Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shaping Up

My portrait of Thoughtful Boy is progressing well. Today I gave his face a little more shape by drawing his jawline. To do so, I started by drawing the line with the Paint tool:

Obviously, my line was unconvincing. Ah, but that just meant I'd get to play with my Smudge tool. I loved finger painting when I was a kid, and using the Smudge tool kind of reminds me of finger paints in the way it blends colors and redistributes pixels to produce a new effect. Only in this case, my hands stayed clean, and I could undo any mistakes! So I smudged happily away, creating a more realistic jawline.

Once I'd smudged my little guy's jawline, I softened it with Paint Shop Pro's soften filter. Then I reduced the opacity of the jawline layer until I was satisfied with the result.

Oh!--I feel like a mother! My little boy's growing up!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dave

Dave had chaired our church's Mission's Committee for the first three years that John and I were on it (we're currently in our fifth year). As we got to know him, we learned of his love of science, as well has his wild sense of humor. To compensate for missing his 60th birthday party this afternoon, I'm posting a video that I know he'll profoundly appreciate!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What More Do I Need?

In 1997, I returned to California after two very difficult years in Tennessee. I had been in a relationship that did not honor God, and I verbally abused my boyfriend during violent fits of rage. Obviously, I was not marriage material. (Neither was he, but his sin wasn't my responsibility.) I went home to California with the goal of dealing with my anger.

My pastor suggested that my anger resulted from childhood trauma. Without money or transportation, however, I had no way of going to a Christian psychologist for treatment.

I'm glad such an option was unavailable.

Thanks to personal Bible study, my husband's godly example, and the radio broadcasts of John MacArthur, the Lord has graciously helped me find victory over anger by choosing to walk in His Spirit. As I feed on His Word, His Spirit shows me the choices I need to make. He has given me patience and self-control! It's my decision whether I'll walk in those fruits of the Spirit, or whether I'll let the rotten fruit of the flesh control me.

Do I slip up? Sadly, yes. But the lengths and durations of my tantrums have been diminishing as I apply God's Word. I have no idea what the psychological roots of my anger are, but I suspect such knowledge would only offer me further excuse for my sinful behavior. Scripture, on the other hand, has been the Sword of the Spirit that cuts me free from anger! When God provides His Word, what more do I need?

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
~2 Peter 1:2-3 (NKJV)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Let's Face It!

I've decided that most of my readers, while they enjoy "seeing" how I draw, frankly don't want a detailed tutorial. So I've been working on my portrait of Thoughtful Boy for a while, giving the poor kid a face. I thought it was time to show my progress:

I blurred both his nose line and his mouth to soften their lines, but I also reduced their opacity so they would blend more naturally into his face. As you can see, drawing with layers gives me control over the individual elements of the portrait so that I can manage each one separately.

Now that the basic features of his face are established, I can move on to the finer details. You'll see them soon!

Monday, February 16, 2009


Have you noticed my blog's new look? Looks more like an actual museum, doesn't it? Thanks to a tutorial about making your own blog background on The Cutest Blog on the Block and Blogger's "gadgets" feature, I've been able to make sure that my graphic content (unless otherwise noted) is entirely my digital art.

Redecorating this blog has (despite moments of frustration with Photobucket) been great fun. But it has also challenged me spiritually. Early last week, I read a Scripture about two men who "redecorated" their worship in the wrong way.
Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. And Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the LORD spoke, saying:

'By those who come near Me
I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.' "

So Aaron held his peace.
~~Leviticus 10:1-3 (NKJV)

My thought, in reading this story, was that I want to worship the Lord according to His design for worship rather than implementing my own ideas. If God is holy, then He has the authority to determine how I am to live a life of worship.

So may this small act of redecorating my blog serve as a reminder to me that the Lord is the Person to restructure my worship of Him.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sometimes I Raise Eyebrows

Today I worked on Thoughtful Boy's Eyebrows, first simply by making lines with the Brush Tool. That looked okay for the brow farthest from the viewer, but the nearest brow feathers in to his skin a bit. So, I selected the Smudge Tool in order to lighten and blend.

Smudging his eyebrow helped somewhat, but it was too dark. To correct that difficulty, all I had to do was reduce the opacity of the Eyebrow Layer:

As a result, I got realistic eyebrows!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Little More Progress

Okay, I figured out that the screen shot I couldn't load to Blogger yesterday really was a corrupted file, so I just made a new one. As you can see, after drawing Thoughtful Boy's Face, I decided he really needed the top and back of his head, so I drew the base coat of his hair.

I will do the details of his hair at a later time; right now, however, I really think it's important to start filling in his face. I always like to start with the eyes, so I gave him some eyewhites. To find them, I used the Layer Palette to reduce the Face Layer to zero, so I could work only with the Background Layer (i.e., John's photograph) and the Eyewhite Layer. Then I restored the Face Layer to see my result:

Next, I did his eye color. Usually, I also do pupils and eye glints in my portraits, but this photograph shows neither, so why create extra work for myself? It was Sunday when I did the eye color, and I was tired, so I carelessly named the layer "pupils" (rationalizing that his eyes are dark anyway).
If you'll refer back to yesterday's post and look at John's original photo, you'll see that the power of this little boy's eyes lies with his eyelashes. So on Monday I again reduced the Face Layer's opacity to zero, and zoomed in to draw the lashes.

But since the photo is dark right at that area, I needed a backdrop which would allow me to separate my drawing from the photo. So I found a gradient I'd created some time ago, and used it for a Backdrop Layer.
Once I felt happy with the eyelashes, I reduced both the Background and Backdrop layers, so I could see my work so far. And here is my portrait as of Monday:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Work In Progress...Literally!

Friday, I started a new digital painting, based on a photo that John took at Vacation Bible School several years ago.

Isn't he a thoughtful looking little fellow? I'm hoping I can capture his expression as I paint him. Anyway, I thought I'd let everyone "watch" the progression of this portrait over the next few weeks (hopefully weeks, not months).

Paint Shop Pro allows artists to draw in "layers." Layers are absolutely essential to me in my drawing because they allow me to manipulate each individual element of a project without disturbing the other elements. Here is my layer palette as of yesterday:

I always like to start drawings by putting in the base of the subject's face. I guess I feel the face helps me think of the personality that will eventually form as I draw.
Blogger isn't permitting me to upload any more images right now, so tomorrow, I hope to post a blog entry showing his hair and eyes.


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