Last year, I decided I was done with writing. I was tired of always talking about writing a book, and then never following through. So, I decided to just give up. It was right about that time that I came across Karen Abend’s Sketchbook Revival. There are not words to express what an impact taking part in Sketchbook Revival had on my life. Since participating, I have created something every day for a year. In fact, taking part in Sketchbook Revival is what eventually brought me back to my writing. If you’re interested in participating, the 2019 session has just started, and it is free! You can sign up here. If you’re worried that you are not artistic enough, just know that I could not even draw when I participated, and somehow, the exercises awakened a creative part of myself that I didn’t know even existed. So, if you have ever wanted to develop a daily creative habit, I highly recommend participating. I am eternally grateful to Karen Abend for creating such a wonderful, safe environment to allow everyone to spread their creative wings.
The first sketchbook page below is continuous line portrait drawings from Koosje Koene‘s session Portrait Party. One thing that I love about the Sketchbook Revival sessions is that they are so much fun. This was no exception.
The second page (second/third photos) are sidewalk crack animals. Yep! That’s right. In Carla Sonheim‘s session we made animals out of sidewalk cracks. So. Much. Fun! I imagine my son and I will have a lot of fun doing this creative exercise over the summer.
The third page is filled with magical mindfulness houses from Tamara Laporte‘s session which really did help me relieve some overwhelming stress I was experiencing this morning.
I’m hoping to keep up with all the sessions this year, and to share my progress here.
For Day 26/40 of #DailyArtDevotions #artjournal journey with Elizabeth Foley, I decided to create my night sky representation using watercolor and Bombay inks. I really love how it turned out.
Something I learned in Tamara Laporte’s Creativity and Wellbeing Summit with Lucy Brydon is to put two layers of watercolor on the page to make the colors more vibrant. I also learned from Lucy how to make the galaxy stars using white ink and a toothbrush.
Something else I added for effect was salt, and I also used a dryer to move the watercolors around on the page. Then I put watercolors on a mop brush and slung them across the page. I will be doing a lot more of these. The effect is beautiful.
I have been diligently working on my novel, but it is not as satisfying as I thought it would be. The art just keeps calling to me. I feel like a kid who has to eat all their vegetables before they get to eat dessert. I don’t think that’s the way it’s supposed to be. I’ve been flirting with the idea of giving up on writing the novel for now, and returning to building my skills as an artist. I have more research I need to do for the novel, and I think it might be best to put the writing aside, and do the research while returning to art.
In keeping with that plan, I started back with the #EverAfter2018 course this week, with Ady Almanza’s class. It was so much fun, and not so much fun, and I learned so much. Instead of trying to do it all at once, like I usually do, I took my time, doing one step each day. Sometimes I had to make myself stop because I really wanted to keep going and not stop until I was finished, but I know it is important for me to break that habit now.
Another thing I realized, is that I am gaining confidence. Her hair in the painting did not turn out well, and normally I would have just started all over again or quit. This time, though, I set it aside for a while, and then came back to it. When I came back, I had an idea of what I could do to fix it. I decided to paint over the hair and the areas that were not working for me with black acrylic paint, and then added the highlights to the hair again. I really like the results the second time around, and I like that I came up with a solution to fix the painting that worked.
For this painting, I used Bombay Inks, acrylic paints, oil pastels, acrylic pen, and gloss glazing liquid.
My son goes back to school on the 22nd, and at that time, I am going to begin work on my novel once again. My intention is to work on my novel during the week, and then continue my art development journey on the weekends. My intention is to have a polished draft completed by December 31, 2018. I’m posting that here as a way to keep myself accountable.
It’s interesting how quickly I have already gotten myself out of the habit of creating daily, and how much longer it takes me to complete an art project because my days are filled up with other things now. But, I’ve made a lot of progress on a personal level integrating meditation and journaling back into my daily routine. I’ve also incorporated some dancing into my daily routine. It has become quite clear as of late that I have not been including fun as a daily requirement. Even those things that were fun, I have hijacked and made into something serious. I’m working on changing that.
For the past couple of days, I’ve been working my way through Elizabeth Foley’s Art of Spiritual Living Online Retreat session with Tamara Laporte. The session was to create a self-portrait in a mindful and meditative way, and I loved it. I used a slightly altered quote from Anne Lamott’s book Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith which I just finished reading for a second time. It was even better the second time around!
Today I was feeling more energetic and focused. I finished editing a chapter of a friend’s novel, and then finished up my #KuanYin #oilpastel painting from Lucy Chen’s #EverAfter2018 lesson.
It’s interesting how creative energy ebbs and flows. Through this daily creative practice, I’m learning to create despite the energetic highs and lows. Sometimes, just the act of sitting down and starting will jumpstart the flow. Other times, I am aggravated throughout the process, and I am learning to be aware of when it is time to stop and come back to it another day. My intention with this daily practice is to create something. It does not have to be good, nor does it have to be complete.
I’ve never worked with oil pastels, and I’m amazed how they seem to transform themselves on the page. Pure magic. I adore this #KuanYin painting. She is one of my favorites so far. It helps that she came at the perfect time when I was very much in need of compassion.
For my creative practice, I completed step one and step two of adding color to my #KuanYin oil pastel from Lucy Chen’s #EverAfter2018 lesson.
Today I proved to myself that if I just sit down and start at any time, I will get something accomplished. I did not want to create anything today. I was very, very resistant. So, much later than usual, I decided to just sit down and start the video. Two hours later, I had made quite a bit of progress. I also learned that I love working with oil pastels a lot, and the ones that I am using are just the Pentel Arts brand that I bought for about $6.00!
I have made the decision to continue with a daily creative practice in August. My intention for the month is to participate in some form of creative activity every day and to post about it here on my blog.
I like posting what I create in stages not only so that I can see my own progress, but also so other beginning artists can see the process of another beginning artist. When I was an MFA student, we had a guest writer come in and give us copies of a first draft of one of his chapters from his published memoir. It was incredible to see the difference between his first draft and what was published. I carry that experience with me and draw from it any time I start to get to caught up in perfectionist first drafts both in my writing and art. I wish more people would share the stages of what they create – especially in writing – so that we could all see real examples of what Anne Lamott calls “Shitty First Drafts.” Maybe then we wouldn’t be so afraid of our own.
For today’s creative practice, I began Lucy Chen’s Kuan Yin lesson from Tamara Laporte’s Ever After 2018 course. This sketch took much longer than I anticipated, but I like how it’s going so far.