Thanks to Drawing allowed I was introduced to the work of Kurt Jackson. Sometimes it seems that there is no chance for the new or fresh but then you stumble on something again that leaves a deep impression and makes for a source of inspiration. I have never seen someone treating acrylic colors so sensitive, also I find it absolutely inspiring to see that a small format can be really big.
My Blurb membership is growing old, a bit at least. The first book order I placed on Blurb.com goes back to August 2008. Blurb always has been a bit slow in development from my point of view, but development takes place and for the better. The book editing software is doing OK, there is PAYPAL integration, there is now an ebook option and you can generate a pdf-file from your book (at a bit of costs though) to name those changes that seem important to me.
End of last year to my surprise I got an invitation for an interview with some of the friendly Blurb staff. I was motivated by a 100$ coupon so I took the chance. Blurb wants to know what tools their customers use to make their Blurb publications. I requested them to keep the entry levels as low as possible, I use a version of photoshop elements to do very basic manipulations on images that are too dark or seem out of color balance. I write my text Microsoft word and that’s it. Then I transfer text and images into the book editing software.
I used the coupon to cover some of the costs for two private books in small square format (7X7 inch). One solely with images taken with the Hipstamatic app and an Iphone 3GS (square pics at the top), and a second one with images taken with a NIKON D90. Both books had the maximum page count of 240 for premium paper and 440 for standard paper,in total both books contain ca. 1000 images. Below you can see image examples. I find the results very satisfying, especially the results from the low tech phone camera.
The resolution of the images is not very high and dose not represent the original resolution as I took the images from the online book preview. What I want to show is that Blurb can print in excellent colors and they can print also difficult images, like the ones with a lot of black. I had taken a picture of a Gothic painting that is shown in a very dark room at the Hotel de Dieu, Beaune (Burgundy). Only some spotlight illuminate the paintings, the room is like a black chamber. I metered the light with the D90 spot meter and took some very nice pictures, which I cannot show here for copyright reasons. Those images were printed very well by Blurb.
I had to ask for a re-print unfortunately of the Hipstamatic book because some pages had some strange,foreign color spots outside of the image area. The reprint was delivered by FEDEX within a week or so. So this order was not 100% perfect, but close to perfect. I could see only very slight differences in print between the original print and the re-print. It seems that the contrast was not always the same, sometimes a bit stronger in the first print and sometimes in the second print, it is really hard to see.
Recently I was doing some search on the question what is good drawing on the net and found an interesting article : Why Are Some People Better at Drawing than Others?. This is about representational drawing of course. It seems the main difference between people who can do representational drawings and those who cannot is the time spent with learning representational drawing. The other really inspiring thing is that learning to draw mostly means to learn to see properly and thus changing the perception of the world as seen.
However I do not think that skills always and certainly not only lead to good drawing. There is no objective measurement for good drawing. To define what is good drawing becomes even more difficult when we look at abstract art (Menil Collection, Cy Twombly).
I am very much interested and inspired by illustration and not what is usually addressed as art. Today I want to post links to two great illustrators:
At the end of the year 2012 I did this plein air study of a neighbour village named Zaisersweiher. The format is mid size ca. 15″X25″ , a bit unusual for me as I prefer small studies for oil pastels. In this case I had in total three sessions sur le motif including some pouring , ice-cold rain and hail mixture which I survived under a big spruce tree and my field umbrella.
It is possible to get that good old impressionistic oil color look with my favorite oil pastel set. It has a range of nice natural greens, browns, red ochres and beautiful greys. I work in several layers to get into the groove towards those muted colours you see in nature.
Below there are some images that show the first steps of the painting on a piece of paper, that was prepared with some old, dried oil color. Later I monotyped over the sketch with a monochrome layer of thinned oil color to mute further down. After that layer had dried I “recovered” the painting slowly step by step.