Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Pieces

Monday came fast this time around! I actually dropped the daily illustrations (I know, I'm the most wishy-washy person ever right now, it's really frustrating. But, I've figured some things out and I'll post about that in a mid-week post. Hey a bonus post!) Instead, I had two pieces I was late in getting submitted to The Rabbit Hole Artist Collective monthly auction. The theme was "classics" and I ended up trashing two pieces, because they just didn't work for me. Classics just seemed like such a vague thing to do. Classic how? Then someone said movies, literature, art... and I came up with Ophelia, from Hamlet. I also decided to do one inspired by Klimt's The Kiss.
So, here is Ophelia:

Klimt, ophelia - backgrounds in

"Ophelia" 8x10, acrylic on fine canvas panel. She actually looks better in person. I tried scanning the painting instead of taking a picture, and I think it lit things up a bit wonky. There are silver iridescent highlights in her hair, but they aren't quite that in-your-face. Hmm. 

"The Embrace" 8x6 inches acrylic on canvas panel
Now, the Ophelia piece is fine but... I LOVE the way the Embrace piece came out. LOVE it. I don't know why. Maybe it's the emotion the pose evokes. I just really like it. 

I thought it wasn't going to turn out. In fact, I even used a panel that has such a hard canvas tooth, I that I didn't figure on it being usable. Deep grooves like that in canvas really only work for thick-thick applications of paint (and attacks with palette knives.) But in some ways? I feel that the rough texture adds a little to it, sort of when people add grain to a photograph?

I'm considering a whole romantic series, for my Abstract side of the business. 

Anyway, that's the extent of my productivity last week. On Friday, another itty-bitty step forward was made in the whole job-maybe-move situation. All in the right direction, all glacially slow. Now, nothing will happen for two weeks, but then hopefully things will start going again. The downside is that if everything does go the way we hope, there is going to be quite a lot of pressure and panic to make everything happen. Maybe I will start producing art that involves attacking canvas with the palette knives?

Ahh well... On Sunday, I took the day off to hang out in my hammock and read trashy novels. I needed it. 

I hope you all had a great week!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Multiple Artist Personality Disorder and Burnout

My third Monday post! Woohoo! This Monday-thing is really working out for me!

I started this week off by forcing myself to use paper for my daily sketches:

Dandelion Dragon 4x5 inches, pencil on paper

Which only lasted two days.

It was good, because it did force me to spend less time on them, even though I wanted to go in and add more detail, and all sorts of things. I think I do a lot of pushing when I work. I push to make things brighter, deeper, just... I'm aggressive with my art. I see so much art that is light and airy, and while I LOVE it, I just can't do it. I'm hard, I want my art to be hard, and that's what happens. But hard takes time and more effort, so that's a tough goal when you're trying to speed things up and loosen up in general.

Then, I kind of burned out. On everything. I had some pieces not turn out, which is rare but extremely frustrating. The kids being out of school makes me feel like my head isn't on straight. Everything is just upside down. I did manage a couple more digital pieces though:

Part of my adventure illustrations, I decided the bunny needed to explore and the dragon and bee are going with him.
I decided to name the dragon Violet, the bee Murray, and the bunny Cecil. And here is one because my husband is totally addicted to soccer, which means that the current World Cup is my idea of televised sports hell (I hate televised sports. Either let me PLAY, or leave me alone. I don't understand how into it they all get, it's as if they are really involved or something. Baffles me.) I really thought the World Cup was only a little bit ago, but it turns out it was four years. I can't figure that out... but then he watched EVERYTHING soccer, so it just never ends here. He coaches too. Year round. Never. Ending.

I've also been revisiting a lot of my abstract and surreal work lately. When I've worked and shown, this is the art that gets a lot of play time. People WANT to see it. They want to have a nice long look at it, and will sit there for a while talking about it and being totally engaged. It's where I started with my work when I was showing in galleries and such. But this is not the work that people take home with them. At least, not as much. They would come out to an event just to see it, spend hours with it, but not need to buy it or take a print home. It's kind of fascinating, actually. The fairy tale work I do? People don't necessarily come out to see it or spend hours with it, but they do take it home with them.

But then I wondered (and was prodded to wonder by others...) I exhibited back when prints cost an artist several hundred dollars to make, and you had to invest in that print and hope to high heaven that enough of them would even sell to recoup your investment. The world has changed (in just 15 years! Wow!) and now I can make prints almost on demand (I still use a professional service, because they have better quality and can beat my costs of just printing them myself) and I don't have to have a huge stack or investment. What if I had been able to offer the variety of prints like I can now?

Is that something I should pursue now, a reboot?

I don't know. I think I have Multiple Artist Personality Disorder. I can do so much, and yes I know the phrase "Jack of all trades, master of none", but I am not certain where my heart is with art.

I think I need all of it. I need everything to feel whole. I can't just do one thing and be happy about it, and I can't stop learning something new.

So, I'm struggling with that aspect. I wonder about those prolific artists who only create one type of thing consistently - are they happy with that? Is that all they see in their dreams? Or are they suppressing another side of themselves so they can reach a customer base and not confuse or turn them off?

Anyway, I think a large part of this is me being a bit burned out (or maybe I'm channeling my inner 12-year-old and wishing I was on summer vacation banging at my best friend's front door and asking her to come and play?) But I also believe there is value in entertaining the question of whether or not I am pursuing the best path for my art career, and how to either make peace with it or change it, or add to it, or...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Break Is Here!

Happy Monday, and yay for my second on-time post! (I almost forgot, it's the first real day of summer vacation here for the kids, and my brain is all off schedule!)

I did a few more digital drawings, and I have decided the dragon and the bumblebee are permanent fixtures:

But then I got a request for a rabbit and a duckling. I started working, and got all messed up with a physical watercolor and had to walk away from it.

And then did this quickly:

I really, REALLY did NOT like how this bunny came out at all. So the next day I made it a mission to make a cuter bunny. I'm happy with the results:

I LOVE this one... I'll be making prints of this one

Isn't that SOOOOO much better? Also, I really love the moon and stars. I find daytime paintings tougher.

Then I took a couple days because I burned out. I also couldn't figure out what my bunny would fly off in, and that held things up too. I had originally envisioned a soup can, but then realized that would be far too small. Then I thought it would have to be a coffee can, but that would look stupid. And then I thought... popcorn!

Popcorn just works, doesn't it? So I plan on doing more with the popcorn balloon adventure, but it was Father's Day the next day, so I did this:

Which I also ended up loving. I didn't know how it would turn out, but it came out nicely. I am doing all of these large enough and in high enough resolutions that I can actually have prints made, and so I'm picking the best of the bunch and getting some made of those in a week or two. So far, I like this one, the bunny on the moon and two others I think. The rest? Eh, not so much.

Anyway, while I had fun doing these and I plan on doing more, I realize I have completely lost sight of my original intention to make these fast sketches so I can jump into the studio on my other work. Part of that is a natural obsessiveness that comes with learning something new - and learning how to work digitally is definitely new! Another part comes from just spending far too much time on what were supposed to have been fast sketches. These digital pieces took a whole working day in some cases, just like a traditional painting. When that happens, I don't have much time or energy left for the stuff I was actually supposed to have been getting to.

So, if I can't lighten it up? I don't know how I'll do a daily sketch or illustration. My thinking is that if I force it onto paper, I'll have to lighten it up. Paper that I can't paint on or use pastels or something effectively. Just pencil. Quick, cute, and to the point is what I need to do! I also think I need to get a sketch-day ahead of myself so I can post on time.

Anyway... I've been in digital land all week! This week, I have to go back to the basics because I have deadlines.

In other news, my children are home and already concerned about being bored. It's been... two hours since they would have been in school. This could be a long summer!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Going Digital... A little bit

Yay, my first on-time Monday post!

I started using my iPad to start off with the daily sketches goal. I'm alternating between ArtRage and ArtStudio, and I'm finding there are benefits to each. But I'm sticking more with ArtStudio. I have also found that I love layers. Layers always bothered me before, because as traditional artists we work with one surface and pile it on (in layers or not, but that's the way it works.) Digitally, if you do that it becomes like finishing a painting in one solid go without letting anything dry (which can get muddy.) Thus, layers is like letting the layers of paint dry so you don't mess them up! I suddenly LOVE layers! Plus, you can go back and add things later, and you certainly cannot do that in the real world!

Anyway, I think I finally hit on a good exercise for me to get my art brain cells up-n-at-'em! So, I'm definitely going to be shooting for a daily sketch. That being said, I'm casting about trying to figure out a character. I was leaning towards a griffin, but then I ended up with a dragon for my first one:


I really like the way he came out, but I'm not certain that this is going to be my main little character. We'll see what develops of course...

Another dragon for the second, but different:

"Little Spring Shower"

I'm not too thrilled with the dragon in this one, but I love how the water all came out. It was SO easy to draw it, and I actually thought it was going to be trickier for some reason. I'm not sure why.

I'm noticing that everything is brighter on my iPad, but the finished image comes out darker online. I have this problem with my paintings too. I'll paint them so they're great under a light, but far too dark in normal lighting conditions. I was surprised to have this same problem in the digital world.

Third day:
"New Neighbor"

I fell in LOVE with the bumblebee. I don't know why, but I just love him. Maybe it's because they're outside in droves right now:
My lilac bush. Butterfly and Bumble hanging out.

So, I did another with a bumblebee!

I'm calling this one "...What?"

I think it's clear I'm doing a dragon character. But now, I know I'm definitely doing a bumblebee too!

I guess I need names for the two of them...

Anyway, for my first digital paintings/drawings, I think they came out pretty good! I think I'm going to switch to paper for a bit to see if I can't get myself to move faster. I've spent hours and hours on each of these, and the real intention was to really spend a maximum of up to two.  Ooops. But I learned a lot!

I hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Setting Goals

I've decided it's time to set some goals for myself. I still don't know if I'm moving to North Carolina (I have a "probably, but maybe, but we'll see... probably know by July 1st. Maybe." Nice, right?) This has been going on since February, and I think I've gone insane at least four times over. I don't do well with my life out of my own hands. I suppose I am a control freak, now that I really think it over.

But then, I suppose if I look at how I approach my art, that probably makes sense. I think, if I were to come up with a word or two I want applied to my art I would say they are Striking and Whimsical. (If you create, what words do you want to describe your work?)

Anyway in order to let my control freak fly her little flag (it's rainbow, with swirls and sparkles on it) once again, I am setting some goals and starting something new!

First: I'm going to post a blog post every Monday. So, I won't update this as often as I once thought I would, but Monday seems like a good idea and will be more than I am pulling together now. Hopefully the posts won't be so long winded, but that's also a part of who I am. Believe me, if you knew me in person you would probably carry a roll of duct tape around with you just to get me to stop.

Secondly: I am starting a new exercise that will help me both creatively and technically. I am going to do a "sketch a day". This is different to when I tried to do my Daily Art, which quickly turned into a time consuming obsessive project because I wanted to make it perfect. Suddenly, what should have taken maybe an hour was taking six, and that just wasn't acceptable. I quit that shortly after I started it. *cringe*

SO! I am going to be doing a sketch a day, but I am going to be using my iPad to do it. I have played around with the idea of digital art for a while, but again I went to the obsessive side of things and then had to set it down because it started looking like I was trying to launch another art career - and I hadn't even started anything. *head*desk*

However, I realized that I have my iPad and a really cool pressure sensitive stylus, and some good art programs. I have figured out a way to let myself play by doing illustration rather than painting or creating a whole piece. Literally, more of a daily sketch, but digital. AND with a set character in mind!

For a while, I thought BUNNY! Because, well, I have a bunny.

But then I thought that wasn't fantastical enough. Then my mind drifted to this painting:

Now, he was supposed to be a dragon. However, the more I look at him, the more I see a Griffin. So, what about a cute little griffin? Maybe with a bunny friend (the bunny is gonna be there, I'm telling you. Also, a duckling... I can see it!)

I settled on the griffon, and started in on trying to learn the digital program on my ipad (I have ArtRage, but I also have ArtStudio. I think I like ArtStudio better at this point. It lets me smear stuff. I bet you can do that on ArtRage too, but I haven't figured out how.) My plan is to actually read through the manual and some of the tutorials, and in the meantime start creating a daily illustration and sharing them on my Facebook Page - Starting today, if I can make it happen! I spent a good portion of the morning drawing a bunny before I went this direction.

So those are my goals I'm putting into place, along with working on my other "deeper" paintings (like my queen of hearts.) I'm hoping it'll be like exercise; get me better in shape to complete the things I really want to do! I'll share my drawings on my Monday posts, too.

Since I last posted, my daughter turned 16:
This is the cake I made. It's chocolate inside too. SOOOO good! Except for the KitKats. Turns out, I hate KitKats.

I put the white rabbit in my Queen of Hearts painting:

And I started working on another Whimsical Misfit, as well as another on an ultra smooth board - I'm having problems with that. it has NO tooth at all, and I'm not sure how to work with it. I thought I wanted no tooth, but now I'm realizing I need some of it. Maybe just a tiny bit. Eeek! All the paint just slides off this thing!

And that's where I am at. Next post will be coming on Monday, because I will MAKE it happen. Oh, yes I will!