Got started on another drawing using the ink stained paper from a couple weeks ago. I've really been wanting to put some koi fish into my art but I haven't had the right opportunity. The flowers on these inky paper pieces have been interesting so I thought this might be a good way to try a koi. I might have more time to work on this tonight but I want to be more careful with these. I do layers of the white acrylic ink to obscure the background and on the last one I didn't let the layers dry enough in between and I ended up with cracks in several places on the paper. I'm trying to resuscitate it by covering the cracks but I'm not sure I can save it. But that mistake gave me the knowledge I needed to avoid doing that again. So, this one (and probably future ones) will take more time to complete to allow for ample drying. I'm hopeful, though, that I'll have it done tomorrow. I'm really excited to see how this one evolves. I don't really have any definite plans for it (I have some ideas but who knows what will make it to the paper!). Tune in tomorrow for more on my koi!
For the last couple of days I've talked about not quitting things so easily so I did those colored pencil exercises figuring they would lead to more learning. However., after viewing the rest of the videos for the Craftsy colored pencil class, I've decided to quit. Thank goodness I got that class on the super cheap. I do not recommend it! Here are some of my issues...there's a supply list provided that one would come to believe is complete and yet in each lesson, she uses supplies that were not on the list and that now must be either found or purchased in order to proceed. Um...ok...how hard would it be to amend the supply list and post an updated version so that students can be prepared from day one? Another issue I have with the class is the teacher's delivery. She's clearly a very talented artist but her speaking style is very halting rather than fluid which was distracting to me. It seemed like she wasn't really sure what she was going to say and was under prepared to teach this content, but this could just be how she talks. I expected this class to be about learning techniques to help me develop my drawing skills (the class is called "Drawing with Colored Pencils") and yet there was very little actual instruction, mostly a lot of watching her color with the pencils. She talked about being experimental and playful, which is an important aspect of art making and one that I could use more, but I purchased this class thinking that I would be learning more specific techniques like blending, strokes, etc to develop my understanding and experience with this medium. This class was very short on those things. So, after viewing the videos for the next 3 exercises, I opted out. One reason being that I didn't have all of the supplies necessary and I'm done buying supplies just for this class. Another reason being that I didn't feel like she adequately explained how to complete the exercises and I just couldn't handle listening to her again. So, I quit...this class anyway.
I still want to learn better colored pencil techniques so I pulled out a couple of books on colored pencils that I've had for years and decided to start from the beginning. I may not do all of the exercises in these books but I'll do ones that attract my attention. I also have more Craftsy classes to do so I'll shift to those soon, too.
Well, here's today's daily art contribution. One of the first exercises in one of the books is to explore texture and tone using one colored pencil, creating an orange. I had problems with this exercise. First, I didn't have the same color of pencil used in the book and the one I ended up using didn't get deep enough tones despite how many layers I put down. So, I ended up using a couple of other pencils, too. Another issue I had was that I was drawing from a picture of a drawing rather than from life. I'm not into photorealism so I'm not bothered by it not looking exactly like an orange in every detail but I think it would have been better to have drawn an actual orange. Also, the drawing I was using as a reference didin't have a shadow but I wanted to include one so I did, but since I didn't have a reference for it, it turned out funky. Then I didn't like it floating out there in the space of the paper so I opted to add in the background to include a table. That really messed it up....oops! Finally, the paper was not the right one for colored pencil. It has too much texture so I'll try a smoother Bristol paper next time. So, many lessons learned in this one. I was tempted to not post it and try to do something else instead but I need to own the crap I create as much as the pretty things I create. They can't all be winners!
Derwent's art academy has been such a blessing in that it has exposed me to techniques I've never tried before and likely would not have given a chance. Today's assignment (the last one!) was to do Sgraffito (scratching) with oil pastels. The teacher said to just use her picture of her cats as the reference image but I like dogs better so I used a pic of a Scottish Terrier instead. Layers of different colors of oil pastel are laid down onto the paper and then the image is drawn in using an embossing tool. Then either the background is scratched away with the embossing tool to expose the colors underneath leaving the dog in silhouette (like mine below) or the dog is scratched away leaving the background darker. I chose colors based on my current preferred pallet of blues and purples. The top layer is the darkest value and before scratching it's hard to tell that there are other colors of various values below it. I realized after I started scratching, however, that I should have used a much darker color on the final layer so there would be greater contrast between the dog and the background but otherwise, I think it looks cool! I'm not entirely sure how or where I'd use this technique in future projects...oil pastels are kinda messy (in a different way from the hard/chalky ones) so it definitely would need to be fixed in some way. I guess I should look up info on how to preserve oil pastels.
I'm super excited to have finished this series of lessons. As I mentioned over and over again, I'm not super great at sticking with things, especially when I feel doubtful about being able to manage the tasks. I guess the fact that it was free and includes a free set of pencils upon completion (bonus!) was enough for me to push myself a bit. I really do have to reflect upon what I've gained through just these 6 lessons. First, I've proven to myself that I can complete something that I start. I realize this is really an absurd idea since there are so many things I've completed in my life, I mean I graduated with a Master's degree for crying out loud!, but I find it so easy to quit when I'm attempting to make art. This is so ridiculous, of course, since I feel so great when I'm making art, especially when my ideas are turning out great. Second, I can successfully try new techniques, even things that look really difficult or complex, with fantastic results. This doesn't mean I've mastered a technique the first time, I'll need to keep practicing to get better and better. But, I tried something new and the world didn't end and I didn't die from doubt and fear. Third, I've been so inspired by the colored pencil on black paper project. I've talked at length in previous posts about what I've learned through that process but if it hadn't been for this art academy, I'm not sure I would have tried this technique. While right now, I'm digging the colorful birds on the black paper and I'm working on a series of them now, I'm also seeing possibilities in doing series of butterflies, tropical fish, flowers and who knows what else in colored pencil on black paper. Inspiration is an amazing thing and after years and years of artist's block, it feels incredible to finally be inspired. Fourth, I feel more connected to my creative process and art making after doing this art academy than I have in, I don't know, forever! I was talking to my dad on the phone this afternoon and he told me how much he likes my colored pencil birds and after telling him about how great it's been making them and trusting that they will emerge from the paper, he said how happy he is to hear the excitement in my voice as I'm talking about them...that he never heard that when I was in college (thanks, Dad, I love you!). And he's right...I've not felt this excited about "work" ever before in my life. While I try to live my life without regrets, if I could go back and be an art major instead of a psychology major...I would seriously consider it. Ultimately, I'd probably not change a thing but the message to me and the message I'd like to convey to anyone who might be reading this. is...nurture the artists in your life, especially those who are still children. Let's stop forcing people into boxes that don't fit them and let them know that they can choose to do the things that make them most happy, that make them feel most at home in their hearts. Life isn't only about how much money you make, how big your house is or that you're driving the newest model of a luxury car. If those things are what's truly important to you, that's cool but I was absolutely miserable chasing these t
Thanks for reading! I'm off to find more free technique classes and stay tuned as the daily art project continues!
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...
I started this daily art project to get into the habit of making art daily. I sometimes feel like the biggest procrastinator in the whole world and while making art brings me much joy and feels coming home over and over again, I resist making it like a pro (professional procrastinator, that is!). I know much of this is due to fear...fear of failure, fear of rejection but I think also some fear of success.
I don't really have much formal art training, just a few classes here and there, and this causes me much angst...like I don't know what I'm doing, my work is amateurish, etc. Some other things I feel like I'm missing in all this are the skills/strategies to overcome creative block, to find inspiration, to discover my own artistic language, and my artistic voice/style. I feel like at least some of this comes through art education but I could be totally wrong. Anyway, one thing I've noticed even after just one week of doing these drawings is that I really like the soft/dreamy look that a few of the drawings have. This is really interesting to me because I tend to like bright, vibrant colors. Several paintings I've completed and that are also in progress use bright jewel toned colors. But I'm really loving these softly colored drawings, especially the mushroom pictures.
Another thing I realized just this morning is related to my personal artistic language/symbolism...I love drawing/painting mushrooms! I don't particularly love eating mushrooms...except when I'm at Benihana, they know how to make them so delicious! But I realized this morning that I often refer to myself as a mushroom. My husband and I moved to the Pacific Northwest because of the wet, cloudy weather. Whenever people start going on and on about how happy they are that the sun is out and they start bugging me about going out into the sunshine, I often tell them that I'm a mushroom (while internally rolling my eyes at them ;) )...I prefer when it is dark and damp! So, it totally makes sense to me that mushrooms would be a personal symbol and part of my artistic language. How cool is this realization? I'm blown away by it and that it came after just a week of playing around. Now I have an idea for a whole series of small, acrylic paintings of mushrooms. Amazing!
I'm sticking with this daily art project indefinitely...no end date planned. Part of it is to create a daily ritual/habit of making art, especially since I'm not so good at sticking to things (as I've already mentioned). I'm also sticking with it because it's giving me an opportunity to try things on a small scale and to learn important lessons...like with today's drawing...sometimes it's best to quit when you're ahead.
Today's drawing started off nicely...yet another mushroom study. I sketched the mushroom in and got some of its color laid down then started with the background. The background looked nice to start with but seemed too simple. Maybe the real problem was that I tried to follow the reference photo too closely. I thought it all just looked too simple so I started adding stuff to the background and adding and adding. Well, I just took it too far (in my eyes) but once it's there it's there. But rather than let my inner critic rip me apart and insist that I tear that page out and dispose of it lest anyone see this disaster, I am posting it publicly in many places...it is what it is and I learned from it...so nothing was lost but much was gained.
What is one of your personal symbols...even if you aren't an artist?