Those are three words I say to myself often – just keep practicing!! I feel like I’ve been having more ‘off’ days than ‘on’ days lately, creatively speaking. And that creates quite a funk in attitude. It can be difficult to work through the feeling that you’re not progressing in your ability or techniques. Or that you’re going backwards! I received an email today that struck a chord with me.
BEYOND SO WHAT?
The article came from The Painter’s Keys, which is a site that provides a lot of different information for artists, as well as musings. They had received a letter from an artist, which said ““I wonder if you could write a letter on how to elevate one’s work beyond the “So what?” level. That’s where I’m stuck. I can draw and paint pretty well, but–so what? I would imagine there are a few of us out there with this problem.”
The reply, I thought was quite informative. Basically, one way to break through is to provide a ‘visual epiphany’. Add a shot of emotion, drama or surprise to your art. Something that will draw in the viewer. Another idea is to do inventive things with your surface; introduce textures, smudges, etc. What really struck me was this final part of the reply – I’m quoting this directly from the article; it’s the nuances you invent and make yourself — embedded in your processes — that neutralize creative boredom and give energy to carry on. “This is mine” chisels out your claim. Your embellishment may not even be very good, but it will be yours. “A poor thing, but my own,” is a line attributed to Shakespeare. A unique design, mannerism, or touch of your own is worth more than any rich thing that belongs to someone else. You can CLICK HERE to read the article for yourself.
So, I think that’s pretty much where I am, or where I feel I’m at. What do I do, to create ‘my own’ touch? Or have I done it, and just don’t know? I guess I’ll keep practicing, and see what happens!
ALCOHOL INK PRACTICE
I received my art journal from the Alcohol Ink Art Community, that I had ordered last month. It had to traverse both the U.S. and Canadian postal systems, so it took a while to get here! Anyway, I’ve been working on some pieces that I have an idea for; I’m just trying out different ways to create it.
In the photo above, you can see the reference photo I was working from at the bottom, and my work on top. I was going for realistic, but not hyper-realism. After all, there’s already a photo, so why reproduce what already exists?
COLOUR BLOCKING TECHNIQUE
For this next practice piece I decided to go a bit ‘wild’, and try some bright colour blocking.
I did say wild! Since the photo reference was in black & white, I thought – why not?! I used the yellows for the lighter areas, and shades of blue & a bit of purple for the shadows & darker areas. It was fun to do! Have you ever tried this type of painting? I’d love to try it again; if you know of any reference classes or videos of this type, please let me know!
A MINIMAL APPROACH
I used the same reference photo as above, but this time went very minimal and neutral, with the colours.
The above piece is done on a 12″ x 12″ Grafix Craft Plastic. My art journal pages are of Nara paper, another synthetic substrate, similar to Yupo. Both are nice in the fact that they wipe clean back to white.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING?
So, what have you been practicing, lately? Anything new – new technique, products, substrates, anything? Or are you like me, and practicing what you’ve already been working with, product-wise? I think that by practicing, we not only perfect techniques and abilities, but we also teach ourselves new ways to do ‘old’ things. It can be exciting to be working along as usual, and then think “what if I try….” and then give it a try! You just never know what may work. And if it doesn’t – well, you’ve learned that, too.
If you need supplies, I’m adding a few at the bottom of this post. Mainly links to the different substrates, and some of the alcohol ink colours I’ve been using. Not all of them – but if you click on one store, you’ll find all of the colours that they have available, that you may want. Nara Paper can be found directly on the company website, or on Amazon. The reference photos I’ve used are all provided by the photographers to a FB group I belong in; all photos are provided royalty and trademark free. Thanks for hanging out with me today! I hope that as you just keep practicing, you’re having fun, and learning.
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