Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fight the inner critic

I was overwhelmed, or maybe underwhelmed. It was a very lazy day. Quiet. Too quiet. So I thought about doing some art work, maybe those canvases I had. And then I heard her. You know, that inner critic that you know you should ignore but gets under your skin? She started off nicely enough.

"That's a wonderful idea. Why don't you do a canvas today?"

"I think I just might."

"Oh but you know, you don't have anything organized right now. And if you start a canvas with the way your craft room looks right now, you'd just create a hot mess."

"Well it probably is a little cramped."

"And you know you didn't get great reviews from your last canvas. Maybe canvas just isn't your thing. You always said you couldn't draw a straight line with a ruler, so what makes you think you can paint."

"But I really feel like doing art today."

"You only have a few days left of vacation. You can't sit on your lazy ass all vacation with just a canvas with some piece of paper you slapped down with glue to show for it."

"It's called collage."

"Call it what you will. It's kindergarten art. It's glue and paper like what you did when you were five. What art did you make? You took paper and slapped it with glue and paint and called it good. Seriously? I know art's in the eye of the beholder, but did you intend on poking out the eyes of everyone who looks at it? Honestly, why you got into this stuff in the first place is beyond me. Mid-life crisis maybe, or trying to find yourself. Everyone lost thinks they are an artist..."

And it went on and on. And I let it. Until I had ground myself down into a self-doubting nobody who should just go back to bed. But I didn't. I decided to post something about how I was feeling. And a friend said to ignore that inner witch and just do it! I'm so glad I did.

I grabbed some of my art supplies and brought them down to the dining room. True enough, with a cramped room I wasn't going to get anything accomplished. And I started with my muse. I love trees, and I love to draw them. They are symbolic of so many good things. So off I went with my tree drawing, and then I started to practice a whimsy girl drawing. I needed to do one. I did it all in ink. I really don't like pencils. They can be erased, and with that wench of an inner critic I have, I'd erase every line off the page because of it being uneven, or misplaced, or too heavy, until I had no lines left and no drawing. So I turn to ink. No turning back. And watercolours. And then my whimsy girl appeared. I felt like I had accomplished something.

And then I decided that it was time I did my first real still life in ink and watercolours. My husband bought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a winter arrangement with pine and mums, daisies and spider mums. And I took to drawing my oversized marble glass vase with the still beautiful flowers.

And I was happy, and proud. I showed that critic. I sat down, and I made art. I had something to show for it. And even if I don't do anything with it at all, it is one of my best works. Because it is the result of deciding to just go for it. Without question, and without expectation.

So now I say to that inner critic, Where are you now? I hope you are on a long vacation and I don't see you until I'm ringing in the next new year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A wonderful arty holiday!

Up until yesterday I really didn't think I'd accomplish much this holiday. Eleven days off work. Eleven. In a row. What I could do with that time, I thought on my last day at work. I was convinced that I would either have my craft room set up, or the entertainment room set up and decorated. And perhaps I would get to do those three canvases I've been meaning to do. But no.

I relaxed. I slept in. And it was wonderful! And the muse came to visit in all her glory yesterday, and she's decided to stay for a short visit. I'm thrilled.

First let me tell you about my first accomplishment during my time off. The amazing Effy Wild is offering a wonderful course which will last the whole year. It's called Book of Days. And so many talented artist have joined and are showing off their altered books. Best of all, it's FREE! So I've been playing along with these very talented artists and making my own altered book which will contain my journal in 2012.

My word for 2012 is Serenity.

I used a book that I got at a garage sale this year, one that had sewn signatures, and took out about one third of the pages. Then I went to town with gesso, Sei Tumble Dye inks, Glimmer Mist, modelling paste, stencils, you name it. 

Next I decided that if I was going to join the Life Book course this was the time to do it. So I joined up and chose the World of Whimsy II course as my extra. And I have to say Tam is very entertaining as a teacher, but she gets her message across and so far I really like the course. And I'm only on week one. I worked on some homework and I need practice for sure, but it's been fun exploring this kind of drawing.

Now I don't pretend to do whimsy well, but any drawing class is going to be more training than I have now. And considering I did this little sweetie in about a half hour, I am happy with her.

And finally I sat down to finish my Art Journal Conversion journals. I adore Roben Marie Smith's style and wanted to learn how she did her layered art work with inks and paints. I've watched all her videos and tried to absorb what I could to no avail. So I broke down and bought the online course. So glad I did! It's been an eye opener and although the journals themselves are very much in Roben Marie's style, the course did help me learn how to layer and how to work through ugly stages to get to the point where I'm very happy with the art piece.

My finished, stitched art journals

I think I might just give away this beauty!

Look below for the giveaway info.

Inside is one signature of white cardstock 65 lb paper. There are a total of 25 pages (5.5 inches by 8.5 inches). It would be a lovely art journal to use as a "smash" book type of journal, or a sketchbook. The paper would also be great for collage, although I don't think it would do well with wet medium.

For the other journals, I think I'll be putting them up for sale. I'm not sure where yet, but if you happen to follow me on Facebook, and see them in my photo albums, you can message me an offer on them.

If you'd like to be in on the giveaway, comment on this blog and make sure that you don't use an anonymous login, because I'll need to contact you to send it off to you. I will draw a winner's name on January 14, 2012. 

So stay tuned for more arting fun!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I had so much fun today. It didn't start that way, but I'm glad that it's turned out that way. You see last night I started thinking about what I was going to stream today on Ustream. There are a bunch of artists who stream live when doing their artwork, and many of them are very experienced at making the shows fun informative and interesting. Now comes me. So I was thinking, what am I going to make? I decided that it was about time to break open the plastic shrink wrap on the twelve inch canvases I got from Michael's about a month ago. No point in hoarding supplies if I'm not going to use them. (While this statement sounds simple, it's much more complicated applying it in real life, believe me!)

So on Friday I started to sketch what I would want to do to a canvas. Boy am I glad I did. It made the whole process a little less scary when it came time to gluing paper down on that canvas, let me tell you.

I decided that I wanted to do a collage, with some inks, some modeling paste and a big paper layered flower made out of paper hearts for petals. So this morning I pulled out my papers and got my supplies ready and went at it.

I have to say, it is hard to keep up with the chat, and I used the heat gun more than I wanted to, but on a two hour timeline I wanted a finished canvas that I will hang.

I really hope that my husband is impressed and decides that he'll hang it somewhere other than the bathroom! It was challenging but rewarding to put paper on canvas, slap around some glue and turn out my own artwork. For a girl that used to think I couldn't even draw a straight line with a ruler, I'm pleased as punch.

So keep your eyes open for my stream next week. I am crazy enough to want to do another. Go figure. :)