Monday, February 27, 2012

My Pretties

Yes, again it's been awhile. It's funny, once I did the Bold for my word of the year, I had almost the opposite experience and became quite insecure, indecisive and anything but Bold. Perhaps my expectations of what I was going to achieve were disproportionate to my my abilities, I'm not sure, but I've been working through it and here goes again.

I had a brainwave about a month ago where I decided I wanted to start drawing illustrations of girls. This mostly related to my Champagne Consultant friends and another group called Champagne Chicks. I could even visualise the girl. Very chic, concave bob, ultra high shoes, ultra short skirt, funky bag. So I set about trying to draw her, and you know what I found it really difficult. Typically when i draw people I'm drawing a realistic representation of what I see. With illustrations however, it's all about stylised people, whimsical people, people who are not necessarily real. So what was I to do? Well here's where the serendipity of the internet and the blogs I read comes it.

I came across a sponsored ad on Kelly Rae Robert's website for I heart drawing online workshop by Jane Davenport. And you know what it was everything that I wanted to do. So being Bold I, of course, signed up immediately. I even started looking at the lessons immediately. Did I do any drawing? You guessed it, no. Instead of Bold I became insecure and indecisive again and it all just seemed to hard to do, to even start. But the other day I did it, I actually drew and here are the results.


The whole concept of Jane's workshop is the heart, and I love that it's all about learning the foundations first and then progressing what you've learned and developing your own style.


You know I've never really been a fashionista. Sure I like fashion, but when you're overweight you tend to glance rather than study what's hot. So it was interesting to actually look at the models, to look at how the fabric falls and where the darks and lights are, and it was sooooo much fun.


So, here are my heart pretties. I love the progression and how you just keep building on top of your foundation. Normally, if I was drawing this type of image I would be trying to make it a whole if you get my meaning to copy what I see. So I liked the fact that these girls just evolved and that although I've followed Jane's heart principle the drawings I've produced are not a copy of her drawings but an evolution of my own.

The next workshop will be all about arms and hands, which is good because mine could use some work.

I hope you are having a Boldly creative day.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Patience

Patience - Mixed media on cardboard

I wanted to try something I haven't done before and here it is. This piece is a layered mixed media piece with perhaps a tad too much glitter. This piece started out life with gel medium and the heart shapes embedded within this medium. And there it stayed hanging around my messy workspace waiting for me to play with it a little bit, it waited and waited and waited - it was very patient.

I'd been wanted to try something different as a background so I pulled out some old little square ink pads and literally dragged them across the cardboard. It was a lot of fun and very, very messy. Some of these ink pads are now only sponges, but hey that's okay they served their purpose. The thing with ink is that it takes a long time to dry so there was more waiting.

Next using a square-edged brush I wrote the word joy (you can see my calligraphy training in this, because it's italic script). Still I wasn't happy and the piece once again had to wait while I thought about what I wanted to do. Some music was added with stazon ink and a stamp roller, then I pulled out some letter stickers and added them (I think they belonged to an Ali Edwards kit that I purchased about 6 years ago!).And then came the glitter, and more glitter, and more glitter and just a bit more. I was completely covered in glitter when I finished. Still an oft-quoted mantra of mine is - everything looks better with a little glitter! 

And the piece once again waited until I was sure I wanted to take a photo, and then waited again until I was sure I wanted to share it. It's so different to what I really do, and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. But finally the wait was over and here we are. So, you can see why I have called my little piece Patience. And isn't having patience as part of your repertoire  a joy!



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What's your signature style?


 Ruling pen and shellac ink

A week or so ago I was reading an interview with Brian Ritchie the bass player from the Violent Femmes. I no nothing about the Femmes music but was interested in what Ritchie had to say on artists who repeat themselves, in other words giving the fans what they want rather than trying something artistically different. As the curator of the MONA FOMA in Hobart, Ritchie states that ‘I don’t want to give [people] what they want. I want to give them what they don’t know they want yet.

Last year I completed an online workshop to help me identify and decide if I wanted to pursue an artistic business. Interestingly once completing the workshop I found my desire to not only create art, but also sell it and create a business out of it diminished significantly. I suspect that was information overload in action. One of the key messages I got from this workshop is that successful artists have a signature style; it is a message that is repeated in subsequent art books I have read. It is something that has worried me because I’m not sure I do have a signature style. Yet what does a signature style actually mean? Is it important? Can you have a successful career as an artist without developing a signature style?


Fineliner on cartridge


My interpretation of signature style, at least initially, is that artists repeat the same type of art: same media, same colour palette, same substrate and same images. It’s something I’ve noticed in a number of artists whose blogs I follow, almost every new artworks seems to be a variation on the last new artwork, there is very little actually new about the artwork. I’ve also noticed it in successful calligraphers that consistently do the same lettering style. In fact, it’s common in all forms of artistic expression. You become comfortable in doing a specific thing and it becomes successful and then you just keep doing it. Look at all the ‘80s bands, they are reforming and performing all of their old hits because the ‘80s is popular again.

Is the variations on a theme signature style enough for artistic fulfillment? I suspect not. Personally I’d find it very boring indeed to continually paint or draw the same kinds of images. I like to do new things, learn new techniques and try something different — can’t that by my signature style. I could call myself an experimental artist!


Rotring radiograph on watercolour paper


Now I've looked at it at a deeper level, I think that a signature style is something that signifies something about you. For me it’s specific media; pen and ink, watercolour, graphite, coloured pencils and similar themes and images; freedom, flowers, women and text. While I like to experiment and see what happens with specific techniques, these are done within a similar theme. I like to think that each new artwork is different to the last, and that it tells some kind of story. So, I guess I do have a signature style, just not in the obvious sense.

What's your signature style?


Monday, January 2, 2012

Hello 2012


Hello to 2012. This is my word for the year - BOLD in 2012!

I haven't blogged for 4 months, and I'm sure that anyone actually looking at my blog may have thought I'd decided not to blog. No, just been busy trying to finish up a paid writing project (very important to pay the bills!) and also running in a new computer. I decided to get an iMac and I love it. The only problem is that   I haven't worked out everything on it, and most particularly, I haven't worked out how to use my new version of Photoshop Elements, which means I haven't worked out how to edit a photo! This photo was taken on my iPad, uploaded to fb and then I saved the image in my downloads. There has to be a better process!

I have just signed up for a Jessica Sprague workshop - up and running with Photoshop. I used to be able to use a very, very old version of PS, but this new PSE has me stumped. So starting as a beginner, I'll soon be able to edit and upload and then there will be now excuse for me not to post.

Bold was a word I chose at a recent session I had with some friends - we call ourselves the Champagne Consultants! We all work for ourselves in similar fields, so the chance to talk about our plans for 2012 was a great opportunity. I decided that there are quite a few things holding me back from what I want to achieve and being BOLD seemed to be the way to move through some of these scary things. I did consider doing Ali Edwards' One Little Word workshop at Big Picture Classes, and I might still enrol because sustaining something like being BOLD could do with some prompting.

Well, my goal for blogging this year is for it to be more regular and maybe opening up on more about what I think on things. Til my next post. Enjoy the start of 2012.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Simplicity


Lately my creative brain has been bouncing off the walls, exploding with ideas. Yet whenever I have tried to translate those ideas onto paper it just hasn't worked, the image in my head and the image on the paper are disconnected. I thought it was perhaps that the technical abilities of my head far outweigh those of my hands, but in fact I think it's been my tendency to overthink things.

I picked up a fantastic lettering book recently by Michael Clark (an amazing lettering artist) and one of the first quotes I read was:

If we lose simplicity, we lose drama. Wyeth

Or course it was beautifully lettered!

When I simplify my artistic process and allow it to happen rather than having elaborately planned out ideas, not only am I happier with the process, I'm happier with the outcome.

This piece came about after I was looking a some artwork on Donna Downey's site and although her artwork is vastly different to mine, it was the words that spoke to me: 'It's all going to be okay.' and 'You are exactly where you should be.' specifically spoke to me. And this is the artwork that followed. I love flowers and I love pencil. In this case soluable graphite pencils mixed with a bit of windsor and newton watercolour blocks. I toyed with adding words but feel that in this case less is more.

The joy I experienced doing this artwork was fantastic. I was completely in the moment and it just flowed. This is, I feel, how art is supposed to be.

It is a truly gorgeous day in Melbourne today and as my son, Bailey, said to me this morning, the sun is shining and that makes me smile.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Going with the flow


I have this sticky note stuck to my computer to remind me to stop fighting life. I must admit it's been both a struggle and a battle at times over the last eight weeks. There's certainly a lot going on in this life. My mother would most probably offer her pearl of wisdom - you're trying to do to much!

It's true I am trying to accomplish a lot, work is at a peak at the moment with the programme I am writing needing to be ready by the end of August. My thesis is hotting up with my supervisor actually expecting me to write it *lol*, there's the time commitment with Bailey's speech pathology as well as the daily life of looking after twin 6-year old boys (I wish I had half their energy!) and spending quality time with Andrew . . .  and oh yeah I'd like to create something sometime!

With that in mind I've been re-assessing the way I do things. If this is how my life is there seems little point wingeing about it. So I've been thinking about single-tasking. I've always been a multi-tasker but lately my brain is suggesting that needs to stop. I've been trying to take in a process soooooo much information lately that my head's felt like it's been about to explode. Seriously I've been waiting for the 'This brain will self-destruct in five minutes' and then splat brain mush on the computer screen. Ewwww.

I found this blog when researching single-tasking and I must say just doing one thing at a time seems to have it's benefits, stress-relieve just one of them. So far this week it's been an up and down try, I think I've been multi-tasking for so long it's going to take some time to unlearn it. But I like the idea of being truly present in whatever I'm doing, be it family, art, work or study, to be present and attentive in the moment is a treasure so I'm going to focus on that.

Til next time. I hope you are having a great day.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Time


This is another composition piece that I did for the Claudine Hellmuth collage workshop at Big Picture Classes. Am I allow to actually say that I love this piece, so much in fact that I'm actually thinking of framing it!

This is the first piece that I've done that included objects rather than just layers of paper. When I set out to do the piece I really wanted to make a piece about time and really it started with the clock stamp that I'd been itching to use. Then it was a matter of having fun deciding what I could use from my stash to create the piece. In fact that's one of the things I love about collage, you can actually use stuff from your stash rather than hoarding it.

I honestly think that the key to creating is just having an idea and allow it to grow and see what happens at the end of it.

Well that's all for now, I'm using the time between MasterChef finales to catch up on some blogging and computer work and I'm hoping that Kate wins.

Karen