Life Book 2013

I know, I know, I am such a slacker!
In truth I have been doing some art here and there,
but not really finishing anything.
I am trying to give myself a break about having finished stuff to post here.
I think my blog needs to be re-thunk. Not a word, I know.
ANYWAY. That is not why I write today.

Life Book 2013; what is it you say?
“Life Book, a celebration and honouring of YOU”
 a year-long mixed media art class.
 21 incredible art teachers are all gearing up to share their mixed media techniques, tips and tricks with YOU! Themed around self-development and healing, you’ll be creating a minimum of 2 loose mixed media art journal pages per month (through a minimum of 2 lessons a month) which by the end of the year you will bind into a glorious journal (a Life Book)!
(from her website)

Sounds amazing, you say?
Go. Check it out. Sign up.
Tamara is truly a selfless giver of herself and art.
That alone should push you to join in.



If you are ever in need of a good quote,
Rumi will never fail.
Just yesterday I was going to put a post up here
about what to do when you are so stuck in life,
but can't get past the anger at yourself because of it.
It isn't as easy as one would think, as I've been trying for years.
I ended up not writing it because it is too depressing,
and doesn't have anything to do with art.
And for today, all I focused on was doing bit by bit in my journal.
I leave it out so it stares at me, saying "WORK IN ME."
I'm trying, because right now there isn't much else I can do.
Funny how when I manage to finish any art that it never
portrays how I feel inside.
I like bright colors, and "happy" pages.
I also don't share pages with sad quotes or lyrics,
so that could be part of it too.
Either way, this page makes me happy,
and that I will take.


Art Muse, have you returned?!

I'm sorry dear readers, (if i have any) for this past absyml year on the blog. I moved out on my own, and this is hte first time i've actually lived alone. The past 7 years down in Cville was spent living with my friend from college. When she decided she was ready to branch out, that meant I needed to as well.
While I was terrified of what was to come, as she is my social calendar, living alone is actually quite nice. I can spread my art supplies anywhere and everywhere if I please! I can take 4 days to do the dishes. I can perpetually wear tshirt and underwear every day. That part, is nice. The not so nice part? I already deal with depression, a chronic lower grade depression than one would think when they think of the word "depression." I have managed to completely isolate myself from the outside world. To be fair, I work with small children every day, so that takes a lot out of me. There is no hiding away when you are responsible for their well-being. By the time I get home at night, I am EXHAUSTED. I hate cooking, so I forage on whatever I have in the house. Bad nutrition plus no exercise just exacerbates the depression, not to mention how easy it is to just stay in bed and not go out and see anyone. Not that I have many friends. 2. Even that seems exhausting to try and keep up with. 

ANYWAY, I didn't come on here to write about my life. Just wanted to offer an apology to why i've only been sporadically posting for past yearish. Only in the last few days have I felt that hunger, that fire that I M.U.S.T C.R.E.A.T.E It has been a LONGGGGGGGGG time since I've felt this, and I think it is because I signed up for an online class, 21 Secrets

I had a recent conversation with my aunt and was telling her how i have about 4 million partially started projects, but can't finish any of them, and that is when I actually do feel like creating. She said that you can't create art in a vacuum, you need other people to be around, inspire you, help you. Profound, Aunt MB!  So I signed up for the class and am UBER PUMPED, which fostered all this creativity from me today.

I haven't picked up an art journal in probably 2years, if not more. AWFUL. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I actually started creating a page today. Since this page, I have 3 more pages in process. I had to make myself go to bed (an hour ago...as you can see, it didn't work so well). I need to be held accountable to create. I need others' ideas and wisdom, because I feel that I have none. 

Hopefully, I will start posting regularly again with the class beginning with Connie, and spur on more creative juicyness. 


So many things rambling around in my head

First of all, I need to apologize! I didn't realize that my link to Arlene Steinberg's website was broken. Some very astute person showed me that I added a comma at the end of her name instead of a period...woops! So Remember my colored-pencil path I seemed to REALLY want to follow down? I still and following it, very very very slowly. A lot of fear and apathy stands in my way.

In a previous post, I raved about my love for Arlene's work.
She used to post at Wet Canvas forum years ago, and just researching her body of work there is incredible in and of itself. So you should totally CLICK on that link above!!
You should also browse Wet Canvas Forums for any painting/drawing/artistic endeavor.
There are so many topics and forums and sub-topics. I've visited the Drawing, Watercolor, Acrylic, Colored Pencil forums and everyone is always SO helpful. THere are links to past articles for newbies, and the "old timers" on there that are amazing artists willingly show you their stuff. It has changed my life 100% completely.

On that note...I've worked only a teensy bit more on my giraffe because I am lazy? tired? Something. But I may have to actually MAIL THIS TO SOMEBODY, so i hope it will give me some motivations.
I also am starting on a watercolor project for my aunt. It has been yearssssss since i've opened them. I'm still in the planning phase, and trying to go slow so I don't get so overwhelmed and want to pitch it out the window like I usually feel like doing.
I think that I am getting my art steam train going again. Its just little wheezy puffs, but maybe is coursing its way in me. For anyone who still reads, I appreciate it. Very much. I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't, nor would I be upset. I did go from quite regular posting with artwork all over the place to decreasing my frequency of posting and taking a more narrow focus. Its hard when I can't separate what is an art funk, or depression, or that i work with toddlers all day, so i am tired. But even on weekends when I have unlimited hours to do work, I mostly don't. The past few weekends has been better, but still, not energizing. The last time I felt like that was in February when I was taking Flora Blowley's Bloom True course. Literally the second it ended, the wind when right out of my sails. Those damn half-finished paintings stare at me angrily every day on my walls, but i am so demoralized by them that I have given up.
Its that bewitching hour where you start rambling, and its never pleasant...


Zebra Colored Pencil-WIP #1

This is a couple of hours worth of work.
Doesn't look like much, right?
Colored Pencil is a S-L-O-W medium, especially for beginners!
I placed a layer of white in the white stripes for most of
the right zebra, and then started with a layer of 
Indigo Blue on the black stripes.
Blue, you say?
In order to achieve rich black in cp,
layering colors is the answer.
I will start with a layer of Indigo Blue,
then I will use Dark Green, Black Grape and then Tuscan Red.
These are all Prismacolor pencils.
HOPEFULLY this will work to create a nice black.
I am concentrating on finding all the variations in value
in each stripe, which is why it is going to take me about 10 years
to finish this!


Mega Update

Woops, it has been THREE months since i've updated my blog
Bad me!
I have no excuses except that I am a master of starting projects,
and then never finishing them.
I have a folder full of started projects!
I have a feeling it has to do with my fear of failing/not doing it right.
Anyway-I still have been creating.

I am going to attempt this incredibly difficult colored pencil drawing
of these adorable zebras. I loveeee me some zebras!
The picture is from the reference image library at Wet Canvas,
my amazing source of information on all things art related.
The pictures in the RIL are free from copyright.
I am trying to learn how to draw, but I knew 
that there was no way I could draw these zebras totally freehand.
What I did was drew a grid (1" x 1") on top of the reference picture,
and then drew that same size grid on my tracing paper.
I then just copied what I saw grid for grid until the zebras were finished.
It was a LONG process, but worth it because I love the outcome!
It has been drawn for weeks now. 
I am too scared to actually start the coloring.

Next up: Homemade Washi tape!
I saw it on Pinterest, an knew I had to try it.
I bought double-sided tape, patterned tissue paper and all natural wax paper.
(found at Whole Foods)
The process was very simple and also very tedious.
You stick the double-sided tape on the back of the tissue paper,
roll over the wax paper with a brayer (or your hands)
Then you just cut out the piece of tape with the wax paper as the adhesive backing!
With the lighter colored tissue papers it was a bit difficult to see the transition
between the tape and the rest of the tissue paper.
Repeat as desired.
I bought a pack of coordinated colors/patterns of tissue paper,
and I think it is a great idea! 
That way if you use it to wrap presents or on a project,
they will all match.
I only cut out a few strips of each, and left the rest to cut out as needed
The end result: So cute!
I also am going to start doing a variation of Project Life
Elise has been doing it on her blog, and I have been so captivated
by the simplicity of recording your life, and the adorable 
pocket pages and variations!
I take a lot of photos with my phone using Instagram,
and I think this would be perfect to actually put those photos in print.
I doubt I will do it weekly, as my life is very boring,
but I have my 2 year olds that deserve their own spot in my
Project Life album.
I ordered the binder and a pack of page protectors from Amazon.
It should be here by early next week!
The monkey card you see above is a journaling card: 3x4
I searched "journaling card printable" on Pinterest
and came up with so many downloadable cards
that I thought my head would explode.
I think that my homemade tape will be a nice decorative element as well.

I still need to update you all on my Bloom True course I took with Flora Bowley
Sadly, my paintings are still unfinished, staring back at me every day.
I haven't picked up the paintbrush since shortly after the course ended.
I think I need structure to actually work on things.
I also was frustrated in adding layer after layer and feeling like I was getting nowhere.
BUT, her course is open for 6 months after it ends, 
so I do plan on going back in and reviewing everything to jumpstart
my passion for that course. 
Because it was amazing.

I think that is all for now :)
I hope I still have some readers left!


Free Coloring Pages

Coloring can be so mediative, calming
Perfect for those days when you feel like doing something,
but don't have the energy to do anything strenuous.
My local art store sells those Dover coloring books,
and they are awesome.
I've decided to scan them to my computer and put them
for download on my blog.
If you want to create something beautiful
just by adding color, it is perfect :)
This one is from Tibetian Designs
This is the one I am working on.


Colored Pencil Iris: Finished!

I am proud of myself.
It took a LOT of erasing to get this as accurate
as my skills would allow.
The original (in Arlene Steinberg's book)
is much better (obviously)...but you can definitely tell this is a flower.
I am into week 2 of Flora Bowley's Bloom True e-course.
L-O-V-E it!!! 
I didn't expect to like working on big canvases as much as I have.
Its still hard to "let go" and let intuition guide me...
but I am trusting the process and Flora.


More colored pencil work

Hi Folks! Its been awhile, huh? The holidays are never easy for me, and i've been sick for a lot of January. That is what I get for working with toddlers :)
I am working on a few projects at the moment. I decided that I should get back to basics by doing an art journal again. I am doing it differently though; I want to prep all the pages ahead of time and then go in and write my thoughts in later, and add in more decorations if I feel like it. I've done about 6 pages so far, I just need to take some pictures!
Flora Bowley's Bloom True online workshop starts TODAY. I am so excited/nervous. Her paintings is all about using your intuition, getting past your logical brain, your constant negative thoughts...etc. This is such perfect timing for this, but I almost never "let go" when I do art. I think about it (even if its just a paint color), and keep thinking re-working while I do it. I am nervous if I will be able to do it, but I'm going to try.
Lastly, I am working on another tutorial from Arlene Steinberg's "Masterful Color" book. This drawing was much harder than a pear and some grapes. I spent the entire superbowl yesterday sketching it! I realized once I put it on my computer that the top petal is too wide and too short, so it needs to be fixed. That being said, I am proud of my work! I have a hard time drawing, and I got to draw from her line drawing so it was easier...but I think it looks like a flower :)

The next step will be fixing the shape and then start adding some 
colored pencil a la Arlene style.
I think now that I am in a class I will be so much more inspired to 
actually do some artwork instead of putzing around,
doing half-finished projects.
That is what I am hoping, so hopefully this blog will be updated more :)


Following the work of Arlene Steinberg

Would you have believed that this painting is done in colored pencils?
I am pretty sure I would have found that hard to believe a year ago.
I have coveted Arlene Steinberg for a while.
Her colored pencil work astounds me. This is my favorite one of all.
I finally purchased her book, Masterful Color
and it was worth every penny.
I admit, I am an art book junkie. Some books don't have a long shelf life,
but this one is truly amazing. In terms of teaching technique,
it might be my favorite. She uses a complementary color
underpainting in her works. It befuddled me for a long time.
Make something green before red?!
I am now a believer--I have not been happy with my previous
attempts at "serious" colored pencil works.
I will gladly say that I am PROUD of this.
This was taken in poor lighting, and at an angle...so the grapes and pear are squashed.
First of all--I am not a very good at drawing. 
These are simple shapes, but I am still proud that you can tell what they are!
As you can see, this is the complementary coloring part.
The pear will be yellow...so all the shadows are purple.
The grapes will be red, so the shading is green.
Second step...start adding the local colors (sorry for the bad picture)
Step 3...keep layering (the secret in colored pencil work: LOTS AND LOTS of light layers)
the local colors. This piece used about 15 different pencils.
The finished product! 
As you may see...I messed up on the shadows with the grapes.
Oh well, this was purely to learn.
Arlene does very specific tutorials in her book, 
so I can't take too much credit...but I learned a lot about her technique
from this one.
The best part? There are at least 4 or 5 left in her book,
and this is of course, the easiest one.
If you are at all interested in colored pencil as a medium,
check her out.

Also, I promise not to be so MIA. I've ignored my little blog.
This fall has introduced a lot of change in my life,
and the holidays are not so fun for me.
But the new year is soon...and I have to hope 2012 
will treat me better than 2011.
Which reminds me!!! Check out what online class I signed up for!
She even wrote a book that is coming out next spring!
This painting is just a small example of her amazing work.
I am so so excited. (In case you couldn't tell by all the !!!)
I am also so so scared. 
I know enough now that "learning" someone else's technique
is no guarantee that yours will look anything like theirs.
AND, her entire course and painting method is intuitive.
I do NOT do intuitive art work.
My brain shuts down when I try to just "go with the flow"
So, I am afraid of failing spectacularly.
But the price of admission will be worth it to watch her paint.
I am soooo intrigued!