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!!
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!
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!
I didn't really expect to do a second drawing today but I ended up trying the second option on the 4th lesson in the Art Academy, a Blue Tit bird on black paper. Of course, the paper is different than the white and also has a texture but it seemed easier to overcome that texture on this one. I did do this one with a different brand of colored pencil than the rooster. I still ended up with wax buildup but it was different and didn't seem to be the same kind of obstacle that it was on the other one. I really like how this one turned out! The colored pencil on the black paper is so vivid and really pops!
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'm still working on Derwent's Art Academy. Lesson 3 is about sketching techniques and includes an assignment using stippling to create shading. Stippling is when you strike the paper with the tip of a soft graphite pencil, 6B in this case, to create layers of graphite to depict a range of values from very dark to very light. This assignment was to sketch a shell and then use stippling to give it form and shading. This was harder than the demonstration looked. I kept adding and adding, wondering if it was looking like a shell or not. Layer after layer after layer but soon it started to emerge. It, of course, is a loose representation of a shell, which I really like. I think this one ends up looking better from a distance than close up, which is how I was seeing it while working on it. From a distance, the dots come together and it's easier to see the whole rather than just the parts.
Crazy...three weeks done. I managed to get each day done this week. I wasn't sure if today would happen, though. It was a rough day. I lost my dear Kagero on Wednesday 2 weeks ago and I suspect Wednesdays are going to be difficult for the near future. But I had a lesson to complete for the Derwent Art Academy so I decided to do that this evening for today's creation. It was a lesson on perspective. I totally get the concept of perspective but I seem to struggle a bit with its execution so I definitely need to spend more time practicing. Here's today's work and a compilation of week 3's work.