Ways I cheat at being an artist November 28, 2016 09:10
I cheat. I will admit it. I used to feel really guilty. And sometimes I still do. But in order to get up the courage to make my own art I had to start with small bites of ability and from there work my way up. In doing so I learned to cheat.
I copy… like all the time. I copy a shape. I copy a color combination I copy a theme or an idea; the chore is to make it my own. I don’t take all aspects of someone else’s work, only part of it. Someone famous once said “we must all imitate before we can innovate” I believe this wholeheartedly. In fact many teachers through the years would have their students copy the masters almost exactly to teach them the techniques they used. Those students don’t then claim the work as their own but through imitation we develop our own style.
I take my own picture: when I am posed with an especially difficult drawing problem of the human body. I will make a face or a pose and take a selfie. Then use that as a reference. But… that isn’t always enough, Particularly with hands. At that point I resize the picture, print it and literally trace it onto my canvas. Then it is just a matter of coloring it in. I realize that I didn’t draw this hand myself but hey desperate times call for desperate measures and hands are hard. I do practice to try to make my drawing better and I reassure myself to know that Michelangelo traced and so did many other famous artists. The process is even known as cartooning.
My overhead projector. I bought an old teachers overhead projector for 40$ off craigslist. I will take a photo of something or several somethings and print them on transparencies, project them larger and trace them onto my canvas. I have even done it with my own smaller drawings. It uses someone else’s shape and then I change it to my own satisfaction. It is also a foolproof way to enlarge something. And it leads me to my next trick.
When I cam composing a painting I will take several images I have collected and mash them together. For instance, I recently painted a mermaid. Her body is that of a model I found online, her tail is my own invention, her hands are my hands and her face I completely drew on my own. I realize I took someone else’s photo and used it, but in combination with my own touches the painting is all mine.
Color Love. When I admire someone else’s work or painting I ask myself what do I really love about it. Often it is about the color and color combinations. Or a shape I love. Maybe a way they composed it. I then take those pictures home and create something using those things. I have taken inspiration from their brilliance. I do this most often with color. For instance “Hey that fabric has pretty colored roses on it with a pretty background. I could do that.” Then I go home and paint something with that color combination. Probably not roses but something else.
52 Painting Challenge February 11, 2016 17:43
#3 Complete. Oil on Canvas
Windows to the Soul February 08, 2016 08:38
I get to talk to people all the time about my art. It is fun. What I have found is that what I intended with a piece is less important that what a client sees in a painting. It is fascinating to discover. It surprises me all the time. And I love that. It is a window to their soul reflected through a mirror of mine. It is a relationship between them and me that no one expected. Art isn’t just about what I painted but what a client sees. It brings them emotion. And when they take that home, hang it in their space it brings their own reflection into their home. Cool right!
What do you see?
A hawk, an eagle, a rooster, a phoenix, a peacock, a dove
Emotion on your wall February 04, 2016 08:50
You should never buy a piece of art unless it resonates with you. I have seen people buy because it fits into their design scheme. As a former interior designer this made lots of sense. As an artist it never does. I’m not that person anymore.
What people buyers, clients, Home owners want more than a home that looks good is a home that feels like their own. Would you rather hang something that you never really look at again or something that every time it catches your eye you feel something. A reaction, an emotion. My theory is that as a collector you should only buy what brings emotion into your home. Good art is an opinion that is subjective. So I have altered the definition of good art to a personal one.
Good art is something that brings an emotion to the individual viewer. Something they can’t stop looking at.
So what is good to me isn’t necessarily good to you. It is revolutionary I know. But I really believe you should have a personal connection or story in every piece that makes it into your space. This brings emotion into your home. It is the difference from a designed space and a home.
The Courage of Creativity January 29, 2016 08:00
We have talked about what it means to be creative and why it is good for you. But there is another side. It builds your sense of courage. It takes leaps of faith to try something that you aren't sure of the outcome. Or maybe you are sure that the outcome won't be good. So why try.
If courage isn't the absence of fear but the ability to do what needs to be done anyway then Creativity is the spark that can get that going.
I had never skied until winter of my 25th year. Hell I had rarely even seen snow but an international move with my husband brought that subject up and it seemed like something I might want to do. I LOVE the mountains. The beauty of being high up. The air the clarity the violet sky. It is the most inspiring thing for me. So Christmas in Germany I decided that I was going to learn. After a half day lesson that did not go well.... Here we go. Needless to say it was an embarrassment. A painful one. I was terrified . There was lots of butt sliding down the mountain.
But I was a tour guide. And one of the things was taking ski groups to the mountains. And I made a decision that I was going to do this. So 30 times that year I suited up and rode the lift. Fell and got run over and hurt and embarrassed myself down the mountain. I cried, had temper tantrums. But I simply loved being up there and I was determined.
Into my second season of this torture... I had that light bulb moment. And I figured it out. Not to say I was great but I was better. Shockingly better. And I had my first black run. I tackled the things that had scared me the year before. And I realized that all of my courage in the previous season meant something. I had achieved something great. To this day I am a ski addict. And I don't know if it would have been the same if I hadn't had to work so hard for it.
Ballet: I rode horses for years. Somewhat competitive (more in my own mind than in reality) but I was serious. There was a point that I started having trouble with flexibility especially through my hips and someone suggested that I take ballet. Yeah That is what I thought. So with trepidation I signed up for a class and in a room full of 14 year old girls ( I was 24 at the time and 30 lbs overweight) in sweats to cover my bulge I took my first steps to learning something beautiful. I'm awful. But I LOVE it. It makes me feel beautiful when it goes right. Awkward when it goes wrong. I gained health and flexibility and it is something that I still do now 10 years later. Even though my riding days are over (maybe) I learned ballet for ballet's sake and met wonderful people along the way. But to do this I had to face all the young thin girls. The horrid mirror that makes you see everything you don't want to and the constant urges to do a recital (oh hell no)
My Philippine Adventure: I was once lost at sea. I'm not joking 26 days in a sailboat with 4 men as we floated adrift across the Philippine sea. There were times where I was sure death was a wave away. 30 foot seas and gale force winds. I learned the most important lesson of my life. It is Attitude that equals survival. In that situation if you just give up and don't try. You die. It is that simple. Morale keeping positive, hot meals, singing anything you can do to keep a positive outlook is what it takes to try the next repair and overcome the fear that is pervasive to the point of hallucination. it is courage that makes all things possible.
The point of all these examples is simple. You have to have the courage to try and to keep trying when it all goes wrong. It is the essence of survival. Not only physically but emotionally and mentally. I an not saying that there isn't a time to walk away. There is. But so many people I meet say the words to me that "I wish I was creative like you" I get so impatient at this statement. It is hard for me to get my head around. You are creative you can do this all you have to do is try. Trying takes courage. I get that. But what is life without it.
Creative Oppertunity January 22, 2016 08:00
If creativity is ingenuity then a blank canvas is an opportunity. I think this is the most important thing about creativity. It is our creative spirit that has shaped America. New ideas are the very basis of ingenuity. How to construct something, build something, learn something. As more and more creative education is being reduced in America I think it is even more critical to bring creative thinking and activity into the home. No one is too old or too young for the benefits that a creative session has. It is therapeutic, educational and brain developing and simply one of the most beautiful things to experience. Invest in yourself.
One of the most things said to me most often is that I wish I was creative or that I had your talent. This statement makes me want to have a time out. A stop right there do not pass go moment. Everyone is creative. But expressing creativity takes courage. Having creative ideas takes practice. Wishing for it is an excuse.
So be brave, try something out that you have always wanted to do. Practice being creative. The more you practice the more ideas will flow to you with regularity. It isn’t that you don’t have ideas, it is that you ignore them, Can’t hear them or don’t write them down. In order to have a good idea you must have lots of ideas. It doesn’t matter if you are not good at what you want to do. The act of doing it is the reward.
Creative Ingenuity January 15, 2016 08:00
If Creativity is ingenuity then a blank canvas is an opportunity.
One of the things that just kills me is America’s dismissal of the arts in school programs. I mean come on…. Music is basically one big math challenge. Its proven to stimulate brain growth. Art is more than making pretty pictures… More than just aesthetics. One of the things that makes America great is our ingenuity. What do you think ingenuity is. It is creativity. The same thing taught in art class. When some farmer in a field had to fix his tractor by engineering a piece of equipment himself. That is creativity. Creativity is the act of getting ideas and acting upon them. You learn science in science class but it takes Creativity to imagine what could happen by applying new techniques to determine what the universe might look like.
Creative Challenges January 12, 2016 08:00
One of my goals this year is to challenge myself. New techniques, methods, medium.
I have been putting off realistic painting. I've touched the edges with Magic. And even in my abstract work I take pictures in black in white through the process to make sure there is some depth. But this is different this is very different.
Oils. I haven't tried oils either because I am intimidated by them. I don't know why I waited so long. Once I got a lesson online for some general use instruction off I went. And my those are fun. Blending blending blend. Subtle color adjustments.
Here it is. Stage 1 one of my realistic painting experiment. I choose a subject I love. (A horse I love) so I would have more incentive to finish even when I got frustrated.
It begins with an image. I traced it onto some toned canvas. This canvas isn't stretched and is from a pad I had laying around.
Underpainting. I used an old technique of watered down black acrylic paint to create a tone map.
Yeah it needed adjustments and to be fixed so here is the updated version.
Starting to add color. Interesting thing about this is that every red brown also has other colors to go with it. Purples and blues. Reds obviously and yellows.
Here is the end of day one. Painting will continue with an additional layer or two and a background etc. The ears need adjustment. But I am so tickled by this I am excited. I loved the oils. you can keep adding color and blending and making adjustments endlessly. It was great!!
Magic January 10, 2016 17:36
Here is a painting in progress. I think I am going to name him Magic. And yes I do feel like he needs a horn but as I used a reference photo I don't want him to look to much like that.
This is a departure from my normal style. I set a creative challenge for myself to attempt a more realistic color profile and shading. You may notice that my colors are all still there. Sorry couldn't help it. But I am thrilled with the detail and shading. I feel like I could go miles more to make even more realistic shading but I am so happy with him I think this is close to a good stopping point.
I have also determined that my new favorite color is Compose Green by Holbein. OMG makes me happy.
Feeling Blessed January 07, 2016 16:54
I am feeling so blessed today. I got an email last night from Team Flora Bowley I received a scholarship to an Open Studio Session with some of my Art heroes. I am so excited I can't even tell you. So I am on way to Portland, Oregon in February. My hotel is booked and I only have to put together a plane ticket. So wish me luck! I would like to thank my family for their endless support in this crazy endeavor I insist on pursuing! Since I am trying to make my living this year mostly through my painting, this trip is huge and I can't say thank you enough.
A Day in the Life December 23, 2015 14:05
A day in the life
It is glorious being an artist. I get to have a job that I love. I am trying to make that a business. And it is a business. One that I have to separate my left and right brain on a daily basis.
Creation time is simply that free creation time and if I worry too much about what will sell etc my artwork suffers. I have to quiet my brain and work on what feels right. If I don’t the work isn’t inspired. If I do, it can be magical.
But when I put down my brush, my paintings become products and I immerse myself in website SEO, selling methods, retail prices and trying to get a licensing deal. Very much a business.
So a Day in my life.
I get up about 7:00 and get my first glorious cup of coffee. Cause really how do I survive otherwise. Sometimes I am awake before then and I check my email and social media in bed. If not I do it first thing while the coffee gets me awake and going. Then do some computer work. Budgeting website etc. Writing blog posts like this one. By 8:00 I try to get some painting in. At least some touches of something here or there. I often work on 5 or 6 paintings at a time and am waiting for stuff to dry so it works out.
I leave the house by 9:00 to go to my work as a contract artist at Loving Coastal Living. It is an hour drive and I don’t like the wasted time so I use the drive to listen to business books. I’ve recently listened to Michael Port, Twyla Tharp, Elizabeth Gilbert or one of my lessons downloaded from The Abundant Artist. I have a little recorder I use to take notes as I go and still drive safely.
From 10-5 I work making fun stuff with shells sea glass etc. Sometimes I have time to watch my school videos while I am constructing Christmas trees of tying garland. Right now I am taking a class on printing my own prints so I can make paintings more affordable to my customers.
5-6 on my way home I usually listen to a fun book or music for some down time.
6:00 What the hell do I make for dinner. Some clean up. Painting if I can after then down time and bed. I usually get in bed about 9 and read a bit until I fall asleep.
The other three days of the week just depend on what is up. I try to paint every day. Especially Friday Sat and Sunday. Days like today I am researching a wide format printer. Doing budgeting and some House keeping. One of those days usually slips by due to household errands. Groceries etc. But my goal is to paint 52 paintings this year and each takes about 40 hours. (yes I keep track) This is a business
I really do work 7 days a week. And more hours than I think anyone realizes. I am constantly pinning, updating social media, developing ideas etc. in the inbetween times. I keep a recorder and a notebook on me always
So that is what my daily like looks like.
Mini motivation WildheART December 15, 2015 09:08
They still need some detail and Clarity, some lettering work, but I'm lovin them.
Keeping it real.... December 14, 2015 20:10
Some pics of my studio.
It is literally right inside my front door so I try to keep it tidy.
A Painting in Progress Trials and Tribulations December 13, 2015 21:27
It all starts here. Sorry about the pic turned to the side. I can't figure out how to fix it on Shopify and am to lazy to work on it right now. But at this point in the painting there is no up so... Its all good.
Throwing paint at the canvas and making lots of marks, drips and colors. I am developing texture, colors and looking for what appeals to me. After I do this for a while then maybe i'll start to add some imagery. Then i may take it away. You can see some here that ended up covered up later. I use my fingers, brushes, corn cobs, sponges, stamps, scrapers you name it. The more the better. I started this at South Texas Market Days as a demo for my art booth. I got lots of finger painting comments but hey it was fun. ;-)
Then maybe i'll develop it some more.
This is when things start to get hard for me. Cuase I really love it. I want it to stay looking great. Looking fresh. But I know it needs more. Much more. It needs simplifying and depth. I can freeze up here because I don't want to screw it up. And I have screwed many up. This part is harder for me than a blank canvas. With a blank canvas I am all ideas and fun and color. But here ug.The most important advice i can give here is to "Just keep swimming" Make marks. use translucent. Anything to keep moving forward.
I'm not sure i like what is going on here. I feel like it is losing some of its depth. It needs connectivity. Sigh... I will go back to mark making and working my value contrast. But it is coming along. BTW to my artist buddies if you haven't used Holbein's Compose green and Peacock Blue you are missing out. They are yummy.
Quote for the Day December 04, 2015 08:47
To find inspiration "follow small clues of curiosity"
Big Magic by Elizabrth Gilbert
Quote for the Day November 08, 2015 10:02
When one is striding bravely into the future one cannot watch one's footing. ”
― Elizabeth Peters
Practice Creativity October 31, 2015 21:38
Creativity takes practice.
Every time someone tells me “oh my gosh you are so creative I wish I could do that.” I have an answer of… you can. Or when I am feeling sarcastic.. “Have you tried” Talent to some degree is natural ability but every person (including the greats) has to practice. Not just their skill but the act of coming up with ideas. Creativity of all kinds takes practice. Being creative is important for its own sake. The act itself can be joy and is often its own reward. Really. It doesn’t matter if you suck. In fact the more you suck the less there is at stake other than your own ego. I suck at ballet, but I love it. And I practice it very seriously for its own sake. If a lighthearted approach is taken, creativity is for fun. As it should be. In fact one of the most important lessons I’ve had to learn is that if I tell myself, is that if I am just practicing it takes the pressure off to make something great, or sellable. I give myself permission to experiment and mess up. Creating is a joy and should be treated as such. Who cares if it is never something you are good at.
Is there anything in your life you have ever wanted try but didn’t because you couldn’t do it perfectly or someone might make fun of you. The only difference between me and you is that I was brave enough to try. Try it. You might surprise yourself. I certainly did.
Quote for the day October 30, 2015 09:50
“It is much more sensible to be an optimist instead of a pessimist, for if one is doomed to disappointment, why experience it in advance?”
― Elizabeth Peters, The Snake, the Crocodile & the Dog
How did I become an artist? October 12, 2015 12:19
I was always a creative person but, I never in a million years imagined myself here. As an artist. I am someone who loves to learn new things, Start new projects and discover something new. I am the consummate traveler. It doesn’t usually matter what, but the act of learning is addictive.
In school I studied interior design with the need to combine creativity with technical skills. I had a passion for art and design but satisfied that with art history and space planning. I learned technical drafting but I can’t draw.
After school my husband joined the military and we jetted off overseas. I went into admin and travel to make a living. In 2011 we moved onto a sailboat with the idea of traveling the world. This limited my creative space so I began attending a Sunday afternoon painting gathering. It was as much a social activity as a creative one. Unlimited paint and canvas for 4 hours for 30$. I started with watercolors because they just didn’t seem as intimidating. They were child’s tools. I started by tracing photographs telling myself I was just practicing.
I learned more about color in those days than I ever did in school. I learned how to mix and layer. And kept things from being scary or intimidating by just practicing.
Fast forward a year or two and a continent away. I had just been fired from my ID job and was feeling pretty low about myself. I had some canvas and acrylic paint. I traced a horse photograph I liked and just painted my heart into the color on the canvas. When it was done I stood back and was shocked. I remember being amazed at what happened. It was profound.
That is how I became an artist. I started teaching myself technique using my own sense of color. Struggling with staying loose and composition. I applied my design lessons and studied with online courses. I started experimenting and adding techniques to my own.
There were failures. There were days when I hated what was in front of me. I was sure my first painting was a fluke, but creativity and artistry is a muscle that has to be exercised to be strong. I just pushed through it. There are paintings that I look at now and all I can see is the struggle and fight that had to happen to complete it and that it ok.
It is so important to remember that anyone can be creative. It takes practice.
The first time I could say the words I am an artist and not feel like an imposter is when that first painting and another pieces was featured in a museum exhibit. I dropped it off then sat in my car and cried.
This is who I am on canvas. Developing and experimenting with every piece. Every piece reflects my personality and is about creating discovery. It is a study of my strength and weaknesses.
My First Commission August 27, 2015 20:37
Check out my newsletter for my first commission.
Grapes of Mathis August 27, 2015 11:35
I am so excited to have been featured in our local newspaper "The Mathis News"
The wrote a wonderful article about both my Art and My Vineyard, Mesquite Hill.
Check it out in the link below!
Next! August 18, 2015 21:31The next layer of my current painting...
Hey Guys!! Some Exciting News June 16, 2015 15:47
First check out my new Society6 page. You can order art prints, canvas prints, phone cases etc of my work. It is really cool.
And the other wonderful news is that Poly chrome Pony and Spirited are going to be featured in the Beeville Art Museum's exhibit for Texas Artists. Come see me. August 1st from Noon to 2.
Also I will be in Georgetown, TX for Georgetown Market Days July 11th. Come on by.
Whats up in Brandiland February 22, 2015 15:37
Classes classes and more classes.
I am working on two classes by my favorite lady online, Jane Davenport @ janedavenport.com one called Joynal which address drawing faeries and fun stuff like that the other is starting March 1st called Beautiful faces and is how to draw fun beautiful whimsical faces!!! She rocks and you should come join me. Her best selling book has sold out on Amazon 3 times in the three weeks it has been out. Seriously she is awsomesause. Even if you CANT draw! You will be able to after meeting Jane. Take a teaser class. It is called Draw Happy!
Check out her workshops here! http://janedavenport.com/all-workshops/
Right now I am working on my viticulture (grapevine biology) Site Assessment and development. Learning about soil development, organic farming and equipment needs as well as budgeting. (ick to the budgeting)
Its spring here in South Texas (Yes February is spring) and we are plowing our winter cover crops away into the dirt and settin up our garden. My grapevine buds are starting to swell (signs of impending sprouts) and we should start pruning them next week. (weather dependent) We planted potatoes last weekend and have been setting up our irrigation system before it gets critical and crazy hot.
My honeybees are doing ok. One hive is thriving and super busy and the other is just ok… she is going to be getting a new mommy soon. (re-queening)
And of course Painting. I am trying really hard to develop some stock for my store. And will be starting an in-progress page to share those with you.
I have to go build a garden planter.
- Page 1 of 2