Long Time No Post


Let’s face it, I’m overwhelmed. I have a little too much on my plate and I need to at least acknowledge that fact if not change it.

The good news is that the plate is loaded with mostly creative ventures. The sucky news is that I have more ideas than time. If only I could leave the day job to do art full-time. But if my Farmer’s Market sales are any indication of my success, I’d better stick with the day job! Same ol’ artist’s sob story; can’t make a living from my art.

Only, I don’t believe that. I believe that one day I will find my niche and I will tap into an as yet undiscovered reservoir of art patrons who get what I do, like what I do and want to pay for it too! Yes, that got rather rhymy.

I’ve been plugging away at the Farmer’s Market, making myself visible, going through the chore of set-up and take down, for those few moments of joy when a person has the courage to actually walk into my tent and really look at what I do. When they laugh and enjoy any of my paintings or drawings, I feel immense satisfaction. I feel even more satisfaction when they like it enough to want to take something home, even if it’s just a little art magnet or card. Pieces of my expression out in the universe!

I’m trying to put out of my mind the other stuff, the business stuff like paperwork: applications for fairs and their fees, logistics of set-up and schedule, even casting my mind forward to tax time – YIKES! Panicking over cost vs income. I seem to tick something off the list and then add another two.

I’m actually losing sleep over this stuff. I never lose sleep, I love sleep. I’d chose sleep over breakfast,  I’d EAT sleep for breakfast.

Just get through the season…i.e. the Christmas selling season, and then I will take stock. What works, what doesn’t. What I can and love to do and what I can do without.

I leave you with some drawings I’ve been working on. I’m considering having them printed as Christmas cards. I’m enjoying drawing tremendously and am wondering why I’ve been away from it for so long. I hope you enjoy!

 

Advertisements

From the Lost Art Archive


 

So, I was trying to throw together a last-minute portfolio for a job listing I found on Craigslist calling for an illustrator…and I found the most interesting things I’d long forgotten about. It’s amazing how one can create something, put a whole lot of effort and time into it  and then completely forget about it. Finding them again is like a revelation; memories of making it comes back in a flood (…or sometimes it doesn’t and it’s even more of a mystery “Wow! How did I do that?”).

In the pile of lost art I discovered these characters from years back when I was teaching ESL in Korea. I remember deciding that it would be helpful to have visual cues while telling the story in English. It would also help to keep the kids’ attention. As I recall, I was having so much fun I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning colouring these. I laminated them and stuck them on popsicle sticks. When my year at that particular school was up, they asked if they could keep them and I said no. I’d put too much of my creative energy into them and was not willing to give them up…what a Scrooge, eh? The thought of them being abused, folded and destroyed by little hands was too much.

Interestingly enough, the Gingerbread man in the story I told did not have a fox in it, but rather, an alligator!

 

 

They were done with colour pencil. I had a limited number of colours so in order to have any complexity I had to mix layers and layers of colour. I love how they turned out.

 

S

Process: Portrait in the Making


The steps towards a finished pet portrait are rarely the same from piece to piece. Sometimes I envy those artists who have a system, a way of doing things that they rarely waver from. At times, my lack of a set process has made me doubt whether I truly was an artist. I also envy those artists who are so driven by their passion to paint that they would lose sleep or allow themselves to become malnourished all for the sake of their art. Uh, uh, not me. I am well fed at all times, and when the clock strikes the magic hour I am firmly cuddled up in warm blankets ready for a lovely night’s sleep.

So I’ve come to embrace the fact that my erratic process and sporadic fits of inspiration are the hallmarks of my creative style. I’m going to show you two pet portraits, one a commission, one a gift for my parents and the process I went through to create each of them. You can decide whether they’re similar at all.

The first is a commission I did for a friend in my book club. She has a cat named Fiona who has extremely expressive eyes, a tone of attitude and beautiful fur. Because of her personality, it was extremely difficult to get a photograph of her that was satisfactory, even though I did visit on two occasions to photograph her. We finally decided to use the body position in one image and the face in another one:

Above: the body

Below: the head

 

Because the expression had to be just right and the background had to fit very specific requests, I did a couple of quick sketches:

 

 

 

After a few practice runs, I then used pencil to sketch onto the canvas. This is a very loose process, because invariable adjustments are always made as the paint is applied. Then on goes the paint. The under painting is initially grays and blacks:

 

Slowly the details and color are added in:

Then lots of playing by adding colors, deciding against them, painting over and eventually the end product:

 

The Rovi painting was not as much pressure since it wasn’t a commission and as a result was done a little more quickly and freely.  For this one, I had a photograph already but it was extremely yellow from the tungsten lighting when the photo was taken. I had to guess at the color of her fur based on my memories of her:

 

Rather than do a series of sketches I decided to just go directly to the canvas and sketch it with paint:

 

As you can see above, proportions are wrong, but as the painting progresses, those adjustments are made. I loved the shape of Rovi’s body in this position and the negative space around her. I tend to favor a mat background because it highlights the subject and gives it a more contemporary feel. I ended up including a little bit of floor detail but changed the color entirely.  Here is the end result:

 

And that, my friends, is the process of two very different paintings.