Thursday, September 27, 2012

Transition- Waiting, Flying and Falling 20-15/100 days

acrylic on paper

I am finding myself having problems, not with my 100 works of art in 100 days, but with blogging said works of art. I've gotten back to my novel writing, too, and while that is going more slowly than my painting, I am moving forward on that. It is hard to find the time to paint, write, blog, work, cook, keep house, spend time with my kids, and various other necessary activities. 

I am also in a decidedly transitional period, and am finding that to affect my concentration and ability to commit. 

 When Camouflage Doesn't Work
acrylic on paper

There are decisions that need to be made, priorities that need to be adjusted. And I am still figuring out how I want it all to work and how I will manage to get it to work.

and if I surrender
acrylic on paper

All in all, that means I've slacked on the blogging. Sorry about that folks, but sometimes you have to do what is necessary.

But I am still enjoying the challenge of painting, and painting with a limited palette.

Blue, Gold, White. What happens when you mix them? What happens when you thin them? Use them solo, blend them all together. Paint with them, draw with them, water washes, scumbling, layers, opaque and transparent.
acrylic on paper

This one is confused about what she is. She doesn't know. She thought she wanted to be something else, then she got up in the air, and got lost up there a little.

I'm exploring other ways to integrate the flying girl, I think.

Flying Girl Flies Again
acrylic on paper

Like this one. Arms akimbo in a swirl of orange.

Is she flying or falling? It's always a question.

Are those bubbles rising up or stones weighing down?

Oh I don't know.

ink on paper

A change of pace. A reminder. A drawing.


This one is my favorite. She started out all gold, then I added color. I'm moving away from the two color palette, although I'm still using variations of blue and gold with the turquoise and brown. The rose actually showed up accidentally. The drawing from the last page in the journal was pressed through the page onto the next page. Only in that one place, though. So I went with it. I like to go with the accidents of life, and see what comes of them. Sometimes it is very interesting, sometimes it just doesn't work.

I have another portrait that I forgot to photograph, then decided I wanted to work on it some more. And I'm working on another figure. I might consider adding layers to that one, too, instead of just the single color.

I can't believe I've been doing this for almost a month already. Time does go fast, and it's nice to keep track of your growth with the little bits of paintings that you leave behind you.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

To Remember What has Been Forgotten, 14-19/100 in 100 days creative challenge.

 the rain,
acrylic and ink on paper

I think there is a lesson to be learned in the ways life gets all complicated and messy and stops working, whenever you've actually started something that will get you where you want to go.

I suppose this is the equivalent of rain on your wedding day, or that black fly in your chardonnay.

Now, I'm not saying it's ironic, I'm just saying perhaps there's a lesson to be learned.

For instance, today, when I wanted to post my back log of 100 in 100 days paintings, my blogger stopped working.

All these great intentions coming to naught.

 She thinks of flowers
acrylic on paper

It has been said that life puts obstacles in your path to see how much you really want your goals and how hard you will work to achieve them.


It's something to think about. Is it worth it to go after that dream? We can all have happy lives living smaller, can't we? Following the beaten track? Loving and being loved, that's a beautiful thing and completely worthwhile.

If you stopped struggling, trying to reach that goal, and just let yourself be happy in the moment, that would be a wonderful thing... so why are you still struggling? Is there something there that is more important to your life than you have admitted to yourself?

acrylic on paper

I don't know.

Maybe yes, maybe no. But maybe we need to pay attention to the way life keeps repeating itself. Maybe what's important keeps coming up. Maybe those lessons you haven't learned yet, the ones you keep resisting, maybe those keep coming up.

acrylic on paper

I hope you have enjoyed my abstract collection of thoughts, philosophies and paintings. It's hard to make sense of things sometimes, when they seem to be all over the place, without singular theme. I am liking the blue/orange thing, and the experimentation it allows... although I'm starting to get bored of the color. I think I've gone pretty far with it.

 Forgotten People
acrylic and ink on paper

This one is my favorite of the recent pieces.

Sometimes I get it right, I hit a nerve, although I never actually know which piece is going to strike a chord with me.

There are a few things I am repeating here. The blue/orange color scheme. The silhouette of a standing figure (also known as grounded girl in my lexicon, although she doesn't look that grounded to me, and she has feet, where grounded girls don't always).  Another repeated theme is the orange dots/circles/flowers or whatever it is they are.

Sometimes the themes repeating seem to resonate with something else and from that resonance comes a deeper meaning. I think this one has it.

the remembering
acrylic on paper

The next one is clearly following #18. Forgotten People leads to The Remembering. But this one does not resonate as much. Why? What happened? What failed to happen.

Again, I don't know. I don't know where the journey of each piece will lead.

Every bit of life is an experiment. Every bit of life is an adventure.

Perhaps what needs to be learned here is that we have to take life for what it is, the good and the bad, instead of what we think it should be, or what is lacking. Perhaps we need to keep trying, even when what we try doesn't work out so perfectly. Keep going on that journey. Keep looking for the answers.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Inside, Outside, Upside Down, 11-13/100 Days Creative Challenge

 The Other Side of the River
acrylic on paper, 9/10/12
012/100 in 100 days creative challenge

Boy, I am having a challenge keeping up with my 100 in 100 days creativity challenge. I was doing really well with the painting/drawing portion, going off on binges of paint and ink, and then...I just got stopped. The chaos of life and necessities of things I have to do and unexpected twists and chores and the paying kind of work and kids and blah.

But I never said this challenge would be easy, or smooth, and while I have gone through periods of painting every night like clockwork, day after day in a routine that kept me productive and creative, that is never a guarantee and sometimes, it's really hard work to get to that point.

I know life can get in the way.

The point is not to do the challenge without ever being challenged, the point is to meet the challenges, and find a way around them.
 Inside (drawing)
ink on recycled menu, 9/10/12
011/100 in 100 days creative challenge

I'm doing a lot of examination of my life and my art I think, trying to figure out where I want to go with it. Trying not to have the answers. I suppose what I am painting now does have more questions than answers. Is more mysterious, less about illustrating a point. I don't know where it is going, but I am trusting myself to be able to continue on in my journey, to be able to handle whatever is thrown at me.

The things that I thought would be easy are not so easy. The things I thought would be the main struggle are not an issue at all.

the light inside
acrylic on paper
8.5"x 5"
013/100 in 100 days creative challenge

I think I am in a blue period, like Picasso's, just by chance, because those are the colors I pulled out of my paint bag, and those are the colors I have been using for the last two weeks.

The last few times I did this challenge, I would pull out three or four different paint tubes and let my nightly painting be inspired by the randomness of the color scheme. I was surprised and delighted by this painting prompt sometimes, and came up with some of my favorite paintings out of it. Of course, sometimes the painting sucked, but that's ok.

This way of going at it, using the same color scheme again and again with different emphasis on the colors, using some similar techniques, using a limited palette, well, I kind of like it. It feels more poetic and less illustrative to me. It goes deeper. I don't mind. I find myself picking up additional paint tubes or media to add to my three tubes of paint. I don't mind that. As an exercise, I like the ability to become fluid within my constraints.

I know a lot of people think that being an artist is about being free and having no boundaries, but I think the truth is, it's often about it's often about looking through that one inch frame and seeing how infinite you can make that tiny space.

Well, I've run out of time. I have to get ready for work. Before I go, I did want to tell you that I have gotten back to my novel. I am up to chapter three in the revision in my first week of working on it. I don't know how quickly it will go or how consistently I can manage it. I've already found it a challenge to get back to it. I guess we'll see if I can manage to juggle my life of kids and work and chaos and painting and writing. Perhaps the painting and writing can give structure to the chaos.  We shall see.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Woman in Triangles and Woman Lost in Stripes, #9/100 and #10/100

Woman in Triangles
acrylic paint on paper
9/100 in 100 days creative challenge

I have decided to do less story telling about my paintings. I'm okay with not knowing what exactly is going on in them. I'm okay with not having the answers in my art. I saw this vintage photo  of Nita Naldi, sultry silent film star, and it led to #9.

I don't really know what I am doing with it or where I am going, but I am going in this direction, whatever it is.

It really is the most important thing about creating art, I think, committing to making art. Committing to each work of art. Committing to yourself as an artist. Committing to your vision. There's a lot of trust involved in committing to art, or to anything, for that matter. You are trusting that it won't be a waste of time, that you will like what comes of the commitment, that you won't be hurt by what comes up.

There's a lot of bravery involved in committing, a lot of bravery in following your heart.

Woman Lost in Stripes
Acrylic Paint on paper
10/100 in 100 days creative challenge

Especially when you don't know what will come of it.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Creative Process and Commitment.

Big Girl Pants

Big Girl Pants
Acrylic on Paper

I've been doing a lot of drawing with acrylic paint. I guess it's technically painting, but it feels like drawing to me. 
A few days ago, I took out a couple of tubes of paint and brought them to my Sittin' Chair, where I have my mom office, where I sit and go on the computer or watch the kids or drink my coffee or write in my journal or whatever. My command station, if you will. I was inspired by this from Louise Bourgeois, because it reminded me of the doodles I used to do compulsively when I did more sitting around listening to lectures and meetings and such. I figured, if Louise Bourgeois could do it, so could I. I only picked a blue, like Louise, and a random, pull of the draw, Quinacridone Azo Gold. I figured I could do something with those two colors. Now every time I sit in my Sittin' Chair and have the urge to do something artsy, I pick up my journal and my paintbrush, and squeeze out some Azo Gold and/or Prussian Blue.   Following this, things happen. Things I do not plan. Things that have me wandering down paths I did not predict. I am okay with that.

Be Your Best Self (gold)
05/100 in 100 Creative Challenge

This was the first thing I did. 

A kind of reminder to myself. I enjoy lettering, even though I don't think it always looks perfect. I guess I don't want it to look perfect. I like the rough, human element. I like that it is not mathematically correct or symmetrical, even. 

Plus, I think this is a good reminder. It's not about being perfect. It's not about living up to who people think you should be. It's not about sacrificing yourself. It's not about blaming other people or doing things out of spite or out of obligation.

It's simply about being the best you that you can be. It's between you and you, and nobody else. And being the best you makes you happier. And it makes those around you happier.

Be Your Best Self (gold and blue)
06/100 in 100 Creative Challenge

Okay, I fibbed. First this is the one that came out. But I tried a design in gold and I just didn't like it. At all. So I scrapped it and did the plain gold one from above. So the plain was the second started, but the first finished. There's something to be said for plain and simple. But I also like embellishment and pattern and doodling! So I went back and said, hey, I already ruined it, why don't I experiment a little.

So I added the organic doodle pattern. Is it perfect? No. I still think the composition is off and it's crowded and not quite what I was thinking, but I do think it's interesting. This is perhaps a step in the direction to where I am going with all this. Not that I know where I am going with all this.  But the best me trusts my own instincts and trusts the process and is not a nitpicky perfectionist. The less than best me has problems with those things. So I decided to go with the best me and show it anyway. Plus, you notice, I'm counting it in my 100/100 Creative Challenge, even if it's an imperfect draft. This is a positive attitude, I think. 

Untitled (Blue and Green Organic)
07/100 in 100 days creative challenge

 The next thing I drew, was more doodles. Again, didn't know where I was going, just let it grow organically.  It was all blue, and I wanted more color, but I didn't have more color at my Sittin' Chair, so I went for the Azo Gold and added a dollop to my palette of prussian blue. Voila, a kind of khaki piney green. Good enough. I added more doodles and embellished the original kind of plantish kind of shape.

I still might go back into this one and add more gold. Or not. I am letting it develop.

Big Girl Pants.

This one is my favorite, though.

Same two paints. Same journal. Adding one more external inspiration to the mix though. (the link leads to this article which is incredibly fascinating, but it was the illustration that inspired the drawing, which is really just using the media to draw a person, but inspiration is funny that way.)

I did it this morning. (I should be writing again, but I have not settled down from the excitement of back to school. I will be writing again. I promise. I'm going to. Shh. I know I'm making excuses.)

I drew her out in the same prussian blue, in a loose style, because sometimes I get frustrated with my own fussier styles of painting, with my favorite stripes. I spent a lot of time drawing little fashion drawings a few years ago. A kind of  "what I wore today" thing that also illustrated my life as a stay at home mom with artistic urges. When I was young, I wanted to be a fashion designer, took some classes, but didn't go in that direction. I still find that my drawing is influenced by fashion drawing. At this point, I think I might be interested in moving away from that idealized and glossy slim caricature of women. I might be interested in drawing pictures of women who are more squat. Much like myself. 

Anyway, you are learning a little bit about my creative process. I'm letting you behind the curtain here. I often don't know what I'm doing but am running on vague feelings that something is cool or something bothers me.

The background here was supposed to be flowers. But they did not turn out to be flowers. I don't know what happened. I just know that right when I started, I said, "these don't look like flowers," and rather than forcing them to look like flowers, I committed to whatever they were and I took them all the way. 

I kind of like how they turned out. They are slightly ugly, slightly menacing... to me anyway. They look a little bit like microscopic things. Or stones. I kind of think of them as stones. Troubles, maybe.  This was not a problem for me, because like I said, I get frustrated with my fussier styles, and I also get frustrated with my urge to make everything pretty. If the background went from flowers to microscopic, stone-like troubles...I like that tension. I don't know. I think that's what takes art into the next level. Tension, contrast, questions, mystery. Maybe I need to have more of that and fewer answers. Hmm.

That is something to consider.

Anyway, it's been a while since I've talked about my creative process like this. It feels good and I think it did me some good. It means I am getting to be more conscious about my artistic choices. Part of committing to being creative means thinking about being creative and the process and methods. 

This is how we go deep. 

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Grow/Sun and Shadow. 04/100 Days Creative Challenge

Grow/Sun and Shadow
acrylic on paper
04/100 days creative challenge

I am taking this challenge as an organic one. Much like this drawing. Each day will grow out of the last one. Each painting will come from the last one. Each one leads to one. Like baby steps, leading to the end of the journey.

I don't know where I am going when I take my first step. At each step I look and evaluate where I am and what looks like the next best step. I ask myself, do I like where I am going? Does where I am going feel right? If yes, I continue. If no, I take a look and see if there is anything that I DO like about where I am. I go off in that direction. Or I see if I can adjust it somewhat to fill my needs.

Or I scrap it and follow some other dream/desire/necessity.

I don't have to know where I will end up. I just have to know who I am, what is most important to me, and that I will keep going until things start working out and making sense.



Babysteps get us where we want to go. We don't need to have the whole journey figured out when we start.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Somewhere Beyond the Sea

Somewhere Beyond the Sea
acrylic on paper
9/3/12 moleskine
03/100 days

I think this was inspired by a dark painting I saw. I liked the colors and thought I'd try it.  But when I painted it, I thought it was too dark and didn't like the way it turned out.

So I kept working on it and came up with the final.
The entire time I was painting it, I was singing "somewhere, beyond the sea" and that's why I named it that.

Look. Here I am showing up at my daily challenge, even if I am not all that sure if I like my painting. Even if I have a pounding headache, and this, the first day of school has miss half-day kindergartner trying to force me to come to her impromptu dance party and buy dollar treats. Just so you know, I've "bought" the treats and done some dancing, but apparently this is a party where I have to keep dancing.


Anyway, maybe she'll be happy to do some drawing with mommy, because I have to get back to my painting for my challenge and she wants some girl time.

Anyway. I've taken my ibuprofen. Time to get started on my day and try to get something done.

Hopefully I'll have something more profound to say tomorrow. It's okay if I am not perfect here. The point is to get it moving, and with movement, meaning will come.

Keep it moving.

For official guidelines on the 100 in 100 days creative challenge, go here.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Do It/ Hand 02/100 Days

Do It/ Hand
mixed media double spread on paper
9/2/12 art journal

I have been playing with my turquoise paint for the last few days. This color always makes me feel happy. It reminds me of blue skies and hope and birds and dreams.

I didn't know where this journal entry was going when I started it. I'm still not really sure I know what it means, but I know it is part of where I'm going.

I like doing these 100 things in 100 days challenges, because even though I may not know where I will end up, the consistent habit of sitting down to create every day means that I am developing my vision and my voice.

Something will come out of this project, as long as I show up and commit every day.

What about you? Would you like to give it a chance? Let me tell you, I say "I can't" on a daily basis, but the truth is, if I just do it, I certainly can. Many things are hard, but that doesn't mean they are impossible, and you get so much out of committing to them, even though you aren't sure, even though you are afraid, even though it seems like so much work.

If you want to try to paint 100 things in 100 days, give it a shot. Or cook 100 meals in 100 days. Or create 100 toys, or knit 100 hats, or write 100 poems, or what have you, give it a shot. What do you have to lose?

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Swept Clean, and a new 100 in 100 Creative Challenge

Swept Clean
acrylic on paper, moleskine notebook
8.5"x 5, 1/100 in 100 days

Good morning and happy September.

I've been struggling with staying on track lately. I've been slacking in my creativity, getting lazy, not being productive when I know I have of those goals I had was to start a 100 in 100 days of creativity again.

I need to get back into the habit of painting every day. And on this happy new September Day, I've decided I'm just going to go to it and get started, even if I didn't prepare the way or start a movement on pinterest or whatever.

I need to do it for me. And that's what I'm going to do. Perhaps over the next week or so I will post something asking if other people want to join me. I already have the "rules" since I made them years ago when I first started playing this game.

I have been thinking about starting this 100 paintings in 100 days for a while, planning on September 1st as a start date, but I let town fairs and back to school and shopping and kids and cleaning and work all get in the way and just forgot.

Then this morning I remembered. "Oh! Today is September 1st! I wanted to start painting again!" And instead of saying, I can't, I didn't plan. I didn't make a log sheet. I didn't post about it on my blog, I just up and grabbed my paints and my journals and started painting.

And you know what happened?

It felt good.

I don't want to be stopped by what I haven't done right or am not ready for or the long list of to dos I have to take care of every single day of my life. I just want to paint.

And I want to stop saying no.

And I want to stop thinking about the negatives and how hard everything is and how nothing is ready or perfect or how it's all too scary to do everything.

No more "nos". Just "yes". Just "I'll try."

So I'm starting my 100 in 100 creative challenge.

I am going to paint 100 paintings in 100 days. I don't even know what day I will be done on, but I'm going to keep it up and I'm going to commit. Some days, it might be a tiny painting. Some days it might be a rough sketch. Somedays, I might hate it, but I'm going to do it.

Would you like to join me in a creative challenge wherein you create 100 things in 100 days?  Take a look over at the official rules, which are about bending the rules to fit your lifestyle and your creative needs, then leave a comment here, and I'll create a 100 in 100 sidebar of participants.   What the hell! I'll also create a 100 in 100 group board on pinterest and invite you to join so you can pin your challenge. Just leave your pinterest account in the comments.

Are you ready for a challenge? It's scary when you start out, but it's so satisfying. You can do it, you know.
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