Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 31

Fun with paint?  I wanted to play with the acrylics again but didn't have anything in mind.  I painted a background and then played with layering in other colors with different brushes.  There really wasn't any thought involved; the brush went where ever it wanted to go.  This is the end result.  Sort of a tangled mess of a colorful web.

I can't believe I've been doing this for a month already.  I should have done this ages ago.  I'm really enjoying the whole creative process am excited to continue.  I've been looking for other classes to take as well, mostly workshops because, as I'm in grad school, committing to another weekly class is a little rough.  I do need to start investing in higher quality art supplies, but that will happen over time as I use up what I have.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January 30

Today's creative time came when, technically speaking it should not have.  Inspiration took me in the middle of a mandatory training.  I was amazingly bored and being force-fed information that I'd been force-fed at least two times before.  At first I was doodling, then I started writing a letter, then it just started.  It sounds pretty outraged and probably more than a little contrived, but here is what came out when I just started writing what was in front of me.

I was very hesitant in putting this up.  Writing is very difficult for me.  Writing and sharing is terrifying.  Even though what I wrote just sort of flowed out, I was seriously considering not posting it.  I came very close to painting or drawing or something just to have something else to post.  Facing fears...yay?

It reads:
There's a lady at the front of the room.  Clearly passionate about she's talking about.  But I don't care.  She might as well be the teacher from Charlie Brown.  Wah-wah wah-wah wah.  I've heard all this shit before.  It might have been helpful 3,5,10 years ago.  Now, you're just wasting my time.  Trying to tell me how to do my job when I already do so much more than what you're advocating for.  You think small.  This program is small.  The books you're thumping in my direction aggravate and annoy me.  You would really take my contribution to the world and marginalize it until I'm irrelevant?  You hand me books and papers and proudly declare, "It's all done for you," "What could be easier?" "What an amazing resource."  "So much simpler."  Here's my response.  I don't want it all done for me.  I worked to get here.  I don't want some over-paid soulless money-grubbing corporation doing "everything" for me or the group of children they've never met, who are dealing with issues they can't fathom, and are capable of more than their narrow minds can conceive.  "What could be easier?"  When did teaching or childhood become easy?  Both are fraught with challenges; small bumps in the road and catastrophic explosions that make you wonder how you'll survive that ends in amazing potential for growth, insight, and progress.Teaching and childhood are messy and marvelous.  They are ups and downs, amazing discoveries and hard learned lessons.  They're not supposed to be easy or simple.  Anyone who tells you they are is not just selling something, they're selling you a steaming pile of manure.

January 29

I spent most of the day on the couch again.  Not fun.  Not even a little.  However, towards the end of the evening I actually started feeling bored watching TV.  I got up, made some dinner, then decided I wanted to paint.  This is what came out:

Overall, I'm pretty happy.  In the photo I like the tree's shadow a lot more than I do in the actual painting.  I don't feel like it works and I almost wish I hadn't tried it.  At the same point it seemed out of place for there not to be a shadow.  The biggest frustration in doing this painting was losing bristles in the sky.  Apparently, I was using a really cheap brush and as I'm frantically smoothing paint side to side I didn't realize that several bristles were being left on the paper.  Live and learn right?  If I'm going to keep this up I am definitely going to have to slowly replace my initial supplies with higher quality ones.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 28

Sadly, I've been down sick all day.  I made it in to work and was then was sent home.  Not much motivation to get off the couch once I made it there, let alone to create anything.  In between naps I watched tutorials.  Most of the tutorials I watched were on acrylics.  I learned some very interesting techniques for painting skies, and background, methods for adding highlights, and the difference in effect between painting highlights on wet paint versus on dry paint.  Hopefully in the next day or so I'll feel up to sitting at the table and painting.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 27

I fully intended to paint today.  That was until I woke up feeling more than a little under the weather.  I spent the day on the couch under blankets.  In between just lying there staring at the TV I embroidered.  Apparently I embroidered a lot.  The I and the V are finished.  And I'm going to bed.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 26

I had the meanest urge to paint...something.  It's kind of a problem when you really want to explore and create with a medium, but have no inspiration as to what in the world to do with it.  So, I did what I've done every other time I've been stuck in this challenge thus far, I asked my sister (she's awesome by the way).  She suggested I just play with the paint.  So I did.  I played with the acrylic set I got.  First I discovered that my "set" contained absolutely no shades of purple.  That is really annoying.  While yes I know, "blue and red make purple," purple is so much more complicated than that.  There were however, three shades of brown (?) two greens, two blues, two yellows, one orange, one red, and black and white.  I think I need a better set.  I mostly played with flat brushes.  They were the most fun to lay paint and blend with.  Also, I'm clearly still obsessed with trees.  I will be playing more tomorrow.  And shopping for better acrylic sets.

January 25

I finished the T.  I like how it came out.  Initially I wasn't going to outline it, but something didn't seem quite right about the way it looked.  At first I only rant he black thread at intersection and where the two colors of green met.  It still didn't look right.  After I outline it all it seemed to come together.  The I is next and I'm trying to figure the color scheme.  I might to blues or oranges.  I have to give it more thought.

This is how the project looks overall so far.  I'm really happy with the way it's shaping up.  I was apprehensive at first that the idea would work better in my head and wouldn't translate in reality.  SO far so good.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 24

This is not the best picture unfortunately.  The stitches are coming out much better and, even though you can't see it in the photo, the actual stitch pattern is visible.  The yarn is becoming super fuzzy as I'm working it up, which is fun but at the same time makes it that much more challenging as I'm knitting.  There were several times I had to undo a stitch to correct either having inserted into the yarn or to correct having simply transferred the stitch instead of knit/purling in it.  The key was actually slowing down and not worrying about how long a piece I knit.  Breathe.

January 23 not how I wanted this to look.  To add insult to injury, it took a ridiculously long time to make this narrow two inch section.  It is nine stitches across, but I'm using a single ply yarn and am constantly pushing the needle through the yarn, instead of through the stitch.  It is supposed to be seed stitch which alternates knits and purls.  All I see is a mess.  I will be pulling this apart to try again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 22

I'm almost finished with the T.  There's still some shading to embroider, but that shouldn't take too long.  I didn't have a lot of time to be creative today so I had to work on this on my lunch break.  I like the way it's all coming together.  No much else to say I guess.  The next time I work on it I'll take a picture of the whole piece to show how's it's coming together.

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21

I didn't have to work today so I treated myself to a long massage with my favorite massage therapist.  The downside is I now feel like a limp noodle and didn't feel much like being creative.  I suppose that's when you have to push through if you really want to make progress on a goal.  This picture is similar to one I did with chalk pastel earlier this month.  I wish I had used lighter colors on the hill in the foreground.  Initially, the grass was looking very muddy.  I ended up using the corner of my fingernail to scratch back out some of the color and restore some depth.  The area around the tree is also muddier than I would've liked.  My fingers where not as precise when blending as I needed them to be.  I like the over shading of the tree, but I need to learn how to integrate branches without them looking like they're just laying on top.

January 20

I spent this evening finishing a scarf for my cousin that was supposed to be a Christmas present.  It's a fashion scarf made with variegated gray/black ribbon yarn.  It's a simple knit stitch scarf, but I think it came out nicely.  Knitting, like crocheting and embroidery, is very soothing.  A nice quiet thing to do when it's cold out and you don't want to leave the couch or get out from under a blanket.  I'm glad I finished this gift.  The last time I was late on a gift it was over two years late.  I'm fantastic at starting projects; finishing them, not so much.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 19

Between class and friends coming over, I did not have a lot of time to be creative today.  I was determined to work on something, but I was really disappointed that I wasn't able to work for longer than I had.  Anyways, the T is in progress.  The actual letter will be green with the block portion being a darker green.  I'm thinking I might knit tomorrow.  I haven't picked up my knitting in a couple of weeks.

I am starting to get really frustrated on the days when my creativity is hindered by my schedule.  There are some evenings where, due to class, or meetings, or other engagements, I am left with only a bit of time before I go to bed to work on anything.  The more I work on various pieces, the more it consumes me.  In class on Saturday I did nothing but doodle trees in my notebook as I listened to discussions.  At work my head frequently wanders to what media I'll use that night.  It's an interesting shift that's happened rather quickly, but it is also leaving me frustrated in some sense because the quantity of time I want is simply not there.  I gotta learn how to function on less sleep.  :-)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 18

Trees!  My coworker Jeanne gave me a tip from an art teacher.  She said to use progressively smaller V's when drawing trees.  I helped a lot.  They're still hit a little hit or miss, but overall it's a vast improvement over the trees I drew yesterday.  Yay!  I'm hoping if I practice a little more, when I start adding foliage the will be what I have to focus on and not the trunk.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 17

So super pleased!!!!  This turned out so much better than I thought it would.  The tree still needs work.  But the sunset colors blended pretty much exactly the way I wanted them too.  I'm going to have to watch some more tutorials on trees (there are tons out there).  I somehow thought that bare branches would be easier than a full tree.  I'm not sure about that assumption anymore.  On reflecting a bit, I think part of my issue with the tree is the branches don't taper at the ends.  Something to think about for the future.

January 16

Back to the drawing board...that is if I had a drawing board.  I'm OK with the side angles, but I feel the angles on the top are completely messed up.  Trying to convey six different colors in gray scale is rough.  I need to look around my place for more things to draw.  I feel like I look at some things and think, "that would be stupid to draw", or "that's too hard to draw."  Gotta work on that attitude.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January 15

Finished the A today.  It took a lot longer than I thought it would.  I like the way it stands out from the background now.  I was a little worried and it would blend in too much, but I don't think it does.  I've been feeling a bit run down lately which is why I haven't been back to it for a couple days.  I'm itching to sketch again, but want to be able to put in good effort.  Embroidery is much simpler for me.

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14

Long day at work meant not much energy for drawing so I worked on the embroidery piece.  I don't know if you can see in the picture, but the crossing purples are actually woven.  I'm using a thicker stitch for the A to hopefully make it stand up a bit more.  Embroidery is very soothing to me.  It lulls me and sort of melts the stress a bit.  Nothing like a little decompression to end a Monday.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January 13

My little Adipose.  He's a hard one full of rounded edges and varying levels of shadows.  When I first started shading him  he looked really kind of mean.  I had redo the shading around the eyes a couple of times.  I think it's rather funny that I never realize how crooked my guidelines are until after I've finished the drawing.  His hands look horrible, but hands, even simple ones, are tricky buggers.

January 12

Went back to school today.  Eight hours on a Saturday can be downright cruel.  By the time I got home I really didn't feel like doing much.  So I opted for embroidery.  Finished the E and all the french knots.  I HATE french knots.  I'm really not good at them.  One has sort of undone itself.  I'm partway through outlining the A and trying to figure out which stitches I want to use for the inside of it.  I want to try to find a way to make it look a little woven in the cross-hatching.

Friday, January 11, 2013

January 11

The subject of this drawing is a mason jar that has three folded pieces of paper in it.  The jar was a bit of a challenge.  The shape of the jar manages to be round and square at the same time.  I couldn't quite figure out how to convey the ways that the light went through it creating shadows on some parts of the sides, but not on others.The pieces of paper however were damn near impossible.  I must have redrawn them ten times.  Trying to figure out how the hard lines of the papers matched up with the shadows and the partial shadows was...maddening.  Tomorrow I will be working on a simpler subject matter.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 10

The more I draw the more I like it.  I'm having a hard time finding very basic tutorials.  It seems as if most people are of the opinion that if you are looking for drawing instruction, you've already mastered the basics.  So fumbling along I will go.  Looking at the picture I feel I should have darken the surface of the wine a little further.  I'm trying to incorporate more background into my pictures, but I'm struggling with it.  I feel I'm having a hard time getting the perspective right for the surface the item is on.  I know, I know.  Keep practicing.  :-)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 9

I'm really not happy with this.  I feel like the perspective is way off on the table edge.  The angle should have been much sharper than I drew it.  I also am not overly happy with the banana itself.  Shading gave me a really hard time and I had to redraw the lines of the banana four different times because my hand and my brain were choosing not to effectively communicate with each other.  I'm trying not to be so critical, but this is what comes from trying to draw at 10:00 at night after working for 8 hours, teaching dance for two and taking a dance class for one.  Sigh.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

January 8

At a loss as for what to say.  I need to work on finding a wider array of subject matter but I honestly don't know what's best to draw.  I chose the Diet Coke can because it happened to be sitting on the table in front of me.  I'm enjoying drawing more and more.  I'm slowly learning to be less judgmental of what I create.  The shading is a little troubling but I feel like I'm getting a little bit of a handle on it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7

This is my second attempt at a coffee cup.  Yesterday, what I drew was based on a exercise in a bad book. I didn't have anything to actually draw.  I watched a tutorial today that explained the whole purpose of holding up a pencil to what you're drawing when you need help with perspective.  I think it came out pretty good.  One aspect I'm struggling with is pencil grip and pencil to paper pressure.  When I write I tend to use a lot of pressure on the paper and it's proving difficult to reign that in when I'm drawing.  I'm already having to completely alter my grip on account of the fact that if I hold the pencil the way I normally do, being left handed, my hand drags through what I'm drawing and smudges it.  I know it's a matter or practice and repetition.  Patience is not always my strong suit.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January 6

Drawing is the most intimidating form for me to go back to.  I love it when I'm in the process, then I'm always hard as nails on what I produce.  I never care for any of it.  I'm still looking for good beginner tutorials online.  I bought one book that is absolutely useless as there are no step-by-steps or tips and techniques.  The other I bought is above my current level.  I'm struggling with understanding technique or how best to practice it.

January 5th

Today my creative energy was spent on 4 hours worth of workshops with Izzy from Colorado.  The first two hours were movement drills and the second two hours covered skirt work and spins.  Overall it was an amazing weekend.  I love the new drills and am so sore now the next day.  Below are my note from the workshop.

Izzy is such a treat.  She's more spastic than I am.  I didn't think  that was possible.  She so clearly loves what she does and I often feel that is rare in any profession.  To see someone take pleasure in what they do and share that love with the world is amazing.  

I am hoping to develop more of a personal practice to take better care of my dance.  I feel I've been neglecting it a bit lately.  You get out what you put in and it's about time I put more into it.

Friday, January 4, 2013

January 4

It was rough day.  I could not bring myself to sit at my art table and draw/paint/sketch what have you.  So I decided to take my first drawing to the next level.  I transferred the design to material using heat transfer pencils.  I spent the better part of 2 1/2 hours working on this.  Embroidery is a very soothing craft for me.  I sit and just get lost in the rhythm and motion of the needlework.  I don't have a timeline to finish this other than by the end of the year.  I'm sure I will pick it up at random intervals along the way.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

January 3

SO I bought what I thought was a box of oil pastels.  I wasn't until I actually had my hand on them that I realized that they were not.  What I had was chalk pastels.  I didn't even know what chalk pastels were.
This is probably the best tree I have ever drawn.  It was a little difficult with the chalk, but I'm overall happy with the end result.

I was starting to feel guilty for spending so much time watching tutorials on the various mediums I've been playing with.  I somehow had it in my mind that I shouldn't need tutorials.  I have been wrestling with the idea that in order to be truly creative an artist should know how to use the materials intuitively.  Whether or not this is the case, it is not so with me.  When I was in school, teachers just gave us art materials without ever explaining anything about them.  I guess that's what I'm doing now.    I'm using You Tube to help me understand the different properties and techniques to use with each.

I know I'm only three days in to the challenge, but so far I'm really enjoying it.  During the day I start to think about what I'm going to do that evening.  It distracts me at work a little.  I'm hopeful that this enthusiasm will last.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January 2

OK, I'm not completely disappointed in this.  This is my first attempt at actually painting with watercolors other than doodling with them with the kids or painting as a kids.  It actually came out a lot better than I thought it would.  The inspiration came from a watercolor tutorial I saw on YouTube.  It's supposed to be misty mountains at sunset.  What this experience really taught me is that quality counts with watercolors.  I bought a cheap pallet thinking I only wanted to play around so buying a more expensive set wasn't necessary.  Oh my, is it ever necessary.  I really struggled to get any kind of depth of color out of the pallet.  They stayed washed out and weak no matter how hard I tried to pick up more color.  As a result I am currently sporting a bluish-purple thumb and middle finger from trying to squeeze color out of the brush to get it to give up some richer color.  I am really eager to explore watercolors further, however, I think it's going to have to wait until I get higher quality paints.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January 1

For my first day I decided I wanted to actually play with my word for this year.  Using soft lead pencil I sketched this out.  I then went back and darkened the lines and shaded and embellished each letter.  My goal with this piece is to trace it out and transfer the design onto canvas so I can embroider it.  I've never designed my own embroidery patterns before, so it should be interesting.

What struck me most was how calming this was.  I was completely focused and that doesn't happen with my brain.  I was completely engrossed in the process and it felt amazing.  I'm feeling a little less apprehensive about the challenge at this point.  I'm actually kind of excited to see what comes out next.