As mentioned in my last post, I have a homemade sketchbook in which I have been creating mixed media/collage spreads, and I have been trying to finish it for a while. Sometimes, I spend so much time on things I think matters, that I forget about the things I used to enjoy doing. It took me a while to get the hang of the whole collage thing, too. It’s smart to keep up the practice, at least weekly.
I have a large amount of 4×6 collage art because of my cat project that I started several years ago. I’d like to keep doing the postcards because I get a ton of ideas which led to creating larger works from those 4×6 pieces. Whenever you feel like you are getting stale, play in a sketchbook or do some postcard sized work. It really helps.
For instance, this page from my sketchbook has elements in it that surprise me. I look at the page and realized that I created some patterns that I can use in design work. This page was all intuitive work, placing things and not thinking about it, or at least, not planning. Just going with the flow. Sometimes when you go with the moment and don’t get hung up about perfection, creativity just happens. This isn’t meant to be a masterpiece, just sketchbook play to see how far I can go with it. Looking at this, I can almost hear Richard Dreyfus and Robert Shaw singing “Spanish Ladies” or something from John Williams and “Jaws” just a little ominously playing in the background.
(Like right now, I can’t get that Tango music out of my head, you know, the one from “True Lies?” …with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis…. Por Una Cabeza. I now have it as an ear worm because “Discovery of Witches” closed Season 3 with Por Una Cabeza. I am sure that will turn up in something I have created LOL….Harry, Helen, let’s not get distracted…….)
I guess there are worse things that could be an ear worm. Por Una Cabeza is pretty bad ass.
Well, it turns out that the Inchie challenge was only 11 days, not 12. I was surprised when I pulled up emails Saturday morning and there was no prompt. Well that was a bummer because the Inchie challenge was fun. I’ll probably keep 2×2 squares with me to work on when I am out of the house. They would make cool thumbnail squares and I have plenty of art that I haven’t posted yet.
That being said…
Several years ago, before Teesha Moore had her stroke, I was a member of Teesha’s Artstronauts Club. I really miss that club. It was chock full of mixed media collage (MM/Collage) goodness. I started a few mixed media collage sketchbooks that I still have to finish. Some morphed into my Zombie doll Sketchbooks and my creepy portrait sketchbooks that I did finish. I never really thought of myself as a collage artist until I took a few of Carla Sonheim’s classes and things started to click. I have been playing with patterns, lettering and other techniques that gave me the skills I need to finish some of these unfinished sketchbooks.
Most of my MM/ collage sketchbooks are home made and hand stitched so that they would could be a specific shape or size and they have a theme. Most have a limited amount of pages which makes the project easy to finish.
This sketchbook is a mixture of cut collage from pretty much anything; some collage is home made from paint drips and such. I used Teesha Moore’s “Amazing 16 Page Journal” format. It’s a full sheet of 30 x 22 hot or cold press Fabriano watercolor paper that’s cut into 3 10×22 pieces and are folded into pages and stitched to create the 16 page sketchbook. On my mixed media pages I use paint markers and gel pens, fortune cookie fortunes, cut out lettering and quotes, basically a miss mosh of pieces assembled to make a whole page.
This has been in my “to do” pile a long time and I and finally posting some of these pages. The page size is 8×10 and the excess wasn’t trimmed, it is a flap that became a design of it’s own on one side and on the other it was part of a full page spread. I had a ton of chihuahuas from a 365 desk calendar that I save and used in various art projects. Lots of paint marker embellishments.
It is Day 9 of the Inchie Challenge and today’s prompt is “innovative.” The term innovative can be interpreted many different ways with illustration. It could be a light bulb over someone’s head, or an exclamation point to show a new idea. I decided to use innovative thinking to create a pattern out of something I usually use as a decorative border, a dash and a circle.
I started on the a 2×2 square with the dashes and circles, creating a pattern which included negative space. This is the square on the top left of the photo. I could have stopped there, but then I did a second one , top right.
Looking at the two, I figured, “OK, I did two. Why not a quad?” Before I knew it, squares 3 and 4 were finished. Then I took my photo. As I looked at the four together, I thought, “Why don’t I just color in the circles?” Filling them in gave the composition a whole new look.
I like how they can hold their own composition alone, and together as a set. This is an idea that is encouraged by Amy Maricle with her Inchies exercises. One Inchie can lead to an entire collection that can standalone as one square or be part of a large collection of squares. Last year I did 8 squares together as a set. I completely forgot about that until the “innovative” prompt. I have three more days of the Inchie Challenge to try a larger grouping.
If you are feeling a little stale in your creative practice, try creating art on separate panels, or breaking up a page in a sketchbook with squares divided like a window and then fill in each one with piece of a subject to look like you are seeing the scene from inside instead of outside. Or you could try adding different parts of the place where you are in each box so that each box has a piece of a location or subject and then the entire page is a compilation of the subject. The beauty of the Inchie Challenge/practice is the way it can clear your mind to inspire new approaches for creating art.
On my Zoom call today with Mike Lowery, we had to decide on what prompt to draw. Someone suggested a frog. We have frogs all over the place, here. When my husband and I go for our morning walk, we have to dodge these tiny little frogs. You can barely see them. One morning there were hundreds of them and my husband remarked about the quantity. I said it was just logical, there needed to be so many babies because of how many get eaten or suffer some other ill fate.
So of course, my idea of “frog” is “egret chow.” The egrets (herons and ibis) stroll around the neighborhood, scarfing up frogs and lizards, and whatever else they find edible.
My sketch of frog was more of an egret and a frog hiding from the egret.
I pulled the sketch into Procreate and then tweaked it:
These are sketches of a character created by Zoe Tucker for the MATS Character Bootcamp. I sketched these out and then decided which pose I wanted to develop further. The story is about Florencia, a time explorer, who is sent to look for Dodos back in time.
Here’s another sketch of an item I usually don’t consider high on my list of subject matter to draw or paint. Sketched with an opaque watercolor and ink on toned Stonehenge paper in my homemade sketchbook. The sketch hasn’t been retouched digitally…..yet.
Parsley is one of the herbs that I have growing in pots on my lanai. We tried planting it in a garden in the yard, but it seems that we have super slugs down here that can obliterate a plant over night. HA! They can’t get in the screen house though, and now that the screech owls are back for another nesting season, the slugs are high on the gourmet snack list. Poetic justice. Good birdies!
How do I know that the screech owls are back? The snitches. The feathered blue tattle tales with the big mouths. Aka Blue Jays. Nothing is safe from the preying eyes of these feathered informants. One of the screech owls was sleeping in one of our palms and the Blue Vigilantes raised quite a ruckus which of course alerted the Red Squad, aka Cardinals, along with a few mockingbirds. They let up a bit when I went out there to walk the perimeter of the yard, found the poor abused owl and when I went back in the house, they flew away and let him sleep. I could hear his mate trilling gently from another tree. I guess the fact that I didn’t react sent the birds off to harass the other raptors in the neighborhood (and we have plenty.)
A little while later, another hit squad showed up, the Palm Warblers, aka ELVES WITH ATTITUDE. I could hear them while I was cooking, And they were doing everything BUT warbling. They were just about taunting him, hopping from branch to branch almost like they were playing “chicken”. Hootie had moved and was hiding his face in a different palm, trying to catch some Zzzz’s. If he had a pillow it would have been pulled over his head. I thought the Tiny Hit Squad had some nerve because they would have been an entree for the owls. I promised Hootie that we would build him an owl box this week to replace their palm that fell down from rot.
I noticed that the lizard population seems to be slightly dented. I haven’t seen as many hanging out on the screens but now that the owls are back, I realized the herd is being culled. It’s nice to hear the owls at night. They trill, then look at you like, “I didn’t do it and if I did I wouldn’t admit it.” They hang out in our yard and poach whatever moves. They like the frogs, too. Last year a slug did get in the screen house on one evening, and I tossed it in the air towards the nest. It got snapped outta the air before it hit the ground! That’ll learn the slugs! I was impressed.
This whole post about owls from a sprig of parsley…..
A little over a week ago I posted the pug sketch. Here is another sketch done with watercolor. I am basically auditioning various media to see which one works the best. I have an acrylic one started, on my desk. So far the watercolor version is winning but we’ll see tomorrow if I feel the same way about it.
The past few days were a little abnormal for me and I was too exhausted to post daily, but I have been working on this map the past few evenings when I got home. It took me several days to assemble all the sketches of family members.
I wanted to do a map submission for “They Draw and Travel” for the Thanksgiving holiday. My original idea morphed into the current situation we have wih the Pandemic. Many families around the country are celebrating Thanksgiving a whole new way. In some areas, La Niña has made it unseasonably warm and may be one of the bright spots of 2020. La Niña actually helps those living in the northern tier of the US to set up tents outside and to do Thanksgiving en plein air, sort of like the First Thanksgiving. Southern US may be business as usual because the temps usually enable dinner outside….unless it rains.
Those with families in other parts of the county have opted not to travel and will do Thanksgiving via Zoom or Facetime or some other sort of video conferencing.
However you celebrate this year, 2020 is definitely not normal.
This map reflects my family and how we are spread out across the Eastern Seaboard. The ones closer to each other may celebrate together. I know some family members are doing the tent thing. Florida weather has broken to the cooler temps which enables us to open windows.
Your family “map” may be similar to mine. Or yours may be bi-coastal or central, southwest or more West Coast. Wherever you are, 2020 is definitely going to be Thanksgiving 2.0.