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!
Holy crap it's awesome to sell my art! I decided that my koi drawing was done without adding anything more. I really like how it turned out. Well, so did lots of my friends on Facebook, one of whom decided she had to have it. It's so exciting to move people with my work. What's interesting about this piece is that it came so easily. I've been wanting to do something with koi fish (I have other works in mind) and it just seemed to make sense to use the patterns of the ink stained paper to form the koi's skin. I drew the fish and painted around it. Just these two actions drew rave reviews. So much so that it just seemed too easy...like I hadn't actually done anything to this piece but other pieces that I spend hours upon hours working on draw crickets. It feels like I just simply don't know what people will like. I can't remember if I've talked about it previously here but I know I've discussed this with my husband...that the pieces I seem to like the least, other people like the best and the ones I'm particularly proud of seem to draw little to no reaction. I think I'm going to start taking note of what reactions come to see if there's a pattern...maybe there's not but I still wonder.
A couple weeks ago, I discovered a blog by another artist doing a daily creative project. Crystal Moody is doing a year-long project and started it in January so she's much farther in. You can find her blog here. I've spent the last couple of days reading most of her posts and I feel like she is a kindred spirit. So many of the things she's written about, I too have either written about, thought about or discussed with others. Her fears, resistance, discoveries, etc resonate with me so completely. Please check her blog out. Her work, both written and visual, inspires me!
Now for today's work. I've decided to keep up with the drawings on the ink stained paper. I've opted to let the ones I made yesterday dry a little longer so I used the last piece of one of the very busy inky/painted pages that I cut up last week. The other drawings have had more representational elements (flowers and the fish). This one was calling for something more abstract. As I looked at the page, I could see areas of the ink drawing that were prominent and wanted to stand out. Then I thought about scribbly ovals to isolate them and then obscure the rest of the background with the white acrylic ink. I like the simplicity of this composition juxtaposed with the complexity of the underlying patterns. I think I'm going to keep working with this style. These last 4 pieces have been smaller, 5.5" x 7" but I think I'm ready to go bigger. I can't wait to see what comes next! Oh yeah, and I've completed 12 weeks of this daily art project! So crazy!
OMG!!! I've mentioned Craftsy on here before. I took that colored pencil class that I didn't like so much and they graciously refunded. I saw that they were running a contest last month for cityscapes and since I was in the midst of drawing those myself I thought it apropos timing. I entered my Kagero's (worm's) eye view drawing (posted again below) just for kicks. I thought it'd be great just to have more eyes on my drawing but really had no expectations of winning. Then last weekend "The Drawing Club" Facebook page (which is run by Craftsy) posted my picture in marketing the contest and I was so excited to see that! That post got more than 1.7K likes! The contest ended on the 26th, when a committee at Craftsy would evaluate the submissions and declare a winner. Earlier today I wondered if they had decided yet. Then this afternoon I got an email from them saying that I had won and that they loved my drawing!!!! I won! I won, I won, I won!! OMG! This was the first contest I've entered and I won!!! So crazy exciting!! This is such a huge boost to my confidence! I'm now an award-winning artist :) You can read their lovely blog post here
Since finding out about this, I've just been too excited to do anything. I'm planning to expand my Zentangle workshop offerings to include classes in shading and color. I spent today working on lesson plans and samples for a color class using colored pencils (I'm planning separate workshops for watercolor, acrylic ink, marker techniques, etc) and I got started thinking about teaching shading. I started some samples using the Kunstler pattern (named for artist Juliana Kunstler). So, not so much art was made today but I really want to start offering more advanced classes so I gotta start somewhere!!
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!
Week 7 is in the books...crazy! I'm still working away at my current cityscape. I finished all the line inking on one half and have started drawing the pencil lines on the other half. I'll be continuing on it tomorrow but I'm thinking I might work on something else, too. Variety is the spice of life, right?
In other awesome news, I received my free tin of pencils from the Derwent Art Academy. I was just wondering this morning how long it would take for them to get here...they came from the UK and then there they were this morning, delivered by the mail carrier! I'm so excited to play with them!
I still can't believe that 7 weeks have passed since I started this daily art project. Like I said in an earlier post, I plan to keep doing this project until it makes sense to stop. I keep seeing posts on Facebook from inspirational pages/people that say something to the effect of stop putting off your dreams or stop waiting to get started because the time will pass anyway so if you start now, you're already that much farther along. That's how I'm feeling right now...but sometimes wishing I had started earlier than just 7 weeks ago. But I can't change the past, all I can do is be happy that I now have all of these pieces of art created (or in progress...) and they likely wouldn't have been created if I hadn't decided to just make it happen. I've also been inspired to make series of some of the things I've created. As I learn new techniques and as I get better and better at executing them, I know I'll discover what my artistic style and voice are...I'll just know what it is that needs to be expressed. If there is a dream you've been waiting to chase until it's "just the right time", please the right time is right now...this moment is the only thing that's guaranteed. Don't squander it, don't wait, don't worry, don't die with the regret that you never chased that dream!!
I was really hoping to have something new to add for today's contribution to my daily art project but it ended up being a busy day and I ran out of time. I gave a Zentangle class for two very lovely women, who have been amazing students and are swiftly becoming dear friends. They've also been so supportive to me in a number of ways and I am so incredibly grateful for them. I spent time this morning prepping for our class and then gave the class midday and then we were done, got husband from work, made dinner and realized that it was getting late and I had nothing done...eek! So, I grabbed my pencils and set to work on some more flowers. It's coming together and I like the addition of the color but this one is going to take some time. I'm easily distracted so I'm reluctant a little to try to do something else and do this at the same time because I do want to finish it but I also need to keep up my momentum on developing new skills. I'm going to try tomorrow morning to create something new and then work on these flowers in the evening when we're watching TV. I can do this!!
I had every intention of doing a drawing today but I guess the Universe had other plans for me today. I've been reading several books on how to improve my drawing and sketching skills so I spent a couple of hours this morning reading through one but I felt really sleepy before I could do any drawings. I've never been a good sleeper but it's been even harder to come by in the last few days, so I opted for a cat nap on the sofa. When I awoke, I felt compelled to find pictures of Kagero on our external hard drives. I haven't been able to look at pictures of her since we lost her last week without bursting into tears...I even had to change several profile pictures on various websites because it hurt so much to see her sweet face. But today, I had to look at them, all of them (and there are hundreds)...seriously compelled to look at them. At first I felt the pang of loss but I quickly came to feel like she was right here with me, that her presence was next to me on the sofa looking at them, too. It actually brought me much peace and immense gratitude. So, instead of a drawing today, I present some pictures of the best pup (I think) to have ever graced this world. I promise a new drawing tomorrow!