Saturday, August 31, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 243--Art Doodle Love

Here's a Flower Power page: a page Dawn DeVries Sokol, author of Art Doodle Love, previously decorated with lines, dots, and other doodles to prompt our own flower drawings.

I'll probably doodle more on this page. I'd love to fill it all the way up. So far I've been using gel pens, but I'd like to pull out my vast array of Pitt pens to do the page justice.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 242--Sketching Face in Art Journal

The pictures below portray my reason for learning to sketch faces:  I want to use them on art journal pages. Who knows, perhaps I'll create other art with faces, but for now I simply want to practice them in my art journals.

I created this particular page over months. For awhile now, I've recycled leftover paint from other projects by using an old gift card to scrape it onto these previously gessoed art journal pages. I also used a broken mechanical pencil to etch lines into the wet paint. A few days ago I sprayed some spray inks onto the page and let them run. Then I sealed the pages with Workable Fixatif (by Krylon) so I could do other artwork over it.

Today as I looked at the background I saw a space where a face belonged. So I just sketched what I was sensing, using a black Stabilo pencil. It was a fun, intuitive process. My girl isn't finished and neither is the art journal page, but I thought I'd share my progress so far.

I wonder what she's thinking...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 241--Sketching Faces

I wrote a letter to a friend today, and after signing off I still had space left. On a whim, I decided to sketch a face. I wrote the letter on pretty paper, which gives this face an interesting texture in places. Here it is:

Creating Challenge Days 238-240--Homework

My son's math teacher gave me homework. I had to write an email to the math teacher, describing my son "In a Million Words or Less." (I balk at the title--it should read "In a Million Words or Fewer," but the other was the title given me by a non-Language-Arts teacher.) As you can see from my blog post title, I've spent a number of days crafting this email. I will not share it here; it is too personal. However, I did create a Taxegdo graphic from it, and I will share that. I wish I could have figured out better how to manipulate it, but even so I like its artfulness.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 237--Sewing

Perhaps you know that my sewing machine and I have had a love-hate relationship. Actually, it's been more like a tolerate-hate relationship. As much as I believed long ago that I would love sewing, that has not actually come to pass.

The relationship is shifting, however. I've found myself beginning to use my sewing machine more again and liking it. It has sat on my dining room table for the past few weeks as my daughter and I have been making curtains for her room. Since the machine is already out, I decided to attempt some mixed media techniques.

In past posts I've expressed that Dina Wakley has inspired me in a few ways. The above picture portrays a technique I learned in her book Art Journal Freedom. I used gel medium to adhere ripped pieces of book paper onto drawing paper. After that dried, I cut out heart shapes. Then I sewed the outline. This was easy and fun, and I look forward to incorporating these pieces into an art journal page soon.

Above I affixed fabric scraps onto card stock scraps then sewed petal shapes to attach them, giving the fabric sturdiness. I then cut around the stitching using pinking shears. These, too, will go on an art journal page (probably not the same one as the heart shapes).

I am enjoying expanding my creative boundaries and renegotiating my relationship with my sewing machine. Who knows what I might sew next?!

Creating Challenge Day 236--Lettering

I read a blog post about lettering and saw some styles I liked. I copied a couple:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 235--Sketching Faces Sketchily

Once again, I secretly sketched someone's face. As I practice, I'm improving in drawing the features where they should be. I still need to work on the proportions a bit. But I've learned a secret that I pass along to you: draw in the person's neck. I'm amazed at what a difference it makes to sketch those two simple lines. It changes the face from looking disembodied to looking more like the person. I don't know why, but it works.

Since I've already sketched at least one face this week, I decided to stretch myself. I want to try a more stylized approach to drawing faces, so I attempted to "Dina Wakley-ize" this one (you can see some of her face drawings here). I drew this one while looking at my first drawing (as opposed to observing the live model). Here's my attempt:

I'm quite pleased with how this turned out! I actually like it better than my original drawing, perhaps because I did it quickly, giving no time for my inner critic to chime in. I can see me using a face like this on an art journal page in the near future. 

Just for grins, here are my two drawings next to each other:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 234--Sketching Faces

I'm doing it again: sketching faces surreptitiously at Starbucks (like the alliteration?).

Creating Challenge Day 233--Sketching Art Ideas

I have a certain style of painting/collage in my head. I can see the picture in my mind's eye, yet I haven't the time currently to create it. I sketched the idea and wrote myself some notes. I plan to work with these drawings in my art journal, and if I like what I create, I'll create bigger versions on canvases. I can't wait to get my hands messy with these!

Creating Challenge Day 232--Art Doodle Love

I've been hearing about a book called Art Doodle Love: A Journal of Self-Discovery by Dawn DeVries Sokol. A few artists whose blogs I follow are doodling their way through this book, and that peaked my interest. I purchased a copy for myself and found that the book is basically an art journaling shortcut book. The pages have pre-made backgrounds and include prompts for journaling. You can do whatever you wish with the pages: write, paint, paste, collage...oh, and doodle. Sokol includes five chapters: "Finding the Mojo," "My Life Then," "My Life Now," "Wanderlust," and "Love, Like, and Hate." She encourages flipping through the book and doing whatever page strikes you in the moment.

Today I began with the "Intention Page":

Monday, August 19, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 231--Sketching Mouths

Since I'm sketching faces more often, I figured I'd return to my Figure Drawing for Dummies book and learn more techniques about drawing facial features. Here are my attempts at the mouth, both closed and open:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 230--Sketching Faces

I want to sketch a face in one of my art journals. I want to do this because I'm inspired by Dina Wakley's art journal pages and faces (here are just a few samples). I like her style! And I want to learn to draw faces with the ease with which she seems to. I don't want to copy her style, but I'd like to use her process to inform my own. Apparently she taught herself, so I have hope!

Today I sketched a face before attempting to draw it in my art journal. I'm glad I did. I am proud of how well I drew this face, but it's not the style I want for the page.

I'll keep playing around with sketching faces until I manage to create what I want. It will all be great practice.

Creating Challenge Day 229--Lettering and Handwriting

Confession: I have terrible handwriting. It looks pretty on the page, but if you want to actually read it, good luck! In Junelle Jacobsen's Wildflowers Wild Art class, she focuses one project on handwriting. Her biggest word of advice is to practice, and she suggests using graph paper to help you create consistent lettering. What a great idea! She also suggests finding lettering that you like and keeping samples of that lettering in your sketchbook. I'm definitely going to follow both of these suggestions, because I'd like to improve my writing for art journaling and other artwork.

Here is some of my practice from today:

And a lettering project to work on:

I still have a bit to go, and I'll post this artwork when I'm done.

Creating Challenge Day 228--Sketch

Just a quick little sketch of something I saw in my head:

A close-up:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Creating Challenge Days 226 & 227--The Secret Is Out!

Having bestowed this painting on its recipient, I can now share it. (I've previously mentioned this project here and here.) The picture is a watercolor and pen rendition of dahlias.

Here's the watercolor step. I'd been feeling somewhat stressed, and painting this brought me so much pleasure and relaxation. 

The finished product. It's difficult to see in this picture, but I not only outlined the flowers and leaves in black pen (a Micron .01), I also wrote some words onto the background with white pen. I have searched high and low and spent more money than I should have to find a white pen that works on mixed media. I have finally found it! It's a Uni-ball Signo Broad, and I recommend it! I had to order it from Amazon, just fyi.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 225--Sewing

Or shall I name this post "teaching my daughter to sew"? All summer break we've discussed making new curtains for her bedroom. Well, she has two days until school starts again, so we decided to tackle the curtains. Fortunately, they're simple and only require straight sewing. We pressed the previously-washed fabric, cut, and pinned it. Then she sewed the fabric to the lining. We turned them right side out, and pressed them again. We still have to do the final stitching to create the pocket for the curtain rod, but I'm quite proud of and grateful for our progress.

Creating Challenge Day 224--Digital Doodling

Just a simple little doodle I did using my Paper by FiftyThree app!

Creating Challenge Day 223--More Lettering

I tried lettering again with the Pilot Parallel Pen. I think when I tried before I was working too hard. I started in a similar fashion today, but once I just decided to write I found the letters flowed a little better. The Parallel Pen still isn't my favorite pen, but I will keep trying it.

At the bottom of this page I took a generic black pen and practiced a favorite lettering style by Lisa Engelbrecht that I found in Creative Lettering by Jenny Doh.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 222--Secret Sketching

I continue to work on a project I'm not yet ready to unveil because my intended recipient views my blog. So you'll all have to wait. I can say that I sketched out the idea I was researching yesterday. Tomorrow I can paint!

My love for sketching grows. Instead of feeling stressed and intimidated by it, I now anticipate it and feel relaxed by it. This is huge growth and a direct result of challenging myself to create everyday. Also, thanks to Junelle Jacobsen for showing me how easy and fun sketching can be!

Another cool thing happened today: a friend requested a creative piece. She's going off to college and wants something by which to remember her friends. This will be fun! I'll have to do some brainstorming...

Creating Challenge Day 221--Research

I spent some time researching for a project I'm planning. It's a secret for someone who might read this blog, so I'm zipping my lips now!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 220--Sketching Faces

Today I sat at Starbucks and surreptitiously sketched a stranger's face. What an interesting experience. First of all, it helped me technically. I was able to focus on details we frequently take for granted: the jawline, the indentations under the nose, age lines. In some ways, because I was not connected to this gentleman (and I know it doesn't look like the same person in both drawings, but it is!), I could be more objective about sketching things I might ignore in someone I know, especially if I don't want to offend him/her. Who wants their wrinkles drawn in? Who wants to know that others see his/her "imperfections"? 

As I was drawing this gentleman, he was reading the newspaper with that downward look of someone who is farsighted. That led to a sleepy look in the picture. In this picture he was reading the page on his right. This led to something between a three-quarters view and a side view.
While I drew this picture, he was reading the page on his left. This gave me a good front view to draw. This view is more representative of how this gentleman actually looks. But it still probably doesn't look like him!
While drawing this gentleman helped me technically, I also discovered an emotional result of drawing a stranger: I felt connected to him. I noticed details about him that led to a general belief about his character. He seemed relaxed. He had a braid falling past his shoulders, so he seemed unconventional. And I noticed his actions. He frequently looked up from his reading to see what was going on with the people around him, so he seemed observant (I don't think he observed me, however--I hope not!). When a nearby woman sneezed, he blessed her, and that seemed kind to me, the opposite of self-absorbed. I started liking this guy, and I never spoke a word to him. I realize this regard is based completely on assumption, but it's interesting to ponder.

I am becoming addicted to sketching faces. So watch out--who knows whether you'll find me sketching your face at a Starbucks near you!

Creating Challenge Day 219--Lettering

I am notorious for buying supplies then taking forever to utilize them. I behaved true to pattern with the Pilot Parallel Pen. In fact, I must confess that I couldn't find it in its unopened package for awhile because it had burrowed under papers on my desk (it was hibernating...). Having recently uncovered it, I decided to give it a try. At right is today's effort.

In some ways, it's a cool pen. It has a parallel nib design that's supposed to make it easier to write calligraphy. I haven't written with a bonafide calligraphy pen in awhile, so I can't attest to whether this pen flowed more easily or not. I do like that this pen uses ink cartridges instead of necessitating dipping the nib into an ink pot. It's cleaner this way.

However, I feel disappointed with the pen. It comes with two ink cartridges, and with a name such as Parallel Pen, I thought I'd be able to use the two colors at the same time. Of course the ad copy that says "Two different ink colors can flow from the same nib for a beautiful graduated effect" might have contributed to that illusion. Well, upon reading the instructions that come with the pen, it technically can do that, but only if you have another Parallel Pen to assist with the process. I strongly dislike being misled like that, especially when getting the expected effect requires additional expense. As well, and I admit I made an assumption about this, you cannot change ink colors until the current cartridge is used up, unless you want to waste ink. So, once you attach a cartridge to the pen, you're committed to that color. As you can see in my picture, I am currently committed to red. And that "blood spot"? That's the result of my attempts to get the ink to flow. That did not happen easily, so you have to have a paper towel, napkin, or scrap paper handy when you're trying to squeeze ink from the cartridge into the nib to create ink flow.

I'll continue to use this pen and see if I can become more familiar with it. When I do, I hope I'll enjoy using it more than I did today. I do want to practice my lettering--as you can see, I need to work on consistency of letter sizing--and having a fun pen is always incentive to do that. As I do, if I discover anything cool about the Pilot Parallel Pen, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 218--Brainstorming

I have come to realize that I will be writing more in the near (and far) future. Today I began creating mind maps for magazine articles and blog posts.

Creating Challenge Day 217--Sketching Faces

A quickie facial sketch for a project I might do. I'm feeling less and less intimidated by drawing faces, and this fact excites me! I still have much to learn, but I've also made progress.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 216--Prep Work

Today I simply cut up magazines for future collage and art journal work. Some days that's all the creating I can muster!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 215--Digital Sketching

It has been something of a hectic day today. When I find myself in that kind of space, I enjoy pulling out my iPad and sketching using Paper by FiftyThree. Here are a couple sketches I did today:

I sat outside with my son. He didn't know it while I was doing it, but I attempted to sketch him. This looks nothing like him, but at least it looks something like a person! I'm enjoying sketching faces. Whereas I used to feel intimidated by it, I now give myself grace and just go for it.

Here's a quick scribble of a rose.

Creating Challenge Day 214--Sketching

The next assignment in my Wildflowers art class is, using photos I shot over the past couple of days, to create an art journal entry of one type of bloom from various perspectives. Today I sketched what this might look like if I use my cattail pictures.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Creating Challenge Day 213--Perspective Part 2

Today I completed the photography assignment I began yesterday. My two remaining tasks were to take pictures of wide open spaces and to photograph something looking up at it. I not only finished those, I took a couple bonus shots for some of the tasks I had tackled yesterday.

I completed both of today's assignments quickly by cycling to a local open space area. What a great excuse to go outdoors and get some movement into my day! Here is a wide-open-space shot.

Here's another wide-open-space shot. I have a fascination for the windmill and have photographed it often, but never like this.

And definitely not like this! (The five following photos are looking-up shots.)

I also found some opportunities to shoot foliage at ground level.

In the next seven pictures I played with composition and macro photography. Unfortunately, Blogger can't figure out how to post my vertical shots vertically. So, stretch your neck a little...;-) 

And for my finale, more wide-open-spaces shots. I have to admit I don't usually favor landscape photography. I'm more attracted to macro shots. However, I live in an amazing state filled with gorgeous vistas. So, I drove myself to a local vantage point for beautiful spacious views. Yes, those would be the Rockies in the background.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this project! I had forgotten how much photography feeds my soul. I look forward to whatever artwork proceeds from this pictures!