More watercolor facial studies….

In my last post I talked about the first watercolor facial study I did for a 21 Secrets class I took. Repeating the technique was not so easy on my next watercolor study which was focused on the nose, a feature I often have difficulty with. I didn’t have any left over skin tone mix from the first one, and several days had gone by, so the skin tones do not match.

nose copy

On the same day, I also worked on a study of the mouth, mostly just the lips.

lips copy

Several more days passed before I worked on the last one, which was the left eye. This one I actually worked on today. In the class, Jodi Ohl demonstrated both the dry method and the wet method for applying watercolor to the paper and though her wet method ended up very loose, mind did not.

right eye copy

I started all of them by wetting the paper first and then applying the watercolor. I will admit the perfectionist in me immediately started trying to control exactly where the colors went. If you haven’t worked with watercolor, then you don’t know how ridiculous that statement sounds. On this last one I tried to be looser than all the others ones and was not very successful. Loose technique in anything, just may not be my style. I’m working on it though. I’m better at loose technique when it is abstract.

After I completed my watercolor study today and it dried, I decided to see how all four of the pieces looked displayed together. Here is what it looks like:

collage 2 copy

She is a bit wonky but that is to be expected since I didn’t lay down all four pieces of watercolor paper and sketch her out first so all portions would be symmetrical. Even so, I like how they all look in a collage. I may mount them this way permanently but not sure at this time.

My next venture in watercolor? Maybe, I’ll try to do her whole face and see if she ends up looking anything like the reference photo.

~Patti

Loving Watercolor

Watercolor is quickly becoming my favorite of all paints to work with. I don’t know how to express the joy I feel every time I work with it. Today was no different.

Most of my watercolor experience has been only recently in the past year. It started with just playing around with watercolor pencils a year ago when I discovered bullet journals. I decided to use watercolor pencils to decorate my pages. I knew absolutely nothing at that time about how to work with watercolor pencils, let alone watercolor paint.

I came across videos on YouTube but my general interest at the time was mixed media, so I was hopping around all over the place watching videos on all different types of mediums. I think the only medium I haven’t touched is oil paints. Some day I might but not right now. I have too many types of mediums I want to perfect my skills within.

I think when I was a teenager watercolor terrified me. I think this because when I returned to studying art, in the past year or so, watercolor was the last thing I considered pursuing other than just simply playing around with it. I never thought I would pursue it as a medium I would desire for any serious art.

Isn’t that how it works sometimes? The things we least desire or think we have the remotest chance of being even close to good at, ends up being that one thing that makes our hearts soar and our souls sing. This is what I’m finding with watercolor.

About a year ago, I purchased 21 Secrets “Tools and Techniques” course. One of it’s lessons is by Jodi Ohl, called Flowing Facial Features. I have probably put off doing this lesson for at least three months if not more. Guess the medium yet? The word ‘flow’ should give you an indication. If you guessed, watercolor, you would be correct.

I studied her videos, watching them in their entirety probably three if not four times before I attempted just one facial feature study. Why did I wait so long? Trepidation for one. My inner critic for another. My perfectionist personality for another. I knew very little about watercolor. I didn’t even know what it meant by stretch the watercolor paper, or how to tape down watercolor paper properly. I tried one time with some painters tape but the tape ended up releasing from all the soaking in the water.

I finally found a video on how to properly prepare for doing a watercolor painting, thanks to Lindsay Weirich’s YouTube video. She has a wordpress blog too.  She does live streams on YouTube, which I try to catch as often as I can.  I don’t know how many videos of hers I have watched before I felt confident enough to try my first facial feature study.

Here it is:

Flowing Facial Features study 1

I had a couple issues, that involved retaining the white spaces, especially the white highlights in the eye. My paint ended up bleeding into the space I had reserved for the highlight so when I finished with the watercolor paints, I used colored pencil to bring out the highlight more. White for the highlight and some black around the highlight and pupil to bring it out more.

I also, over worked the eyelashes but once overworked I couldn’t undo it, so I used some black colored pencil to try and bring forward some eyelashes hoping the rest might look like shadows or would recede enough to not distract. Lesson learned though for the next eye on my facial studies.

I have three more sketches I did for the facial feature studies. Another eye with a partial nose, a nose with a partial eye, and the lips. In the end, I hope they will create a full face when tiled together.

What I learned while working on this piece was even if it looks like the color is too dark when I apply it to paper, it isn’t the end of the world. I can lift some of it up to lighten it. Something I’m learning to do without scrubbing and pilling the paper. After working with acrylics it is sometimes hard to remember to not apply pressure when doing a slight bit of scrubbing.

I love that Jodi Ohl recommended focusing on one facial feature. It took the pressure off of trying to paint a full face. I need to take this approach in other things like drawing. I become overwhelmed when I consider creating a large piece, even if it is just a face with all its features. It can be rather daunting.

I used to think watercolors were unforgiving and difficult to keep some semblance of control over. That is the perfectionist within me wanting everything to come out perfectly. She doesn’t believe that something that will bleed and move around on its own could end up in all the right places creating a beautiful piece of art. I’m working on proving her wrong. I think I made a beautiful start at it today.

Feel free to leave a comment if you feel moved to do so.

~Patti

Bloom’n Hand

Artists are faced with all sorts of challenges, not just trying to find ways to deal with their inner critic. Though the inner critic can be rather creative in its way of manipulating the artist. Every inner critic has its own unique way of working its interference in trying to protect the artist. This is by no means, the only challenge some artists have to face.

Of late, I have become aware of just how many artists within the online communities I am part of are working through their own challenges. Some of them face mental illness, while others face physical limitations. Some face both, while others face their own demons in the guise of their inner critic.

These challenges are in no way small or insignificant. For each of us, they are powerful. The type of power they wield, depends upon the artist. Some artists are completely controlled by their challenges, while other artists work hard at controlling and utilizing their challenges to create beautiful and sometimes startling pieces of art. You can find examples of this all over the internet all the way from masters to novice. No one is immune.

I am also not immune. Up until recently I have not had any physical impediments as a challenge that has hampered my journey as an artist and writer. Today, I find myself struggling with the use of my dominant hand, consequently, I am trying to train my left hand to do much of what I have relied upon my right hand to do for my whole life.

My inner critic is having a wonderful time with this. As you maybe able to imagine, she can’t find anything worthwhile in what I create when I use my left hand. I’ll prove her wrong eventually. For now, I’m learning to mentally accept what maybe a permanent impediment.

On Sundays, I usually start thinking about my weekly spread, sometimes referred to as an MDS or multi-day spread. A term I learned from Effy Wild’s Book of Days course and Boot Camp. By the way, if you want to experience a free lesson by Effy Wild, check out her Book of Days Boot Camp. It is amazing. You can find a link to the class on her right sidebar here. The amount of content for a free class is unbelievable. While I was thinking about what I wanted as a focal image, my dominant hand was prominent in my mind, so I decided to have it as my focal image. I traced it and here is the result:

Bloom'n Hand copy

This piece was done in watercolor, Faber-Castell Pitt pens, Posca pens, and Uniball Signo white gel pen. It is a sort of play on words and an attempt to feel positive about my dominant hand.

I am not sure if this will be my weekly spread or just an art journal page honoring my dominant hand. Or possibly both. I may pick it up at the end of the week and just journal about my week all over it. Or it may stay as it is.

~Patti

 

Survivors

I worked on this piece for a few days, layering and layering acrylic paint. After each layer I gave it a day or so for me to come back to it so I could look at it with fresh eyes. I’m glad I did. I had no forethought for what I wanted this piece to be. Intellectually, I understood the concept of how a sculptor would say, all they did was bring out of the marble or the wood what was already there.

In a way, this is what happened with this painting, but not until the next to last layer. It took a day or two for me to see it. Once, I did, all it took was black and white oil pastels to bring it out.

Survivors

If you like this painting, you can get prints here.

Selling art….

My journey as an artist had begun with just wanting to awaken my inner artist. This journey started by simply learning to doodle by following some simple step out instructions on tanglepatterns.com . This was simple enough and soon expanded into learning how to draw mandalas.

I couldn’t stop there and soon developed into a full fledged adventure into all different mediums in the art world. I learned about mixed media art which appealed to my inner artist because, and to be quite frank, I’m just not a one medium girl. Even though I had some preconceived ideas that some mediums wouldn’t get along with me very well, I was soon to discover those ideas had no foundation to stand upon.

I ventured into all sorts of mediums and found some I am falling in love with. Acrylics and watercolors are probably my top two favorites right now. I’m also learning I love abstract painting as well as portrait painting. Who knew the two would get along? I sure didn’t when I first started this adventure of mine.

There are other things I am discovering along the way. As the saying goes, when one door closes another one opens and that couldn’t be more true in my case.

When I lost my job of 33 years, I was devastated. I worked in a field where the youngest in our field were all of retirement age. I thought this gave me job security since I was one of the youngest. I soon learned this wasn’t the case. Finding a job in the same field meant moving, uprooting, and still facing the same job insecurity.

I wondered if I could earn any money from my artwork. I was doubtful. I wasn’t a fool to believe my art was anything close to being a master piece or even desirable to be mounted on someone’s wall. That didn’t stop me from continuing to do my own thing and create art the way I wanted to. I had to have faith that something would work out for me.

The harder I worked at finding a job in mainstream typical employment world, the more I found rejection and disappointment which fueled my desperate mind. Even the government services couldn’t help me in my present situation. It has to get much worse before they will step in to help. So, I began looking at alternatives.

Once I agreed to make an important step into devoting the rest of my life to my creativity and artwork, things started happening. I wanted, really wanted to be able to sign up for Ever After 2016, an art course put together by Tamara Laporte. She is a phenomenal artist. Her style is whimsical. When I first came across her, though I loved her work, I was sure it wasn’t my style. But, I decided to take one of her free courses. Mostly because she also believes in using artwork to help heal emotional trauma. I had blocks from way back in my childhood I had trouble getting past and I thought, why not, it couldn’t hurt. So I took her Art, Heart and Healing course. You can find a list of her classes here, including her free courses.

I was blown away by the class. The amount of content she offered for this free class was amazing, so I signed up for some more classes. While I was still able, I signed up for Life Book 2017, thinking it would be the last class I could ever pay for until I had some steady income coming in. I also thought it would give me something to focus on for 2017, something good and uplifting, if things didn’t go well in the job search.

Then I heard about Ever After 2017. I had heard a bit about Ever After 2016, bits and pieces which at first had not appealed to me, until I had actually completed the Art, Heart and Healing class. Then while doing the lessons in Life Book 2017, I became hooked. The more I learned about Ever After 2017, the more I wished I could purchase the course. What I love about Tam is once you purchase her courses they are available forever. You can download all the videos and files and have access to them forever. Plus they will be available online in your account for as long as the site is kept up and running. The point is, I can download them and have them even if she chooses to close up shop.

I wanted Ever After 2017. I didn’t see how I could afford it. Tam is a generous entrepreneur. She gathers a lot of different artists to participate in Ever After and each instructor was given the opportunity to give away a free seat in the class. They did a blog hop to promote the course and to give away the seats. I decided to follow the blog hop and for each instructor, I followed the instructions required to enter the give-away.

When one door closes, another door opens, AND IT DID! I WON A SEAT in the course.

Then as I continued to work on my art and research ways to promote my art, I discovered something else. I discovered from some posts in a Facebook group I am a part of, a discussion about a few websites that allow you to post your art and sell it on their range of products. I looked into a couple of the sites but focused on Society6.

You may have noticed the picture on my sidebar of a t-shirt with Society6 across the picture. The t-shirt is covered in my artwork. This is my actual handmade abstract artwork that can now be purchased on various products on Society6 . I have other artwork available there as well. It isn’t just clothing. They sell, phone covers, art prints on canvas, framed or not framed, pillows, comforters, shower curtains, on and on. Go check it out. I am blown away by how well my artwork looks on the t-shirt and leggings, as well as blankets and pillows and so much more. I would love to buy my own but that will have to wait until I am earning an income.

If you love my artwork, please share this post, and my Society6 store with anyone you know and tell them to share it too if they like it. Here are two pictures of t-shirts with two other designs.

   

~Patti

Watercolor cloud story telling…

I did an earlier painting using this process from a class I took. During the class, I did three pages with the watercolor technique that forms a sort of abstract cloud. My earlier painting was posted here.

Yesterday, and today, I took the two pages left from the class and completed the painting and the story which came out during the painting of each one. Here are the two paintings:

I have really enjoyed this process.

Another class involved blind contour. I was really resistant to doing this class. I was resistant because I thought it would be a waste of paper and I wouldn’t be able to do it very well. I was both right and wrong. The class involved doing a blind contour of a reference. I chose a bamboo plant, once the drawing is done, to then paint in the different sections in the line drawing.

This turned out better than I thought it would. I really liked how it looked but the next steps went like this. Journal over your painting. The suggestion was to journal about blind contouring but you can journal about anything. Then paint over it lightly, covering about 90% of the painting and journaling. Once dry, do another blind contour over the paint.

I really loved how my painting looked with the journaling over it. I was tempted to stop at that point. However, I was determined to do the whole class, so I continued. I painted over it and chose using a Neocolor II for the blind contouring, then I painted it and it came out like the first picture.

I absolutely hated it.

I decided to do it again, only this time stop at the end of the journaling. The second picture below is my second blind contour before the journaling. I love it even with the journaling I did later. It kind of makes me think of a short story written over a painting representing the story. I like the thought of that.

This last is from a class on creating a journal page. I used homemade texture paste which I don’t use near often enough. I love the feel of the texture and how the texture takes the paint. I’m not fond of collage, however, a collage of something I created with my own two hands felt good and I like the affect.

Create Something Every Day copy

I finally got caught up in my classes. This is a relief. I felt pressured to get caught up though the pressure was coming only from me. I didn’t feel like I should work on other things until I got caught up. It was hard to balance my day and focus on other things knowing I was falling behind in my classes. Now that I’m caught up, I should be able to focus on some of my own ideas.

~Patti

Merging Poetry with Art and more artwork…

I have been playing around with the concept of merging my mixed media art with my poetry.  I have been wanting to find a way to do this for a while now. I have added some of my poetry to a couple of my art journal pages but something felt missing.

The below spread is from a lesson on Mood Journaling from Book of Days 2017 by Effy Wild. The concept is when something is bothering you, to sit down and just let yourself go, feel your emotions, and just reach for whatever paint color immediately comes to mind. Then just slap it on the page, making marks with whatever medium you reach for and allowing your mood to express itself through the application of the medium. Her lesson is much more descriptive of the process of how to do this and I’m hoping I’m not revealing too much by the description I have given so far.

For this piece I really didn’t have any strong emotions but did tap into some of the feelings I have. The point is to tap into your feelings and get them out. This is usually what is behind my poetry as well, which is what made me think about using the mood journaling process to help me merge my poetry with my art.

Once I completed the lesson, this is what I ended up with:

silhouette

At first, I considered using it as a spread for an MDS (Multi Day Spread) for journaling my week. Then one of the individuals in the class Facebook group suggested it would be a good spread for reflection. I liked this idea. Then I thought about a poem I had written earlier in the month and thought it would go well with the spread.

I chose to add a second silhouette, making it look like she was on the other side of the window. Then, I took a picture, imported it to my editor on my computer and added the text from my poem to see how it would look. Here is the result:

Mood Journaling Silhouette copy

I like it. I like it a lot, although the wonkiness of the boxes kind of bothers me. That perfectionist side of me being too critical but, it will do. I plan on using the spread to add text about what I learn about myself, positive things. Things that are insightful and uplifting.

At first I wasn’t sure how I would add the poetry text to my actual page. I did some calculations and found if I place a line every 1/4 inch I can have 36 spaces for writing which is just enough to fit the poem in the same way it appears above, only it will be written in my handwriting.  I won’t be placing any other pictures of it here, because the rest will be very personal.

I do, however, love this process. When I read a poem I have written, I can usually tap into the original emotions I had when I wrote the piece . I should be able to use this same process to create a mixed media page which will become the background for the poem. Maybe one day I can turn them into a book of mixed media poetry.

Give Your Story to Wisdom copyI worked on some other art lessons this week from Life Book 2017 organized by Tamara Laporte. This first one is a lesson given my Tamara. I love her whimsical animals. She gives them all human eyes. My daughter thinks my elephant looks cute but creepy with its human eyes. I sort of like her.

Intuitive warrior copyThe next lesson is also from Life Book, the teacher Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici, is the Intuitive Warrior. I am loving all the different techniques I’m learning. I would not have considered using the colors I have in this piece if it wasn’t for this class.

Less is More copyThis last is a lesson by  Melissa Dinwiddie on Less is More. I’m not crazy about how this one came out. Abstract painting doesn’t come easy to me. This is something I will need to work on if I want better results. I think I used too many different colors and too large a canvas. The instructor used small canvas so this minimalist approach seemed to look better. Or, maybe I should have had a larger variety in shape sizes. It is something to consider if I want to do another piece like this.

My journey into meeting my inner artist has been and continues to be an interesting one. I’m learning a lot about what makes me happy in my artwork. I love it when I can do a face or in this case, the face of an elephant and have the shading come out so well. I am learning, I’m not a fan of collage, especially not when it comes to mixing different decorative pattern paper together. It doesn’t come out looking right to me. I have yet to put my finger on exactly what or why that is. I do, however, love collaging with old text paper. I’m learning the more I work with watercolor, and other water soluble products the more I love them and the easier it becomes to work with them, this includes acrylic paint.

This week has been the best. Finding a technique I may actually be able to use to mix my writing with my art is a feeling I find difficult to describe. Oh, heck, it makes me happy. And, I just realized, the last piece I don’t like so much? That technique will also have a place in merging with my writing. I almost missed it. Looking at it just now, I realized, with a little practice, it could become a very dynamic technique that will merge well with my writing. giving plenty of white space for text.

The other great part of my week has been, I have finally narrowed down a process for editing my ink drawings. I was getting frustrated over not having crisp, clean lines, that looked like a print shop created them. I finally realized, “Hey, these are hand drawn pieces. I don’t want them to look like they were made by a computer digital program. I don’t want them to be perfect in that way. I want them to be perfect in the imperfections that come with something made by hand.” These will be my one of a kind hand drawn pieces which once I have the majority of them edited, I can sell individually or in a collection for people who like to de-stress by coloring or just want an ink print. The editing I’m doing is to mainly clean up any stray marks and to make sure they will print clearly when enlarged.  I have over fifty drawings I can convert to digital files, most of them are mandalas. I’m looking forward to when I can open up a web store to sell them.

~Patti