Archive for the ‘M-J Kelley’ Category

Sketchbook Drawing: Precious Egg

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Precious Egg (graphite) by M-J Kelley 2013

Precious Egg (graphite) by M-J Kelley 2013

…from my sketchbook.

Drawing: A Simple Profile

Friday, April 5th, 2013

A Simple Profile by M-J Kelley 2013

A Simple Profile by M-J Kelley 2013

A simple figurative profile drawing made with smooth newsprint and charcoal – two of my most favourite materials to work with.

Attending Sheridan’s Computer Animation Graduate Program Fall 2013

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

About a month ago I decided to apply to Sheridan’s graduate program in Computer Animation.

It was time to meld my two worlds (art and IT) together. Both fields are undergoing major changes and I felt it was time for me to go in a new direction as well.

I kept it a secret for as long as I could (a few days) and then I told my mom. If you knew my mom you would know she is the type of person that is always there for her family and friends. And as expected she was over the top excited for me and asked to read about the program.

My mother is very thorough. She called me back and said “did you know there is a graduate school open house tonight? You should go.” Somehow I missed this. It is this kind of “no stone left unturned” that my mother is capable of. And for this I am grateful.

I attended the open house and I was able to meet with the CA program director. He was great. He answered all of my questions and told me about various aspects about the program. I asked him about the portfolio submission and what they were looking for. He said, “We want you to send us what you think is your best work.” He also added, “We are looking for artists.”

Not very often do you hear “we are looking for artists.” This was so welcomed. And so, with his advice in mind, I rigorously reviewed the program descriptions and requirements and began to prepare my submission.

It was hard to choose 20 of my favourite images for my portfolio because I have quite a few pieces that I like. But I started with a few traditional figurative works then added some animal drawings, cowboy illustration art, a landscape painting, some surreal art, a few sketchbook drawings and finished with one of my all-time favourites, Stuffed Bunny Head on a Stick with Poison Mushroom Caps.

In addition to my portfolio I had to write a 500 word answer to the question “Why are you applying to this program?” and submit a resume. My resume was the easiest to pull together. The 500 word essay took some time. But it came together nicely. It was simply the truth about when I started in the arts (20+ years ago) and how my journey has brought me to this decision. When I reviewed my submission it dawned on me how it was a cohesive package. Everything went together extremely well and told the same story.

So with everything pulled together I ventured to the post office. I sent it Xpresspost. It was to arrive Monday – just in time for the deadline. I tracked it. But it didn’t arrive. It didn’t arrive on Tuesday either. I was a bit beside myself. So I pulled together another submission package and drove it to Sheridan (2 hours away) and hand submitted it. I was a bit fearful that my submission would be too late at this point and so talked with the program administrator who was understanding and helpful. She said she thought my application had already been completed. She wondered if she had already received my earlier application. Both of us were a bit mystified. All the same I was relieved and began my return journey home.

Shortly after arriving home I checked online to see if my application was now “complete”. Instead it said, “ACCEPT YOUR OFER AND DISCOVER SHERIDAN!”

What? Again mystified. So I clicked on it and a big blue image said “Congratulations! … We are pleased to offer you admission to the following program(s): Computer Animation…Fall 2013”.

Such joy! And that is where I will be this fall!

Spring Art Classes: Drawing and Painting

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

This Sunday will mark the beginning of our spring drawing and painting classes.

Learn to Draw and Paint (ages 6-10) (1-2pm):

Discover the arts! Explore drawing and painting with a variety of techniques using pencil, crayons, pencil crayons, oil pastel and tempera paint. Each lesson will build upon the last, beginning with drawing simple shapes for image creation and continuing with the use of mixed-media painting and simple printmaking.

Art Fundamentals for Teens (ages 11-14) (2:30-4pm):

Explore the fundamentals of drawing and painting with a variety of techniques and materials using pencil, charcoal, conte, ink, watercolour and acrylic. Each lesson will build upon the last, beginning with simple shapes to create form. Students will learn simple perspective, how to draw from sight, basic composition and painting skills. Students will also be introduced to the elements and principles of design.

These classes held in room #3 in the Rosemount Community Center in Vaughan. For more information…

Alphabet Action Pose

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Letter C - M-J Kelley (charcoal)

Letter C – M-J Kelley (charcoal)

Quick action poses just speak for themselves; energy, grace, motion. The one I have included here, I just love. I call it the “Letter C” because it simply looks like that.

This only encourages me to ask the models to pose for the whole alphabet. Maybe I will.

Quick Sketches: Hand and Foot

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

It’s fall and the local figurative drawing session has started back up…yay! Here are some quick sketches.

Hand Holding Arm of Chair by M-J Kelley (charcoal)

Hand Holding Arm of Chair by M-J Kelley (charcoal)

Underside of Foot by M-J Kelley (charcoal)

Underside of Foot by M-J Kelley (charcoal)

Watermelons in the Grass

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Watermelons in the Grass by M-J Kelley (pen and ink)

Watermelons in the Grass by M-J Kelley (pen and ink)

I quickly drew this when I was at a an art show in Sacramento, California. It was unbearably hot and everyone just seemed to move slowly through the thick air.

The pile of watermelons were lying quietly on the grass, undisturbed by anyone. They were a beacon of summer refreshment and an intriguing visual image – one that a Canadian doesn’t see very often. So here’s to summer and piles of refreshing watermelons!

The Magical Dance of Quick Sketches

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Image of M-J Kelley's quick sketch: Portrait of Emily (charcoal on kraft paper) 2012

Portrait of Emily by M-J Kelley 2012 (quick sketch/charcoal on kraft paper)

Every figurative drawing session that I have ever attended begins with quick sketches of the model. They range from 30 second to 3 minute sketches. For some, I think it’s a bit like an athlete stretching. This isn’t really the case for me. I try to be warmed up before I attend the session.

Instead, it is a bizarre combination of loose lines, accurate proportion and line quality — housed within these early sketches that tell me whether I will be drawing well or not. I am at that place as an artist. This is a great place to be.

My long-time friend Ken used to say that “drawing well was like magic dancing from your fingertips.” So right he was.

And that is what this image is for me — a quick sketch where all was right and the magic was dancing. The lines are loose, the line quality is good and the proportion is accurate.

And when it all comes together, as this sketch did, I get to do one more thing that makes what I do so special for me: I get to breathe life into it with an expression or a look.

Figure Drawing with Charcoal and Pastel

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Figure drawing of Emily (charcoal and pastel) by M-J Kelley 2012

Figure drawing was the basis of my art training and continues today as a way of keeping my skills sharp. It also happens to be my most favourite thing to do.

Both images are of the same model – Emily. I always bring with me a few sheets of smooth newsprint and a few sheets of Canson Ingres paper. I warm up with one-minute poses drawing them on newsprint and then switch to the Canson paper for the longer poses.

In addition to several charcoal pencils, I brought a few colourful pastels with me to this session. I intentionally brought odd colours. The blues are soft pastels and the orange-yellow is a hard pastel. Though both are pastels, each is extremely different to work with. The soft pastels are easily the most luxurious, but also the most difficult to work with. They “paint” the paper. You merely touch the pastel to the paper and a deep rich colour is left behind.

The poses are not very long so I really only have time to lay down a smattering of colour, but it is enough to bring out the idea of cool light or warm flesh.

Figure drawing of Emily (charcoal and pastel) by M-J Kelley 2012

New Year’s Fish

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

New Year's Fish (pencil, sketchbook) by M-J Kelley

It’s a new year, and I am happy to see it.

I filled up my old sketchbook in a somewhat timely manner so as to be able to start a fresh one on the first day of 2012. I even added a new pencil and eraser.

A blank page is hard enough, but the first blank page in a brand new sketchbook … well words like honour, reverence, trepidation come to mind. Still, you have to just dive in, and for some reason the phrase “sleeps with the fishes” drifted into my mind while I was drawing.

This, in and of itself, is why it is good to draw from your imagination. Because you never know what you might be thinking and to borrow from Joan Didion’s 1976 essay on Why I Write, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.”

Therefore, it is of no great surprise to me that I took a blind left turn only to end up drawing a sleepy fish instead of creating a Godfather-like-thug- whacking illustration. To be honest, I know myself well enough not only to trust those left turns, but also to count on them. It makes my life interesting and allows me to see my thoughts even when I begin with a starkly blank white page.