Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Going Back to the Beginning

One of the early exercises in “Let’s Face It” is to look back at some of the face sketches, drawings or paintings that we created early on in our creative journey. It’s a great exercise to remind us of where we started and where we’re going. It will also help us see our progress throughout the course this year.

So I thought it might be amusing to share with you some of my early face drawings and paintings. It’s okay to laugh or cringe at some of these faces. I do the same thing when I look at them.

Turn on the Way Back Machine, Mr. Peabody

These drawings were created about 6 years ago. I was dealing with some health issues and used art to work through that process. This was my self-portrait. The question mark represented not knowing what would come next in this situation.

HowIFeel120110_edited

I hated drawing noses and almost always placed the eyes too high on the head.

Ironically, I made sculptural pieces, my Spirit Messengers and Ornimals, for several years. But many of those pieces had heads/faces that were imaginative and not all were based on humans.

Fast Forward

Now it is 2013. I’m taking a non-art related class though we are creating mandalas or other forms of expression in response to readings. Here I decided to create my first “portraits” in many years.

 

I notice how much I enjoyed creating these pieces. Not anywhere near “perfect” but it reminds me how much I like drawing and painting.

As time progresses, I stop making sculptural pieces and turn my focus to sketching, drawing and painting. I start finding sources with instruction and guidance on drawing faces. (Waaaay too many resources, in fact.)

However, that doesn’t mean lady confidence emerges and my paintings of faces magically appear on the canvas. Hardly.

In these two paintings from 2014, I found myself quite afraid to paint eyes and noses. Again. Instead of taking the risk that I might completely mess up the faces, I found it easier to give the appearance of eyes (or eyelids). That perfectionist voice inside, the one who says “You should know how to do this” appeared to win this round.

Breakthrough

Finally, in 2015, my love of drawing faces and the desire to put in the effort to improve my skill comes full circle. I buy Pam Carricker’s book, “Mixed Media Portraits. I sign up for online classes. I’m invited to participate in a sketching group.

Now the practice begins to pay off.

Where is this leading?

Even though I took art classes during all four years in high school and had a basic knowledge of how to draw a face, I found that it was easier to avoid drawing or painting a face at all costs. Perhaps it was some old memory of being told I “couldn’t” draw that kept me from creating faces. Or old lady perfection who was more worried about screwing up the facial features instead of just playing and experimenting.

What I can say is that if you also love to draw faces, then by all means, draw those faces. There are many resources out there with tips and tricks to get you started. Yes, practice is important, whether it’s every day or a few times a week.

It’s also important, I think, that you try really hard to get past the worry that the face you’re drawing won’t look like whomever. I told myself early on that I wasn’t going for perfect portraiture. I’m developing my own style and you should too. Make your face drawings whimsical. Make them caricatures. Give them green hair and purple eyes. Have fun with it.

In both the “Let’s Face It” class and “Drawn to Expression” I’m feeling better about interpreting the faces in a way that fits my style. Whatever that style is at this time. Finding a “style” or “expression” doesn’t happen overnight for most of us. It takes practice (which, for practice sake, might include copying). It takes having an open mind and a willingness to play and experiment. It’s an ongoing learning process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A New Angel On The Scene

Dropping in here to share my progress on the first Angel I’m creating in Kara Bullock’s Angels Among Us online workshop. The workshop features 6 artists and 12 weeks of inspired creations.

First, here is the sketch of my angel’s face. She looks good on paper. However, will she look the same or even bear any resemblance to this drawing once I put paint onto the canvas?

Angel Face Sketch

Angel Face Sketch

Instead of hoping I might be able to draw her face free-hand on the canvas, I opted to transfer the original sketch directly onto the canvas. Painting her face is challenge enough.

Sketch Transferred to Canvas

Sketch Transferred to Canvas

Okay, first layer of paint and you can see some resemblance to the sketch. Right? Some sort of modern abstract contemporary thing going on here. Face it (haha, no pun intended. Maybe), this is ugly stage. I am digging her turquoise nose however.

First layer of paint

First layer of paint

More layers. Now she’s kind of rockin’ a Picasso look with that dramatic dark eye.

More layers

More layers

At this point I feel like she has too many layers of paint on her face and I need to move onto a different aspect of the painting. Onto adding her hair and a halo. Just because.

Face, Hair, and Halo

Face, Hair, and Halo

Here is what I’ve learned so far.

  • Using a combination of Liquitex and Golden Fluid acrylic paints may not be the best idea.
  • Be careful if you dampen your paintbrush with water, dry it, then paint again. You will pull up a layer (or layers) paint. Then Angel face looks like she has age marks on her cheeks.
  • Put enough paint on your palette. This is still a challenge for me. I seem to have this mental block between squeezing enough paint onto my palette, not wanting to waste paint, and seeing dollar symbols rise from the paint puddle. You know the issue: “I paid a lot of money for this paint. I can’t waste it!”
  • Using a paint extender can counteract the above problem. And, covering the left over paint with some plastic wrap kept it viable for painting later or the next day.

Angel Face still has a ways to go. I’m way behind in this online workshop. Haven’t even attempted the other lessons yet. Fortunately, we have “lifetime” access to the videos. Maybe I’ll be all caught up by the end of the year.


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Face-Off

One reason I haven’t posted much in recent weeks is that I’ve been spending a bit more time in my studio. Yay me!

Since we’ve moved, the transition to a new home, getting settled, traveling, waiting for my studio space to be completed, all impacted my ability to engage in creative activities.

Once my new space was finished and I had unpacked and set up my work areas, I poked around at some things here and there, but simply was not feeling the pull to get my butt into the studio.

I stopped working with polymer clay last year and was not feeling inclined to pick it up again. I’ve taken a couple online painting classes with Flora Bowley and Pixie Lighthorse. Both were enjoyable. I learned some new approaches to painting and felt a new release of my creative muse.

Yet something still felt “off.” I’ve been dabbling with this intuitive painting approach yet still didn’t feel it quite coming all together.

A Shimmer of Light

During the WordPress Blogging 101 course we were given a task to find new blogs to like and follow. It must’ve been through that assignment that I came across Kara Bullock’s site and her upcoming online course, Angels Among Us. I’d been thinking that I wanted try my hand at painting faces on my intuitive painting canvases. Not necessarily portraiture. But something a bit more detailed than the simple faces or the faceless beings that were appearing in some of my pieces.

Kara offers a free online tutorial when you sign up for her newsletter. That gave me enough motivation to set the wheels in motion.

From there I discovered, through a different artist’s blog post, Dina Wakley’s video for drawing and painting faces.

Now the lid on the box where my creative muse had been lurking was blown off. Combining some of Kara’s instruction with what I learned from Dina’s videos, I started drawing and painting faces with more intention.

Then, on one of my rabbit hole trips on Google and Amazon.com, I came across Pam Carriker’s book Mixed Media Portraits. Ruh-oh George. Our library didn’t carry her book so I did the next best thing. I ordered a copy from Amazon.

The Eyes Have It

Now I’ve got a basic understanding on how to draw faces. We spent quite a bit of time drawing them in my four years of high school art classes. But skills get rusty when not used or maintained.

So, for about a week, I took time each day to draw a face from my imagination.

First, a sketch that was done about 3 weeks after I started watching Kara’s videos. This was created during a weekly sketching group using a live model.

Sketching Group Live Model

Sketching Group Live Model

Here is a face sketched after watching Dina Wakley’s video. I watched the video again while drawing this face.

Face Drawn Using D.W.'s Video Guidance

Face Drawn Using D.W.’s Video Guidance

Here is a face I drew following Pam Carricker’s directions.

Face Drawn Following P.C's Guidance

Face Drawn Following P.C’s Guidance

Below are the same sketches side-by-side for comparison.

And here are a weeks worth of face sketches.

Face Practice 1

Face Practice 1

Face Practice 2

Face Practice 2

I didn’t use much shading until the final practice sketch. This does give her face a bit more depth and definition. Through this practice I noticed some similarities in the faces; the longish noses, the tiny lips. The only face that was drawn while looking at a picture of someone is the first face on Face Practice 2. It really does help to have some sort of reference because most of the other faces all seem to have a serious look and a blank stare.

Now I plan to spend time sketching just eyes, noses, and lips. It seems as I get better at drawing one facial component, the other parts suffer. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pull all the facial components together in due time. Practice, practice, practice.


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Getting Sketchy

Well, I haven’t been quite as dedicated to the 31-Day Drawing Challenge as I intended. I find the task of beginning and sticking with a practice, just about any practice, to be more and more challenging as I get older. Which seems to be the opposite of what I thought would happen. You know, you get older, have more time, more wisdom, so starting something and sticking with it should be easier.

At least that is the impression I picked up somewhere on this journey.

But I digress from the point of this post. And that is to share the latest sketches that I have completed as part of the 31-Day Challenge (which, incidentally, ended with the month of August. But who’s counting? Not me. Obviously.)

“Nest:” Trying not to be too literal and go with the first thing most people might think of, a bird’s nest, I opted for a picture of Nesting Dolls as my inspiration. Perspective was much more challenging to capture.

Nest

Nest

“Breeze”: How does one interpret this prompt?

Breeze

Breeze

“Warmth”: This prompt brings to mind several images. I went with something quick and used colors as inspiration.

Warmth

Warmth

“Forest”: Can you see the forest through the trees?

Forest

Forest

“Rain”: I’m not sure if I would’ve created this drawing in this manner if I had not visited the Van Gogh exhibit at The Clark Museum. It was in that exhibit where I saw Van Gogh’s depiction of rain as inspired by Japanese paintings (which inspired one of his paintings.)

Rain

Rain


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The Challenge of Drawing

I recently joined Craftsy’s 31-Day Drawing Challenge. Well, “joined” may not be the best word. I’m not submitting what I create on the Craftsy site. Rather, I’m sharing my drawings on my Facebook page and here in blog-o-land.

So what is this “challenge” exactly? If you go to the above link, you’ll see that Craftsy has provided a prompt for each day in August. Interpret the prompt in any way you want. Yes, the suggested format is drawing. But if you’re not into drawing or sketching, then write a poem, make some music, do an interpretative dance, take a picture. Paint a picture. Let the prompt inspire your creative muse. The format isn’t important. Letting your creative juices flow is!

My challenge is trying not to be too literal with the prompts. That’s probably why I made it through the first three and haven’t picked up my sketchbook since then. That and well, just setting aside the time. I’m trying not to put pressure on myself as I find myself falling behind (uh, oh, see the tiny beads of sweat breaking out on my forehead.)

That making time thing and just doing it, well that’s a post for another day.

Anyways, here are my interpretations for the first three prompts:

Grow” Inspired by the baby robins that were in a nest outside our kitchen window.

Grow

Grow

In Bloom” The Black-Eyed Susans are bursting in our yard.

Black Eyed Susan

Black Eyed Susan

Flutter” This brought several images to mind. Butterflies. Wings. Eyelashes. I chose a large turkey feather as inspiration.

Fluttering Feathers

Fluttering Feathers

What will you create with the prompts in the 31-Day Challenge?


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Sketching: Making It A Practice

Well, it didn’t take too long before I faced potential boredom with my sketching. In the days after returning from France, I looked around my house and thought “what is so interesting here that I’d want to sketch it?”

There-in lies the rub. It isn’t so much a matter of what looks interesting to sketch, it is a matter of making it a practice no matter what the subject matter. If the only reason I sketch is because the subject is interesting, I would’ve quit long ago. (And, in fact, I did quit sketching, several times in the past.)

This is when I had the bright idea to use themes or topics as my basis for sketching. Deciding on a theme or topic is a challenge in itself, however, it seems to be working for now.

The “What Do I Want To Sketch?” Phase

Glass Vases

Pear

Remote

Meals

Sunday breakfast

Salad

Breakfast bowl

Place setting

Cloth Napkin

Flowers

Sunflower

Globe Thistle

Did you know that Globe Thistle are made up of multiple tiny five petal flowers, like tiny stars? One of my favorite flowers and I never looked so closely at them until I tried to draw one.

Bee Balm

Another favorite flower whose petals sparked an idea in my head for an art doll.

Until my next post,

A bientot.


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Art as Therapy

I’ve been dealing with some health issues this month. Nothing terribly serious but just a constant annoyance. A visit to the doctor tomorrow may provide some answers.

But in dealing with this health issue, I have, several times, felt like I’ve lost control over my body. Your mind can take you to dark places if you let it. At other times, I’ve felt like I’ve had the upper hand.

This morning, as I sat in meditation, I had this brilliant idea to draw how I’m feeling. To sketch my mood, hopefully each day, as I resolve this situation. They say art can be therapeutic and bring healing. I know I’m most happy when I make my art. Maybe creating a daily drawing will help out in other ways too.

Here is the result of putting pencil to paper this morning.

Yep, I’m sticking my tongue out at this annoying little issue. Go Away.

Today I discovered the Hippy Urban Girl blog and her December Views project. I love the idea of taking a snapshot of your day and using that to describe your mood or what you’re doing or whatever is going on around you. I signed up for the project as an additional way to deal with my current situation. Best part is there are no rules!