Ugh...I just couldn't find the flow today. Saturdays aren't usually a big creation day but I didn't have any classes today so I figured I'd work on another "reworked" ink drawing like yesterday. I drew in the flowers and got to work with the white acrylic ink. I added it and then some more and then more and then too much...:/. The acrylic started to crack in places as it dried. I outlined the petals with blue or purple acrylic (and proceeded to knock over the bottle of blue ink...I was able to get much of it back into the bottle but damn that was frustrating!). I thought I'd jazz up the flowers with some white dots. Then it just didn't seem done so I got some turquoise and gold acrylic paint and added some flourishes but I just couldn't save it. I'm not sure what I could have done differently after the white was already put down. I think the problem lies in my design/composition. The way the flowers are clustered just don't really work. But that's ok...bad art is still art and the only way to good art is through the bad stuff. Hopefully, I'll find the flow tomorrow!
I have several pieces of those inky drawings I did last week that just didn't work and that I decided to cut into pieces. When I started painting again last year, it was really thanks to the work of Flora Bowley. She is one of my favorite artists and I just love her style...vibrant colors, organic imagery, they are so lovely (and so is she...I had the pleasure of meeting her twice since she also lives in Portland!). Having fallen in love with her work, I of course just had to learn how to make art like hers. I bought her book and made a very lovely painting (that actually looks nothing like her work, the second image below). Then I took her online course and made another lovely painting (again nothing like hers, the third image below). I just really struggled with the imagery part. Her process is amazing and there are definitely many aspects that I continue to employ but I have come to realize (and have posted about before) that her style is simply not mine and I can't force myself into that hole. But I decided to try again with imposing imagery on top of the abstract work but not worrying about laying color over color...just focus on the images and making them stand out.
I picked out one of the leftover drawing pieces and just started drawing in flower shapes on top of the dried ink/paint with pencil. Then I added in the stems and vase. With a brush, I painted white acrylic ink around the pencil marks. I used the ink because I wanted to keep it fairly transparent so you can still see something of the abstract patterns underneath it. Once the shapes took form, I used green acrylic ink for the vines and to outline and shade the stems, and pink acrylic ink to give the petals more definition. I also used some diluted acrylic inks in a couple of colors to make the vase form more cohesive. Finally, I added in the white details/highlights on the flowers and vase. I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out. Like most of my projects, I had to employ a lot of trust, perseverance and persistence. It's so easy to let that critical voice win and to just stop/give up but once again, I prevailed and the result is pretty much how I imagined after I had drawn in the objects. I think I'll have to make more of these...maybe with different colors to cover the background..
It's amazing to me how quickly time passes. It was 2 months ago to the day that we lost our beloved Kagero. The sharpness of the loss has eased a little but there is definitely a constant undercurrent of sadness. I know that feeling will eventually lift but it's just so heavy right now. But I am so very grateful for my art. It's not only given me a distraction from the grief but also an outlet. I've been spurred to learn more, grow more, experiment more and I think the results are pretty cool.
Today's contribution was actually completed pretty early today, which I'm happy about. I really want to do some reading and it's sometimes frustrating to feel like I have to choose between art and reading. So, I shall read tonight! I've mentioned before that having an abundance of ideas can be overwhelming and sometimes even paralyzing. Today was one of those days. I have at least 2 projects in progress but I just wasn't feeling like working on those. I considered starting several new projects but just couldn't get behind any of them today. I'm still waiting for access to my free Craftsy class so I couldn't start that either. So, I decided I just needed to play but play can be so hard to do. It can be so hard to let go of outcomes/expectations/judgements. I do think I had moments in this process where I was able to let go and just see what happened but it was definitely challenging. But I do like how it came out. It looks playful to me. I like the color choices and the sense of movement. I'll keep looking at it and see if I still like it. I was thinking during the process that if I didn't end up caring for the end result, I could always use it as a background for a collage or cut it into pieces and use them separately or even together. In fact, as I'm typing this I thinking about how interesting it could be to cut it up and reassemble it in a different configuration. Hmmmmmm.....
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!
Now that my "work week" has begun (with yesterday really just being an extension of the weekend) I'm committing to spending more time on my art and less time procrastinating. In any given day, I've wasted much time watching TV, surfing the internet, etc...all while avoiding making art. But if I want to make my dream of being a thriving (not just working) artist come true, sitting around not making art isn't going to get me there. So, onward and upward!
Today felt like progress, if not a success. I did spend more time than intended this morning on the internet but I was finally able to pull myself away and get started. I began my art time with the 5th lesson from Derwent's Art Academy on color mixing using watercolors. I don't feel like my finished product is up to par but I'll post it at the end, anyway. There are areas of this painting that I like...the small trees in the background and the large trunk/grassy area around the large trunk. What I don't care for is how the leaves of the large tree turned out. I think I got the area too wet and the colors just ran together too much. But I can't expect to be good at everything at first and I just need to keep practicing.
Because I was able to tear myself away from the computer earlier in the day than usual, I was able to start...and finish another colored pencil bird on black paper. I've picked out several pictures of birds that I think are pretty and that will stand out on the black paper. Yesterday's picture/posting was a compilation of the sketches from those pictures. I chose one to work on today. I know I mentioned this in the post about the second bird I completed but this idea became even more salient for me today...trust, trust, trust.
I actually had a bit of a false start on this bird. After I sketched the form on the black paper, I realized that it was shifted too far to the left and the tail was too short to balance it out. I hate to admit this, but in the past, this little slip would have been enough for me to give up on it. My inner critic (and I suspect many other people's critics, too) can be really harsh and abusive. It's interesting that we allow ourselves to talk to us in ways we'd never let anyone else get away with. Anyway, in the past, I've just listened to that critic and taken what it's saying as truth but not this time. I just took a breath and grabbed another sheet of paper, sketched it again and moved forward. What's crazy though, is the need to suspend that judgement over and over and over again through these pieces. These birds are created through layers of colored pencil and the first few, in my opinion, just look like crap and I think I'm never going to get it to look how I want. But like the last bird, I just decided over and over to trust...trust the process, trust myself, trust that the magic will happen...and then it does and the bird emerges from the page....and I'm happy!
It's interesting when a project feels like a success and I know I want to try something else with those techniques that the fear and doubt creep in almost immediately...like I'd never be able to replicate that success again so why bother? How absurd is that? Why would that thought even occur to me? After last night's bird on black paper piece was done, I thought it would be great to try other colorful birds on black paper...maybe do a series of them. I'd really like to finally build up a portfolio of consistent work and try to exhibit in a coffee shop or even a gallery soon. I need to get my work out there! So, today I spent some time looking for some reference pictures of colorful birds and found several that I wanted to try. As soon as I thought that it was time to sit down and draw already, the doubts creeped in. I'm pretty sure I found plenty of things to do that wasn't making art to distract me but I persevered and finally sat down to get to work. I started with a quick pencil sketch of the bird on white paper to get an idea of the shape of the bird and then picked out the colors I wanted to use. Then I got started. Even as I worked, I kept having doubts but I was able to keep myself from getting frustrated. I worried about not getting the colors "right" and as the pencil built up in layers, the wax of the pencils made it seem like I wasn't going to be able to get the texture I wanted to differentiate the feathers. But this one was really a testament to trusting the process. I kept working, listening to my inner voice as I chose what color to use where and, importantly when to stop. As I stood up and looked at it from a distance, I was so pleased with the result...did I really just create this? So happy I didn't let those doubts and fears stop me from using these techniques again! Also, I used one of the stamps I made of Kagero's paw print in my signature. So, happy I can include her in my work!
I was feeling pretty darn good about my artistic development with this daily art project...until today. My inner critic is slamming me pretty hard with this one, but I won't let it win, I'll just have to practice more. Today's drawing is from lesson 4 of the Art Academy using colored pencils. I'm not sure where I "went wrong" but I suspect that my pencils might be too soft and the paper has too much texture. I just couldn't seem to get smooth coverage and I think the wax from the pencils just built up too much and ceased to blend nicely. But I do see some wins with this one...it's recognizable as a rooster and it's the first time I've sketched a foundation using circles and ovals and then building up the form of the animal using the pencil strokes rather than drawing the outline of the bird first and coloring it in from there. I've seen people sketch like that; using ovals, circles, lines, etc but I've never learned how to use them myself. So, yay! I'll take those wins and keep practicing...but maybe with other paper and pencils...