as I can. This community has given me so much so I feel like I owe it. When I first met with the fantasy artists that I know, I was suffering from depression, had no work and no hope for my professional future. Fantasy Art and the artistic community have given me my pride and my health back.

All art (c) Lisa Cree.

One thing that motivates me is the tremendous amount of talent and work that I see and the relative lack of opportunity there is to show it, to get it seen. I say relative, because we are living in a digital age, people are always on facebook, in forums, google… connected to something somewhere and there are many opportunities to get seen and to market artworks and yet there are only a select few who manage to get seen regularly and make a decent living. Eventually I would like to use my programming/web skills to help artists with this.

Where can our readers find your work?
http://www.fantaseye.com





Being unique

23 04 2012

Many times we think that there is nothing new to be done, that we cannot stand from the crowd. Take a look at these creative minds, I hope it brings some inspiration to you!

An interesting take on paper marbling:

Using sand as your medium:

Art in water and ink:





A Weekend in Paris: collaborative scrapkit

28 01 2012

Toulouse-Lautrec's ouvre was the inspiration for this kit.

Last week Lisa Cree approached the artists at PSP TubeStop and asked who wanted to work in a collaborative effort to make a scrapkit, the deadline was tight, but we needed to get it done in time for Valentine’s. I decided to give it a try, I had never worked on making elements and I really wanted to be part of this. The theme was “A Weekend in Paris” and the palette, elements and style were inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec’s oeuvre, especially those with a high red/yellow/black theme. So off we went and in less than a week this awesome kit was put together!

The kit was made by Joanna Bromley, Mitzi Sato Wiuff, Kim Turner, Katerina Koukiotis, Lisa Cree and me, and it includes 64 Elements, 25 Frames, and 15 Papers. It includes hats, corsets, black cats, the tour Eiffel, a table for two, and many other things that make a romantic and unique set, different from just bows and hearts. The kit is valued at $3.50 (not all elements are shown in the preview).

I feel honored to have worked together with such a wonderful and talented bunch of artists, their work rocks and raises the bar for my future efforts! I thought that making “elements”

Weekend in Paris kit preview

would be easier than it was, and I have learned some things by working on this and seeing the work progresses of other artists. If I had to do it again, I would do a lot of things differently and I hope I have the chance to practice some more in the future.

In the meanwhile I have accepted the challenge to make a tube with this kit, just for the fun of it and to see how hard it really is to make tubes, which I have never done 🙂 The great thing of this kit is that it has so many elements and so different that you really could use it in itself to make a piece, no need to get a “main figure”!

If any of you does make a tube from this, me and the other artists would love to see it! Don’t forget that you can find us in Facebook too! You can always upload your work to the group for all of us to enjoy! 🙂





When artists come together

12 11 2011

If you are like most people I am sure that you have heard multiple times how artists are snobs that love to tear each other apart because of their highly sensitive and irritable nature and their need to compete. If, on the contrary, you are an artist, you probably have the luck to know of the great solidarity and collaboration that defines the artistic world.

Artists Nora Blansett has a dear chihuahua, Pixie, who is in need of surgery to remove cancerous tumors. Because the economy is rough the surgery is not possible at the moment so she reached out by putting up for auction several of her pieces and crafts. This generated an incredible response from the art community, people started to donate their own pieces to Save Pixie prompted by the ever generous Lisa Cree. So, if you are in search of art, crafts, prints, holiday cards, one of a kind jewelry, etc. pass by the Facebook auction and consider buying something original, unique and know it will make someone and her dog very, very happy.