December 14, 2011

A New Face

I'm so lucky to have an online community to make me feel special on my birthday. This year is an interesting one for me. I think today makes me officially "middle aged" but I don't feel like that. In some ways I feel my life is just starting.

Someone asked me recently what I do for fun. I have problems with depression so this gets asked regularly to see how I'm doing. Now I respond quickly and say "Art". No hesitation. It is what I do when I get restless, feel sad, don't know what to do with myself (as well, of course, when I feel inspired and happy). Its what I do, all the time if I can, even if its just a few strokes on a piece or coloring a bit of something.

I'm reading a book that has to do with menopause, which I am not quite at yet. However, the book focuses more on the power a woman gains/regains/discovers at midlife that fuels her passion. I certainly feel changed and hope that this art habit continues, as my learning does.

Guess what is new? Maybe this seems like nothing to seasoned artists, but last night, for the first time, I drew 3 pieces without reference pictures. I usually at least get the basics off of a photo or pic, but last night I was working on the "Girl Power" swap cards, and drew faces all by myself. And they are pretty good, in proportion, etc.

I credit Andrea Melione for this, and what I've learned so far in the "Fantastic Faces" workshop. Her methods of drawing faces and what I've learned before are different, but my brain melded the two and voila, I had a face. I also am no longer afraid to color in skin anymore, which used to be a battle. Shading with pencils, no problem, but adding color? I'd try to fudge that. Now I get in there with my colored pencils and its fun and I think it looks better.

Thank you everyone for your support over this year. I hope to continue to grow as an artist and a person in the coming year. And wish that for all of you this holiday season!

December 11, 2011

Why do people like this card?

This is an exercise for the Fantastic Faces workshop I'm taking at ArtTrader magazine. I posted it at ATCsForAll, and people seemed to really like it. I'm surprised, because I almost didn't post it for trade. I uploaded it to my flickr account where, Andrea, the teacher of the workshop, could look over my exercises and give me feedback. But I decided what they hey, and uploaded it.

Why the interest? I think maybe because there is a story here (you insert story...I have mine, but art is subjective), and some heart, and maybe, just maybe a part (or parts?) of myself in it.

I don't think the technique is good at all. I'm just practicing. But response to this piece has made me step away from the technique and focus on coloring, contrast, etc., all the things I'm learning in Andrea's workshop. Plus I'm getting pretty mean with the colored pencils, and I love it.

Here is a piece that is more me, I think. But I don't think I let go enough with it. I had a strong idea of what I wanted to convey with it, but had some trouble letting myself go wild with color experimentation. I think I may have got the contrast right, or closer, in any case, and I'm not un-pleased with color choice...but I think I could have pushed this farther.

And of course I leave it up to you, dear and few readers, to tell me what you think. I'm enjoying this process and feel like I'm learning a mile a minute. I'm still on my quest to meld technique and soul...hope I'm getting closer.

Oh, and take a workshop with Andrea Melione at ArtTrader Magazine. Soon.

December 4, 2011

Wonderful Feedback

I just received some awesome feedback about my art. Not so much about the quality, but about the direction I need to go in to improve the overall piece. Much of it was stuff I already knew, but this wonderful person also gave me very specific help/links/etc. that will aide me in improving my pieces.

On the one hand I want to have fun with art, and I will not stop that. It is therapeutic for me to play, and if the finished product turns out to be something that people want to look at, trade for, even *gasp* own, then more's the better.

I also want to improve and grow in my art skill set as well as let out my creative beast. I think I need to revisit painting, as this is where I learned (in the past) the most about color, contrast, and technique. I'm also going to explore some online technique sites on colored pencils and markers.

In addition, I'm taking the Fantastic Faces workshop over at ArtTrader magazine, as well as I'm signed up for Carla Sondheim's online course "Faces 101". I look forward to both opportunities to work on technique and color. And I highly recommend any workshop from both of these sources! Check out my links and blog list to find ArtTrader and C. Sondheims workshops.

One thing I really need to work on is backgrounds. They are my bane! I always set out and draw my main subject and then go, "oh, crap, what should I put behind it?". Any ideas? Suggestions? Links?

December 2, 2011

Still alive and kicking

Hey folks. It's been so long since I've posted! Mostly that has been due to undiagnosed pain that started in July. I've only just found out that I have a liver problem, and the swelling is what is causing the pain. Happy news to finally know, but I haven't seen the specialist yet to find out how to get the swelling down.

I've been keeping on keepin' on, but its been very hard. Depression set in about a month ago. I have to say that it is a good thing I'm involved with ATCs for All, because my connections there helped me feel less isolated and also helped me continue to do art even when I really didn't feel like it. Most people there have been so understanding and awesome, both in support of me and this process, as well as patient about art that I owe them that has been late.

After I went to the Oregon Live Gathering, I was extremely humbled by the awesome artwork and creativity of those I was fortunate enough to meet. I came home a tad insecure about my art. I decided to return, for now, to what I know how to do and have done fairly well for many years, which is drawing. I've been going back over all the basics (even though I've been doing it for over 30 years now and have taken too many classes to mention), and focus on what I have felt good about in the past. I'm continuing to practice.

But here is my question. From what I am seeing in the art world, skill in drawing is not all one need's. One also needs to turn a realistic looking piece into something new and interesting. I've talked about not having a creative style and I think that is what I'm talking about here. I want to turn my artwork into illustrations, but I'm not there yet. Talent in drawing does not seem to add up to good pieces of art, I guess is what I'm trying to say. I have more to learn about design, color, and other elements, as well as find a way to let my inner creativity and passion flow into my pieces.

Anyway, this is my current dilemma. I'm going to keep on keepin' on, though, I'm not gonna quit...swollen liver or not!

Be well, all!

May 28, 2011

Creative Process Part 1

I won the monthly ATC challenge for April over at I think much of what I say below has to do with that!

Taking the Creative Style class though Art Journal magazine was the best thing I could have done at this time in my art career.

I want to share with you my process, and also gain feedback as that is so important.

First, I was supposed to answer some questions about what art meant to me, and what I considered good about my art. How do I want the viewer to feel? Are there already any running themes in my work? What do I want to convey?

My first pages of my creative journal are a mess, but for a good reason! I started answering the questions and I found that I considered my art good if it was realistic...that's a lot of pressure. And I also had a hard time getting to the core of what I wanted the viewer to feel, my own themes and motifs, and how artistic experience feels to me.

I got almost angry with myself, or what I had written, hitting that boring old wall again. So I started scribbling everything out, got my red marker out and wrote:

"I want my artwork to feel and show freedom and play! It has to be URGENT when coming out onto the page. I want my work to be fairly realistic, yet vibrant, eye catching, organic, and emerging. Stop thinking of the goal, let the work *become*. When doing art I want to feel enganged, energized, and pleasure. [sorry if this offends anyone, just don't read the next sentence] Art is is my art-gasm.

Dynamic energy should be at the very center of my work, not the urge to prove myself as able to draw well. Combine realism with flow. Magic, heart, and repetitive patterns (like zentangles) that fill space with beauty and detail. I want to study Whimsy Art, Folk Art, and am drawn to Art Nouveau images, with its flowing lines."

Oh ya, I got going! Next time I have a bit of time I'll write in some more ramblings that are very important to my direction. The above still seems a bit nebulous, but I think I'm getting there.

Part of the lessons have been to ask others to look at my work and see if they see themes, motifs, etc., to get an outside perspective. My family and friends say, "Oh, very nice!" but I want more! Anyone want to weigh in with the good, the bad, and the ugly?

My 365 gallery has most of what I've been working on since March of this year. Drop me a comment or a line and tell me what you think?

There is so much more to come....

April 13, 2011

Art Journal Discovery

I've been doing the workshop on personal artistic style and am learning a lot. I want to share it all but it is late, and I want to record my step by step process here. So this post is a bit of a tease until I have a bit more time.

I joined an art journal class, and a social group for art-journalers at AFA, both of which are painless ways to get started. Being a mental health counselor, I want to at art therapy to my work with people, and I now have direct experience with the ways in which art can heal. Getting past my blocks with art journaling is instrumental in incorporating art into my counseling work. I found that with my Master's in counseling, all I need is a couple of classes to be certified as an art therapist, which would bring my first career in line with my passion. I still want to take art classes and get as good as I can become at my art (and may even get my digital arts certificate), but this will be a very fulfilling way to bring art to others and fulfill my goal of helping others heal.

Long story short, you can find my first uncensored journal page on the page link above, "Art Journal Pages". I will be back soon to tell you what I'm learning about myself and my art in my style class, and get feedback, I hope, as to what you all think!

Peace to all!

March 11, 2011

My Artistic/Creative Style???

OK, so far I'm learning about creative style, which in my mind is the heart of art. I can draw, to me its almost a technical skill. But now I want to learn how to create. I'm starting to understand what the flow of art looks like, as I talked about with whimsical art and zentangling, and now even some experiments with spilling paint and free form collage. I've dabbled in a lot of different media, liking each one for different reasons. But I'm still having a hard time pulling it all together.

I know this all sounds like basic stuff to experienced artists, and those that have always been drawn to create and have done so. I've been drawn to create with no real outlet. Like I said, I can draw, but where is the heart?

Anyway, here are a couple of pieces I'm happy with, but they kind of prove my point. There is some value in being able to, for instance, recreate flowers, but where is the movement and flow. This is my current quest!

March 5, 2011

Whimsical art and drawing in general

I had the opportunity to try out whimsical art during the Draw-a-Thon this weekend at AFA. As with zentangle, this has been a major addition to freeing myself of worries about how things should look in my drawings, and just do something visual. I loved using bold and fun colors and trying out things that I was sure I'd hate before it hit the page, yet turned out ok.

It has been great to break out my pencils and ink pens and draw again. Drawing is where I began doing art when I was twelve, and I have struggled with trying to make things look "just right" for years. I can do it pretty well, but it has always been time consuming and often frustrating, with only the very best pieces surviving the "tear it up or crush it into a ball and throw it in the trash" process.

The method of zentangle has given me patience, confidence, and has allowed me to see where a piece takes me, rather than having it all mapped out ahead of time. Whimsical art has given me permission to try out new color combos and design elements, and to simply have fun with my creations! I'm doing a workshop on artistic expression, finding my own style, through Art Trader magazine, and I'm hoping these few revelations in the last couple of days will help with discovering my own creative style.

Here are some whimsical pieces, and some flower pieces that are both part of the draw-a-thon and for the Spring Equinox/Ostara swap at AFA. Thanks for checking in!




March 3, 2011

First journal page(s)

Page 1 Personal Journal
Yes, I actually put paint and marker and paper and glue and stamp to paper and started my own art journal. I am using prompts from a few art journalling books that I found and liked, but I must credit the book Journal Spilling: Mixed - Media Techniques for Free Expression by Diana Trout for getting me started at all. Her opening exercise is called Flash Flood Journaling/Collage Spilling, and it is the best thing I've found yet for getting past all restrictions and insecurities and getting started. I'm not going to spoil it for the author, I highly recommend you get it, no matter who you are or where you are on your artistic journey. It is published by Northlight Books, copyright 2009.

I also started Art Trader Mag's workshop on artistic style by Andrea Melione and Dana Driscoll.

Right now I want MORE MORE MORE when it comes to art, and I know that I could easily overwhelm myself, but I want to get better at art and keep meeting the awesome folks I've been meeting on the way. I suffer from depression and isolation, so this is important. I hope that it doesn't get in the way of my plans: more pagan swaps at AFA, more Rolos to keep in touch, a 365 project on portraits which is directly influence by "tascarini" at AFA (you must chech out Sandra's blog here), journals to spill into, tarot cards to create to grow into a deck, and hosting my own swap on Astrology. Keeping up with the 365 project at Naked Heart, and taking an online workshop. I pray that I can trek through the emotional sludge to accomplish these tasks.

Thanks for reading everyone and stop by again!

March 1, 2011

Creating even though...

Flowers - Available ATC
Thank you, Rhonda, for your supportive words. That is a lot of my issue right now, comparing myself to others. But I have to give myself credit for a major thing: after almost 30 years of being able to draw and yearning to create art, I'm finally doing it. Thanks to AFA and those addictive little trading cards, I actually show my art now, and have done more in the last 7 months than in my whole life previously. So now, to get out of that comparison mindset...I need to focus on what will make me feel like I am learning, growing, progressing, and expressing. And this is hard too.

I saw a workshop offered through Art Trader Magazine that explores creative expression, and helps one find his/her own style. I'm waiting for some money and then I think I'll take it. I'm also going to sit down tonight, get messy, and prep some journal pages.

The 365 project is great for me. I was working ahead for a while, but now I'm just caught up. Which means I have to do something to post everyday. I have so many reasons why its not a good day to create. But I did something even though (fill in the blank). I don't care if its my best, but I did it. Hopefully I'll have some art journal pages to share soon.

February 26, 2011

Moley Finished!

I'm glad to say that lilbad's moley spread is done. I'm pleased, and I hope she is too!

Page 1 and 2

Page 3 and 4

February 24, 2011

Less Stuck

I finally had the breakthrough idea for the moley design. I spent some time worrying over it, then just threw out all my preconceived ideas of what it should be, what skills I should be showing, how it should look. Now, it is quite the, um, evolving piece. I like it in the sense that it expresses the theme the way it feels to me, and can only hope that it turns out visually pleasing to the eye (mostly the journal's owner!). Thank you (especially HHC!) for the support and encouragement I have received, but also the advice to get out of my own way and let go of the shoulds.

I feel bursting with ideas of projects I want to do, but am still trying to get into the stride of trusting myself more. Each piece takes a long time to work on for me, in comparison to work I see from other artists who produce excellent artwork often and prolifically. It seems like these folks have a strong sense of their own style and they let the muse/energy flow through them to create and create and create. I'm not sure what part of the puzzle I'm missing, but I want to be doing art all of the time and can't keep up with all my ideas. And yet, I'm taking so long on each piece and not producing nearly as much as I feel I could be.

I just found Sonheim's blog and am excited to sign up for one of her online workshops (as soon as I get my tax money), as well as one or two through Art Trader. I hope this will get me expressing and producing. I'm also very much want to do art journals. But this scares me for some reason. I'm a counselor and psychotherapist, so you can bet I understand professionally and personally how healing the journaling process is. But I can't figure out how to start expressing my feelings directly in art. I know it will put the heart in my art, so to speak, but how to begin? I look at examples of others' work and think, "that is so cool, I can't do that". Such beautiful backgrounds and techniques! I find myself writing a phrase in my book like, "How do I make art about feeling alone?" and nothing comes to mind.

One idea I had was to get a bunch of magazines and just start cutting them up, and gather images, words, phrases, etc. Then I could just throw them in a box and pick one or two (or ten!) to work with and go for it. What do art journalers out there think?

Ok, enough for now. I wanted to show anyone that is reading my entry for January's AFA ATC contest. It didn't win but I think it held it's own!

Here's to sticking with the process even when it feels like its going nowhere...
Jan 2011 Contest Entry - Sun, Moon and Stars

February 21, 2011

Still Stuck

It seems my creative muse is out of town. I have been zentangling, finishing up the pencil/charcoal swap, doing some kind of art every day. But this moley spread is kicking my butt. I don't seem to have any confidence in any of my skills. Maybe its because I've chosen to do a landscape which is not my strong suit. If I did collage, it would be great, but I'm really no good at that. My choices are to buckle down and get the drawing done, or to collage it anyway and hope for the best. Great. My first moley in my first moley swap and I'm freaked out!

I think I'm just not feeling very positive these days. I really don't like my job, and I want to find something to do in art, but motivation is low. I hope I can get past this slump and start producing again. Wish me luck!

Anyway, here are a few pieces I've finally finished.
APC for Joss
APC for Joss

Traded Rolo

February 19, 2011

Hand Drawn Swap cards are done!

Here are the last two cards for the Hand Draw Pencil/Charcoal swap at AFA.
On the Prowl

 I've got to put finishing touches on 2 APCs for Joss, a rolo, and an ATC. I'm also plagued by this moley spread. I wish there were a way to get help with this, it is very hard to design, and the artist for whom I am drawing is very talented. Eeeek. I hope inspiration strikes me soon. Stay tuned for more art!

February 16, 2011


Until I get more art posted here, you can view my Flickr photo stream.

Chugging along...

Here are two pieces for the Hand Drawn swap at AFA.
WIP Siamese

The Siamese to the left is a work in progress. The last pic is from my zentangle journal (available as a print).

I'm still working on the layout for the moleskine journal swap (I'm working in a very very talented artist's journal...eeek!). I've also got rolos, altered playing cards, and ATCs that I've promised. It has been hectic in my household and with my job, but I'm still doing art every day and have kept up with the 365 project..yay!

I purchased two awesome drawing books for my portrait study, and I'll post my progress under the tab above that says "series". I've got all sorts of ideas but I want to get this moley spread just right and I'm so nervous! I don't have one particular style that I like to work in (yet), but I think I'll settle on a graphite drawing. Next is deciding upon exact image and layout. This is challenging, but as with everything else since I started this journey, it is all good!

Oh, and I'm also very seriously thinking about going back to school to get a digital arts certificate. I'd really like to work in the field of illustration, but I've heard this is very hard to get into. I'd like to create my own tarot deck someday, since I've been studying and reading tarot for about 15 years. I've also got my master's in counseling psychology (and have thought of doing art therapy, which is still a possibility), yet going back to school in a whole other field is very scary. But having reached almost the midpoint of my life, I'm not sure I can afford not to follow my passion anymore. Thus, the degree in digital arts, as there might be a way I can do art for a living and pursue illustration on the side.

Ok, enough yammering. Until next time!

February 14, 2011

What am I working on today?

I'm rolling in a combined pile of life-like sketches, moley journal landscapes, altered playing cards to be glued and zentangled, rolos to be zentangled, and Ostara cards to be designed, drawn and painted. Oh yeah, and a couple of ATC ideas that are roling around in my head.

Today my goal is to finish up my cat sketches for the Black and White/Graphite and Charcoal swap at AFA. Here are two that are almost done, and I'll post all when I've completed them. Meeeoooow!

WIP Sleek

WIP Lovable

The Journey Begins

I am finally starting a blog to mark the beginning of a journey that has taken me over 30 years to start. Since I began doing artist trading cards at ATCs for All in August of 2010, my life has taken a creative turn, and I see the world differently. Art can no longer take a back seat in my life, and I must express and share. I'll probably post more here about why this is happening and what it all means, but for now, just bear with me as I uncover a part of myself that simply refused to come out until now. I'm still finding my style and taking baby steps, but I'm loving it!

So, welcome and Namaste!