Friday, August 22, 2014

Illustration Friday - Skull

 I haven't done Illustration Friday is a VERY long time.  I thought about it last week and I thought about it the week before.  Then when I saw what today's topic was I decided to give it a try.  Once I decided on a subject, I kept refining and drawing and just got a bit obsessed!  So I chose the Prince of Denmark and his dear friend Yorrick.  Love the pencil drawing... not so sure about the watercolor but it was good practice!  Thanks for stopping by to check it out!  You can let me know what you think in the comments.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mermaid Art Work

When a piece of art is finished, it is easy to forget what was happening to it along the way.  Here is a recent water color illustration I did. I photographed my progress to be able to look back and see how the painting evolved.

I started with a pencil sketch which I then put on my light table to trace onto watercolor paper.

Once it was taped down to a board ( this is a dry erase board), I began to apply the colors.

I love letting the colors surprise me as they move on the paper.  Watercolors have a life of their own!

The last step was to put ink on the painting.  I used Reeves watercolors and Pigma Micron drawing pens for the inking.

Thanks for stopping by to check out my art work.  Hope you are creating something beautiful too!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A New Work Space

It's time to get back to blogging and making art.  And what better way to do this than to create a new work space?

Previously, I had carved out a corner in a spare bed room.  Then my kids decided they needed their own rooms again so I got evicted. I think I was ready to move out anyway because that space felt too far away from all the other responsibilities I have, like my kids and my husband and cooking.  I realize I need to be in the middle of my family space, even as I create and make art.  I thought hermitage was the way to my creative heart, but now I know creativity is where ever I am.  When the family is in the house, I want to be near them.  When they are out of the house, I love the quiet and I can be very productive then, but when they are home, I need to see them and be seen by them.

Now I have a corner in the living room in front of my sliding glass door.  I love all the light flooding in.  I love having plants on my desk and the light makes that possible.  I love that my desk is wood and not plastic!

I hope that by bringing my work space into the family living space I can integrate my art into the rest of my life and by doing that I hope to be more productive.  I know I have to squeeze it into the spaces between taking care of my family which is my greatest creative en devour.  By integrating them, perhaps I will not neglect either so much by having to choose.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  It has been ages since I wrote here.  I hope to be writing more, tracking my creative journey more intricately.  I'd love to know if you have a work space just for your creative projects.  I so, please tell me what it is like and how it helps.  I am always looking for ideas to improve!  Thanks!

Monday, December 2, 2013

November's Darkness: Dealing with Anxiety and Depression

Wow, November was a tough month in almost every way I can say.  Weather changes and storms coming through Indiana.  Illnesses of one sort or another.  The upcoming holidays making their presence known.  Deaths, unexpected and painful, shaking my family.  I recount all of this as a way of saying, I have had a hard time being creative this month.  I had big plans.  I was going to do the SkAdMo challenge along with the PiBoIdMo challenge.  I got  almost half way there with some rough ideas and some rougher sketches, 13 in all. I could take that as failing, but when I consider I started with an empty book and having never done it before, I have to remind myself to say, "Good Job.  You'll do even better next time!"

And that brings me to something I have touched on in the past here on my blog.  I struggle with the inner critic.  But I am coming to grips with the possibility that the inner critic is more than just me being hard on myself.  I am realizing I have a deeper struggle that has embattled me for years and that is depression.  My husband pointed out that it always seems to come on worse this time of year, a dark nervous and angry mood that won't go away.  My family doctor suggested I get off my anti depressant a bit more than a year ago so I decided I should.  I had been on it for a couple of years and thought maybe he was right and it was time.  Last winter I noticed the tightness in my chest and the nervous feelings I had struggled with a few years before when I had started the meds returning.  But I was determined to push through it.  I told my doctor about the discomfort in my chest but he seemed unconcerned.
I drew this on November 7th.  I think I was trying to work my pain out here.  I love her eyes. 

Lately though the anxious feelings that come and go have been staying longer and there is an edge to me that wasn't there before.  I am quicker to snap and my voice reflects the annoyance I am feeling every time  I am asked to do something I would prefer to avoid.  And avoiding is what I want to do about everything from house work to going to work to talking to people to picking up a pencil and drawing.  October was so fun.  November has been miserable in a silent secluded way.

Last week I asked my OBGYN doctor about going back on an anti depressant (same as I had taken before).  He agreed and wrote a script.  I feel relieved and I look forward to feeling better.  I look forward to feeling creative again.  And I feel peaceful about accepting that I have this vulnerability in myself and that sometimes I need help that comes in the form of a little pill.

I was so reluctant to accept. I have fought this for years, believing that I will talk myself out of the darkness or that if I pray enough or read scripture enough God will lift this off of me. My husband and my sister have both advised me to get help, but I felt too proud because that would be to admit I am weak.  But then I recall a man who was very close to God, close enough that God spoke to him.  He had prayed more than once for his own difficulty to be taken away, something he called "a thorn in the flesh."  Finally God said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).  This is my thorn.  And His grace is sufficient.  And rather than remain frustrated and angry and anxious, I will rest in his provision.

This is not to say the pill is the final answer.  I need to exercise more, talk to friends more often, make more art and find ways to celebrate this life God has given me.  I have so much to be thankful for and practicing thankfulness will help me to let go of some of the fear and cynicism which has squeezed so tight around me.  But I know from past experience that the medicine will help me do all these good things.  I asked for help when I finally admitted I needed it and I know I have received.  I am thankful.

Thank you for stopping to read my post.  This was a difficult one to write, but I felt like I needed to share my struggle and admit that I do struggle.  I know many people struggle with depression and anxiety and as these are complicated issues, they require complex treatment.  I have found therapy helpful too and may look into that again.  If you struggle with this, please tell someone and seek help. It is okay to admit you are not perfect.  No one is.  My prayer is that you will find healing in what ever form it comes in.  Please leave a comment.  I would love to know if you found this article helpful and maybe your comment will help someone else.  Blessings!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Passing On a Dream

This week I got the opportunity to share my aspirations of becoming a picture book illustrator with some bright young artists at my local library.  I had read Jon Acuff's book Start (which you can find on Amazon) earlier this year.  In it, he talks about giving away our gifts.  To me that meant I needed to find a way to share what I am doing but I wasn't sure what that would look like. Then when the summer activities began at my local library, I thought that might be a good avenue to share what I am doing and what I am learning.

The display case in the foyer of the library is decorated with
 not only the books of some really great illustrators,
but a few of my own illustrations as well!
So November 12th I got to sit down with 4 children, grades 3, 4 and 6 along with their parents.  I shared my own story of how my 8th grade art teacher told me I should be an illustrator.  Looking back, I did not take that idea seriously nor did I really have a clear vision of what I wanted to do in my life.  I had a fuzzy notion about being an artist and had no idea how to go about it.  When I got to college, I had one professor encourage me and advised me to go to New York City then saw I had an engagement ring and said sadly, "I guess you won't be doing that."  She was right.  But, like I told the students Tuesday night, it is never too early or too late to begin to pursue your dream.

I didn't sugar coat it.  Not everyone who is an illustrator gets to do it for a living, but that doesn't mean it can't be a fulfilling way to spend your time and energy.  And the fact that so much illustration is done for the sake of being seen by eyes which are usually 10 and younger, it is an opportunity to touch and educate and inspire children.  Those children need dreams and some of those dreams are to make art to inspire others.  What a great calling!  And I would love to see these young people, if it is their calling, to start now to formulate plans and educate and prepare themselves to pursue those plans.  Even if illustration is not in their futures, I wanted them to know, the future is something we should be looking forward too.  It is not something we waste the present while we wait for the future to happen.  Dreams don't just happen. They need impetuous and perseverance on top of talent.

By the end of our hour together, we had talked about picture books, publishing, the difference between illustration and fine art, and they had made some beautiful sketches based on nursery rhyme titles I had put on slips of paper and placed in a bowl.  They asked if I would do it again and I said I would love to.  Who knows, maybe we could start an illustrators club!  The best part, was being able to share what I have learned over the past 15 months with people who love art and books too.  I get to share my journey and hopefully, I will share more of my journey with more students in the months to come.

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog.  If you are an artist or illustrator or writer or you just enjoy people, I would so appreciate any ideas you may have or things you have done to share your gifts with others.  What's the good of having a gift if you don't give it away?  Please leave a comment.  Love hearing from you!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Illustration Friday : Creature

I haven't done Illustration Friday in a while but since I have finished this Little Red Riding Hood piece, I thought it would work for this week's theme "Creature".  I think she's in trouble.  Follow this link and check out more great illustrations and artwork!  Thanks for stopping by and if you have a second, leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Creative November Challenges

As is I don't have enough to do on a day to day basis....

Actually it is time for me to push a little harder, work more consistently and get busy making art.  In the process of scouring the internet for help and inspiration, I am now hip to the challenges that are out there in the world of cyber-space.  There are so many, but these two suit me just fine.  I am going to fill a note book with daily sketches and picture book ideas so that at the turn of the new year, I will be all ready to start pushing harder and having a clearer direction to go in as I continue down the road toward becoming a published professional illustrator.  I have been making a lot of art, but not so much head way and I hope that by pushing myself this month, I will quicken my pace and keep moving forward!

If you want to take the challenges follow these links: Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo - Picture Book Idea Month and Linda Silverstri's SkADaMo - Sketch a Day Month.  And if you want to be super organized about it with a nifty worksheet check out Jenn Bower's blog.  Sign up and join me in the fun and inspiration.  Please be sure to leave a comment and tell me if you are up to the challenge!