Gonna be honest, I don't have much to say today. I'm really tired, didn't sleep that well last night, or the night before...or for many nights, I guess. I spent much of the morning prepping for a drawing lesson. I have a great woman who I met when a friend of hers gifted her a Zentangle class with me. She has taken several Zentangle classes with me in the last couple of months. Last month she asked if I could give her drawing lessons (non-Zentangle) and it has been so much fun teaching her, especially because it's forcing me to really learn the foundational aspects of drawing that I've resisted learning. Anyway, I was able to finish this painting this evening. I am enjoying this style and I really like this particular paper. I wish I had made notes about the colors and process I used when I stained it because I just love the combination of colors that occurred. Well, good night world...I wonder what I'll come up with tomorrow....
What I'm about to say might be "out there" for some people. I've never really been into butterflies. They're pretty and all but I've never really had the fascination with them like as decorations or adornments, etc. The only thing I can really recall about butterflies is from a Simpsons episode where they go to Italy, run into Sideshow Bob and his kid, who's set on vendetta, is chasing after a butterfly saying "Vendetta, Farfalle Vendetta". My husband and I cracked up at that. Of course, butterflies represent change and transformation. I'm getting to the "out there" part...in the days after our beloved dog died, we were "buzzed" by several butterflies. We just had this sense that Kagero was sending them to us to give comfort. She, in our beliefs, had transformed from a physical being to a spiritual one and was telling us that she was not only ok, but still with us. Since then, I've regularly noticed butterflies, especially white ones (she was primarily white colored). Since then, not surprisingly, I've thought about incorporating butterflies into my work but nothing has felt like the right opportunity....until today. I decided that one of my ink-stained pieces of paper would look lovely with a butterfly. I think this will be very beautiful when it's done. I often forget to take progress pictures so I managed to remember today and posted the first 3 stages above. I haven't talked about my grief much lately, but it's still very present in my daily life but I'm managing/coping with it. It feels really good to be finding another way to honor her in my work. I miss her every minute.
Crystal Moody, who is working on a year of creative habits, mentioned the Collect app in a blog post. It's a way to keep a visual diary of each day. Here's my collage for the work I created/worked on in August. I took the 2nd off as a vacation day and some days have more than one pic uploaded but it's pretty cool to see all of my work all at once!
13 weeks in the bag and it keeps on going! I made the blue ink-stained paper a couple of weeks ago but wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it, so I figured it best to wait for inspiration to strike. I really loved the koi I did last week and feel drawn (no pun intended) to do more of them. I think the inky paper looks kind of like water so it makes sense to use it for the koi. In the other ink paintings I've done, I've let the colors form the objects by obscuring the rest of the background but I want to preserve the background in this one so I'll be painting the koi with more opaque paint, covering the blue where the fish will be. I'm thinking I want to use white, cream, yellows, reds and oranges on the fish to create a nice contrast between the background and the fish. I sketched out some compositions to get an idea of how to set up the painting. I'm leaning toward the composition with two fish, which will be different colors to set them apart from one another since they are so close in proximity to each other. We'll see :)
90 days! Wow...I'm really impressed with myself. I am so good at giving up on/quitting things, especially when it feels hard but I haven't quit this project, and it hasn't always been in a walk in the park. I really have no idea when this project will end but it's helping me be more focused on art making and learning that I just can't let it go yet. In fact, I could stand to be even more focused than I have been. I'm going to think about if I need to be a bit more structured with my project.
Today's contribution is my completed "The Great Escape." I added in the gold wire details on the birdcage and a few details on the bird. I wanted to keep them simple so that the vivid colors aren't covered. I free-handed the lines on the cage so they are pretty wonky. Part of me wishes I'd spent more time and gotten more precise with them but another part of me really likes the wonkiness...the cage is quirky and I like quirky. I like how this came out. I especially like my bird. I'll have to draw that again. Like I said yesterday, I like this imagery and will likely use it again!
I mentioned yesterday that my hand was feeling pretty sore after working on the colored pencil stained glass piece. When I woke up this morning, my poor hand was very painful and I wasn't confident I'd be able to do anything today. But, I took some pain reliever and the pain abated. But I figured it best to lay off the colored pencils today. So, after considering my options, I decided to work on another silhouette piece. I've had this idea of a bird escaping its cage for a while, just not sure how to use it. I'll probably use this imagery in other work as it resonates with me. I really am enjoying the process of this style and seeing the background colors/patterns emerge as the objects while the white obscures the rest. For this one, I'll add at least one more coat of white, probably two. I started the white layers with pearlescent acrylic ink but it was just too shiny. For the last white layer, I think I'll mix the pearlescent and regular white together to tone down the shinyness but still add a little sparkle. I'll be using yellow pearlescent ink for the cage and blue pearlescent ink for the bird. I'm excited to see how this one comes out!
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!
Most times I just "know" when a piece is done but this one is vexing me a little. I've gotten rave reviews on this one on Facebook, even before it was close to finished so I'm feeling torn. I like how the koi came out. I kept the details subtle because I didn't want to obscure the colors. What I'm struggling with is the idea that there can't just be one item on the page. When I originally thought of this idea, I thought I'd add a couple of lily pads but now I'm not so sure. I sought suggestions from my lovely FB friends and got some good ones. Based on one suggestion, I uploaded the photo of the piece into Paint and added in the lily pads where I thought of them but I think they detract from the fish, so I don't want to do that. I did just a bit ago think of adding some air bubbles but I'm not sure of that idea either. So, I'm going to follow another great suggestion and just set it aside for a couple of days and then see if I still feel like adding to it.
Since these "silhouette" style drawings/paintings have been successful/popular, I've decided to keep exploring them. I wanted to create some new backgrounds The bluish one is a fresh one I started today but the other two were pages that I had stained with ink/paint sometime last year. I didn't like how they turned out and just didn't know what to do with them. I have heard that an artist should never throw work away so I hung on to them. I've looked at them time and again since I made them but just put them away again because I couldn't figure out what to do. But I realized this afternoon that these would be great to work with as backgrounds, they just needed more layers. of ink. So, I soaked these pages and stapled them to an art board to help reduce buckling. Then I added more ink and more ink and more ink. I decided to play a little bit and added some drops of rubbing alcohol to disperse the ink and so far they seem to be coming together rather nicely! I think what I'm really enjoying about these inky backgrounds is that I'm letting myself just play and experiment...observing what happens, letting ideas just flow. I love that feeling and the reward when they end up looking interesting. I wish I could find that flow/ability to play with more of my artwork...
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!
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..