Studio Chaos

Okay, so I’m not the anal-retentive neat freak, but I do like (and need) order to my life and the space around me. In my studio life clutter happens. I start out working on a watercolor and while it dries, I hop over to another area in the studio to work on a piece I’m doing in charcoal, then I might work on a third project or sketches (or something). In my wake I leave a trail of reference sketches, scraps of test papers, photos, notes, a bottle of water, a cup of tea, my iPad, my phone, several pairs of headphones, dog treats, magazines, pencils, pens and assorted brushes… every surface covered with stuff! Depending on projects, deadlines and just deep immersion into a painting, this chaos can last for days, building in layers until I find myself digging like an archaeologist to find just the right pen, pencil or brush. Frustration causes Left-Brain to throw the breaker switch and say “enough”! I look around me in disbelief, and horror.  I take a deep breath and slowly start to declutter, putting things back in their order, vowing I’ll start being tidier as I work, putting this back after I’m through with them, keep this chaos in check…

…and Right -Brain just smiles.


Time Marches On

Time is a funny thing. Not “ha ha” funny, but “odd” funny. It is constant, but the mind seems to freely contract and expand the seconds, minutes, hours, days and months. Noticed in those moments when you’ve been working on a painting for what seems like only moments, but a glance at the clock and the stiffness in your back attest to having set for hours working on the painting. So it goes my blogging, it seems like it was just last week since my last post when in fact it has been a couple of months. Time to post weekly to-do reminders!cropped-cropped-img_0092.jpg

FREE art. Really.

In gratitude for all of the wonderful people that follow my art journey, I’m giving away handpainted postcards on my Instagram site. I randomly post a card and all you have to do is be the first to respond with the hashtag for that post. No tricks, no gimmicks. Heck, you don’t even have to follow me (although I’d appreciate it if you did:) I even pay the postage! @jaimiedentcampbell

*You do have to have a Instagram account, which if you don’t have you should, for all of the amazing visuals you’ll find there.

Keeping tools at hand

I have recently rediscovered a creativity action technique that I had forgotten. An easy way to increase your sketching time is to keep tools at hand all the time. Besides carrying a sketchbook and drawing implements with you when you travel outside of the home,  leave a sketchbook (or sometimes in my case a stack of 24# bond letter size paper clipped on a clip board) and a pen/pencil in every room in your house. It will encourage you to draw something and give no excuses to not to. Any free moment you have, sketch your dog or cat, sketch furniture, cubes, spheres (all the foundation shapes) or just pull something out of your imagination. In my opinion practice is practice and can only get that hand eye tuned sharper. I, for one needs all the tuning I can get (LOL)!

WIP Pt. 2

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!

A Peek At My Mom’s Garden

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.