WIP, Day 2

1/31/2010 11:48:00 AM Posted In , Edit This 18 Comments »
Now I'm working back and forth between the hair and the face.  The hair is giving me a really  hard time, but I'm still enjoying the process.  When I compare my version with the original, I see so many things I did wrong, but then where's the surprise in that?  The next one I do will be in a larger sketch book.  I won't be able to get the whole drawing on the page.  What a good excuse (one of many,  I might add), to try doing it again when this one's finished!



Work in Progress

1/30/2010 10:44:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 15 Comments »
After drawing the eyes and noses, I decided I would spend some time copying drawings done by Leonardo DaVinci.  I was sure I had a book (rather a small one) here with a lot of his sketches in it.  Well, I searched high and low, and all I could find was a really heavy, huge, hardcover book that weighs 7 lbs ...  seriously - I weighed it!  So, since that was all I could find, I settled on one of his drawings and started to work.  I'll show you the original that I'm working from as well as my humble attempt to copy it.  It isn't finished, but I'll keep posting the two pictures so you can watch my progress.  I have to admit, I'm a tad anxious about this endeavor, but what the heck - nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Noses EDM 65

1/28/2010 05:09:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 19 Comments »
I spent a good bit of today at the doctor and running errands, then came home and did some much-needed laundry, changing sheets, etc.   The time I had for drawing was limited, so I  only did 2 noses .... well, 1 nose and 1 nose with bit of a face attached.  For me noses are a challenge in part because they don't really have many lines the way eyes do - they seem to mostly be formed by shadows and inference.  Proportion and placement are also hard for me, which is why I decided to do one with a face.  I'll do more of them, but for now, it's a start! 

EDM 33 .. Eyes

1/27/2010 07:52:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 22 Comments »
I'm trying to draw everyday, but I must confess, I'm having difficulty with it.  Who knows why?  I sure don't.  But, tonight I did manage to do another EDM challenge and draw a few eyes.  I  love eyes, even though I find them a bit difficult to draw.  But, the really hard facial part for me is noses .... notice I haven't drawn any of them!  Maybe tomorrow .....  

EDM 224

1/24/2010 04:09:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 16 Comments »
In an effort to do something with art every day, no matter how small, today I did another Everyday Matters drawing.  This is a sketch of a small pitcher (only 3 inches high!), that's been in my husband's family forever.  I love it because it's quirky and fun.  It sits in our bedroom on a shadowbox that hangs on the wall (along with the horse button from a previous post). 

I'm not thrilled with how the drawing came out, but to be perfectly honest, I got tired of fussing with it.  Also, my electric pencil sharpener that I was using to sharpen my colored pencils kept breaking the lead in them, causing me to have to take it apart and clean it out.  It proved to be more annoying than it should have been (I needed more patience which I probably would have had if the drawing had been going better!).  So, in the spirit of honesty, here is a so-so drawing of a really cute pitcher.

True Colors Round Robin

1/23/2010 03:58:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 11 Comments »
Long about September, 2008 a small group of artists decided  to do a round robin based on the book True Colors, A Palette of Collaborative Art Journals published by Somerset Studio.  Each of the participants (there were 9 of us) made a book, chose a color, did the first spread, and then sent it on to the next person on the list.  The round robin still isn't finished!  I have been a part of this sort of round robin in the past, but I must say, this one has taken the longest of any other.  The group was hand picked by someone who had experience with each of us in other trades and swaps, and she was certain that we would follow through.  Sometimes life throws us curve balls and we can find ourselves mired in situations we never could have anticipated.  Such was the case here.  But, the good news is that things seem to be moving along once again, and I think I'm very close to getting my book back.  I can hardly wait!

I have just one more book to work on, and I haven't received it yet.  However, I know that the person who sends the books to me has both mine and the one I have left to do.  The end is definitely in sight!  Today I finished working in the second -to-the-last book I'm doing.  The book is lovely, and I'm sure when it gets home, the owner will love it.  All of the entries in it are wonderful - poetic and beautiful.  I decided that I would balance some of that with something a bit edgy.  I don't usually do edgy, but I thought it would be fun to give it a go.  So, here it is! 

I hope she likes it!

ATC Swap

1/19/2010 04:48:00 PM Posted In Edit This 6 Comments »
Way last fall my friend, Vicki, and I decided to participate in an Artist Trading Card Exhibition at Richmond Art Gallery.     The exhibit was in Richmond, British Columbia, and the cards were on display from September 18 through October 30, 2009.  We don't live anywhere near B.C., so sadly we weren't able to go see all the cards.  Besides the exhibit, there were classes, trading sessions, artist talks, and workshops.  It would have been a lot of fun to go, don't you think? 

Anyhow, we each submitted 9 cards that we had made, and we opted to have them traded rather than get our own back.  Time went by and we both forgot all about it.  Then we each got an email that said there was only one person working on doing the trades and sending them all out .... and, that there were over 300 participants!  Needless to say, it took her quite awhile to finish the job, bless her heart.  Again, we forgot all about them.  Recently we got an email saying that the cards had been mailed, and today ...  Ta Da - they arrived!  So, without further adieu, here they are!

By the way, the Richmond Art Gallery www.richmondartgallery.org is planning another ATC exhibit next year, scheduled for November, 2010.  Maybe you will want to participate!

EDM 21

1/17/2010 04:08:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 12 Comments »
Everyday Matters is an art group I belong to which celebrates making art everyday.  There is a list of things to draw in the file section  that has many, many, ideas of someplace to start.  For someone like me who gets stuck with some regularity, this list is most helpful.  Some time ago I printed out the list and pinned it to one of the bulletin boards in my studio.  The list is much longer now, but I haven't come close to doing all of the drawings on the one I have, so I haven't bothered to update it.

Anyhow, the drawing I chose to do is "Draw something old, antique, or vintage".  What I've drawn is a button.  I bought this button for my sweetie almost 40 years ago (I can't believe it's been that long!).  I was in an antique shop in Birmingham, MI, saw it and just had to have it.  The owner of the shop told me it was about 300 years old, hand carved in China from ivory, and was probably the button from a "briefcase" belonging to someone quite wealthy.  It measures about 2 1/4 inches high and can stand on its own.  I've tried to  do some research about it, but I've never seen anything resembling it in any antique button book or online.  I still love it every bit as much now as I did then.  So does my sweetie .... I think!  lol

Sometimes It's Hard

1/14/2010 07:06:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 2 Comments »
I've been sick since last week and haven't done a bit of art.  Hence I haven't posted anything on my blog.  As I'm sure all of you know, Haiti has suffered a catastrophic earthquake killing thousands of people.  At times like this it's so hard to know how best to help.  I'm a registered nurse (retired), but whenever I see and hear about things like this I feel like I should join an organization that sends nurses into disaster areas to assist.  I know that for a number of reasons, this would not be a good thing to do - not for those who need help, and not for me.  So, what I can do is send a bit of money.

There is a website that rates charitable organizations to help donors decide which charity will make the best use of the money they receive.  It is www.charitywatch.org  There you can check out any group you are considering to make sure that the maximum amount you donate will actually get to the people who need it.    If your mailbox is like mine, not a day goes by without some organization asking for money.  The problem is that most of them are very worthwhile causes.  We have narrowed our charitable giving to a few select groups, as I'm sure most of you have.  Haiti is one of, if not The, poorest country in the western world.  They are desperate and need all the help we can give them.  If you can spare $5 or $10, you can make a difference.  There's power in numbers.  Please help if you can.

I hope I haven't offended any of you with this request.  This is the first time I've ever asked anyone to do anything like this.  But the magnitude of this tragedy is more than I can comprehend and I just felt compelled to do something.  Thanks for taking the time to read this long post, and thanks to all of you who are able to help.


1/08/2010 08:49:00 AM Posted In , Edit This 21 Comments »
Yesterday my dear friend Vicki and I went to a wonderful resale shop in Jackson, Mi, where I bought a punch bowl.  No, I'm not making any punch, but I've been wanting a couple of goldfish for quite awhile, and having learned that each goldfish needs one gallon of water (!) to swim in, and not wanting to pay $12 for a 2 gallon bowl if I could help it, I decided to look for one while we were out.  Success!  It's  a perfect bowl for them - even has roses sort of embossed in the glass ... all for only $4.  Such a deal!

Anyhow, when I got home (early because it was snowing and the roads were getting pretty dicey), I decided to try my hand at a Mandala.  Now, if I were more computer savvy, I would have a great video right here that you could click on, but since I'm not, I'll direct you to Vicki's blog where you can click on it.  You really need to visit her blog anyway - it's so interesting, informative, and wonderful.  You can visit her blog here and find the link to the Mandala video: http://vickiholdwick.blogspot.com/2010/01/doodling.html

I did quite a bit on the Mandala yesterday, then at 1:00 AM, Abby (our sweet, but sometimes annoying dog) decided it was a good idea to go out, so since I knew my turn at sleeping was over, I got up and noodled about in the studio.  After finishing the drawing, I tried out some of the different inks that my sweetie gave me when he cleaned out his home office over the weekend.  I had to supplement them with yellow watercolor since there wasn't any yellow ink, and I watered them down quite a bit because the color was more intense than I wanted it, but it was fun to play with.   As Mandalas go, this is about as basic as they get, but for my first attempt, I'm pretty happy with it!  Thank you, Vicki!


1/07/2010 05:24:00 AM Posted In Edit This 12 Comments »
This morning I was thumbing through last year's journal and came upon this page.  I had a similar period of "nothingness" last year, but it wasn't as severe as this one has been.  When it was over, I did this simple journal page that seemed to express my relief at finally reaching the end of it.  With this most recent episode I haven't yet reached the feeling that it's over - no elation, no real relief.  I don't trust that I'm out of the woods yet.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about all of this trying to figure out exactly what it is that happens  when I seem to just fall off a cliff.   All of the reading I've done over the years about writer's block, artists block, etc say the same thing:  you just have to do it (write, make art, compose - whatever It is), every single day.  The advice is not to worry about the quality of what it is you do, just do it.  It doesn't matter if you end up with only one sentence, one line, one mark on the paper (or not a single one) that you like, as long as you do it every day. I  once read that ballet dancers have to practice every single day no matter what, or their muscles lose tone and elasticity in just one day! I've become convinced that there is a parallel to that in art.   So, now I'm coming  to believe that these periods are caused by my self-indulgence, lack of self discipline, and the erroneous position that somehow it's not my fault - that it's caused by some mysterious force that's beyond my control. 

So, with that in mind, I'm planning on doing one thing every single day - even if it's just a 5 minute sketch of something.  I'm going to try not to care if I like it or not, if I think it has any merit - in other words, I'm going to try to keep my ego out of it and instead focus on feeling good about just having done it.  Baby steps, baby steps ..... then, just maybe, I'll feel like this again:

P.S.  For those of you who saw the original of this post, you no doubt noticed I spelled "Drought" as "Draught".  My pal Vicki wanted to know if it was a Freudian slip and that what I really needed was a beer .... hmmm .... could be .... except I don't like beer.  Now wine, that's a whole different matter!  

Mixed Media

1/05/2010 06:16:00 AM Posted In , Edit This 8 Comments »
All of you wonderful readers have been urging me along, so I spent some time with my art journal doing a modest mixed media piece.  The photo is a copy of one that is from a really old album that my sweetie's mother had.  They are family pictures, but most of them have no names on them and there isn't anyone still alive who knows who they are.  I love that they are related to our children, and wish I knew something about each and every one of them.  They are fun to look at, wondering who they were and what their lives were like.
Anyhow, here it is.  I used gesso, Golden Acrylics, tissue paper,  postage stamps, skeleton leaves, various stamping images, French text, and a Pilot Gold marker.  The scan didn't really pick up the metallic look of the gold - it never does, though, does it?

Today is my day to volunteer at the county health department - I'm there from 9 to 4, then we're going to a combined Christmas/birthday celebration at the home of some friends.  I doubt I'll have much time for art, unless I whip something off between bites during my 1/2 hour lunch break.  Who knows, tho, miracles do happen!  

C'est Fini .. I think

1/04/2010 06:21:00 AM Posted In Edit This 16 Comments »
I think I'm declaring this drawing finished.  I'm reasonably satisfied with it, although there is one thing I wish I hadn't done.  On the left side I blackened the spaces around 2 of the items which throw the whole drawing off.  When I did it I was planning on completely filling in all of the white space.  But then as I worked on it, I decided I liked it better with the white space left in.  Rather than go ahead and fill it all, I decided I would just live with the part I didn't like and not risk ruining the entire thing.  ...."It's just paper, it's just paper", chanted the voice inside my head.  Considering what Some Of the Things that voice chants, "it's just paper" is something I can live with!

I must confess, now that this drawing is finished, I'm feeling a tad anxious because I haven't the faintest idea what I'm going to do next.  I'm trying not to stress about it.  I think I'll just take the dog for a walk (in the miserably cold outside with it's howling wind) and see if I can come up with anything.

Potpourri - Second Step

1/03/2010 12:01:00 PM Posted In Edit This 11 Comments »
My sweetie and I were gone for most of the day yesterday.  We went to Ann Arbor for breakfast and to do a bit of shopping.  Yes, I know, Christmas was just here, and what could we possibly be shopping for?  But, a friend has a birthday very soon, so we wanted to to do a little something for him, and of course, we needed to check out a couple of book stores just in case there was something we  had to have (there was - fancy that!).  Anyway, my drawing time was a bit limited (so what's new about that?) and I didn't get my ink drawing finished.  I'm OK with that - I feel good that I spent time on it, finished or not.  The drawing is nearing a point where I'm not sure where to take it next, but for some strange reason, I'm not worried about it.  Maybe because I keep reminding myself, "it's just paper, nancy, just paper".

One of the books I bought is called "On Becoming an Artist, Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity" by Ellen J. Langer.  One of the comments on the back cover is written by Roger Mandle, president, Rhode Island School of Design.  He wrote, "A profound book, clearly and simply written, that presents scientific evidence as good advice to everyone who wishes to lead a creative life.  I thoroughly enjoyed and was inspired by Langer's work."  It sounds like it's right up my alley.  I haven't started it yet, but I'll try to post something about what I find.

So, anyway, here's the Second Step. .... By the way - I just found out that Potpourri is one word, not two.  Oh well, live and learn

One Step At A Time

1/02/2010 06:15:00 AM Posted In Edit This 13 Comments »
Yesterday I started another ink drawing.  This one is a drawing of pot pourri - something I've drawn before and which I find very interesting when I look at it closely.  I love the shapes, textures, and of course the lovely scent of it.  In finding my way back to .... I don't really know what to call it ... my art life?  my artistic side?  my muse?  Anyway, I think baby steps are in order.  I have sheets of watercolor paper stretched and ready to go (prepared a long time ago), but I find them too daunting right now.  Even collage, something I've found quite enjoyable in the past, seems like too much.  So, ink it is.  I'll finish this drawing - maybe not today, although I'll do more on it today and post it here, and then see where I am.

Thanks again to everyone for your kind, generous, and supportive comments.  It means a lot to me and is very helpful.

Where and How to Begin

1/01/2010 06:27:00 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 21 Comments »
Well, this is embarrassing, but here I am.   I started this blog for several reasons, but one of the main ones was that I was hoping that it would help prevent the periodic episodes of artistic paralysis.  I have experienced this a number of times and when it happens, it is a source of many emotions - all of them negative.  I feel anxious, pressured, inadequate, and clueless, just for openers.   In the past I have stayed in that terrible place for over a year at a time.   I don't think what I'm describing is "artist's block" - at least not my understanding of what being blocked means.  I think of being blocked as having a sheet of white paper in front of you and being unable to make a mark on it.  It's not knowing where to start and it's being filled with self-doubt. 

I haven't posted since Nov. 11, and the more time went by, the more impossible it seemed to ever write here again.  I haven't drawn anything and I haven't kept up with the Creative Lettering Class I joined.  I haven't made an ATC, knitted the sweater I started last winter (and am almost finished with), ..... well, you get the idea.  I did make the elephant Christmas ornament for my niece, but it took me forever because .... I don't really know why.

So, anyhow, I decided that it just had to stop and that I'm the only one who can fix this.  Pretty obvious, isn't it!  Yesterday I posted messages on a couple of the art group websites that I belong to (another thing that I haven't been doing - not even reading the postings), then I spent quite a bit of time working on a Zentangle.   It seemed like it was something I could do and that it might help set me straight.  I feel good that I was finally able to start And finish something, even as humble as a doodle.  I'm optimistic that I can sustain this and that I'm back, and most of all, I'm grateful and thankful for all of you who have been supportive of me during my fumbling along on this blog.  

So, Happy New Year everyone, and may we all continue making art, growing, exploring, and daring to try new things!