Leap

I find it hard to keep up with my blog AND create art.  I kind of think that the blog is a passive activity and creating art is the active activity. I talk about art and doing art in the blog but when I am not typing about art I can create it. So talking about it takes away from the doing.

This is not entirely true though.  The only reason I even started actually creating art is due, in large part, to this blog.  It got me in the frame of mind to actually work on my dream.

It is still hard to keep up with the blog.

Things are going well, overall.  I am creating art, about two creations a month.  Quite prolific for someone who is only doing it when I am not at work or tired from work.  I would like to do more, but I just do not have the energy or focus at the moment.

I have a double sided whiteboard on wheels that I have filled with “to create” items.  I am slowly working on it.  I have three things in active progress, at the moment.  I am keeping busy and on track.  I do get sidetracked, like this posts creation.

This drawing/painting is really cool.  No matter orientation it is viewed, it still works!  I am super excited. I never expected it to work out so well. ^_^  It was done with Higgins Black Magic Ink and lots of water.  I draw the lines out and then fill in the shading or colors with a tiny brush.  I really like the effect.

I will be posting some color ones in a few months, when I get the series done.

 

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IwouldRather

I would Rather..

Peopleing Is Hard

I have been thinking about this topic for a while.  I decided to draw it.  Fun and challenging 🙂

What does one do when where they are is no longer fulfilling, satisfying or even content?

What does one do when reminding themselves that “a means to an end” is not enough to make it through the day?

What do you do when you would rather be doing something else?

These questions have been floating around in my head.  They crop up every year or so.  I get dissatisfied with my daily routine.  A routine that seems to have gone on forever.

Right now I would rather be doing a myriad of other things.

I would rather be…

  • Creating Art (drawing, painting, knitting, sewing… any kind of art)
  • Sleeping
  • Cleaning
  • Gardening (even with my allergies)
  • Reading
  • Cooking
  • Learning

Really anything other than my current routine.

At the same time I value my routine.  When I am ill, my routine is the only reason anything gets done.  When I am angry or frustrated, my routine is the only reason I can stay calm and move on and do not do anything rash.

It is a blessing and a curse, a daily routine.

You dislike it when you have to follow it, and you miss it when you cannot follow it.

A Head Full of Other People’s Problems

I have a pretty good life.  I have a full time job (even if it is boring.)  I have a great spouse and marriage and I have no children.  I have money to pay the bills and even some extra to spend.  I get to go out and have fun, relax and enjoy myself when  I want to.

My life is so “pretty good” that I let my head get full of other people’s problems.  Other people’s money problems, family problems, and even friend problems. All these problems that I have read about or spoken about roll around in my head waiting for me to come up with a solution. Even if it is not my place to work on these, it happens.

head and bulb

The gears in my head are always turning.

I realized that I am quite boring in person.  Even though I have done and seen things, I cannot tell the story well (just not one of my skills.)  I think have always supplemented my boringness with the problems of other people, things for me to mull over and solve.  Got money issues, I will mull over it and see if I can come up with anything that might help.  Significant other dressing like a slob, I will mull over it and see if I can suggest anything that will change the behavior (just let them know what you think of their cloths.)  Need an idea for a story, game or other project?  Let me mull it over, I will have something for you, probably lots of somethings.

The only time this becomes a problem is when I cannot come up with a feasible solution.  I have tons of ideas on how to market your product (I really do) but you are going to have to invest time and probably money.  If you are broke, that does not really help any.  I wish I had more money to throw at the problem for you, but I cannot afford to do that (not to the amount needed, anyway.)  I have time to help, but I cannot DO it for you.  I wish I could, but I am not as skilled at      (your skill here)    as you are.

All I can do is give you suggestions.  If you choose to put the time and effort into the suggestion, I know it will turn out well.

Today my head is full of other people’s problems, and I cannot do much about it.  I just let them float around and propagate solutions that will probably never be used, so sad.

picassoNot being able to act on the ideas is the most frustrating thing for me, and others like me.  The ideas are there, like ripe apples on a tree.  All you have to do is reach up and take them.  I would rather you take my idea and run with it, then let it rot on the tree.  Yes the idea can come back next time the tree fruits, but it is not always the same and not always as tasty.  Taking an idea is not stealing if I am okay with it.  Plus you taking an idea, vs letting it rot, will allow me to have more ideas, better ideas.

I would really love to make all my ideas a reality on my own, but I am not really able to.  I do not have the skills needed for many of them.

So, let me know if you are in need of an idea.  I will mull over it and let you know.  I will even sketch things out.

Blogging: A method of Expression

I have never really been much of a writer.  I prefer to draw and paint.  I love all kinds of art and crafting but writing has never been something I did to express myself.  Images are worth a thousand words, so to speak.

Blogging is a newer way for me to express myself.  Especially since I am away from my painting materials right now.   I used to keep a journal, sporadically.  Just so I would have a way to create stuff that I was unable to come up with images for.  Sometimes I really did not want to turn my experiences into images, they might be to dark or just take me places I was not willing to go.  Now I do my best to keep on a schedule and put out things that are interesting, not just to me but to others as well.

Writing is low cost and easy way for artists express themselves.  All artists should give it a try.  I may be well read, but I am not a very good writer.  It takes quite a while to ensure that my posts are free of spelling and grammar errors and that my words make sense when read.  A writer friend says that is normal and that all authors do that.  It is much different than how I paint/draw and that is probably part of my hang up on writing.

There are many similarities to painting and writing.  While the process varies from artist to artist some things are key. They both usually start with an idea and an outline of the major areas.  For an artist this means outlining the negative spaces and areas of different colors.  A writer may outline the progression of the story and attributes of the characters.  If it is an article or research paper this means creating the thesis and outlining the major points and finding backing statements.

The second stage is where things start getting a little different.  I fill in the back ground first and re-outline any areas that may need it.  A writer may invest time in building the characters or research points, ensuring that the background information will enhance the story, not detract from it.  For a painter this is also the stage where colors and form may start to change.

This is where things get more varied by type of artist. Since I do a lot of surreal stuff with little or odd detail work, I focus on the forms in the painting.  This means that I fill in blocks of color and shadow then move on to any details that may be needed.  I would liken this to a writers first round of edits.  There are many ways to do this.  Some artists fill in ALL of one color or ALL of a block then move on the next.  This would be like writing all of one characters interactions or all of one chapter before moving on.

Lastly I do my detail work and any highlights that may be needed to accent the shapes.  Time for the final edits for the writers.  This includes a top coat to keep the image from getting wiped off when cleaned and my signature.  The only thing left to do is find someone who whats the work (finding a publisher.)

In the end writing is another form of art and it will take time before you are considered accomplished.  Painting is the same way.  Just because I can paint something without drawing the lines does not mean that I did not practice hours in the past.  I take it for granted that writers end up doing many, many edits before getting things right.  Probably more edits that a painter has, even for a well thought out piece.

Keep creating works of art with whatever your medium is. 🙂

Take a Picture or Paint?

MMDBC

Designed by me, printed on an old school press (lithography press) so the image quality was AMAZING. If you have a printing company you work with ask if they have a litho press and us it for important jobs. The images are always much better, think vector quality smoothness.

Today I picked up my business cards from the print shop.  I am super pleased with how they turned out.  One more thing to cross off my to do list. 

On my way back home I stopped off at the Mat Hat Tea House for a cup of Earl Grey (my fave.)  While I was waiting for my beverage I talked to the employees about tea and another customer joined in (add a 1/2 tsp of sugar to 8-10 oz earl grey to bring out the floral notes.)  Luck would have it he was looking for artists to put some work in a show.  Within 10 minutes of getting my business cards I have a new contact, a possible client and someone that wants to show my art (go me!)

On my way home I got to thinking about the different kinds of picture artist.  Digital, abstract, surreal, realistic, photo real, photographers, paper cutters and so many others.  I was thinking about what makes them different and similarities, the different skill levels and view points that make a person choose to do the different types.

SunsetLamp

I took this photo with my cell. I wanted to remember the peace I felt at the end of my walk. What does it make you think of?

This came to mind as I thought about the pieces I could do that express my artistic vision, skill and fit within the topic requested. I wanted to plan something that shows my skills as a photographer and painter.  I paint mostly in a surreal style, incorporating a lot of feeling and instinct into my images.  When I want express a view of reality I take photos, when I want to express a feeling about reality I paint. I think that an artist has more control over the image if they paint it themselves.  Because photos rely on technology, the photographer and the subject they can come out unexpectedly.

Even if I were to take a photo and make it into a painting the response would be very different.  Photos are a way of showing the world what you see, with your eyes.  Capturing a second in time that is meant to invoke an emotional or logical response (depending on the photo’s subject) as the viewer process the image.  Paintings and digital art make attempt to invoke an emotional response, before the viewer finishes looking at the piece, a gut reaction or instinctive reaction.

ColorPsycology

If you are not familiar with color psychology I recommend looking into it. More than the shape of something the color a shape is can make us feel a certain way about it. Red shames are going to make people edgy, while blue shapes make people relaxed. There is a reason why hospitals were green for a long time. Schools used to be a mix of yellows and blues, depending on the subject being taught. It is really interesting and worth research.

As someone who is also interested in marketing, I am VERY interested in how people respond to colors and shapes.  I plan everything I do when I paint or create a graphic.  Photography is about the only time I do things on impulse.  You only have a micro second to get that amazing shot, and our brains are already a few seconds behind.  Even though you can think and plan a shot (usually still life or landscape) the second you bring moving objects into the mix you have to know the area and the movement patterns of your subjects. Once you know and understand the key elements behavior you can go on instinct to get those good and quickly paced shots.

Painting is significantly different.  You get to plan the whole thing, start to finish.  Composition is key to get the response you want.  Using shape, color, flow, and all the other “rules” you can slowly create a masterpiece that will last for ages.  Ultimately you have absolute control when you paint.  The only restrictions you have is your skill level. 

Reach

Reach, acrylic on canvas. I wanted to show my desire to move beyond where I was to a new level. Plants grow and these guys are growing from a dim, dark place to a vibrant and exciting blue place. Who knows what colors are past the blue.

 I like to include my view in my paintings.  Even though they are of real things, things I have seen in photos, I add the twist of what my emotional  response was. The painting to the right was done out of a desire to be more motivated.  To get out of a rut and move on.  It is a fairly straight forward image.  Even though everyone is going to interpret it differently, most people will get the idea that is is meant to show growth, transitioning from darkness to light.  An image like this would be very difficult (for me anyway) to do as a photograph.   Being restricted to real things can be a problem sometimes.

I could go on about this topic for a while.  I have been typing for an hour now, trying to get my abstract thoughts and emotions into clear words that have an understandable flow.  Sometimes it is hard for me to put the images in my mind into words for others to read and think about.

I want to spark  thoughts in your mind.  What do you think, feel and understand when you create things?  What messages are you trying to convey with your creations? 

Art does not have to be thoughtless. You can control some of the responses that your viewers experience.

 

 

 

Taking Advantage of the Creative

I am not sure if it is a trait among the creative, but it has been pointed out to me several times that creative people “let” themselves be taken advantage of.  This can be from working long hours with little or no pay or being asked to do things that are not quite in our job description (like a graphic designer taking photos for a client.)

Image

Stressed-Out Artist by Izmack, DivantArt

I usually think that I am pretty conscious of what I am doing for people, when I do it  and what I am going to get in return.  There are times when I let my guard down, and those are the times I get myself in trouble.  Working long hours is bad for the body, mind and interpersonal relationships.  The work suffers and, because I failed to say “no,” the relationship with the customer suffers.  Bad for everyone.

So what can we, the trusting artist, do?  I am not really sure.  Run all your projects or clients by someone who is more aware or immune to charm?  That seems like it is going a bit far.  I like the idea of being self sufficient when possible and knocking more than one thing of a list at a time. 

My solution is scheduling and a solid support structure.  If you have a schedule with all of the projects outlined you will see when you have to say “no” to stay within you time constraints.  This will show the client that you know your limitations and are not willing to over book yourself and allow the quality of work to suffer. If you have a long standing relationship with the client they may give you the project at a later time, to fit with your schedule. 

ImageSkipping a new project to allow yourself to do a good job on a current project may be a good thing for you.  Less stress and more time to explore and hone your skill.  This is better than doing the same things over and over, killing whatever passion you had.

The schedule will also show you how much you are doing each day and help with future projects.  From personal experience, I can say that when I get creating and am really interested in what I am doing, I can loose track of time.  I know that I can go for four to five hours at a time, with few breaks.  I usually do not stop until I am done.  I can write down my start time and end time each session to learn my patterns and figure out how much time it takes me for each project.  Handy for billing, and learning my peak productivity times and conditions.

People you trust implicitly are important too.  If you know anyone that “gives it to you straight” all the time, you might want to ask them if you are being taken advantage of.  Friends and family want the best for you and can be a big help when it comes to seeing beyond the charm others have.

In the end, I do not think that the trusting artist is ever going to avoid being abused by clients.  Only friends and family (managers and agents) can help protect you.  Do you best by being aware of your time and build a solid support structure.  Do frequent reality checks, and keep creating.