Monday, January 30, 2017

Daily Creative Update-Painting!

Some of you have been wondering if I've been keeping up with my daily creative practice and the answer is YES! but not in exactly the way that I wanted to.

I have been making something every day, whether it's painting, drawing/sketching, making jewelry or writing.

Posting regularly hasn't worked for me and here's why: 

When I started consistently posting my art work, I started to feel like I had to make art that was post-worthy. That it had to be a certain quality or at a certain stage before I could share it. 

THIS is exactly the type of thinking that shuts creativity down and shrivels her up. She does not want to make things for you to comment on or not comment on (she sees that as judgement and judgement=poison.) She wants to be free to make whatever she wants, even if it's ugly. 

If I start trying to make art that's just pleasing, I will get stuck in a trap that usually leads to not making any art at all.

That's what makes feedback hard for artists. That's what makes selling our work hard too. If you say you like something or you buy along certain lines that we make, we tend to get stuck in only making that type of work, because it's what "works well" or what's "successful" or "what sells". That keeps us from branching out, expanding and taking our work in totally different directions (think of actors who get typecast in certain roles-it makes it harder to break out and do something totally different.)

That doesn't mean we don't seek your praise (because we LOVE it) or want you to buy our work (that's why we put it up for sale in the first place.) It's just that creativity can be a fragile thing and we need to recognize when we're falling into patterns that can silence her.

So my plan is to keep on creating daily and then share whatever ends up feeling sharable-that feels much better.

Here are some things that I've been playing around with lately:
 I love how chunky and textural the oil pastels make this.
 This has several layers of paint and pastels.
I've been adding oil pastels over my acrylic paint and I'm loving the vibrant color and creamy texture it adds. I can't imagine why I never got too into this before? It's especially satisfying on my art journal covers. They seem to have a great texture for it.

This past weekend I attended a wine and paint class. This is always a bit strange for me because I teach them, but I always learn something from how the instructor presents that helps me make improvements or gives me new information to share with people interested in teaching wine and paint classes. 

During this class, we had only a few colors to work with, which was a great practice for making do. It made my creative self all squirmy because I wanted purple and magenta and orange! But I had blue and green, black and white. At the end, we got a little yellow. So, with just a few colors to work with, I got busy mixing and blending and creating lighter and darker tones.

I think I will use this as a sample painting for one of my own classes, as it does not look like the teacher's demo. painting and really is my own creation. I actually do have a similar painting that I use in my classes that has a cat sitting on one of the limbs.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Daily Creative Day 9: Reflections

My daily creative practice is not meant to create masterpieces. My intention is to explore, try new techniques and colors. To just do fun, relaxing, no pressure warm-ups to remind myself why I started creating in the first place.

Sometimes I like the results. Sometimes I like a little part of the results. Mostly, I want to let go of liking and not liking and focus on how I feel when I paint.

In today's painting, I wanted to explore using colors I don't usually use. I was mixing Liquitex Soft Body paints together to see what new shades I could uncover.

This is not my normal palette as you will see if you take a quick scroll through my blog. 

What I'm taking away from this practice is the grays, peach and yellows that particularly strike me. I'm going to use these colors in something else. 

I was happily blobbing some of the paint on one side of the page and then smushing the pages together, creating the mirror effect that you can see in spots. I then added some lines and shapes around the spread.

This is my art journal which is my place to experiment and be free. I love that I never know what's going to happen and I just keep following urges I have, like smushing the pages together.

I approach it with the knowing that I cannot mess it up and I don't care what it looks like. This lumpy face makes me happy because I made it with glee and without the judgy voice in my head chanting its song.

Can you let go of what it looks like and just paint for the sake of exploration?  

It may just take your art in a totally new direction.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Daily Creative Day 8: Zentangle

I've been playing around with this creature. I've been using the different sized micron pens to practice making lines and shapes to see what the pens can do.

The lighting on the bottom is quite awful
Here are some close ups with better light.
I wasn't trying to make anything particular, but it came out looking like some sort of twisted creature.

This isn't really a true zentangle, but it had the same effect on me. Drawing repetitive shapes and patterns can lull you into a peaceful state (no wine required although if it's a good Zin I'll make an exception.)

Zentangle is a process I used a lot when I taught kids. We would find large rocks and create zentangles on them with colored sharpies. It's low pressure because it's just repeating a pattern, so it takes away some of the fear of not being good at art.

Taking away the fear, helps adults get back into art making too, so if you've never tried it, just google "How to Zentangle" and you will find lots of resources. These are also used in a lot of coloring books for adults that are out there. 

Some people (like my friend Shirley) create incredibly detailed art using repeating patterns. It can take many, many, many hours to get into that much detail but the results are impressive.

Here's an easy tutorial from Craftwhack to get you started.

You can also find out more on the official Zentangle website.

Here Are Some of the Benefits copied from their website:
  • Relaxation
  • Simple and quick access to mindfulness
  • Non-verbal journalling
  • Insomnia (Improved sleep by creating Zentangle art before bedtime)
  • Self-esteem
  • Inspiration
  • Panic attacks (For fear of flying, creating Zentangle art during takeoff and landing)
  • Modify behavior
  • Being part of a supportive and fun community
  • Create beautiful works of art
  • Nurture and develop creative abilities
  • Relieve stress
  • Improve eye/hand coordination
  • Develop/rehabilitate fine motor skills
  • Team building and group focus
  • Therapy
  • Anger management
  • Addiction therapy tool
  • Diet aide
  • Early artist development and appreciation
  • Increase attention span and ability to concentrate
  • Home schooling
  • Brainstorming
  • Problem Solving
  • Design inspiration
  • Stretching and warm-up for artists
So you can use this as a 15 minute warm-up, to help get on an airplane, when someone cuts you off in traffic or when you feel the need to eat every cookie in the house. That's a pretty versatile tool to keep in your back pocket!

Happy tangling and feel free to share if you've tried this, like it, hate it or lost 30 pounds using it.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Daily Creative: Collaborative Painting

Creating daily is one challenge, getting my creations posted is another. 

This is a collaborative canvas that I started many moons ago with my friend Shannon Crandall. We worked on it together during a mini-painting retreat that we held in Baldwinsville, NY and I was charged with finishing it. I have not yet finished it.

I've painted over this many times but the spirit of Shannon are still underneath the layers. The upside down tree in the top left is hers.

Here is a closer view of it:

There is still a blue space at the bottom of the canvas that is waiting for something to arise. It has been a bird and a branch and one day it will become something else entirely. I may just give it back to Shannon to work her magic on.

Working with someone on a painting is a different kind of challenge. The first time I tried this was in Sedona, during my teacher training, where I painted with Kim aka: The Dutchess of Orange.  

At first I was really nervous because I was not confident in my painting skills, but she quickly put me at ease by painting in all kinds of creatures that I could paint around. I think I may have even worked up the courage to add a creature of my own. 

Working together with someone on a painting is a very personal and communal thing. It's a way of connecting that doesn't typically happen in the normal course of a day.

For me collaborative painting is kind of like a call and response. Shannon added something, I added something in response. (Mostly I tried not to wreck what she had added, but in the end, I painted over almost all of it, except her tree.)

I often ask students in my classes to add something to someone elses painting. It gets covered up, but it's a little hidden memory layered in. It makes them nervous at first, but then they start to really get into it.

Hope you are out there making delightful things and if you get stuck, maybe invite someone to come and co-create with you? You never know what might happen.

~Happy Creating!~  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Daily Creative Day 5: Acrylic + Watercolor

It doesn't have to be hard. You don't have to drag out all the paints and the easel and the cups of water.

You just need a little basket of art making goodies to keep by the couch. Some watercolors, pens and a travel brush.

I take my little basket from the couch, to the dining room, to the kitchen, to the art studio. Then I can quickly throw a few items in a travel bag if I'm on the road too.

Going to my studio takes me away from my family and the warm and toasty fire. I like to be around people when they're home, so I have found that this works for me.

Keeping everything convenient helps get rid of any excuses I've obviously been brewing up of why I haven't been painting.

I'm excited to see how this regular practice will transform my artwork. 

These flowers were just purple flowers in acrylic paint, a little test I had done to practice the style in my journal. I added watercolors, Caran D'ache watercolor crayons and my Pitt pen. I did the outlining last with the pen last and I like the effect.

Keep it close, keep it easy, keep it simple and watch what unfolds.

What's keeping you from making art?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Daily Creative Day 4: Pen and Ink Sketches

Day 4! I've found that it is taking me longer to post these photos than it does for my creative practice, so I'm really developing two habits for the price of one. 

One is creating for 15 minutes a day, the other is blogging daily. I've never written so many posts in such a short period of time.

Today I wanted to share my pen and ink line drawings. These are my versions of the plants in my front window.

It has been hard to take photos in the natural light because it has been so gray here in Central NY, so sorry about the wonky lighting.

 Just used my Micron Pens to do quick sketches of my plants.

You can't get too attached to pen and ink because there is no going back, no erasing. Once it's on there, it's staying put. You just have to go with it.

I liked making the little upside down hearts on this Burrow's Tail. 
Not erasing anything makes the practice go much quicker. There is no second guessing, no decisions to make really. You just keep moving forward.

I don't consider myself to be good at drawing but I actually had fun doing these little sketches. 

Usually I don't sketch things I see, I just doodle whatever comes up. I don't like to be precise or realistic.
As you can see, these are not precise or very realistic but they are my version, so they don't have to be. 

Now I'm trying to decide if I want to paint them with the watercolors or move on to something different?

For now it's off to make some jewelry for a customer, so happy creating! 

ps: Have you started a daily practice? I would love to hear about it! Feel free to post about it in the comments below.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Daily Creative Day 3: Flower Doodles

Flowers are my favorite things to doodle. I love experimenting with the composition and colors.

These are so easy to do sitting by the fire with my art journal and my portable watercolor brush.

I tried to stay very loose making these. I haven't really gotten the hang of layering the watercolors yet or smoothing them out so they aren't blotchy, but I will with more practice.

Have you made a little time for your creativity today? 
It doesn't have to be a big production. You don't have to set up your easel and pull out all the paints. It can be a simple journal and a tiny pan of paints. 

Make it easy+channel your inner 5 year old and you'll be on your way.
(Check out Day 1 and Day 2 for more ideas of easy activities to do in 15 minutes or less!)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Daily Creative Day #2: Repeating Patterns

For Day 2 of Daily Creative, I thought I would share a fun, meditative, relaxing activity to do in front of the TV, sitting by the fire or while you're on a trip. You don't need a lot of supplies for these repeating Patterns that fill up a whole page. 

I chose swirls for my first pattern, cause I love em. I sneak swirls in wherever I can and when I have a chance to just run wild with them, well I'm gonna take it.

All you need is:
A small watercolor palette 
Mixed media or watercolor paper 
Fine tip, waterproof pens like sharpie markers, Pitt or Sakura Micron pens to make your swirls

Small, easy, portable stuff that you can carry with you to get your creative time in wherever you are.

I spent a few minutes just filling the page with large swirls, small swirls, medium swirls with my Sakura pen. I honestly like how they all looked in just black and white, but since my intention is to explore using watercolor more, I decided to fill them in with paint. 

You don't have to go with swirls of course. The next one I did was my balloons that I like to make. I used my Caran D'Ache water soluble pastels for this one. You just color them on like a crayon, and then go over them with plain old water on your brush-I use a travel watercolor brush for this.

I like how this has a festive, child-like flair. These shapes are a re-occuring theme in my artwork. Sometimes they look like trees, sometimes like stretched out balloons. They keep on popping up.

So, what are you making today?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Daily Creative #1: Watercolor Flowers

Welcome to Day 1 of Daily Creative! 

This is my new initiative to do something quick and creative every day, to establish my own daily practice. I'm committing to doing something each day that shakes me out of my normal making-whether its painting, drawing, art journaling, writing or making jewelry. My goal is 15 minutes a day of something I don't normally do.

So, here is my first little exploration. I went to the Commercial Art Supply store (which is like my kind of heaven!) and picked up a few new supplies to play with. The first was a new set of watercolor paints. (I bought Koi paints because I had tried them at a friends and liked them.)

5 minute flowers
I've never really gotten into watercolors in the past. I thought they were "not very forgiving" and didn't feel I could layer color over them in the same way I could with acrylic.

I stand corrected as I am becoming a watercolor maniac! I did these little "5 minute flowers" to test out the colors and see what they could do. I love how vibrant they are right out of the box, although they are fun to mix too. 

The "5 minute flower " is an exercise I learned from Martha Lever in Lifebook 2016. This was a little mini-exercise and started to make me curious about using watercolor more than I have in the past.

I then popped the photo above into PicMonkey to do some editing and found this cool feature (I just signed up for the PicMonkey Royale-the paid feature, so I've been playing around with the fun effects-look at this one!)

This is the "Poster" feature in PicMonkey Royale, fun right? Gives it a sort of pop-art look.

5 minute flowers edited in Picmonkey 

 Here's to a happy and colorful 2017!