Archive for the ‘Studio’ 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.

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.

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.

8 out of 9

Friday, June 10th, 2011

That is the number of art shows to which I’ve been accepted this year. I think that is pretty darn good.

Sometimes, I tell you, it is a crap shoot. Neither rhyme nor reason as to why an artist is accepted into one show and not into another. Or why an artist was accepted the year before and not the following year.

But one thing is for certain: an artist should never take “rejection” personally. And though I’ll admit to a slight disappointment – which lasts momentarily – what follows is a fire in my belly and then I’m onto another new project. Rejection grants me precious time to work on new ideas.

Oh, but first you are probably wondering what show didn’t accept me. That would be the Queen West Art Crawl. I was informed in a “batch” email, broken down by alphabet. I was in the J, K, L, and M rejection pile. Who knows how many others were informed from A to I or N to Z. How do I know this? Because the author of the email used the CC line to address her bad news to me and 19 other artists. Can you believe that? Really, how rude to be batch emailed like that. I know 4 of those 19 artists – and their work is fabulous.

They, like me, should have been emailed directly and personally. We deserve that respect, even in rejection.

Getting Ready for the Art Shows

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

I’ve been cramming. Getting ready for the art show season is like preparing for final exams in a really hard subject. This year getting ready has been doubly difficult because I moved my home and studio last December and I decided that I wanted to show two lines of work this year – wildlife drawings and surreal landscape paintings.

For the most part, I have been working on my wildlife/farm life drawings – an eagle, a cow, a sea otter, a pig, a hare, etc. I have chosen animals that live in Canada. And it’s a broad range. They are all so different – their nose, fur, skin, eyes, fur, antlers, ears, beak. It’s a lot of focus to figure out how to draw well something that is unusual. Each animal has had its own unique challenge. But each is a labour of love.

So far the hardest part of all the animals to draw has been the feathers on the back of the mallard. And the delicate soft appearance of a pig’s skin.

Molly Mulhern - Mallard (graphite on board) by M-J Kelley

What is easiest for me? The eyes. The intricate structure of the eye is fun to figure out. It’s also the most rewarding part of the drawing — the eyes bring the animal to life.

The Riverdale Art Walk (RAW) is this weekend. It starts off a 7 show run with my wildlife drawings. For more information about the art shows please see my Event listings. Hope to see you at one of the shows!

Boxes Boxes … But Where Did I Put That?

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

I think I take it back. In my last posting I casually said (obviously without thinking) that I find moving exciting. Really I meant “exhausting”. I am certain that I posted that comment prior to packing up my studio. Yup, I sure did. I cannot tell you how long it took me to pack up my precious scraps of paper. Each painting was gently wrapped and carefully slipped into an appropriately sized box and labeled accordingly. And this went on and on until all was boxed.

And about my new studio that I mentioned in my last posting – well it’s not winterized. It’s not that this major issue slipped my attention; it’s just that I like to see potential instead of problem. And so here I am with a non-useful sub-zero studio. Fortunately, there’s a warm 2nd bedroom where I have crammed all of my art boxes.

And though I have tons of art materials, I have to say nothing is more useful or comforting than a sketchbook and pencil which I smartly packed in my knapsack for easy finding.

Moving the Art Studio

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

If I wasn’t an artist I really wouldn’t have very many belongings; a few clothes, a few books, things to cook with, and things to live in. But enter the art supplies. I am amazed as to how many brushes, tubes of paint, canvas, paper, sketchbooks, paintings, art books, etc. I have acquired over the years. I am taking stock because I am moving home and studio – again.

My running joke about the studio is that by the time I get it all set up, it is time to move. So I don’t like to unpack everything. It only sets in motion the wheels for repacking.

Though I have moved many times, I can honestly say that I find moving exciting. This time though, it’s the most exciting because I’m moving to the country. There are horses, cows, chickens, and a sow with six piglets on the drive into town. Our new home is beautiful. The yard has tall trees and a huge garden. My studio is four times the size of my current studio. It has lots of windows and quiet time to think. I greatly look forward to the peacefulness and the creative work that it will bring.

But first I must find more boxes…

2010 Holiday Card: And you melt when?

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

And You Melt When? (detail, gouache on board) by M-J Kelley

And You Melt When? is my new 2010 holiday card. It might be hard to see on the small screen, but the snowman has snapped off a limb from the tree for another arm. The tree, not happy with this leans towards the snowman and says, “And you melt when?” Hence a reminder to the snowman that his time is fleeting and he will soon be but a past nuisance. It is my satyrical reminder to everyone that the holidays are about caring and sharing…and sometimes swearing.

If you would like to receive this fine holiday card via the mail, please send me your address using the
Online Contact Form and I will send one out to you.

Happy Holidays!

An Artist’s Statement

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

As I walked down Bay Street the other day I glanced at a poster stapled to a pole. The poster was offering a workshop on “getting to know who you are.”  I didn’t think I paid it any attention but still I found myself asking, “Do I know who I am?”

Yes, I silently answered. And then began the long process of wondering why I do. I think the reason is because I am an artist. Being an artist requires that I articulate why I do what I do. And that very process once written down is called an Artist’s Statement. Every show, gallery, event, etc. asks for one when I submit my artwork.  They vary in length and detail depending upon who’s asking, so I have to know the very long and the very short of why I create, which is a daunting task at best.

To do that I have to ask myself more introspective questions about my likes and dislikes, and my behavior and conditioning. Though simple questions, sometimes the answers take a while to ferret out. But all this is to say that knowing one’s self is an evolution just like artwork I create – as it should be.