Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Monday, September 28, 2020
There's so little at stake with keeping an illustrated journal, and yet it's a great creative outlet. It can simply be a record of images and thoughts that go along with everyday living. There's little pressure to make every drawing a good one. If the drawing is awful, maybe the writing will make up for it. If it doesn't, who cares? It's just a visual/verbal playground and a learning laboratory.
Lately, as sheltering in place has droned on, stalling my motivation for creating paintings, I've turned to a more regular illustrated journaling practice. I tell myself, "Something is better than nothing" and just start drawing -- trusting that somehow I'll continue to develop as an artist.
My latest favorite sketchbook is a hardbound "large portrait" 8.25" x 5.5" size from the Hand-book Journal Co. It has drawing paper with a good tooth (but too toothy) that accepts light watercolor washes. I use my carbon platinum fountain pen for the ink and then whatever watercolors I have on hand.
Here are a few more recent spreads...
Madeline is an art buddy. We meet every 2 or 3 weeks to sketch -- with masks, and from a distance.
Our son texted a photo of his family's regal dog in those red booties. Just too cute not to draw. I'll probably make the family a card from this spread, with the right side the front of the card, and the left side the back.
We escaped the box last Friday and drove to Sausalito. Biked a few miles and then ate outdoors at Scomas. The day felt so free and I wanted to capture it. This drawing isn't very good, but it does bring back that sense of freedom I felt. The air quality was great and the temps were in the low 70s -- now that's the kind of weather the Bay area is supposed to have.
Later I was watching a demo video on watercolor and gouache from artist James Gurney's blog (great blog with great short demo videos!) and made notes on the right-hand side of the spread above. I often do make notes on art articles/videos in my sketchbook. Why not?
I do feel I caught the character of this tree with this very simple drawing. For me, this spread will forever conjure the lovely feeling I have as I walk along the San Francisco Bay nearly every day.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Lately it has felt really good to get back to my roots.
I'm talking about the sketchbook. The illustrated journal. Words and pictures.
I'll always be grateful for Danny Gregory's book, Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist You Truly Are, for getting me started on my words and pictures journey. I highly recommend this book to anyone who needs a jump start into making art.
My own journey has recently veered off into just pictures (i.e., stand-alone paintings), but I will always come back, at least sometimes, to words and pictures. I simply love that combination.
It's home base.
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Thursday, September 10, 2020
I can't be blamed for overworking this spiderwort painting -- can I? After all, the sky was an apocalyptic twilight-ish orange all day because of all the fires blazing in northern CA. So I used my desk lamp to paint by...but, as most artists would tell you, not much good comes out of painting by lamp light.
My aim was to produce a stand-alone painting similar to the last spiderwort, which was in a sketchbook. My plan was to put down some color really fast and then finish off with contour lines with black ink, just as before. Somewhere in the process, my intuition dared me to finish the painting without ink. I wanted to avoid being too representational and stay loose, especially with the background.
Instead, here's the result: too many layers of paint over everything (I couldn't see nuances in color because of the poor natural light, so I just kept adding watery layers that ended up weighing the painting down )...and a sense of confusion for the viewer re: where the light is coming from.
(Kind of like the sense of confusion I feel right now about living in northern California.)
But I am not daunted. We learn by these mistakes. If we repeat them often, do we learn more deeply? I sure hope so.
I met Sally forty years ago when I was twenty and she was the one in her sixties. I was a waitress at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant on...