Thursday, April 25, 2013

Painting Quickly - Why Would I Want To do That?

Wild Yard Birds, Ybor City
Stillman & Birn Beta Journal
11 x 8.5 inches, Full Spread
Watercolor and Ink
 I would love to tell you that I sketched these wily critters out in the wilds of Ybor City, a historic area just outside of downtown Tampa, but I didn't. I sketched and then painted them in my studio. First off, we were in a busy parking lot and second, it was lunchtime.
Detail, Wild Yard Birds, Ybor City
Stillman & Birn Beta Journal
11 x 8.5 inches, Full Spread
Watercolor and Ink
Sketching anything live is like hitting a moving target. Looks easy…until you try it. Besides, it was lunchtime. Instead, I gave myself a time limit of one hour.* Now you may wonder why I chose to sketch this so quickly…how about I share my reasons? (*And that one hour included drawing, painting and lettering).

The main reason I sketch quickly is because it guarantees that the sketch won't become too precious. (Insert Gollum's voice here.) You know what I'm talking about…things are going so good you become afraid of putting down the next mark for fear that will be the ruination of your sketch, your day and quite possibly your life.
Detail, Wild Yard Birds, Ybor City
Stillman & Birn Beta Journal
11 x 8.5 inches, Full Spread
Watercolor and Ink
Next, it's almost always guarantees I'll make mistakes. Why in the world would you want to make mistakes, Laure? Glad you asked. Because mistakes happen when we're out in the field. They happen when we're in the studio, too. Mistakes are going to happen, so why not go ahead and push the envelope? The sooner we get comfortable making mistakes and learning to either recover from them or move on, the happier we will be in our sketchbooks.

There's also a thing called time. Maybe you've heard of it? If I asked most of you to sketch something quickly, you would, but you would take as much time as you needed.

Now I ask you, how often do you have all the time you need? If your life is anything like mine the answer is seldom. So it pays to learn to sketch in an allotted amount of time rather than taking all the time we want.
Wild Yard Birds, Ybor City
Stillman & Birn Beta Journal
11 x 8.5 inches, Full Spread
Watercolor and Ink
Challenge yourself to paint something in an insane amount of time. If it would normally take you an hour, give yourself twenty minutes and see what you can get done in that timeframe. I can almost guarantee you'll be surprised at how much you can accomplish.

Give yourself permission to make mistakes, to be sloppy, to sling paint with abandon, to have fun, to play, to fail and to have lunch. Did I mention lunchtime? Make sure you get some lunch. Ybor City is one of our favorite places to go for lunch as there are a number of quirky restaurants.

You might also want to consider kicking your partner, fear, to the curb. I challenge you to ask yourself exactly what it is you are afraid of…failure? Not creating a pretty page? Not looking like what you think it should? Worried about what others think of you? 

Okay from the top—

Failure: we all fail. It's how we learn, folks. Embrace those mistakes! 

Not creating a pretty page: As the old saying goes you have to kiss a lot toads before you get a pretty one or something like that. If you do make an ugly page, so what? Turn the page and go again, but I bet you learned something valuable creating that ugly page!

Not looking like you think it should: If you ever get a piece of art, a sketch or anything else to look like what's in your mind's eye, count yourself blessed and keep on creating. It's as rare as hen's teeth so don't expect it to happen often. 

Worried about what others think of you: Oh, my, there's so many things I could say to this one, but let me keep it polite…if someone criticizes your work, hand them a pen, some paint and a piece of paper and ask them to show you how it's done. Then sit back and watch. They'll either back pedal and remember an appointment they have or they'll sit down and show you how it's done. Pay attention if they do. You might just learn something. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bon Voyage, Tucker

March 1998 - April 2013
We lost our sweet Tucker today. As a kitten, he was found wandering in a grocery story parking lot by our neighbor. She waited all afternoon for us to come home. We didn't even make it in the house before she scooped him up and deposited him into my hands. It was love at first sight.
He was just a little mite and looked a lot like a ball of steel wool with legs, but cute as the dickens!
And he had a thing for box tops, big sheets of crinkly paper, curling ribbon and plastic bag handles. Size was not relevant when it came to boxes. He'd find a way to jam himself in there.

Bon voyage, Tucker. Travel safe, my sweet friend. You will be missed…

Thursday, April 11, 2013

2013 Imaginary Trips Schedule Now Posted!

©1997 Alaskan Sketchbook Cover
Laure Ferlita
11.5" x 5.5"
Game On! Or maybe I should say "Schedule Up!"

I have posted the 2013 Imaginary Trips Schedule and you can find it here! New trips and visits are planned as well as some prior destinations that you might have missed the first time around. For those of you waiting for the Independent Learning Classes (or should I say still waiting), that is my first priority for 2013. The first of the ILCs will be posted by the end of April!

I have to tell you I'm pretty excited about the first class on the schedule for this year, An Imaginary Visit to A Past Vacation! (Please click the title for more information.)

If you're anything like me, you've probably taken at least one vacation in your life before you started to sketch or before you became comfortable sketching around others. Or maybe you've taken one recently, but the trip was so fast-paced you didn't getting any sketching done.

Take a look at the sketch at the top of this'll note the copyright date is 1997! And that's when I completed the sketch from my trip to Alaska...from 1996! It also happens to be the only sketch I completed from that trip despite my well-thought-out plans.

Is that just not sad? That was a fabulous trip! I made the sketchbook, I gathered my materials and I painted the cover. What happened to everything else, all those other great pages dancing in my head?

Somewhere along the way life got busy and interfered with my well-thought-out plans. I have no sketches for that trip other than the cover. The horror! You know they say about "good intentions," right?

I decided to correct this huge oversight and it started me thinking about the trip and all the stuff I didn't remember. (Oh, come on, it was nearly 20 years ago! Surely you don't think I can remember it that well!)

How could I go about reconstructing my trip so that I had a sketchbook that was worthy of this great trip when I CRS (can't remember stuff)?

This experience lead me to put together the class and to share it with others who might have done something similar. So if you're one of those people—just like me—that have lots of good intentions but no sketchbooks, come join me!

Please check out the new schedule for a "trip" or a "visit" as we're going to some fun new places as well as revisiting some of the prior places we've visited.