There are times when inspiration just isn’t to be found and you’re at a loss for an interesting subject. I know this intimately and I believe every artist goes through this at one time or another.
The essential question is how to escape the vortex. My tried and true models are always available to draw… I have three. My feet (slippered, socks, or bare), my hand (or hands), and my face (either a mirrored self portrait, from a photo, or from my imagination). Any one of these can spark an illustration and memories.
March was a month of reflection… but at least I wasn’t at a loss for a model.
Still finding stuff I haven’t posted… one year ago today.
Last week was the Tunbridge World’s Fair, tucked into a hollow in Vermont’s Green Mountains. There’s always plenty of cows, goats and swine at this country fair. It has THE BEST prize-winning cakes, jams and pickles, huge pumpkins and incredibly clever scarecrows.
I’ve documented all this in my sketchbook over the years but this time something special caught my eye. A bird. Not just any bird… a vibrant, colorfully feathered creature. Not a fancy chicken or even a Guinea hen… a pheasant maybe?
I could have taken a photo and walked on… but what’s the fun in that? Instead I drew this glorious thing with feathers, annotating my sketch with all the pertinent info. I had already decided that adding paint here would be a disaster… I’d do it at home.
My comprehensive notes allowed me to complete the spread without even looking at the two reference photos I quickly took before moving on.
He’s beautiful, he’s exotic. But what IS he?
Google to the rescue. It seems he’s a cross of two Asian pheasants, a Golden and Lady Amherst’s hybrid.
And a well positioned lens view through the cage.
Next summer be sure to make time in your busy schedule to visit one of your local fairs. You never know what you’ll find.
I look at this and my eyes are immediately drawn to my neck.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of reading Nora Ephron’s book, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, you know where I’m coming from.
This is another of my ink sketches on a pre-painted acrylic ink background… this one with a watercolor wash… and I see I need a haircut too!
Oh my! I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve worked on my Every Day Matters challenges… I posted my last set of EDM pages on June 22nd. Yowza!
I see #112 was sketched on June 21st but then there was this huge gap of nearly 7 months. I hope I can post my next set in a more timely fashion.
So without further ado…
Text on the above page has been obscured for privacy. Wish I knew how to do this better but until I figure out a way, this will have to do.
We all have an inner critic, the IC, that noxious voice getting in the way of your artistic progress. What we need is a way to retrain our critic to critique the work instead.
As an example I’ll show you a spread I made a few weeks ago while out with my Thursday plein air group. They’re all fine artists and at every excursion I talk to myself………………. Do. Not. Compare.
It has issues, my IC sees the mud, the poorly defined tree mass and the random scratchy lines in the chairs. Is that helpful? Not really. As I critique the piece I register that as I created this piece I hurried my lines… I needed to look… really look and slow down. My trees have nice trunks but again, I rushed. Breathe! It’ll still be there… what’s the rush?
A good critique also reflects on the pieces that DO work. I managed to capture the depth within the barn and the stacked feed bags.
Practice! The more work you create the looser the hold your inner critic has on you. I remember that day clearly. As I sat painting and chatting, I savored the sun, the beautiful breeze, freshly picked sweet strawberries and especially the pleasant camaraderie of a morning spent with friends.
Every time I see this I will remember it all… and my critic has been banished!
Since I finished my latest sketchbook this morning I wanted to upload my EDM – Every Day Matters pages when I noticed I hadn’t uploaded my work from my way back in February! So… first things first…
I’m working my way up to number 328… good thing there’s not a deadline! See the entire list here at Danny Gregory’s site.
Whew! It’s been a full month. It’s hard to believe tomorrow’s JUNE!
My penultimate spread. (Penultimate… one of my favorite words.) Only 5 more days to go!
I don’t know how I managed without my new center locating ruler. It’s funny how the little things make such an impact!