Day 6...I'm trying to work on developing my visual imagination. Most of the focus in my education was in language and while my verbal vocabulary is quite strong my visual vocabulary feels quite stunted. I struggle greatly with drawing from my imagination and I'd like to improve it. I started working through Carla Sonheim's "Drawing Lab" book today. One exercise has you draw 20 dogs...supposed to be the same dog, same pose using a big chiseled marker on notecards. The idea is to draw quickly, getting down only basic info and to experiment with different marks. The reference was just a basic sketch of a dog. I must admit I had fun with this one. I like to bend rules so I didn't adhere to the same pose rule. I really like some of these dogs. I'm going to pick those out and work with them some more. I'd really love to write and illustrate a book about Kagero but I've struggled with imagining her as an illustration so I think these might help me with that!
Bonus drawings...after the quick dog drawings earlier, I decided to give illustrations of Kagero a try. Not there yet but I'm seeing potential and will keep trying. For me, the trick is in her eyes, if I can get those right, I think I'll be able to make illustrating her happen.
October has brought a ton of daily art challenges and I'm going to try to incorporate them into my own daily practice. I'm trying to develop my sketching skills and creating my own version of the things I see as opposed to strict realism. So today's drawing is a teacup from my grandma's collection drawn in an illustrative style (with the hard, black outlines) and colored with the inktense blocks. I like how this turned outOne year ago today I took the proverbial leap toward making my dreams a reality. I gave up a decently paying, secure job with great benefits but that was also slowly killing me for the less certain life of an artist. This has been the best year of my life in so many ways and the worst year in others. While I'm not yet fully replacing my prior income through my art, financial disaster did not occur (as I had feared it would for years before deciding to leave the job world) and we've been doing pretty well for ourselves and I'm excited for the even greater amounts of financial abundance that I know are on their way to us now. It's also been amazing to have more control over how I spend my time and who I'm spending it with. Making art is so very rewarding even when it's bad and I'm excited to see what each day brings. I didn't know when I left my job that Kagero was sick and that our time together was drawing swiftly to an end but I'm so grateful I didn't wait any longer to leave. I got to spend so much time with her before she started getting sick and I got to care for and comfort her when she needed me and I didn't have to choose between her and my job. Losing her has made this one of my most difficult years but not having to go to work has allowed me to grieve in my own way, to take things slowly, to cry when I need to (like right now) and not have to worry about what's "appropriate" or not. I am so incredibly grateful for my husband, Oscar, who has been only supportive of me on this path, who wants me to be happy and who is happy that I am no longer grumpy and miserable at the end of each workday. I'm grateful to my parents and to my sister for their support and encouragement and for being my best customers to date. I'm also grateful for all of my friends, for their support and encouragement. While I lost a very precious part of my life this past year and I wish I could have her back (but only if she could be healthy), everything else has been amazing and it feels great to know that I'm finally on the right path and I expect this next year to be even more incredible. If there is something you feel you should be doing that you aren't currently doing, what's stopping you? Life has to be lived right now and don't let your fears keep you from having the life of your dreams!
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!
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 :)
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.....
Day 60...officially 2 months into my daily art practice. I guess I would be at 63 days had it not been for that bad week at the beginning of June when we lost our sweet dog but I'm really proud of myself that I didn't let that become an obstacle for me. I've learned a lot over the last 2 months, as I hope I've adequately relayed. What's been great about this is feeling like I'm connecting to my true self everyday. I guess there have been days when I haven't really felt like making art but when I've felt like that I'm usually tired, maybe a bit cranky, sometimes having a pity party, but once I sit down to work on something, even if it's just sketching some ideas, I start to feel better about those other things. I've been trying to do sitting meditation for years and I'm sure I just give up too easily but I typically find myself just dozing off or full on falling asleep, even with guided meditations. I get frustrated and just stop. But I'm finding more and more that when I'm drawing, especially stuff like my cityscapes which use such intricate linework, that I'm able to focus on that so much that I can mentally sit back and observe my thoughts, much like they say to do in sitting meditation...watch them come and go like clouds. The activity of making art really does help to ground me in the present moment, which I think is why it helps me feel better, when I'm feeling upset or angsty....those things that I'm agonizing about or catasrophizing in my mind haven't happened, everything is perfectly ok right here, right now in this very moment. Then I can't help but feel grateful for this moment, for the ability to make art in this moment, for all the abundance (material and immaterial) that surrounds me in this moment. How amazing is my life? Very...very.
I worked more on the Zentangle inspired drawing today, but I was a little tired of the green so I opted to shift to the pinks on the Purk pods. I thought I'd get them all done today in just a couple of hours, but not so much. I've never really clocked how much time I spend working on my drawings but today I just happened to notice the clock when I sat down to work. I spent 2 hours, pretty much straight through, on that one pod and putting down the base layer on the other two. That may not seem like a long time, but I really did think I'd get all 3 of them done today in that couple of hours. Imagine my surprise when I saw how much time had passed and only one was done. It's interesting because I know that hours pass when I work, but once I'm in the flow, I don't really notice how much time really goes by. So, more hours are ahead for me as I continue to color.
I'm giving a Zentangle lesson tomorrow and was thinking about what I want to teach tomorrow and decided to create a Bunzo (that's the pattern name on the tile below) monotangle in a spiral formation. Bunzo is one of my very favorite tangles/patterns but it's one that I just have to remind myself to trust along the way. I always feel really funky about it while I'm working on it because my inner critic likes to chime in on how ugly it looks and how I should just give up. But I know once the spaces are colored in, shaded and highlighted, it will look cool, so I keep at it. I just love this one!
I'm so excited to have this one finished! It turned out so much better than I thought it would/could. There were so many hours invested in this piece but so very worth it. I love the cartoony/illustrative effect. I love the colors and the shading, oh I just love this one. I love all the choices I made and that I kept with it. I loved doing all the tiny little details and I loved the coloring. Wow...it's so exciting to have something I made look so cool! This is also the end of week 8 of my daily art project. I'm so thrilled at my persistence and my commitment. I'm so proud of myself. I can't wait to see what I come up with next!
I really thought I'd get this one done today and I guess if I kept working on it tonight, I'd probably get it done but I have to prep for a Zentangle lesson tomorrow so I need to shift gears. I spent much of the day working on the little details in the cityscape I'm calling Angel Kagero's Eye View. I drew in all the small details first with pencil and once I was satisfied with their placement, I inked them. Once the ink had set I had to erase the pencil lines beneath the ink. I really wish I could could get a better sense of how long these things will really take as I spent most of the day working on this...many hours. I will have it done tomorrow, though, and I just can't wait to see it finished. It was hard for me to keep plugging away on this one because it just seemed so boring, especially compared to my last cityscape that had such dramatic perspective. But I had in my mind's eye how I wanted this one to look and it's really starting to emerge, so I'm happy I stuck with it. But I will be happy when it's done!
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!!
I'm starting to realize in this art thing that there are times when it's better to quit something before too much more time is invested. I said yesterday that I would keep working on the drawing I created but the more I thought about it last night, the less I wanted to invest more time into a drawing that didn't make sense to me. I've written before about trusting the process and allowing a drawing to evolve as I work on it. I just didn't feel that way with this one. I spent many hours on it yesterday so it was difficult to give up on it but I simply didn't want to spend even more hours on it today. I figure that since I'm in learning mode right now, it's more important for me to feel like I'm learning how to do these techniques properly and to feel like I've nailed them, then I can play later, get more abstract. I didn't trash yesterday's drawing so there's always a chance to revisit it later.
So today's daily art drawing is a redo of Angel Kagero's eye view part 1. I used white paper this time, instead of grey. I also started by adding streets into the scene to give the buildings the structure of city blocks. I can't tell you how many times I had to erase. It's kinda ridiculous how hard it is to get the lines right, especially at the bottom of the buildings...the base of them touching the ground. Part of the problem is that I have trouble visualizing the angles and how they should be shaped. Once I have them drawn, they make sense but I had to erase so many times!
Tomorrow I will start to tackle the details. I expect the windows to take a while but I hope to not have to erase too many more times!