Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Simple Changes That Make A Big Difference

Monarch Butterfly on Globe Thistle
Ink and Watercolor
The drawing for this piece of art has been sitting on my desk for a while. It took me a while to realize I was avoiding painting it. In its former life, it was a full page sketch with the background mostly abstract containing suggested shapes and lots of greens, yellows, blues and violets.

Meh.

It didn't excite me and it was a lot of space to paint. Especially when I wasn't all that excited about it. (I don't know about you, but if I'm not excited about painting something, I tend to do a lousy job at it.)

After realizing I was resistant to tackling the piece, I began the process of sussing out what the problem was and it was mostly the background. It took up a lot of real estate and it didn't really add anything (IMO).

Playing around with ideas, I scratch out some thumbnails looking for a better overall use of the space.  I was looking for a composition that excited me:
While they're not a lot to look at, thumbnails do the job of visualizing possibilities. Starting at the upper left, I started with a smaller version of the full page, limiting the background and adding a title at the bottom.

I then decided to break the border and put titles at the top and the bottom. I then moved on to putting the title along the right side. From there I abandoned the title idea and put in an erratic line for a border, and—eureka!

I decided to break the border AND put the word, monarch, down the right side, as part of the border.

Once I started drawing the page again, I scaled the box back even more so that butterfly's wings would break through on each side.

That made the stems kinda short and I would have lost one of the leaves, but by leaving them outside of the box, I added a little more interest.

After the painting was done, I decided to add splatters (mostly because I need to camouflage some errant drops of paint). Splatters are an easy way to add energy as well fill in "too" much white space (if that's even possible. I've never had too much white space, but I digress...).

In about half the time it would have taken me to create a full page, I had a page that I not only liked but I'm looking forward to sharing with my class at Keeton's Office and Art Supply on Saturday, June 25th. If you can, please come and join the fun!

Please click Keeton's name to find more info on signing up on the class.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Craving Distraction, But Too Distracted To Be Distracted

From the Imaginary Visit To Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks class*
Have you ever found yourself desperately wanting to distract yourself from something ongoing in your life and at the same time you're too distracted to do anything for long? 

That seems to describe where I've been at for the last few weeks. 

The few times I've been able to focus has been either while preparing class materials like the piece above from the Imaginary Visit To Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks class or when I am painting in my sketchbook...not sketching, but painting. 

I guess painting takes a lot more concentration and so I find my sketches turning into paintings in my current sketchbook. 

What is it that I need to be distracted from? My mother's worsening dementia. 

We've started exploring options for in-home care to take some of the load off from my father and it's been...rocky. Big-boulder-sized-rocks-kind-of-rocky. 

Painting has always been a balance between meditation and torture for me. The further I've traveled down this path of creativity, the more the balance has shifted towards mediation and away from torture. 

In the past, I've struggled over the smallest things gone wrong in a painting. Now I recognize it as part of the process and not critical (usually). It flavors the painting with nuances of the me, as the artist, as the imperfect being that I am.

From the Imaginary Visit To Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks class*
It is times like these that I am so very thankful for the outlet of creativity in my life. I feel like maybe, just maybe, I might create something beautiful out of the stress and unhappiness that comes from watching my mom fade away. 

The image above is from my Lavender Fest "story" book...it's morphed way past a journal or a sketchbook at this point as it has become my escape when things get a little too intense. 

This situation has been impacted my life in many ways with (or not) sketching being one of the more obvious. It has also had an impact on the time I've spent online and posting to social media and this blog. So if I go missing, know that I'll return. I'm either dealing with a mini-crisis or recovering from one!

* The two top pieces of art focus on incorporating maps as decorative elements onto the sketchbook page. The diagonal rectangle in the top image is an envelope that will be filled with a treasure from my trip. The cool thing about the envelope that there is another map printed on the inside!