Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy holidays!

The holidays are finally here! After weeks of ups and down with the pregnancy and various infectious diseases that have plagued Bella and the rest of us with her, we can finally relax. I hope we will all be in good shape for Christmas....we have guests and we don't want to gift them with our bugs!

No art for this occasion... I am working on two projects, but they are at very preliminary stages and I did not have time to take pictures of them. So, I'll leave you with my best wishes for a lovely holiday season. May the new year bring you only good news, love, and amazing memories.

Hugs to you all!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pan and friends finished!

I know, this is a very bad picture, but I was in a hurry this morning and I wanted to share this with you. So, I laid the drawing on the coffee table in the living room and clicked away. As soon as I have a bit more time, I'll fix it...meanwhile enjoy! I had a ton of fun making this one!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pan and friend WIP colors

I just thought to post a little in progress picture. Looks like it'll take a long time to finish, just because of the details of the city on the front. It's fun though and maybe the Thanksgiving break will give me some more time to progress with it.

For those who celebrate it, happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Inks for the Pan and friends

Last year, my sister in law suggested I made a painting for the kids based on Peter Pan. I promised I would do it before going to Italy in September, but well...that didn't really happen. One year later I am finally keeping my word and having a lot of fun with this little project.

The kids are floating somewhat above both Savona (Italy, where my family lives) and Chicago. Even if they are separated most of the time, they can imagine to be and play together. Although they have met for only very short periods of time, they love and miss each other. So it's nice to have them united at least on paper.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another gift for my little nephews

My two darling nephews, Pit and Giac, just moved to a new home. For the occasion,  I am making them a new fairy tale- inspired drawing. Of course, also Bella and baby L (we haven't decided his name yet, but we are debating between two names that start by L) are in it. Here's what I have so far. I don't know how much you can see of my transparent pencils lines...but I hope you can get an idea of where the project is going.

See you soon!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Oak Spirits finished

I can't believe it! It's done..there was not too much work to do, but I was somewhat stuck...and busy, and stressed, and tired, and then away on vacation (thank goodness), and, for a few months now, pregnant. So I suppose I can console myself for being artistically dead for the whole summer.
I actually don't know that there is a lot of creative life in me right now, either. A hopeful sign is that last Sunday, while Bella and daddy were playing Lego upstairs, I wondered by the table where the dryads drawing had been laying abandoned for weeks and weeks, and I felt like I could maybe touch it up here and there. From there, and in a couple of evening sessions, I had completed it.

As I said in a previous post, the drawing is dedicated to the oak. According to ancient legends, oaks had not one but two resident spirits: a dryad, capable of leaving the tree and roaming into the forest, and an amadryad bound to the plant, united to it in life and death. Whenever a tree was cut, it was customary to call upon priests to perform rituals that would spare the dryad by sending her away. Things were sadly complicated in the case of oaks, whose amadryads could not be saved. Here you see the priests banishing one of the two creatures, while her sister is trapped and about to face the lumberers' axes. Sad, uh? What's with the black doves? That's a representation of another myth surrounding oak trees. Since oaks are sacred to Zeus and represent his power on earth, it was believed that the god would use it sometimes to communicate with humans. According to a greek legend, there once was a particular oak on  which two black doves coming from a far away land had made their nest. These doves would predict their future to pilgrims. Now, were the doves real birds like in this drawing? Hard to tell. One interpretation of the story is that the two black doves could have been priestesses that had reached ancient Greece either through a travel of their own or maybe by having been taken slaves from African shores. They were compared to doves because their sweet voices, as they were learning the local language, sounded strange, maybe difficult to understand, like the song of birds.
I found this tale quite intriguing, too, and gave the dove a central spot in the drawing...a tale of two couples of sisters, really.

Now to the next project, I think it will be the last one between now and the baby's birth, given my current productivity and the fact that I plan it to be a bit bigger than usual (adventure!). I'll keep you posted!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Long long time....

I haven't posted in forever! There are so many things to do at work and home and now that the grass is green and the airs smells of flowers, earth and rain I spend all the available free time outside with Bella. When the sun goes down and Bella retires for the night, my husband and I just crash on the couch for an hour of relax in front of the TV. That would be my drawing time, but of late most evenings we use the TV time to fold our seemingly endless laundry or to finish eating dinner (the amounts of watermelon that we end up swallowing this way is just amazing!).

Bottom line, I haven't finished my oak dryads drawing. I haven't actually touched it in 10 days! Here are some progress photos. 

I want to finish this, because I am curious to see how it will turn out (so far I really like it...strange) and because I need to start working on a gift for my nephews...I am going to see them in September, so I have a bit more than two months to prepare it. Not much, given my current rhythms....well, we'll see...
Anyways, sorry for the long silence. I'll try to be here more often in the next months. :)

Linking to Paper Saturdays. Happy weekend!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dryads in progress

Had a lovely weekend. What about you?
Here is some progress on my dryads. Keeping the neutral greys going for now. I'll try to keep the focus on the main characters. There was a creeping shadow on my chair this morning as I took this picture. Somehow I like it...it seems to add to the drama of the scene.

Thanks for visiting and commenting.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The oak and its dryads inks

Dedicated to mother Nature, with thanks and apologies....
Oak are the only trees that have not one but two spirits inhabiting them, according to Greek mythology. One moves around in the woods, like most dryads do. The other, the amadryad is permanently bound to the tree and never leaves, even if the oak is cut. This drawing tells represents the last moments shared by two sisters dryads, before their oak is taken down by a group of men. They are accompanied by priests that perform a ritual to warn and repel the one dryad that can actually survive away from the tree. She can't help but flee and yet her heart is torn to pieces because she know she will forever be separated from her beloved twin.

Now that I have inked the scene, I wonder, what color should the hair of the dryad be? My husband says green, but I am not certain..the only other time I painted a dryad, she had green hair, I think, and I 'd like to change...

Hope you are enjoying the nice weather and have a lovely Mother's Day.
Ciao, Mamma!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Yggdrasil or the Cosmic Ash

Small everyday life occurrences have delayed my posting of this picture. I am very happy on how this turned out. There are many colors but they are softened by the underlying grays.

I assume the most of you are familiar with the mythology of the Yggdrasil, but I am going to summarize it here just to explain what you see in the drawing. Yggdrasil is the great cosmic ash, three roots support it. Near one of these roots, the residence of the Norns can be found. They are in charge of mankind's destiny and they tend to the giant tree. You can see them here, kind of oversized, as spiritual superhuman entities should be, pouring water from a sacred spring.

Raskator, the squirrel runs up and down the trunk of the tree reporting the angry exchanges of the eagle that leaves on the top branches and the demonic snake that coils at the roots. Four stags also live in the branches and eat the leaves of the Yggdrasil. In the drawing the stags have become part of the tree...you can see just three of them because the fourth is roaming on the other side! ;)

Yggdrasil is the source of cosmic wisdom and that's to acquire such wisdom that. Odin chose to spend nine nights without food or water hanging from its branches. Here he has joined the stags and surveys the universe from the foliage....

Finally, Yggdrasil is considered the only tree capable of surviving the Twilight of the Gods. After the apocalypse, when a new hearth, sky and sun will be generated and life will start over fresh and renovated, from the wooden depths of the tree, two new human beings, Lif and Lifthrasir, will rise. They will eat exclusively morning dew and will be the progenitors of the new human kind.

I guess that covers it all! Enjoy!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Oak dryads pencils

I have been slowly working on this sketch and an update is long due, but I am not convinced about the face, expression and posture of my running away dryads...so I might make a few more changes before I start inking.
So sorry I have been incommunicado for so long...I have so little time, because work is extra busy and I had to work longer hours.
Hope to be able to post again soon. Ditto for leaving comments on my friends' blogs: I am watching but I cannot always comment right now...I'll be back, though! ;)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Of oaks...

Still waiting the right light for the final photograph of Yggdrasil...Meanwhile, I started thinking about another cosmic tree, the oak, sacred to Zeus and symbol of strength and endurance. In a sense its role overlaps with that of the ash, as there are many common aspects in the mythology surrounding these two powerful trees. I wanted this new drawing to tap into one peculiar legend distinctive of the oak, that has to do with dryads...I'll explain later...

So here are the preliminary sketches...^^

Monday, April 7, 2014

Almost ready...

Here is the latest stage in the Yggdrasil drawing I photographed...in reality the picture is now finished, but I am waiting for a nice day and a little free time to give it proper justice.

Hope you like it and thank you very much for your support!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Coloring the Yggdrasil

Where has March gone? Away with the freezing temperature and with my ridiculously persistent colds, I hope. I've been so exhausted and under the weather these past two weeks that I could not bring myself to do art. All my strengths were devoted to the bare necessities (= work, eat, take care of a very sweet but energetic 2 years old), as I was also alone home, since my husband went abroad for business.

 Not much to show, therefore, in term of progress for my Yggdrasil. After my husband returned and the pressure from my daily duties returned to normal, I finished the grey tones and started very slowly to lay down the colors (I switched to Copics for this second part).

To tell you the truth, I am not sure I am improving on it. It was kind of neat in its neutral palette, but I can't live without colors, so I was compelled to proceed. Right now, I am somewhat stuck at the three Norns, as I cannot decide on a proper color for their dresses...a super pale blu would work but I am afraid I don't have it in my otherwise rather extensive collection of markers....watercolors here would be marvelously useful, I think....

Probably tonight I will make a decision. :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

More Yggdrasil WIP

Here is the first layer of greys for the tree and landscape.

I used Prismacolor markers for this first phase, as the areas are so vast and I don't want to burn out my most precious markers. The colors I have chosen, in case you were curious are: Parchment for the bark, Warm Grey 10% for the leaves (although maybe a Cold grey would have been a wiser choice..let's see how it goes), Cool Grey 20% for the sky (I'll add heavy clouds an then highlight them with pastels). I'll use some earthy tones for the underground portion and the serpent and some cooler shades for the water maidens, the trees and the mountains.

I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Yggdrasil Inked

At last...I am ready to color this. I don't know why it took me so long to finish inking this time. Maybe it's the fact that I added details and modified a bit the original design. Maybe it's that in the evening I am exhausted and I just want to curl up and sleep instead of straining my eyes on small details. No matter, I am done and happy with the lines. Now, as usual the hard and interesting part begins.

You know I draw mostly while watching TV. I wonder if my choice of shows influences my drawings and possibly vice versa, or if it just by chance that I was watching Once Upon a Time, while drawing Sweet Home (my version of Hansel and Gretel), Fringe, while drawing Lotus of Creation, and the first season of Vikings while working on this latest picture. :)

PS: DO you guys think I should add a couple more branches in the top corners? Thanks for your suggestions! :)

Friday, March 7, 2014

February in review

I am working on my Yggdrasil picture and there is still so much to do. Maybe by Sunday the inking will be done and then I'll be able to show you some significant progress. For the time being, I made a combination figure with all the 29 Faces of February's challenge. This gave me a chance to learn to work with the brand new version of Photoshop I have...there is lots to relearn for me, I fear. 

Have a joyful weeked!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Florario project: the cosmic trees

After the flowers of the divine, the rose and the lotus, Florario, the book I am following for my exploration of myths and legends of plants and flowers (more about it in this post), presents a chapter about the cosmic trees. The very first of them is the ash tree (frassino in Italian), for which the most well known traditional tale is that of the Yggdrasil. Because of the popularity of this myth,Yggdrasil has been represented many many time by different artists in different historical periods..so I am pretty sure that I will not come out with a very original image. Nonetheless, it's a fascinating subject and I'll give it a try. Here is the original rough (very rough) sketch and the pencils of the piece. Now I am slowly inking with my grey Copic Multiliner...it will take a while. ;)

Linking up to Manon's Paper Sundays.

Stay warm (we are having snow this weekend...again!) and may spring come to your home soon!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

29 Faces: 28 and 29

Last two, plus a bonus...actually 3. After a month of black and white, here is some color, a drawing I made for Bella. Enjoy and happy March!

29 Faces

Many many thanks to Ayala for bringing back the challenge. As always, it has been extremely enjoyable to see the beautiful art, meeting new art loving folks, and practice freely, for the sake of exercise. I don't know about you, but I definitely need more of that in my life.
Thank you to those who visited and especially to those who left comments: you guys made my day every time!

See you soon!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

29 Faces: 26 and 27

Almost there! Here come faces # 26 (done with an old pencil) and #27 (done again with the mechanical one, with a slightly harder lead and a sharper point).

Monday, February 24, 2014

29 Faces: 24 and 25

Here is another week and here are my sketches. Both are Vogue ladies and again both do not resemble the models at all. ^^ I am rather happy with 24, while 25 seemed cuter while I was drawing her...now I realize that her chin is rather masculine and too round (that seems a problem I have with profiles...must work on that!).

I could correct it, but the deal was to work on these exercises quickly and as naturally as possible. Once a piece is declared done, there is no going back.
On to the next faces!

Have a happy and productive week!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

29 Faces: 23

Hello everybody! Unexpectedly, this morning I had time to do yet another sketch, while skyping with my mother in law. Bella was playing nearby with my husband, so I caught a few moments and I made this. Have a lovely Saturday!

Linking to 29 Faces and Paper Saturdays.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

29 Faces: 21

A lady emerging from darkness. My characters are usually shown under a rather direct strong light. I would like to add more drama by using stronger shadows like in the case of this sketch...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

29 Faces: 20

A girl from a cowboys movie. She did not turn out very pretty (the eyes look funny to me), but...eh. Not everybody is a classical beauty! ;D

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

29 Faces: 19

A fresh faced girl for your Wednesday. Enjoy!

29 Faces:18...and what is your favorite pencil?

Now, I like the way this veiled lady turned out. After shading the face, I was afraid to ruin it by adding the veil. Then I told myself that this is the perfect safe place to experiment and take little risks.
So I went for it. :)

In general, I am more satisfied with my faces than during September's challenge. I guess back then I was trying too hard. Using cheep paper (the back of my daughter's report cards from the daycare) and a random pencil I feel more relaxed and free to make mistakes and that sometimes can give unexpected results.

At the beginning of the month, I worked on the sketches with a regular pencil (with a rather bad point as you can see clearly in Faces 1 and 2), then I switched to a mechanical pencil with a consistently fine tip. That helped a lot. The lead is much softer than the one I use in the drawings that I end up coloring. It smudges easily and it would probably not work too well for my usual purposes ( it's a bit hard to erase), but for these sketches it felt surprisingly nice to handle and made me wonder whether I should switch to a mechanical pencil (with an appropriate lead, of course) permanently.
I must also say that I have essentially no skills in the refined art of pencil sharpening, which I know I should probably consider more carefully...I never thought it would matter to me because I end up inking over my pencils anyways. Any opinions in the matter?

What kind of pencils or special drawing tools do you use? How did you discover them?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

29 Faces: 13,14,and 15

So, after inventing faces, I decided to work on learning how to shade faces more realistically. I took one of the usual old Vogue issue that I have still to read and started going through from page to page doing quick sketches...
Here are the first three.. (do you recognize anybody, by chance?):)

29 Faces: 10, 11, and 12

Next batch of unpublished sketches for the 29 Faces challenge.

We've got a crying lady (I usually draw happy or serene people I tried a change) who has had a close encounter with a rabid curling iron (I wanted to try bouncing curls, but these made up locks look weirdly off with the character...well, maybe she is was in a pageant and did not win! ;)).

Then we've got what I believe is a soul singer. I love the hair in this case. Drawing right facing profile is always an awful complication for me, maybe because I am right handed...how is it for you?

And, finally, here is a more traditionally content and maybe a bit sleepy girl.

Linking up to 29 Faces and Paper Saturdays. :)

29 Faces: 8,9

What a week...a nightmare at work. Toddler sick at home. Weather ever gloomy and cold.
I could not take pictures, because of the darkness when I left and came home, but at least I kept a measure of sanity by keeping sketching.

Today was finally sunny and I took a couple of decent photographs. Here are the characters from February 8 and 9.

Number 8 is maybe a follow up to 7...an evil queen? Or she could be a wiry ballerina...she has an unusual look for my standards, with lots of sharp angles...I am not sure she is exuding malice...she could be just a very energetic and decisive lady. What do you think?

Number 9 seems to have made a wondrous discovery...or maybe she is the wondrous discovery herself (we were still watching Fringe, at this point and I guess she could be Olivia displaying some of her hidden powers)!

Number 10....coming next!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

29 faces:7...Snow White or Aurora?

A sweet sleeping girl...what fairy tail is she from?

This is for 29 Faces. I am also linking to Paper Saturday.
Have a happy and restful weekend, everybody!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

29 Faces: 5 and 6

Hello again, here are yesterday's and today's faces...who are they?
5 could be a detective of the future (somehow she looks a bit like Rihanna...it was completely unintentional...in fact I bet that had I wanted to actually make a portrait of her I would never had done better ;)).
6... maybe a cherub or an ancient statue?


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

29 Faces: 3 and 4....

Here are more faces for the challenge. :)

29 Faces!

By the way, I wanted to thank Ayala art for hosting this fun challenge again and for making me realize I had the captcha thingy on...I had no idea! I have disabled it now. :) My apologies to the friends that had to endure it and please...leave your comments: I love reading them.

Also, these days are very very busy and I find I have little time to peruse your sites...but never fear...things are looking up and in a couple of days I'll be able to visit and enjoy with calm you beautiful works...and of course to leave you messages and also answer your comments! :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Lotus of creation

I thought I would finish this earlier, but my key marker for the background, YG11, decided it was time to give up on me, so I had to find the time and willpower to go and buy it. These days the cold is so ridiculous that any non strictly necessary errands are systematically postponed.

Anyways, here it is, finished at last...with details.

For this Lotus drawing, I was inspired by the chapter on the flowers of the Absolute in the book Florario. "As Vishnu was resting in the ocean, a lotus rosed from his navel...it was so big that it could contain the entire world. That Lotus generated Brahma and, with the powers of the sleeping God, he generated the world". That's the baby full of light. At the same time, the cosmic lotus was also the symbol of the Goddess Shri (also known as Lakshmi), essentially considered one of the representations of the Great Mother (if I understood correctly ;)).
I thought these two tales would work well together in this piece.
As an extra touch, since I have been watching Fringe (Whaaat? wait for it...;)) and have been ensnared in the tale of parallel universes and alternative realities, I represented the multiple realities as a reflection of the Goddess in a imaginary cosmic mirror.

Happy rest of the week!

Linking to 29 Faces for the details of the faces, although I consider it a bonus, as I drew these characters before the challenge started. :)