Friday, January 20, 2017

And So...


...It begins. 

Last time I talked about the process and decisions behind choosing my theme Unravel, but where does one go from there?  

How do you tackle 15 different compositions representing one thing?

Lucky for me, this is where my big-ass chalk wall comes in handy.  Oh and that poll I did plus a ton of Internet research.  

I tried to think about it from as many different angles as my brain would allow.  The light bulb went off when I looked up the definition to unravel. What if each piece was titled with a word that was related to unravel.  Like a little web, all the pieces would be interconnected and break my gigantic problem down to smaller, more manageable parts that I could work with to bring this series together.  

Oh Thesaurus, how underrated you really are. 

So again, I made a list of all the words related to Unravel that jumped out during my scan.  Then, I narrowed that down to the final words that thrummed in my mind the most. 

I bet you're trying to read the words in the picture above, aren't you?  Sneaky.  If you're counting, there are only 14 that I have written out so far (above) but I'm sure a 15th will emerge later on to fill that last gap.

My approach to this after I wrote the words on my wall, was to start building compositions around the ones that stuck out the most for me and go from there.  Ideally, in a perfect world, I would drum up all the compositions first then just start painting, but I also don't want to force the process either because that does not produce desirable results.  Plus, these compositions are a bit more intricate since I'm relying on subtle symbolism and color choice to convey thought or emotion.  If this series is a representation of me, then I want to put forth every effort for a well thought out concept.  In doing so, I hope to bring my work to the next level and truly grow.

I jumped right in and spent the last week of December working out as many compositions as I could, or as many as would fit on the wall opposite the chalk wall.

Turns out that's 3, in case you are wondering.  

Doesn't seem like very many, but you have to understand that these compositions are built to be transferred right to the watercolor paper once I'm ready, and this series is going to be, hopefully, 15 portrait oriented 16" x 20" pieces.  

Definitely don't know how to go easy on myself...

Anyway, I just finished my first piece in this new series (which you have most likely seen already) and next time I'd like to share with you my process, for those that are interested in such things.  I'm always fascinated by the motivations and reasoning behind the work of other artists so I like to share those details when and where I can.

Stay tuned!



XO








Monday, January 16, 2017

Another Week...


...Down!

You didn't think I would last this long, did you?

Well, don't count me out yet! 

I'm actually enjoying this little exercise, though if I'm honest, I was sure this one would have ended up feeling like a chore.

But before we commence with the picture show, I just wanted to let you know that next week's recap will be a week delayed since I will be out on family vacation during that time. I promise to be diligent in completing my daily exercises, so stay tuned for those sketches in a couple of weeks!

Anyway, Here is last weeks sketches for your enjoyment (and as always, don't judge me ;)):


1/8/2017
Thankful

Thankful for the piercing, insistent gaze love of a certain fuzz butt that sometimes lurks in my Studio...NOT thankful for the "SBD's" he leaves behind -__-;
1/9/2017
Kindness

It's as simple as giving a helping hand to someone
1/10/2017
Inside

Ye ol' "If I fits, I sits" scenario
1/11/2017
Outside

Yep. I couldn't help it. 
1/12/2017
Jump

Have courage to take that metaphorical leap
1/13/2017
Friendship

Anyone else always forget their umbrella?
1/14/2017
Love

Mmmm....Donuts....




XO





Friday, January 13, 2017

Choosing...


...a theme...

well, I thought it would be difficult, and I'm probably jinxing myself for future series development here but it didn't take long to choose one after I understood the approach. 

Basically, a series of artwork can be built around anything.  

Cue my head exploding. 

It was too much for my brain to conceptualize; too many options/possibilities to determine and I knew I would get stuck on that alone if I wasn't careful.  Further research uncovered a handy list that helped categorize some general concepts to consider:
  • Traditional subject matter
  • Style of art
  • Word inspiration
  • Design elements
  • repetition series
  • "Time" series (seasons, days, time of day, etc.)
This list helped narrow it down for me and immediately word inspiration jumped out.  

A series built around a word...  

I was intrigued. 

A little voice in my head was like:  "Really? Don't you think that's too narrowly focused?  That seems like a lot of work for you."  

To which I swiftly and promptly replied:  "cool your heels woman.  Sit down and shut the hell up, this is the ticket!"

This speeding train will not be stopped by insufficient self doubt.  Nope.  

So I started making a list of words.  Admittedly, it was very short. I got to 4 when I went back and circled the one I wanted.  Hence my opening line about how easy it was to choose. (furtively looks around while knocking on wood vigorously to avoid any jinxes)

I did give myself a day or two to sleep on it to ensure I didn't lose interest or something else more appealing came along.  In the end though, it stuck and I chose the word "Unravel".

Why?   Hmm...how to explain it...

Okay, imagine a giant, beautiful artificial lake kept in by a dam.  

Got it?

Now, imagine a busy city sidewalk during the morning rush-hour commute, like in New York City.  Masses of people with their heads down, moving along their paths.  Each one of these individuals is that serene artificial lake on the outside.  Then, a leak appears and a stream of water starts to escape.  Cue the cartoon character poking its finger into the hole to stop it only to find another leak has sprung in a different part.  Eventually the pressure builds and the dam explodes.  

It's a curious thing, this type of unraveling but it is not the sole motivator of the choice.  No, this just sets the tone.  

I did some preliminary research for Unravel because I wanted to see what first impressions the word evoked outside of my own (by that I mean, I took a poll).  Most of the results ran along a similar vein (ie - thread/yarn/clothing coming apart/fraying), but there were some more interesting answers such as chaos, craziness, plans and humanity that I especially found interesting.  However, the overall tone was for the more negative sides that the word represented (as I interpreted it). 

The very textbook definition of Unravel:
  1. To separate or disentangle the threads of  
  2. To free from complication or difficulty; make plain or clear; solve
  3. To take apart; undo; destroy

Bottom line: I wanted the positive; I wanted to solve.    

Now what?  

All of this general research and gripping imagery, but what to do with it

Truly, the inspiration comes from a few precious "birdies" of mine (from near and far).  I've learned, through myself and others, that it is okay and at times necessary to have controlled releases of that ever building pressure inside of us lest our dam unexpectedly explodes on everyone around us.

*Cough*

Friends don't let friends rage-flood their "countrysides".  Just sayin.

So, I will unravel myself.  Beneath this serene artificial lake of mine is a brewing tempest, as is with everyone, and it's time to release some pressure the best way I know how - my work.

This body of work as a whole will be a self portrait of sorts, and through it, I hope I can show others that they are not alone in weathering that inner tempest.

I, too, struggle.  <3
       


XO












Monday, January 9, 2017

365 Days...


...Of sketches. 

Yeaahhh, you read that correctly. 

One of the goals I challenged myself with this year was to attempt a sketch everyday.  It doesn't have to be refined or a perfect work of art.  The purpose is simply to keep my mind engaged in the creative, and to help improve my drawing and thinking skills.  I wanted an exercise that would help me focus, since the series I am creating this year will be focused on just one theme, each.  Plus this challenge has an added bonus of providing a distraction between my main works which allows me to come back with a fresh perspective. 

My studio planner is set up with a word every single day that will drive my sketch.  To help keep myself accountable (because I'm trying to keep it real with myself), I'm aiming to provide you with a little looksie at the sketches every Sunday.  

Without further ado, here are the sketches from the previous week!

(please don't judge me):

1/1/2017
Happiness
What says happiness better than creature pajamas and friends?
1/2/2017
Beauty
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...or a cup of coffee, amirite?
1/3/2017
Sleep
On the rare occasion that I am unable to sleep, sheep will do...
1/4/2017
Garden
I wish there were rose pixies in real life...
1/5/2017
Imagination
You're a special snowflake too
1/6/17
Give
Love is the best kind of gift! (but presents are cool too)
1/7/2017
Secret
How about a secret moon garden? I imagine meteor fish and star flowers and moonlight bugs! 

So there you have it.

My first week of sketches down!  

Keep an eye out for this weeks' group of drawings, next Monday <3 


XO











Friday, January 6, 2017

Daunting Realities...


...of a Solo Show...

I've been scouring the Interwebs for anything remotely helpful about this topic.  Most of the material I've uncovered is pretty useful and slightly daunting.

Intimidating.

Scary.

I could go on, but you get the picture here.

Key things I've learned about a solo show thus far:
  • A solo exhibition is based on a theme, topic, idea, word, etc.
  • A typical show consists of 12-15 works
  • All works relate to the "theme" in some way, shape or form.
12 to 15 individual pieces of work.  0_0

Now, naturally, the amount of work necessary really is dependent on the venue/gallery space, and what they are looking for.  Some may want less or more.

There are a few other things to consider along with a theme, and that is size and orientation.  To be fair, I've certainly seen a few exhibitions that didn't stick to one particular size for their work, but I definitely understand the appeal on keeping things consistent.  If everything is the same size and orientation, then it lends more focus to the actual work.  It's the same thing with framing choices in the end as well.

Did you know that different orientations express different things?  I had no idea either!

I will share it with you too:
  • Landscape - Peaceful
  • Portrait - Majestic/Active
  • Square - Risky/contemporary
The other major point in all of this, is the actual proposal to galleries/venues.  That is a whole different animal altogether; one I will research more on later, but for now my focus is on the 12 to 15 pieces as my first step.

For this year, my aim is to teach myself to be more focused and to improve my planning/research phase.  One of my goals is to do 2 different series.  A lofty goal indeed but I think challenging myself is important.

I will talk more on theme choice next time, though.

Happy Friday!

XO







Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017...


...is here.

Already.

What.

When did that happen?

It seems I've lost touch with a great many things towards the end of 2016, the least of which being blogging.

I find myself missing this public diary of mine more than I thought I would.  It was a great outlet, of sorts.  I wondered if I just pushed myself to type out the words, I might have felt better about any of the inner turmoil I struggled with during the last few months of the year.

Maybe, maybe not.

Best not to dwell on past things we cannot change and turn our focus towards the future on things we can manage instead. (my third inner voice is sarcastically telling me "easier said than done")

It's time to go to work!

For 2016, I was so sure all I needed were "goals" and then I could just achieve them. Easy peasy. That was not the case because I didn't have a clear, defined idea of what I wanted.  For myself or career.  Apparently, that should have been my first step; figuring out what exactly I wanted.

Taking a page out of Mike's book of awesome, I decided to start with figuring out where I wanted to see myself in 5 years.  After that, things became a little more focused and simplified.

So, in 5 years time I would like to achieve a solo exhibition for myself. 

I know, right? Exciting!

I am feeling pretty optimistic.  I've set goals for this year to help me grow as an artist and hopefully help mature my work and style.

But more about that in the next post, promise!

For now, I wish everyone a fruitful and productive new year!


XO