Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wisconsin autumn


There is a part of me that still lives in Wisconsin, forever schuffling through fallen autumn leaves!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Putting values into practice

Values are critical in creating dynamic graphite drawings, as they help produce the illusion of the 3rd dimension on a 2-dimensional surface. It's one of the most important skills to learn as a realistic pencil artist to bring your drawings to life!

What are values? They are the degrees of lightness and darkness in your drawing.

When you see an egret in nature you know they are white, but they also contain a number of subtle value changes created by the sun and shadows. It's also necessary to understand the light source, taking into consideration what direction the light falls upon the egret because values change according to it's orientation to the light.

Drawing is all about being a sensitive observer. At times values can be very misleading. they can create an optical illusion to an untrained eye. But when you have mastered the value scale and incorporated it into your drawing, your work will be a ginormous success!


Monday, October 6, 2014

confessions of a perfectionist


Before the disaster with the background

Going into my fox drawing, I knew in the back of my head there existed the possibility that I could wreck it...but I really didn't think that would happen, until it did!! :( 

I was SO unhappy (and super grumpy...of course the hundred + weather did not help either) that I put it away in the afternoon and did not draw again that day. I wanted to look at it with fresh eyes this morning...yup I wrecked it alright! 

I've been pretty upset about it until I had a talk with myself and am trying to set myself straight...it's just a drawing, it doesn't have to be perfect, I don't have to be perfect, I don't have to be in a hurry with it (!!!), this is a wonderful opportunity to push my skills, as I feel I am not that good with backgrounds.

My need for perfection is very stifling, boring, kills my creativity, brings down my resonance and throws me out of balance.

"It is also one of the most profound nemeses in the search for the Soul and the Soul's Path."
~Lazaris~

For an artist and person like me it also causes lots of needless suffering. My mind/negative ego just races with very unproductive and down right mean things. I know exactly where this stems from, I've been working on this issue for many, many years as it got so bad for awhile I did not not create any art for almost 7 years!!

I have come a long way with it through the years, I know I am loved and accepted by God even if I create bad art!! In fact they are probably happy this all happened to heal a bit more with it, because it's only a small stupid drawing of a fox...yet...it represents more than that to me. I can take this as an opportunity to heal and grow or continue on this hamster wheel of perfection. 

~My Choice~

**I'm not there enough to show you the disastrous background yet!! Hopefully next week, either way!!**


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ladies and gentlemen, the main event today, world championship colored pencil match.

In the Ultramarine corner, all the way from Yonkers, New York...weighing in at .17 ounces is Prismacolor pencils. 

In the crimson corner, all the way from Cleveland, Ohio...weighing in at .22 ounces is Polychromo pencils.

Lets have a good clean fight!

Prismacolor pencils (P1)








Polychromo pencils (P2) (drawing in progress)























With only about 3 hours into my fox drawing with Poychromos pencils I can already tell the huge difference between the two pencils.

These are my observations~

1) I am able to get the fine details that I normally get with my Tombow graphite pencils using P 2. plus I can use my Tombow pencils right along side the colored pencils...all the whiskers are with graphite.

2) My biggest pet peeve was all the tiny wax pieces everywhere with P1, no matter how careful I was! I was scraping off pieces with a razor blade on my swan...you can see slight residue on the actual piece.

3) I would have a beautiful sharpened point on P1 but as soon as I started drawing, it would break...my second biggest pet peeve with P1!! I know I am heavy handed with my pencils but come on! I did not have that issue with P2.

4) My local art store carries both pencils and I noticed that P2 had a lot less colors...altho the whole point of cp is to layer to get a beautiful vibrancy, so I'm not seeing this as an issue...but I am still a newbie at this!

5) Price- A LOT more for P2 than P1, BUT, because of the breaking points, I had to sharpen way more and so I went through 2 black and 2 white pencils on my tiger...I probably would not have with P2

6) I was able to erase the Polychromo pencils!! Because P1 is wax based erasing is impossible.

7) I have about the same amount of layers on both drawings, altho I pretty sure I can go with more on my fox (P2)

8) P2 pencils are wider so they barely fit in my pencil sharpener...I have to tug them out.

9) I had heard that the white P2 pencil did not work well, so instead I just bought a Caran d'Aches Blanc pencil to use and it worked perfectly along side P2

So, despite a few glitches such as price and width, the clear champion for me is the Polychromo pencils!



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cute Dog Photo Contest!!!


Typically I run this contest on my Facebook business page, but thought I would open this up to my lovely blog followers as well!!

I am looking for your cutest dog photos!




Send me your best dog/puppy photos (up to two) for a chance to win a matted print of your beloved friend!


I will pick and announce the
winning photo(s) on Monday September 29th. The competition closes on Sunday 9-28-14 at 8am. I will then create a 5x7 drawing of him or her and send you a matted print of the drawing! 






All entered photos need to be original, good quality, high resolution jpeg photos. You can email up to 2 photos to kh@kathrynhansen.com


Good luck!!









Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vegan drawing papers

Most likely you don't know that I've been a vegetarian for about 25 years now and on my way to being a vegan...I'd already be there but that darn tasty cheese keeps tripping me up!! My last hold out. 

I am also an animal right advocate...have been since my early 20s. You won't find leather or products from companies that test on animals in my home. 

If there is an animal in distress, such as being left in a car with the windows rolled up (twice this summer), I go and find the owner. 

Never once tho did I think that art supplies would contain animal products in them!! But thanks to my friend Katherine Kean, my eyes were opened in her early 2011 post, Vegan Art Supplies. 
Since then I've done a lot of research on the type of sizing used in papers. If in doubt about a paper you use just contact the company, they gladly write you back and let you know.

~here are my findings~

For years I used and loved Arches, but it's derived from collagen obtained from various animal by-products, so I no longer use it. 

Can't use Lanaquarelle, a 300 lb beautiful soft watercolor paper because it also uses a gelatin sizing in their paper.


As for the good papers I love that use a plant based sizing:

Strathmore (love their bristol board) 
Fabriano (a very ethical company!!) 
Canson Mi Tientes colored papers 
(using it now with my tiger)
Daler-Rowney Canford papers


And a new paper that has come to my attention by my friend Lissa RachelleTerraSkin, which is neither plant or animal based. It is made with calcium carbonate (rocks) and HDPE (plastic). I've never used it before, but plan on buying some very soon on CheapJoes (their only supplier so far).


So there you go! Hope that helps next time you're in your cherished art store looking for cruelty-free, plant based sized paper for  your next masterpiece!!


*Please feel free to add any of your favorite papers or general art supplies that you know are animal free products in the comments section.*



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Outta my comfort zone?

I felt very confident after watching a few Janie Gildow videos and reading her book on colored pencils. Granted I did not do a single suggested exercise...as that's not me...I like to just jump in and figure it out as I am going along. Most the time that kind of madness is fine but as soon as I got to Swains art store I felt like a fish out of water and felt myself getting very nervous!! Luckily I had already researched the type of paper I wanted to use as I only like to use papers with plant based sizing...so I headed first to the paper isle to get some Mi Tiente...man was it flimsy but okay...now to find a piece that wasn't totally bent up. Obviously since they are so thin it must be hard to handle without getting quite a few dents in it...note to self...try Dick Blicks art store next time!! Then there were a million Prismacolor pencils to choose from with no color chart in sight! Ugh!

But with my paper and pencils in hand I headed home to start!
I had already drawn out my tiger, now I just had to figure out how to transfer it onto green paper.
I rubbed an old 3B graphite pencil then charcoal over the back and transferred it that way, altho this method did not work very well as I could barely see any lines on the top portion of the paper. There has to be a better way to do this!!
My inspector, Dakota thought I did a pretty good job but still chewed up my paper and pencils when not paying attention! (never leave artwork unattended when there's a kitten in the house!)
I started with lightly redrawing the top portion then jumped in on the eye, and so on. Omgosh, was it fun! Messy yes, lots of wax everywhere and my tips kept breaking, so a lot of sharping...but boy time just flew by!! I made a few mistakes with placement and color but I just scrapped it and it worked out just fine!

This beast is night and day from graphite, actually once I got into a groove, lost all my trepidation regarding it I  thought it was waayyy easier than graphite (in my humble opinion!) I wasn't slaving over a million details like I do with graphite! 
I am definitely hooked but there is SO much more to explore with colored pencil and I am SO eager to try it all now that I am over my fears about it!

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