This is how I am feeling these days:
Not sure what my challenge is other than to stay steady in a season that always leaves me feeling like I've been tossed out of the raft and into the white water. Crazy fun? Yes. Exhausting and hazardous to my nervous system? Undoubtedly.
I seem to be finding my center in the chicken coop these days.
I am having a blast playing around with line, color, and my tub of watercolor toys. My working technique so far is to do an initial contour drawing using pencil -
Then go back over the lines with an ink tense black pencil.
I then use a small brush to wash in those lines before going back in with color. I've been experimenting with all my supplies: watercolor pencils and crayons, ink tense pencils, and pan watercolor paints.
So perhaps my dare is to pull out your stuff and see what it wants to tell you?
As it is the time to be making lists, I thought it would be fun to share a few of the books that have been especially inspiring to me. Perhaps there is something you might want to add to your Amazon wishlist? (I seem to be the only one who ever looks at my list!)
1. Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists by Carla Sonheim.
The Bodhi Chicklet turned me on to this gem (thanks Kim!) It is my to-go book whenever I am feeling sluggish creatively or when I get overwhelmed by what I want to do. It takes me back to basics - drawing - but it is anything but simplistic. I could spend a year exploring any one of the 52 suggested exercises and techniques in this book. Yeah, it will keep you busy for a long, long while.
2. Creative Illustration Workshop for Mixed Media Artists by Katherine Dunn.
I just got this book so I haven't gone through it completely ... which is to say I am savoring each page, each illustration. I love hearing about an artist's working practice - where their ideas come from and how they evolve into a final piece. I also appreciate technical tips (such as applying a little gel varnish with a finger tip over written text on a piece to prevent it from bleeding) and this book seems to be full of both.
If becoming a patron of the arts is a possible holiday gift you'd like to make, then consider sponsoring Katherine's Kickstarter Project Misfits of Love )
3. Painted Pages: Fueling Creativity with Sketchbooks and Mixed Media by Sarah Ahearn Bellemare.
This was the book that inspired the pieces Cowgirl and I made for this year's Painting with a Purpose campaign. I love seeing how Sarah uses her sketchbooks to capture the details of her life, as well as being a place to explore and play with ideas, themes, and designs. The play of image and words is strong in Sarah's art and she introduces how she works with blending the two together. This book is both inspiration and a kind of manual for creating mixed media pieces.
4. The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it for Life by Twyla Tharp.
The title says it all. Hands down, this is my favorite book on creativity and how to support and nurture it. A practice I have committed myself to ... and it is exactly that: a practice. For me, discipline is needed but always, always discipline and work transmute into joy and exhilaration. Always.
5. The Artistic Mother: A Practical Guide to Fitting Creativity Into Your Life by Shona Cole.
What I love about this book is how Shona breaks down the projections into smaller segments and suggests ways we can gather the material, the inspiration for several pieces over a period of days and weeks. I tend to go whole hog on a project and burn myself out trying to get everything done in one go, so this way of working has taught me how to integrate my work into my busy schedule. And unlike many other books, I've actually done most of the projects in this book! Ironically, the sewing project which I initially resisted resulted in my delving into other sewing projects. I created a number of larger sized totes as gifts based upon the Poetry Tote project in this book. I also loved the Altered Storybook project (which reminds me ... I had planned to do another one!) I don't believe you have to be a mother to enjoy this book.
I'm sure there are others I am forgetting ... and I would love to know your favorites for my holiday list!
And now I am anxious to get back to my pads, pencils, paints and papers. So many ideas, so little time! As if things don't feel speeded up enough, Cowgirl has lost her third tooth in less than 3 weeks! This one had to be pulled and she was very brave. While the fairies have the baby tooth, she continues to wear the plastic tooth given to her by the dentist as a kind of medal of honor. Meanwhile, her other front tooth is hanging on by a thread ... no rest for the tooth fairy.
But plenty of rest for my other muse.
Go on ... be naughty AND nice. I dare you ...