Monday, April 25, 2016

art on "the road"

off to lubbock last week. love looking out the window of the plane & seeing big fluffy white clouds casting shadows.

i had lots of work and little spare time, so just completed 2 pages in my travel journal. i'm making an effort to find new things to draw in hotel rooms- it's a bit more of a challenge on an airplane (but i should get pretty good at drawing wine glasses.....). the third panel is part of my continuing quest to understand my tools before going to paris. the paints react differently with various papers, and these books are old, with fragile paper, so i need to be careful.

i've been making marks in journals in different ways to see what i am most comfortable with, and how the media responds. i am really liking the water soluble graphite. the ones below are from derwent, and the colors included- prussian blue and sage green are two- make this a nice addition to the blocks. but i don't think that they're easily packable on a long flight.

seeing how pens/markers work over different backgrounds. i then sprayed water to see which would run, which would stay. so now i have an idea how to whittle down the pen/marker selection.

i also tried my hand at a watercolor still life in my studio. i haven't ever painted with watercolor- it's a difficult medium- so this is all new to me. i've only used them in my little antique dictionary travel journal. i want to have a better grasp on how they work on better paper. 

one thing i discovered is that the winsor newton kit doesn't have black (which is ok- i'm used to mixing blacks and actually prefer doing that), but it also doesn't have the brown and blue i am used to using to mix black. the brown isn't dark enough. i ended up using water soluble graphite for the blacks here, may need to switch out a color or two in my kit.

next up- what journal(s) to take? jaki and pam were telling me to take only one, but i don't think that will work. i'll do a few test runs this week and report back-

Sunday, April 17, 2016

tools- so many options, so little room to pack.....

i love tools. i'm a bit of a "gearhead" when it comes to this sort of stuff- my friends call me gadget girl. this isn't necessarily a good thing- like when i bought the first surface thinking it could replace my ipad & stand in for a laptop on short trips. too heavy, not enough battery life- which was subsequently fixed. i should have waited.

i don't believe that a person needs the most expensive equipment to do the job, only that you need to know the tools' abilities & limitations. i take photos

 with my phone

sony mirrorless camera

and the D800

each works best for me in specific instances. the D800 is wonderful, but it's heavy and i am not going to have it with me all of the time. that might mean that i'm not a serious photographer, but IMO figuring out how to make art is what matters, and if it's instagram photos that's better than not shooting.

art supplies present endless possibilities, especially for the mixed media artist. i am pretty comfortable using oil and acrylic paints, but have always been terrified of watercolor. you can't paint over mistakes! things need to be planned! the white of the paper is used as the white in the painting- frightening stuff. when i started using watercolors for my travel journals i never gave much thought to the quality of the paint. i just looked for kits that were easy to pack. 

being gadget girl, i ended up with 3 of them. (one purchased after i tried to pare down my travel kit & take only pens. silly me- i got to lubbock, needed color & bought a paint set). the 3 on the right are, from left to right, the first 3 in order of purchase.

for my birthday my sister and nephew gave me a certificate to blick. i have a few big trips planned this year, including one to paris, and used the money to upgrade to a winsor newton 1/2 pan kit (far left above)

the sketches on the left done with the w/n paints- the color is more luminous, the paints are nicer to use. there is a definite difference. ( as there should be for the price!)

i found these cool art graf pigment discs in houston last week. i've been enjoying playing with water soluble graphite & these offer the same characteristics with limited colors. different feel and workability than watercolor. the bird head below is art graf & w/s graphite. the owl is done with inktense sticks. these are also water soluble and can be applied with a brush (used like watercolor) and/or used to draw with. the difference is that they are ink and do not reactivate. i sprayed water on the owl today and nothing moved.

now i am trying to figure out what, realistically, i "need" to take to paris in my travel art kit. 

 i am also realizing that i need to practice with whatever i plan to take, as this is a very different way of working than i am used to, and i want to be able to use what i bring with me well. i've been doing test runs the past few work trips on the pen side of things, but now i need to work on this part. 

fun stuff- stay tuned!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

music is magic

i had the opportunity to tell another artist how much i like their work last weekend. 

lyle lovett was here for a vintage motorcycle race. i have seen him several times and long admired his music. saw him again a few weeks ago with robert earl keene. my hubby pointed mr. lovett out (as he was graciously having photos taken with people) and i thought- "i like it when people tell me that they enjoy my art- what the hell?". so i walked up, told him how much we enjoyed the show and he was so gracious and genuine and truly appreciative- he asked me for my name, thanked us for coming out and said they had fun playing- what a class act.

so that was fun but i don't feel like i'm making much art these days. 

then i try to give myself a break and remember that i experienced (and recorded) this

and remind myself to breathe. that we're all on a path, there's no finish line, no judge. i will paint again.

art is so much about sharing for me, which is a large part of why music speaks to me. 

"To make a song is a gift, and once it's done it keeps evolving and changing and becomes a tool to interact with other people. It's like a conversation."

 Ryan Adams

Sunday, April 3, 2016


what a difference a few weeks makes. i knew that this page wasn't done, but i had to let it sit.

now it's done-

i got to go to the desert for inspiration. first time in death valley, hopefully not the last- what a vast, mysterious, beautiful place. missed the super bloom, but could see how amazing it must have been-

and there were  wildflowers at higher elevations-

joshua trees are pretty cool-

and random desert sculpture gardens are always inspiring

 spent some time journaling- long layover in san fran

 quicker work in the small book

one completed page

grateful for the inspiration and for the time to make art. it's good to work, even if not on pieces destined to hang on a wall. it's good to create and to be surrounded by creation. nature heals- so does art.