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!)
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