Inked Blessings

It began simply enough; I just wanted to draw a simple Christmas tree, but the lines went a little crazy and well…you can see the result. The pen had a mind of its own, so I decided to let it talk.

Trees with character started to emerge, and began to haunt my dreams.

Christmas trees will have to wait….I am otherwise occupied.

Doodle Blessings

To keep learning is a blessing. This week, I signed up for a sketching workshop, with no idea what to expect. Turns out we were learning the art of meditative doodling, trademarked as Zentangle.

The featured image I created in class. I thought it would be fun to do my granddaughter’s initial. This is where I’ve gotten to so far.

Ric immediately went out and bought me more pens, so the addiction is now full blown.

Arting People

Faces and bodies intimidate me, when it comes to art. So I decided to start simply, with this computerized sketch (featured) made from an old photograph of one of my girls.

I have found with my sketching that adhering to the original is not always necessary, as long as I get the general idea. This is art, after all.

I choose the colours that I want to introduce to the image – pink, blue, and burnt sienna. Wetting the paper, I dab in the colour, then decide to add some green.

I take pictures along the way, so that I can objectively consider the painting and what else it needs. At this point, I usually redo some of the sketch lines, but I don’t feel inclined to do that here. Instead, I think about highlighting areas of the piece by intensifying the colour. I paint the trees in the upper right hand corner, and then opt to do her hat.

Still not satisfied, I decide to sleep on it. In the morning, I realize that it is the snowball that is bothering me. I decide to introduce yellow, emphasizing her hair and the ball.

Now the painting has taken on a metaphorical aspect, telling a story.

To me, it is the light the emanates from this special child.

Self-Portrait and Mountains

Many moons ago, I won an award for my artistic talents and was immediately counselled to drop the art program. That same year, I wrote my first novel, and after it was graded, I burnt it. I wasn’t meant to be creative, I decided, and obediently signed up for advanced math and other academic subjects.

For decades following, I admired the creativity of others and bemoaned the fact that I didn’t have a creative bone in my body. Now that I have put that nonsense behind me, and reconnected with that younger self, I am revelling in exploration.

And, still rolling in the mire of self-doubt.

I am very conscientious of the fact that I have not been a student of art – that I wouldn’t recognize a Gaugin from a Renoir without some prodding. I don’t know the technical terms and when I read artists’ blogs, I am often lost. Does this make me an imposter? I wonder.

Still, I plod along – my work station a permanent corner of our abode (we dine on our laps) – each day daring myself to try something new. Thus the self-portrait.

Mostly, I am focusing on sketching, and liking where the extensive pencil work is taking me. This mountain scene is inspired by the large rock formations of Joshua Tree National Park. Less focused on realism, I find I am more liberal with the watercolours.

Each new venture is a learning.

Thank you for coming along with me on this journey. Comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated.


A Fresh Approach

It started with a tree. Something about the texture of the bark appealed to me, so I took a picture.

Then I examined the image on my computer, and pondered what the image was saying to me. Did it need altering? Was it worth keeping?

Every time I looked at it, I was drawn to a small, cartoonish face just off center. I decided to sketch that face, and work outwards from there.

The image moved left and right of the face, but I felt compelled to set the two halves of the photo on top of one another, so the sketch no longer resembled the original.

Then, using a fine brush, I traced all of my pencil marks with dark paint. Noting that the bark was not one colour, I then added a second shade. When all of that dried, I wet the paper and blotted in two more colours, let the water work its will.

I repeated the steps again for more vibrancy.

The Storyteller, by V.J. Knutson

What emerged was this old tree, with the profile of an ancient, and so I’ve titled the piece “Storyteller”.

This is a new approach to art for me, but I am so excited about the process that I’m working on a similar one based on a rock formation.

What do you see in the old tree trunk?

Art: Still Learning

Clouds mesmerize me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a clear, blue sky, but clouds are the stuff of poetry, lending themselves naturally to personification, often drawing my lens to their ever-changing moods.

I searched for You-Tube videos on how to paint clouds.  After watching three different artists work rapidly and with great confidence I felt the weight of my inadequacy.  Perhaps, I thought, it is too soon for me to tackle clouds.   And then I remembered that I am a voluntary student of art, and since no one is marking me, there is no harm in trying.

purplemountains.pngI did, however, deduce three things from watching the videos:

  1.  Every artist has their own technique (i.e. there is no right or wrong way).  In fact all three approached the medium differently from my teacher.  So, just do what feels right.
  2. Confidence is only ever gained through practice.
  3.  Art is experimental.  Even the pros were at the mercy of the water and paint.

So, armed with possibilities, I have been practicing clouds.

saltriverart.pngI have also been playing with colour, trying to overcome my fear of making mistakes by venturing outside of normal colour palettes.  I love vibrant colours and I want my work to reflect that.

As a side note, my husband commented that the perspective in this painting is off, to which an artist friend replied: perspective is the right of the artist.  Yeah her!

IMG_1196.jpgThis friend, who is a viable artist, suggested I might have fun by painting the page first and adding the sketches afterwards.  So I’m giving that a try. The grebes are a quick attempt, but encouraging.

Bottomline:  just like writing, painting and sketching are skills that will only improve with application.

Besides, this beats watching the nonsense that is on television.  I should get a bump sticker for my walker that reads:  I’d rather be learning art.

Anyone else have suggestions for the this budding artist?