Running in circles

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Face Study, pen on paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″

Long time no blog!

And I have an excellent reason for that: since the end of the “30 Paintings in 30 Days”challenge, I have had to face the facts (and the finances), and hustle my butt to get a job.  This is a particularly arduous task because I’ve been a full-time parent for the last decade, and, like most stay-at-home-moms returning to the workforce, I have lost all of my confidence (to be fair, though, it was never very high).

To make matters worse, my former industry (computer animation) is very tech-heavy and very youth-oriented.  I was certain that I wouldn’t be able to make sense of any 3D software after being away from it for so many years, and even if I did manage to wrap my head around it, I’d be a middle-aged woman surrounded by bright-eyed 20-somethings (cue Sesame Street’s “One Of These Things Is NOT Like The Others”… or was that from The Electric Company?  Oh God, my memory is failing already!).

Fortunately for me, I still have friends in medium-high places, and one of them is willing to pass on my demo reel (watch it here on YouTube!) to his studio’s HR dept.  I have a copy of the latest version of Maya, and I’m happy that most of my animator’s instincts have come back to me.  There’s no guarantee that this will turn into an actual contract, of course, but it’s the most positive outside feedback I’ve had in a long time.  Believe me, I will take what I can get!

The other reason why I’ve been quiet lately is because I’m tired of the Face Studies – not because I dislike making them, but because I want to concentrate on original work.  The trouble is, I can’t decide what I want to do or how I want to do it (the usual refrain), and this lack of original work weighs on me more and more with each passing day.  With all that stress, who has the gumption to make ART?

Well, I’ve written up the glowing cover letters, I’ve fine-tuned the resume, and I’ve re-cut the demo reel.  They’re out there in the world at this very moment, impressing or boring recruiters as we speak.  There’s nothing left for me to do except wait*.

So Hell YEAH, let’s make some art!  Inktober may have started weeks ago, but better late than never. 😉

*And panic.  Can’t forget to panic.

 

Changing Course

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The start of a beautiful friendship? or imminent disaster?

I won’t lie: I have really enjoyed the “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge (even if I’ve only done about half of it.  I was a late beginner, after all).  It was a fantastic opportunity to force myself to get comfortable with paint, as quickly as possible.

And it worked!  Already, I can see a huge improvement in my painting over the last few weeks, and most of that can be attributed to the fact that the more confident I felt, the more I was willing to push myself.  Heck, I even tried my hand at oil painting (shocker!), and not only did my studio NOT spontaneously combust, but I also managed to churn out some pretty decent work.  High-fives all around!

BUT… there is one problem: all of the work I’ve done so far has been reproductions of images I’ve found on the internet.  To be fair, I never claimed that they were original images, and have always been careful to title them as “studies”, but still my conscience is not clear.  Someone else took the time to hire the model, the hairdresser and makeup artist, set up the lighting, rent the studio, develop the art direction, etc, etc.  I didn’t have anything to do with any of that.  All I did was say “Wow, I’d love to try painting that”, and then proceeded to do so.  Most of the artistic decisions were made by someone else.  In a way, this is just another variant of Fan Art, and I’ve already gone on at length about my problematic relationship with it.

Which means we’re right back at Square One: if I want to make completely original work, I need to photograph my own models.  I don’t have the monetary funds for that, so the next best thing is to cobble together a few choice images and hope that the result is harmonious (or at least, a mostly harmless Franken-picture, if you will).  Behold my first try (see above)!

And here’s where the fears and doubts come crashing in because now I’m the one making the artistic decisions.  My mind is constantly second-guessing, oh, just about everything, and I’m having a lot less fun.  I’m even dredging up some serious existential garbage from my subconscious, wondering “Is this what it means to be an artist?  Because, quite frankly, I don’t know if I have the strength of character to pull off a lifetime of these insecurities!”  Honestly, how does Rose Miller of Wolfgang and Rose make it look so easy? 

Just so we’re clear, I may have a few more meltdowns before this picture is done, but I promise to give it my best shot!

Painting for September 19

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Face study no.11 – acrylic on panel, 6″ x 8″

I swear to you that I set out to produce something fast, loosey-goosey, and sketchy… and I crumbled and started smoothing things out again (which was actually pretty difficult to do over all that paint).

I also realized that I’m STARVING for colour, so… Barbie Pink backgrounds for everyone!

May have to re-work this piece.  It looks fine large, but as a thumbnail, well, I find that the errors are more apparent.

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Painting for September 7

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Face Study no.2 – acrylic on panel

Here is my painting for September 7th – Day 7 (well, for me, it’s Day 2) of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.

What I’m happy with:

  • pretty much everything on the right side.  Those pale colours with that thin outline really make me hum with satisfaction.
  • the white highlights.  SO much easier to do on any surface that is NOT paper.

What I’m less happy with:

  • pretty much everything on the left side.  The reference image is very calm, and I somehow made her look like she walked away from a bad fistfight (“you should see the OTHER guy!”).

What I’ve learned so far:

  • because I have practically zero training in painting (and this despite the fact that I have a Fine Arts Degree – chew upon that, alma mater!), I’m a lot less comfortable making paintings that are, I dunno… paint forward?  I forced myself to use the biggest brushes possible for as long as possible on this tiny panel, but I was happiest when I could take out the detail brush, or when I could apply the paint as if I was drawing.
  • Slow-Dri Blending Gel really works.  Bless you, Liquitex.

What was going through my mind practically all the way through:

  • I suck at painting
  • y’know, if I did this with Photoshop, it would come out AMAZING

See you tomorrow!

 

“Due to bad planning…”

Ever had that one painting that just refuses to die cooperate?  Well, for me, it’s this b*tch right here.  It’s my fault, really: I drove her off the lot without any clear idea of where I wanted to take her.  Honestly, her face has about a litre of paint on it!  Memo to me: pre-production is your friend!  (Or, to borrow an example from my former industry, computer animation: be like unto Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds”, not “Pirates of the Caribbean”)

Anyways, I am officially pretending that she never happened at all and will now move on to something else.  Huzzah!

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“Trish” painting, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20.  Forever unfinished…

Artistic Output of 2016… so far!

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Starting at the top, left: Face Study (pencil on paper); Face Study (digital); Face Study of Nita Naldi (digital); commission of G.I.Joe’s Duke “Long Day at the Office” (digital); 5 Daily Paintings of New Zealand landscapes (acrylic on panel)

As we approach the halfway point of 2016, I thought it would be cool to assemble all (or most of) the artwork I’ve produced so far this year and get a better sense of where I want to go next. Continue reading

My Art Practice: A Wishlist

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Image via Pinterest

Dear Universe,

I’m too old to believe in Santa Claus, but I’m also practically-minded enough that I’ll try just about anything if I’m desperate.

So in the spirit of The Secret, or the Law of Attraction, or even “If you build it, he will come”, I’ve put together this handy-dandy Advance Christmas Wish List for myself that the Universe can peruse at its leisure.  Please note that every item has been carefully chosen to help me build, and solidify, my art practice. Continue reading

My Daily Painting Experiment

Back in January, I started listening to a lot of art-related podcasts while I set up my studio.  One of the subjects that kept coming up was the value of daily painting.  The idea is that by painting small canvasses every day (or nearly every day), you could not only increase your productivity (obviously), but also give a serious boost to your skills.  That sounded like a win-win situation to me, so one week in February, I armed myself with a bunch of 8″ x 10″ panels and went to town (or rather, to work).  Behold the results:

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Lake Wanaka – Blue Sunset.  Available for purchase here.

Continue reading

My complicated relationship with Fanart

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Fanart doodles of Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, being forgiven and welcomed back into the fold, because I am really, really, REALLY counting on a redemption arc

I draw fanart.  I’ve been doing it ever since I saw “The Dark Crystal” in theaters way back when, filling my sketchbooks with doodles of Jen and Kira and the Mystics and even Fizzgig (no Skeksis, though -they were too difficult for my 8 year-old self). Continue reading