Tag: art workshop

Art Journaling, Symbols, and Cryptic Messages

What I've Learned So Far | Art Journaling

This art journaling assignment from Misty Mawn’s workshop was really hard for me – because we had to get loose, sloppy, and intuitive.  I’m trying to unlearn being precise and specific.  The assignment was to begin writing what we’ve learned so far.  So far in life, in our workshop, in anything.  My first freak out was where on the paper to write this.  I knew I’d be drawing a portrait over the top of it, so I decided on a circular pattern for the writing exercise.

The numbers represent the years of my life – all of them that I’ve lived so far, how long I hope to live (and how long I hope my love to live – we are passing on at the same time, you see).  I circled years that were impactful or especially life-changing – whatever came up for me in that moment.  We couldn’t over think it and we were instructed to go with our first impulses.  I look back and wonder why I didn’t circle other numbers, that in hindsight, were very life-changing.

We were instructed to doodle our favorite shape, and I found myself laying down the symbol of infinity.  I love that.  I am an eternal being, so my ages and life stages are only markers of times and places – not a countdown to anything at all.  83.5 is not the end – only the transition to new and more experience.

The girl… just another expression of my soul.

I made my own art journals for this workshop, and it wasn’t until this assignment that I used it.  Yeah – too scared to mess it up with a bad painting or sketch.  So typical me – to have something for the beauty of it, but not to enjoy the use of it for fear I’ll ruin it.

Handmade Art Journal never mind my not-put-together yet studio :-)

Handmade Art Journal3 folios per signature, 3 signatures, coptic binding with hemp cord ~ 9X12
front, back, and binding covered in handmade cotton paper from World Market

I made my journal a little small.  One, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, being my first one, and two, I wanted to fill it up to feel like I accomplished something and 18 pages sounded mighty doable!  Done, by the end of our workshop, I’m sure. ;-)

“There is only one story of our lives and we tell it over and over again,
in a thousand different disguises, whether we know it or not.”  ~Pam Houston

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Raising Children, Living Well, and How to Forgive
~ I Am Here Poem ~
Profound Lessons On a Farm

Discovering Myself in Art

Next to my Mother and Child painting, I think I’ve just created my newest favorite piece.  I feel like I am getting a better grip on light and shadows, and getting more comfortable with details and different mediums.  This was my first time using real pastels (I use my was pastel water soluble crayons a lot), and really love how subtle (or strong) you can make them.  I’m not super big on tons of color, but a hint of it is nice.  I wonder how that is a mirror of my life…?

Girl Face | Charcoal and Pastels

and here is a close up, sans the retro filter that I love so much:

Girl Portrait | Charcoal and Pastels

That’s the other thing I love about drawing/painting… is that the art continues with photography and digital manipulation if you want it to!

It feels really, really good to create; especially something you love to look at.

“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” -Alan Alda

So far, I haven’t used any reference pictures in front of me when I draw or paint.  I try to conjure up images from memory, if not only from my imagination or use of pure instinct.  It is amazing the sad eyes I always find staring back at me when I’m finished.  Like a unexpressed part of me that hijacked its way onto my paper.

Snow Day

Snow Day.  It’s been snowing since about 9am today and hasn’t stopped once.
We are officially snowed in with almost a foot of gorgeous white fluff on the ground.  Picture of my front yard.

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Soul Friends Pulled Together by the Moon
White Grey and Black * The World I Live In
Are We to Paint What's On the Face, Or What's Behind It?

White Grey and Black * The World I Live In

Grey and White Acrylic Paint With Stabilo Marks All Pencil

As I continue on in my art workshop, I am definitely realizing how much I enjoy expressive painting and drawing as opposed to realism.  I used to get so frustrated that I could not get the knack for making portraits look like real people.  Now I have surrendered and I’m loving the freedom that comes with being more expressive.  My favorite artists are expressive painters… Chagall, Klimt.  Why it has taken me so long to embrace this in my work, I don’t know.

I’ve also enjoyed putting into a face what I often can’t say, or express well, in words.  Especially in long spells of melancholy, words get tiring, boring, and unforgiving.  I think more people can relate to, or at least appreciate, a pensive painted portrait.  That’s not to say that I don’t love words, I do.  But it’s easy to get adverse to sharing them.

This assignment was to paint a portrait using only gray and white paint with a black Stabilo Marks All Pencil (which is water soluble and works on just about any surface).  The colors I prefer…

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Stretching Within - Exactly Where I Need to Be
The Perfect Day | Painting and Horses
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Life Reflected in Art

It’s a lay in bed all day and eat chocolate when I’m hungry kind of day.  I feel like my heart is 10,000 feet underground.  I’m trying to give myself permission to be in the space that I am, when there are a million things around me demanding attention.  The life of a melancholy… How does the rest of the world live with us?  My husband, so sweetly, sang ‘You Are My Sunshine” to me before getting out of bed, knowing I was going to have one of those days.

Misty Mawn’s Open Studio class began a few days ago, and I’m loving every second.  So grateful to my family who bought me a spot in the class for me birthday.

Charcoal Portrait Drawing

Charcoal and White Pastel Only

Yesterday we had some writing assignments and I chose to make a video to add voice (or in this case, a whisper) and aesthetics to my heptastich poem (a poem with seven lines):

I must understand myself.  I must understand the world.
My basic fear is that of being defective. I’m missing something.  Others have it.
Overwhelmed by my emotion, I indulge in melancholy.
Feeling the sadness of the world, I retreat within.
The world is invasive, so confusing.  I need privacy to think.
I seek integrity and moral courage.
I seek to go home, from whence I came into being.

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White Grey and Black * The World I Live In
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~ I Am Here Poem ~

I Am Here Poem

I Am Here {Writing prompt for Misty Mawn’s Open Studio class}

I am above the clouds perched atop the mountains
From my new dwelling place everything looks so small
In the valley below sometimes covered by a thick fog
I am protected from the view of the harsh world below
Cocooned.  A welcome new place.

My head is held high
Not in arrogance
But in confidence
After being beaten up by circumstance
Life can be so cruel
Growth, so tortured

The beauty I know is born of struggle
The kind of beauty that is deeply rooted, and moving
The strongest of trees have endured the harshest winds
I am an Oak, and a Weeping Willow
I am moved by beauty, not by pain
I am soft, breezy, and easy, like weeping vines

Yet I wander in unrest
Always searching for peace and beauty and solace
Not always getting to choose
Chaos thrust upon me
I revolt

I hear my music
And I wish it to be true
The world in my head is so desirable
Full of poetry and pictures
I feel hope I should not have

I see a day with no more pain
But if only I can retain the birth of my beauty
I will welcome it

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