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.
The two together in My Faces Sketchbook, I handmade. (Love this journal for this purpose.)
First drawing, done with purple lead.
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.
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.
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, 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.