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

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