Once again, I'm inspired by Tara Leaver. She posted a pic of her sketchbook where she's working on a rainy street scene with oil pastel. I love hers (click on her name above to see the post) and decided to try it myself. I used water soluble oil pastels. Mine definitely looks different from hers but I like it. I wish I had used sturdier paper since I ended up using so much water but I didn't really expect to use that much when I started it. The goal was abstraction but I think this ended up being impressionistic. I do like it and maybe I'll try it again with different media and see what happens with it. I really do love abstraction, which makes sense since I'm not so much a fan of realism/ultra realism.
I've hit week 11. I think every week I say the same thing...the time goes by so fast. I'm so happy I started this project. I'm still grieving the loss of my dog and will likely be grieving for a while. There are still daily tears but it feel so good to be able to shift my focus onto my art. I think it keeps me from falling into self-pity but isn't the kind of distraction that keeps me from feeling the pain. I loved her so much and everyday wish I could have her back but I know that isn't possible and wallowing in her loss doesn't honor her so I choose to keep throwing myself into my art, to learn as much as I can, to find my voice. So, this project goes on...for how long, who knows? I hope you'll stick with me :)
One of my favorite artists, Tara Leaver, issued a challenge on her blog today to eschew the formulas and blueprints set out by others, to stop procrastinating with the internet and such and find our own solutions to our "problems" and in doing so we are likely to find a multitude of solutions. She challenged herself to draw as many trees as she could on a page in her sketchbook. Drawing a grid with 36 spaces, using no reference images, and working quickly, she drew 36 trees and at the end found that she could have drawn more.
I could swear every blog post she writes is written solely for me. I've taken many classes, online and in person (in a variety of media), over the years from artists who aim to show you their process and produce pictures that look like theirs. It's so tempting when you love and admire the work of an artist to take their class so you can make pictures that look like theirs. I'm guilty of this to a degree. I took Flora Bowley's Bloom True e-course last year because I adore her work. I love that she shares her process (in the course that you pay for of course) and I did my best to follow along, but before I even finished my first piece I realized that I couldn't follow her process to a T and find my own voice, too. Part of me would love to paint like her but that's not my style. I saw many lovely paintings come from my classmates but most of them look like Flora's, not like theirs. I want/need to discover my own artistic voice and there are parts of Flora's process I will continue to use (like painting with my fingers!) but I can't allow myself to paint like anyone other than me.
So, Tara's post today about resisting those blueprints and formulas spoke to me and I took her tree challenge. My sketchbook page only had room for 30 trees. I too, worked quickly and used only my imagination, no reference images. I struggled a little with the final 3 but the first ones came pretty easily. It was fun to see the variety and once I was done and looked at Tara's picture I saw that there were ideas I hadn't even thought of. This was fun to do and I'm thinking of other things to do with this challenge. How amazing would it be to fill page after page with images and ideas that could inform even more pieces of art?
Today marks 5 weeks done of my daily art project. It's kind of crazy! When the day began, I had plans to complete a couple of creations but the day had other plans for me. As I've mentioned on each previous Wednesday since we lost our dog, this day has been harder than any other day of the week. It's a stark reminder of how many weeks have passed (4 at this point). A friend emailed me to see how I'm holding up and I told her that I struggle with Wednesdays and she suggested that instead of letting this day get me down, I should use it as a day to celebrate Kagero instead. I'm not sure how I'll do this but I'm going to try this for next week. I was also feeling very overwhelmed and inadequate as an artist this morning. I feel like there's so much I don't know, so much I need to learn and I'll never make great art. I've been receiving some creativity coaching from Tara Leaver, who is an amazing artist herself, and she sent an email today checking in on my progress. I detailed to her how I was feeling and she really helped me to move through this funk. It'll probably come back again (this crap seems really common for artists) but she also reminded me that I'm grieving and that I have to practice self-care during this time and not beat myself up. When she said that, I realized that my "zest" to learn new things/feeling frustrated by a seeming lack of progress is me trying to push through and/or totally avoid my grief, neither of which help me much. So, I opted to just go with the flow today. After it being quite hot here yesterday, this morning was cool and overcast, perfect for a walk. I walked several blocks to a nearby elementary school and played on the swings for a bit. I watched a guy play ball with his dog and then I set out again for home. I didn't wear my earphones for music on this walk, just tried to be as present as possible, listening to the sounds around me, smelling the fragrance of nearby flowers, watching squirrels scamper about. It was very peaceful, pleasant. I hope the weather will cooperate more often in the mornings for more walks. When I got home, I thought about starting a new project but I just couldn't pry myself away from the computer. I got inspired, though to list some items in my Etsy shop, you can find me here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/kierstansart I hope to add more items soon. Then, with some time left in the afternoon, I opted to sketch out some ideas to finish my Joan Miro inspired painting (which is today's contribution to my daily art project). I started this way back at the beginning of my daily art project, day 3 was a Miro inspired sketch. It was time to finish this piece, so I came up with a design I liked and went for it. I had already prepped the background with diluted blue gouache. I penciled in my design and decided to draw it in with waterproof black ink and a dip pen with nib. I don't have much experience with these yet and, unfortunately, my lines are a bit off, too think in some places, too scratchy in others. Then I added in the colors. Once those were dry I reinforced some of the black lines and called it done. It's not as "precise" as I'd like it to be but that's ok. It's all about learning and I definitely learned that I need to practice with the dip pen to learn how to use it better. I do like Miro's style and may look for more inspiration from his work. I'm also including the week 5 compilation of each of this week's pieces.
Yay! Day 3...I'm not great at sticking with things so making it to a third day is actually an accomplishment for me :). I got started on today's drawing earlier in the day than yesterday, which is a good thing. I wasted much of day 2 goofing around on the computer that once I finished the sketch and got it posted, it was time for bed...no other creations yesterday. Today will be different since the daily art one is done and there's time to work on something else!
I'm doing this project for a few reasons. One, I've just been so stuck creatively that new ideas have been slow to come. Two, I've stopped playing with art making, feeling like now that I'm working to be a "professional" artist, all of the work I produce must be sellable. Three, I have a lot of fear around being visible, sharing my process, success, worthiness and deservedness (I don't think this is a real word but you get what I mean). Four, I'm a master procrastinator and I use any excuse possible to avoid making art for all of the above reasons and probably others.
So, the daily art project is a way for me to just play around with art and mark making with no pressure around having to sell it. I'm also hoping it will be a source for idea generation. I think as I get more comfortable with making art for it's own sake (and because it really does bring me tremendous joy when I surrender to it), I'll be making it from a more authentic place and I'll make progress toward finding my own artistic voice.
Ok, enough goofing off writing this post! Here's today's drawing. I recently did a class with Tara Leaver, called Artist Inspired, that uses great painters/artists as inspiration for our own work. One of the artists in this class is Spanish painter, Joan Miro. I'm planning a larger painting and have a background prepped but I was feeling nervous about "ruining" it so I figured I'd use my daily art project as an opportunity to play around with mark making in Joan Miro's style. Here's what I created! I used a Sakura bush pen for the black marks, Tombow markers for the color, and a white Sakura gelly roll pen for the white detail. The background is blue Tombow marker applied with a water brush. I've used water media the last three days in this sketchbook knowing full well that the paper doesn't hold up very well...wonder what's up with that? ;)