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.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Public Art, V 4

i was fortunate enough to be selected to do a traffic box in ketchum, id in 2013.  nothing came of it because there was some dispute over approval, and i wrote it off.

and was then contacted this year and told that things had been worked out. which made me really happy, because i was dying to do a sun valley serenade traffic box. and it's always nice to be paid for making art. 

you can see how huge this thing is- one thing i learned from previous tb experience is to pay attention to how things will look blown up- that playbill to the left of halle is bigger than i'd want. so I worked at a 1:4 ratio and kept that in mind.
since it is so large, did front, back, sides and top rather than one contiguous piece. lynn gave me a bunch of snowflakes years ago and they were perfect for this (never throw anything away). the original submission included direct references to the movie & song, but the city opted to be conservative with respect to copyright issues, so i took those out. ( i really appreciated the guidance, and the fact that the city attorneys were diligent in determining what they were comfortable with).
below, wip in my studio- done on mixed media paper-

hard to believe that ended up where it did, isn't it?
yay! for public art! this is a wonderful program- be great to see it spread far & wide!


Sunday, August 2, 2015

on the road- the real road-

the week started with this.....

I got home on Wednesday and got ready for a good old fashioned road trip to one of my favorite places in the world, Jackson, WY
I packed my newly nimble mobile journaling kit and even used it one night- in Fairfield, before we headed out

I love the drive across the middle of Idaho- big open skies, surrounded by mountains, not many people
 and ending up in the Tetons just makes it better

Jackson just feels like home to me- has from the minute I saw it. The mountains are amazing, the wildlife abundant, the people are great. We decided to make a summer trip and spend time in Grand Teton National Park. We go to Yellowstone regularly, but haven't spent as much time here.
That will change-

view from the porch of Jenny Lake Lodge

morning near Kelly
Emma Matilda Lake, Mt. Moran

sunset with Grand & bison
bison calf
I did haul the real cameras, but every photo here except the one above was taken with the iPhone. And Instagrammed....I'm hopeless!
Feeling rejuvenated & inspired, got back today to prepare for my August show at Idaho Blueprint and Supply. I'm doing a demo on making a travel journal- had to get all of the parts for that put together and get my artwork, tags, etc, ready to go.
A bit more prep tomorrow night, then I'm off to Houston. I'm also prepping my travel journal & have some classwork to do- nice to have something to keep me occupied in the hotel room!
if you're in Boise, stop in & see me on Thursday! Otherwise, visit again next week & see how it went :)