Sunday, November 8, 2009

Life Drawing 2 Portfolio/ Self Portrait Ideas


All right. Well, I really have not been doing much as far as this blog, but here is my portfolio/midterm/reflection for Life Drawing 2 so far.
So far this semester, I have learned much more about the features of the face, skull and cranium. Learning the head from the inside out has really helped me visualize the entire object of the head, and lets me see everything I am drawing, and why certain parts are the way they are, for instance, the cheeks always have that 'apple' feel to them because of the bone and muscle structure underneath them. I really enjoy drawing the skull itself, and feel like that is one of my strengths, especially in the line qualities I can get throughout all the various planes of the face bones cranium. I definitely feel that one of my major weaknesses is rushing my drawings. I felt much better about the drawings that I slowed myself down on and really looked at. The lines I got on those slower ones I think definitely look richer and have better qualities. Yet, I tend to rush through many of them just to get a full view of what I am drawing.
The one thing I would really like to learn before the semester is over is some focus on the ribcage. Drawing the ribcage was one of my favorite parts of Life Drawing 1, and I would really like to spend as much time on getting that right as we did on the skull and head.

Onto my ideas/research for my second self portrait.
The idea behind mine is to show that I am from Wisconsin, and that I live there, and I love it. A main form of inspiration came from years of listening to bands and musicians from Wisconsin. The three that I have listened to the most would be Cedarwell, a friend's band from Sheboygan, The Daredevil Christopher Wright, and Bon Iver, both from Eau Claire. All of these bands I highly recommend listening to. Great stuff. Anyways, When I listen to these bands, and when I see them play live, I can feel Wisconsin in there music. I can relate to a lot of the images they sing and write about. A focus on this would have to be Wisconsin winters. They always seem to bring me down, and they are incredibly harsh and long. But it is also that mood shift that serves as a huge inspiration to all of us. We are all adjusting to the change in weather, and it is something we all go through together.
That is how I want to deal with my self portrait. I want people to see and say "that guy is definitely from Wisconsin." I want people from Wisconsin to look at and say things like, "i've been there!," and "I know how that guy feels!" So as far as research goes, I have constantly been listening to that music, and writing down words for the images I get through their songwriting. I've also brainstormed lists of words and images I think of when I think about Wisconsin. I have a folder of images saved, some of my own, and some that I have found that help me describe Wisconsin. Some ideas that I have so far have to do with large amounts of cheese, beer, hunting clothes and cows.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Life Drawing 2 - First Assignment

Here is the first post of the year...
I guess I am taking this class to simply further my drawing skill. I really enjoyed in life drawing 1 when we would draw the bones and muscles, and had known from seeing the skeleton drawings from last year that that would be something that I will enjoy doing. So along with advancing my drawing techniques, I also pretty excited to spend a good amount of time with the bones and structure.
As far as other artwork that I've done, the last few years I have spent a good amount of time working with photography, and also ways of printing my photos. Here are few examples of some of my favorite photos I've taken in the last year..

Monday, December 15, 2008

Final Post


Long Drawing of the Eye.

Skull Drawing, back 3/4 view.

Long Drawing of Model, since midterm.


I really enjoyed drawing my portrait, since it has been a really long time since I drew myself. I also have never drawn any portrait using charcoal, or in the size that I did on my portrait, so it was definitely a challenge for me.
Luckily for me, I feel that Life drawing has really helped my drawing skills, dramatically. Aside from not drawing my own portrait in a long time, I really haven't done much drawing for a few years. Every once in a while I would pick up my sketchbook, just to polish my skills. So, having another drawing class really helped there. I was drawing more between my Printmaking class, for ideas, and Life Drawing than I have in the last 2 years combined. So I really enjoyed the amount of work my hands were getting with drawing. I can totally feel my drawing skill getting better between the 2 classes, and I think that the most of that is coming from Life drawing.
These last few long poses, skull, eye, and portrait show evidence of that. One factor that has gotten better is my line work. The variation of the lines, especially in the long drawing of the model, really give my drawings a sense of depth, and put them in proper space.
Another aspect of my drawings that have improved would be the mark-making. In the portrait, and on the skull, I really feel like my marks really help to separate the planes. It also helped me describe the space much easier, without feeling like I have to get everything exact.
My knowledge of proportion and identifying the planes also improved to a higher level, which is evident in my portrait, and the gesture drawing.
As far as building the muscles on the maniken, I wasn't a huge fan of that. I somewhat reluctantly ground through each set of muscles that we built. I definitely see how knowledge of the muscles can help with the drawing, but I could only scarcely relate to me building them and how I drew them. I guess it just wasn't for me.
The thing I enjoy most about my maniken would be his killer, tough, full beard, which I found myself being jealous of more often than not.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Music Music Music.

I've been listening to music a lot recently. More so than normal. I guess if any of you knew me, you would know that that means I am listening to an insane amount of music, since I already engage in music listening on a fairly large basis. So when I say a lot, I mean I'll take around 5 albums, and listen to each one of them, all the way through, atleast 3 or 4 times a day.
Crazy, I know. But, I got reasons. Mostly because I simply enjoy furthering my musical tastes, and discovering new music. But, it is also the end of the year, and its time for me to decide my favorite, or "top" music of the year. I will usually write a small article of sorts on the albums/bands that I have chosen. I haven't got that far yet, but here is a bit of what I've been listening to in the last couple of days. The first two albums are in my consideration for favorites of 2008, while the final selection is much older.
Most of you have probably heard the singer on this album sing before, though not in a traditional music setting. If you have seen the movie "Elf," then you have heard the wonderful voice of Zooey Deschanel. Deschanel, the "She" of the title, is accompanied by the "Him," of folk/country act M. Ward. Though Deschanel takes most of the album, as she does almost all vocals, and wrote most of the songs, M. Ward provides great arrangements, solid piano rythms, and excellent backing vocals. The sound itself is very pop, with a lot of soul. It is very Shangri-Las, or Gram Parsons, and drives off influences from classic California pop music of the 60s. Standouts include the Smoky Robinson cover, "You Really Gotta Hold On Me," and "I Thought I Saw You're Face Today." For all that, the music can be sort of simple, and mediocre at times. But the fact that Deschanel has such a great voice, and the tracks are all still rather entertaining makes this album worthwhile.
Will Oldham has been consistently releasing great folk music for some time now. He also usually sports a killer beard. And with the right amount of vocal harmony, steady guitar licks, and a proper dose of beard, Oldham releases stellar music under the moniker Bonnie 'Prince' Billy. This album, his most recent to date is no exception. It is much lighter than his other stuff, in that generally much more upbeat, and less haunting, which is a nice change. This album is warm, enchanting, and did I mention he has a beard?
Not much to say about Leonard Cohen, other than he is one of those songwriters that everyone should listen to, if at least even heard of. The cold fact there is that, though many of you may not have heard of him, I can almost guarantee that you have heard one of his songs. Probably the most popular of what he has wrote has been featured in TV shows, movies, and the like. Popularized by artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Jeff Buckley, and many others, the song "Hallelujiah" that found its way into film and television shows, was originally written and performed by Leonard Cohen. Cohen has a great repertoire of folk and classic stylings. His dark, deep voice is the driving force for much of his recordings, and his lyrics are grave and enlightening at the same time. Along with his raw presentation and recording, these things come together to form music worth the music of many ages.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


As far as the blog process goes, I'm not really sure how I feel about it.
On one hand, its a great way to easily display progress, but it can be sort of frustrating to scan/take pictures of all your work and then upload it and all that.
It is definitely a different technique to the traditional critiques and reviews that we get in most classes. One thing that catches my attention most when it comes to blogging is the pictures/photos. I like looking at those much more than actually reading what the student has to say, especially if its a lot of text.
So blogging has its benefits, because it is something a lot of us have never done, and it is pretty simple, but it can also be a bit of a hassle...

Long Drawings

This was one of the first long drawings that we did in class, and I enjoy the simplicity of it.
The line work in it is another part that I feel I did well. I also used the long axis lines in this drawing in a way that really show how the model was positioned.

For this drawing, the difficult part was getting the foreshortening of the right leg. I had to use the negative space to find the forms, and then fill in the positive. I think this one does a good job showing the landmarks. The weakest part of this drawing would probably be the line work. There is not much variation, but the values are pretty evident.

Hour Long
I think this is one of the better drawings I have done. Many of the landmarks on the model are shown. Composition wise, this drawing fit well on the paper, along with a good portion of the figure. The thing that I think makes this one stand out is the mark making and the lines. The left side of the body is shown in more detail and with heavier lines, and the far, right side is left ligher and slightly blurred

Monday, November 10, 2008


I've been doing a lot of photography lately, in fact, I bought a Canon EOS Digital Rebel Xsi just about a month ago. Along with that, my older, Nikon 7600 Point and Shoot, and various pinholes, I have just been having a wonderful time. The pinhole that I used was the paint can pinhole that was used in Exploring Photography, but since I don't have a dark room, I haven't been able to do much with that lately.

So I started researching making pinholes that I can use film with, and then get the film developed from Walgreens or whatever. So I made a pinhole camera out of a matchbox. Directions can be found here, if you're interested in trying it yourself :
Unfortunately, the roll I took with it did not turn out. There was information on the film, but no visible pictures. I think it was because I was not sure how much to roll the film after each shot, so I was probably getting double or maybe even triple exposures, causing utter chaos on the film.

Another option, that I haven't tried yet is the Dirkon Paper Camera. From the website ( you can download a PDF file that you must print out on cardstock, and then cut along the dotted lines, and construct this paper camera. This one looks a lot more complicated than the matchbox camera, but also a lot cooler.

Most people think I'm crazy to waste my time building cameras. They say "Ryan, you have a really high quality, DSLR that you spent a lot of money on and it takes incredibly good pictures, why would you spend maybe five dollars on supplies and waste time to make a camera where the results are not gonna be as good quality, or there might not even be results." Well, its all about the process, I say. Making the camera is fun, and also, you need to be real careful when making the actual pinhole, and you need to make sure the box or can or whatever is light-proof. Yes, I love my digital camera. More than a lot of things. I know exactly what I'm going to get when I hit that shutter button, and I can change basically anything I want in the camera's settings, or in the lens, to get nice quality images. On the other hand, there is something that I find really thrilling in building your own camera, and then pointing it at something, hoping the pinhole will capture it, and that the exposure that you guessed is correct, so the image is not blown out or underexposed. So I guess it's all about the mystery. The lack of ability to predict what is going to go through that pinhole, and whats going to happen to the light inside the can or box. Is there going to be some strange blurring, or obscure light flares? Where is the focus going to be the most prominent? Its all a complete mystery, but if all those things work together in such a raw application of photography, what normally would be a normal, boring, static shot, could turn into an interesting masterpiece of a shot.

Here are a few links from the post, plust a few photography sites that I enjoy: - Matchbox Pinhole - Dirkon Paper Camera - Peter Baker Photography. I especially enjoy the "After Hours" gallery...great night shots. - Great photojournalism shots from James Pomerantz
And here is a site where I have some of my photography. Most of the photography is done with my Canon. Some of the earlier photographs are from my Nikon. I haven't had a chance to upload my pinhole shots to the site yet, but eventually will.