Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Atom Journal Page #21

While on vacation I was able to complete a journal page. I tried to take photos as I went. As usual, there comes a point where I am lost in the process and am missing a few steps, but I think you can still get an idea of the progress. I use old books for my journals and adopt part or all of the original title for each journal. I number the pages before I start to work. This makes it easier to organize the digital files of my finished pages.

I began on a page in the journal that was prepped with random collage and a coat of Golden Absorbent Ground. The ground allows me to use watercolor on the collage surface.
 I added a face from my random "character file" - a folder of faces I have roughly drawn on various papers with different media.
This one was an ink and watercolor pencil sketch on gessoed red rosin paper.

I used the collage as a guide for the body placement and shape.
A dog was added to give my character something to do!

Vintage magazine legs were added.
Don't you just love the shape...

I outlined the entire character and dog with watercolor pencil and started to blend it with matte medium.

This is the part where I get involved and forget to take photos.
I added color with pencils and pan watercolor. I always work on top of the added collage to make the character seamless.  I used heavy body Titanium White acrylic for the highlights.
I used a Sharpie white water based paint pen to add some accents and flowers.

I used a muted yellow watercolor for the background and added a bit more blue and red to the flowers to make them stand out.
The wings on the dog were made with a rubber stamp loaded with fairly dry watercolor. 
A few accents added to the doggie wings with pencil. More white pen around the flowers.
 Page 21 of the Atom Journal is done.

A little San Diego Zoo cuteness! A new baby giraffe.
This photo shows how much growing he has to do...

The Meerkats and I wish you a Happy New Year!!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Artmaking: A Creative Vocation

 I recently took part in a local high school mentor program where working artists meet with students interested in persuing Art as a career. I looked up the meaning of "career" because it did not feel right to me. I really think that "vocation" is a better description of the life of an artist. Vocation is defined as: a strong feeling of being destined or called to undertake a specifice type of work. Artmaking is not a 9-5 job, it is a lifestyle. I am compelled to create something...anything, otherwise I get cranky! So my "vocation" is to do whatever it takes to be able to continue to create.

In light of my personal definition of life as an artist, I decided not talk about different careers in Art - leave that to school counselors. Instead, I focused on general things that have helped me as a working artist. It was a fun experience and I decided to jot down some of the things I shared after the meeting. After looking at the list, I thought it would be fun to share it on the blog. Here it goes:
  1. Practice saying "I am an Artist."  If you don't believe, no one else will.
  2. Design your own educational path. It does not have to be all formal classroom education. Experience is a great teacher.
  3. Always say "YES"  and figure it out later. All my best experiences and connections have occured when I said "yes" to something out of my comfort zone.
  4. Practice, practice, practice - it takes WORK to be really good at what you do.
  5. Keep a sketchbook to document your process. Record what inspires you, try out tools, ideas, what works and what does not. Consider them a resource and a record of your personal journey.
  6. Work toward developing your own style by your choices in subjects, colors,  materials and their application. Use an inspiration board  to help you figure out what your are really interested in and re-evaluate periodically, as your tastes and interests will evolve. 
  7. Get feedback and support. Bring your sketchbook with you everywhere. You never know when you will have a chance to get feedback on what you are doing. Choose a safe audience  - family and friends to gather support.
  8. Post your pictures on social media when you are ready. Pinterest and Instagram are a great place to start.
  9. Allow yourself to be curious and keep asking WHAT IF?
  10. Participate in a collaborative projects, enter competitions, submit artwork to the publications that interest you.  Rejection is a necessary evil of a creative career, so create some positive self talk to get through the tough spots.
  11. Find your "People." Not everyone will like what you do, so keep pushing your art out until you find the folks who "get" your work.
  12. My favorite reading list for a creative life are:
·       Art and Fear - Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted Orland
·       Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon
·       Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert