Monday, July 29, 2013

Stillman & Birn Illustrated Journal

Some of these porcelain figurines I admired at my grandmother's homes when I was a child. Painting them is so much more delightful than taking a photo of them.

Today I drew my mom's vintage bracelet. (Uh oh, there's another grouping of items to draw.

Wouldn't you love to have a year just to draw everything in your house? Imagine the obsessive quality of that. But I'd love to take on that challenge.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Danny Gregory is to Blame (and that's a good thing)

When I work in my sketchbooks I may draw a chair from my house or perhaps a lamp on the page without any preconceived idea of a finished product. The chair or lamp don't really represent anything I just keep the pen moving then see what else happens to show up on the page. Working in the sketchbook is a meditation for me. I work intuitively and with crazy imagination. I go directly to the page with a pen (my favorite is Uniball) and I don't bother about mistakes because I don't know what I'm doing so I don't really know if there are mistakes.

As I sketch or add color (usually with watercolors) the drawing fills the page easily. I lose myself there and often I am quite surprised at what is revealed. Almost always phrases or words, or a bit of poetry evolves during the process and I may interrupt the drawing to scribble this somewhere on the page. If I don't do that I capture it on another piece of paper to add it later.

Two days ago I finally treated myself to Danny Gregory's book, "The Creative License." This book has been on my list of books to own and I'm loving it. I won't tell you too much about it so you can get your own copy to explore, but now I blame Danny Gregory for making me bring stuff back into my house that I had boxed up to give away. I had a few boxes of items sitting on the back porch waiting to be donated. Now I'm glad no one got around to doing it. Treasures to draw!

He will inspire you to draw every chance you get and to draw every ordinary thing in your house. In one section of the book he made the suggestion to go to a flea market to collect things to draw and there you go...I put the book down and retreived the box of ceramic figurines (mostly cats and dogs). I immediately arranged some on the dining room table and drew this. Next I think that I can turn them all around and draw the backs, or lay them on their sides and draw them that way, or upside down. (See what I mean?)

There really is no excuse for not grabbing every ten minutes or so you have and filling up sketchbooks. I want to draw my toothpaste, the basket of dirty towels, everything in my pantry, or the inside of my dog's mouth. Keeping an illustrated journal and working in it every day will sharpen your skills on how you see things and how you draw things. As Danny says, "There are no bad drawings. Drawings are experiences. The more you draw, the more experienced you'll get."

Get to it. One day you'll be rewarded with a shelf full of journals portraying your daily life. And if you want inspired buy a Danny Gregory book or visit his blog.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Freedom of Imagination and Becoming Our Authentic Selves

I have found a treasure. authentic self. (Or at least I'm on my way...)

If I am not my authentic self I cannot create from my imagination.

One direct way I am practicing at becoming my authentic self is to let go of My Image of Perfection. Perfection is based on fear. I have to let go of the stories, the image that others and society have told me I am. When you hear someone say they are trying to find out who they are it is likely to mean they are trying to stop listening to the voices that are in their mind. You know that monkey mind, or constant chatter we have been programmed to listen to and believe since we were children. Artists often talk about monkey mind...we're famous for this. I think we tend to get block based on this fear and chatter.

This chatter is rooted in fear.

Where did this fear come from? Why had I attached emotion and jugdement about myself to it? As we grow up we attach an image of what perfection is in order to measure up or to be good enough. We put on social masks, we start to pretend, and we are so afraid that someone will notice we are not who we pretend to be. We start to judge ourselves. Not only that we start to judge others according to our image of perfection. Will we ever be that perfect image? Nah. Look around you. People constantly punish themselves for not being who they believe they should be, or who they were told they should be. We are our worst critics. We constantly judge ourselves based on this image of perfection. Then we feel shame and guilt towards ourselves.

As you've grown your personality has formed based on years of telling yourself,
or others telling you what you believe,
or feel,
or ways to behave,
what is right or wrong,
or who you are or can or cannot be.

People can go through life suffering and hiding who they are because of fear. Because of being rejected or judged. And not always by others but by yourself. We can be our worst critics. I don't even like to think of some of the risks I took as a teenager because I wanted to fit in. Because I didn't want to be rejected. Then I thought I was being cool. Now I know I was lost and scared. I wasn't writing but I wanted to. I wasn't painting much because I didn't know how it'd be received. Plus I was rebelling against that image of perfection.

I could wallpaper my walls with all the creative ideas I've had power through me then let fizzle away because of fear...because of that image of perfection. Or because I allowed another's comments to define my choices. Or because I felt guilty for buying art supplies instead of repairing the cracked window, or I listened to monkey mind...

-be sensible you don't have the time or money to do that,
-you're starting now? Aren't you too old?
-You don't have a degree,
-it's just a hobby. That's not art,
-how are you going to get there? (sarcastic laughter),
-who do you think you are... you work at a covenience store,

We were born with a light and power inside us. That's what we need to tell young people. That you are here to define that light and power and purpose. That you have the right and we damn well expect you to swirl in the glitter and glitz of the imagination until you come out on the other side  living with inner peace, love, and true happiness.....

the rest will come easily after this,

when we no longer allow fear to control us,

and we truly experience our beautiful minds and we recognize and experience love, happiness, light and power, plus artistic spirit in the present moment,


we become true to ourselves and our art.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Pam Carriker Giveaway...Still Pursuing Portraits Class

Hurry, Hurry...and I mean hurry. Pam Carriker is giving away one workshop at Artful Gathering online workshops. It is her famous class, Still Pursuing Portraits." Not going to say any more just get over there and register for a chance to win. Drawing is Wed July 10th at Noon.

Let me know if you win,

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Artful Gathering 2013

I took my first class with Pam Carriker through 2011 Strathmore workshops. I was thrilled to take her portrait class through Artful Gathering in 2012. The group experience was fun and memorable...enough that a facebook group (About Face) developed as a result. I felt as if Pam were sitting with me in my studio.

I typically draw with ink then go right to the paints. I never sketch with a pencil. I surprised myself that I could achieve this with a pencil and a blending stump. Pam's "face mapping" is ingenious and the structure of what I learned has definately transferred to painting portraits for me. If you want to know what face mapping is you'll have to take her "Still Pursuing Portraits" class at Artful Gathering 2013.

See some of my older posts here, June2012 to see more sketches from Pam's class.

Register for "Still Pursuing Portraits" with Pam Carriker 2013 class:

It's a whole lot of summer studio fun over at Artful Gathering,