Wednesday, October 23, 2019

I’m working on turning some doodles into stamps.  I’m still a beginner at stamp carving. But even crude carving has a certain charm to it. At least think it does! Every little bit is a bit more practice.

I'm daydreaming about an adventure I have coming up. Can you guess what it is? I'll post about it soon. Doodling and daydreaming go together pretty darn well. Below the sketch are some pics from my decorations last year.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Last week I had the chance to get away to our little cottage in Michigan. I met my sister up there. We'd both brought some art projects and reading materials, but we ended up concentrating on one book she'd brought up and had been working from. So we had our own little art retreat! The book is "Expressive Flower Painting" by Lynn Whipple. She has a unique approach and I will show some pics, but not all the will need to buy or check out the book to get all the details.
Here I'm making the first layer. There are many layers to the process, and this may or may not show in the finished painting.
This is my inspiration photo. I would never have picked something so complicated, but her process is more about painting it the way you see it and your impression of it.

Here are some more are layering drawings and colors with soft pastels...turning your canvas as you go. I was seriously having trouble letting go and doing this. I guess I'm a control freak.
Finally you pick one orientation and start painting in your darkest darks and then your flowers and your lightest lights. Different folks seem to all do this their own way. I was trying not to get too literal as that is my usual hangup.  In this photo you can see the table top is the layers below showing and I was hoping to somehow keep those layers, but in the end I wasn't happy with the colors in it.

Here I was going back in with the soft pastels to add some definition and detail to the flowers.

The background wasn't working for me, so I changed it to a green. Our porch at the lake is a light green and I was inspired by that. I also changed the table....I could have left the layers showing as the table top, but it didn't seem to work well with all the pink I'd put in the flowers.  

When I sat back and looked at this I was shocked that I'd made this! It is very different from what I usually do: ink drawings and watercolors in a sketchbook. I'd been so angsty during some of these stages, and that tells me I was stepping outside my comfort zone. But of course that's where the learning and growth happens! We started this at 10 pm and worked straight though the night...full of adrenaline! After finishing we crashed. 

The next few days we kayaked, swam, picked roadside flowers and some from the yard, visited with neighbors, and also did a bit more art...
Jennifer was working on painting a water lily. She'd already completed two paintings using Lynn's method. I didn't get a pic of them all together, but maybe it's not too late. 

I used a small canvas and tried to do one bloom. At one point I almost threw it out, but then when I added the pastels I liked it again! So if you go get Lynn's book, try all the steps, and just keep going even if it feels like a mess at some stages. There is not much background to play with on this one, so I used the sides too and added polka dots for fun.

If you ever get a chance to get away from your normal routine (by yourself or with someone with similar interests) to focus on your art, I'd recommend it! It's unusual to get to concentrate fully for several days with no least it is in my life, and I have a feeling I'm not alone in that.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Notre Dame, lower Puna, Volcanoes, Fires, and Change

I draw often, but I find when I'm upset, I draw more...sometimes obsessively. I think it helps me work though things and process the feelings.  It could be that I'm just an obsessive sort, but I like the prior explanation better, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it. 😄

The day Notre Dame was burning, like the rest of the world, I was in shock. I suppose I kind of take it for granted that the things I see that have been relatively the same for hundreds or thousands of years will still be there when I go back. Never take anything for granted. I could not stop thinking about it, and checking the news when I could while at work. I ended up making a drawing from one of my photos. It's very wonky and I totally lost track of where things were in relation to each other, but it doesn't matter. I channeled some of that nervous energy into making a little drawing in my book. While I drew, I thought about how we sat at the cafe on the corner across the street and drank mulled wine and sketched the cathedral. I'm sooo glad we did sketch that day. 

Part of the reason I started sketching again (way back when my kids were still in school) was because when I sketch, I remember things so much better. I have to really slow down and observe the scene. Later when I look at a sketch, I can remember just how it felt to sit there: what the sounds were, how the breeze (or lack of it) felt, how the temperature was. I wanted to remember things more completely. 

On my trips to Hawaii, I always made time to go swim in this warm pond, heated by the volcanic action beneath the earth, with ocean waves splashing over into the pool at one end. It was a special place. I made this sketch one year while I was there by myself.  Then last year, a large chunk of lower Puna was covered over in lava from the eruption of  Kīlauea. This place and the tide pools where I snorkeled, homes, one of my favorite restaurants for lunch, and other special places are now completely under tons of lava. Though I knew it could happen, I never really expected those places to disappear. I'm so glad I sketched while I was actually sitting there in the shade of the palms.  

Of course, sometimes it's not just places that change. My dogs pass away with their shorter doggie lives. Some of my human loved ones have passed away too. My children grew from babies to teenagers to young adults and are now in their late twenties and early thirties. Homes are bought and sold and remodeled. My own body goes back and forth from thin to heavy. Towns and buildings change with the times. As the saying goes: the only constant in life is change. 

I'm one of those people who is rather shy about sketching in front of other people, so I don't do it as often as I'd like. But now I'm going to try and remember to go ahead and sketch on the spot. You never know when things will change and maybe even be gone. Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero (Seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow). Draw it today.  

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Draw Daily

Yep, trying to get back to drawing daily, even if it's just little sketch or contour drawing. I haven't been doing too well at it! So here is today's little sketch on a page about what I'd like to do in the future and improving my health. Soooo...if I can get on the bike often this summer, I might end up looking like my sketch! That would feel great!
I've been doing quite a bit of cutting and pasting on my pages too. It helps me get a whole idea down quicker because I'm not a speedy sketcher, and if I'm going to get back to sketching each day, it often needs to be a quick exercise.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Hard at work on a new project

So for a while now, I've been working on a project that I had to keep quiet about until it was announced. I was so excited to get a call to work on a Route 66 Passport for the entire route that will be coming out this spring! I have done the illustrations for each state and the overall map. It has been a super fun project. When it's all printed and put together, I'll post again, but it should be in the stores in April!

Friday, March 01, 2019

New Art Studio!

Holy cow, it's been a long while since I posted. I went though a period of no computer, when I had to do everything on my phone. I don't know how all these young'uns do it all on their phone, but I have no patience for that tiny screen! So I lost my blogging mojo. But I have still been working on my art and at the shop, and cool things have been happening!

For one thing I was juried in to the Pontiac Community Art Center. I can be a bit of a hermit..well, a lot of a hermit, and this has me stepping out and meeting a wonderful community of artists here in our town. I even have a studio space upstairs, where I have been spending quite a bit of time over the last month or so. As you can see I have a window, and it's north facing....lovely light. John Fitzgerald is the artist in charge of the studio spaces and that is his beautiful large painting on the wall and his painting spot on the left.  If you live in Pontiac, or get a chance to visit, you should definitely stop by the Pontiac Community Art Center and check out all the wonderful artwork by local artists!

The art center was a 1960s insurance office, and it looked it when they bought the building, but the members worked, and are working so hard to transform the building. This winter they added heat and a restroom to the space upstairs, which makes it soo much nicer to work up there! They also repurposed much of the old woodwork from when it was the Busy Bee Cafe many, many years ago...keeping the history of the building on site, and used in a new way!

While I've been organizing and moving supplies from home to the studio, I have found things like this drawing of the cowboy motel which I made a few years ago, and it got lost in the shuffle. There are lots of benefits to getting things in order....or at least better order.