Thursday, May 30, 2013

Getting Serious? Seriously!

Two things...

One - I will be using my artistic abilities for the good of my fellow man.  Okay - I exaggerate, but I will be using them for the good of some fellow relatives.  For the next month or so, I will be busy with a super secret project for an upcoming super duper event.  Once the event has arrived, or nearly arrived depending on the reveal, then my dear imaginary readers will get to see as well - whether or not it turns out reasonably close to the lovely image in my head.

Two -  I created a new Pinterest board.  Why is this share-worthy?  Because it's another tiny step towards phase 2 or 3 or 4 or wherever we are on this journey.  I enjoy good abstract or whimsy, but I yearn for "serious" realistic art and, more specifically, oil painting.  Watercolor will continue and, if my son is reading this, I WILL delve into the acrylic paints he generously gifted me and keeps hounding me to get busy with.  Honest, I will use them before I break out the oil tubes.  However, I discovered the Oil Painters of America (OPA) this week and immediately connected.  They are "dedicated to the preservation of representational art."  Um, YES!  Count me in!  One of the contributors is Shelli Alford.  Shelli has a fraternal twin to my story. "The art I was given in college was very contemporary and sort of non-instructional and my art reflected it."  Ditto.  She was disappointed, but has now rediscovered a passion for realistic painting and travels to workshops of modern masters.  Fantasticness!  The latest OPA blog post led me to three such masters and a list of art books to research. Lessons in Classical Drawing: Essential Techniques from Inside the Atelier will be my next splurge.

So, the new Pinterest board?  "Art - Getting Serious" - a home for tips, books, lessons and blogs dedicated to classical realistic drawing and painting.  Perhaps this is another form of procrastinating actually getting busy?  (As wisely suggested in this Creative Something post.)  Perhaps.  I'm saying it's another reminder to keep digging in the tackle box.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Doodle Evolution

Stressful week here and I barely drew.  One sketching session and then a tiny bit in my pocket calendar each day.  Things are looking up a tad, so back to the sketchbook.  In the meantime - some early March art.

I didn't feel like drawing this particular day.  I didn't want to figure out what to draw or what to draw with.  So, I started doodling random patterns in the pocket Moleskine.  It turned out to be a nice bit of art therapy.

I liked the flowers and little ideas started sprouting.  The next night a whole garden of them appeared.

I colored in the bits of background that peeked through with brown pen and decided to highlight one flower.  It didn't quite turn out as I imagined, but what the heck - just a little experiment.

The contrast with the brown seemed too busy or irritating or something.  The next page grew into a beehive of flowers and I liked the black showing through better, but what about adding a touch of color?  That turned into the fourth page of this series.  A little bit of fun out of one day that I didn't want to draw. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Growing My Own Branch

After reading "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon, I am now on a secondary mission - collect artsy fartsy books.  Let me clarify...

Steal Like an Artist and my current read, "The Art Spirit," recommend studying the great art masters as well as more modern artists you admire.  Research your favorites first and then their mentors and then the mentors of their mentors.  Kleon calls this your creative lineage - climbing up your (artistic) family tree.  That's ridiculously clever and I love it!  Study each of them intently, copy them (strictly as practice - as study of technique) and keep climbing until you have a conglomerate of "teachers" helping you improve and define your talent and style.

I've started out with Edgar Degas, Edward Hopper and John Singer Sargent.  There are a bazillion, or at least a few dozen, more I want to research.  I should start with just one, but it was simply too difficult to just pick one.

Our library is great.  However, it has a finite art book collection and I'm spending enough on my art tools.  Soooo, if any family or nearby friends happen to read this particular post, keep your eyes peeled for cheap or free books about any artist who draws, paints or sculpts in a semi-realistic to realistic style.  Also art instruction books - figure drawing and such.  I bookmarked a list of recommended older art instruction books that I will be keeping an eye out for.  If you ever notice an artsy book for a quarter at a garage sale, grab it.  I'll reimburse you, take it home & decide if it's worth space on my shelf.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Case of the Why's

Bear with me dear reader, as I ponder a bit today.

Why draw?  Why paint?  Why care?  Why blog?  Why? Why? Why?  On a ridiculously regular basis I ask myself why I started this trek and why my art, or art in general, should matter to me or anyone else.  Sometimes I remember the answers and sometimes not.  Sooooo, here are the top 10 wise me pep talks to grumpy me:

1) Drawing makes you focus on the details - really seeing things/people (regardless of how lovely or crappy the end result is).  A side bonus is a more vivid memory of the moment - weather, smells, sounds, conversations - because your brain tosses them back to you each time you return to that sketch.

2) There's something much more personal about creating your own view instead of snapping a photo.

3) I have a gift, regardless of how much or little talent I really have, there is some, and it's a waste to ignore it.

4) Creating/viewing art is simply therapeutic.

5) After reading the post about my artistic style, my sister commented that I do have a certain style in both my handwriting (which is horrid) and my art, no matter the medium.  I replied "sloppy?"  She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but it's something to do with upbeat, uplifting... something up.  Maybe I paint in the style of a messy optimist.  Someday I'll be famous & they'll write books about the Messy Optimism movement.  Ha!

6) While we're on the subject of my supportive sibling.  I was ruminating awhile back on what useful purpose there could possibly be, other than my own selfishness, for this blog.  Then I read her post on Fierce & Nerdy - let your light shine - where she linked to my blog as an inspiration.  I can be inspiring!  Woot!  Maybe not to a whole herd of people, but to a few and that's better than none.

7)  Blogging holds me accountable - 1 reader or a bevy of imaginary readers or just me - we've come to expect a post now and then and they can't all be about quotes or art book reviews.

8) Sometimes what I create can affect another person's life.  The last lesson of the virtual watercolor journal class was painting man made objects.  I challenged myself by painting glass & plastic.  These items were reminders of Dad.  I added journaling and posted it on Mom's Facebook page in hopes of making her smile.  My aunt (Dad's sister) then commented how it touched her as well.  I was delighted to make a small difference with my dabbles of paint.

And then there's this.

9) This was my first and only oil painting.  18-year-old me painted this in the spring of my senior year.  It hangs in Mom's sewing room.  My daughter took this photo with her camera phone a few years back and posted it for all her friends to see.  There were several "She should do this all the time!" comments.  Granted, it's no master.  However, if I could do this once as a teenager, it seems important to explore what I might be capable of now, if I just stick with it!

10)  Milo seems to think every photo session is really meant for him to paw-test the sketchbook.  He has come to expect this and it's just thoughtless to disappoint the cat.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

If only... is now

Literally a moment ago, while scanning the blogs, I had one of those feelings.  You know, when your brain dives down into "If only... " and your arms get all sad & clunky.  The artist blogger mentioned perusing his sketchbooks from when his children were young and how glad he is that he took the time to sketch them.

*Sigh* (really BIG sigh) . . .  

*SIGH* (super sized humongous sigh)

You can't go back.  You can live in the now - sketch in the now and encourage your slacker self to move that dang pencil every single beautiful day.

On the up side - it's not time travel, but we do have mountains of old photos to sketch from.

(insert loud sing-song voice here)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

"Making the Most of an Emergency"

One of the artist blogs I follow is James Gurney.  He recently reviewed a new book of John Singer Sargent watercolors.  If you're at all interested in art/artists or more specifically watercolor painting, do check it out.  It's on my wish list.  Mr. Gurney includes this quote from the book:

Sargent used every trick in the book in his watercolors: glazing, wax resist, gouache, impasto, lifting off, scraping, drybrush, and ox gall. As he worked, he muttered "Demons, demons," and he famously described painting in watercolor as "making the most of an emergency."

Isn't that fabulous!?!  It's so completely and utterly fitting as I finish up the watercolor journaling class with Jane LaFazio.  Though I still struggle some with the looseness and imperfection of the genre, my comfort level with this medium has increased tremendously.  The watercolor sketchbook is half full - plenty of blank pages for bravery.  I plan to continue watercolor journal style.  However, maybe at some point, just sorta' maybe, I'll give a go at the detail of Sargent's beautiful emergencies.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April Snow - May Flowers

Back to the flowers of week four.  April should be the perfect time to sketch flowers.  Not this April. What a roller coaster!  Constant fluctuating from summer temperatures to winter storms.  We just had 4 days of 80's, but today's blustery high maybe hit 40° with snow expected tonight.  Happy May Day!

Back to mid April.  The tulips were on the verge of blooming - just in time for this lesson.  THEN a cold front moved in the first day I had time to go outside and sketch.  I planted the bulbs last fall and didn't have the heart to cut the stems just for my lesson.  So, I did what any normal person would do.  I bundled up in multiple layers and plopped down on the front porch in finger-numbing weather with my sketchbook, pen & paints.  Cars rolled by and the occupants would glance over and do a double take.  Crazy lady.  Other than my fingertips, it really wasn't too bad, but then, I'm a winter lover, so you can take that with a grain of salt.

Part of the fun of this class is combining the watercolor with a bit of journaling.  Lovin' the mix!  I hope hope hope to get in the habit of doing this often.  It is more memorable than snapping photos and more interesting than just writing.

Later that week, I took advantage of a balmy day and a spare moment to sit on the porch and sketch and paint.  Bonus inspiration from the class.  These more stylized tulips were created with a Pentel pocket brush pen in the little Moleskine.  The pocket brush has a flowing, yet somewhat unpredictable line and I'm still learning to go with its flow.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...