Friday, November 30, 2012

A New Journey into Art Journalling

See all these. This is my collection of sketchbooks that I keep near my bed.

And these are the journals and sketchbooks in my studio.


I may have a hoarding problem. Anyhoo, I am shifting my focus from taking e-courses to further my art education to using my collection of journals/sketchbooks instead.

I've never been great at keeping an art journal or a sketchbook. I love seeing other artists sketchbooks and journals and they look so amazing. Mine don't. I realized comparing my work to others was putting huge pressure on myself to be perfect. For me, my sketchbooks are going to be about practice, experimenting and play.

This is my favorite brand to paint in. It's only available at Michael's. I grab one when I can with a 50% off coupon. The paper is 140lb mixed media. You can find the 90lb version at any art store.


I'm going to really take the time now to practice drawing.

Explore materials.


Play around and experiment.


And maybe finish a page or two.



They won't all be masterpieces. They will all educate me in some way. I'll learn what I like and don't like. I'll learn what "not" to do. I'll understand my materials better. I will develop my style.

I'm very excited about this. I am giving myself permission to explore and screw up and not freak out about something not working. I get to turn the page and just try again. How freeing is that!



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Artistic Children

A continuous inspiration to me are my kids. I've tried to encourage their artistic interests without pushing too much. I show them some techniques but I mostly let them explore. What they come up with just playing around amazes me. I pretty much find myself saying "Why didn't I think of that?"


Some of Caitlyn's work. She's 3 1/2. She loves painting next to me.


The animal above was a collaborative effort between Caitlyn and me.

Below is my son Evan's work. He'll be 5 in a few weeks. He likes to draw funny characters.



The above bunnies were also a collaborative effort. Evan did the paint streaks and I thought they looked like two bunnies embracing.

It's so much fun creating with my kids. They aren't critical. They just create and when they are done, they're done. It's wonderful!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I am grateful for my Family.





Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

I Can't "Art" Without.... E-Courses

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I'm a huge fan of E-courses. I discovered them last year and am addicted (they say the first step is to admit you have a problem). For those who don't know what an e-course is, it's basically an online class. The artist creates a platform to teach you her painting style as if you were there in person with her. The ones I like have HD video instruction, extended access (usually 6 to 12 months) and sometimes the instructors let you download the videos for you to keep or give you PDF's to keep. They all have a place to post your work and exchange feedback with your fellow students. I've taken a lot of courses. Some were awesome and some didn't really do it for me. All of them gave me a place to start. I was a decorative painter years ago but stopped painting when we moved and had two babies back to back. I knew I wanted to create again. I knew I loved mixed media. But I didn't know where to begin...until I found e-courses.

Below I'm going to share with you my all-time favorites from my e-course explorations. These classes gave me so much information and so many tools. They opened my creative mind and got my mojo going.

Jane Davenport's Supplies Me

Jane Davenport is an admitted art supply addict. In this course she reviews dozens of art supplies. In addition to her wonderful reviews she shows you how to draw a pretty face and the basic body. I almost didn't sign up for this course because I had little interest in drawing people. (I didn't think I could). But I had a plethora of art supplies so, I went for it. I fell in love with drawing faces! It takes practice and I'm still not great on the body but Jane makes drawing so much fun. This is an incredibly informative course. You need to take notes because you won't remember everything she tells you. The only downside is you'll want to buy more supplies.

I made the face below with the skills I learned in Jane's course.

Juliette Crane's How to Paint a Girl and How to Create Whimsical Animals

I am a huge fan of Juliette Crane's e-courses. These are my two favorites. I like How to Paint a Girl because Juliette shows you three different whimsical girl styles. She starts with backgrounds then focuses a week on each of the three girls. How to Create Whimsical Animals is the only 6 week course I've found just on creating different animals. Juliette takes you from sketchbook to canvas. I love her sketchbook exercises. They really help you get in touch with your inner child and just have fun.

Below are the favorite paintings I made from Juliette's courses.

Mindy Lacefield's Paint Your Story

I admit this is probably my number one favorite course. I was on the fence about taking this one because Mindy Lacefield's style was so different from how I painted. It was really taking me outside my comfort zone. I loved her use of color though. I loved the layers. Something inside me was saying "you must take this course". So, I signed up and it was amazing! Mindy broke down her process into simple steps that built on each other but my own style came through. It really freed me as an artist.

These are a couple of my favorite creations from this course.


If you have never taken a course it can be difficult to figure out what to take. There are a lot out there. I suggest checking out the artists you admire first and see if they offer an e-course. Another resource is Creative They have a large selection of courses for you to peruse and some have reviews. I found the above courses through blog hopping. One artist supporting another would talk about this new e-course on their blog and I would "hop" on over to get the details. Creative didn't exist when I started taking them.

In the new year I'm going to be changing my focus a bit and diving into the world of sketchbooks and art journals. I have loved taking e-courses. They have given me so much information and really helped me improve my skills. Now I need to put all I've learned to work and create/find my own style. The ladies above offer other courses as well. Just go to their websites to check them out.

One last e-course I'd like to mention is Life Book 2013. There will be 16 instructors all with different styles and techniques. I took Life Book 2012 and enjoyed it but I found a lot of the artists had similar styles. Not so for next year's installment. The line up is amazing! Life Book 2013 is an excellent choice if you've never taken a course or have taken a ton of courses. The format is year long with new things to learn every month! I will likely be taking it. (No surprise there!)


Monday, November 12, 2012

Creating Whimsical Animals

How To Create Whimsical Animals by Juliette Crane just finished up its live run. It's her latest e-course and it's available for self study. Juliette takes you from sketchbook to canvas and helps you create your own whimsical animals. Here is how a favorite painting I did for the course came to be.

This elephant I created in my sketchbook.


Then I traced him onto deli paper. Deli paper is thicker than tissue paper but still thin enough to see the pattern underneath.



Next came the painting. I used all kinds of materials to paint my elephant. Mostly water soluble materials like Inktense Pencils, Pan Pastels and Gesso.


Then I decided he needed a friend.



Aren't they just the cutest!

I highly recommend this course, especially if you want to paint animals. You also don't need to have any painting or drawing experience since Juliette shows you how to take simple shapes and make cute animals from them.

I'm also very excited for Juliette's new mini course Backgrounds & Layers coming Nov. 16th. Juliette did a bonus video in Whimsical Animals of her art journalling. This new course is an expansion of that. The art journalling Juliette does is so inspiring to me. Here's a little video she did previewing the new class and below is a page I did inspired by Juliette's methods. I set my timer and used whatever materials I had in front of me. It was totally fun!



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Art Retreat Fun

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend Tracy Verdugo's Paint Mojo in Saluda, NC. Twelve of us went there to learn Tracy's intuitive painting techniques. It was a wonderful experience. I learned so many things and made some amazing friends. I can't wait to incorporate everything I learned in this class into my art.

Here are some photos from the class. I didn't complete any of the paintings but I will be working on them!

We started with making lots of marks and paint dripping and transitioned it from this.


To this...


And from this


To this


And this is my favorite technique. We had to find an imaginary animal in the painting and paint the negative space around him. Below is Tracy's version (that I now own!)


And this is my work in progress...


And here is Tracy teaching


And I had to get a photo with her of course!


If you ever get the opportunity to take a class with Tracy I highly recommend it. She's so warm and fun. I also recommend checking out Random Arts in Saluda, NC. It's a lovely art store with a mix of supplies and antiques and Jane Powell the owner hosts classes throughout the year (once the weather warms up again!).