Madness, I say, Madness and a cute little guy…

I’ve been working on two projects this week, or should I say two classes. One from Mandala Madness and the other from Ever After 2017.

I’ll start with Mandala Madness:

These mandalas were grown from planting a seed and are from classes 7 and 8. This isn’t the first time I drew mandalas from a seed, and probably not the first time I used colored ink to do so. It is, however, the first time I was able to have them come out looking like I used a grid and not just freehand. No grid was involved with the making of these mandalas.

Just for clarification, the bright pink along one side is the washi tape I used to hide the seam where they are connected to the hinge. They have already been mounted into a signature. I now have two complete signatures and can’t wait for the rest to be done so I can bind them into a book. Not sure I like the bright pink, but I can change that later if I want.

These pages are also pocket pages so I can slip in any loose mandalas I create that are small enough to slip inside. I love how these pages feel. They have substance to them. They are not flimsy pages by any means which means the end resulting journal will have some weight to it. I will most likely use heavy cardstock but more likely chipboard for the book cover so it will have the appearance of a hard cover book. If you haven’t guessed it already, I will most likely create a mandala on the front cover, maybe even the back cover.

I usually don’t talk about personal things here. I’m going to make an exception to that for a moment. First, I’m so grateful to Barb Owen for building these classes not just for all the things I’m learning in them but also because mandalas have been an integral part of my stress relief and anxiety release process. This class has helped me to remain sane through a difficult period which is riddled with so many challenges I can’t go into right now. I will mention one.

I experience daily pain in the wrist of my dominant hand. This pain increases with the use of pens or pencils or similar objects to create/write with. We have done ultrasound and x-rays which all indicate I have a very healthy bones, so the prognosis is possibly tendonitis. I see a physiotherapist today and hopefully they will give me some helpful information and suggestions. I mention this because making mandalas may come to a screeching halt. I may be required to give it a rest, which will mean no drawing, at least with my dominant hand. I’ve been practicing with my non-dominant hand but the results are less than satisfactory and mentally an unbelievable challenge to create just a straight line. I haven’t been able to bring myself to attempt a mandala with my non-dominant hand. It is too frightening to think about what it could come out looking like.

With that said, I have found certain mediums not so painful, watercolors for one, or water soluble products which require only a light touch with a wet brush to activate. Working on other projects/classes are not so pain ridden, though they can be if I’m not careful.

One of these is Ever After 2017 which I must say is challenging in many ways. The option I have contains style development classes too so it doesn’t just challenge me in regards to my artistic abilities. It challenges me to dig deep inside to discover the reasons why I create and what I like and don’t like about something I’m working on. I’m pushed to do things as close as possible to the instructor’s lessons even if I don’t like part of the lesson. That, however, was not the case with this little bonus lesson on creating a cute bear. I so love Tam’s style. She makes it easy to create “cute” and have fun doing it.

Cute Bear

Normally this isn’t something I would come up with on my own but she makes me wish I did with extreme frequency. I tend toward realism even when I try to be whimsical or characteristic in my creations. What I’m realizing is, I am very good at copying, or rather following an instructor’s lesson almost exactly even when it is something I don’t enjoy.

Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy creating this adorable little guy. I’m glad there was no collage involved. I would leave collage out of any lesson if I thought it would still come out looking great but some lessons are based on the collage. It isn’t the doing of the collage which I don’t like. It is just that I don’t have an abundance of pretty papers to use and I’m not great at selecting different patterns that will look good together. I lean more towards using old text pages from books because there is no risk of offending the eyes because of poor color and pattern choices. (Okay, yes, I love, I mean absolutely LOVE the look of text behind my artwork.) Yes, I know, working with colorful pattern paper in collage is something I need to work on which is why, for now, I do the collage when instructed to do so in a lesson.

Speaking of not having an abundance of pretty papers for collage. The one thing I’m learning from Barb (from her live streams) is how to create such pretty papers instead of buying them. Or altering those not so pretty pattern papers to make them gorgeous. She has often mentioned how she likes to make all the things she uses in her projects, including the pretty papers. Before I ever knew Barb existed and I had started on my art journey, I knew I wanted to create my artwork from only those things I created, excluding paints, mediums and the tools, such as paint brushes, and palette knives and so forth. What I mean is, pretty papers, stamps, stencils, stickers and so forth, I want to be all my own creations. I don’t want to have to worry about copyright infringement if someone would ever want to buy something I created, or if I wanted to market it in a print of some sort. Besides, there is something special about being able to say, “I made that completely with my own hands and every pattern is of my own making.”

So… if I’m given the directive later today to rest my dominant hand, meaning stop using it to the point of excruciating pain, then I may focus on creating pretty paper using my non-dominant hand which could make for interesting abstract designs seeing as how I can’t draw a straight line for my life with my left hand.

First lesson from Ever After 2017

Ever since I won a seat in the Ever After 2017 course organized by Tamara Laporte, I’ve been excited to get started. The course started July 1st, so you may wonder why it has taken me so long to complete the first lesson.

The seat I won included package 2 which includes style development. Tam takes her lessons very seriously and style development is no different. She provides a workbook that asks some very poignant questions. This is important for one who really wants to develop their own style. I’ve been lost about how to do this and after reading the first set of questions and working on answering them, I can understand why finding my own style has been a challenge.

I used to think of myself as a deep thinker but realized there are areas I haven’t even considered. Answering the questions wasn’t always easy. It took days for me to pick up a pencil and begin the first art lesson after answering those questions. It took even more days after the sketch was completed to add color. Every time I approach a page no matter what it is, I have to face my inner demons. Demons that were planted in childhood of not being good enough. It is funny how something as simple as vacuuming and dusting a living room and being criticized for it, can make one think they can’t do anything well.

It took me one day to create the main character sketch, and another day to add some sketches of the embellishments being planned. It took the same amount of days to add the color, collage and details. I finished it yesterday, the 16th. Sixteen days from when the course started.  Yes, I have done other artwork in those days as well. The other artwork helped to build my confidence up and bravery up to approach this page with paint.

I don’t think the feelings I have when approaching the page will ever completely go away. What I hope will happen is my confidence will increase over time and I will be able to push through the fear and hesitation more quickly so I can experience the joy of creating.

This page wasn’t without its trials and tribulations. One area in particular on the large bear gave me trouble because I chose a color that was not suitable and was almost impossible to cover up. I ended up using gesso which then became a challenge to get the mediums I was using to work over it. Yes, I had to improvise and choose a different medium to lay down something that would accept other mediums so it would hopefully blend seamlessly with the rest of the bear. In the end, I discovered I could do it and be happy with the result.

I am not a fan of collage but Tam’s instructions are to follow the instructor’s lesson as closely as possible in order to learn what you like and don’t like in order to discover and develop your own style. So… I did the collage. My materials for collage are few. I haven’t created a variety of stock to use for collage because early on I realized I wasn’t a fan of it. At the most, I do like to use collage on thinner paper to build up thickness so it would not disintegrate under wet mediums. In that case, I generally like to use text paper from old books.

Because this is a course one has to purchase I will not go into any more details of the lesson. If you want to learn more, check out Tam’s list of courses. All of them even the free ones are phenomenal in my opinion.

Goldilocks and the Three Compassionate Bears

This is my version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears lesson that is given by Tamara Laporte. I am thrilled with how it turned out. I finished the followup questions today which I realized I should have been considering and making notes on as I worked on this lesson. I think I remembered enough of my experience to answer the questions appropriately.

I would love to do this again but with just watercolor, and maybe I’ll try it or incorporate it into the last lesson for part 1 of the course. The last assignment of part 1 is to then take what you have learned from the instructor led classes and create your own. It is early to think about that right now. I have three more lessons in part 1 and a bonus lesson to do yet and it is already over half way through the month of July.

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

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

Challenges and chances to win a seat in Ever After

Life isn’t without its challenges. Neither is art. Every day when I wake up, the first thought that enters my mind is “what will I do today?” This is such a broad question but for me it is directly related to my creativity. If, I’m not creating, then I feel lost, as if I have been disconnected from my anchor.

When I don’t know what to do, I generally fall back on classes I have available for me to learn from or work along with an amazing artist. One of those artists is Tamara Laporte. She has many classes I want to take, including her upcoming class of Ever After.

The desire to take her classes isn’t just for what I will learn in art and art techniques. The main reason is because of her personality. She radiates love. Her laughter is contagious. I find her hands beautiful and an inspiration to me that no matter my circumstances I will always be able to be creative.

Tamara Laporte is having a give-away for her Ever After course. You can read about the course here. They are conducting a blog hop with the various teachers participating in Ever After and each teacher is giving away a seat in the class. I write about this because I want everyone who reads this to have a chance at winning a seat.

I was introduced to Tamara’s work after researching online art courses. She has a free art course “Art, Heart and Healing” which you can find here at the bottom of her page. I am all about learning all I can about the way a teacher instructs before buying any of their paid classes. Most instructors give just a mini course which at times can be misleading as to how good a teacher they are, so I was impressed that “Art, Heart and Healing” is a free 4 week class. It is larger than Tam’s mini classes and a full blown class on its own with lots of content.

I am not a whimsical type artist, or I didn’t think I was. I’m not so sure now. The point I’m making is when I started taking “Art, Heart and Healing” it was when I was trying to find my way back into being able to do art like I had in my high school art classes. For some reason starting in grade 8, Mr. McFarland, awakened something in me I never knew I had. Having him as my art teacher until I graduated high school was the best thing that ever happened to me and I believed I was an artist. After high school, it was difficult to make that connection and I doubted myself as an artist.

Even though Tamara Laporte’s style isn’t really my style, the whimsical nature of her work drew me in. It didn’t have to be perfect. Everything didn’t have to be anatomically correct. I always attempted realism and my inability to create anything even close to realism was what my inner critic had a field day with. Doing Tam’s classes and hearing her say it doesn’t have to be perfect, in fact, get messy, accept what you think are mistakes, helped me respond to my inner critic in a way that helped me continue and create imperfect pieces of art. In fact, watching her make her own mistakes and how she worked with them, helped free me from my perfectionist.

I credit Tam and a few other artists, like Christy Sobolewski, and Effy Wild, for helping me re-awaken my inner artist and believe in her again, but I will never forget Mr. McFarland’s influence. This is an important journey for me and is why I created this blog to write about it.

I often face challenges when I try new mediums, or when I attempt to draw a face or an animal. I often have to let go of my perfectionist, and my natural proclivity towards details. The best advice I ever heard was when beginning a drawing, forget about the details. Start with a loose sketch, drawing just the shapes making adjustments to get them sorted out where you want them to be. Then you can begin to build upon the details.

My eye for detail generally has me immediately diving in deep. I might decide to draw a whole face but as soon as I put pencil to paper, I’m suddenly drawing just one eye in all its fine details, then the next thing I know I find out it is in the wrong position on the page. I do have to consciously put aside my attention to detail when I first begin a sketch. I have learned, if I don’t, then frustration and angst will eventually follow.

This piece of advice came from this youtube video.

I’ve learned a lot over this past year. I would have to say, the most important thing I’ve learned is how to face challenges. There have been many. Thanks to teachers like Tam, Christy and Effy, the challenges within my art, my creativity, aren’t so impossible to overcome anymore.

I hope you will check out Tam’s new class Ever After. I know I have not been disappointed in any of her classes and generally feel her content far exceeds the price of admission.

I am currently working on two drawings which I plan on painting. I haven’t decided on what medium I’ll use yet. Both are on watercolor paper which means I can use any medium I have.  I am leaning towards watercolor and augmenting it with a bit of acrylic paint, especially for highlights.

This first image is from Pull, Pen, Paint a course provided by Kiala Givehand. Thisi s my beginning sketch for Effy Wild’s course in week 4, titled “Mirrors of the Soul”. It is an inspired art journal page using our Soul card as inspiration. My soul card happens to also be my personality card, The Chariot. This is still a work in progress.

PPP Chariot inspired art copy

This second image is a drawing I created in mid-March. It is also a work in progress. I’m still making decisions on what else needs to be included in the sketch, and I have the challenge of how to do the background and retain the image of the mandala. Then how to bring that image forward. I will most likely go over everything in permanent ink before adding any paint. I love these ladies. I’m not sure where they came from but I am connected to them.

women of the universe unite copy

Being an artist is also physically challenging. I wasn’t prepared for the abuse our bodies can experience while creating art.  Pain has become a constant in my life except during some moments when I am creating art. I am fascinated by this.

~Patti

 

My first canvas painting…

I could not ignore my calling to create a canvas after I had created the MDS I wrote about in my previous post.  A long time ago, when my daughter and I were in Michaels, we purchased two packages of canvases each one different sizes. I’m sure it was probably more than a year ago and they sat in my house untouched. At least until last night.

I could no longer resist the pull I felt towards working on canvas. I knew I could always paint over it if it came out horribly. I wanted to experiment. This is new to me. I know I’ve been experimenting for a while now but generally I have to push myself in order to do it. There was no pushing involved here. I was being dragged, not necessarily kicking and screaming, but definitely dragged.

Why?

Because my  logical mind told me I needed to watch some videos on the proper way to paint on canvas with mixed media.

Am I crazy, or what?

This other voice was telling me to just go for it. Just have fun. EXPERIMENT!

It is probably needless to say by now that my creative mind, that other voice, won out over the logical side of my brain. For years, my logical side had the say so. It controlled everything I did. It made all my decisions.

But now?

Well, what do you think? Should I listen to my creative side, or my logical side, after looking at the picture below?

20160402 Bring in the Flowers

Personally, I love the painting. I am going to hang it on a wall in my house where I can see it every day. It will be my reminder of what I can do when I just sit down and EXPERIMENT.

I want to do a larger canvas and I’m not talking about a canvas just a couple inches larger. I want one of those big mamas that take up a large portion of the wall. But, hey, there goes my logical brain telling me I need to learn more about painting on canvas. I need to get better at working with mixed media. I need to plan out what I want to do on such a large surface. IT CAN’T JUST BE AN EXPERIMENT!

Go figure. I’m learning my logical side isn’t quite so smart. Doesn’t always give the best advice. And… can sometimes make me feel like I’m stupid for ever going down this path.

See that corner over there, Miss Logical? Go claim it. Go sit in it for a while in silence and think about all that you have told me. Then think about why EXPERIMENTING is so wrong on a large canvas. Ask yourself, “should I really listen to you, who hasn’t lifted up a single paint brush in her life?” Go on take your seat, claim your spot, and find out how golden silence really is.

Yes, I think, I’m going crazy.

~Patti