My Journey Into Art

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Instant Books

Lately I've been interested in making my own journals. I tried my hand at a single signature pamphlet style and that was pretty simple. But I wanted to make a journal with multiple signatures as well. I borrowed How to Make Books: Fold, Cut & Stitch Your Way to a One-of-a-Kind Book by Esther K. Smith. It's a great book but for someone like me that needs to see something in action to learn how to do it, this was a bit too complicated for me to follow. I'm referring to the Coptic Stitch. She has step by step illustrations but I need something more to grasp it. I will try from videos or taking a class locally.

What I did learn from the book is how to make Instant Books. They are fast and fun and made from only one piece of paper! My 8 year old got hooked and has made many of them. My 5 year old still needs my help but he has many drawing "mini books" that he carries with him.

I found this YouTube video that shows how easy the instant books are made and it references the same book that I mentioned above. This is great fun for a mini journal for a short day jaunt.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Everyday Object #2

I had really planned to do lots of sketches for the Everyday Object theme for Sketchbook Challenge this month. I thought it would be easy, just look around the house and sketch. Unfortunately, life got in the way. My time has been eaten up with getting the kids ready for back to school in the last month in addition to my work. Now that they are in school, you'd think I'd have all the time in the world to sketch and make art. Nope! I've been having great difficulty with the new morning routine. I'm not a morning person to begin with so getting up earlier than I have been in the last three months has been a struggle. I'm sure in the next couple of weeks my body will adjust to the earlier start and my energy level will come back to normal. In the meantime, I'm dragging along at a snail's pace.

I had some time last night to get a sketch done. It's of my phone that I highly treasure because everything I need is in it. I would be lost without it at this point. How funny to have grown so dependent on a gadget.

Everyday Object #2

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Peek into My Itty Bitty Sketchbook

The sketchbook in my purse is 3.5" x 5.5". It serves me well in that it doesn't take up much room and it's small enough not to take a lot of time to complete a page. I mostly take it out when I'm waiting. Most recently I went shopping with my 18 year old daughter. Let's just say there was a lot of waiting involved for me. I remember back to when I was 18 and went shopping with my mother. I think I have a little more appreciation for all the waiting she did on me.

My homemade watercolor palette works wonderfully. I have used it several times now with no issues.

Itty Bitty Sketchbook

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Practicing Poppies

I signed up for Martha Lever's Painting Poppies class. I have been doing lots of practicing but still have not gotten the hang of them yet. But I will! I will not give up until I have mastered painting poppies. Poppies are one of my favorite flowers. Martha makes it look so easy. Her class is like sitting there with her watching her paint step by step. She couldn't have made it any easier. The problem is the student, me. I think part of my problem is that my computer and art room are not in the same place. I have been writing notes while watching the video, painting, and then running back to the computer to watch the class again to see where I went wrong. I will get it wait and see!

Practicing Poppies

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Won!

I was very excited yesterday when I received an email from Diana Trout informing me that I won her giveaway.

I can't wait for the goodies in the mail and for the download DVD! I don't win things often so I feel giddy like a kid in a candy store.

If you haven't checked out her book, Journal Spilling: Mixed-Media Techniques for Free Expression, I highly recommend it. It's full of creativity and fun.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Something to Chew On

From the library I took out Ann Blockley's book, Watercolor Textures. She has some great techniques in there and very beautiful and inspiring art work in the book. But what really struck me was what she had to say about art and finding your style.

She included a painting that she did while she was still a student. It was of a pineapple that was perfectly rendered like a photograph. It was really amazing. She wrote about how when she was a student that she thought painting in this way to replicate a photo as perfectly as possible was the goal. Later on, she came to the realization of what was the purpose of copying a photo in that way. Where is the artist's interpretation, mark or creativity in that? This really hit home to me. I am guilty of doing this. And really, what is the point? If I have the photo why do I need to copy it in paint?

Upon further reflecting, I came to the realization that the reason I do that is safety. I'm not really taking any chances creatively if I am copying a photo. I know what the end result is going to look like (or try to look like). I think there is a place for that, but that really isn't the kind of art I want to make.

She goes on to write about how emulating your favorite artists' style in the beginning is encouraged but as you gain experience and confidence, you take a little bit of each artist's style and eventually your own style finds a way of emerging.

I got a lot more from this book than just watercolor textures.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baby S. - Take 2

I give up! Portraits are not my thing. I didn't do her justice but it was a good learning experience in that I stretched myself beyond my comfort zone.

I think I will stick to inanimate objects, animals, birds, fish, and nature settings.

Take 2 - I give up

Saturday, August 13, 2011

From the Backyard

After working hard on the portrait of Baby S. I needed to do something light and fast. Whenever I work on a project that is long and what I perceive as intense, I always follow it up with something whimsical or quick.

I stepped outside into the backyard and quickly sketched these pomegranates. They aren't edible, just a small ornamental bush. They are pretty though.

Last week Interweave had a sale on downloadable DVDs. I have been wanting Jane LaFazio's From Art Journaling to Art: Drawing, Watercolor, and More Techniques for the Mixed-Media Artist. This was the perfect time to get it!

This sketch is based on what I learned from the download.

From the backyard

Friday, August 12, 2011

Not So Good

I have wanted to try my hand at painting a portrait of a person for some time. My friend posted photos of her 4 month old daughter and I asked her if she would mind if I downloaded one to paint. I told her that if it came out well that I would give it to her once it was done. Hmmmm...sorry Mel. This did not turn out well at all. I think I will try again but with using colored pencils instead of watercolors. I had a really hard time trying to mix a flesh tone with the paints I have. I ended up using watercolor pencils but I wasn't really happy with it. The eyes are artificial blue, the lips are too red and I have too much shading everywhere because I was trying to copy the photo too closely. I think next time I won't.

First Attempt at portrait - FAIL

Friday, August 5, 2011

Everyday Objects #1

This month's Sketchbook Challenge theme is Everyday Objects.

This is my second try at the sugar bowl. The first one was a disaster. I learned that in order to draw with somewhat accurate perspective, I have to be far away from my subject. This was sketched with me across the room from the sugar bowl. With my first try of the sugar bowl next to me, I wasn't able to get the correct perspective of the lid. It came out rather flat looking.

I tried not to spend too much time on this since it's a sketch and not a masterpiece. I kind of like the funkiness of it. This was sketched lightly in pencil first, then I used a watersoluble Pentel marker to outline. I used a waterbrush to shade it and added some watercolors.

Sugar Bowl

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

More Splash

I really enjoyed doing the lemon two days ago with the splatters so I tried pears yesterday. I used Arches Aquarelle paper this time. Ohhhh, it's such nice paper. I've actually had that block of paper for a few months now and have been afraid to use it. I didn't want to 'ruin' or waste the paper but I figured what the heck. I bought it to use. The worst that can happen is that I waste a page. No big deal. It has a bit of a rougher texture than the Fabriano paper that I used for the lemon. Both papers are 140lb cold pressed.


Monday, August 1, 2011

A Splash of Lemon

I opened up a package of Fabriano Artistico Traditional White Watercolor Paper this afternoon. This was my first time using it. It's such a nice paper. I also have a block of Arches Aquarelle that I have yet to use. I'm curious as to how it compares.

I had a little fun with this one.

A Splash of Lemon