Some days are busier than others. Today was one of them. I gave a lesson on colored pencil techniques this morning, then had to grocery shop after it and finally had an appointment with one of my tutoring students this afternoon. Once I got home, time was short and inspiration even shorter. I started doing some more blind contour faces but I wasn't feeling those. I tried some simple, stylized faces but those still suck pretty bad. I was sitting here, trying to figure out what to draw with Facebook open. Then one of my friends posted a picture of a bowlful of tomatoes that she just picked in anticipation of a freeze tonight. Then inspiration struck! I'll draw those tomatoes. And here they are. This was a quick drawing done with pen...no pencil undersketch. So, it's kinda wonky, especially the bowl but I kinda think it looks like the tomatoes are so heavy that they are pushing the bowl over. I do like the looseness of the coloring. This was a fun sketch to do. I really like it.
Ok, not really but I can wish! I finally finished one of my works in progress today! I've been mulling this one over for a while and just really couldn't decide how to finish the coloring. I really liked how the water turned out and I guess I was so worried about messing the rest of it up that I just set it aside. I'm not sure what inspired me to pick it back up today but I figured I'd use a combo of watercolor pencils and Inktense blocks on the flower and the pod. I had originally planned to use a magenta palette since I just love pinks in general but today as I started gathering my supplies I had the thought that orange would be a better palette choice. I'm happy I went that way. Blue and orange are complementary colors so I think this helps the lotus pop off the page and I think more than a magenta one would have. I think the flower just looks like it's glowing. I'm glad I let this one percolate and waited for inspiration to come. This piece is 9" x 12".
Fall is my favorite season and it actually seems to be arriving on time here in Portland! It's been a warm summer and dry here (I know it's hotter elsewhere but I moved here for the clouds and rain) and I've been white knuckling it for a bit so I'm so excited for the change. Starting tomorrow, we're supposed to have rain and much cooler temps for the foreseeable future! Every year on Facebook, I post a poem or quote about autumn as an ode to my favorite season. This year, however, I opted for a visual ode. I saw a tutorial on The Postman's Knock blog this weekend for creating a tree using watercolor and a straw to blow the paint across the page to make the branches, It took me a couple of tries but I totally nailed it and I just love the result! I used pearlescent watercolor paint for the leaves so they sparkle. I'm totally going to do more of these trees...there are so many options! This is 4.5" x 6".
I'm feeling better now that I've recommitted to my project and my learning/discovery process. I didn't get a chance to start as early this morning as I wanted but I'm so pleased with what I produced and learned that it's a very successful day. Now, I'm going to sign off and read some books...art books, of course :)
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 :)
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!
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..
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?
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.....