It’s surprisingly fun to look at the progress of my own drawing. Ha! I really can’t wait to start painting it. I mentioned in my last post that it’s an idea I cam up with a few years ago. Sometimes ideas need an incubation stage. I think I wouldn’t have liked this idea as much had I tried finishing it before. Or is that just what I tell myself for procrastinating on it? Ha! I am trying to make more progress on my other painting I’ve started before starting this one. So I’ll do a color study at some point and then start this one. I’d like to get it done in time for IX10, but I might be pushing it. I still have a lot to do for it. I’ll know better in two weeks if it’s even a possibility.
On another topic, I was looking through all my Instagram pictures I’ve taken over the past few years, and it reminded me of how memorable pictures are for me over everything else. I’ve never had the greatest memory my whole life. I’d study for a test, pass the test and boom! — most information was gone within days. If I don’t use the information, I lose it. It’s probably the same for most things with me, but sometimes something triggers recall of a particular memory. When I look at pictures, I’m instantly taken back to what was happening in the photo and what was going on in my life. That’s why I like Instagram so much. Since you can preview everything as picture uploads, it’s all good memories. You don’t have to sift through comments and things or anything weird that someone posted on your wall like on Facebook. I guess I’m fairly “picturecentric” to coin a phrase, though, since I make pictures too. Although I guess pictures make everyone remember stuff. I guess that’s why everyone is so hell bent on taking pictures with their phones while cool stuff is happening. Maybe they’re secretly all worried they’ll forget all the good moments without having pictures to back them up?
Next week I’ll post the finished painting of “Violeta, Minutes Before Triumph.”
Above is a scan of the finish of “Wilhelmina, in Reverie.” I learned a lot while working on this painting. I’ve been using walnut oil as a medium for the past few paintings instead of liquin, which is a medium I have always liked and have used for years. I wanted to try it because I thought it would dry less dull than liquin does. (When oil paint dries, depending on what your mediums are, it will dry to a dull finish, so that you can’t really see the true colors/vibrancy of the paint. At which point, to continue painting, you need to “oil out” the area to restore it’s luster, which means you apply more medium to the surface.
I just found walnut oil to be too thick and slow drying. I don’t like using extra sicatives like cobalt dryer to speed up the drying. I’m not a health nut, but it just smells so “chemically” like it will do real harm to your brain. Now that I’ve gone back to liquin for the Chihuahua piece I’m working on, I feel like I’ve been reunited with an old friend! It’s so light and thin and quick drying, and when it’s dry it’s not tacky, so it won’t attract additional dust.
Working full time and painting at night, I need to be able to paint any time I sit down at my easel. And since I’m tired from working all day, if I have ANYTHING to deter me, it will encourage me to be in bed by 10 and I’ll never get anything done! It was good to try something new — I used it for a few paintings, but as of now, I’m officially back to liquin. Although I might try linseed oil again in the future. Matt tells me to try it again (I used it when I first started oil painting in high school). He likes it. We’ll see. Experimenting is always good. But I want to enjoy working with liquin for a while.
Anyway, Wilhelmina will be going to IX10 in October and will be available for sale there.
And now to work on some sketches for a while and off to bed. Have a great weekend!
Finally finished this little painting a week or so ago:
Here it is in its intended frame:
She is for sale, framed, btw. Contact me if you’re interested. 🙂
Part of what I love about working as a creative is what it does to my brain.
There’s a weird phenomenon that happens that I can kind of feel. Well, maybe it’s not a feeling, but a sense that things are popping or bubbling into existence. This happens at different times. It’s kind of like a fuzzy picture coming into focus in my mind’s eye and then boom…there it is. I think it’s at its peak for me when I’m trying to come up with an idea for a picture. And then it continues as I’m painting something from nothing into something. A painting and its imagery is really just illusion come into a form our brains can recognize symbolically. So when a painting is finished, the challenge for me is whether it lived up to the expectations I had while the idea was in my head.
It happens to me all day as I’m trying to come up with decisions and ideas while designing books. But it’s the most challenging for me when I’m working on making pictures. I love collecting ideas and figuring out how to finesse things together. It’s such a creative mess and I love untangling it!
What do you love about the creative process?
As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and take a look once in a while, you could miss it.” And that’s why from time to time, I check in with myself to make sure I’m happy. I never want to wake up some morning and realize I haven’t been true to myself. (Sure, we are rarely 100% happy with everything going on in our lives at any given time, but as long as the happy-o-meter tips toward mostly happy, that’s sufficient to me).
One of the most eye opening thoughts about leading a happy life was something I came across randomly. The person mentioned that there are two facets of happiness: Enrichment – the feeling that comes from love, relationships, family, friends, and Fulfillment – the feeling that comes from personal growth and achievement from your life’s work, career or other personal accomplishments. That was kind of an a-ha moment for me because “they” (you know, who they are) say that family and relationships are the most important things for happiness as though you should never want for anything else. So if you do “want for something else” there is basically something wrong with you or you don’t value the people in your life enough. IT’S SO NOT TRUE. For me, it’s definitely the difference between enrichment and fulfillment. We all need love, but we all need to feel a sense of fulfillment from the work we do because…well…simply…in this life we need to work to live. That’s a lot of time that needs to be spent away from family, so it should be spent on something worthwhile! If we could spend all of our time with our families, perhaps that would be enough. But we can’t, so we also need personal fulfillment.
And this really isn’t limited to a career. It could be volunteering and doing charity work or a fierce love of quilting. It’s just something you do on your own that gives you a profound sense of accomplishment.
This may not be how I will assess my happiness in the future, but for now, it works for me. I do believe that the Eastern philosophical notion of contentment through just “being” is probably the higher road to aspire to, but I admit that I’m just not evolved enough yet as a human to pull that off. Maybe someday.
In the meantime, I will “do” and enjoy working. Here’s a sneak peek at a new painting I’m starting soon…
Do you check in with yourself once in a while to make sure you are doing well and on the right track? How do you measure your level of contentment? What contributes to your happy meter?
Here’s a new little painting. “Lady Frances, Bewitched and Bejeweled.”
Being an artist is not quite like I expected, and yet, it’s everything I had hoped for.
When you’re a kid, sometimes you are lucky enough to have an idea of what you want to be when you grow up. Sometimes you agree with that when you do grow up and sometimes you chase the ghost of what you thought you wanted to be when you were a kid. And this ghost chasing can keep you from being happy because you think you “promised” your inner child something and if you don’t honor that, then you can never be truly happy.
Well, I got news folks, that inner child never knew the whole picture. That inner child didn’t know how you’d feel as an adult and he/she didn’t know how you’d feel about a lot of things when you gained real responsibility. Heck, that inner child would probably be stunned and shocked at you to find out that you love vegetables EVEN LIMA BEANS! Things change. You learn and grow. And this includes the things you want to do in life and how you decide to do them when you become an adult. To change your mind or see things differently isn’t a betrayal of that inner child. It’s getting to know the real you behind the instincts.
For example, for years I wanted to work for Disney and be an animator. And when I grew up and went to college, the reality of what that entailed made me change my mind. I knew enough to know that I didn’t want to draw 24 frames per second. That’s a lot of work – and that was back when you had to do it all by hand (OK…I had no idea I could have just worked on backgrounds at the time…which I might have been cool with). But anyway, that wasn’t me betraying my childhood dream, that was me realizing something about my true self. I just didn’t want to work that hard. And knowing that about myself was important. I don’t think that lifestyle would have made me happy.
And as it turns out, the freelance illustration lifestyle didn’t suit me either. (That was my second choice in college). Every time I’d get a freelance job, I couldn’t wait for it to be over so I could work on my own projects. I knew enough to listen to my inner self rather than my inner child. And so I found myself working as a Graphic Designer with full time pay, benefits and a steady paycheck. My inner child didn’t know how much I would grow to love a steady paycheck and the value of health benefits.
And here I am today, loving being a Graphic Designer and loving coming home to work on my own personal artwork. Where will that lead me? I’m not sure. But I know I’m having fun working as an artist and that’s all my inner child ever really wanted.
Here’s a painting I finished a month or so ago:
And I also got news last month that the following painting made it into “Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Vol. 24” (due to be released at the end of this year).
The only real complaint I have is that I’m usually working all the time and I’m exhausted. But I will do that for as long as I am able and enjoy it as long as I’m able. When I can’t do it anymore, then I’ll rest and sleep and read more books and sit on the sofa more.
Did you want to be an artist when you were a kid? Did you become one? Is life an an artist what you expected it to be?
I worked all darned summer on this thing! Here it is! Here’s a refresher on its history here. It’s a large size for me, so it took me quite a while, chipping at it a few hours per day about five days a week. Funny how painting traditionally again, I realize how great it is to have something to see and hold that’s an object as opposed to digital illustration which is an elusive art form, what with being digital and all, but it sure stinks when you scan a painting in and then have to take days to clean the darned thing up (removing dust particles and reflections of EVERY SINGLE SHINY BUMP AND BRUSHSTROKE) to make a presentable image to show online. AND all of that and it isn’t quite accurate at all! Kind of like the difference between watching a performance of a play on TV and actually seeing a performance live, on stage. So, please go see art in person when the mood strikes you! You might forget how different the original art is in person.
Speaking of seeing art in person, “The Familiar” and many more of my paintings will be on display at the Showcase at IX8 in Allentown, PA this year in a couple weeks. I’m super excited and panicked at the same time. I still have so much to do to get ready! I don’t know how artists do multiple shows per year. It’s exhausting!
Wish me luck!
Here’s a new pencil study for my next painting, titled: “The Familiar.” It’s about the journey of a fox spirit animal named Kimi. Here, in a rare glimpse, we see Kimi at rest, entertaining a few forest animals with her magical skills.
I’m working on color a color study now and hope to start painting in a few days. Since I only get a limited amount of time to devote to painting each day, I’m guessing this will be my summer. I am looking forward to it!
Hope you have a great week and a Happy Fourth of July!
Here’s the sketch for “Bunny Fairy Eve.” I just started the painting last week. I am trying to finish the painting by the end of May. We’ll see how it goes.
I thought about my Dad when I was working on this, because he introduced me to drawing when I was two by teaching me to draw Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. Made me wonder if I would still have become an artist had he not spent that special time with me. I do remember being very delighted watching him draw – like he was a magician performing a magic trick. He’d draw usually in felt tip pens with very sure and deliberate strokes like some comic artists do. It was so fun watching each line build upon the others, eventually becoming something familiar and happy to me. He and my Mom told me I used to ask him to draw his caricature of me all the time: “Do Deeny…” I would say (mispronouncing my nickname of Beanie). It was basically a bean shaped face with big eyes and a tiny nose and whatever hair I had at the time of execution. Sure wish I had some of those drawings! He’d draw them on napkins and things like that at the table after dinner, so we never really thought of saving that stuff. He was actually quite good at drawing characters, caricatures and comics. Somewhere we have a comic book he drew when he was young of a roller derby girl, sometime in the late 1940s. Not sure where it went when my parents moved. At any rate, I think I should dedicate this painting to him. Drawing and painting makes me very happy and I owe it all to him.
Kind of funny (odd funny) how those kinds of memories come back and sparkle with so much more meaning and life now that he’s gone. Thanks, Dad.
See you later!
Finally, our King Birdy has his Queen…
Don’t they look happy together? Well, they are keeping up appearances of civility, I suppose. Now that I post this, I think it would be funny to paint a third painting of their heirs…but I need to move on from this! Haha. My natural tendency is to come up with ideas that are a bit humorous and cute, but I have been trying portray a more understated humor in my new work. I often find myself dialing things down a bit. Humorous–but not too funny! Cute–but not too cute!
Oh and in other news…if you didn’t notice, I added an Instagram feed on my blog. I often post in progress shots of what I’m working on that I never publish on the blog, so feel free to follow me there for all the sneak peeks! I tend to tease with Instagram and publish final work on the blog. It just seems to be easier that way.
See you soon! Enjoy your week!