Archive | August 2012

More about my work in progress

Remember how I was talking about how I was listening to a book on C.D while I was coloring? Well, I finished it and now it’s harder to get myself to color. But it’s coming along.

What I have going is a sort of Castle in the clouds kind of deal. The castle is a mere silhouette in the distance, but it is surrounded by sunset clouds and mini-waterfalls everywhere. I think the waterfalls within the clouds came partly from Fantasia or Fantasia 2000, I can’t recall which peice, and partly from something I remember seeing in a Winne the Pooh episode. It’s like the idea itself is a very old one in my mind, but this is the first tme I’ve brought it forth. Except, like so many things in my work, I have simplified it. It still creates a visual impact, and not an unpleasing one at that. But I’m not sure people will understand it for what it is. Then again, do they ever?

My High School Art teacher would say everybody ‘brings their own baggage’ when they look at an artwork, so they may see it differently. I’d like to find out what they think of instead of just saying that they like it or that I’m a good artist. It’s happened a few times. Family members seem to understand that concept, not just my immediate family, but I have a cousin Tima who would always talk about what the image made her think of. Then occassionally there will be a Facebook comment that says it made them think of a field of butterflies or transforming into wind. I like those comments. It is unfair that just the artist should ‘get something’ out of the work.

For instance, with this cloud castle that I’m drawing; One of the things I love best about clouds is the way they play with color- how they make sunsets so powerful (I’ve got a thing for sunsets). So I’m trying to use those colors to create a dreamlike environment, one that’s very soft and beautiful. The little waterfalls add very nicely to the color, but there’s a bit more to them. I love little waterfalls, whenever I was in Rexburg and needed to be alone, I would go to the gardens where the little waterfalls were. They were peacefull and soothing. And what with the castle and the princess-like character, It’s supposed to be a sort of fairy-tale fantasy environment. Someplace where you would want to be.

New Image: Out of the Wilderness, and a work in progress

Finished! Thank goodness that’s over, it was beginning to get repetitive. It was actually beginning to remind me of art class  last year when we talked about repitition and variety. As for the subject of the image, I’ve decided to name her Tolkien- since I doodled her in my Homer to Tolkien class (great class btw, you can’t beat being able to read The Hobbit for homework).

And what’s better, I’ve already started another image. I have to say, it is so nice to finish a project and know exactly what you’re going to do next.  It’ll to be much softer than this one. Pink, purple, blue- after this image, I’m determined to avoid green for a while. But no, this new one is going to be one of those sorts that young girls would appreciate. At least, that’s the goal. What’s better, I don’t think it will take as long as Out of the Wilderness (which I finished yesterday morning). I’m listening to The Book of Three on C.D while I color. It’s by Lloyd Alexander, one of my favored authors. Why on earth hasn’t the Book of Three been made into a movie? No, I take that back- Disney did The Black Cauldren decades ago. But why has nobody remade it into a movie- and done a better job of it? I think The Prydain Chronicles would make lovely movies, and if I were to chose a book to be made into a movie, I think The Book of Three would be at the top of the list. I heartily recommend for those who like adventure stories (serious, but not dark)  that have good, fun, and sometimes funny characters.

My birthday is going to be celebrated tomorrow. That will cause a little distraction to my work. If I get a game for my birthday, there will be even more of a distraction. But if I get art supplies, a book on C.D, or a movie, it may actually help me get my artwork done. And assuming that I am not too distracted, I will probably finish this next image in a day or two.

Getting the juices flowing

One of the things I did to try to overcome artists’ block was I ran a google search of fantasy desktop photos to see if I could find images I liked and that inspired me. Then I grabbed a bunch that I did like, and now they cycle through as my desktop wallpaper. I’ve discovered  that sometimes you have to sort through a lot of things before you find stuff that you actually like and could be valuable to you. But they are valuable when you do have them. They get you to think of other possiblities, give you a chance to expand and explore, and some of them make difficult things seem simpler.

It would be neat if I could get to the level of talent that I see in some of these pictures. But there is one thing to be cheerful about however, and that is that I always seem to be improving. Perhaps that’s why I have a hard time thinking of myself as anything particularly brilliant, since I find that I’m always getting better and there is a lot of room for me to continue to get better. I hear some artists plateu at a certain point, but I think I have a ways to go before then.

Now to tantalize you about my current image. It’s coming along. It may be done in another few days, but I spent a lot of time working on it yesterday- wore myself out. Something about coloring seems physically exausting, rather than the mental exaustion I’m used to as a student. Although, working out all the colors has been quite the challenge. The important thing is contrast- for the image is not concerned with matters like space or lighting. Just contrast and possibly shape. If I can find something to listen to, it’ll be done sooner rather than later, but as I have said- it’s hard to keep going unless your mind is engaged with something, you get bored otherwise.

My latest project and Graeme Base

Well, I do indeed seem to have a new project on my hands- and one I think will be worth the time. Though I rather suspect it will take a long time. I want to acheive a certain amount of detail and subtleties of color. I’ve worked on it a great deal and yet I am… less than halfway done. I can’t color for too long at a time because coloring is tiring work. That’s something kids don’t realize when their simply working in their coloring books. But that’s how I began I suppose, with coloring books. So I’ll keep at it and post it when I’m done. I’m not sure how long it will take, but it will be at least a couple of days.

But when I think about detail in artowrk, there is one children’s book writer that comes to mind (he does his own illustrations), Graeme Base. When we were kids, Dad used to read us bedtime stories, usually either a Dr. Suess book or a Graeme Base one- The Eleventh Hour being the particular favorite. I believe that if ever there was an illustrater to aspire to, it would be him.

So the moral of today’s story is to give your kids coloring books and read to them at bedtime. Especially read to them at bedtime. Besides the fact that human nature seems to thrive on stories, it’s a good way to spend time with kids. It’s one of my favortite things to think about when I reflect on my younger years. I’ve found that even as I have grown up, I still have a love to listen to stories- typically by using books on C.D. So I suppose those memories have found a way to linger in my life.

Past the block?

Well, I started a new image today. What a releif. I don’t know if I really have a masterpiece in the making, but it will keep me occupied and I’m satisfied to have started it at least. The idea came from a doodle I did last semester. I must have been in a strange mood that day. I even remember which class it was- Homer to Tolkien- in which I did the doodle. But I was doodling and something in my mind must have said, “Hey! People are vertical, and so are trees- so let’s do some wierd abstracty thing combining the two.” The thing is, I’ve tried to make a full sized image of that doodle before, but it didn’t work out too well, because I didn’t have the original doodle to reference. This time I did. This is going to be one of my more… unusual pictures. It could be pretty cool if I work the colors right. If not- it will be merely ‘interesting.’

This time around I had the pleasure of watching Emma while I colored. Emma is a good movie to watch while coloring. I forced my sister to watch it >:) because I simply had to have somebody squee over Mr. Knightly with me.

As I’ve said before, one of the tricks to doing artwork is having something to watch while you’re doing it. It helps keep you going (I had a hard time continuing to color when the movie was done and my sisters started playing video games). I think I was given the gift of  ‘able to watch movies several times over’ for the strict purpose of making art easier for me. But of course even I have my limits, and my selection of movies has been severely deminished now that our VCR has finally died. But that means I don’t get to watch My Fair Lady, Lady Hawke, or The Princess Bride, amoung others. We dont’ have that wide a selection of DVDs.

But Emma is a charming movie, and it does give me something until I find a new stash of entertainment. Maybe I’ll break into Lissa’s collection of books on CD.

I enter into the world of art dealing

Today Mom and I went around to look at the hows and wherefores of getting artwork printed, matted, and framed. We should have most of the information we need to get it done, should my ‘commissioner’ agree to it. It’s nice to have things pretty much figured out. But it’s a bit of an eye-opening experience for me, I’ve never had work printed and framed (I’ve only had the originals matted by my high school art teachers). What gets me is looking at the cost of the frames, certainly not a price I generally associate with my artwork. But there’s not much I can do about that.

So what do you think guys? Will this buisness transaction go through? Could this be the start of a brand new beginning for me in the realm of art?

I was kidding about that last part.

But you never know. If I do work my way up, and build my talent until I have some real skill, then at least I know the process of getting my work printed and framed to interesting buyers. So keep a weather eye out, eh? Who knows what sorts of works I’ll be producing in the future.

Though the future seems a bit far ahead to be thinking about when I can’t even come up with a new image to work on now.

What I’ve decided

I’ve decided to relax a little bit. I have a hard time forcing art, so maybe it’s not something I should force. I can keep busy in other ways. In fact, I find myself a little bit sore. It’s good to feel sore, makes me feel like I’ve been doing things. In this case, it may have been playing ‘King of the Barrel’ yesterday, a game my brother invented. You could run an entire Backyard Olymics with just things that you do with barrels. And anyway, I have a book that I need to give feedback on. That, thankfully, does not require any creative energy. It’s so easy when all you have to do is write your reactions. Come to think of it, I had a friend e-mail me her story at the beginning of the school year and ask for feedback. The problem with that being, of course, that it was the beginning of the school year. Maybe I can do something about it now that I have time…

I’m wondering if I’d feel more productive if I made changes to my environment. I don’t know exactly what I would change, but in moving around a bit, I’ve noticed that sometimes change helps with the creative process. Which would be why coming home, I was able to create some art, and now that I’ve been home for a while… I’m having a harder time. Even going from one semester to another, I got the idea of my silhouette images when I found myself with a bunch of leftover index cards.

But I’m sure things will work out. I’ll just work on the projects that I can do and know how to do for now, and hope things make themselves more clear as time goes on.

Okay, enough ranting about that. Let me talk about one of the things I liked to do while I was at University, and had a spare moment. Oftentimes, by the time I did have a spare moment, I was tired of my laptop. So near the end of the year, I took several trips to the Gardens with my camera. I have a… unique camera. It was just a regular camera (I’m not a photography guru) but then the LCD screen broke, so I can’t see the pictures I’m taking until I put them on the computer. But I like having pretty pictures in my photo library, so I take the camera anyway. The idea is to point, shoot, and do this several times at different angles and stuff so that maybe three out of sixty pictures are worth keeping.

This is one of those days where I wish I had the gardens still in walking distance. But I have pictures! Pretty cool for a blind shot, yes?

 

 

 

 

What I need to do

No, I did not drop off of the face of the earth. So what have I been doing? Well for the first few days it was reading Mom’s story Across the Jade Sea, so I can give feedback. It comes in three books, and I’ve gotten through the first two. The rest of the time I involved myself in other things, fiddling around with my characters (I don’t have any stories with them, but I like to play with them), doing more movie making, and bouncing around ideas with Lori. I haven’t got any more information about the print since last time, which is not good. If I leave it alone too long I’ll probably forget or drop it.

So It seems that what I need to do is read the last book of Across the Jade Sea, and get some artwork done. I tried yesterday. Lori was watching some movies, and she had my laptop to write on while she watched. So I figured maybe I could get some artwork done. But for most of it, I stared at a blank page. Still don’t know what to draw. It’s a bit frustrating. I need a day where there will be no distractions to try to work out a new image. This may be difficult, since my aunt is visiting next week. This week, I mean. In my mind, Sunday is always the last day of the week, not the first. That’s why they call it weekends instead of week-bookends.

But hey, at least we got around do ordering preasents for Lori’s birthday. She and I both have birthdays coming up. Mine is a week from today, and hers is the week after. We often celebrate ours together, but I don’t know if we will this year. My suggestion was that we celebrate the two birthdays together, sometime when Aunt Karen is visiting. But we’ll see.

Distractions

Well, I haven’t been able to get very much work done. The past few days have held… quite a number of distractions. Most of them have been family activities, so I can’t complain. Dad took a vacation from work, so we’ve been doing things like going to the zoo, having relatives over, and going to a place we lovingly refer to as The Turtle Pond. Today we may go on a picnic. Furthermore, there have been a number of books I’ve been wanting to read, and just yesterday Mom put one of her books, Across the Jade Sea, on my kindle so I can read it and give it feedback. So now, of course, I have to read it and give feedback.

And since I haven’t had a lot of outstanding ideas for my artwork, and I have all these other things to do, I’ve put that aside for a bit. After all, Dad doesn’t get vacations often, the Siblings only have a while before the end of Summer Break, so I don’t feel especially guilty in putting my artwork aside.

But we have been making progress about getting that print. It’s not as simple as putting something up on my Zazzle store and seeing if people are interested. When I do get back to working on my art, I plan on adding a T-shirt to my Zazzle store. But that’s all on the to-do list.

 

Artists’ block

Well, I may yet sell a print. I’ll need to figure out more about that later, but hopefully it all works out.

In the meantime I’m trying to start another image, but I’m still having a difficult time trying to come up with another image. So I went to some sketches that I started and added a little color to feel like I was doing something, but nothing is feeling really ‘definate.’

I’ve been able to do some family activities and other sorts of things to get me out of the house and socialize a bit. Sometimes I wonder if I should persue other things, and then leave the art aside until I have some ideas to work with. Besides, sometimes leaving the work aside and doing other things can get ideas going and the creative juices flowing, it can re-energize you and stuff, but there isn’t much else that I do that gives the same kind of satisfaction- and of course I want to be accomplishing things and doing good things with my time. So the question is, if I’m not going to do art right now, what am I going to do?

Well I guess right now if I wasn’t going to do art, I would be reading that latest Patricia C. Wrede book.

But I don’t always have a book conveniently waiting to be read. So it would be beneficial for me to figure out what sorts of things I’m going to do or can do when I’m faced with artists’ block.