Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

I had a random thought today and a half-baked idea appeared.  I'm running with it.  Semi-humorous or sort of insightful art-related thoughts or observations occasionally pop into my brain.  "Hey, I should share that."  I then either forget the brilliant thought, or it morphs into a larger post.  Since I had the current thought on a Thursday, I have decided to start a weekly feature.  Let's call it "Thoughtful Thursday."  It's a working title.

Today's thought:

If sitting/sleeping/bathing on art books infused your bones with skill and talent, 
my cat would be simply awesome.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The (overly) Critical Eye

I received my ceramics paper back today.  We had written about each lesson and graded ourselves on creativity and craftsmanship and such.  The instructor added some comments to my paper, which began with the following:

"You were a bit too critical on your craftsmanship.  Rarely did I see you give up on a piece.  Your resilience and creative eye will take you places!"

I don't share this to point attention to my abilities, but to point out how artists tend to be their own worst critics.  We are so hard on ourselves it can be stifling.  The second sentence is not always true for me - especially when I'm sitting in my studio alone.  I'm tacking this up on the wall as motivation!

After too many days of bupkis, here's a bit of proof that I finally put pen to paper again.  Every fiber of my being wants to explain what is wrong with them.  Gaah!  It's so hard to not be overly critical!

Sketching in the Moleskine Cahier while my hubby checked on things at our business.  For once, I wish he would've been in there a little longer.

Contour drawing of negative space (drawing open spaces instead of branch lines) in our large locust tree.  It's remarkably easy to lose track in the many swaying branches.  The whiny cat interruptions didn't help.  (Milo hates wind).  He eventually won and we went back inside.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Feeding My Habit

I am an art supply junkie.

If I had piles and piles of cash, some charities would be very happy and I would travel often and art goodies would arrive daily on my doorstep.  Thinking about it makes me giddy.  I would also hire an art trainer - like a fitness trainer, only they'd make me actually USE the paints gathering dust in the studio.

Old and new stuff just waiting around
for the artist to get inspired...
You see, every time I read about a new technique, watch a demo or get inspired by a blog post, I think "I need that pen/paper/paint!"  The must-have item(s) will often end up in my online art store wish list for the next sale.  (No local art store.)  These places send weekly specials, so it doesn't take long, though I do have some restraint.  The boxes show up on my doorstep only about every other month.  Does this actually translate into more art - generally not.  There, I admitted it.  I feed my habit, but my habit doesn't always feed my art.  Sigh.

In related news:

I discovered yesterday that my 1980's gouache paint is still usable.  What!?!  That's fantastic!  I'm signing up for an online class that lists gouache as one of the possible tools.  I immediately went into I-need-that mode.  It then occurred to me there were a few tubes in my old pale green tackle box.  I pulled it out of the studio/guest room closet and managed to unscrew all of the lids.  (Which wasn't easy.  I actually have a blister on my thumb from the effort.)  Three are dry as dust, but the other five are still good.  Woot!

In unrelated news:

I'm cataloged!  I received an email from The Sketchbook Project that my sketchbook has been cataloged into the Brooklyn Art Library.  How cool is that?  It's one of many thousands, but still...coolness.  I'm excited to see how my goofy little illustrations look digitized.

In additionally unrelated news:

Since returning to my art, I've been upcycling lots of bags and jars and such.  My husband was about to toss a big zip-type plastic bag this morning, but asked me first "Do you need this bag for art stuff maybe?"  Not monumental by any means, but it was a first time question that just seems, I don't know, it just made me smile.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Nick of Time

The Sketchbook Project pages were finished at 3:38 pm on the 15th (postmarked-or-you're-out date).  I walked into the post office at 3:50.  The envelope was sealed and handed over at 3:55.  The mail must be in the hands of the postal people by 4:10 to go anywhere that day.  Just made it.

This is the cover.  I snapped lightening-speed photos with my phone before sprinting out the door.  (No, I did not speed to get there - too paranoid about getting a ticket & missing the deadline.)  My book is not full of fabulously realistic drawings, as originally intended.  Dang procrastination. It is, hopefully, a somewhat amusing and simply illustrated story.

The pages will be digitized after arriving at The Sketchbook Project headquarters.  I'll get back to you with the final photos in 6-8 weeks.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cute Procrastination... or maybe Motivation?


We spent the weekend de-Christmasing inside the house.  I love overdecorating, so it takes awhile.  Sunday afternoon Milo plopped on my lap and actually stretched out towards me instead of the usual tail-in-the-face posture.  Aha - a chance to draw his face!  I barely started and he stretched.  Fortunately he settled in the same spot and I sketched a teensy bit more.  He stretched again... and again... and again.  Then promptly turned 180°.  Sigh.


I could no longer resist the 50% off calendar sale at our local Hastings.  My husband is a sucker for coolers and flashlights.  I'm a sucker for sketchbooks and calendars.  I found a page-a-day word origins calendar to enrich our brains, a small desk calendar with separate pages for doodling, and this most adorable planner.

I'm not usually a sucker for cute things (except toddlers & pets), but this little thing is so freaking cute, it's entirely irresistible!

I didn't notice the goals page until I got it home - bonus!

The days are a perfect sketch/doodle size - big enough to record the day, small enough to not be intimidating.

Extra pages between the months have random uplifting quotes.

There are a bunch of blank pages at the end, some with titles like "Books to read" or "Places to go."  It's quite motivational.  Even the spine exhorts "Take me with you."  How fab is that?


After multiple super chilly days, yesterday was in the upper 40's, so I finally took down the outside Christmas lights.  The highlight of the day, though, was picking up The Artist's Guide to Sketching by James Gurney and Thomas Kinkade.  This book was on my if-I-ever-get-rich list.  It is out of print and the cheapest used copy on Amazon is $139.  Yikes!  I put in a request through the interlibrary loan system and 2 weeks later here it is.  I finally cracked it open after supper last night and I'm already loving it.  I hope to stumble across a not so outrageously priced used copy someday - maybe on eBay.


Half of the art supplies I ordered with my Christmas bucks arrived!  Woot!  I can't test them out just yet since I STILL haven't started on my Sketchbook Project pages.  That's right, I just shared a whole bunch of stuff that had nothing to do with what I SHOULD be doing.

I'll be creatively cramming over the weekend, but I now have a new, improved and hopefully quite brilliant and somewhat simple idea.  I'll let you know if it actually goes as planned by next Wednesday.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Acrylic Procrastinart

I stayed home sick today.  As the afternoon passed, I felt better and thought I really need to get cracking on my Sketchbook Project.  I'm still not in the mood to be creative or productive.  I even went back and read the post about the why's of this trek and it helped only marginally.  The deadline is looming, so I laid out my blank sketchbook and the little rock that "inspired" me to do this.

See how that blank white page just sits there and stares at you.

The only sensible next step was some procrastinart.  Naturally.  

Sketchbook removed - out came the acrylic paints my son gave me a year ago.  I haven't painted with acrylics since college.  Out of practice is a giant understatement.  With a little of each color on the palette, I proceeded to play.  What you see below is simply that - play.  It represents nothing (except procrastinating) - no abstract meaning- just brushing and mixing and relearning the nature of the paint.

Less than two weeks to finish the sketchbook.  What would I ever get done if it weren't for deadlines?
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