Art Journal spread completed

I’ve been working on my art journal spread which I spoke about in my previous post.  This is the progress of my page at the end of that post, you can read about it here.

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My next step was to consider background and hair. I wanted to use watercolor paints and my attempts were less than satisfactory. It ended up too bright in a dark sort of way which meant the white or black pen I wanted to use to draw in her hair didn’t work. It became rather invisible.

To try and fix the situation, I decided to use white acrylic paint with a fairly wet brush. This meant the watercolor would then mix with the white paint creating a soft pastel background. Once dry, my black Sakura gelly roll pen then showed up nicely.  I often had issues with the pen skipping which at first I worked hard to try and avoid. Eventually gave up when I realized I liked the effect it had with the pattern in the hair.

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Once I completed the hair with the black pen, I realized I wanted more color in the hair so I went back to my watercolor paints. I applied a small amount of the dark purple to the areas I felt would be shaded or darker, then using a wet brush I blended the color out to give a gradient appearance.  I added more color, some pinkish purple, and a bluish color (sorry don’t know the names, they are colors in the Prang watercolor set of 16 colors) around the darker purple leaving some areas white for highlights. I really loved how this turned out.

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I learned about Prang watercolors from Barb Owen. Since I have a very tight budget I decided to give them a try. I didn’t originally use the Prang set when I started the background with watercolors. I decided to try a Daler Rowney watercolor set I had gotten a while back that were in tubes of 24. I bought a palette so I could squeeze some of the paint out to dry and then see how well they worked. I have to say I was disappointed in the Daler Rowney. In  fact, so disappoint, I switched to using the Prang set when my first attempt at using watercolor (Daler Rowney) failed.

It may be I just need to practice with the Daler Rowney set to get the hang of them but Prang is so vibrant it was difficult to switch to using Daler Rowney. The rest of the page when I say I use watercolor, I am using Prang watercolor.

For the opposite page, I first wanted flowers and tried more watercolors but it was an immediate fail. I am sure the fail was because of trying to use watercolor over acrylic paint without applying a watercolor ground first, so I went over it again with white acrylic paint. Before the acrylic paint was completely dry I added another layer with a wash of watercolor which mixed with the white acrylic paint. I dabbed at it occasionally with a paper towel. Below is the result.

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You might wonder why I added the watercolor paint to the acrylic paint. First, the addition of more white acrylic paint meant what color had been in the background had disappeared even more and I wanted more color. Second, I wanted to see what would happen. My Prang set is almost used up so I wasn’t worried if some acrylic paint ended up in the watercolor paint. I became rather sloppy in my application but it was FUN!

I really liked the result and was trying to decide what else I wanted to do. I was still thinking about flowers when I saw a blog about an interesting technique. You can see the blog post here.

I tried a few things differently since I was working on top of acrylic paint. I eventually found what worked.  The biggest obstacle was in trying to figure out what pens or paint pens to use. I used Sakura gelly roll black pen for the initial drawing of the circles and lines. I tried using Faber-Castell markers, alcohol markers, and Permapaque markers but didn’t like any of them. Plus I was afraid of drying up the tips of the pens. Eventually, I decided to use a small paint brush and white acrylic paint to color the straight lines, to make them stand out more from the background. Then I used a Sharpe oil based paint pen for filling in the circles with black.

Once it was dry, I tried using charcoal to try and create the translucent effect but because the acrylic paint didn’t have enough tooth, it wiped right back off. My hands were covered in the charcoal more than the page. I wiped off the charcoal by just lightly wiping my hand across the page. What was left on the page, I left alone. I resorted to using graphite by rubbing the graphite onto the tip of a blending stump and then rubbing it on the page. I only covered the areas outside of the circles with the graphite.

My last step was to use darker shading of graphite around the circles and where the lines overlapped other lines to try and give it a 3D effect. To fix the graphite I sprayed the spread with workable fixative. I used workable fixative in case I wanted to add anything else to the page.

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I may actually journal on the page by using either a white pen in the black circles or a black pen in the white lines. It would make an interesting journal page.

So far she is my favorite. She posed interesting challenges for me and I found I could do what people have been saying  which is if you don’t like it you can always paint over it.

I lost track of time while doing this art journal spread. I worked on it over several days. I know I started her before October ended but exactly what day, I’m not sure. I generally don’t spread something out this long, however with work, and #inktober going on when I started her I wanted to see if I could work on her in small doses. Instead of drying her with my heat gun between layers, I put her aside and let her dry naturally, usually over night. I only worked on her in October after I did my inktober drawing and if I had some time to spare.

When #Inktober was over, she became my main focus and is all I worked on until she was finished. I finished her yesterday other than the writing I may add later. I think her hair is my favorite part of her, that is, if I had to choose a particular technique from this art journal page. Otherwise, I love her in her completeness for what she represents of my art journey.

Note to self: I had to be careful of not drying out the tip of the markers I used. I am hoping I didn’t ruin any of them. They all still functioned after I used them and in some cases not as well as when I had started with them.

I need to learn ways of layering and using products that will help lock in a layer and give me a better surface for using other products on, hopefully reducing the chance of ruining a product. I considered using clear gesso, or matte medium but in the end didn’t use either. In some areas when I went back to go over the black gel pen lines on the lines due to the white acrylic paint covering some of them up, my pen would cause some of the paint to come up. I think the clear gesso or matte medium would have prevented this but I wasn’t sure how well my pen would work over top of either product. I do have an Art Techniques and Test journal (my Effy Grimoire version) which showed either of the products would have been a good choice, but I didn’t refer to it when working on this spread. I just went with my gut instinct.

One of the reasons I didn’t refer to my Art Techniques and Test journal is because I didn’t test what would happen if I applied clear gesso or matte medium over top of gel pen or some of the other pens I had applied to the page. I was afraid of, in particular, the gel pen smearing. Effy Wild addresses some of this in a couple of her lessons which I need to go back and make some notes about but I also need to add to my grimoire by testing what happens when particular products are applied over top of different pens.

Another reason I didn’t refer to my Art Techniques and Test journal is because I wanted to just experiment on the page. I wanted to find out if I could fix my own mistakes or work from just pure instinct. I think I was successful on both accounts.

The other things I learned:

  • when in doubt check my Art Techniques and Test journal
  • when it isn’t in my Art Techniques and Test journal, then add it
  • let myself experiment on my art journal page
  • let myself fail

I am not at all disappointed in this art journal spread. In fact, I love it. When I compare it to my previous art journal page in this book which was created from one of Effy Wild’s BOD2017 lessons, I can see so much improvement.

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The difference between this art journal page and the one I just created is, this one was done by following a lesson. The one at the start of this article was done completely from my own imagination. The Effy lesson one was done around June 2017, so there is only about 4 months separating the two.

There are so many factors that separate these two pages. I think I’m more invested in pages I design and create on my own than I am when I’m doing one from a lesson. I don’t really consider something I have done from an art lesson as my own work. Therefore, I think I work harder on trying to do a good job on my own designs. Inktober, dare I say Inktober has been a powerful influence for me this year and I think it shows in this spread.

There is something here I cannot ignore. Following a lesson is wonderful for helping me to gain confidence in my ability to do something someone else is demonstrating. What it doesn’t do is give me confidence in my ability to create something completely on my own. Inktober is a demonstration of that this year.

In the page from Effy’s lesson I can’t even begin to tell you how I did it, but in the page I created all on my own, I can visualize almost every single step I took and the issues I ran into. I can’t help but wonder if one of the reasons I haven’t been doing any more of the classes is because of this.

Don’t get me wrong. I love doing the lessons and yes they have helped me immensely in taking that next step in my art journey. It just feels as though my journey needs to move forward more on my own than in following someone’s instruction. What these lessons have given me is the courage to step out on my own, without them I probably would have given up.

This is something I will need to think on for a while to decide if buying more of the art course offerings is something I want to do, or do I want to spend the next year just playing around on my own to see what develops.

What I keep hearing from that inner voice that tells me what to do is this. Do buy what I can afford in the art course offerings but do so only if it provides what I need for furthering my art journey in the direction I visualize myself going while challenging me to try something new and different. In other words, don’t keep buying the same thing and expecting my skill to grow if the courses don’t offer anything more.

This is paraphrased, of course. My inner dialogue is quite different and difficult to put in writing. It is comprised of a mixture of images, words and feelings/emotions. The wonderful thing about this is only I need to understand it.

This inner dialogue is also based on a lot of what I have learned over the past year from my purchasing experience. After having purchased a couple of courses which could not be saved and had a limited period to access them, it became quite clear to me this doesn’t work well for me. Logically, if I purchase a digital class, I feel it should be accessible to me for as long as I want and as often as I would like to view it. I know some art teachers don’t feel this way about their courses and feel they should be offered like courses are in college or live in a classroom setting. I think they miss out on a lot of students because of this.

I totally love the idea of buying a course and having permanent access to it. I have considered monthly or yearly memberships but this doesn’t work for me because of losing the access to the classes if I need to end the membership. I totally get the membership option that appeals to art/craft instructors, unfortunately, this doesn’t work for me and my budget. The other reason it doesn’t work is in the cases of the sites I’ve had an opportunity to look at, the membership doesn’t provide a good enough value for those courses that interest me. Basically, buying the individual courses would be better for my budget than buying a membership.

As stated, I will need to think about what art course offerings I will want to invest in for this coming year. I may find that list to be quite short, especially if I feel a need to pursue my art on my own to see what develops. The good thing is, most of the courses that appeal to me can be purchased over the next ten months or so because they are year long courses. Granted I might not get a discount but I can spread them out so it isn’t a huge hit on my budget at one time and I get more bang for my buck with these types of offerings. On top of that, I can take my time to decide if it is something I want after I experiment with playing around on my own for a while.

So much to think about and time will probably fly so fast I’ll wonder where the year went. That is how I feel about this year. Where did it go? It feels like it had been spring only a couple months ago not six or seven months ago.

By the way, since I started my job, my art supplies have suddenly stopped dwindling. Where I once thought I would never be able to keep up with my art supplies to have on hand for the art I was creating, I now find myself worried my supplies might get old before I have a chance to use them. Such an about face in such a short period of time. It is challenging for my mind and emotions to keep up with. I’m glad though. It means I have plenty to work with over the next several months and I’m still enjoying my job.

 

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

 

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:

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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

Designed and made by hand…

I created my first greeting card ever. It is a thank you card. I have an intended recipient for the card. I absolutely LOVED making this card. At first, I tried just making it on plain card stock but soon discovered why those who make cards do their artwork on a separate piece of paper first and then adhere it to the card stock. The watercolors I was using bled through the card stock which would interfere with the writing space on the inside of the card. So, I started again.

I cut down a piece of watercolor paper to 3 3/4″ x 5″ so it would have a nice border around it when I adhered it to the card stock. I used a wet-on-wet technique using Prang watercolors. I am falling in love with Prang watercolors. They are so vibrant as you can see in this card.

I have learned to let watercolor dry on its own for the most part. Especially if I want to get the granulation, blending and bleeding that occurs over time when you let it dry without the aid of a heat gun. Believe me, there is a difference.  Half of the blending and bleeding you see in this card would not have occurred if I had dried it with a heat gun immediately after putting down the watercolor.

Partially through the drying, I used a paper towel to dab up some of the excess water once the blending and bleeding had done its thing.  This left some added texture in the watercolor paint which I totally fell in love with.

Once it was completely dry, I used Permapaque black marker to write the words. Then a Signo Uniball white pen for the highlights on the letters. The last step was to use a final fixative, oh yeah, and dark blue ink around the edges.Thank you Card copy

I used double sided tape to adhere the piece of watercolor paper to the card stock. This was not a pre-made folded card. I used an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of 65 lb. card stock and cut it in half to 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″, then folded it so the card would be 4 1/2″ x 5 1/2″. This created a 1/4″ border around the watercolor paper.

That is all there was to it. Simple and easy.

I also made the envelope out of 65 lb. card stock. You can see it peeking out behind the card.

Have I said how much I love the feeling of creating something beautiful completely with my own hands? That includes, not using stencils or stamps made by other people. This card, other than the paper, is completely designed and made by my own hands. It is such a wonderful feeling.

I am in love with this card. It will be so difficult to mail it to its recipient. However, it is for a good cause and I think they will appreciate it just as much as I do.

I realized when starting to write this post, I forgot to post the completion of one of the pieces I posted that was in progress. So here it is.

Mirror of the Soul copyThis is the piece in which I showed the beginning sketch here, for Effy Wild’s “Mirror of the Soul” lesson in Kiala’s Pull, Pen, Paint course. Again, I used Prang watercolors to paint the image, as well as, some gel pen for highlights and added details.

This was only my second time painting a horse’s head. Sometime, I’m going to find some videos or courses on drawing and painting animals. Though I like how they came out, I know I can do better.

The inspiration for this painting was my Soul card, VII The Chariot, which also happens to be my Personality card. I feel a sort of affinity for the card and feel it has a special message for me whenever it turns up.

I may do more cards. In fact, I’ve been looking up printing options for playing cards. I’m thinking about having a deck printed up using one of the images from the back of this card deck I made by hand. I love playing with this card deck. It gives me such pleasure knowing I created it. It has a completely different feel to it than a regular playing card deck. To have an actual card deck printed up from my designs would be awesome.

20170424_Card Deck

Have a fabulous day.

~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

 

Balance, a watercolor art journal page…

I never thought watercolor would be an art medium I would want to pursue. I’m in the year long course called Book of Days 2017. Effy Wild is the creator. For the most part, the lessons supplied are by Effy. This year she has decided to have a guest instructor, Sarah Trumpp. She has commissioned Sarah to give watercolor lessons which are spread out throughout the year. The end of March was the beginners water color lesson. Following Sarah’s instructions, I was able to produce the below art journal page, totally using Daler Rowney Simple Watercolours, with the exception of the stamping of the letters at the end.

Like all my artwork, there is always a point where I look at it and think it is a mess and will never come close to achieving the results I hoped to achieve when I started out. This of course is my inner critic pushing me to do better. As long as I don’t give up, I usually learn something, and if I’m lucky, I achieve even more than I had hoped.

This is the case with the watercolor art journal page. I absolutely love it. I love how vivid the rocks turned out against the soft background.

In everything I do, I don’t just stay tight to the instructions given. I generally venture off by adding in my own ingredients, whether it is artwork, or cooking, the outcomes can end up the same. Sometimes, well, it can end in a disaster. Most times, following my instincts pays off. This was no different.

In time, I know I will be able to produce my own piece of art, that is not inspired and achieved by an instructor led class. I have two drawings awaiting paint. My options for the mediums I can possibly use has just increased. I have yet to decide what I’ll use. That is the wonderful nature of mixed media. I don’t have to stick to just one medium. If I want to, I can mix several mediums in one piece of art.

I’m looking forward to seeing what I might choose.

~Patti

 

balance wm copy

 

 

Multi Day Spread

I’m am taking Book of Days 2017 class which is a year long class given my Effy Wild. In Week 11, Effy has a lesson about creating multi day spreads. I LOVE THIS LESSON. I can’t go into the details of the lesson, so will just show my progress so far. If you want to learn more, you can join her year long course Book of Days. This class isn’t just about techniques on how to use your different mediums to create art. It is about meeting yourself on the page. For the content she provides, it is worth the price of admittance. She is unbelievably generous in pricing, otherwise, I could not afford it. Thank you Effy! I am learning so much!

I begin with Monday, my first day working on my MDS (multi-day spread).

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Monday, focal image

I do not plan any of the days in advance.

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Tuesday, view of complete spread

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Tuesday, close up

Some days, I have no idea what I’ll be doing, and I just start adding color to the page.

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Wednesday, full spread

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Close up

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Slightly different angle

Wednesday was one of those days.

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Thursday a bit closer

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Thursday close up

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Thursday full spread

Thursday, I had a plan. It was a strange day, waking up hopeful, happy and excited, then by evening, after a nap, feeling as though I hadn’t accomplished anything, and feeling scattered.

The more I work on this art journal spread the more I feel the desire to try something like this on canvas. I have never worked with canvas before. I have wanted to for a very long time and I think trying something like the techniques I used in this spread would be the perfect thing to try on canvas.

I used mostly Inktense pencils in this spread so far, along with some acrylic sprays I created by just adding water to my acrylic paint in a spray bottle. I layer colors until I’m happy with how it looks. Paint pens, gelly roll pens, uniball signo white pen, pilot super color gold pen, are just some of the tools I used for the details. The stencils are my own creation.

Each day I am thrilled with how my daily addition has added to the spread and created a cohesive view of my week so far. I won’t be doing Saturday and Sunday but I would not be surprised to include them on future spreads.

Because it is Friday, I will wait to post this until I do my Friday addition and can show the completed spread. So, I’m saving this post so far and will return to it later tonight or tomorrow.

I’ve been having a conversation online with some friends about working through fear, finding what works for us, getting past the frustrations and what causes frustration to begin with. I’ve dealt with this very thing for most of my life.

In the past, two weeks, I picked up “The Artist Way”, by Julia Cameron. I only just started week two. Week one was powerful. It gave me insight into my negative thoughts, how to alter them into positive thoughts, and ways to discover their origination. What I find wonderful about this book is at the end of each week’s chapter she provides a list of tasks to work on. There are a lot of tasks. You don’t have to do them all. You can select the ones you want to do. These tasks reinforce the process she speaks about as well as help you dig deeper into your past to find out what is causing the blocks, negative thoughts and so forth.

I mentioned this book in our discussions because for me it is giving me a process to follow. A much needed process to work through what has blocked my way for so many years. I fumbled my way through my life for a long time, and at times,  stumbling upon things which worked for me. And… sometimes, forgetting about them as I got lost again in my internal self made drama, because I didn’t know the tools to stop the self-sabotage. This book is about learning the tools that you can use for the rest of your life.

Ever since, the end of last year, when I decided to make a concerted effort to heal, using art to do so, it has been like a tiny trickle of water has gradually grown into a river and the flood gates are being opened. I now find myself having a multitude of choices and having to let my inner wisdom be my guide as to which choices are the best ones for me. Each choice has opened up more gates increasing the flow of knowledge and understanding.

Someone once said, once you hear a thing, you can’t unhear it. Or something like that. For me, this is so true, once I know a thing, I can’t unknow it. Without the appropriate intent, it can end up left at the side of the road until something brings you back to it to take it back up again but the knowing is always there.

The problem is if you don’t know the process to acquire the knowledge you seek, it can be a very difficult path to travel. I am learning that until we show the great Creator/God/Universe that we are serious about our intention, then we will only receive the minimum amount of help, just a bit of bait dangling to see if we are serious enough to take a bite of it. We are given more and more opportunities if we continue to take what is offered and utilize it. This week’s spread and the classes I am being drawn towards definitely reflect this concept. I am being overwhelmed by the amount of help available, some of it free, some of it expensive, some of it not free but within my means.

Here is my completed spread:

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I am absolutely thrilled how this came out. Considering how long I have been learning multi media art (not all that long), I think I’m doing really well. If this was done on canvas instead of in a journal, I would be tempted to hang this on my wall.

I really don’t care what others think of it, though it is nice to hear from time to time if someone likes my artwork. Any artist enjoys hearing when others like their art. It helps with the self-confidence if we are really honest with ourselves. It, however, doesn’t crush me if someone tells me they don’t like it. It just tells me their likes are different from mine.

This is the work I focused on this week. I worked on this along with “The Artist Way” which I mentioned earlier. My week was a combination of profound happiness mixed with being overwhelmed by the efforts I have taken on to improve myself and my artistic skills.  Overwhelmed though in a good way.

The one thing I know for sure, is I have gone from hating my life, to loving my life and that is a huge accomplishment for me.

~Patti

Enjoying myself….

I started writing this post a few days ago. I was interrupted before my first sentence was completed. Coming back to it today, I had no idea where I was headed in that interrupted sentence. I scrapped it and now I’m starting again.

Yes, I am enjoying myself. I’ve been learning. I’ve been arting. I’ve been getting messy. I also may have broken one or two toes in the midst of all the fun, or if not broken, then badly sprained. My right foot is rather colorful at the moment. Thankfully, the swelling is down and it isn’t as painful to walk. I am still being very cautious. I stopped taking Advil. The last one I took was yesterday morning. I have pictures but not sure people would really want to see them. The two toes involved are my small toe and the one next to it. They are quite colorfully bruised along with a major section above them on the top of my foot. Stairs are not very friendly to my toes apparently.

Enough about my toes and on to my art.  I’ve been focusing on a couple of things.

First, I’ve been working on learning how to draw faces. Mostly I’ve been learning from Tamara Laporte’s classes, Effy Wild’s classes, and Christy Sobolewski’s YouTube videos she had up. Christy is moving off of YouTube and hopefully her plans will include keeping what she had available free on YouTube, free on her new platform too. That is yet to be known for sure by me.

These ladies all teach whimsical faces which is a great detour for me, because since I found out I could draw in 8th grade, I’ve only done realism, which could be quite daunting for a new artist with confidence issues. Doing whimsical helped me to let go of perfectionism and just have fun. Though of course that was and is a constant battle for me.

I feel a deep need to return to realism, so I turned to Alphonso Dunn which I discovered on YouTube way back in my early meanderings through YouTube when trying to spark my inner artist back to life. I followed him but rarely went back to his videos. He, however, has been lurking behind every face drawing taunting me to come back to him.

So….. I did…

I watched his video “Beginner Portrait Drawing E1” several times. I first watched it all the way through to just absorb it all. Then I watched it again and  made notes in my Art Techniques Journal, drawing a face with all the proportions noted and lines, etc as he did it in the  video. Then I watched it again and made notes in OneNotes where I could make notes and insert screen shots of the different steps. Sort of creating my own digital step-by-step instruction book. Then while referring to my Journal and OneNotes, I made my first sketch. It was rough and not for anyone’s eyes but mine.

The below pictures are of my 2nd and 3rd drawings done last night using my Pilot Color Eno mechanical pencil, following Alphonso’s proportions instructions. The first in purple and the second in blue colored lead. Thanks to Dede Willingham always discussing how she prefers drawing with blue lead and how it doesn’t smear, convincing me to give it a try. I love, love, love the colored lead for drawing and not having the messiness of the graphite. Graphite has its place and I’ll still use it. For now, I’ll be using these colored leads.

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The two together in My Faces Sketchbook, I handmade. (Love this journal for this purpose.)

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First drawing, done with purple lead.

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Second portrait, done in blue lead.

I’m still trying to figure out how the faces came out so differently. I used the same proportions. The difference may be in the eyes, since that is the first thing I draw once I create the vertical guide line and find the center point. I don’t establish a horizontal line with the width first but let the size of the eyes determine the width, so that might be why they are different. I want to know so when it comes to doing a wider face versus a narrower face I’ll have the right technique in place and won’t be fumbling around to make it happen.

Drawing faces is now on my list of daily practices at least until I can do one without having to fumble through thinking about proportions.

Second, I’ve been taking Life Book 2017 lessons. I haven’t been working too hard on trying to stay up with the lessons each week. It has been a challenge to try and stay focused due to some medication I’ve been taking. It has the side effect of making me really sleepy. I’m finally getting off of it and it takes some times to get it out of my system. I didn’t want to attempt the more challenging lessons while my brain was so fogged in. Now that the fog is beginning to lift, I have more confidence in applying myself to the lessons.

I won’t be describing the process for these because that should come from the instructors. If you are interested in learning how to do something like this then click here.

Flowers of Gratitude final

This is one of the lessons. As you can see it has a whimsical feel to it. I love learning both whimsical and realism. My mind doesn’t naturally create whimsical which is why these lessons are a challenge for me in one way, and yet fun in other ways, and also provide me the ability to relax more than when I do realism. They both though will awaken my inner critic who just loves to tell me I’m not doing things right or won’t be good enough.

For instance, when I look at this journal page, my eyes want to go directly to the flower in the hair of the girl on the right. The flower to me is all wrong and my inner critic loves to point it out to me and make it the focus as to why this particular journal page is garbage. There are other things too my inner critic loves to point out while I sit back and look at this with pride seeing how much I’m improving. I have it sitting on my mantel to remind me every day, nothing has to be perfect in order for me to love it.

This is another class where we learned about shading. I love these flowers. This is one journal page my inner critic has nothing to say about.

shading and highlighting

Then, I do things like this from Life Book which shouts out to me to listen more often to that little voice inside which encourages me to try things even though I don’t have the exact supplies the instructor uses. I had none of the supplies except for maybe one, other than the colorful paper to use for collage. I improvised with the supplies I had on hand and was able to create similar results as the instructor. This journal page is a reminder that supplies are just that, supplies, it is up to the artist in how to use them. Just because one artist creates something one way, doesn’t mean I can’t create something similar doing it another way.

Roots Down Branches Up

Roots Down, Branches Up, is a piece which can be used in many ways, such as, genealogy chart, charting progress as an artist, recovery from trauma, anything that focuses on root/foundation, where you are now, and where you want to go in the future. Thanks to Effy for this lesson.

This week, though painful in one way, has been very enjoyable in other ways. I’m learning a lot in my practice. I’m growing as a person and as an artist. I’m learning techniques which can be done in a variety of ways, and artwork that can be utilized in many more ways.

Third, this one is recent, as in the past couple of days. I’ve been hearing/seeing “The Artist’s Way” many times since the beginning of this year. I was curious, so I looked into it, found the book, and purchased it. It is important for me to learn to get past all the negative talk in my head which holds me back. I started yesterday with my first morning pages, and today I start my first week in this course. I’ve committed myself to the twelve weeks. I have no idea where this will take me. It is my hope, to a good and wonderful place, though I know it might be difficult at times.

These are the three main things I am focusing on. There are others like Book of Days 2017, and doing some artwork that is just from me and not from a class. I have so many other things I want to do as well, writing being one of them. Writing this blog is part of it and for now, my goal is to post once a week. If I can do it more often, then great, if not, I want, at the least, to post once a week. And yet, still more and more things, I want to do. They will come.

~Patti

 

Hope

Below is my latest art journal page.  I came across Journal52 which is a challenge run by Effy Wild. Once a week a prompt is given. When I came across Journal52 they were in week 3. At this writing they are still in week 3. Their week 1 prompt fit my previous art journal page to a tee so I counted it as week 1. Week 2’s prompt is HOPE. I wanted a fitting affirmation statement so I went on the search for one. As soon as I found “I look towards my future with hope and happiness.” I knew it was the right one. Coming across a photo to use as reference for my focal figure of the woman with a shaved head was also perfect for the message I wanted to relay.

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I’ll talk about the message in a moment. First, I’ll describe how I created the art journal spread.

I did a rough sketch of the layout with graphite, some of it changed as I went but mostly it is as I intended it to be. I painted the girl, starting with an Art Crayon in flesh tone, then laying with acrylic paint until I had her the way I wanted her. I then used some prisma colored pencils for finer details and to adjust some shading.

Once the girl was done, I collaged in tissue paper in green, yellow and blue using watered down glue. I used watered down white glue to reduce costs. If this was a commission item I would use collage medium or gel medium. I crumpled the tissue paper to give more texture to the page. I also used red and green for the center of the large flower.

Once the page was dry, I used a brayer to apply acrylic paint over the tissue paper to give it more visual texture, then I used my homemade stamps to stamp in the flowers. The rabbit is a commercial stamp. I added Faber-Castell PITT pens for color and details on the flowers and rabbits. On the large flower I used Prisma Colored Pencils.

After stamping in the flowers I realized the original position for the dove was going to be all wrong. This is the only alteration to the original sketch. Placing the bird much higher has given the spread a more balanced appearance. If the bird had been where I had originally intended it to be, the painting would have been bottom heavy. I then added in the lettering using my black Painters permanent marker.

There are a lot of things I love about this art journal spread. First and foremost it is completely my own. I wasn’t following a video, or in a class, I only used the prompt to help inspire an idea. It isn’t whimsical and it is about my life.

This is where we come to the message. The affirmation statement is how I need to look at my life and future right now.  Since 2014, it has been a long and difficult road. The woman with the shaved head represents me two years ago when in 2014 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and yes I eventually shaved my head when my hair started falling out. In 2016, I was laid off of work after 33 years of devoting my time and expertise. Finding another job has been difficult and I’m still looking.

So this is very much about me surviving cancer and the blow of losing a good job I had devoted my life to and trying to maintain hope and happiness in the midst of it all.

I am doing what I love…. being creative… taking care of my daughter. These are things to be happy about. I see this in my painting.

~Patti