Monday, December 31, 2012

Year Ends ~ Journey Begins

It's been over three months since D(raw) Day.  I wasn't really sure where the trek would be at this point.  Looking back, I imagined I'd be sketching more.  Somewhat bruised from beating myself up - not enough "real" art, but we'll work on that in 2013.  However, the little bit of practice and the excess of play have brought about a few milestones:  drawing nearly every day, sketching in public, arting on a wall, vacation sketching, gifts of art for family and illustrating the annual Christmas letter.

I continue to doubt, but my biggest fans (you know who you are) have encouraged me and insisted I'm not selfish (still doubting).  I'm told I have a responsibility to nurture a God-given gift (trying not to doubt the gift) and am inspiring others to be creative in whatever way suits them (that's my favorite).  I say these things not to fish for compliments - really - I want my art to lift up others, not me.  If it's my gift, I want to re-gift it!  It's a long winding road to recover some talent, confidence & skill.  This blog is just to keep me honest and hopefully inspire a bit.   So, we will deem the beginning months a success.  The tackle box is still open, the artist has stretched a bit and the art supplies aren't so dusty.  New plans are marinating to keep the sketchbooks open and will be shared soon.

As I've been thinking and typing, it's been snowing - all morning.  A magnificent winter day to end the year.  The world outside is a blur of white fluffy flakes.  The earth is a rolling white canvas.  Inspiring.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Germy Pens

I caught a particularly nasty cold this past week, or as my son calls it, "The Plague."  It's been a few years since I had one of those colds that completely knocks you down.  My luck ran out & I discovered it's hard to focus on being creative when you're fighting "The Plague."  Days 1 and 2 - no art, just germs.  Day 3 - a little zentangling - not a lot of thought, just patterns on the page.  Fortunately no one else uses my pens.  One less thing to sanitize.  Day 4 - today - finally feeling almost human and able to sketch a bit.  It's amazing how feeling awful makes you appreciate feeling almost human.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sketching Two Thousand and Twelve

I adore Christmas letters! ... Stop groaning.  We have two albums of Christmas letters, notes & photos - a record of family and friends stories/greetings/faces - going back to the 80's.  I have composed a yearly Christmas letter since the arrival of our second child... 19 years ago, yeah that makes me feel a tad old.  I attempt creativity and/or humor - always through the written word.  Some years are more successful than others.  Well, this year, thanks to recent drawing & doodling, the 2012 letter went in a new direction.

An idea started brewing in November.  After Thanksgiving, Christmas-related doodles appeared in the sketchbook.  The original intention was just a little ornamentation.

Then, as thoughts of the past year filled the brain, illustration ideas barged in right along with them.  I started sketching these in my new bigger, wire bound sketchbook.  Of course I had to redraw them in proper chronological order, ink over the pencil, erase the pencil and add a little color.  For mass production, they were scanned, "perfected" in Photoshop & Illustrator for a few hours (while my husband kept asking when was I ever going to be done), and finally printed and tucked in the envelopes.

A random sampling...


But wait - there's more!  I couldn't ignore the doodles originally intended for the letter.  So, a day was spent inking friendly snowmen, chunky trees and tiny Christmas greetings on the envelopes.  The last of these were sent yesterday.  Another new adventure accomplished thanks to the sketchbook trek!

On to more Christmas projects, which I can't share just yet because it will ruin a few surprises.

The joyful day is less than a week away, so Merry Christmas dear imaginary readers!  My gift to you is this suggestion:  Have a little fun and create your own Christmas doodles on anything handy - envelopes, post-its or maybe bits of wrapping paper that usually wind up in the recycle bin.

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cross My Heart

In case one or two imaginary readers stop by...

Yes, I am drawing (and/or doodling).  I really am.  I promise it's true. 

No time for photos or thoughtful blogging this past week.  I will post soon.  In the meantime, check out a favorite illustrator & sketchbook keeper, Mattias Adolfsson.  And now, back to Christmas projects & preparation.  

That is all.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Growing Trees

Thanks to the advice of a wise reader, this artist is going with the flow for the rest of 2012.  Permission has been given to just play - to do whatever I want in the sketchbook as long as I do something in the sketchbook.  We'll get back to some rules and a plan of action in the new year.

One of my current paper playgrounds did not come from the art supply store.  While merrily pinning drawing ideas, I discovered altered books - pages of old books transformed into sculptures, paintings and sketches.  So, this past week I picked up a free, about-to-be-discarded 1952 almanac from the library.  The somewhat delicate pages take ink nicely.  Bare winter trees have caught the artist's eye lately and creating a tree on something that was a tree so very long ago seemed fitting.  First, a couple of trees appeared in the almanac, then scrolling leafy trees in my hardbound sketchbook and another in my pocket size Moleskine... a bit obsessed.  I'm fairly convinced that anyone can draw or doodle a tree - just keep adding smaller & smaller branches or swirls and a few leaves - tada!  It's actually quite therapeutic.  The dark wintry tree grew during an evening of discussing Christmas ideas with my husband.  Grab a marker or pen and give it a whirl.  No fancy drawing surface needed.  Any random piece of paper will do!

Side note - old book pages make lovely antique-ish paper snowflakes.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Art Interrupted

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas decorating - all things that kept the pens & pencils tucked away for a few days.  I opened the sketchbook just once for blind contours of the cat sleeping on my lap.  It will take some fierce determination to keep up the art attempts through the holidays.

Best excuse for slacking off?  Family time.  In-laws, kids & Mom - lovely!  My mom is an impressive seamstress and quilt maker.  That is her art (that and chocolate chip cookies) and she shared her art with me yesterday.  Mom helped me cut, piece and sew a Christmas-themed multi-piece pillow cover.  It was simple for her - not for me.  I am not, in any manner of the word, a seamstress.  I never had the patience to let her teach me before.  As I was cutting the material, listening to her words of wisdom, I sighed "I'd rather be drawing."  We had several great laughs at my errors, but it turned out fine.  I may just try another one solo to maintain the minimal skills gained from our tutoring session.

Since there is a lack of current art to share, here is a piece from last year - created for family reunion shirts.  It was the first reunion without my gardening, fishing, beekeeper Dad who always signed cards with his unique happy face.  We wanted to honor his memory.  My daughter planted the idea of me designing something and, with some family urging, a little art was completed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bonus Art

Last night I stood on the bathroom counter and painted my own scrolly-viney design along the top of the wall.  I've always imagined doing this . . . someday.  Well, someday came on November 19, 2012.  The bravery it took to attempt this (you can hide paper, but not a wall) is owed entirely to the artist revival trek.  I believe the idea grew from the scrolling/doodling page posted last week - a page that would  otherwise be nonexistent.  The result is not elaborate or exceptionally wonderful, but when my honest husband said "That's actually kinda' cool," I knew it was good enough to be stuck on our wall for at least a few years.

One other thing - my new reading (sketching) glasses came in today.  Wahoo!  I will now have perfect vision to perfect my vision.  Sorry - couldn't resist putting it that way.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

There Will Be (cadmium red) Blood TONIGHT!

fun with new pens
There is a battle going on nightly in my house.  It is waged with pen, pencil & paper.  It is waged between the Pinterest-pinning, doodle-loving, letter-making whimsicalist (yes I totally just created a word) and the Leonardo-admiring, charcoal-wielding, traditional-technique-practicing realist.  The whimsicalist doodles on the realist with her new color pens.  Meanwhile, the annoyed realist can't find the good pencil sharpener and the drawing exercises never turn out perfectly anyway.  Sigh.

When imagining this journey, I saw myself sitting down daily to work through drawing exercises and sketching life around me.  Enter the world of art journals.  There is a whole genre of art out there I wasn't really aware of.  People who create fun pages of words and doodles and patterns and textures and color  - with some or no realistic drawing incorporated.  It feels more crafty to me, but it is tempting.  I try to mix it up - do a little of both.  Whimsy is winning lately.  I want to believe it's my inner illustrator at work.  I've created motivational sketchbook (art journal) pages trying to convince myself it's okay to veer off a bit.  So far I'm not falling for it.  Sometimes I think, "Hey, that turned out kinda' cool."  However, usually I think, "Okay, that was fun, but tomorrow I need to do some 'real' art."

Hence the dilemma.  Is this helpful, useful, or does it matter?  Does any kind of practice advance my skills?  Or is it just lazy and another form of procrastin(art)ing?  Someday there may be answers.  The journey continues and I'm wondering how many diverging roads there will be in these yellow ochre woods.  Onward ho... or ... to the battlefield!  There will be blood tonight! (best movie ever!)

Art practice for the realist.  Blind contour giraffes - a lesson from the Drawing Lab book.  I must admit - I used to hate this technique, but it's growing on me.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I Can See Clearly Now

I can see!  I can see!  Well, that's a bit of excessive enthusiasm.  Let me explain.

I have needed glasses since 2nd grade.  Not need-them-or-walk-into-walls glasses, just almost-can't-pass-the-drivers-license-test glasses.  I stopped wearing them regularly later in high school - young, dumb & worried about boys.  Ten years ago I finally started wearing contacts.  It was fabulous!  No glasses to push on my nose or lose or break or clean.  My eyes are naturally imbalanced, so my doc put me in monovision contacts.  Right eye corrected for far and left for near - works well once your brain gets used to it.  Really close stuff has a faint double image, but bright light and not-too-small print helps.  I asked about reducing the mismatch last year & he put me in multifocal contacts, which have a better range of good vision, but still corrected to monovision.  That was an improvement.  However, still not ideal.

Fast forward to September and the dive back into art.  The blurred image was much more apparent as I started daily drawing.  I had to remove my contacts for fine lines & detail, which isn't all that convenient, especially away from home.  The frustration even invaded my dreams!   I explained the new awareness of the problem at my yearly appointment a few days ago.  I feel oddly selfish & vain when I explain the artist journey to others & that I must justify what I'm doing.  So far, though, most people tend to be interested and impressed - many commenting that they can't draw and I like to correct that thought.  Anyway, after multiple solutions discussed, it was decided I should try out reading glasses with a different power in each lens.  This way, I could see clearly at near while looking over the top of them to view whatever I might be drawing in the distance.  Yay!  Not all that thrilled about the presbyopic teacher look, but entirely pleased to have a solution at hand.

Daily arting continues with only one lapse since last posting.  As mentioned in the last post, next time - the battle of the art styles.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Gnarly - or - How My Family Inspires Art

I bought new art supplies again Saturday - markers & papers & a Moleskine sketchbook to see if it's really so wonderful.  The art this past week has been mainly random doodling, patterns and lettering.  There's a struggle going on between a realism sketchbook and art journaling.  More on that battle soon.

For now - a bit of the additional vacation art I promised.

South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Looking out from the Watchtower, you will see a bare dead tree.  My sister-in-law declared it "gnarly," which, of course, instantly transported me to the 80's.  The squirming branches begged to be sketched.  So I did, and even briefly had an audience of two foreign tourists.  Later I found a photo of said tree on the back of a GC book we brought home.  I'm so glad I took the sketchbook everywhere.  Now I have my own version of what is apparently a well-documented plant.

The next day we left the canyon and stopped in Williams, Arizona, an old Route 66 town with plenty of interesting restaurants and shops.  After a meal of juicy burgers & tea, we walked across the street to a little quilt store.  (A request of my seamstress mother.)  There was a small quilt-covered bed just inside the door and a sign that instantly had my illustration bells going off.  Back on the road - I pulled out the sketchbook and recorded the words & image stuck in my head.  Again, yay for the traveling sketchbook!

This one's for Mom.
(Ignore the thumb, I'm already tired of this hardbound won't-lay-flat sketchbook!)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stayin' Alive

Halloween means decorating, carving loads of pumpkins, creating food for the office party & planning a costume.  Between the recent trip and preparing for Halloween, squeezing in the art has been challenging - doable, but definitely a challenge.  More vacation art & recent sketchbook attempts coming in November.

In the meantime . . . As this journey progresses, I've noticed more and more that bits of songs, odd things people say and catchy phrases get stuck in my head and illustration ideas start forming (like this.)  A resurfacing pattern from eons ago.  I found a yellowed drawing pad while rummaging through old books at my parents' house this summer.  One page included mini song illustrations by a preteen me.  We now interrupt the regularly scheduled sketchbook report for a blast from the past.

  Song illustration from the late 70's...

Bang! Stab! Poison! ...and, um, Ugh!     If only the Bee Gees had hired me... 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I can't draw THAT big!

The past couple of weeks have been a challenge to the finding-my-artist challenge.  We were preparing for vacation & then spent several days with family in the Southwest, including the Grand Canyon.  I did not make art every day, but I made a lot more art than I ever would have on vacation, since that would normally have been none.

Proof I need to practice, practice, practice.
One Grand Canyon day, my sister, husband and I got up at dawn so I could create, she could write and he could meander with the camera.  We ventured into the 28° morning (lots of layers).  I found a wide flat rock to perch on, laid out my supplies and brushed on the first bit of color.  I'd love to say it was lovely.  It wasn't.  It was colorful, but it was hilariously awful.  The sun was rising fast & my little bit of watercolor practice before the trip did not prepare me for the speed needed to mix the color & water just right.  Plus I like to play with the paint - remembering now why I prefer oil.  I finished up what I could, set it aside and picked up the pencils . . . much better.  Back in the comfort zone, I held my pad in the air & sketched for nearly an hour.  (Which later caused shaky arms - wow, art fatigue!)  My sister typed while I drew and we were both taken aback by how difficult it is to capture the enormity of the canyon.  It likely would've taken all day to record the detail my eye could see, especially for this slow poke artist.  However, breakfast was calling and we needed to meet up with the rest of the gang.  "You know they have artist retreats here..." she hinted.  Hmmm.

Into the canyon through the trees.  So MUCH to draw, so little time.

Friday, October 12, 2012

New Tools & Sketching Strangers

A much anticipated package arrived yesterday - pens, paper, brushes and a travel watercolor set.  The watercolors will get a test drive this weekend.  However, I had to try out the pens immediately.

This afternoon I finally used a pedicure gift card from Christmas.  Yeah, I'm a procrastinator.  That's beside the point.  I decided today would be my first foray into actual public sketching.  (Last week's parade sketching was from a van. I don't think anyone noticed.)  As the warm water swirled, I mentioned wanting to test out a new pen.  The manicurist was cool with it, so I hesitantly cartooned me in a massage chair and then sketched random objects in the room.  . . . Not feeling it.  So, I turned to more comfortable subjects - my hand, book, knee and foot far below.  Uh huh, that's better.  New page... hmmm.  Sandy, the manicurist, had a long flippy pony tail and swooshy bangs.  I nervously (drawing unaware people feels invasive) recorded the lines of her bent head and dark hair.  She kept moving and I messed up her neck & shoulder.  Can't erase pen marks - pooh.  I looked around for something stationary.  Inspired by a lovely "relax" sign, a little doodling came next.  We chatted and eventually came to the subject of my art journey.  I showed Sandy the page and she seemed impressed.  It's weird showing your work to strangers and I was a bit embarrassed.  I don't want fake praise and people are usually too nice.  I was skeptical, so I showed it to my husband this evening.  I can count on him to be honest.  "What do you think this is?" . . . "Someone with hair in her face, but the neck is weird."  See, honest.  I was glad he could tell what it was and I agreed about the neck.  Couldn't leave that be - had to try marking it out a bit before sharing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Tale of Two Catalogs

Two days ago I noticed an old university catalog on a co-worker's desk.  It had been taken out of storage to retrieve some little bit of ancient coursework requirements.  This faded catalog had been in storage since I started working in the office over six years ago.  This dog-eared catalog just happened to be from my first year of college.  I sentimentally paged through the art section, commenting on pre-computer art & long-retired instructors.

Today in the mail I received a deliciously fat art supply catalog - the first one I've opened since my college days.

Coincidence?  Fate?  Blessing?  I believe so.

PS:  Just to keep me honest - yes, daily drawing continues.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Friday Fail - Weekend Recovery

It happened.  I made it a whole 11 days and then Friday - FAIL!  I didn't draw, doodle or sketch the whole entire day. Sigh.

Saturday we took part in the university homecoming parade.  Feeling guilty about Friday, I brought my little sketchbook.  We arrived early.  Directly in front of us was a float of flowers & straw bales & college kids bundled up against the first chilly fall day.  Then I did something I haven't done for many, and I mean MANY, years.  I opened the sketchbook in public.  The decorations were first, then the students in coats and hoods.  It was only two pages of incomplete figures - my models kept moving - but it was a milestone in this little journey.

Sunday evening came and I wasn't in the mood to be artsy.  We'd been working out in the cold all afternoon.  I was achy, tired & growing a headache.  Milo was sleeping across the room and I didn't want to get off the couch to attempt drawing him.  Humph!  I scrolled through my Pinterest board for ideas.  Guess I could do some gesture drawings of my hand . . . ten 20 second sketches, then ten 40 seconds and finally 2 minutes.  They started bleh, but as the 2 minute sketches progressed, I began appreciating how the lines improved and was glad I'd kicked my lazy self in the heinie.  I was still achy, sleepy & needing aspirin, but I had drawn.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sleepy Cat - Sleepy Artist - Sleepy Plan

Milo sleeping on my art books
Tuesday:  Sketching sleeping Milo - not easy when he's easily disturbed by the dog, the husband, bugs, noises, sudden dirty fur spots, etc.

Wednesday:  At midnight - an insanely quick sketch of sleeping stick people.  I was beat & it was a lame attempt to keep up the daily drawing.  I'm just barely counting it.

Thursday:  Brought out the conte crayons from the tackle box.  Considerable fun testing the colors & making swirls on the page, then turning them into a random group of leaves.  Later that night - quick little doodles in the little sketchbook illustrating the worst and best parts of the day.

The past few days have hatched two plans.  One - spend a few days, or a week or two, sketching the cat (& likely the dog who is tired of the cat hogging my attention) until it feels familiar.  Nice to have a specific goal for the pages.  Plan number two - make a quick sketch in the little sketchbook every night of the best and worst things that day.  I'm a bit excited about that one.  Will it be a temporary obsession or develop into one of those lovely life long habits?  This idea came from another blog and I lost track of which one it was.  Sorry unknown blogger - I'd like to credit you, but I was evidently too scattered that day.

Conte crayon fun -  It's Autumn!
the good and the bleh

PS  While researching art blogs, I happened upon a blogger who intended to draw 365 days in a row.  Her last post was day 10 - in 2009.  I wonder why there was no day 11 or 12 or 365...  I am grateful I've passed day 10 - still here & still drawing!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We can do it!

Half of the goals page.
(Hey, I don't have to share EVERYTHING.)
First things first (an oddly redundant saying).  Yes, I have drawn every day since the last post.  Saturday - a mandala - got all creative with shading & a 3D look.  Sunday - crammed full of life & nearly didn't draw.  Then my irritated sleepy self noticed the small sketchbook the pushier me had placed on the nightstand a month ago.  So, I did a few speedy illustrations of my vague October goals.  Monday - colored pencil spheres using complementary colors to create shadow.  The sketchbook pages are feeling very random and I can't decide if that's okay.

And now, the second thing.  Last night I read another chapter of An Illustrated Life.  This inspiring gem is full of "real" artists & their sketchbooking habits.  Many keep illustrated journals as you might keep a written diary.  Some have unrelated day jobs, but all are way more talented than me.  This chapter was about Amanda Kavanagh  and I want to share her pep talk...

"A lot of people tell me they want to keep a journal but they can't draw.  I don't think visual journals have to be about drawing skills.  I tell them it's about recording your days.  Just start a journal and keep it handy and convenient.  ....  And don't think too much about what you want to draw or whether it is technically a good drawing or not.  For inspiration, .... pick up a copy of Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art.  There are no rules.  No one has to see this except you.  Just have fun and enjoy yourself.  You'll be amazed how you look at the world differently and how your book will eventually take on a life of it's own."

If you already are "artistic' that's super.  However... See my doodles up above?  See how art can be stick figures or scribbles about your life?  Art doesn't have to be by a master, or hanging on the wall or match the couch.  Now, lastly... my illustration of a line in a country song about slowing down & taking the back roads...

from earlier this week - I want to go back and add some color at some point

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dream a Little (art) Dream

blind contour
pen sketch
Yesterday?  Blind contours - Bleh.  A good exercise for eye/hand coordination, but my perfectionist hates the results.  As soon as I finished them, I HAD to sketch the same subject.  See - it's not all happy pretty art in the ole sketchbook.

Five days in & this little venture has now invaded my dreams.  It's part of the journey & variety is a good thing, so . . . The Dream . . .

First day of classes, first semester as an art major (the 2012 me).  Loving my classes - some art, some not.  I enter a large crowded room thinking it's Modern Printmaking.  Exciting!  I'm not really listening to the reading of the syllabus (who does, right?) and instead chat with an old friend while removing everything from my bag searching for a drawing pencil.  I realize we've been split into two groups and I can't hear a thing the tall skinny eastern European instructor says.  He soon moves to our side & stands by an old projector, but I still can't understand him and can't see all that well because of my stupid contacts.  (I'm sure this came from my discovery last night - in reality - that I can see much better while drawing close if I take out my contacts.)

Back to the dream.  Everyone is writing on Etch-a-Sketches or tiny little digital pads with a stylus you have to put together.  I am completely confused.  A fellow student furiously pokes the buttons on her pad, answering questions for some test.  I have NO IDEA how anyone knows what the questions are.  Only then do I realize the name of the class is Qualitative Analysis. (Does that really exist?)  Oh yeah - the math class I had to take to complete my gen eds.  I hear - "It's actually easy & fun if you know a little bit of QA." . . . right.  Magically-appearing paper tests are handed in - except by me.  I leave - going directly to the Art Department to drop QA and get into Modern Printmaking, but the office is dark and I don't remember my advisor's name.

Then the cat woke me up, so we'll never know if I'm in Modern Printmaking or still sitting in QA wishing I had an Etch-a-Sketch.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Happy Doodle Cats

Day one seemed a successful start to this journey.  Then Tuesday was crazy and I was tired, so stuck with happy/silly faces.  Wednesday was long & I was tired, so it was a doodling day.  (I justify it as showing my imaginary readers that you don't have to do realistic drawings to keep a sketchbook.)  Today was busy & long and I just got to my sketchbook at 9 pm.  My brain - "Now what?!? Don't you deserve a break?"  The other side of my brain - "NO - Don't give in already.  Draw EVERY SINGLE DAY!" ... sigh
a few of the faces

So, instead of deciding what to draw I grabbed the Drawing Lab book and did the first exercise - draw a bunch of really quick cats... I mean quickly draw a bunch of cats.  I believe you're then supposed to play around with your favorite one - redrawing, adding color and such.  I'm making the rules & I declare this lesson a two-parter.  Part one is done & so is this day!


1 of 30 cats  

Monday, September 24, 2012

D(raw) Day

I woke to my brain yelling "YOU'RE GOING TO DRAW TODAY!" . . . sigh.  Yup, Open the Sketchbook Day aka D(raw) Day aka Aaaaaagh Day had arrived.  I was thankful today's incredibly busy work day kept my mind off the looming first page.

The perfectionist in me wants to point out
mistakes, but I'll just say that those are kids arms,
not little extremities growing from her shoulders.
I arrived home later than usual, ate chocolate, put on comfy Fall socks and picked up a relatively "new" sketchbook with three drawings in it - from 1998, 2000 and a few months ago.  Now what?!?  I stared at the beginnings of a nose I'd been sketching from a magazine ad.  No more thinking!  Just grab the 4B & start shading already!  My first scratchings brought annoyance & impatience for the page to be done and perfect.  Then the familiar mantra crept into my brain - forget what it is, just stick with the lines and shades.

45 minutes later . . . time to be done.  Ah - back in the groove and I've brilliantly let you know so I can't start slacking off already.  However, in an effort to avoid driving you nuts or bore you completely, I will initially post 2 or 3 times a week, maybe less if that gets irritating.  Whatever the results -  comical or sad or wonderful - I'll share stories or photos or both as we trek forth.

PS - Did YOU draw/sketch/doodle today?  Smiley faces, stick figures or random designs count too.  It's not what you do, but that you JUST DO.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Proceeding With(out?) Caution

How do I start?  Too many options for an indecisive soul.  I'm that shopper staring at toothpick boxes for 10 minutes deciding between round & flat.  I need a plan for this journey.  (Fail to plan and you plan to fail...)  Work through the Drawing Lab exercises or stick with 642 Things to Draw?  Sketch a traditional still life or the cat or the dog or my feet on the couch?  Indecision is a bit crippling.  Ugh.

I have maybe decided to simply start making marks and see where the line takes me.  Realism, cartoon or abstract, we'll see what happens.  Yeah, we'll go with that.  Then we can mix it up as we go.

Open the Sketchbook Day aka D(raw) Day aka aaaaaaaagh . . . is tomorrow.  I know there are much more important and serious things going on in this world, but in this little corner - I'm excited, anxious, nervous, elated, scared, brave, sick, giddy, paranoid . . . you get the picture.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Art of ProcrastinArting

 Continuing from the last post . . .  The nudging of my daughter began working on me.  I researched books to revive my artist.  I bought An Illustrated Life, Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists and Sketchbook for the Artist.  All wonderful, but the first was especially inspiring.  Hmm - yes, I could start a new sketchbook, but I didn't - yet.

The final tipping point, that final heavy straw, if you will, was an unexpected sale on Prismacolor pencils.  I had a 60 piece set from my college days, but many are nubs and some are lost and I've long wanted a new set.  We were traveling and shopping and I was in the mood to splurge.  So I did.  On the drive home, I sampled the new pencils in an old sketchbook I'd begun carrying, but never used.  My brain began scheming how I could "do" art again.  I formulated a plan - document the lovely colors of my new and old pencils.  Get the feel of it again.  Then, I'd finally be ready to create.  So, I organized my pencils by color and made pages of shades & lines.  Hmm, now how would they look in number order?  More procrastinating. . .  Come on already - you need to be held accountable!  Then I stumbled upon a few art blogs via Pinterest.  AHA!  I already blogged (infrequently).  I could do this.

Well, imaginary reader - you and me - yep, we're almost there.  Almost to D(raw) Day & we're going to kick this artist in the indigo blue heinie!

ProcrastinArting - Page 1 of 8
ProcrastinArting Page 7 of 8

WAIT - don't go yet.  Speaking of kicking in the heinie... A few of you have mentioned wanting to join this journey.  Well, now is the time people.  Grab a sketchbook, journal or random notebook & a good pen/pencil.  We'll start together Monday.  Prior skills NOT required.  Make your own rules.  Sketch, doodle, write, or draw blindfolded.  It's not about what you can do - it's about DOING!  So let's DO!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mom, just paint SOMETHING!

 My daughter moved into her first college apartment last month.  "Mom, paint something for my wall."  I've heard it several times now, but I just don't know what to do.

Over the years, my parents gave me various sketchbooks and pestered me now and then to draw again.  It hasn't stuck.  My daughter is the antagonist now.  Two years ago she bought me 642 Things to Draw.  A fantastic book of prompts & blank space.  I drew exactly 3 things.  Last year she gave me a lovely wooden box with an easel & drawers filled with inexpensive paints to play with and rediscover my painter.  I love it!  I used it twice.  For Mother's Day, I received The Artist's Way - a book I had borrowed once from my writer sister, but never did anything with.  Now I was determined to follow the 12 week plan it set forth.  I wrote the required daily pages... 3 times.  Rats - started over a month later... didn't last.  Started over again... yeah, not going anywhere.  I still want to get back to it, but so far - anything I have to do in the morning?  Not happening folks.  The one daughter gift I have used more is a book of mandalas to color in.  My theory - you don't have to think.  Pick up the colored pencils and just fill it in.  So, I'm carrying that theory into my sketchbook - not a lot of thought (yet) - just do.
Monkeys sleeping at the end of Too Many Monkeys.
A favorite bit of the last illustration.
From realism to idea sketching to the final page - Here's a bit of the creative process for the children's book my sister wrote and talked me into illustrating 5 years ago - Too Many Monkeys.  She's also persistent & I am grateful.

Marmosets in the banana line & Mandrills "sharing" ice cream.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pale Green Tackle Box

In there somewhere...
Lawyer - briefcase.  Carpenter - tool belt.  Artist - tackle box.

I've no clue what current art majors use to tote around their supplies, but in the 80's we all had fishing tackle boxes.  Brushes, pencils, gum erasers and such - all fit nicely in the fold out compartments.  I began college with a rather small box.  My then boyfriend (now husband) gifted me a larger one to tote a growing stash of supplies.  I closed it up within a year after graduating.  That pale green box sat in our basement for years, opened only to swipe a brush or bit of acrylic paint for a child's project.  Well, it's time to open it up.  Release the creative fragrance of graphite, pastels, old paint & conte crayons.  It's time to find the artist lost somewhere amongst the broken lead and dried paint.  Time to begin again.

~ See "What is this trek?" and "ProcrastinArting" if you are visiting for the first time. 
~ Tomorrow - a tiny bit of past art & my persistently prodding progeny.

I heart art - note the lack of brushes 
My curious sidekick - got catnip?

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Ponder.  Plan.  Dream.  Set goals.  Imagine.  Buy art supplies.  Organize art supplies.  Make excuses.  Change goals.  Get preoccupied.  Dream some more.

I want to revive my art.  My procrastinating perfectionist nature is tripping me up.  The last artist on this list is soooo me.  The ways to avoid putting 4B pencil to acid free paper are nearly limitless & I've nearly exhausted those ways.  Time to get off the proverbial couch and just do it already!   Well, not quite yet . . .

The journey commences on (insert dramatic sound effect) . . . September 24, the first Monday of Autumn.  I'm completely weary of heat & Autumn's relief makes me joyful!  On that day the artist will be given permission to open the sketchbook and venture forward.  In the meantime, read "What is this trek?" for my very short backstory.

This next week will be used to share a few of the hangups and a few of the nudges (shoves) towards creativity.  Stay tuned dear reader (or imaginary persons I've dreamed up to be readers... or Mom, Susan, Amy & Becca) - whoever has read this far - stay tuned.
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