I like making art w/pixels as well as with paint <3. Love this shot I took & just finished the final retouching for my clients. Such a beautiful and happy couple – I wish them all the best with their new family! Special Thanks to Jes Perilla for being a great assistant at the shoot!
I love going to Central Park to take photos <3. Went a ‘lil wild w/the Photoshop on this one today Happy Monday all!
Happy Memorial Day! I hope you all have a great one, with the people you love.
In honor of the holiday and all the outdoor festivities, I thought I would share a photo I took in Central Park recently, in the Shakespeare Garden.
Finally making postcards for my MLK tribute project participants
57 people + 50 postcards = a lot of work, but so worth it — Thank You to everyone who was part of it and check out the art & video at www.IHaveADream2013.com
After spending 15 additional hours on the “I Have a Dream 2013″ painting I created for last year’s 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s legendary speech, all the tiny portraits are finally finished!
I think a gallery show is in the works… Stay tuned!!
Visit the official IHaveADream2013.com page to see the video, and inspiration behind the project. <3
Check out the book cover I drew & painted that just came out! They sent me a copy of it and it felt so great to see it “for real” — you can even buy it on Amazon! –> http://www.amazon.com/Fangasm-Supernatural-Fangirls-Katherine-Larsen/dp/160938198X Crazy!
I also videotaped myself drawing and painting this cover, so stay tuned for the speedart video coming soon!
Supernatural Fangirls book by Katherine Larsen & Lynn S. Zubernis. Book cover design by Thomas Ng, Portrait illustrations by Adesina (Desi) Sanchez.
When I was a little girl, I hated the invention of the camera. At the age of three I already knew I wanted to be a painter, and in my young mind, I somehow saw the machinery of modern image-making as a threat to the sovereignty of traditional artists; usurping our exclusive claim upon the creation of two-dimensional depictions of the world. Especially since I aspired to be a realistic painter, as a child I believed: If only cameras had not been invented, surely one day I would be as in demand and successful as any of the Renaissance legends. Anyone wanting a portrait would depend upon us, the painters, the artists of the world, and would not be able to simply point and click some box at themselves to create it.
Admittedly there was a lot of denial and hypocrisy in this line of thinking. At the age of nine or ten I had already begun using photographs as reference material for my work – consorting with the enemy, so to speak. And later, when I begun creating my surrealistic montage paintings as a teenager, photographic references became even more indispensable.
And yet I still disliked the camera, convinced it was my nemesis. I refused to learn how to use one, beyond a simple point-and-shoot, and to this day I still complain when I see a photo of myself, captured with the harshness of digital austerity — “A PAINTING would never look so unflattering,” I would assert, “Why would ANYone want an ugly, machine-made photo of themselves when they could have something so much more true to their inner beauty and spirit; a painted portrait by an actual human hand?”
But as harsh as digital photography can often look, with the innovation of computer pixels, comes possibility, and an invitation to even greater ARTISTRY. Enter: digital art, retouching, and the magic of Photoshop.
I began retouching photos of myself almost as soon as I first had one taken. It wasn’t just a matter of vanity, but of branding: my career as a TV personality required a polished public persona, and I aimed to deliver. And eventually, I became so accomplished at retouching (which frankly reminds me of painting, and therefore is highly enjoyable), I was able to offer it as a side service for both web design clients and entertainment industry colleagues.
But this past spring, when I purchased my first DSLR, ostensibly to produce videos under the auspices of my newly formed media company, as well as to take my own photo references for future paintings; something changed within me. As I began to learn how to use it, about ISO and shutter speed and f-stops; about lighting and lenses and technique; I realized, I could not only take rough photos to use as references, but I could take beautiful photos that stand alone as objets d’art in their own right. Add to that my years of retouching experience, and a portrait photographer has officially been born!
My first professional shoots this past summer have been a whirlwind of fun and learning. Results I previously thought I could only achieve with a paintbrush ensued, and at a fraction of the cost and time of physical painting. I will be posting my favorites from recent shoots as I continue to progress (and I will have to find a place for them – either on this site, or my company site?), and I am so thrilled and excited to see where this takes me.
In the meantime, please enjoy the above featured image, of my lovely client just before she gave birth to her firstborn child (and yes – I recently took photos of her newborn as well! Stay tuned!), and if YOU have ever changed your mind completely about something – whether it’s an artform or a theory, or a way of doing things, please feel free to share it in the comments below; I am really curious to hear others’ experiences!
This has truly been an eye-opener for me, as I rethink who I am as an artist. And although I will never ever stop painting, I am so grateful to have found yet another wonderful avenue for expressing the love I have for this breathtaking world we have been given.
It’s been a whirlwind couple of months, leading up to the gallery show, “I HAVE A DREAM – 50 Yeas of Change,” at El Taller Latino Americano, where I have been invited to display my multimedia tribute piece to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It has been the most involved, collaborative, and intense art project I have ever done.
The gallery opening was on Wednesday, July 24th, and in the weeks preceding I spent over 100 hours creating a painted portrait of Dr. King, based on screenshots from the videos of over 50 people, from all walks of life, who each generously took the time to recite one line from the speech to camera.
In addition, my piece, officially titled “I Have A Dream 2013,” (below, right) includes a video montage of all the submissions I received, and that video can also be seen at the gallery, on a tablet under my painting.
This entire experience has been so moving, and so time-intensive, that I am only now catching my breath enough to step back and appreciate what has been created, not just by me, but by the amazing people who believed in Dr. King’s dream enough, to lend their voices and faces to the project. I am ever in their debt.
The gallery show ends this Saturday, August 10th, so I invite all of you to feel free to come up to 104th and Broadway in NYC and see all of the amazing work before it closes. I am so honored, not only to be able to show alongside such esteemed and established artists such as Felipe Galindo, Martin Kozlowski, & Sylvia Hernandez; but also to be part of an exhibit curated by my wonderfully talented and gifted mentor, artist Andrea Arroyo.
Read Press: El Diario»
If you’d like to visit, gallery hours are Mon-Thurs 10-6, and Sat 10-1, and the address is:
The Grady Alexis Gallery – El Taller Latino Americano
2710 Broadway, 3rd Fl. New York NY 10025. 212-665-9460
It’s free to attend, and I hope you can make it, but either way, more is yet to come for IHaveADream2013.com – so stay tuned!
Just a little over a week ago, I wrapped my yearly children’s art classes at Artistic Dreams International, and I can’t say enough how rewarded and blessed I feel, to see the changes that occur in these kids when their minds are brought into focus, and their eyes are opened up to their true potential.
Last year I taught an all-inclusive, basics-building drawing class that ranged from perspective to observation, from contour-drawing to self-portraiture, and it was fantastic! We packed so much within 3 short hours a day, that I knew each child found at least one lesson that they could really hold onto, and bring into their future art projects.
This year, however, I was informed that may of the children had shown an interest in learning more technically advanced drawing skills. Thus, I was inspired to take things up a notch, incorporate some mixed media, and truly challenge them.
Drawing Exercise: Photos-to-Drawings Picture Grids.
The results, from kids no older than 8 or 9, and some as young as 4 and 5 (not pictured here), speak for themselves:
Now, normally I’d recommend this exercise for kids ages 10 and up, but with help (especially with the grid construction), even much younger children can get something out of it. I took the liberty of making a video of how I created my own Picture Grid: this one I call the “Surrealist Half-Picture,” because much like in Surrealist art, most of the drawing is recognizable and fairly realistic, but I added a few unusual details (which the kids really enjoyed), to make it all my own.
I showed this video to the children at the start of class, and immediately I could see how it motivated them to get started!
As always, teaching was super fun, but two elements of the class stood apart as my favorites of the day:
1) That golden period where all the kids are eagerly bent over their work, hushed and focused on their pieces, happy & in their own little worlds.
And 2) That magic moment when a child is nearing the completion of their work, and they lean back from it, only to realize that – WOW! It actually looks like the picture! I remember this moment vividly for myself when I was a kid doing a grid exercise; it was one of the first times I realized I could really draw if I put my mind to it, and it was a tremendous self-esteem booster. It is deeply gratifying to see a new generation experience that same revelatory and positive feeling.
So what’s the takeaway? It’s this: Art Matters. Artistic Dreams educates young people with little or no access to the arts. Without ADI, many of these kids would never have the opportunity to learn from professional artists and uncover their hidden talents. Some of these children have learning disabilities, are monitored by case workers, or have trouble in school. In an academic setting, they may be labeled as different; or perhaps just as bad, they might be educated in a classroom so crowded, they receive no individual attention at all.
Not at ADI. The ratio of teachers to students can be as low as 1 to 3 (I had 3 teaching assistants myself!); every child receives individual attention; and every child is treated as though they are as competent and capable as all the others. For example, we had one student who was diagnosed with ADHD, and yet, they were able to sit quietly for over an hour, creating a beautiful, highly detailed drawing that any child would be proud to show a parent. Imagine if they could apply that same focus to a math problem or a reading passage? (Read my recent post: Art Education Matters»)
And I don’t take the credit for this. I may have designed the drawing lesson, but ADI has created a program that is truly unique: incorporating yoga, meditation, leadership skills, and accountability into the art curricula that art teachers like myself, bring to the classroom. I have never experienced anything like it — I was just as happy to learn yoga as the children were — and it is a model that I hope can be utilized in academic and extracurricular settings across the country, because it works!
I donate my time and art materials to ADI because they utilize art and music to transform the lives of students all over the world. It doesn’t matter if we reach 10 students or 10,000 – to me, it’s worth every penny and every effort. But of course, the more kids we can reach, the more lives that can be changed. If you want to learn more, please visit ArtisticDreams.org, or make a donation here», and help ADI expand its amazing outreach.
Thanks so much for reading, and until next time,
I am so excited that my Charity Art Auction portrait, the sale of which benefitted the Sandy Hook / Newtown School Support Fund, has been completed and given to the donor!
I took much longer than I intended, as well as artistic license, because just doing a simple portrait did not seem like enough. Working closely with the donor, I asked her what her favorite things were, and cats came up very high on the list. Realizing she did not have one herself, I thought it would be nice to include one in her portrait. I then chose one of her most interesting features, her hair, and stylized its rendering, giving it a very illustrative quality, and much more dimension than if I had left it as a simple mass of black.
In the end the portrait came out much more finished and imaginative than either of us could have guessed, and I hope that the donor enjoys having it in her home, as much as I enjoyed drawing it.
Looking forward to portrait #2!