New Home, New Desk, New Art

Well, it took quite a bit longer than I anticipated, but it seems things are finally settling down for me and my family. Last year, we started the ball rolling on a move from Louisiana to Texas. We made the move last summer, but the pandemic and an unexpectedly insane housing market made our transition to a permanent home take months more than we thought it would. But we did finally find a place (it was our sixth offer I think), and we’ve had a chance to settle in a bit. We’re mostly unpacked and, after about a month, it’s already starting to feel like home. We even got to experience a historic winter storm, how about that for timing?

My art workspace in our new place.

Since we’ve been without a permanent place to settle for at least seven months, I have not had a consistent drawing space. That has made my art hobby, and sharing to this site generally, somewhat of a challenge. I’ve gotten a few pieces done here and there, but it’s difficult to stay with it when everything has to be packed and unpacked each time. Now, I’ve got my own desk space again, which is a great feeling! It’s still a work-in-progress to achieve optimal comfort levels, but it’s definitely getting there.

One of my favorite things about this new art space is the natural light. During the day, this room gets some great sunlight. Not a direct beam, but some nice, bright light that is perfect for daytime drawing. Once the sun is down, the room might need some work on the lighting front, but that’s a challenge I can work on over time. I think I’m also going to need a new chair, as this one is not as comfortable as I’d like. But then again, it’s way better than the old chair I had in Louisiana, so maybe I’m being too picky there. Overall though, I’m really liking the space.

So, now that I’ve got desk space, time to draw right? It really has been a while, so I decided to start with something that is right in my comfort zone. Just a head-and-shoulders portrait, no tricky lighting or unusual challenges. I’ll post the result first, talk about the drawing process, then share a progression video.

Here’s the end result:

I can’t figure out who to credit for the original photo I based this on, but I originally saw the stock image on a Clickhole article titled “You’ll Get ‘Em Next Time: This Woman Who’s Accomplished Nothing All Quarantine Figures She’ll Knock The Next Global Pandemic Out Of The Park

The biggest challenge here was one I was not expecting. When I was buying a desk, I was so focused on shape, dimensions, and aesthetics…it never crossed my mind to consider the drawing surface texture! You would think that would be one of the first things on my mind, since drawing would be a one of its major uses. But apparently not! My previous desk was a cheap particle board job from Ikea. This one is still a lower priced option, but this time from Wayfair and maybe slightly nicer (call it one notch up from absolute bottom price). I guess part of the “niceness” package is a subtle series of ridges and very shallow grooves.

Anyhow, it looks good. But the drawing surface is not good at all. I’m not sure if it shows up in this image, but in person, I can definitely see the ridges from the desk in the drawing. I was so surprised when I started blending colors – it was a true “wait a just minute” moment. So, before the next drawing, I need to invest in a mat or some sort of drawing pad to rest my paper on. If anyone has any recommendations, I’d surely be glad to hear them! That was my biggest issue with this drawing – the weird textures I ended up with. Otherwise though, I’m happy with how it turned out. It has decent fidelity to the original photo image, and most of the details went to paper without too much need for touch up. I still need to get back to practicing on my weakest points, such as clothing shadows and hair. But not a bad effort here.

Another issue I had with the new setup was the way my camera arm was positioned against the desk. I didn’t realize it until I started editing the video, but this desk seems to move a bit more than the old one, and it kept rattling or vibrating the camera arm. It’s a small, subtle movement, but on camera it looks pretty intense! I had to keep the video speed lower than usual, only 2X speed instead of 6-8X, since higher speeds were more disorienting. I’ll have to figure out some solution to stabilize the setup. I guess the entire thing is a work in progress.

I’ll share the progression video below, which I’ve uploaded to the Amdall Gallery YouTube channel. As I mentioned, sorry about the wobbling and shaking of the camera – hopefully it’s not too distracting.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to start posting more soon. I’ve sadly neglected both Amdall Gallery and Armdog Reviews for quite a while now, perhaps the spring and summer I’ll get posts up more than once a month? I’m honestly just proud that I’ve been able to keep up my usual at-least-once-per-month pace through the chaos of moving. My streak is still going strong, since August 2017! That’s like three and half years…of course now that I’m sitting over here bragging about it, I’ll probably miss next month or something. Anyhow, hopefully more artwork on tap in the near future. I’ve got quite a few ideas in mind, it’s just a matter of putting pencil to paper!

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