Choosing a style…

Style has always eluded me, no matter the category. Whether it is clothing, hair, makeup, or even art. I can look at someone or their art, and if someone has a rather unique style I can usually see it right away. I often wonder why it is I can’t seem to find my own style.

I can choose clothing that looks good on me, but style always eluded me. I had nothing cohesive. My wardrobe was all over the place. Makeup was similar except I preferred a look that was natural and not bold or brazen.

My art is a different story. I have been all over the board in regards to learning different techniques, emulating other artists styles, and not landing solidly upon any particular medium of choice, which is probably why mixed media appeals to me. And yet style continued to elude me.

The other day, I had an idea that maybe style is just about doing what I love most from all the techniques and mediums I’ve been learning. Could it be as simple as applying those things which I go back to time and time again? While at the same time, incorporating new things to see how they mesh?

I decided to give this a try.

I’ve been doing a challenge called Daily Minimoley. It is simply working in a small journal to create small pieces of art. This enabled me to do a small piece of art each day and be able to experiment with different techniques and mediums. Doing this helps me to discover what I like most. Like bright colors for one, and flowers for another. I’m learning more and more every day.

Time and again I return to mandalas though I never did any in my minimoley practice. My mandalas usually are just ink drawings and no color.  I want to add color, but how to do a mandala on an art journal page and add color is a challenge because I like to use precision when I’m doing my mandalas. I start with pencil to draw in the grid and some of the design before I move to ink.

Pencil doesn’t always work well over paint, depending on the paint or mediums used. Erasing pencil can be even more problematic. I wasn’t sure if I could draw it in ink before laying down the color. Depending on the medium for the color it could completely obliterate my ink or pencil lines.

I am determined to find a way to do this and decided my minimoley would be a good place to start even though it is a journal meant for writing with pencil or ink and not art mediums.

My first go at it came out much better than I expected.

I started like I normally do, using pencil on the untreated paper to draw out my grid for the mandala. Then I used Sakura Pigma Micron to draw over the basic shape of the mandala, then erase the pencil lines. I continued with the micron to draw in more details until I was completely satisfied with the whole page. I had added some doodles and tangles for embellishing the open areas of the page. Even though the lines from the lined paper showed through the design they were light enough to not be distracting from the overall design. This is where I stopped on the first day. I had at least done a mandala in my minimoley using the method I normally use.

The next day, I created my second page. These pages are facing one another so I used the same process as before, then added some of the same embellishments as on the other page so it became a 2 page spread instead of 2 separate disjointed pages. Now was the time for color.

When I first started out drawing the mandalas, my idea was to try and use watercolor. However, I was concerned the amount of water required for watercolors would cause my pages to breakdown, so I opted for trying Inktense pencils. I have about 8 of them in various colors, including blue, red and yellow. Using a minimum range was going to be challenging but also encourage me to try blending to produce other colors. Here is the result:

20170308_09 mandalas

I did use light blue craft acrylic paint for the background, but otherwise, I only used the Inktense pencils, Sakura Pigma Micron, and White Uniball Signo pen. I went over the black lines after adding the color to make them bolder again since the color dulled them a bit. I used the White Uniball Signo pen to add highlights. I like the result, even with the craft acrylic wash for the back ground. Mandalas will start showing up more in my work. I have no doubt about that now. I have some ideas brewing which I hope to work on soon.

The next experiment will be to put down color, either watercolor or acrylic wash for the background before drawing the mandala.

Here are the flowers I did a while ago with colored pencils over watercolor I think or it was an acrylic wash. These are easy to do over either because I’m not trying for precision like I am with the mandala. So, I just draw using a micron pen or permanent ink and accept any “mistakes” that happen and work them into the piece.

18&19 MiniMoley

This is probably my favorite page so far in my minimoley. I think I need to create an index of my flowers so I can flip through it for inspiration when I’m not sure what to add and know I want a flower.

Both flowers and mandalas can also be used for wonderful collage items. There are no shortage of ideas brewing.

~Patti

Catching up….

I’ve been absent for a while and I apologize. I could say it has been a rather crazy time, however, that would mostly be in my head. I have been learning everything I can in regards to mixed media art and avoiding everything else in life that is possible to avoid.

Why?

I just don’t want to look at it right now. Too much of it is sad, worrisome, and in some cases scary. I won’t go into the details, just know, my art endeavors are keeping me sane.

In October I focused on Inktober. In November, I started Christy Sobolewski’s “30 Pages” class videos she has on YouTube. I completed them by Christmas. Here are a few pictures:

page-4-5

The page on the left is my favorite. It is page 4 of Christy’s class.  I love everything about this page and would love to do something like this on a larger page for framing.

page-8

This was fun, page 8, she used collage from a magazine. I chose to use copies of my own artwork for the collage. It shows some progress in my faces.

page-18-19-copy

Page 18, on the left. She is actually a tip-in. So far the best face I’ve done.

page-18-behind-tip-in-19

Just so you can see, she actually is a tip-in, the left side is the view of the page behind her.

These are my Inktober drawings:

When I first started Inktober I had no idea what to draw each day. The first day’s drawing didn’t come out anywhere near what I had hoped. The second day was a bit better but still left me wondering what I would do next. The third day I decided to draw a mandala and before I completed it I knew my theme from then on would be mandalas. I thoroughly love drawing mandalas. In fact, as I work on different class projects, while I’m waiting for things to dry or have some extra time, I work on another mandala. I’m building up quite a stash of them. Most of them are in black and white, a very few I have colored, and even less I’ve used colored card stock or art paper, instead of the white or cream.

I was also working on Willowing.org’s class “Art, Heart, and Healing” by Tam.  Her approach to art is more on the whimsical side. While Christy’s isn’t quite whimsical, her style also isn’t realistic, at least in her art journaling. Both gave me plenty to experiment with.

When I was younger, much younger, as a child and a teen, I received no artistic encouragement, even though there was plenty of talent in my family. It wasn’t until 8th grade, I learned I could actually draw something realistically. That first drawing was of a baby horse, a colt. My art teacher who was my only art teacher from 8th grade until I graduated high school, saw my talent and subtly encouraged me, keeping a few of my best pieces. I was thrilled when he asked to keep them and I gladly agreed. I have no idea to this day how he used them or what he did with them. It still gives me a good feeling to know he wanted them and encouraged me to pursue art as a career.

I didn’t follow his advice. Outside of school, I was too afraid to pick up a pencil and give my skill a test run. Every time I tried, the pencil would be put back down before even a small portion of the drawing developed and not picked up again for months if not years. My inner critic was too loud and hell bent on being a perfectionist. I was also determined to create realistic drawings and frustrated when nothing came out even close or at least perfect enough for my critical eye.

I’m a great deal older now, maybe not wiser, but definitely having experienced enough in life to know there are more important things in life than to be hung up on something not being perfect. Especially, when it means not enjoying something I love to do.

I wanted freedom, emotional freedom, to express myself in my art. I am getting there, but how I got here was a hard and difficult journey. I want to be able to do what I love, so here I am. Doing just that. Imperfections and all.

I started writing this post several weeks ago, set it aside for a while and just today have come back to it to see if I could complete it and post it. I had to update it a bit because I’ve finished much of what I said I was working on and have started new projects.

I started Life Book 2017. I thought I would have problems getting the work done each week, interestingly, instead, I find myself with time to spare and waiting for the next lesson. One of the bonus classes is something I can continually add to. I can use this to help fill in while I’m waiting.

I’ve been working on 21 Secret’s Techniques and Tools class, taking my time as I work through it, so I work one in now and then during my wait.

I also found Documented Life Project online, but with things as they are, I chose not to spend money on the current offering and found 2015’s is free, so I’m following 2015’s prompts for 2017 and aligning the weeks as best I can. I’m still working out whether I’ll do it like a planner or just an Art Journal. It may end up a mixture of both.

As if those three weren’t enough I’ve been looking for other projects to do. I came  across Jennebellie’s Monthly Challenge Group, so I may work those in once in a while. They are an option when I’m feeling the need to fill in gaps of time. She has a list of the challenges all the way back to 2014.

The past few days I’ve been in research mode. I don’t like working in fixed bound books. Also, I’m not crazy about the coil or wired type bound journals or art books because of the holes in the pages even though I can take them apart and work on the pages separately. I love working on loose leaf paper which gives me the flexibility to choose different size as well as different paper type, however, it leaves me with the dilemma of how to store them. If I bind them afterwards into a book, that means either holes in my pages or fixing them to a backing of sorts that can then be bound. I don’t like the idea of either of those.

I started looking into portfolio options. I’m thinking about creating portfolios which would contain my pages for each of my projects. There are different options. I could use cardboard to create the portfolio which would be similar to the elastic bound folders you find in office supplies but it would unfold completely to lay flat when I want to flip through my pages. Another option would be to make a box. The book boxes could be an option where I make different sizes for the different size paper I use but that would mean my pages might not be sorted by project. My logical mind rebels at that idea. I’m still sorting this all out.

I still have work on this site I need to do. I won’t go into what right now, just know I have more plans for it than just a place to blog.  I need to get off my duff and do it.

One thing is for sure, I’ll never be short on something to do.

~Patti