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!