So, I really struggled with this one. My history as an illustrator had me very detail oriented, the more visual info the better. Now as a painter I try to be more relaxed, the past few years I have tried to loosen my artwork, paint more zen like, use less detail, let the viewers use their own imaginations to fill in the vague spots. This painting taught me the value of patience and trial and error. Every time I would attempt this brindle fur in my “looser” style I would end up with a big muddy mess. I made several attempts to end with the same result. (Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein) After banging my head on the wall it occurred to me to just try a different approach! So, I got out my trusty 0/5 brush and proceeded to draw every single hair on that bulldog’s face. I learned so many things with this painting (which is the whole point of the creative practice for me). The most important take away: don’t be so attached to owning a “style”, stay flexible, and don’t be more stubborn than the bulldog you are painting!
My mom has the greenest thumb of anyone I know. I, on the other hand can manage to grow only the hardiest of plants. Cacti and other plants that don’t need too much attention are my botanical friends. Mom’s garden is a delightfully haphazard journey where you never know what you’ll find. Enchanting plant names like, bleeding hearts, bears britches and hens and chicks draw you in. You have to take your time and look carefully or you might just miss the tiny moss covered statues that keep watch over the butterflies, bumblebees, salamanders and banana slugs as well the plants. I have on occasion tried to paint things in the garden, but my paintings are epoch failures……. I can’t compete with all of that pure beauty. I do capture them in photographs, so that on those dreariest of winter days I can revisit the garden and start looking forward to spring.
Late night struggles with posting a new blog head (ugh). I’ve been wanting to switch the heading art for some time now, but being the uber-procrastinater that I am with all things not related to a pencil or a paintbrush, well…….. better late than never. I know that I should spend time learning tech stuff. Apps and programs change so fast, that it’s hard to keep up. Back when I was a pup myself, I worked as a graphic designer (for 16 years) and used Photoshop, Illustrator and (the deceased) Pagemaker everyday. (Does anyone out there remember Pagemaker, or Quark?) It was second nature, all quick keys, Pantone numbers and most fonts memorized. Now, half of the programs on my Macbook, I can stumble thru at best and the other half, I have to look at tutorials on my iPad (long gone are the 5 lb tutorials that used to come with a program, that had all of the hand written notes and post-its hanging out of pages). There are so many helpful resources on the internet to learn about whatever it is you need to know, there is really no excuse for my ignorance, nor my procrastination:)
Update: I just checked the new blog head on all of my devices. Ha! two out three look good. Damn the multiple platforms! When I was a pup the biggest concern was trying to get a Mac to communicate with a PC (LOL).
Lately I’ve been fascinated by dog faces. I have had dogs in my life forever, but am now just beginning to really look at them. The anatomy of dog heads are mostly the same (eyes, nose, mouth, ears), but the individual components can be vastly different (pointy ears vs floppy ears, long snout vs short snout). So begins another drawing challenge. The dog days of summer.
There are places on this earth that speak to me. A calming and soothing voice that lets me drop my “competitor/survivor” facade and truly relax. A friend and former Pastor, Russ once described such places as “thin spots”, or a place where you can connect to the “Sacred” more easily. One of my thin spots is Seacliff Beach in Aptos, California. Even on the rainiest of days I can easily slip into meditation or find the often talked about “zone” that artists get into, where thoughts cease and time stops having meaning. This week, I have had the fortune (Thank you GH) to spend a lot of time at Seacliff, relaxing and recharging my emotional batteries. My wish is that everyone could find at least one thin spot where they can lay down their woes and find some peace. Namaste
Sometimes you’ve just gotta take time to play. Today in the post, I got a trio of small plastic, poseable figures. I had plenty of things to do, from sketches and designs for clients to vacuuming and laundry, you know… important things! But, as soon as I broke the seal on that box, I fell down the rabbit hole into the magic world of play! I was lost to time and reality. I posed my little people and started a photo shoot. Three hours later (yes, 3) and just short of starting to sew them costumes (it’s on the agenda for later) I realized how much joy, the simple act of playing was giving me. Oh, the freedom! I am determined to “take time to play” more often in the future, even if I have to schedule it.
I can’t believe that the first month and a half of 2017 is spent. I have been meaning to post something since the first part of January (ummmm, shrug) 2017 has already proven to be a busy one! I’ve had a hasty relocation of habitation and creativity. Yes, that’s right, I’ve moved home and studio. New beginnings, new opportunities, renewed meditation practice.
I’m trying to stay optimistic and positive about the new world that I find myself in (both physically and politically). There will be challenges this year, some of them very difficult. I won’t give into fear and anger. “With the presence of great understanding and freedom in us, we can embrace hardships countless times without fear” -Thich Nhat Hahn. I will try my best to practice compassion, towards those that I support as well as those that I disagree with. I will remember my blessings (I have many) and try to live in the gratitude for all wonderful things in my life.
So, I’ve gotten settled in my new abode (more or less). Now to put my studio in to some semblance of order. I long to fall back into the rhythm of spending days in front of the easel/drawing table, drinking copious amount of coffee/tea.
Winter weather is finally here! Blessed rain falling in sheets outside the window of my little retreat. The birds flock to the bird feeder between downpours. I find myself staring out the window enraptured by the power of nature. Now, those that live in a rainy climate might not be so enthused by so much rain but here, in California, where we are in the throes of a long drought and go months without seeing water fall from the sky are downright rapturous.
One upside for me in particular, is that the rainy weather inspires my creativity. I have been non-stop drawing and painting since the rain began a few days ago. “In the zone” my biggest concern is not confusing my paint water for my tea (I have mistakenly ingested plenty of paint water in my life). It’s all rain water color bliss!
painting demo: actual time 40 mins.