Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Return to Painting

Remember last June when I was all excited about watercolors? Classwork got the best of me and I haven't picked them up since, though I have spent some time coloring with my colored pencils.

With a clear schedule and desire to make a mess, I hauled out the watercolors again and had a lot of fun! I'm going to go ahead and post both of them here, along with some notes so I can remember what I did.

Mess #1: aka "Tree with swing and sheep: a completely original idea"

clickin to embiggen

No plan other than playing with technique. I started with the grass and let it dry before adding the sky. I'm actually quite pleased with the blending with the sky. I did a bit of blotting with a paper towel and then went back in with some white paint which created something like lines of clouds.

Next, the tree, the swing, and the leaves. I kinda like the leaves - after sketching out the tree and a few branches, I just started dabbing my brush around with different colors.

Because I wanted to put something on the hill on the left, I decided to add a fence and some white dots that Twitter insists will be believable as distant sheep.

I finished by going back over the grass and adding vertical darker green lines to give it some texture.

Mess #2: which was all about a specific technique

clickin to embiggen

Here, I wet the paper with a sponge and then used painter's tape to mask off two lines, despite being told on Twitter that this was the wrong kind of tape. I then smeared a bunch of color all over the place, screwed around blotting it with a paper towel and a sponge (leaving gunky bits behind) and then removed the tape.

I did have some tearing when I removed the tape, but that's alright. What I was interested in was the overall effect, which I do like and plan to work with some more, as soon as I purchase the correct tools.

A masterpiece? Of course not. But I had a lot of fun experimenting while blasting Frou Frou and not giving a damn about anything else going on in my life right now. I think I'll do it again soon.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Taste in Art

It's either really good or really bad. I'm not sure. What I know is that any time we visit an art museum, whether it be the permanent collection or a limited-time special exhibition, I find a piece or two that really speaks to me and I want to take it home.

That's good, right?

And because I assume the museum peeps aren't going to be down with me putting those framed works in my car and taking off with them, I usually just check the museum store for prints or reproductions.

So here's where I start to question my taste. The art I adore? It's never available in the gift shop. No worries, I'll go home and look online! Except, it's never available there either. For reference, see "The Lie". No kidding, if you could find me a print of that photo, at any price, I would kiss you. Or have your babies. Or pay you a 10% finder's fee. Whatever you wanted, because I would be that indebted.

Is it that my taste in art is so good that they want to keep those gems hidden away, unavailable for public take-home? Or is it that my taste in art is so bad that they just assume there would be no market so they don't bother making prints available?

Because, you know, it's all about me.

Or maybe the issue is that these artists I love had really sucky agents who failed to negotiate a syndication deal for them.

At least these particular pieces that caught my eye are less than three miles from my house. I'll have to go visit them. And debate my taste with the voices in my head.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Watercolors: Sheet #1

After putting paint into my palette, I picked up a book I had bought and tried a few of the techniques they mentioned. Then I became insanely impatient and decided to start just throwing paint on paper to see what happened.

Please click image if you wish to embiggen

In the upper left, that was supposed to be a nice solid block of color. The orange (actually, vermilion, which is my new BFF) square to the right, that's a fading wash, getting lighter as it moves down the paper. Across the bottom, that's supposed to fade gently from one color to another. And then various other stuff playing with brush strokes and mixing paints (some kind of feather/flower/blob and a headless person walking off the side of the photo).

Here's what I learned:
  1. I did "stretch" the paper, aka wetting it down so it can soak in lots of water and not get all crinkly gross. However, I then kinda forgot to rewet the paper before I started working so it was really dry. More water on paper equals more flowy paint.
  2. The colors are much more bold than I intended. I needed to mix in more water (plus the water on the paper)
  3. The fluffy brush that came in my set is for cold weather painting - it's shedding its coat here in this heat, leaving fur everywhere like Tonya. Replace that brush!
  4. Vermilion is awesome.

It was just kinda awesome to put paint on paper to see how it behaved a little bit. I expect to do a lot of learning through mistakes. Seriously, wait until you see Sheet #2. The best part of watercolors is that they're not that expensive and clean-up isn't too bad. And I had fun doing it. I may never be great, but I found it to be relaxing so I plan to keep playing.

BTW - since I clearly have no idea what I'm doing, I'd love to hear any advice or suggestions you have for me.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Inspiration: Found!

Hey, remember when I posted here sometimes? And then I ran into a dry patch with no inspiration? Well, the drought is over. In fact, I'd say it's been over since my trip to Europe, which was two months ago. However, free time to blog about it seems to be lacking. But I have a lot to share so hopefully there will be many posts coming soon.

Some will be about this:

I also have various things I've been meaning to share from the trip, other artists' work, and various whatevers. So be sure to follow this blog or follow me on twitter for sneak previews.

Monday, February 15, 2010


I'm trying desperately but not finding much of that creative mojo I was hoping would spring forth with the new year.

To be honest, I'm drowning in work. I'd say 50% of my projects are things I have no interest in at all. Coding, writing reports, meeting with consultants at work. And another 50% are things I'm greatly interested in. Graphic work, writing, exciting projects.

The problem is that 50% plus 50% don't add up to 100%. They add up to more like 150% of the hours in the day. I'm completely overwhelmed and just spinning. My life feels volatile on so many levels and sometimes I find myself really yearning to let some of that out in a creative way but I just don't have the time.

Frustrating for sure.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Creative New Year

The last few weeks I haven't felt much inspiration. At least, not of the sort I'd post about here. But now it's the new year and I'm trying to be very open to creativity. I've cleared the guest room (where I go for quiet time when it's too cold outside) and I'm adding pieces to my inspiration wall. Soon, I'll have to snap a photo. In keeping with my desire to be receptive to whatever muse may smack me around grab hold, I'm printing this Creative Manifesto to keep nearby. Check it out, you may like it.

One of my favorite gifts that I received over the holidays was from Joe's Auntie. Don't you love those gifts that you had no idea you wanted but they are somehow perfect for you? She sent me Charley Harper's coloring book and a brand new set of colored pencils.

I adore this book - it's like a coloring book for grown-ups, full of modern-looking line art. It's been awhile since I spent any time coloring but I'm sure Auntie thought it would be a nice calming activity for me. One I can do in the guest room, even. Yay Auntie!

Friday, December 4, 2009


Winter (Tori Amos)
Snow can wait
I forgot my mittens
Wipe my nose
Get my new boots on
I get a little warm in my heart
When I think of winter
I put my hand in my father's glove

I run off
Where the drifts get deeper
Sleeping beauty trips me with a frown
I hear a voice
"Your must learn to stand up for yourself
Cause I can't always be around"

He says
When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I'll always want you near
You say that things change my dear

Boys get discovered as winter melts
Flowers competing for the sun
Years go by and I'm here still waiting Withering where some snowman was

Mirror mirror where's the crystal palace
But I only can see the myself
Skating around the truth who I am
But I know dad the ice is getting thin

When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I'll always want you near
You say that things change my dear

Hair is grey
And the fires are burning
So many dreams
On the shelf
You say I wanted you to be proud of me
I always wanted that myself

He says
When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses have gone ahead
I tell you that I'll always want you near
You say that things change
My dear
I love the lyrics to this song. The security of a father, going off on your own, indecision, uncertainty, expectations... And if you listen to it, it sounds very much like winter. Tinkly snowflakes falling, a little cold. And absolutely beautiful.

Beth posted a prompt at The One-Minute Writer today about Snow. Here's what I wrote:
Snow memories are some of my favorite from childhood. Sledding, snowmen, forts, snowball fights...

But one of my favorite snow-activities was to bundle up in all of my wet-resistant warm clothes and go lay in the middle of the neighbor's field. It was large enough that you only caught hints of trees along the edges in your peripheral vision. Staring straight up into the sky, watching snowflakes float towards me. A few would hover on my eyelids before melting away. I loved to listen to the sounds of the snow falling, distant branches creaking, animals in the pine grove nearby.

I'd really like to lay in that field right now and spend some quiet time listening to the world. Maybe it would tell me something if only I could hear.
I miss the snow. And I miss laying in that field during all seasons. I think it would do me a world of good to lay in the middle of a field right now.