Monday, September 1, 2014

A Painting a Day - Day 1

Here is my 1st painting for my 100 day challenge!  I just finished him and it was good to prove to myself I could finish a picture in between house work and running errands and random conversations with husband and children.

When I began this painting I wasn't sure how well I liked it.  I'm still learning the nuances of watercolor so I felt wobbly at first.  But he came along okay.

He is 5 x 7 and ready for mat or frame.  As it is day one, this puppy is $1 dollar. Tomorrow's picture will be $2.  Please check back then to see what I have come up with.  If you are interested in buying today's watercolor you can email me at lauraparkhurstillustrations@gmail.com.  And if you don't mind, please share this post with your friends and family who also might enjoy an original work of art. Thanks!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Painting a Day


Being productive can be a challenge with all of the minutia of daily life. Then pile on events, responsibilities, unpredictable happenings, and just plain old being tired, creativity can go way down to the bottom of the list and those paints and pencils lie there collecting dust.

I few weeks ago I saw an interview on a great web site called Creative Insurgents. The hosts, Cory Huff and Melissa Dinwiddie interviewed Jolie Guillebeau, an artist out of Portland, Oregon. She told her story of struggling to be and feel like an artist.  By giving her self a special 100 day challenge, she began to overcome her self doubt. She committed publicly to paint a painting a day for 100 days. It really helped jump start her career.

I have experienced the struggle, not only to be productive, but to discover my identity as an artist.  When I began this blog it was all about being an illustrator. Now I realize I just want to embrace being an artist. Illustrating is all a part of a bigger picture for me. So, I am going to take up the challenge too.  Beginning September 1st, I am going to post a watercolor painting a day. I have picked animals as my theme, as I have done some pet portraits and really enjoyed it, plus it is a way for me to reconnect with what made me love art as a child.  Animals, horses in particular, where my favorite subjects. Seems like a good place to start.

The paintings will also be for sale, beginning at $1 for day 1, $2 for day 2, $3 for day 3, and so on.  You get the idea!.  If you see a painting you like, please send me an email at lauraparkhurstillustrator@gmail.com. I will provide this information with each painting. If you really like my work, please be sure to share it with your friends and family because they might enjoy an original piece of artwork too! You can also follow me on Facebook at this link. I will be posting there too.

Thanks for coming by.  I hope you will come again on the 1st of September and on the days following. And I hope you enjoy my work!  I would love to hear from you.


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!