Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Building Backgrounds

Birthday cards for February
Greetings creatives! Today, I'm playing along with Color Throwdown #478 and Simon Says: Anything Goes challenges. This quick and easy card will be sent to a co-worker on her birthday next month! Color Throwdown's palette is yellow, hot pink, lime green, and pale blue. I chose Papertrey Ink's Beautiful Blooms II for the flowers and Bright Buttercup, Raspberry Fizz, Green Parakeet, and Spring Rain for the colors.To build my background I chose a fun medium-sized daisy, a smaller accent flower, leaves and a center for the flowers. I used three of the colors for the flowers and centers and used the green for the leaves. 

For the card base, I decided to use Lemon Tart and to add a little dimension, I thought it would be fun to die cut a frame using Avery Elle's Postage Stamp Die. I framed the focal point with a white frame and used the border from the focal point as an accent for the inside of the card. Finally, I topped it off with some scrap ribbon and birthday sentiment.


There is still plenty of time to play with both challenges! Thanks for stopping by, and stay warm and have fun creating!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Art Journal Update: Interpreting Critique

Kites with Black Lines
Greetings creatives! I hope you have had a little time to create this week. One thing I learned this week at my photography class was the importance and purpose of critique. While critique can be helpful or harmful to an artist's self-esteem, I came across an interesting way to deal with all of the comments and suggestions of others. Our professor asked us to read a chapter from Brooks Jensen's Letting Go of the Camera titled "Quod Erat Faciendum or It Is Finished." In his chapter, Jensen talks about ways artists can think of managing projects. But the main lesson I wanted to share from his observations is the fact that what others say about our art can impact how we approach our art. 

Adding Black & White Marker to Watercolor--Ohn Mar Win
For example, last year my sweet daughter-in-law said, "I don't care for black lines in art." This was in response to one of my journal entries shown on the left. But what I heard was, "I don't like this painting." It has taken me almost a year to realize that: 1) it doesn't matter what her tastes are, and 2) listen carefully to what was said! She merely stated her preference, and she is entitled to her tastes. But I cannot allow that to shape me as an artist! I have to search my own artistic soul to discover what do I like? How do I want to paint? How do I want to present myself to the world? Jensen said it well when he wrote, "Show your work to a hundred different people and you will get a hundred different opinions, none of them correct and all of them valid." So, yes, it's good to listen to what everyone has to say and weigh it carefully. Many times, what others see can help me improve my art. But the important thing for me to remember is, do not ever let it change who I am as an artist.

Seaweed: Blues & Greens with Black Lines
I painted the sketch above after reading Jensen's chapter. And it is freeing to experiment with what is most comfortable for me in my artistic journey. It may well be that in years to come, I will abandon the black lines completely, or I may become more sophisticated in using them, or I may go totally bold with the black lines. But if I deny myself the experience now, when I am most interested in this technique, I fear I will lose out on discovering my own style.

If you are at this point in the article, I do appreciate you taking the time to listen to my heart. Please feel free to leave your critique below. It will be so helpful to me, and I would also like to know your opinion of Jensen's take on critique. Until next time, have fun exploring your art!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Art Journal Update & Vincent & Theo

Ode to Vincent Van Gogh
Greetings creatives! I'm starting this post with a painting that I had almost abandoned. While it isn't what I envisioned: I was inspired to try to paint wispy flowers on a muted background. But when I got to the flower part, what I wanted to paint and what came out of the brush were two different things!

I'm currently reading Vincent & Theo by Deborah Heiligman and Phil Fox. I'll be honest, growing up I thought art had to be realistic in order to be considered art, and the Impressionists were artists who didn't know to paint, I guess. That is why I'm over the moon about this book. It is taking me through the Impressionist movement through the lens of a would-be great Master Artist, Vincent Van Gogh, and his brother, art-dealer/expert, Theo.

Product Details
What a journey Vincent had on his way to becoming one of
the greatest artists known...
Not only am I learning about the time period and the struggles of all Impressionists to have a voice in their time, I'm learning that every artist goes on a personal journey to arrive at that place when they think of themselves as an artist. This is certainly the case with Van Gogh, and this is what I've learned so far: 

  • His talent lay in the fact that he seems to me he had to learn to draw, learn to paint, teach himself new techniques. His Starry Night did not magically flow through his fingers...he coaxed it out over a long journey to discover himself as an artist.
  • He drew and painted constantly, denying himself of the basics most of the time, and to the detriment of his health...not advisable. But, that's how dedicated he was when he finally found his passion and calling in life.
  • He drew inspiration from what he thought was most important in life...the common man. People who worked day and night just to have a roof over their heads and food to eat, if lucky.
  • He played around with all media and, I would say wasn't afraid to mix ink and charcoal, but I wonder if, maybe, he simply went with what popped into his head to use at the moment. I know that I'm too tentative and listen too much to what others like or know, instead of pursuing what I like. And I like watercolor with black ink. :-)
Thanks for sticking with me through this process. It's important to me that I capture my thoughts and share them with you. It's a permanent place to return to in order to say, "Keep going, keep on going!" Below are a few excerpts from this week's journal journey and a few sketches. 

Thanks so much for stopping by! And, please leave a comment below: I'd like to know who you admire as an artist or can be anyone from card makers to an artist master. 

Following the style of Jenna Rainey, Everyday Watercolor

My Birthday Bouquet
Playing around with the petals of "birthday flowers"
And, here are a few drawings from the first session of Drawing 101 with Sandy Allnock:


Compound shapes

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Art Journal Update-Learning from Day 9

Following Jenna Rainey's Demo on Instagram: December 17, 2017
Hello everyone! Above is a cheery promise that spring will come again. It has been a chilly winter in Central Texas, but a much-needed one. Last year I think we only had a half-dozen days of freezing temperatures. This year, we have well-exceeded that! And while the temps have been colder than normal, it hasn't been so cold or icy that we are confined to quarters. Getting back into the swing of practicing art and creating has been a challenge because our days really been beautiful!

The return of Themis to the McLennan County Courthouse dome
Last weekend, my husband and I celebrated my birthday by heading to the Farmer's Market in downtown Waco. The day was stunning as you can see in the photo above. I had a glorious time walking around downtown...which was something I used to do regularly as a kid. Our downtown area is seeing a revitalization, and I am so excited to see the growth. While there, we were able to watch a crew settle our refurbished Themis on the dome of the courthouse. I don't think I've ever stopped to really appreciate the architecture of our courthouse. So glad to get this shot!

Day 9: Everyday Watercolor by Jenna Rainey
If you have been following my posts, you may be aware that I have been working through Everyday Watercolor by Jenna Rainey of Monvoir. I started the journey in earnest but quickly ran into a couple of roadblocks along the way. Instead of pressing onward, I reverted to my old habit of avoidance. When I picked up the book again, I came across this lesson and realized why I stopped [besides being Christmas]. I couldn't quite wrap my head around this exercise, honestly. But I gave myself a good talking-to and continued through the process. After I finished, I found a demo on Instagram that Jenna had posted on December 17th for her new book. I carefully followed her path, and the Larkspur painting above was born. Below are a few things that I learned from Day 9 and how I plan to continue that exercise as a warm up.

Other News

Inspired by @mlomisc on Instagram
I so enjoy finding artists on Instagram, and the warm-up above was inspired by a monochromatic on Instagram by @mlomisc. This was painted before exploring Day 9, so it's easy to see that I was tentative about layering. I tend to try to fill the white spaces and I'm very concerned about creating layers that do not make sense. However, in order to learn placement, one must let go and experiment, right?

Conical Shapes
Finally, this is an update of my drawing class on-line with Sandy Allnock. I sketeched this on January 2nd, and due to getting back into the swing of work, my birthday, etc., I haven't completed the first lesson. But, that is on the schedule for this weekend!

I'd love to hear what your artistic goals are for the New Year. Please leave a comment below, so I can see what you've been up to!! Thanks for stopping by!

What I learned from Day 9

  • Letting go during a warm-up exercise is essential. 
  • Stop listening to the inner know-it-all, she doesn't know much at all.
  • Using complementary colors with your exercises helps you see how the layers work.
  • Loosening up with layering helps give confidence when tackling a new composition.
  • Layering helps you see the complexities of a subject.
  • It's fun!

Links to Previous Posts:

Everyday Watercolor: includes information about Jenna Rainey and her book.
Drawing 101 with Sandy Allnock: includes information about Allnock's online classes

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Blending & Masking Success!

Appreciation Card for Local Charities
Hello everyone! I hope the New Year is treating you kindly. To be honest, it feels as though it should be January 10th and not January 4th. However, no sense in speeding through the will pass quickly enough, right?

Today I'm playing along with two challenges: Papertrey Ink Make It Monday #308, 2017 A La Carte and Simon Says Stamp Monday: Something New. I will start with Papertrey's 2017 A la Carte. For the card above, I mimicked Betsy Veldman's tutorial for Make It Monday #290: Combining Stenciling and Masking. Below is her card. Since she used the stencil from Make It Market Herb Garden, I thought I would be a purist and use a stamp from the set, too!  I chose parsley since my card is a Thank You card. The sentiment is from PTI's Gathered Garden, and the inks for the parsley are Simply Chartreuse and Spring Moss. The border die for the vellum is also PTI's latest border die set. To be honest, I admired Betsy's card so much, I bought the Herb Garden kit for the stencil alone!

Betsy Veldman's card for Make It Monday #290
For Simon Says Stamp, Something New, I chose to sponge Barely Blue premium dye ink over the background after masking for the parsley sprigs. I love the softness of the blue with this ink, and I think the sponging represents a lovely blue sky. I also used My Favorite Things Stitched Rectangle Die: Zig Zag to cut the focal panel down to size.

All-in-all this was a very simple card to make, so I made two cards! I will also make a third card out of the remaining parsley sprig die-cuts. I made these cards to be combined with a small donation to two deserving charities: Mission Waco and Caritas. Both of these organizations work tirelessly to help our homeless and citizens who need help with food and bills. For me, it's always a blessing to help out as much as I can. However, I got to thinking: How often do I actually thank them for the work they do? Why not create a card to accompany my gift and tell them how much their ministry means to the community? I cannot wait to send these off!

In the meantime, thanks so much for stopping by! I truly appreciate your support and feedback!