Catching Up

Drawing every day, I have not only been learning how to draw better, but I have also been learning a bit about myself.

February 12, 2016

February 12, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 13, 2016

February 13, 2016 

In the past, I have only created art when I felt like it.  I had to be in the mood to draw, or paint, or do one of the many crafts I enjoy.  I had, and still have, a lot of resistance to the act of creating.  This is mostly due to my fears and judgement of the potential outcome of any creative project.  Will it be good enough for the time I spent on it?  How will it compare to other artist’s work?  Will it look childish and awkward?  Well, very often, my drawings and paintings do not look as I had in mind when I started the piece and I am frequently disappointed in the outcome.

The point, I have discovered, is that I need to make myself draw anyway.  It is obvious in my mind that is the only way I will improve, but, my anxiety often keeps me from actually putting pen, pencil, or paint to paper.  By making this commitment to myself to draw every day and to post on Instagram, and here on my blog, I am forced to draw sometimes when I am tired, when I am distracted by life, when I just don’t feel much like drawing.  Most the time though, once I begin the drawing, I lose myself in the lines, the shape, the form of whatever I am drawing at the moment.  My daily drawing becomes a meditation in seeing – a practice, not a product.

February 14, 2016

February 14, 2016

February 15, 2016

February 15, 2016

February 16, 2016

February 16, 2016

February 17, 2016

February 17, 2016

February 18, 2016

February 18, 2016

February 19, 2016

February 19, 2016

February 20, 2016

February 20, 2016

Like most things in life, it is the tiny little acts we do each day that make the most difference, not larger gestures.  Each drawing is a tiny step forward in my journey as an artist and in my soul journey as well.  That thought helps me to stay committed to this practice.

Learning to Sew

Last Saturday I took a beginning sewing class at the Three Little Birds Sewing Company in Hyattsville, MD. The project was a lined bag.

FirstBag_Feb6_2016I picked out fabric from the lovely choices they offered – green, of course, for the outside and a sweet pencil print on the inside. We used an iron on stabilizer and sewed handles as well. I love how it turned out!  I hope to make more bags, trying out different styles, and eventually learn to making my own clothes as well.

FirstBag_2I have always had a bit of a mental block when it comes to sewing.  My mother was such an excellent seamstress.  She made the dresses for all of the bridesmaids including my flower girl dress for my sister’s wedding.  She also made many of my clothes when I was a child.  I remember trying to sew a pair of pants when I was about 8 years old to earn a Brownie badge.  It didn’t go too well.  I was a bit too impatient then and charged full force into anything I did as a child.  Luckily, I have more patience today…..well, mostly…..

More daily drawings:

Feb_7_2016

February 7, 2016

Feb_8_2016

February 8, 2016

Feb_9_2016

February 9, 2016

Feb_10_2016

February 10, 2016

Feb_11_2016

February 11, 2016

Graphite, Charcoal, and Ink

Drawing is a bit like eating sugar. The more I do it the more I crave it. I feel compelled to pick up my charcoal, or pencil, or pen, and draw as often as I can. This week I made my daily drawings in my sketchbook, as well as some larger pieces on my easel.

February 2, 2016

February 2, 2016

This was a blind contour drawing where I stopped occasionally to check my position.  It is in one single line.  This is such a great exercise which forces me to look more at the object than the paper. On the Creative Bug website they are having a Daily Drawing Challenge for the month of February.  This drawing is from that challenge.  I may not do the project every day, but only those days I am inspired by the demo.

February 3, 2016

February 3, 2016

Drawing spools of thread seemed easy enough, that is, until I tried to do it.  As you can see, my proportions are off in several places.  The drawing is a little wonky, but it was fun.

February 4, 2016

February 4, 2016

The lemons were a blind contour that I added to after I drew the outlines of the leaves and lemons.  I played with two shading methods: stippling and cross hatching.

February 5, 2016

February 5, 2016

These owlets are from a photograph on office calendar.  They are so sweet in the photo – fluffy and innocent.  I haven’t captured them very well, but I enjoyed trying.

February 6, 2016

February 6, 2016

Today, I drew several views of a clothespin in ink with added watercolor pencil.  I never thought that such a simple, everyday object would be so interesting to draw!

This week I also completed several drawings from an online class I am taking by Jeanne Oliver called Reflections: Paint Your Story.  I made three drawings using graphite and charcoal. The last one is also graphite and charcoal, but I also added water.

DryMediums1 DryMediums2 DryMediums3WetDry

This last one I quite like.  I used a photo of my daughter for inspiration.  While it doesn’t quite capture her likeness, I feel it does give a hint of her sparkle.

One Month Done!

I can’t believe I have completed a drawing every single day for the month of January!  Frankly, I have often come up with challenges or ideas of creative things I want to do, but I admit I sometimes (frequently) have trouble following through.  I am pleased with the progress I have made this month.  I don’t love all of these drawings, most are mediocre, but, that’s not the point.  The fact that I made one each day and posted them represents a huge hurdle for me.  A daily drawing practice forces me outside my comfortable complacency into unknown territory.   Territory where my skills and confidence are growing.

My favorite this month is this pen and ink of a quail:

Jan_29_2016

One goal this year is to become more comfortable using ink as opposed to graphite.  I love ink drawings, but creating with ink can be nerve wracking.  There’s no chance to erase!

Then I had some more fun with flower doodles.  This type of illustrative drawing from the imagination is what I do when I want to relax and de-stress.

Jan_30_2016

On Sunday, I actually did a self-portrait that comes closest to capturing a likeness!  I stood in front of the bathroom mirror with my sketchbook and charcoal.  Since I had to see the drawing, I had on my reading glasses, so I drew those as well.  I like the simplicity of this sketch.

Jan_31_2016

Today, I went back to my old standby for still life – the pear.

Feb_1_2016

After just one month, I can see tremendous growth in my work, I can’t wait to see the difference a year of daily drawing will make!

Trying not to get discouraged

For 2016, I made a commitment to myself to make a drawing every day. Some days, it is more of a doodle, on other days I try to sketch an object or face. My comfort zone is in plants and the natural world. I love flowers and leaves, stones and sticks. I would not say I have any expertise or skill, but I just enjoy drawing those objects.

The thing is, I have a desire to create portraits – not necessarily of any particular individual, but more abstracted, such as Misty Mawn, Gillian Lee Smith, or Jeanne Oliver.  Even though I ultimately want to paint more abstractedly, I long to capture an actual likeness.  I have been trying to draw a self portrait and have not even come close yet.  I try not to get discouraged, but simply recognize that I need practice.

January 28, 2016

January 28, 2016

This was today’s drawing that started as a self-portrait, until I got the nose way too long.  There are times that I regret committing to posting my drawings every day on Instagram, and posting them in my blog as well.  It is a lesson in humility for sure!

Reminding myself to practice, then practice some more…

 

 

 

 

Here are my other drawings since my last posting:

January 26, 2016

January 26, 2016

This began as Georgia O’Keefe.  She has such an interesting face, I so wish I could accurately capture it.

I love painting and drawing from Buddha sculptures.  It transports me to a calm and tranquil place…

January 27, 2016

January 27, 2016

I have some Buddha paintings I did a couple of years ago that I posted about in December 2013 and January 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also played with some paper clay this week.  I formed some small hearts that I painted with acrylic ink after the hearts air dried.  These have such a smooth feel to them, like stone, but so light weight.

PaperClayHearts

Snow and a Story Board

Here in the Washington, DC area we enjoyed a near record breaking blizzard which started Friday afternoon (January 23) and continued until late Saturday night.  This is what 22″ of snow looks like:

BlizzardJan2016BackPatioThe snow piled high on the patio table looking like a loaf of very white bread.  I kept up the shoveling of my sidewalk throughout the storm, which saved me from back breaking work if I had waited until the storm end.  Since I have no driveway, I parked my car in a nearby parking garage to make room for the snow plows and to eliminate the trouble of digging it out.  A neighbor did not.

BlizzardJan2016BuriedCarSome areas had over 30 inches from this system known as Winter Storm Jonas.  I am so thankful that it was cold, so the snow was not too wet.  Therefore, we had few issues with power outages.  We are still clearing out today although my town had the roads clear by Sunday morning.

On my walk yesterday, I found this Sweet Gum tree “gumball” fruit packed with snow.

BlizzardJan2016Gumball Snowstorms are a good time for making art, and I just happened to have started a new class this week – Reflections: Paint Your Story by Jeanne Oliver.  One task for this week is to create a Story Board using old family photos, personal photos and/or magazine images of places and objects that relate to my life.  This brought up so many emotions as I collected materials for my board.  Family members that I miss and those that have changed.  Places I long to be.  Events I had forgotten.  I also placed my attention on the colors within the images in order to create a palette for painting.  Clearly I will need to include chartreuse, teal, and that gorgeous Sedona red/orange rock.

MyStoryBoardThe Story Board was a wonderful, if time consuming exercise which I know will have an impact on my work from this class.

Here are my daily drawings:

January 23

January 23

January 24

January 24

January 25

January 25

Great day to be inside making art!

This weekend has the potential for the greatest snow accumulation in a single event in Washington DC since 1922!  It looks like we might get 2 feet or more.  Luckily it is quite cold so the snow isn’t too heavy.  We are hoping to minimize the potential for power outages.

It is a great day to be inside drinking tea and making art.  This afternoon, I will be playing with paper clay – a moldable, air drying medium.  This is part of my current goal to work through Misty Mawn’s book Unfurling, and lead the discussion for the Art Journal Emporium Book Club.  I am doing a chapter a week and blogging on the AJE site.  Volunteering to lead the book club for January and February means I can’t get lazy, I am pushing myself to make several projects from each chapter.  I am having fun so far!

These are the stamps I carved last week:

Hand carved stamps

Hand carved stamps

Then I made an Artist Trading Card (ATC) using one of the stamps, deli paper printed with a Gelli plate, an image from Tumblefish Studios, and words from Tim Holtz.

ATC-with-StampThese are my latest daily drawings:

January 19 - Folk Birds

January 19 – Folk Birds

January 20 - Snowy Owl

January 20 – Snowy Owl – ink and graphite

January 21 - Pen and Ink with Pan Pastels

January 21 – Pen and Ink with Pan Pastels

January 22 - Pen and Ink Iris

January 22 – Pen and Ink Iris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, back out to shovel some more, then play with paper clay.