October has brought a ton of daily art challenges and I'm going to try to incorporate them into my own daily practice. I'm trying to develop my sketching skills and creating my own version of the things I see as opposed to strict realism. So today's drawing is a teacup from my grandma's collection drawn in an illustrative style (with the hard, black outlines) and colored with the inktense blocks. I like how this turned outOne year ago today I took the proverbial leap toward making my dreams a reality. I gave up a decently paying, secure job with great benefits but that was also slowly killing me for the less certain life of an artist. This has been the best year of my life in so many ways and the worst year in others. While I'm not yet fully replacing my prior income through my art, financial disaster did not occur (as I had feared it would for years before deciding to leave the job world) and we've been doing pretty well for ourselves and I'm excited for the even greater amounts of financial abundance that I know are on their way to us now. It's also been amazing to have more control over how I spend my time and who I'm spending it with. Making art is so very rewarding even when it's bad and I'm excited to see what each day brings. I didn't know when I left my job that Kagero was sick and that our time together was drawing swiftly to an end but I'm so grateful I didn't wait any longer to leave. I got to spend so much time with her before she started getting sick and I got to care for and comfort her when she needed me and I didn't have to choose between her and my job. Losing her has made this one of my most difficult years but not having to go to work has allowed me to grieve in my own way, to take things slowly, to cry when I need to (like right now) and not have to worry about what's "appropriate" or not. I am so incredibly grateful for my husband, Oscar, who has been only supportive of me on this path, who wants me to be happy and who is happy that I am no longer grumpy and miserable at the end of each workday. I'm grateful to my parents and to my sister for their support and encouragement and for being my best customers to date. I'm also grateful for all of my friends, for their support and encouragement. While I lost a very precious part of my life this past year and I wish I could have her back (but only if she could be healthy), everything else has been amazing and it feels great to know that I'm finally on the right path and I expect this next year to be even more incredible. If there is something you feel you should be doing that you aren't currently doing, what's stopping you? Life has to be lived right now and don't let your fears keep you from having the life of your dreams!
I have this "problem" and I've talked about it before. Now, I guess it's really a good "problem" to have but it perplexes me still. It seems like at some point every week, I get to a point where I have just too many ideas and I can't decide where to start. I guess the problem doesn't really lie in the abundance of ideas part of the equation but rather in the inability to decide. I haven't figured out why I get so stuck in this situation. I was stuck for YEARS with no ideas at all and now I have so many I still end up paralyzed. I'm thinking there has to be fear in there somewhere..."what if I pick the wrong idea?", "what if I mess it up this time and then never come back to it?", "what if I end up wasting materials?"...I'm certain there are many others. Why are these "what if" questions always skewed negatively? I would much rather think "what if it's amazing?!", "what if I sell it for a ton of money?!", "what if I love it and decide to make more?!". That feels so much better...I think I really need to be aware when those negative questions are coming and shift them!
I hit that paralyzed state again this morning as I tried to come up with what to work on today. I settled on playing around with my PanPastels. I've had these for more than a year now but hadn't even opened them. I've worked with pastels before, both hard and soft, and I like them but these are different...even have special tools for application. I've looked around online a bit for some techniques/tips but didn't really find anything compelling to do so I just figured I start with a flower. The application is kind of wonky and I don't really like how big the applicators are. I guess my paper was also just a little rough because one side of one of the sponges tore a little. I know these are made especially for use with the PanPastels but I'm not a fan of them so far although I do love how rich and vibrant the colors themselves come out. I think I need to keep playing to see how to build up layers, get nice shading, etc. I only have the six pans shown in the picture but I think I'll be adding them to my wishlist!
Day 60...officially 2 months into my daily art practice. I guess I would be at 63 days had it not been for that bad week at the beginning of June when we lost our sweet dog but I'm really proud of myself that I didn't let that become an obstacle for me. I've learned a lot over the last 2 months, as I hope I've adequately relayed. What's been great about this is feeling like I'm connecting to my true self everyday. I guess there have been days when I haven't really felt like making art but when I've felt like that I'm usually tired, maybe a bit cranky, sometimes having a pity party, but once I sit down to work on something, even if it's just sketching some ideas, I start to feel better about those other things. I've been trying to do sitting meditation for years and I'm sure I just give up too easily but I typically find myself just dozing off or full on falling asleep, even with guided meditations. I get frustrated and just stop. But I'm finding more and more that when I'm drawing, especially stuff like my cityscapes which use such intricate linework, that I'm able to focus on that so much that I can mentally sit back and observe my thoughts, much like they say to do in sitting meditation...watch them come and go like clouds. The activity of making art really does help to ground me in the present moment, which I think is why it helps me feel better, when I'm feeling upset or angsty....those things that I'm agonizing about or catasrophizing in my mind haven't happened, everything is perfectly ok right here, right now in this very moment. Then I can't help but feel grateful for this moment, for the ability to make art in this moment, for all the abundance (material and immaterial) that surrounds me in this moment. How amazing is my life? Very...very.
I worked more on the Zentangle inspired drawing today, but I was a little tired of the green so I opted to shift to the pinks on the Purk pods. I thought I'd get them all done today in just a couple of hours, but not so much. I've never really clocked how much time I spend working on my drawings but today I just happened to notice the clock when I sat down to work. I spent 2 hours, pretty much straight through, on that one pod and putting down the base layer on the other two. That may not seem like a long time, but I really did think I'd get all 3 of them done today in that couple of hours. Imagine my surprise when I saw how much time had passed and only one was done. It's interesting because I know that hours pass when I work, but once I'm in the flow, I don't really notice how much time really goes by. So, more hours are ahead for me as I continue to color.
I'm giving a Zentangle lesson tomorrow and was thinking about what I want to teach tomorrow and decided to create a Bunzo (that's the pattern name on the tile below) monotangle in a spiral formation. Bunzo is one of my very favorite tangles/patterns but it's one that I just have to remind myself to trust along the way. I always feel really funky about it while I'm working on it because my inner critic likes to chime in on how ugly it looks and how I should just give up. But I know once the spaces are colored in, shaded and highlighted, it will look cool, so I keep at it. I just love this one!