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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A few years ago, some friends from Disney (Disney Consumer Products and Publishing) gave me some art brushes to use.  I just got around to taking them out for a spin.  Yeah, I paint like a neanderthal.  It's going to take some time getting used to digital painting; (that is, to feel comfortable painting and comfort will turn into confidence); maybe I can sneak in some exercises next year.  There are a lot of things I can do with traditional paints that I can't do in digital (at least not yet), but I am enjoying the effects of some of the most unlikeliest of brushes (digitally).  And you just can't beat the vibrancy of the digital palette or the ease in which you can work.  If I paint traditionally, I know I have to have at least 20 to 30 minutes space of time to work, plus 5-10 mins of setting up, mixing a palette, taping off the edges, etc.  I love being able to jump right into the digital painting and not worrying about all that.  As it is, I've had a good amount of work from Disney and sometimes have managed to sneak in 5-10 mins on this during a lunch break or before going to bed.

Good news is that my internet has been working consistently again; altho I don't know why.  But I'll take it.  Merry Christmas to all of you working hard creatives,  talk to you again in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

It's been awhile.  Oh so frustrating.  Have not been connected to the internet in quite awhile.  Had a brand new hard drive installed, brought all files back onto this new hard drive, then internet connection died once again, coming back on mysteriously after a week, for a glorious ten minutes.  Been on the phone with Apple Support, now 2 months after installing Mavericks, again, erasing the hard drive, (2nd time), hard ware and hard drive acting totally illogical; getting internet connection in Safety mode, but not in regular mode, then computer would not start up.  Driving Apple support tech nutz; "Truly, my team and I can figure out almost anything...had not had a case this nutty in a long time; a total erase and install should have done the trick, esp. on the second try," he said.  Took it to Apple Store today, where they checked everything out and of course my computer fired right up, took the internet connection like white on rice.  "Hard ware is great; hard drive is superb".  What??  He told me to plug in the computer and keyboard only and start adding all the other stuff while checking internet connection.  Working still.  But I'm afraid to shut it off.  So, I will do some freelance stuff, get it in and then consider turning it off.  Big shout out there for the ever so patient Scott Barnes of Apple; still miffed because internet is working and we don't know why.  Don't know if the problem is fixed; Scott does expect another call from me at some point in the future...Missed you all.  Happy Holidays~KMZ

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hard drive shut down.  Bringing it to a friend to install a new one.  Traumatic..."Good bye.  Take care.  Please come back to me.."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

More like it...I started adding some pinks and fuschias, colors that I have never worked with before.  (On my last trip to Europe, I was in Prague and went to the Alphonse Mucha Museum and bought this chocolate bar with his print on it.  The predominate color was reds and tones of reds and that inspired the color choice of this illustration).  This illustration is about the splendor of Spring, in all it's breath taking and long awaited metamorphisis.  I am in the midst of a divorce and this's a gift to myself.  The Buddhist saying is "There was never a Winter without a Spring" and now, it's my Spring.  Enough of that...
You can see how well the colors are mixing now that all that black is gone.  And that's how it would really be in Nature.  I love the color of the background.  I love grey.  My friends probably think I'm crazy because, yes, I do wear a lot of neutral colors.  But you see, pure saturated colors pop off a neutral gray; when I paint traditionally, I mix my colors against a grey palette.  I'll never paint without that.  It's a tablet of small sheets of grey called Grey Matters Paper Palette (Jack Richeson & Co. Inc) and what works with traditional will work with digital.
Now that I've already worked out a drawing I really like, have a "schematic" for my lights and darks (which I refer to all the time to make sure I capture the original intent of the black and white and I do have that version up all the time to reference when I apply the color), all I have to do is choose my saturated color shadows and continue to render everything in color.  I know better what to expect and the illustration does not "run away from me" because I am wrestling with everything all at once.

It's been a ride in the last two weeks.  I unwittingly downloaded OS X Mavericks onto my big Mac and POOF! it killed my connection to the internet, Photoshop and disabled my Wacom tablet.  And hey!  Was re acquainting myself with this file last night and discovered my favorite brushes are gone as well!  Been on the phone with Apple for days now; each step making it worse.  And the moment I clicked that "install" button, my contact at Disney sent me a text letting me know that a lot of work was on the way!  My only option at this point, Scott the Apple guy said, was to pray we could still back up on an external hard drive, then erase my entire hard drive.  Back up took 3-4 days; I was praying I did not crash.  My regular back up decided to call it quits too so I might have lost those files.  Then my car refuses to start in this hot weather; it's like Russian Roulette; sometimes it starts, and sometimes it leaves my daughter and I stranded.  So, been on the phone with my friends, begging rides to pick her up and drop her off at school, to buy groceries, etc.  Will be on the phone again with Apple this morning because I'm not out of the woods yet.  Got internet, got my Adobe programs re installed~and what a hassle that was.  Adobe sucks with technical support.  You can no longer get a live technician on the phone anymore; if you have a problem, you are screwed.  I had to have Scott walk me thru a series of convoluted steps to get access to a program I bought for a lot of money...

Okay, now for the business at hand here.  I am teaching myself the process of digital painting, which, I am finding out is VERY different from traditional painting.  First stab at digital is to establish tonal values and tell the story and mood with light, seen in an earlier post.  I then took that black and white and added color.  Mmmm....the results are, as you seen at the top, drab, drained, dead.  Ick.  Yuck.  So I decided to do a completely different tonal value start, this time with my beloved sepias, the way I would with my acrylics.  In traditional shadow; I use Burnt Umber and Alizarine Crimson with either Cad Red Light (for warmer shadows) and Manganese Blue (for cooler shadows); but for this illustration I chose a brown in more of a yellow range, not red.  Yeah, I painted it again, but in Photoshop, it did not take very long.  The steps and knowledge were already rehearsed.  And now I know why many of you, when you paint your illustrations, the color is like it was for me; dead.  Start with sepia tones, not black and white.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Deepening the darks, setting up for opportunities of light and shadow shapes, telling the story with mood.  I look for areas of the flowers flatten on the shoulder and caste a shadow over the shoulder which describe that volumne as the light on those flowers creates a curve which repeats the curves around the silohuette.  Repeated fractal curves, shapes moving in and out of the light, sharp shadows and soft caste shadows which give the figure interest and texture with values.  Almost done before moving into color, but want to do a few more things before that leap into hyperspace...I can see where I have been influenced by the way a sculpture is lit at the museums, and all the sketching I've done in museums overseas (Europe:  France, Spain, Eastern Europe).

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The latest screen shot.  Working in values and light source, mood.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Been working on this for a few months now... I've busy with freelance for awhile now and get my licks in when I can.  This is a  drawing from the concept sketch from Saturday, May 24th.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Dragon studies

Been busy with work, with life.  Even tho I have not posted in awhile does not mean I am not drawing..  A blend of male figure drawing  and animal anatomy.  These are studies for a drawing I am working on

Friday, June 20, 2014

I finished a gift for a special friend. Robert Farrell loves pirates so I found this great tiny brass frame antique at the Saugus Swap meet a few years ago and painted character images from the movie franchise. Robert's portrait is the third pirate. Thank you, Robert, for teaching me a new skill!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sprites of the Forest to this gorgeous pencil concept drawn this morning...this is how it looks before committing to pen. It's all there in the rough, as it should be. The silohuette, the attitude, the anatomy, the design. This particular rough will be open to many "opportunities" for glorious color abstraction, a riot of designed shadow shapes, "opportunities" galore to plus out the figure and make the design flow. Color notes say "figure neutral tones, saturated flowers~pinks." I was thinking of muted colors on the figure but everything else will be more saturated in colors, the flowers, the dragons, peacock feathers in her hair, (as you would see a redwood in the forest). Last week I took a trip to the LA Arboretum for the first time and had this peacock following me around thinking that the sketchbook and pencil I held in my hand was food. Took me awhile to shake him off my tail. But I liked the strange long v-shaped feathers that came off his train and thought "that will end up in one of my drawings". I drew them coming off the back of the Sprite's hair. Then someone posted this unbelievable mass migration of giant Rays swarming off the coast of Baja, some "flying" into the air like flying fish. That also stuck into the recesses of my mind and so I took that and drew the dragon swooping off the Sprite's back, flowers flying off the wings. Recent things that fill me with wonder, I think: "How can I use this?" I'm thinking of putting a dragon in her hand but ran out of space. This is how I think when drawing a concept, this is how I fight to keep it fresh

Sprites of the Forest

...came to a drawing that took hold of my imagination..when I get more time I will fill in the dress part with more daisies.."painting" with the pens. Would really like to paint it instead, but just don't have the time...the pens have to substitute for now...not really scratching that itch, but helping me establish a play of light off the figure.

Sprites of the Forest

Then more doodles with my wonderful Blackwing pencils with my Faber Castell and Tombow pens..

Sprites of the Forest

Forest sprites...It started with this one in my new sketchbook. The drawing on the right is based on my 12 year old daughter who dressed up as Midna from the game The Legend of Zelda. When I look at this drawing it's Sienna.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Some sketchbook fun. Been playing around with several brushpens I bought awhile ago. Really interested in shadow shapes and how they describe the form and add mood. Also playing around with the cadillac of pencils~the reissued Blackwings. Heaven to draw with.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I wrote an article about figure drawing for the Magic Fox website:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sometimes a girl has just gotta sketch. Forest Lawn sculptures, the Renaissance Faire, and the Getty. Used this fabulous pencil called The Blackwing; soft lead. Goes on like butta.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Masters of the West: The Gene Autry

Just got back from this incredible exhibit. If you are in the Los Angeles area, this is a must see. But hurry, because it ends soon~The Gallery opens up with another large offering of Howard Terpning's signature painting; another Indians in the river painting. He had done another one similar to it a few years back but much larger and I think, with much more bravado. I did not take a shot of that because it was not one of my favorites and it did not compare to the one he had displayed a few years back. The top painting is a watercolor~yeah, a watercolor, not a photography shot. Most of the work displayed are of course Western themes; cowboys and Indians, portraits, still lifes, sculptures, etc. I look for anything out of the ordinary, smart ways to tell the story, but this is a more traditional show; where it really shines is the craftsmanship and technique of the artists. That alone, is worth the $10 entrance fee. You can definitely tell who has traditional training skills from those who don't. Only the few have those coveted drawing skills and know their color. The painting of the Bison, which is on the advertisement poster, by Dustin Van Wechel is excellent. Not only does he paint a terrific and powerful and majestic animal, but he really knows his colors. The antelope is also his; colors so clean and vibrant it appears to have that digital painting feel. Another one of my favorites is the close up of the horses at the bottom and I apologize because I did not write down the name of the artist. Then there was the crowd pleaser, which won a few awards; the puma crouching thru the ice. I took a shot of that, overhearing whispers from a few observers saying "That's the best one!" I'm not a fan of the photo-realistic portraits of animals; I'm a bit more of a traditionalist; preferring paint to look like paint, an oil to look like an oil; skill and imagination with a brush...etc. There was even a single Jeremy Lipking (did I say a Jeremy Lipking? Thee portrait artist? Yes, that's right). Then there was Z.S Liang and Mian Situ; who, even tho they are Asian, depict the west as if they were from that era. Situ always takes my breath away because he paints these large scenes with lots of figures in a sort of nostalgic way but the man certainly knows his colors and his brushwork and can stage the story. His subjects usually are about the historic relationship of the Chinese and how they were used for labor, to the people of the West. If you are a concept story teller or an illustrator who wants to know how to improve; this is a must see exhibit. It ends this month, March 16. The Autry National Center is closed Mondays and it is right across the street from the L.A. Zoo. Parking is free. KMZ

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Back in 2010 I did some work for the incredible Charles Pickens of Disney Publishing. These were for the chapter books based on the main character, Tinkerbell. Charles does some amazing, amazing color work and it was hard to follow his lead; he has so much experience. Great guy; one of my favorite art friends. I was mostly responsible for painting the figures (he would send me the pencils) and much of the background elements were already done. I did a few; like the big sunflower on the left of Rosetta, the giant mouse that she rode as well as her and the character riding another mouse in the distance. These elements were placed into a large painted background later. Mostly I painted what are called partials; and Charles would paint everything else; so the art would be done faster and be more consistent. He would roughly tell me whereabouts he wanted the light and he would trust my judgement to light the figures~which I love to do. These were always crazy, up to the minute deadlines; always a rush!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

If you are in the Los Angeles area; don't miss this show! masters_title.jpg February 1 – March 16, 2014 About the Exhibition The Autry National Center’s Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale is considered the country’s premier Western art show. Each year, more than 75 nationally recognized, contemporary Western artists challenge themselves to create and exhibit their very best work. Stylistically and thematically diverse, their works represent the extraordinary range of subject matter that contemporary, historic, and mythic Western experiences inspire. We thank you for your continued support of the Masters through which the Autry is able to bring to you many of our insightful exhibitions and notable programs. Exhibition Hours The Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale is open to the public Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Autry National Center is closed on Mondays except for Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 17.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Center Stage Gallery

More from the Center Stage Gallery. Last weekend, one more look. 847 Hollywood Way, Burbank, California. These drawings are from Robert Fawcett. Striking, simple compositions that tell the story.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Center Stage Gallery

Original drawings by Robert Fawcett at the Center Stage Gallery.  Exhibit Ends this weekend.  Incredible draftsmanship, a must see- Center Stage Gallery on Hollywood Way ( original drawings from private collectors by Dean Cornwell and Robert Fawcett, among others. Stealing the show is Fawcett's amazing draftsmanship, his incredible, effortless line. Come see this gallery before it ends~this coming weekend will be the last.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

It's been a helluva ride since November 2012..still debating on whether or not to blog about it...a good friend of mine is urging me to write about it...still thinking or whether or not to. Found a peaceful moment this afternoon and I got to tell's great to finally paint again...