Friday, March 20, 2015

A Review: Mixed Media Portraits with Pam Carriker: Techniques for Drawing and Painting Faces

The following is my review of Pam Carriker's latest book, supported by photos from my own sketchbook and art journal as I begin my portraiture journey. Pam provided me with this book; the opinions I share are solely my own.

"Creating portraits can often be a daunting proposition, even to the seasoned artist. Folks who can draw a still life or paint a landscape can find the human face much more challenging. But artists are drawn to the human face as a subject to draw and paint, so they seek guidance along their journey. Pam Carriker's book offers that guidance in a thorough and unique manner. Pam covers the essentials with her face mapping technique that breaks the face into regions and makes feature placement so much more manageable. She addresses multiple angles of the face, including side view and three-quarter view, and also focuses on each facial feature in depth.

Pam also guides the reader through lessons in color theory in a very practical and purposeful manner as it relates to the study of portraits; additionally, this information will also be helpful in a variety of creative exercises. The fifteen mixed media projects included in this book cover a wide range of techniques and materials; something to satisfy every learner, no matter what their skill level. It is very clear that Pam has an impressive working knowledge of a multitude of techniques and materials. She exposes the reader to new materials, but at the same time offers alternative, more common materials which can be substituted in the same project; thereby you can venture into the world of new materials or use those that you already have on hand. The techniques you’ll learn will be applicable in a variety of mixed media projects, so although taught in regard to portraits, there will be carry-over to any number of projects.

Throughout this book, the text is conversational and easy to follow, as if a friend were sitting by your side guiding you through lessons and projects. Helpful step-by-step color photos fully support each project. A sampling of pages are devoted to portraits and insights from a variety of artists. These segments add to, but in no way overtake the book; it is 99% Pam Carriker, which is what the reader wants. Pam’s book goes far beyond the basics of learning to draw a face. So if you are a beginner or a seasoned artist, there is much to gain from this excellent book; it has something for everyone...and then some!"

© Nancy Lefko

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Documented Life Project-The Journal-Week 11

March's theme for The Documented Life Project - The Journal is ""Making Your Mark: Doodles & Mark-Making" with this week's art challenge, "Borders" and the journal prompt, "Borderline, Feels Like I'm Going to Lose My Mind."

Did you ever have one of those journal spreads that was just so much fun to create? Well, this was one of those. It started out, unremarkably, with an acrylic wash over various pages of text.

With the addition of aqua and some burnt sienna around the edges it turned into what's one of my favorite color combinations.

When the mark-making and doodling began, this page took off as one of the more enjoyable to create. I love symmetry. I love patterns. I love the Pam Carriker sheer acrylics which make great dots and lines via a bingo dauber bottle. I love my new Signo Uniball white gel pen. All in all, lots to love about the making of this spread!

Although the journal prompt was a line from a Madonna song, I preferred to reference a line from a band more to my liking. I have very fond memories of The Eagles album, "On the Border" and many a junior high day spent listening to its great songs, the title track included.

My, that was a fun afternoon of art journaling!

© Nancy Lefko

Monday, March 9, 2015

Winter Art Journal From Start to Finish

Creating an art journal following Pam Carriker's journal-making directions from "Art at the Speed of Life," has proven to be quite the enjoyable undertaking.

Before the autumn gave way to winter, I headed outside with my gathered supplies and added color and design elements to sheets of 90 lb. watercolor paper, then turned those sheets of paper into a journal with a simple pamphlet stitch.

As I worked in my 6 x 6 journal at my art desk, I need only look out the window to feel inspired by the winter scene developing daily.

Some days there was quite a snowstorm swirling just outside the glass and it only made the mood inside that much cozier.

This winter, more harsh than usual, called for many a school closing. I took advantage of those 'snow days' to play in my journal; after all, snow days are meant for fun.

Long about the end of February, my patience with the bitter cold and snowstorm after snowstorm began to wear thin. My pages took on a decidedly different feel at that point, as I was anxiously awaiting the END of winter rather than reveling in its beauty.

A lovely gift from a dear friend included some wonderful wrapping paper and tissue and both found their way into my journal.

Carving a snowflake stamp had been my plan since starting the journal, but it took almost until the end before I actually got it done. I'm happy that I took the time to carve the stamp; what would a winter art journal be without a snowflake stamp?

As I finished up the last few pages of my winter journal, I must confess, I was really thinking more about the coming spring. I did, however, enjoy looking back over all the winter-themed pages and reflecting on the past few months.

© Nancy Lefko