Tuesday, 27 September 2011

120 Day Do What You Love Challenge continues

I am on day 24 of the Do What You Love Challenge. I am drawing spontaneously, with no idea as to what I will draw, for 20 minutes a day. To find out about the challenge go here.

If you want to see any of the drawings bigger, just click on them.
So far this is a lot of fun. I have had maybe one day when I didn't feel like drawing. A couple of days where I wasn't very happy with what I had drawn - but I don't pay too much attention to that.

I don't often finish a drawing in 20 minutes, so most of these are done over 2 - 4 days. Looking back at the first drawing I posted, I think I would like to put in more backgrounds. Not sure if that will work 'spontaneously' - though I could always add them later.
If you are wondering, this isn't all of them. There are two finished ones that I didn't post. No, it wasn't because they were the ones I didn't like, it is because they contained nudity. Not that it worries me, but I didn't want to have to add that warning about adult content in my blog.
I would love to hear if any of these drawings appeal to you, and why.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Refashion Post - Combo Skirt and a Plea for Input

It has been ages since I have written a refashion post. Probably because I don't have a lot to show you. Still, I am looking at inspiration and getting my warm weather clothes out of the closet, so it is on the radar.

I do have one thing to show you. My new skirt. It isn't terribly original or look all that beautiful, but I feel good in it. I like very casual dressing, and I like wearing full long skirts because you can sit cross legged. I also resonate with denim, probably my 70's childhood of wearing jeans and overalls.

I made it by combining a tiered skirt with an elastic waist with a cut-off denim skirt. Easy peasy. I think I will do some more. I like that it has pockets.

I need your input. I redid this thrifted top a while ago. I dyed it blue and shortened it. All very good, but it doesn't feel 'ready'. The yoke really looks like it needs something. Immediately I think embroidered flowers, which just seems to be what is expected - I wouldn't actually like it. I need to put something up there that will kind of counteract the puffy sleeves.
Maybe something geometric? The yoke is lightweight, semi-sheer fabric otherwise I might consider applique. Should I paint it? Or draw something?

Monday, 19 September 2011

Obsessions and Weird Interests

One thing that I absolutely love about being an artist is the 'permission' it gives me to follow any interest. However weird, however bizarre, however unrelated to my art. You never know where it might lead...

Bead weaving, astronomy, ancient history, cake decorating, bees, species of grass, torch welding, refashioning, computer games, macrophotography - it can all feed your creativity and your art. Your interest can be unfashionable, childish, unsophisticated and perhaps hard to understand. Extremely weird could be good. Though it doesn't need to be weird.

It could be about how you combine two relatively common interests. Say... knitting and coastal environments, or scrap-booking and global politics.

Artists are allowed to be Eccentric
(even assumed to be!)

I love this!!! It makes me feel free.

You may already know about my fairly recent interest in refashioning, taking old clothes and changing them into something different.

While I was in the United States, another new interest raised its head. Comic books. Graphic novels. I suddenly became inexplicably attracted.
It started with Poison Ivy, a villain in a Batman comic. You know my recent drawing of a woman with grass hair? Well, Poison Ivy has a bit in common with her. They are both rather fanatical about the environment. I wanted to learn more about this eco-terrorist so I started looking for batman comics.

This lead me to looking at other comics (they were right there, next to the batman comics) to looking up comic book stores (I didn't meet a lot of other middle-aged women, but there were lots of nice geekie young men). I started out walking into a comic store, not knowing what I was there for, but by the end of the month I knew what kind of comics interested me (complex, tortured women, superheros), recognizing that certain artists and writers were much better than your run-of-the-mill types. Did you know that there are zillions of artists and writers creating batman comics? Different styles and different takes. Some hand drawn and painted, others are entirely computer generated. Dozens of minor characters, some of who become major characters with their own comic books. Back stories, sons and daughters stories, it is endless.

Comic books aren't just comic books. Apparently they haven't just been for decades. Graphic novels, what a cool idea. As a narrative painter, how can I help but love this?

Where will it lead me? I have a few ideas, but the truth is: I don't know. Maybe just a few months of reading comic books. Maybe a new direction for my art. Either way, it makes life interesting.

Friday, 16 September 2011

My Art Journals Change with What I Need at the Time

Continuing on with my previous post about how your art journal can have multiple lives, I will carry on with the history of my art journals.

My first official art journal (I did have a previous kind-of art journal, more of a scrapbook of images that I liked - but as I hadn't heard of art journals, I didn't call it an art journal and so I am not counting it) was pretty much trying out the art journal stuff that was on the internet at the time. I think it was a pretty good way to start, as I didn't know what I liked to do or why I was doing it. But I do think it is interesting that I am not overly fond of this first art journal. I look at the pages and often remember the instructions I followed. Maybe this is partly why it doesn't feel intrinsically 'mine'.
My second art journal is the first one that I love. I went much bigger, from an A5 moleskine to an A4 Daler Rowney sketchbook (8" x 6" to 12" x 8"). I knew more where I wanted to go then too. This is what I wrote in my first page:
"I want to do more writing in this art journal, pages of it. And I want to write directly into it. I want it to be more RAW than my previous art journal. Messier, more spontaneous. Sloppier pages, some of them anyway. More of a work journal..."
And it was rawer, messier, less deliberate, unplanned - I rarely followed anyone's ideas for pages or prompts. I drew more. I still occasionally tried a technique that appealed to me, but often I just worked spontaneously. I think during that time I did take a few internet classes. One on making backgrounds, the teacher also gave prompts which I seldom followed. Another on stenciling - that was more exciting. But while I enjoyed stencils for a while, I lost interest as I couldn't spray or paint stencils at my computer desk.
This art journal has some of my favourite pages in it. It also has some of the most awkward and homely pages.
This art journal is the only one where I decorated the cover.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Your Art Journal is Anything you Need it to Be

I am always telling my students that their art journals are for them. That an art journal doesn't have to look, or be used in any particular way.

I have created a few different kinds of art journals in my 3 years of art journaling. Gee, is that all it is? It feels longer. In that time I have finished about 8, no maybe 9 art journals. Right now I have 3 art journals going, not counting the small journal that I keep in my purse.

My first official art journal, you can see my post about it here, was where I tried out the new techniques I had read about on the internet. I was just learning about art journaling, trying all the ways people had suggested. This was interesting. There are techniques that are still my favourites, and others that really did not appeal to me. My art journal was mainly experimental.
I tried rubbings, I tried borders, collage...
I did free classes on the internet, much of it was not a great fit for me as I don't much like being told what to do. But it was all a road to seeing what did fit...to be continued

Friday, 9 September 2011

You are Needed How You Are


Since arriving home to Australia from the United States, I have been waking most mornings at 3:30am racked by feelings of inadequacy. While this is not terribly unusual, it seems discouraging somehow. Did I hope that being reunited with my family would change this? I think I had hoped that it would at least show me what I needed to change in my life.

Maybe the answer is 'nothing much'. The message I received this morning is "You are needed how you are". That I should persist with everything I am doing to support my art and teaching, but not try to be anything or someone that I am not. To persist and allow myself just to be myself, flaws and all. Just to offer who I am and what I have to give, knowing all my faults, not even trying to hide them.

A Radical Approach.

(the drawing is my first 'spontaneous drawing', meaning that I drew without knowing what I was going to draw - like automatic writing, that I did for the 120 day challenge.)

Monday, 5 September 2011

Yippee! I Inspire!

It is always thrilling to be sited as a source of inspiration. This morning, via facebook, I found out that Betsy Cañas Garmon has mentioned me as one of her sources in an interview on the Create Mixed Media Website. Thank you Betsy!

Go here to read the interview. It is a good one. And I also recommend a visit to Betsy's blog, Wild Thyme Creative, she makes beautiful art journal pages.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

120 Day Do What You Love Challenge



Isn't it funny that it can take making a commitment to do what you love?

I have been feeling like I want to do more spontaneous drawing for a while now, at least a year. While I occasionally draw without knowing what will come out, it is rare for me to draw that way. Mostly I work from life or references. I know that my drawings will come out better if I work that way, so I have been nervous to risk 'bad' drawings.

Lately I have pushed those boundaries a bit with my 'what I wore today' drawings. I want to draw less self-consciously.

And now perhaps I have something to help me stop hesitating. The 120 Day Do What You Love Challenge. I heard Pollyanna on the radio talking about this free challenge she has put up on facebook. I liked her, I liked the idea. It is free and you have a place that you can share challenges and support.

Anyone want to join me? The fun thing is, it has to be something you love!

The picture is a spontaneous drawing that I did on the plane home. I will do my first spontaneous drawing for the challenge today. I am a little excited and nervous. I find that kind of strange.