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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