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 :)
I'm posting early today because I'm teaching a Zentangle class this evening and likely won't have time later today. I've decided to go with a mixed-media approach to the water lily line drawing I posted yesterday. I've opted to do the background water and lily pads with watercolor. The paper is holding up better than I expected. The orange parts on the image are masking fluid I put down to keep some areas lighter so that I can more easily work in some light reflections. Once the paper is completely dry, I can remove the orange and decide which ones I want to keep and which ones will be blended in with the rest of the water. I've decided to color the lily pod and water lily flower with colored pencil. I'll get started on that part 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 :)
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 this "problem" and I've talked about it before. Now, I guess it's really a good "problem" to have but it perplexes me still. It seems like at some point every week, I get to a point where I have just too many ideas and I can't decide where to start. I guess the problem doesn't really lie in the abundance of ideas part of the equation but rather in the inability to decide. I haven't figured out why I get so stuck in this situation. I was stuck for YEARS with no ideas at all and now I have so many I still end up paralyzed. I'm thinking there has to be fear in there somewhere..."what if I pick the wrong idea?", "what if I mess it up this time and then never come back to it?", "what if I end up wasting materials?"...I'm certain there are many others. Why are these "what if" questions always skewed negatively? I would much rather think "what if it's amazing?!", "what if I sell it for a ton of money?!", "what if I love it and decide to make more?!". That feels so much better...I think I really need to be aware when those negative questions are coming and shift them!
I hit that paralyzed state again this morning as I tried to come up with what to work on today. I settled on playing around with my PanPastels. I've had these for more than a year now but hadn't even opened them. I've worked with pastels before, both hard and soft, and I like them but these are different...even have special tools for application. I've looked around online a bit for some techniques/tips but didn't really find anything compelling to do so I just figured I start with a flower. The application is kind of wonky and I don't really like how big the applicators are. I guess my paper was also just a little rough because one side of one of the sponges tore a little. I know these are made especially for use with the PanPastels but I'm not a fan of them so far although I do love how rich and vibrant the colors themselves come out. I think I need to keep playing to see how to build up layers, get nice shading, etc. I only have the six pans shown in the picture but I think I'll be adding them to my wishlist!
Something different today. I'm going to a wedding this weekend and wanted to do something special for my friends so I started thinking about ideas for a wedding card. I've done a cupcake drawing before and thought that might be fun but then thought about making two of them, one as the groom and one as the bride.. I sketched out this idea and felt like I hit it the first time. I then asked my friend what their wedding colors were thinking I'd color the frosting in those colors but their colors are black, charcoal gray and red. Those colors didn't really scream frosting so I decided instead to color the frosting more like their hair colors (his is dirty blond/light brown and hers is dark brown). I didn't get them true to their actual colors, of course but I think these are cute! I had fun drawing these, too so I might need to do more cupcakes!
Part of starting this project was to try to find my artistic voice, to start to create work that says what I want to say but I still don't seem to know what to say and I don't really know how to find that out. I really love making art. It does make me feel whole but it would really help if I could bring in some money with this venture, too. How do I figure out what I have to say? Do I have to say something profound? Can I just create things I like to create, like the cityscapes? It doesn't seem like they really have anything to say...
I'm thinking never! Maybe I'll stop posting about it at some point but I have never been so productive creatively as I have been doing this project. Now, I have more classes to take, several in progress projects to finish and then I started a new one today...wow!
Yesterday I mentioned that I was considering cutting up the ink page that I wasn't that happy with and using the pieces as background to other ideas. Today's piece is one of those ideas. I have this huge dictionary to use and I love words so it makes sense to integrate them into my work. Today's piece includes the definition for the word "flourish" and then I stamped the word flourish a few times around the page. I think it's fun but I think I need bigger letters. This piece is 5.5" x 7". I made a list of a bunch of "positive" words and have started cutting them out from the dictionary pages. That part is going to take a while! I'm thinking that some of the words will warrant more representational elements on the page but we'll see how they shape out. What do you think? Is this something I should keep working on?
I revisited the ink drawing/painting from yesterday and tried to brighten it up but I'm thinking I ended up making a bigger mess...that's ok, though, maybe it's just in an ugly phase. I also thought about cutting it up into pieces to use as backgrounds for another project I'm planning. I've come to realize that nothing is really lost in art-making. If something doesn't work out, it can always be repurposed. I have several pieces on paper using ink and watercolor that just aren't successful on their own but they could be added to something else and totally work. In fact, I think it'll be interesting to see how my other idea pans out!
I also started another inky drawing/painting (the second picture). I have no idea where this one is going to go but it took almost all day to dry so I'll either add to it or use it for other art, too. I really love these colors. There is something about these vivid jewel-toned colors that just add to my happiness!
The third photo includes the color charts I made for my new colored pencils. The top sheet is each color in numerical order. The bottom sheet is all these same colors but organized in the way these sets of pencils are sold (5 sets of 24 colors). I like to make these charts, especially for the colored pencils I work with. Pencils often have a colored end or the exterior whole pencil is painted in the color that the pencil should make but I've found that those colors might be close but rarely are they the same. Usually, there are also commercially printed color charts included in the packaging but again, they rarely match what the color looks like in real life. So, in creating these color charts, I can get an quick idea of how these pencils perform on paper and I have a way to compare colors to find ones that meet the matching/blending qualities I need for any given project. I'm planning to do a product review in the near future as I play with them and put them through their paces!
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.....