Sunday, October 4, 2015

on being creative and art

i was talking with a friend who is a wonderful artist and she said she hasn't been making art. she's been spending all of her time redoing her back yard. then we started talking about what constitutes making art. gardens definitely do. I spent years gardening and doing needlepoint and cooking before I ever had the nerve to try to draw or paint. I took my first non photography art class at 40.
photography, gardening, needlepoint, etc taught me a lot about composition and color theory. one of the beautiful things about making art is that there's always more to learn. once the rules are understood how to break them to the best effect? which medium is best to communicate my thoughts?
what is art anyway?
instagram and facebook lead to so many photos shared- yet the good still speak, composition and technical ability still elevate basic to great. it's often "here I am!, this is what I see!" i'm sooooo guilty of this-
i hope it's a different look, but i'm not always successful.
sometimes i see and capture something unique-


which may or may not touch someone/be considered "art"
drawing is pretty universally considered art- if "serious" and "good enough".

I have been fortunate enough to be introduced to art journaling, which has helped me practice drawing and document my travels

in a very different, more personal and intimate way than with my camera, tho i still hope to share a different view through that lens.

at the end of the day, it's all about communication. sharing my world- which may be (very likely will be) interpreted in a completely different way by someone seeing my images- but if the art touches them, who cares? that's what it's really about for me- that something i created impacted another person. that is pretty amazing.
art is communication, sharing, thought. it's more than decorative, it's interactive. there is art that breaks every "rule" and still takes my breath away. there's art that follows every "rule" and leaves me cold. what touches me may not touch someone else. it's individual and subjective so wonderful because of that. 
it's the spirit and life in a piece of art that matters- whether it speaks and moves people, not whether a thing is perfectly drawn. that's what i strive for- the connection. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Yikes- where does the time go? boi/den/boi/dfw/hou/boi

i somehow missed posting last week- after doing so well.
went to denver and diligently drew on my trip- helpful breaking it up into 4 pieces. also helpful using a small book with text on the pages (which helps with fear of blank page). it's nice to work on my art even though i'm not actively making art when i'm traveling.
there was studio sunday
next up: texas- first ft worth

then a drive to houston


dinner with a friend and another hotel room

long flight home with beautiful cloudscapes

and more drawing practice- finished w/ color at home.

home to fall weather. i'm a sucker for light through flower petals- especially low light through glowy yellow flowers- here's a shot from saturday's hike. love this time of year.

then we celebrated lynn's birthday with a journaling party- started this yesterday, finished in the studio today-
and off to a block party. this sketchbook is a swedish/english dictionary that my friend gave me. it was her grandmother's. the party was at my friend's house, and I took the book to show her how it was being used now. and drew the spread below while I was at it.
i'm rather pleased with all of the drawing i've done. glad that i am pulling out the books and pens and doing it. glad that i can look and say- you might work on that perspective, but you drew and captured the feel, so it's good. just start.
lastly- dave and phil alvin and wonderful live music tonight. it's all about the guitar for me

i don't mean for these posts to be "here's what I did this week", tho they often end up that way. i do know that all of these things inform my art somehow. i'm not introspective but I  believe that everything is connected and know that i'm influenced by so many things that may not even occur to me until much later, if at all.
the value of writing this blog is thinking stuff through. and seeing progress. or looking at years of backlit flowers and deciding that's OK.
chicago this week, will try to keep up the drawing-


Monday, September 7, 2015

i did it!

and back on the road this week- well, in the air
 and I made myself draw on the plane- the flight between Denver & Lubbock. I was good, packed light- just took sepia pens & the book.

so of course I decided it would be much better with color....and stopped in my favorite art supply store and picked up a travel watercolor kit- which now resides in my computer bag. I have one in my mobile journaling kit, but I know that if I try to move it back & forth I will never have it when and where I need it....this solves that problem.
Also picked up a vellum sketchbook- interesting surface to work on. it's fairly transparent, and I'm not sure how that's going to work, but it's a good size and I'll play with it some. Drew this at dinner, then colored & painted when I got back to the room. Drawing the flowers was interesting- I keep forgetting to do the front first- am going to try to draw the negative space on the next one, see if that works better.
then back home for the long weekend.

fall is definitely in the air- my favorite time of year.

It was chilly- as you can tell from how fluffed out this guy is. It was good to shoot my camera, even if it wasn't much.

 then back into the studio for Sunday studio night- got to catch up with the artistas, drink some wine & prep some journal backgrounds.

off to Denver next week, challenging myself to just one drawing there too.....
have a great week!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

learning to fly

Ravens symbolize many different things. Viewed as evil in some traditions, they are revered in others.
Raven Spirit Symbols:
Introspection, Self-knowledge, Courage, Magic, Mysteries, Shape-shifting, Creation, Divination, Wisdom, Truth, Answers, Secrets, Messages, Instruction, Change

They're also smart birds, and fun to watch- I find them fascinating, and have used ravens in my art for years. I took this photo of a raven in Yellowstone in June. Nothing to get excited about, but a nice image to work from.

I thought it would be fun to pull out the oils and paint her. Got this far and stalled.


And then, last week, I bought some Golden High Flow Acrylics and fillable markers. Which made me think about playing. I've had some Montana Acrylic markers for a while that I haven't used much too. So I grabbed a journal I made earlier this year in a class (also not used- do you sense a theme?) and drew the raven. Drawing is a skill that has been recently used. And I am pleased to report that I actually feel like I'm improving.
I drew raven and started playing with different media- watered acrylic paint, Pitt markers, Golden High Flow Acrylic & Montana markers- layers and layers.

And ended here- with the top layer of white done with a gel pen. I love using whatever it is that is going to work best for the desired end result. I really love the fine nib on the refillable Golden marker- who can use a paintbrush steadily for fine lines? Not me!

I was also very proud of myself for trying all of these things out in a journal before attempting a finished piece of art. For once.
Did this guy today. If you look closely, you will notice that his body more closely resembles the photo. That's because I traced the outline. Interesting lesson for me, because I like the raven above, she looks right and in proportion, just in a different position. And it's OK.
Traced this outline from the photo (I wanted to focus on working the image rather than drawing) and then used the techniques I tried yesterday to finish. It was different working on the mixed media acrylic/collage background than on paper. No surprise, but a few adjustments.

End result? Happy with my progress and pleased with both results. This is incentive to keep drawing, even though it is soooooooo hard to do, because it's scary. But no one has to see my journals but me.
My challenge to myself this week is to draw on one- just one of 4- flights. I always haul my journals, seldom draw on the plane. Come back next week to see how I did-

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

on following the muse

I have actually been home for 3 weeks now (excluding a weekend in Walla Walla) and I would have thought I'd be in my studio. I have a BOSCO show coming up that it would be nice to have new art for, and a few pieces started in the studio that would do nicely if I finished them.
Only the entry deadline is September 4 and I am running out of time for that to happen. haven't been taking photos, haven't been painting- I've been laying around reading, making journal page backgrounds and doing some class assignments.
I love taking classes because I put less pressure on myself when I'm learning something new. that's not quite as true for drawing, but I'm trying to be kind to myself and learn and play. I've learned that I am a pretty detailed drawer. But I'm not above editing to make it go more quickly (there are LOTS more pots in reality in the scene below- and a few pieces of garden art, etc.- but who would know?)
This one was a little easier for me, as we incorporated collage. I like the word/ collage thing and have been wanting to add drawing, so this feels good. I also stopped myself from drawing in the detail of the vines on the fence- nice to have writing to take up the space! If I am going to be disciplined around an art journaling practice, this is most likely where I will go most often. I am not by nature very contemplative, so this is a great way to think/meditate/figure stuff out. And good drawing practice.

This, I think, is pretty bad. That's OK. The assignment was to draw your house from across the street but I didn't have the right tools to add the color on the curb (watercolor wasn't working over my background), so I finished in the studio. And can tell b/c it doesn't look as immediate (or right) as it would had I done it all on the spot. Which is a great learning experience.

really scary? the self portrait exercise- but practice and learning is what it's about, not perfect art every time- and who decides perfect anyway?
And the next time I drew myself it was marginally better and went places I didn't start out going but might want to think about-
And so, tho I miss my friends at the gallery, I am so grateful to have this time to explore and learn without pressure to make new work. I understand my process well enough to know that I need these periods of learning and not producing much- there's something fermenting that will arise as a result. Also, not being introspective by nature, art journaling is a great way to think things through and not wear my friends out :)
what a gift this art journey is! I'm glad that I've learned to trust and follow my muse- even when it gets scary-


Sunday, August 16, 2015

learning to draw

drawing terrifies me. I usually end up with something like this:
when I was painting dogs, I would grid out the photo and the canvas to get proportions close. 

 I've had artist friends tell me for years that "everyone can learn to draw" and "you do draw, you just do it with your paintbrush". I realized that the second of these was true, because I would do paintings by tracing the outline to ensure that the animals weren't frighteningly deformed but paint the rest from the photo until I had it right.

my friend lisa cheney is an amazing artist and teaches art journaling classes. so I got brave and signed up for one. visual journaling holds a lot of appeal for me. I like being able to play with no pressure, I like being able to dump things and hopefully leave them (or work out as the case may be). I like the ability to try techniques.
lisa's savage mirror class was amazing and got me much more comfortable with drawing, tools, journals, etc.
I started drawing on business trips- very safe- good practice-
made a book to take with me on business trips
and I did use it sometimes- 
but I still wasn't confident in my drawing- and I was taking everything and the kitchen sink with me everywhere & not using any of it. ugh.
so, I signed up for an extreme field journaling class with juliana coles. i'd heard lisa speak highly of her and decided that on line had to be a pretty safe environment.
for starters, I have whittled down the amount of shit that I carry with me all of the time- and still don't use most of it. I am also using things I've had for years (hello travel watercolor kit) that were just gathering dust.
most exciting is that I actually have drawings that I am excited about. what lisa told me for years finally clicked with what juliana is teaching (and what I know to be true from painting)- the mind fills in the blanks. you don't need to paint every feather- the suggestion of a feather, done correctly, is enough. proportions don't have to be perfect, but get the big stuff right.
I struggle with the exercises- but that's what they are, exercises. it's class. it isn't about being inspired, it's about working. so just do the work.

so I drew 4 rooms in my house. and i thought i did a pretty good job. so did my husband, who likes realistic artwork (charlie russell, etc.), and that made me feel good. it isn't perfect, or photo realistic, but there is energy and personality and it is technically good enough.

 took the mobile kit with me on a road trip this weekend and was glad to have it-
prepped this page before we left, drew it on the drive home and finished it in the studio tonight. so much fun, so nice to have the tools to work with

I am really excited to see where this takes my art. i'm grateful to have the time to play and learn and see where it goes.