Monday, December 10, 2012

Abundance and 96-100 in the 100 days creative challenge,

gold acrylic paint and pen on paper

Yesterday was my 100th day of my 100 creative works in 100 days challenge.

Woo hoo.

I actually did it. I didn't even cheat. I missed two months of painting and drawing because of my move, but I was able to get my grove back and restart my creativity. Maybe it's a good idea that I did commit to finishing this task, against the odds, because it meant my creativity didn't get lost in the many duties of moving. And life. Don't forget life.

This is a painting of a branch. In gold. I had extra gold paint on my palette from painting another picture, so i wanted to use the last of it, and I've always loved those twisty branches, so... No special meaning behind it.

Monster Plans
watercolor, pencil, pen on paper

These are plans for a horde of monsters I am going to make my son for Christmas. A kraken looks an awful lot like an octopus, and godzilla looks an awful lot like a T-rex. Interesting. The plan here is to use felt and cotton knit and buttons and embroidery floss.

I need to do less planning and more sewing though.

 this bowl is full of abundance
pencil, water color, ink wash and acrylic on paper

This is another empty/full bowl. This one  I designed with gold leaves and pomegranates to symbolize abundance. The bowl is marked with hatches, which to me always represents time. The background is a dark, deep brown, like fertile earth.

An incomplete symbology
ink and watercolor on paper

Speaking of symbols, here I drew out my own study sheet. I was just thinking about some of the symbols I seem to use over and over again. Sometimes when I paint, it's a kind of language, I paint stories... or parts of stories, and the symbols are part of the meaning making. 

Too many years reading and writing poetry. :)

Miniature doll in progress
paper clay, silver wire

And for my 100th work of art, I am posting a paperclay doll that I started. She's not done in the slightest, but I don't feel bad about using a WIP for my last entry. It's a new challenge for me and I have been wanting to try it for ages. Plus, I think it looks kind of cool unfinished, just the white paper clay and the silver wire.

It was even better before I dropped it while the clay was still damp and it landed face down on the floor. She got a little smooshed. Oops. I tried to fix her the best I could. I think when she's dry all the way, the paint will go a long way to making her look better. What I've seen of the tiny dolls people make, they don't have to have all the details in the clay. You can just give suggestions of the features, then when you paint her face, she gets her personality.

I intend to give her hands and feet attached to the wire, then wrap the exposed wire with florist tape, then make tiny clothes out of fabric. I do not know who she will be. She might be a woman from the 30s or 40s... as I think about the hair style that I kind of molded a bit already. We shall see. Whatever she develops into, that's part of the fun.

And I guess that's why I picked this piece for my last entry, instead of another piece that I completed... because where I'm going in my creativity is still unwritten.

I think I've entered some territory that is new to me, and have developed some techniques and ideas that are rather interesting. That's one of the best things about doing this challenge, watching how you develop as you go. It's such an extended project, one of small babysteps, that you can actually see the journey you make and you can see how one thing leads to the next.

And so now I'm done and I can relax on the posting, but I do hope that I can continue with my art work and see where it takes me next.

I do recommend this as a challenge for anyone. It is a challenging journey, but if you keep your daily goals small enough, it is not impossible. You'll notice that whenever I got behind in my count, my art work would get smaller and simpler, and that's okay, it still moves you forward. If 100 days is too long a challenge, you can do a month of art works, or  43 days. Or whatever number suits your life. It's committing to the creating that makes it worthwhile.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Re-Vision and the Past 93-95/100

acrylic on paper

I spent all morning and afternoon painting yesterday and then ran out of time to post. I am slowly catching up to my 100 works in 100 days goal. Of course, I've been neglecting other things. Well, life is about sacrifices isn't it?

I feel like today's post shows a departure for me. I'm not quite sure where it's going. Maybe it is more intentional and less improvisational. I'm okay with that, although it takes a lot longer to do. Thus all day painting and running out of time.

I did start with a symbol, the eye, one that has been a common refrain through out my artistic life. Mostly doodled on notebooks when I was a kid. I read somewhere that it was something about "being seen." I don't know. Maybe that's go something to do with where my head is at nowadays.

I know when I got intentional with it, I began to think about what I KNOW my life is about nowadays, and that is reviewing my life, my work and my goals, and revising and re-visioning it all. I kind of like that I am taking symbols from the past and rethinking them again. Or art supplies from the past and seeing what I can do with them. Or vintage photos from the past and recreating them from my perspective. (I found piles of photo albums from my own family, my ancestors. I should really try to incorporate them.)

this bowl is full of hope
acrylic and graphite on paper

I saw an illustration of a bowl somewhere and since then, I have been slightly obsessed with the symbolism of the bowl.

It is an empty receptacle. It holds whatever it is you put in it. It is also used to hold offerings, to other people, to the gods, to yourself. You can not fill the bowl unless it starts out empty. The emptiness of the bowl is what allows it to hold the gift, the sustenance.

I drew it in pencil and painted half of it. It is not unfinished. That was intentional. There's something about the bare bones of pencil drawing that I like. As if it is being created. It is also without color. It is work a day, functional, not really meant to be shown. It is what belongs underneath the surface.

I also wanted to show the marking lines for the words. This bowl is laid down to it's essence, this is what it is made of.

The inside of the bowl is the color of a spring sky. Hope. The outside is a pattern of pencil circles that remind me of stones.

The background is half painted with the swirls, kind of reminiscent of steam, or vines. Something growing, something rising. I painted it with titan buff, because I wanted it to still be white, but a white with color, as if it was hope alone that changed the plain white paper of the table to the color.

head of a girl 13 (tori amos)
ink wash on paper

I saw a High School picture of Tori Amos, and although she was not "quite" as vintage as the other photo sources I've been using, there was something about the loveliness, the imperfections, the romantic curly hair, the youth and hope of a girl who would become something powerful and darker as she grew... I just wanted to paint it.

And I wanted it to be pink and girly and dreamy.

She doesn't really look like her, but I wasn't really trying to make her look like Tori Amos. It was the feel that got me and the feel I was trying to convey. I thought a too-close portrait of Tori would be distracting.

Well that's what I did yesterday. Hopefully I will be able to paint some more today so I can keep my momentum going. I have four more days of my self imposed challenge, and only five more pieces to do.


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

But Wait, There's More, 85-92/100

 There's a light
acrylic and gel pen on paper

Spent yesterday and this morning trying some stuff. I had this page of dark blue, awaiting something or other. I think I managed something or other.

Be Present
acrylic on paper

Then I thought I'd try painting a bit of something around me. Sometimes, when I don't know what to paint, I remember that I can look outside of me and paint something in the real world, not just in my imagination.

But I added some imagination anyway. Scallops take a long time to paint, did you know that? They take a bit of attention. Sometimes painting almost feels like meditation.

Green Hand
acrylic on paper

 More scallops. Smaller. More attention. More hands.
Blue Chair
acrylic on paper

 Back to real life. Sometimes I like to practice my visual acuity, paint what I see. This turned out pretty well except I did not judge my paper very well and the chair ran off the edge of the page. :( Oh well. That's part of what you do when you paint. Composition. Maybe I'll try painting this lovely antique desk chair again, and this time have it stay on the page. I did like how I managed the cane back, though. And the dark and light of the shadows, that was nice. I love to watch the paint bleed into the water, I like the spontaneity it gives. It's lively.

one step at a time
acrylic on paper

One of the things I do when I paint is try to use all of my paint. I had a whole bunch on my palette, was I supposed to let it dry up and go on to the rest of my day?  I refused. Still didn't know what to paint though, so I wrote myself a message.

Upon retrospect, I think I should have tried the chair again, just to see what came of it.

but wait there's more
acrylic on paper

Maybe this is because of the extra paint I was still trying to get rid of.  Or maybe it's a message. Transitions are hard. Very often they feel like endings, deaths, losses. But there's always something beginning, being born, and gained. Kind of like that whole Aztec calendar thing. The world might end. Then it will begin again.

acrylic on paper

Or maybe because there was actually more painting coming. I'm feeling the scallops, and decided to go back to some past imagery from my 100 days. The silhouette.

acrylic on paper

And here was a tiny sketch that I started and never managed to finish. So I went back and painted it in and gave it some scallops, because why not? and I was feeling the scallops. It took most of the morning to do a lot of these paintings, although a couple of them were finished last night.

I am working hard on catching up. I have 4 more days and 8 more pieces to go. Almost there. I'd love to get back to the place where I can just post one piece a day. And I need to get started on Christmas, too. Phew.

Well like the drawing said, but wait, there's more. There's always more.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Belief is the Theme, 80-84/100

 Head of a Girl 12, red and sepia
ink on paper

I'm going backwards with this one. When I found my red ink, I started experimenting with it. I was not happy with my use of the medium until the last one I did, which was this one.

 "I draw my hand..."
ink on paper
text reads [I draw my hand to say to the world and myself, that I am the maker. I do. I create. In my hand I hold the power to guide my life. The hand is the tool of human agency. The hand allows us to create the the {sic} world that our big brains let us IMAGINE. That's right. The hand allows us to be human because it allows us to create. And because we can create, the mind is free to dream up all that is ever possible. Between the mind and the hand, we become creators, we become the heroes of our own stories-- Rowena Murillo]

Then I saw something where red was combined with black, and I said, aha. I will add my sepia ink to the red ink drawings and see what happens. It worked, with various levels of success. Here, adding the text gave meaning to the not very good sketch of the hand, turning a failing piece into a successful one.

ink on paper

Believe is the current theme. I actually liked this one the best, so I left it the way it was, without sepia ink.

believe that you can figure it out. And if you can't figure it out, you can figure out a way out of the mess. And if you can't figure a way out of the mess, maybe it wasn't that important to begin with. -RM
red and sepia ink on  paper

I liked this one the least, even with sepia ink. I had the medium all wrong.  The red was too heavy. My brush was too thick for what I was attempting, and my vision of what I wanted was not clear enough for me to even get close to it.  Oh well. I take it as a learning experience. Thus the added words. This piece is the one that isn't "that important to begin with."

Trust In You
acrylic on paper

This is the same theme, but different style and medium and technique. I do not know where the animal mask idea came from. It just came upon me and demanded to be painted.

Still behind on my 100 in 100 days goal, but if I do three a day, I will make it. I can do three a day. I hope.

Wish me luck.

Oh, and if you have any insight into what the final piece, Trust In You, actually means, I'd love to hear your interpretation. I think it's a deer. It might be a fox. I am not sure. But why is it a mask? And why is it combined with the words? And why on a black background? Anyone want to analyze it?
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