Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Merry Christmas from The Bosbyshell's

Here is a snap shot of our lives in 2009. Allen, who is 13, has added his comments in italic.

Wil had eye surgery to remove his cataracts in February. He has 20/20 vision for the first time in his life and only needs reading glasses (since he is so old). Papa can see better so now I have to clean more. Great . . .

Allen is the troop guide for Boy Scout Troop 1. He earned his Star rank and was inducted into the Order of the Arrow. Wil is still the scoutmaster. They hiked Grandfather Mountain (it rained), Table Rock (more rain), Cowpens Battle field (15°), and the Uwharrie trail (12 miles). My favorite part was messing with the knives and fire.

Maura branched out from quilting to designing jewelry and recycling clothing. She will donate over $150 to charities this year from her sales. Maura plans to sell jewelry on the internet in 2010.

The Art Institute of Charlotte granted Wil its first sabbatical this summer, and he began a new series of large scale figure drawings. He chronicled the series in a blog: www.bosbyshellart.blogspot.com.

In 2009, we exploded into the digital age! “Exploded” is taking it way too far! My parents are so not cutting edge. Wil also posted videos of his art technique demonstrations on Youtube. And all three of us have Facebook pages - friend us!

Maura still teaches fashion marketing and Wil graphic design at the Art Institute of Charlotte. Allen still studies languages and is now selecting a high school for next year!

We wish you and your family the best for 2010 and a joyous Christmas!

Your Friends, Wil, Maura and Allen Bosbyshell

Friday, December 11, 2009

Drawing 8 Complete

I have finished this drawing. I used white charcoal to put in the highlights. I am much more happy with the results using charcoal than when I used color pencil. I blended with a blending stump quite a bit on this drawing as well. The above image is a detail. Since my last session working on this drawing I have also added the contour line around the exterior.

Here is the final drawing showing the rock as well. I am not too thrilled about the stomach muscles, but it is a practice. I will try again on the full size drawing.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Highlight Drawing 2 with Charcoal

I began a new sketch to determine my method for adding highlights to my series of drawings. I am using charcoal on this one. I like it right from the start! The blending is going very well; much better than color pencil. I think: Should I stop here? I keep going.

Here I am working on the highlights on the rock and beginning to add some dark values with pencil. I have decided to use the color of the paper as the middle gray value.

At this point I darkened the shadows and increased the brightness of the highlights. Still no outlines. I am thinking about that.

Now I am erasing and blending both the pencil shadows and the white charcoal highlights. This is the same pose as my very first drawing in the series which I began in June of this year. I have made some different decisions at this point. I added the pony tail; I left it off the first time. I have five values at this stage in the drawing: the gray paper, two highlights and two shadow values.

Hightlight Drawing 1 Complete

This drawing is finished. I did it to work out the highlights. I used color pencil on this one, but it does not erase or blend well. I did a major change to the head today. I decreased the height from the ear to the top of the head and increased the space behind the ear. I also elongated the neck and shortened the chin. I am happy with the rock with the highlights.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Drawing in the Highlights

In my series of large scale figures that I have been working on recently I used color paper and pencil or graphite. I did not add highlights with white charcoal or color pencil. So now I am beginning that process. To do that I am completing some sketches on a smaller scale. This drawing is only 18 x24 inches. The drawing above is the first experiment with highlights. I need to see what medium will work the best as a highlight: color pencil, white charcoal, white conte, etc. The top sketch is the first several hours effort. There are no exterior contour lines yet and just a little color pencil highlight. In the bottom drawing, the pencil dark values and the white color pencil value have been more fully developed. I have not addressed the rock yet. The arm is turning out well.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thoughts on Life

When I am drawing in my sketch books my mind wanders. Here is something that came to my mind while I was drawing recently.
Life is coffee, outside in the morning enjoying the breeze blowing through the leaves in the trees.
Life is birthdays.
Life is riding with your son in the car, when he suddenly bursts out laughing and tells you a funny story.
Life is waking up late in the summer.
Life is summer camp in the NC mountains.
Life is reading a comic book.
Life is sitting alone in a museum in front of a masterpiece.
Life is a song so beautiful ti makes you cry.
Life is homemade chocolate cake with M&Ms used to write the words.
Life is a roller coaster and tube rides with all your friends.
Life is sleeping under the bed or in the closet when you are eight years old.
Life is watching a TV series with your son.
Life is two people doing their different hobbies in the same room at night.
Life is sitting outside in the summer, listening to the cicadas and tree frogs battle of the bands.
Life is watching humming birds and bees fly around the flowers.
Life is listening to the rain.

Friday, October 30, 2009

From sketch book to art book

I call these sketch book drawings. Some people say that they are not sketch books, but art books. I have some sketch books that contain drawings that are very different from these figure studies. In my other sketch books I put drawings of anything: leaves, notes, concepts, etc. In the sketches I am showing on this blog, I only put figure studies. So since they have a theme, some artists call them art books instead. That is a fine distinction, but its OK. I really zeroed in on the face on these drawings. Finally reducing the drawing to just one eye, the nose and part of the lips. The face is so fascinating with all its proportions, yet not in exact proportion. For this book I turned it sideways. Each drawing crosses over the gutter or seam of the book.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Figure Sketch Books

"I'm not in the mood to draw!" My students say this to me a lot; I even say it to myself. You never know when inspiration is going to strike. Many times I get to my studio and I do not feel like doing anything, much less painting. So at times like that, I draw in my sketch book. I draw a lot of different things, but I draw figures most often. Some are made up out of my mind, many are just copied from magazines. The drawings above are from my figure sketch books. These are all in Moleskine books. I bought my first Moleskine book in Chicago on a trip in the 1990s. I had never seen one before. Then, for a few years, I had to order them from Chicago or New York. Now you can buy them any and everywhere. These are bound bristol like paper with a slight yellow tint. I use red prisma color pencils or conte pencils to draw with.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Paintings At Redsky Gallery in Epicenter

In a change from the usual theme of this blog, I wanted to let you know about some of my architectural paintings. This painting and one other are on display in downtown Charlotte. They are in a gallery called Redsky in the Epicenter complex. The painting above, titled " Water Tower at Night", is an oil painting 24 x 18 inches in size. When I paint in oil, I use many techniques that I use in my drawings, for example, this painting was painted light to dark. So, I painted the sky first and then gradually added the darker parts until arriving at black. This is the water tower on Camden Road in Charlotte's South End Historic District. This painting was awarded a second place prize by Joie Lassiter in an urban landscape show in 2008.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Drawing Six Complete

Drawing six is finished to the same level as the first five. I may go back into all the drawings and add some highlights with white color pencil or chalk. I will decide in a week or so. I want to live with all six drawings, at this stage, for a while. Just as in any major decision, I am going to 'sleep in it.' The shadow cast on the ground came out well in this drawing. It allowed me to do some interesting and different things with the shadows in the legs that I otherwise would not have been able to do.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Details of Drawing Six

One of the reasons I selected this pose is because I love drawing peoples backs. They are fascinating, to quote Mr. Spock. The back has a great combination of dramatic bone and muscle structure that is easily seen. Also backs have a lot subtly of highlight and shadow. Above is the line drawing.

The shoulder blades are going to be key to the success of this drawing. I will put a great deal of detail into them before this drawing is finished.

At this stage, I began putting some details into the rock above her head. I did a lot of work on this darwing today.

Drawing Six Started

I have begun drawing 6. I decided that the last drawing should be a standing pose. So there will be two kneeling, two bent over, and two standing poses for these first six drawings in the series. Here is the initial line drawing with a little value added in the shadows.

Now I have begun to put in darker areas. In the drawing above there are only two values of shadows. I filled in the cast shadow on the ground. The cast shadow will determine some of the values in the figure, so I needed to get it in progress. I believe this figure will have short hair. Everyone asks if these are drawings of my wife, Maura. They are not. I used a professional model for all six of the drawings.

Now I have put a lot more detail in the back, darkening the shadows around the shoulder blades, spine, and legs.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Drawing Five Complete!

I finished drawing five today. I say finish, I may still put white pastel highlights on all the drawings, but the pencil is done. I am very happy with this and the other bent over pose. To finish I spent time on details in the hands: more wrinkles and shadows. I also put a few more shadows on the face. I made her hair longer and darkened the shadow cast on the ground quite a bit. On the exterior contour line, I did not put one around the far arm or foot. Lack of the contour line helped push them into the back-ground. To bring the front arm forward, I strengthened the shadows on the through the middle of the arm and around the shoulder. Finally, I darkened the entire upper torso.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Drawing Five Near Completion

Here is drawing five, close to completion. Today, I worked on the shadows. We artists like to call shadows values. First I worked on the rock's shadows. They were too regular. Rocks, like all natural things, are irregular. They still need further darkening. I added the exterior contour line. After looking at it now; I will probably make the lines darker still. I am pleased with the arm in the background; the value gradation turned out well. Where the hand comes close, but does not quite meet the shadow on the floor, is a nice tension. I'm going to darken the cast shadow on the ground below the figure. The shape of the cast shadow on the ground is more interesting than all the previous drawings.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mid Painting Corrections

For me at least, paintings never go perfectly. And that's OK. I took some photos of the process to correct a mistake in this large painting. The first image in this blog shows my initial sketch of the model. This is conte pencil on newsprint paper. In this drawing, I got the mouth and nose correct. In the middle of the painting, I stood back and looked long and hard. Also my classmates and the class instructor, Cornel Rubino, looked at it with a critical eye. We decided that the mouth and nose were wrong in the painting. The mouth was idealized and not a good representation of the models mouth. Sorry, I did not take of photo of how it looked then. So I examined the model's mouth and nose more closely and did a sketch. The model had a very large upper lip and a small lower lip. The second image shows this sketch. The nose is good, but the mouth is still wrong. Try, try again! Image three shows the second sketch of the mouth. This is it! So then, I painted the mouth and nose again. I also modified the edge of the face near the mouth. Image four shows a close up of the final mouth and nose. The final image above shows the scale of the final painting.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Size Matters

This is a painting I am calling Insolent Boy. I painted it at the Arrowmont School for Arts & Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN. I spent a week at Arrowmont in a class taught by Cornel Rubino. He was a great instructor: meeting each student where they were and encouraging them to advance on their artistic journey. It was a fabulous class where I painted very differently from anything I have done in the past. The class focused on large paintings; all the paintings were at least 7 feet tall. Each day of the week I completed a painting. On Monday I did a pastel drawing of two figures nine feet tall by four feet wide. Tuesday I completed a horizontal painting in acrylic of two figures 9 feet long. On Wednesday, I did a nine foot tall acrylic of a rock star. Then on Thursday and Friday I worked on the painting above. It is on two pieces of paper for a size of 7 feet square. I painted directly from a model. This painting took two days to complete using a ladder a lot of the time to reach the high places. This is about 3 layers of paint, though some areas like the lower right hand corner have only one layer. I allowed the paint to drip when it did it naturally. The photos above are in my studio in Charlotte. I had to re-arrange everything to get this painting up on the wall. I am still working to hang and photograph the other nine foot tall paintings.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Demonstrations on Black Paper

The above images were part of the Demonstrations exhibition. These drawings are all pastel on black paper. Sorry about the shine on the paper; I should use better paper.
Mike Watson wrote this as a gallery statement for the exhibit, so I thought I would share it with you.

The human figure has been the subject of drawings since prehistoric times. Figure drawing is an exercise in drawing the human body in its various shapes and positions. “Life drawing” is the process of drawing the human figure from observation of a live model. Figure drawing is arguably the most difficult subject an artist commonly encounters, and entire classes are dedicated to the subject. The human figure is one of the most enduring themes in the visual arts, and figure drawing can be applied to portraiture, cartooning and comic book illustration, sculpture, medical illustration, and other fields that use depictions of the human form. Figure drawing can be done very simply, as in gesture drawing, or in greater detail, using charcoal, pencil or other drawing tools. If pigment is used, the process may be called figure painting.

Figure drawing instruction is an element of most Fine Art and Illustration programs. Instructors specifically seek to avoid the sort of models preferred by fashion photographers, seeking more “realistic” examples and to avoid any implication of sexual objectification. Instructors often favor models of particular body types based on the unique contours or surface textures they provide. Life Drawing aids the artist in that it is one of the key methods of observation and seeing is a critical part of all art and design.

This exhibit focuses on the variety of techniques that instructors must ‘demo’ in the classroom setting. These pieces are intentionally incomplete, as their purpose is to instruct in the moment and they are not created to be viewed as a completed piece of art.
It is critical to show this type of work so that there is an understanding about the initial, principal, structure upon which all life drawing and for that matter all good design is based. The work is immediate, often taking only 10-20 minutes to create, although quick, these drawings and this method of instruction effectively, visually communicates the elements and principles of design to the students.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Drawing Five Progess during the Gallery Crawl

Last night I drew a lot on this drawing during the Southend Historic District Gallery Crawl. The Gallery Crawl happens every first Friday of the month. My studio is part of the Southend Gallery Crawl, but the NoDa (North Davidson) arts areas also participates. Mark your calendars, the next gallery crawl is Friday, September 4th.

It is a little distracting to draw with so many people around, but I enjoy the conversations that I have with people during the event. At one point in the evening, I put the drawing up on my desk so I could work on the shadow cast on the ground, the hands, and feet. So, I got a lot done on the lower part of the figure. I generally try not to let one part of the drawing get ahead of the rest. I usually work on the drawing evenly, not concentrating on one part over any other.

Drawing Five Started

Drawing five will be the second using the bent over figure. In this image, I have drawn the exterior contour line and begun the initial shadows. This pose is not so grim. The figure is looking up and also pressing up with her hands.

Draw Four Progress

I am close to being finished with drawing four. I am very happy with the face on this one. The reflection in the hair is nice and so is the expression. The pony tail looks good in this drawing. One of the challenges of this series has been the face being blocked by the arms or the rock. The partial face has been harder to get right as opposed to when the whole face is exposed. The shadow on the ground is turning out well. I wanted the shadow to appear large indicating that the rock is very close to the ground.

Drawing Four Started

When I first looked at the photos I gathered for this project, I did not expect to use the photos where the rock was on the models back. Now, in the middle of the project, I have re-examined these reference photos and decided to use them for the next two drawings. The weight is definitely getting the better of my figure now. All the problems of life are winning the battle. She is looking down, her mouth is open breathing hard, both hands are on the ground, and she is almost bent double her torso pushed down on top of her leg.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Drawing Three Finished - Return to Drawing Two

Here is a detail of drawing three which is 80% finished. Now I have returned to drawing two for a while to work on the face and specifically the eye.

I mentioned in my last post that I did this out of a fault: perfectionism. Why is this a faulty? I just wanted to get it right! Julia Cameron talks about this in the The Artist's Way. On perfectionism she says, "It is a loop - an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the detail of what you are painting and to lose sight of the whole." Getting mired in the details is one of the weights faced by artists and me personally. If not identified and stopped it derails me in painting series and other areas of life. I've seen perfectionism cause students to fail out of school. They can't stop and turn the project in!

So, I allotted myself only so long this morning to redo the face on drawing two. Then I will move on. "A paintings is never finished. It simply stops in interesting places, " said Paul Gardner.

The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron, is one of my favorite books. After reading if the first time I made a plan to become a professional artist in three years. One year later, I launched in the world as a full time artist. The book is very powerful. Be careful if you read it!

Monday, August 3, 2009


Here are drawings two and three together in my studio. After taking this picture, I allowed perfectionism to raise its ugly head. I erased the face of drawing two! I was unhappy with the eyes and the spaces between the eyes and the nose and eye brow. Now I am re-working it. Hopefully, the new face on drawing two will be better than the old face. That is a big problem for me, knowing when to stop and when to continue working.

Drawing 3 Almost Complete

Work on the standing pose is going well. A few things are different from the first two poses. The hair in this drawing is lighter or more varied in value; the pony tail does not show; and the ears show for the first time. At this point in the drawing, I believe that the eyes are too small; the mouth is too large, and the face needs more shadows. So I will work on that tomorrow. I will darken the rock near the arms. I am very happy with the stomach and legs at this point.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Drawing 3 Started

With two drawings 80% complete, I've begun drawing three. After two crouching poses, I chose a standing pose for this one. The arms over the head were a challenge to work out. Crossed arms are always difficult to get to look correct and not like they are broken. As I worked on the exterior contour line, the legs and feet needed many adjustments. I want this figure to look like she is about to lose her balance, but not quite. She is on the precarious line between balancing the weight of the rock and having it knock her over.

This is approximately six hours of drawing. I've completed the contour outline and started the shadows.