Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blind Contuor Drawing

Another exercise. In blind contour drawing, you are supposed to look only at what you are drawing and not at your paper.

The Young One and I recently watched Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands. So I thought I'd try my hand at drawing Edward. The Young One didn't recognize the character, but neither did she say "grapes" when I asked her who it was. (I had done a torn paper collage of lilacs for a seating scroll. The Young One was four. I was feeling rather pleased with what I was producing and when she walked by I asked her what it was. She said "grapes" and I went back to the drawing board.)

This technique takes away the "I can't draw a straight line" concept. The idea is to pick up the gist of the image. I really enjoyed this technique and will visit it again. I'll just have to remember to bear down harder with the pencil so the scanner will pick up the image better.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Artist Block

"I feel thin. Like butter spread over too much bread." - Bilbo Baggins, Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien.

That's the way I've been feeling for quite some time. Pulled in so many different directions there's not much energy left for me. Add seeing a criticism about my work, the economy causing very low enrollment in my classes so that the classes are cancelled, and feeling at a standstill trying to expand what I can do. It all adds up to insecurity about my abilities and an artist block.

A sheet of blank paper used to be so exciting. So many possibilities. Now my stomach clenches and I think negative thoughts like "can't" and "not good enough".

I thought perhaps keeping an artist journal would help. Read books like The Decorated Page by Gwen Diehn. The pages are gorgeous. Beautiful watercolors and sketches. I start, but my pages don't come close to the examples in the book, and I end up abandoning the idea. Negative thoughts swirl around my head. So I bury the book under a pile of junk. Out of sight, out of mind.

While browsing an art catalog, Art from Intuition, Overcoming Your Fears and Obstacles to Making Art by Dean Nimmer caught my eye. Over 60 drawing and painting exercises to help you break the block cycles. The book arrived in the mail yesterday and a sentence in the first chapter slammed me upside the head.

"Think of your sketchbook as a practical tool that helps you bank your ideas and spontaneous flashes of inspiration so you can use them for future reference." p. 19

Slap my hand to my forehead! I always saw a sketchbook as small, finished pieces of art. Very freeing to see the blank pages as a space to try new things, play with old things. No judging. No worries. No mistakes.

I tried a variation of one of Nimmer's excercises: 30 drawings in 30 minutes. I thought it would be best to start out slowly. I found some dot ink stamps and plunked dots on a page. I could only fit 20 on the page, so set a timer to do 20 doodles in 20 minutes. The idea was not to spend much time thinking, but actually doing. It turned out to be fun. When I was labeling the page with the exericise title and date, I was struck by the coincidence. 20 doodles in 20 minutes on the 20th day of the month.
Nimmer also stated in the first chapter that a committment to time had to be made. I'll have to be diligent about scheduling some time to do and be.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Irish Grace

Grace builders. I learned the term from my friend, Erica. Grace builders. We all have them. You know. The people who can't seem to be happy when you share something good that's happened to you. They have to give you a back-handed compliment.

"I saw on your website, you won The Graceful Envelope Contest."

"Yes, in 2000."
"But you don't get a real prize for that."
The ones that have to rain on your parade or one up you.
"My daughter was awarded a scholarship to Bayport."
"That's not an Ivy league school, is it."
So this is for them because even though grace builders are pains in the horse's patoot, they do serve a purpose. They sometimes make us stronger. Or at least teach us to bite our tongues. So when you can't tell them to eff...er...grace off, you can say this little "prayer":

May those who love us, love us.
May those who do not love us,
May God turn their hearts.
If He does not turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles
So we shall know them by their limping.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Like Farmville

This morning I looked out the window and there in the yard were three turkeys. It was just like Farmville only real! A mother and two poults. They were strolling and grazing through the grass looking for tidbits. The young stayed close to mom but were only interested in whatever they found in the grass. The mom was vigiliant. She'd take a step, look around, peck in the grass, lift her head to look around, and then dip her head for another peck.

What's outside your window today?