Saturday, December 24, 2011

Drawing: Hunter and Hunted

Here is something I did for a Christmas present. I've been very busy, but I have a lot of stuff I'm going to upload and blog about!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Drawing 3

Another small drawing, incomplete though!

Painting : Mini Chocolate Portrait

I've been at home without Internet and it's hard for me to type up these posts on my phone. So I haven't been doing that.


But I just got this cute little painting done and I want to share, since I've been doing mostly commissions.

It's going to be a bit longer before I'm connected again and will be able to use a keyboard for this.

Anyone know of a keyboard I can attach to my iPhone?

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Friday, December 02, 2011

Painting: Experiment - Acrylic as Watercolors

I don't know about you but when I have a pile of cheap materials my first thought is, "Yay! Experiment time!" I feel much better using five dollar paint than 30 dollar a tube paint.

Do I get the same results with cheap paint as good paint? Good grief, no! But can see how a technique I am not used to will work out without worrying that messing up will break the bank!

I was working with layering acrylics as if they were watercolors when I did this piece. And parts of it I just love, but I'm not upset that the whole piece didn't turn out. In fact, I'm psyched to try again using the faux fauve technique of layering colors!

All without worrying about paint that's 12 dollars a tube!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Artist: Peter Jones

I remember a long while ago someone commented on my blog and asked for more information about my teacher, Peter Jones. I remember there not being a strong web presence at the time, and I managed to find a handful of examples of his work. Just the other day I was on facebook and I found a link to an interview he had done for the NCLAC.

It can be found at this link, and it is also transcribed if you scroll down beyond the audio player.

I can't say enough about him and everything he taught me. It is because of Peter Jones and Glenn Kennedy that I am an artist right now. They taught me pretty much everything about color theory and drawing and painting from life. Before, I was nothing but a scanner and printer. I mean, I could take a photo and reproduce it okay, but I was never an artist. They taught me it was okay to be an artist and to be intelligent, because they are!

When Glenn Kennedy died, I don't think I could have made it through those last years of school without Peter Jones. Peter was patient, kind and understanding throughout everything. He continued to teach me art and seeing, and he supported me in everything I did. He is still teaching me!

One day I want to be able to write everything down I can about my teacher and make it sound good. Right now I feel like I'm saying too much and not enough at the same time. I wanted to link to the interview and post about how blogs might take awhile as I have several Christmas commissions due, but I can't post about my teacher without saying something about his absolute awesomeness. But what I write comes out like I'm over stating, not giving enough examples, and not saying everything I actually feel (All in all, bad writing!). So until I can say everything I want to say in a good blog post: THANK YOU PROFESSOR PETER JONES!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Artist: Jessie Tucker

One of my best friends is an amazing artist. She paints and creates and conceptualizes and sings.

This is a link to her newest song that she has just uploaded. She's got a nice, jazzy low and clear voice. She does her own writing. The only thing missing is the band.

If you happen to be in a band that's in need of a singer, I'd give her a shot. And I'd give her a listen even if you aren't in a band. Leave her a comment too! Let her know you're listening.

Clothes: Shalwar Kameeze

I just had to post this picture of my new shalwar kameeze that Ahmed brought me from Pakistan when he went to his brother's wedding. I just love it! I plan on wearing it for a Christmas party since it's bright red and pretty.

Last year I wore a red one that Varsha had given me.

I have a watercolor I'm working on where I'm painting a blue kameeze and a pretty yellow kameeze with an orange dappatha. And there are people I'm going to paint in those kameezes!

I haven't done watercolor since highschool. So, I just did a ton of reading of all the watercolor books I own and I've been trying to make it work. I'll show my work in progress later tonight. I might just have to give up and do it in oils, but I love how watercolors look!

Painting: Abstract Acrylic

This is a detail of the large two foot by four foot painting I did for Varsha. I only had one night to do it, so Varsha chose a fun yet easy abstract piece to do. We had some modeling paste to give it a quick texture and then I painted the black, then the bright warm red, then used the cool red to blend them. For the grey areas I used silver with the white and black to give it a bit more sparkle. I'm not sure about the silver, it may have added a bit of sparkle but I'm not sure if it added enough. May have to add more.

If you look in the computer monitor, you can see the piece we were copying. For my own art I prefer not to do that, but we only had five hours and I decided if Varsha liked it, I wasn't really making money off of it. Just a piece for personal use.

I might try my own abstract work soon!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Painting: Calla Lilies

This last week I've been in Austin, TX visiting my friend Varsha. I haven't been near where I can do a lot, being without a computer, but I did a few paintings. I'm also going to restart my fiverr gigs, so watch for that soon!

While I was there I helped design and decorate her apartment. I took photos of each room. After that I did sketches which I will post later, just giving us ideas. Then we went to Ikea and a couple of other places. And then after we built the couch I did art work for the walls!

I did two pieces, both in acrylic. The calla lilies were done on nice watercolor paper, and the large abstract painting I did on a two foot by four foot canvas. I framed the lilies, but I don't have a photo of that.

I will be uploading the photos I have of myself working on the other painting as well. And the sketches and if Varsha says it's ok, photos of how her rooms turned out.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Fiverr: Poás Volcano

I'm definitely going to have to take a picture of this on in natural light. I really like how it turned out. Lots of yellow and gray and it's pretty abstract, but it has form. And I like this place. I would really like to visit the Poás Volcano. Looks beautiful around there. This would be another place I'd like to paint from life.

Tomorrow I'm going on a plane to Austin and this will be my first plane trip by myself. I'm nervous, but I think it will be a good dry run for going on other flights to other places. Like maybe to a foreign country. At least I will know some things to expect.

And I have exciting news!! This summer I am heading over to my first real honest to God foreign country. Yay! I'm really excited because I get to go to Italy! I've never been on a really big trip before. I've never been out of the country and I just got my passport. I am a bit nervous about it being Italy though. My cousin thinks I'm nuts because I have almost no qualms about going to Pakistan. She's probably right. That could also be because I'm much more comfortable with Urdu. And right now I'm having problems remembering any vocabulary in Italian because I keep trying to speak in Spanish. But I will definitely get better. There are so many great artists to see in Italy! I have a feeling I'll start crying at some point during the trip. I'll be crying because I'll be completely moved by the art.

I've said I might lose my return ticket and find myself on a long hike painting beautiful landscapes. For awhile. Ah! Molto bello. Or bella? I don't know! My Italian is bad. I'll get better.

Where do you want to go? What language do you want to learn? Do you try to learn languages before you go on your trips? What exciting places have you been to?!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Craft: Hat

I love the way this fabric is knitting up! It's got a gorgeous red that's muted by creams and blue and green splashes. And gold! I love the thin slivers of gold.

This is going to be a beanie hat without ears. I'm hoping it fits because I just sort of guessed at the size. But it's going to be ribbed so it will be fairly stretchy!

I'm starting to think making a swatch might be useful.

Maybe :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fiverr: Beach

I need a better photograph of this. Made it look better and the dog is chasing some birds. But this is the one I have. Beaches are cool. I wish I could do one from life. I'd add some sand to the paint. Probably by dropping it, but I'd be in good company:

Craft: Hat!

Look! I have ears now! Bigger ones.

And I feel this craft is complete. My cousin has just told me she doesn't want to be seen with me in public.
But I think the hat is adorable and I at least didn't add the tassels to the ends. Though I am thinking about using the pink fabric that came with it to make the insides of the ears pink so it really looks like cat ears!

For my next hat? Beanie! Though I am in love with the ears, I am not sure if any of the people I will be gifting these to will like them as much as me.

I think mom and Jaya are gonna be the only ones I could make them for who would appreciate the loveliness that is this specific hat!

It was really simple. Cast on 68 stitches (I did 74) on 16" sized 10 round needles. Then I did K2P2 for about 7 or so rounds. Then I did K1P1 until the fabric was 7.5 inches long. Then I bound it off, and sewed it together at the top.

So simple!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Artist: Alexa Meade

I have to say I found this artist and I just love it! Instead of tricking the eye with paint to make a subject look real, she uses paint to make photographs look like paintings!

Anyway her site can probably explain better than I can.

Makes me want to invest in some body paint and do something fun down in New Orleans!


Craft: New Hat

Well, I will have a hat tomorrow if all goes well. Right now I just have fabric yarn and new knitting needles. I'm hoping everything fits once I get done too because I have a "children's pattern" oddly enough.

Ok. It's not odd at all! I have very out there taste.

But tomorrow I hope to have myself an adult sized hat in a children's style. The package says "five hour craft" and I spent two of them getting the fabric strips tied together and rolled into a ball, so in three hours I better have a wearable hat!

We'll see... Won't we?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fiverr: Weirdness

Medical Corset
Oil on Matboard
Get Your Own Tiny Painting! October Special

I wasn't sure how this one was going to turn out, but I actually really like it! It's sketchy and weird and definitely in my weird style. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, but I think it ended up pretty okay. Weird, but I like weird. Especially so near Halloween!

And I finished a commission and that made me really happy! But I can't put the drawings up because of artist/model confidentiality and some stuff. But they turned out pretty neat, if I do say so myself. If you want a drawing done, just send me a message, leave a comment, drop by my Etsy store and see what I have ready. I'll have more up as soon as possible, but if you need something specific don't hesitate to ask!

I also received my knitting needles today, so I'm going to do my best to knit myself a hat out of fabric. I don't know what I'm doing, so if it comes out looking like a hat, I'll be thrilled. If it turns out not looking like a hat, I'll still be thrilled if it will fit on my head. I've also made some new beads, I'll have to wait till tomorrow to get some good photographs of them with my good camera, but after I do that I'm putting them on Etsy. Along with some other drawings and paintings I have!

And I'm still working on my website. I had something that looked pretty neat, but my computer was not plugged in and then it just decided to quit and I lost everything. Not fun. I feel like just paying someone to do it, but I can't really justify the price when I'm perfectly capable of doing it myself. I'll give myself one more try.

Anyway, I have a lot of work to do! Let me know what you are all up to!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fiverr: Artichoke

Oil Painting on Mat Board

I was really excited about how this one came out. I'd never painted and artichoke before and I wasn't sure how it was going to come out. So I just followed my process and it started coming together.

I do have a slight confession. I try to only give myself 15-30 minutes on these paintings. Sometimes it takes me more time, sometimes less when I'm at the top of my game. So far less hasn't happened a lot.

I also sat down and worked on a website last night. An actual site, not just a blog or a page of some old art, but something I can use! I started coding it myself, then I realized I needed to actually have my artwork organized and ready to plug in. So that's what I did last night! I have organized art files! And the very beginning of a site! whoop!

Do you make your own sites? Pay someone? Use free templates? Just have a blog? How do you use your site?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fiverr: Bride and Groom

Bad photos, I know, but it's been raining all day and I can't get non blurry photos in this light! They were a fun couple to work on. I really liked their photos too.

I've started a couple of drawing commissions as well, and I think that'll help with my painting too. I can't show photos, but just know I am working hard and getting paid for it!

:) That thrills me to no end!

If you want to buy some of my work I've got several paintings still up on Etsy. That includes a five dollar painting deal for the month of October.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


While walking to the post office I came across these tea cups. They were just sitting there on the sidewalk just like this. I didn't move them or touch them, just whipped out my phone and captured the rather strange scene.

It's been in my head for awhile now, trying to figure out how they got there. What their owners had been doing. Where they went....

There's a story here I can just sense it!

Fiverr: Baby

I thought the expression on this baby photo was just too adorable. Slightly annoyed and slightly amused! I hope she likes her painting!

Fiverr: Doggy

Dogs are pretty fun to paint I think. I wonder when I'm going to get a cat?!

I've been super busy, but that just means I'll have a fair amount of posts coming up!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Free Tickets to Japan?!

I am still very interested in going to Japan, despite not being picked for the  JET program. Oh well, their loss. I would have still gone to Japan even with the earthquakes and the tsunamis and the radiation had I been picked and it would have been great getting to teach and help out.

Though it would have been nice to get paid to do that, I suppose the next best thing would be free tickets.

The catch is I'd have to blog about it.

So really, what catch? I plan on sketching and painting and photographing and just experiencing all the beautiful things there! Of course I'd be learning more Japanese as well.

I suppose that means I have a better chance with more blog followers, a more active blog, more comments. I'd better start working on it!

I can't wait until there is more information. Do you hope to go? Do you want to go? Afraid to go? Is there another place you wish would do this? Let me know!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Artumn Madness: Autumn!

I've been away this weekend, with a fairly unstable Internet connection and no phone signal at all. Yay!

And I did a lot of painting. Yay!

And all the paintings came out badly. Boo!

Which is why I'm updating with photos. I did plein air painting and I guess I was completely out of practice because they turned out fairly badly as finished work. But as color studies and sketches they're pretty good. So I'm going to work on a finished pieced based on what I have done this weekend!


Saturday, October 08, 2011

Artumn Madness: Arkansas

The leaves have started to change in some areas and even though you don't see bright reds and oranges everywhere yet I've noticed the greens aren't the vibrant young greens we get during spring, and have even started turning from the full green of summer.

I'm up here in Arkansas painting great views like this badly for awhile. I'm much too out of practice in plein air painting and right now I am trying to get better. I've been doing so well I must be having an off day. Plus I've been used to tiny still life work for so long my brain is having a time adjusting. But I am painting. Even if I don't want to show my work! Just a quick photo.

How soon do you first notice the shift to autumn? What do you notice first? Do you have a very pronounced autumn where you live?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Process: Step by Step

(Edited, because I should apparently not type when I have a raging headache!)

After my friend asked me about my painting process when it comes to drawing from life, I thought it would be best if I show as much of the process as I could. I do try and show myself painting on video fairly often, but a lot of times I'm painting at night and it's a pain to get my camera set up so it can see anything I am doing. I decided that step by step pictures would be a bit more helpful. 

Also, most of my process is fairly left brained. I follow a formula for a good chunk of my set up. But there comes a point of complete right brained-ness where a "how to" or a "step by step" doesn't really work. That's why there is such a jump in the last couple of pictures. But I will do my best to explain my thought process and choices. 

Step One: Choose a Subject

This is fairly simple. I raid the kitchen fruit bowl and my stash of handmade pottery a lot of times. Some people trick  ask friends to pose for them. Other people beg their dog or pet of choice to stay still. Others pay people to sit still for long hours. Clothing optional. And some people go outside and sit. That last one has a fairly different starting point for me. But I'll talk about plein air painting later. Right now, we're just drawing with people or objects in front of us. 

If you can use north light, which is a wonderful cool, diffused, stable, natural light, then YAY! I'd use that. But if I'm painting at night I find it much easier to just turn on a light and have it illuminating my fruit. During the day I use north light though. I'll write a post about why that's the painter's light of choice soon. 

So after you have your fruit arranged and the lights on, what's next?

Step 2: Place the large shape on a toned ground

This is the large shape of your objects. There are several ways to do this, depending on what you are drawing. You can see that here, I just put down the large shape all the fruit kind of made. Because I'm working small, I like doing it this way.

If I were working larger, I would first give myself a margin all the way around the painting. Then I would put down a gesture, before putting down this large shape. I wouldn't have the gesture forming the outside contours of the objects, but focus more on their center placement. More like a constellation than anything.

And the toned ground. Normally I tone with raw sienna, but right now I've been using a lot of shellacked illustration and mat board. The shellac I use is amber colored, and the mat board I use is all sorts of colors. This gives me a fairly wide range from a nice pale amber to /really, really, really/ almost black dark. This was amber on top of a dark orange, so it's darker than even I'm used to. But it was next in the pile.

After this comes

Step 3: Psudo Giacometti and Contour

As you can see I'm obviously not drawing with vertical and horizontal lines as I would were I doing the Giacometti Technique in its purest form. You can however, see where I was using it to figure out where to place the bottoms of the aanar and the top of the lemon. It's very useful that way. I should also probably mention at this point that the photograph I took of the fruit was done fairly low to the table. I was sitting up a good one or two feet above that, hence you can see the top of the aanar in the painting. Remember, I'm painting this from life, and not from any photograph. 

Always be exact in your drawing. If you make a mistake, don't be afraid to correct it! There are several times I redrew parts of the fruit. If you pay attention during this step, the following steps will definitely be easier, but you should always be looking and asking, "Is this right?" and then LOOKING for the answer. Painting is like taking an open book test. The answers are always right in front of you!

Then we come to,

Step 4: Valueshapes

Here is where I start to place dark values down. Most of the time I use burnt sienna for my first shadows, but because the board I used was incredibly darker than I'm used to, I used burnt umber as well.

Here I'm drawing the shapes of the shadows, trying to make sure my line drawings are right. I'm also picking out the dark areas, and asking myself, what is darker? Squinting helps a lot here. It filters out color and hue and leaves you with swatches of dark. I then paint those shapes. I use the unpainted canvas as my lights until

Step 5: Add some lights

For awhile now I've been painting fruit just sitting on a simple white table. So right about now I fill that in so I have paint around all my objects to paint into, and pull to into their form when I need to redraw some things. You can see I've kind of worked it into the lemon here.

Step 6: Relative Color

This is the first step that I'll add color. I won't be really picky about the color, as long as the value is correct. I'll try to use warmer variations of the color in the light, and cooler in the shadows. Here you can see I used cad red light for the side of the aanar in the light, and alizarin crimson for the cool side. The side of the lemon in the light gets cad yellow light, while its shadowy area is more of a raw umber with cool yellow, or green. I think I also warmed that shadow a bit with burnt sienna in some areas too. Because my light is so warm my shadows will be cooler, with cool north light the opposite would be true. But I still like to really warm up my darks. 

Anyway, after that, I do

Step 7: Right Brained Magic Time

The next thing I do is pretty much playing with color and value. "Is this the right value? If I squint does it look right? Is the color intense enough? if it's intense enough, is it the right value? Did I mess up that shape??" 

As you can see I've only really started on the left aanar. I'm trying to build up values, and add more paint to the lights here. And that's pretty much what I did with the other fruit. Add more paint to the lights. I'm afraid I didn't take a picture before I added the highlights...

Finally at the very end:

Step 8: The darkest darks, The lightest lights

Here is where I add the final things: The darkest bits of the painting and the high lights. I really think the highlights make or break a painting. You can get away with a lot with a lot of paint and some well placed highlights!

And then after that... well, I usually wait until the next morning to get a good photograph of it in natural light. And fix anything that's still bugging me the next day. I always need that extra time to really go back and look with fresh eyes.

I can already see the shape of that lemon and that right aanar can use more of that light pink color, though it is darker than the other one. I'll see if there is something I can do to it. 


I hope my little step by step process helps, at least for the beginning stages. I know I didn't talk about color mixing or details or anything important! But I hope this allows you to tackle some blank canvas of your own!

Museums: I suppose I've been doing it wrong then!

I suppose if looking at the art in museums gets security all over you, I should be doing this:

In case you're wondering about it being safe for work or not, there is one picture of his wife naked from the back, fairly small, all the way down at the bottom of the blog post.

I've been using museums incorrectly my whole life!

(This blog post is meant for humor. And because I like Neil Gaiman.)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Fiverr: Doggy

Quick painting and post! I'll explain my absence soon. Pretty much just busy, tired, and painting!

I've been doing a lot for Artumn Madness!!! Any one else joining me for October?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Artumn Madness: Day 6

I've been painting a lot of these because they are tasty and I love them. I need to buy more. I need to practice more too.

I have a painting of a dog I did for a fiverr gig I'll post later today. I will stop the gigs for my autumn painting time, so if you want one you better order before tomorrow, when I'll suspend my painting gig. I'll still be doing drawings, however.

I've also got to figure out how to update my ticker on my phone. It still says I've only done a little over 100 sq inches! That's so not true :)

Is anyone going to join me for Artumn Madness in October? It's only a little over 3.5 sheets of letter sized (A4) paper a day for a month! Not too difficult!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Artumn Madness: Inspiration of the Day 01

So, I was asked the question, "If I do this, how will I get enough ideas to draw every day?"

This was a good question because it made me think outside of my head for a bit. For me, ideas just pour in. I look at stuff from the past, I doodle, I keep a camera with me at all times, I keep a sketch book, etc.

Ideas beget ideas.

But how to start when one is not used to coming up with ideas?

I have decided to share some of my set ups with everyone. Ideally, you would want to set up this in your own studio or work space and draw or paint from life. But I know this isn't always possible. You are welcome to paint directly from my photos on these posts. They aren't the best photos, being done with an iPhone, but they are there just to get so ideas flowing. Here is an anaar.

Simple, but the reds are difficult to get just right.

And here is one that's a bit more dynamic:
Yeah... I've been painting veggies and fruit. But thy are so fun! And I always start to think about what else I can do with them. Onions can be peeled and have gorgeous skin when light shines through it. And Pomegranate seeds are like little jewels! There are just a ton of ways these things can be painted! I could spend the entirety of autumn on just fruit!

But...I also have some handmade pottery I've been wanting to use in a painting. And the trees are starting to turn. And cotton is almost ready to be picked. It is the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness.

Inspired? Have something you can't wait to draw or paint? Something or someone you secretly want to paint? Let us know (what you can!) :)

Artumn Madness: Days Three, Four and Five

Isn't this time of year great? It's been absolutely busy. And I've been doing my best to not only paint, but get ready for October (where I will kick off Artumn Madness, October Edition) and help some of my friends with drawing.

I've done a few paintings, and I should update my count. I'm now at 101.325 sq inches. But I should be able to add at least 100 or so more today once I get done with my two commissions and a few other smaller paintings. I've gotten into more of a painting groove. Now if I could just produce good paintings (notice the lack of a photo of what I've done on this post!)

One of my friends asked me a question last night: "How do you start when you draw from life."

I thought this was an excellent question and I set out trying to explain the start. I realized while I could do it in words, it would probably be easier for everyone involved if I do a demonstration. So I'm planning to do that, it'll just take me a bit to get the photos done right and the post formatted. Especially with all the paintings I'm trying to do. But I'll be doing several beginners posts because I think it's important to have a starting point. There are a ton of "how to start painting and drawing" posts, but I do think I have something different to bring to the table. A different way of looking at it. So either sometime tomorrow or the next day I'll be posting that, and I hope it helps!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Artumn Madness: Day Two

Thin Pepper and Lemon
Still Life

Well, I thought I would show off the best piece I've done that counts towards Artumn Madness. I had a day of volunteering so I haven't done much, I'm afraid. They put me on trash duty for most of the morning, and then I ended up doing face painting for about an hour. I don't think I'll count that towards my 30,000 sq inch goal, but it is tempting. It was painting. Kids are kinda cute.

I have painted some after that, and I'm about to paint more. I have a little set up for still life and everything. I'm going to do two commissions first, before I start on the still life. I have peppers and lemons and all sorts of fun things to paint! Aanar even! Tomorrow I'll have to shellac more boards before I'm able to really start painting. I think I'll shellac as many as can fit on my work area outside, and then go inside to paint for an hour or so, then harvest those, shellac another set, then paint for an hour...

I've really got to get started! At least now I'm back on a normal sleeping schedule so I can get up at a time that isn't noon or later. That was getting old fast. I like being able to paint with natural light, and I was missing morning light sleeping so late! I mean, I get natural light all day, but half of the day was lost... lost...

When do you like to paint? Morning? Night? Do you prefer natural light? North light only? Sky light? Light box? Let me know about your set up! Link to pictures for bonus points!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Artumn Madness: Day One

Well, it is September 23 and I have gotten off to a...

... ok, so I haven't really started. I hope to have 40 square inches done by the end of the day. I think that's fairly miserable. 40/10000 I am rocking it.

I would stay up late to get more done, but I have to be up to volunteer tomorrow. All day. depending on when I finish I may do another painting, but I can't stay up past midnight to get a lot done. I might try at least one more larger work.

I was always slow starting out during NaNoWriMo too. One year I didn't start until 6 days in, but I did get it done. I always work better on a deadline. But I do tend to skirt them.

How do you deal with deadlines? Do you start strong? Finish strong? Keep an even head? Let me know!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Artumn Madness: The Rules

Well, my cousin told me it might be helpful if I outlined a few rules in the event that someone would like to paint with me on this venture. I said okay. And then I had to figure out exactly what the rules were going to be. It's easy for me, I have a lot of stuff and I want to paint. I'm going to PAINT ALL THE THINGS!

So here are the rules:

1. 10,000 square inches. You have one month. Do something with them. If you want to do the whole "Artumn" with me, (September 23-December 21) it's 30,000 square inches.

2. Yeah, that's it.

And here are the questions I am anticipating:

Q: Does it have to be one large 100in x 100in work?

A: No, you could do 10,000 square inch drawing or paintings if you wanted. Or you can do a 16x20 painting a day (plus some extra on special days) or you can find a giant 100x100 canvas and go to town. Whatever would make you feel more accomplished, or would fit into your goals.

Q: Does it have to be painting? Oil only? What's the "correct way"

A: There really is no correct way. It's whatever you would be happiest with. Do you want to get better at pencil? Pen and ink? Watercolor? Decoupage? Paper cut outs? Pyrography? Fabric arts? Acrylic? Oil? It's up to you!

Q: I don't really have a lot of money....

A: Eh, neither do I. I am an artist. But, seriously, you don't have to go out and buy the best canvas, the best paint, or the best brushes and paper and tools. This is about getting better, not making a bunch of (Or one big) masterpiece. This is about working! I once saw a lady take a roll of brown paper towels from storage and use that to draw on. Tons and tons of drawings with that and an ink pen. You can get a ream of paper for about 8 dollars at Staples. I went to Hobby Lobby and asked for all off the mat scraps (Smaller than 5x7) they just throw away and they'd keep them in a box and I'd buy a whole bunch of them for a couple of dollars. Now I'm shellacking them and using them! See how creative you can be! Isn't that what artists are known for? I know I went to a place where we had a bonfire and I ended up with a ton of charcoal that worked brilliantly. A roll of butcher paper from Lowe's doesn't cost that much. And just ask around. Who knows what your family and friends will have in a corner that they'd love to get rid of!

Q: I've started this work and I want to use it. Do my preliminary sketches count? What about...?

A: If you want to use it, use it. If you would feel good about yourself after counting that, then I will feel good about you too. This is about getting better. And if you cut corners, you don't really hurt anyone but yourself. But if you worked hard on whatever it is, count it! But they have to be done within either autumn, or the month you've chosen to work in. That's it.

Q: How do I keep up with how much I've done?

A: I don't really have anything set up where people can keep up with their square inch count. I've started a twitter account @artumnmadness and I will be starting a facebook group that people can join. As for now, you can tweet @artumnmadness or comment on my blog here. Or you can post to your own blog and facebook page. Just try and link back here so other people can join! You can either measure it out perfectly or estimate if you are using less than regular pieces.

Q: Where did you get 10,000 square inches?

A: I looked up the size ofA Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. I figured that would be an accomplishment in a month. It was 9000 something square inches. I rounded to 10,000.

Q: What do I win?

A: A real sense of accomplishment? Maybe a certificate you can print and hang on your wall....

Q: Why in the world would I want to do this?

A: You should look inside yourself and see if you have what it takes.... Ok, I'm being slightly facetious. The reasons for doing this are as varied as the reasons people sign up for NaNoWriMo. People always say "I want to do art" or "I want to write a novel" and it's always going to be "someday." Some people like a challenge. Some want to use up a large amount of art supplies that they're too afraid to start to work on.

For me, I don't really have such a noble cause. I am always timid when starting something else. I work best within rules and deadlines because when I add limitations I always come up with more creative solutions. When I have a deadline I work harder and do more. I loved NaNoWriMo, and I wanted something for art that didn't involve comic strips or create one perfect painting daily. And also I have a lot of art supplies...

So I made up my own rules and deadlines.

Do you want to join me? It could be fun! I'm looking forward to starting in 3 days time. I will be welcoming people who want to do a month of art in October, and once again in November as well, so don't feel too rushed. Just comment, follow me on twitter, and let me know what you think!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fiverr: Dream House in Autumn

This is a cute painting I did, I kinda like it, though I did have to fight with it a lot.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Artumn Madness: The Idea

Autumn starts this year on September 23. I've always loved this time of year. I just want to go and create and put things in order, enjoys the colors and the scents. Large bouquets of sharpened pencils and school supplies! I love it!

So what's that box of... Stuff?

That is a small part of my collection of mat board scraps. Yes. Small part. I have two other bags and another large box. so... What am I going to be doing with it?

I love writing for NaNoWriMo in November: the madness, the work, the finished piece! I wanted to do something like that with painting. So I did daily painting, but I never got that feeling of madness. I felt pressured to make perfect pieces daily, but even that ran counter to NaNo and the "it doesn't matter if it sucks just WRITE" argument.

And if you write and paint a lot of absolute crap and drivel, you are bound to accidentally come up with something good as long as you're trying! There was once a pottery class where the teacher divided everyone into two groups. The first group only had to turn in one pot, but it had to be perfect to get a passing grade. The second group would be graded on quantity instead of quality. They had an ungodly quota to meet. So where did the best pots come from? The group more focused on quantity, hands down. The other group got bogged down in theories and beauty and didn't create as much. It's all about the work!

Then I got an idea. Something I could do. I was going to use all of my pieces of mat board for painting. All of them. At first I thought I would do it in October which would be a very, very scary thing to do. Luckily while trying to come up with names Assad came up with Artumn and I found out that fall starts September 23 and ends December 21. Much more doable than thirty days, especially with the amount of board I have!

So that's my challenge. An ungodly number of small paintings are to be done by December 21st. I am not going to be focused on quality. I'm not going to try to be bad, but I won't have that pressure of one perfect daily painting.

I will have the freedom to just paint!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bookbinding: Books 1, 2, 3 & 4

Well, I finally got all four of these mostly done. Well, as much as I'm going to do. I have to redo a signature in the star one, the pages of the dark black one have to be trimmed down, and the other two have small problems that I'm never going to fix because they're my books and a little bit of weirdness doesn't bother me, even though it would have brought my grade down in my bookbinding class I took.

I really dislike how stressed I was during that class. I love books and I love making them, but I think I would have done a better job on these if I didn't have, "so what if this would have been marked wonky! I can do anything!" in my head like a mad woman. But now that I let that go through my system, I feel much better about bookbinding in general. Less likely to freak out.

Ok, it's me, I always freak out. But usually I'm not freaking out to please someone else, but me. I haven't done that in awhile. Art school did make me a lot more chill about mistakes. No. It had nothing to do with drugs. Ever. (seriously! I'm much to high on life to ever want to get into an 'altered state') But one thing art classes did teach me was that if I can paint something good once, I can do it again. It's better to wipe out something beautiful in the wrong place and put it where it needs to go than trying to paint around it!

Bookbinding class taught me to freak out again because I had no time to do assignments and make them as perfect as I wanted and yes, it would really mess up my grade. Not a good feeling to cultivate.

No! Don't take me the wrong way!

I'm not saying we shouldn't strive for getting it perfect, we should! I'm just saying this feeling of absolute panic and failure was a bad way to go about it. It didn't make the people who weren't going to try anyway get any better and it made people who were actually trying to learn and do beautiful books miserable and not want to do it.

If we were going to make "perfect books" right out of the gate, why bother joining the class?

In my painting classes my teacher could make someone with an admittedly bad painting (someone who was trying, but just couldn't get it right, not someone who didn't try) feel better at the end of a critique, have confidence that they could be better, and feel like trying again. The grade didn't matter but he was making people try harder!

I wish I would have been able to get that from bookbinding class... I'm working on it though!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bookbinding: Book 1 & 2

I finished the red one last night and I just love it. Right now I'm sewing book three and hope to be done in an hour or so, but I'm getting a pretty rotten blister and it's making me go so slow! Book four won't take much time because it's only six signatures.

After that I've got another article I'm working on about why north lit studios are awesome and why kayak compasses confuse me. And I have done another article on the faux fauve palette, but I'm missing works that illustrate my point so I have to work on those. And I have a commission.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bookbinding: Books 2 & 3

Ok, so they aren't finished yet, but I love the papers I used for these! The book cloth looking stuff is not actually book cloth and both it and the paper are shiny! See the sparkly stars? And I love the dots on the red paper. I plan to buy more red paper if I run out of paper.

I'm glad I'm doing these because I'm remembering a bunch from class I had forgotten and learning some new stuff. When I actually make books that need to not be wonky I will be able to create them!

Museums: Not for artists any more

I have been to museums a grand total of three times in my life. Well, let me qualify that. I've been to museums that showed more than modern or contemporary art, and focused in on art of the past three times in my life. The first time I went I was a senior in high school and I went to the Art Institute of Chicago. The second time I had just finished my art degree, I was in my first year of physics classes and I once again went to the Art Institute of Chicago. The third time happened just the other day, during the first year of my art career, at the Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis.

The first time I was just about to graduate high school and I had taken a few art classes. As many as they'd let me take. Suffice it to say I was not very knowledgeable about the process of painting or drawing but I could get a likeness and given enough time I could make a pretty decent painting, mostly by trial and error. This was my most pleasant trip to a museum. Let me qualify again: this was the one trip I didn't almost get thrown out of a museum. I did lose my group and end up staying there for over six hours, but I see this as a huge plus! We did the tour, they asked questions, I answered as we dissected the meaning of some more modern pieces. And then they let us go. Oh, My, God! Of course the first thing we did is get let out right next to the impressionists and post impressionists. It was the first time I had ever seen a piece of art I had liked from a text book in person. A little dancer done in chalk by Degas. It was so small, so intimate, I could see the way the chalk lay on top of the paper. I started bawling right then, just standing in front of art for the first time in my life. The next was a painting of Renoir, something I had done a master copy of from a book. I started crying again. When asked what was wrong, all I could say was, "Look at it! Just, look at it!" And finally I pulled myself together and went to just look at art for the next six hours, sans any more complete emotional break downs.

And then I returned home, got an art degree, and came back once again. Totally different experience. I know I was looking forward to seeing one painting I had loved as a senior. Now I can't even remember the name or the title, or anything about it, really. I looked at it, and was so confused. Had I really liked this before? Where were the colors I remembered? It was drawn well, but where was the part of it that moved me? It was just so flat and dead from what I remembered before. I shrugged and started walking around to view the art. This is where the problems started. I noticed most people progressing in a fairly linear fashion through the rooms, standing in front of some pieces, skipping others, but still, in a pretty orderly fashion. I, however, well.... Out of the corner of my eye I'd see a piece that would draw me in, I'd stare from across the room, the walk in, get as close as I could and try to figure out how it was painted. Then I'd back up, usually into someone, and then go forward to study it again, and then I would see another painting, and I'd practically have to run to it. I'd go from one room to another and back, without any sort of plan other than "Oh my god, I can't believe I'll get to see it in person!" once a piece caught my attention. Once a crowed had gathered around a fairly large work, and right beside it was a small self-portrait by Chardin. Immediately the portrait drew me in, almost made me cry again, seeing the color and the brushstrokes. I am pretty sure I began talking to myself about how much more amazing it was in person and just gushing over it. Honestly, from reproductions I had not cared much for it, but seriously, in person? Amazing! And then I noticed the crowed around the large painting, some staring curiously at my reaction, and I looked at the other work politely, shrugged a bit, and then noticed another portrait two rooms away and I was gone. At this point I had been asked to slow down numerous times, and one friend I was with had gotten in trouble for using a cell phone in a special exhibit, so at this point she wasn't with me. And then there were the Caravaggio's.

This is where I almost get thrown out. Apparently getting really close to see how someone paints something in a special exhibit is just as bad as using a cell phone. I am having a rapturous experience, and under normal circumstances I'm usually focused intently on one thing, at this point I'm pretty sure I've blocked everything else out. Someone's talking to me and I just start babbling all I know about Caravaggio, which at the time was a God awful amount to know because I had done several papers on him and it was all fresh in my mind, plus I was babbling about /how/ he was painting. And it turns out I'm gushing about the paintings to a security guard who just wants me to step back while I'm gesturing wildly trying to make him understand exactly how the light is layered and "oh my god, look at the glazing!"

Yeah. I think he was happy when I moved to another painting to compare. (It took me awhile to realize it was a security guard).

The same thing pretty much happened in the room with all the Corot's as well. And the Van Gogh's.And let's just say I'm pretty sure all the security guards at this point are well aware that I'm probably slightly insane and they should watch me. Because they do. And they ask me to step back a lot. Which usually just started me talking about how they painted something I was looking at and did nothing for my moving away from the paintings. I was so focused on the art they might have asked me to leave and I might have answered, "Just let me see how he mixed this color" or "do you see how he worked into this glaze" instead of leaving. I was so focused on art everything else was autopilot.

I think they were all happy when I moved on to the gift shop.

And then there was the Brooks Museum. My cousin and her husband and I went the other day. Yeah. First off, bad floor plan. The first thing I notice is a painting of a lobster that I really want to see. So I go see it. Unfortunately I step through some columns that I didn't even notice. Unfortunately this makes a security guard mad. And of course I'm just like, "Really? The space is so huge..." I mean, seriously, a five hundred pound person can fit through so easily, how was I supposed to know I shouldn't walk that way? There was no sign... But whatever. Their bad museum design, not mine, though I was kinda wary about where I could go after that. How was I supposed to know what was right?

And then came the part where we were almost thrown out. I do not have to have people around me to talk about art. So when I have captives with me, aka my cousin and her husband, I can talk a lot. And I gesture a lot, and I point out things a lot. So a security guard comes up to us and says something about it looks like we're touching the art on camera. I turn to face her and give a kind of dismissive smile and say, "Well, we aren't touching the art, thank you though" And then turn around to completely ignore her, even though she follows us throughout the whole exhibit.

I guess it wouldn't have been so bad there except with the way the lights were set up I couldn't be comfortable looking at details from one to two feet away. The light glared so I had to get right up on it to see what I was interested in: how the paint was applied on the canvas.

I suppose once I get used to going to museums like a civilized person I'll get better at this. But really! I got there not to look at art, you can do that online or from any art book, but to study and learn how it was done from the great masters themselves! Good artists not only do a magic trick in front of you, but literally show you how it's done. It's like they are painting right in front of you if you know how to look, and to me that's better than chocolate.

When a writer reads like a writer, they aren't reading a book like most people. They certainly can read a book like most people, but to read like a writer you read in an entirely different way, asking why a writer is saying something, using a certain figure of speech, and writing in a certain idiom. For a carpenter to look at a chair like a carpenter, he's looking at it, taking it apart in his mind, putting it together, wondering about the function of different pieces. That doesn't mean he can't sit in it. As an artist, I can look at art and just see it for the image it is. But I also can look at each brushstroke, each glazed color, see the materials, see how colors stack together, wonder at the use of value and elements of art and composition. And the best way to do that is look at the actual work, because you can't get that in a reproduction, no matter how high definition the camera goes, no matter the light used to photograph it. It's certainly good to look at art no matter how you can. But it's best in person.

As long as you don't get thrown out of the museum.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Bookbinding: Book 1

My first four books will be pretty much the same. I decided to bind my books using the Coptic stitch. I have four books for learning Urdu that I had forever in ebook format. Then I took a bookbinding course and decided I would find a program that would take a PDF and separate it into sections for bookbinding. I'll find the URL for that very handy little program tomorrow. So after that and the printing fiasco I ended up with forty or so signatures that needed to be sewn into books.


So now I'm actually getting to put them together. When I first started I wanted them all hard bound, but then I realized how hard that would be and how I was going to use them. I needed Coptic stitch so that they would stay flat, so I could study from them.

This was the first one. The cover really doesn't have anything to do with Urdu: An Essential Grammar, but I have a rule that I have to use up my art supplies I have for these projects I've started without buying more. That's also why half of the thread is pink and the other half is green.

I love it! Even if it would have gotten me a wonky stamp.

I'm doing these four first to get back in the swing of things, but after that I have enough supplies for several books I'm going to make, just to put in my etsy shop. I have gorgeous paper, an excellent book cloth and the paper for the inside will be up-cycled and top notch.

Thursday, September 08, 2011


Before I started doing art full time I started projects that I just didn't have the energy to finish after nine hours at work in 100+ temps and an hour and a half driving to and from work without air conditioning. It doesn't do a lot for creativity.

So now that I am painting and drawing full time I decided to finish projects I have hanging.

The first one is bookbinding. I have four books that only need to be sewn together. I was going to bind them hard back but, I decided it would be better for me to do them Coptic stitched.

The first one I ran out of pink cord and had to finish with green. It looks odd. But I made a rule that I'm not going to buy anything else until I finish my projects. And that book is for me! It is useful, not pretty.

After bookbinding I'm going to do my sewing projects. I need a rug in my studio and I want a few more longer shirts, or kameeze. I also want to do a quilt and just use up the large amount of fabrics I have still in my car.

Oh, I still have to sell my car...

Fiverr: Niagara Falls at Night

One thing I love about these little commissions is that I would never really choose to paint any of this on my own really... These keep me from getting into a rut. I'm always trying something new.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Fiverr: Rooster

Roosters are kinda cute and scary.

Sketches: Along the Road

Back before I started getting car sick every time I even looked at a vehicle, I used to sketch the side of the road. Repetitive patterns and color, I loved it! Unfortunately I can no longer do this and must content myself with trying not to be sick by looking far off in the distance.

Loved finding this old thing in my sketch book though!

Fiverr: Teapot

Just something I painted over the weekend, after the tropical storm and before I got sick. I'll have another soon before too long, I'll be ok too.

This thing I really like the colors I got in it. And though I think you can tell what I did from memory and what I did from photo, I think it holds together. I'll probably revisit this as a still life again!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

CommissionII: His Close Up

I put off his head till last because I just knew I wasn't going to make him look normal. Lucky for me I was wrong and besides his hair taking forever and a day his face came together really well. And I am lying about the hair. It really wasn't that hard, I just kept working from dark shadow to light, from warm shadow to cool highlights. I was really surprised how it turned out.

And really, I can't talk much about his face because it feels like I put some darks, filled up to highlight and played with a bit of cool and warm tones, but everything ended up in the right place and that included his eyes.

I love when things are in the right place and I surprise myself. Though it almost feels like I'm cheating because I haven't worked hard and where'd the paint go?

Anyway, I was thrilled! It's like I'm getting better at painting. More practice! Here I come!

CommissionII: Her Close Up

I suppose I should just put all the finished images and what nots in one post, but all of the images are in my phone and I can only post one image at a time. It doesn't bother me too much, but for something like this it does sort of bother me. If it wasn't such a hassle to email my photos to myself and download them and make sure they look right I'd go ahead and do that. But I'm traveling and my computer is tucked away. I'll see what I can do.

The actual photograph I was working with was completely washed out. Full frontal lights, and forty some odd years of fading. There wasn't a whole lot to go on feature wise and a lot of this, frankly, I made up.

I added some color to the shadow so it wasn't a dark gray, I made sure there was some semblance of a mid tone, and I made sure people could distinguish between the lightest and the highlights. No washing out. Much. I'll post a picture of the photo later so you can see exactly what I was looking at. Believe me: I fixed problems. Her hair really was /that/ large. It had a lot less red in it. Truthfully it had a lot less color in it from fading, and I did my best to make it look better. It's not her, it's just what so many years do to not light fast inks!

Two more posts on this commission and tomorrow I start something completely different! Three new small commissions, will have two done tomorrow, maybe three if I get the information I need, and one larger pencil work I hope, but that'll keep me busy for a week or two!

Friday, September 02, 2011