Most often when working in my studio, I'm listening to one thing or another. Depending on my mood it could be anything from a playlist I made to an inspiring lecture or an audio book. When I'm really lucky, my sweetheart will sing his songs and play guitar or piano while I'm working. It seems to help quite a bit to have some form of audio stimulation to get me in a good zone. Below are a few of my favorite audio treasures. What do you like to listen to? What helps you get in a good zone while you're working?
After a few months of adjusting to some life changes and not having much studio time, I'm finally getting back into a flow. While feeling freshly inspired, I'd like to share some of the everyday things that keep my inspiration alive and help to fuel my creative process.
~Colors and Textures~
My eyes and mind seem to be in a perpetual state of seeking out pleasing colors and textures. It's something I've unconsciously trained myself to do over the years. It comes so naturally now that I forget it's not necessarily something the average person does. It's as if my eyes have a filter and everything I see is a potential element in my next creation. I love color combinations more so than any one particular color. I tend to be drawn to textures and patterns like those of tree bark or the overlapping shapes of scales. One of my favorite things is to observe the way different artists are drawn to particular textures and colors, and how it influences their work.
>Flora and Fauna<
I feel very fortunate to reside in the Pacific North West. I was drawn to it's fairy landscapes and rich ecosystem over 10 years ago and still feel inspired by all of the treasures I've discovered. I like to take my own photos for reference as much as possible and this area has no shortage of magical offerings. I quite frequently use imagery that holds a specific symbolism to me. Certain bugs, particular birds and animals, specific flowers. I enjoy working with the hidden meaning behind things and taking notice of recurring elements in my day to day life. I usually incorporate these things into my work sometimes consciously and other times quite by accident.
I haven't worked up the nerve yet to ask strangers if I can take a picture of them for reference but I'm inspired by of all of the different faces of passersby. Of course, it helps that I have been a caricature artist for over 15 years. My brain is trained to store facial features. When I'm feeling that my memory bank is not easily accessed, I will scroll through Instagram or Deviant Art and find an inspiring face or two. I love the variety of faces that the human species has evolved to express. Some of my favorites are dark hair with light eyes and vice versa, freckles, faces that can't be pinpointed to any one particular culture (mixed race), extreme features such as very full or very thin lips. Each face is like snowflake, unique and beautiful.
^The Little Things^
And by that I mean, my cute little furry ratties. Ha ha! Well, they do provide a lot of inspiration but besides them I also get inspired by little things that can't be photographed. My son's laughter, my partner's music and singing, the sound of the birds, drinking tea and sketching in a cafe, the smell in the air after a good rain, reading, the shifting of the seasons, deep conversations, experimenting with new mediums, being in the forest, quiet alone time, dreams, watching my favorite cartoons, and this list could go on and on.
What inspires you?
I encourage you to make an effort to seek out those things that inspire you on a regular basis. Especially when you are feeling sluggish. It's important to have downtime but sometimes it can lead to a feeling of being stale and stuck. I like to surround myself with things that are stimulating to the senses and please my mind and spirit. Sometimes all I need to do is change things around in my home environment to stir up the flow again. Whatever it takes to get myself out of a funk. Actually, this post has got me in the mood to spend some time in the studio, I better answer the call!
For a little while I had stepped away from the idea of marketing my more personal creative expressions and just focused on my caricature business and my teaching job. Those two things are just simple and straight forward, for the most part, which makes focusing a bit easier for me. When it comes to my other work, I may be inspired to paint with acrylics an image that contains personal symbolism or a portrait of a magical human being (or fairy in disguise). The next moment I'm in the mood to create a world of sculpted creatures and illustrated in watercolor. And yet on another occasion, I'm feeling like doing a study of flowers with abstract elements. For the most part, it feels really good to just follow my inspiration and work on several things at once. I seem to get bored and repelled if I feel my creation time is too monotonous so I tend to want to change mediums and the content of my expression frequently. It seems to keep everything fresh and exciting for me. The down side of this is that I have a few different plans that are all asking for my attention.
My main ideas are:
1. To illustrate and possibly write children's books
2. Create creature portals with the sculpted creatures and scenes I paint for them (I think this can tie into the children's books)
3. Paint custom acrylic portraits for people that are designed for positive affirmation and visualization, in order to help people realize their dreams
4. Learn how to tattoo, I think this is one of the ultimate forms of experiencing a personal connection with people through art
I think it may be possible to do all of these things (and maybe more) in my lifetime, but I need to really take the time to make a plan of action. I'm realizing that I need to make the time to really focus on one thing at a time. Let go of the fear that one idea will shrivel and die if I don't give it my immediate attention. I decided to give the creature portals my attention first. This doesn't mean that I will not still work on other things, but the creatures will be at the top of my priority list until my vision for them is fully developed and realized. I'm excited to be on a path of clarifying my vision and cultivating focus.
I decided to start this challenge for a couple different reasons. I want to write and illustrate some kid's book and I think that watercolor has a certain magical quality to it. Another thing is, I wanted a challenge that would help me paint and /or draw even when I'm not feeling inspired.
I didn't anticipate the other wonderful things that would come as a result of this challenge. Watercolor, specifically, is teaching me patience and humility. It's reminding me that control is an illusion and to just let go. It's also renewed my love for acrylic. Ha ha! I've been way more active online with social media since I started this challenge and that has been surprisingly nice. The responses I've been getting from people who are enjoying my daily posts has been very inspiring. Thank you all.
There are still many more days to go. In fact, this is a leap year so this really should be a 366 day challenge but I'm not too worried about it.
Over the past year I've been dedicating more time to develop my art dolls. I started in 2012 with "Yooni". He was made with polymer clay, painted with acrylic paint and a hand sewn soft body made of faux fur and stuffed with polyfill.
I then experimented with sculptures made just with polymer clay and acrylic paint. I found the polymer clay fun but a bit frustrating to to work with. I invested in a decent and recommended toaster oven to bake the sculptures. The oven burned a few of my pieces. After spending hours on a piece, I don't want it to be burned! I was limited to creating pieces that would fit in the toaster oven. I also, don't care much for the plastic look of the polymer, for my creations.
During the polymer trials, I rediscovered needle felting . At first I was combining it with the polymer, using the clay for heads, hands and feet. The bodies and limbs being made with needle felting over a wire armature, to make them posable. I got really excited with how they were turning out and made my first batch available to the public at a small installation art show I displayed at The Loaded Brush in December of 2014.
I realized that I wanted these creatures to have a background and some sort of shelf to sit on or to be able to "fly" in front of. They would be like a doorway to the realm of my imagination. A portal to another dimension that a person could have in their home. I also discovered paper clay, an air drying clay that requires no baking. I love the texture and finish of it. It's super easy to work with and more natural for me, as far as how it feels in my hands while smoothing and sculpting. It's super strong and takes paint really well.
Once I got my vision for these guys pretty well dialed in, I started working on making sure they are technically sound. Making sure hands and feet are firmly attached, paint doesn't scratch of, quality control type of stuff. These guys are quite the project from wire armature to finished creature all set up with it's own background scene. So, it may be a bit longer before they are ready for display but I do intend to create another installation where these guys can be viewed up close and personal. In the meantime, I'm also working on a handful of mini-creatures! They will be available in my Etsy shop for purchase soon!
Hello there! Welcome to my Blog! This is my very first post, so bear with me through my excited nervous newbie flailing and floundering.
For years I've kept my self separate, as much as possible, from my artwork. My reasons being that, for one I don't feel entirely responsible for the work I create. A lot of the time while I'm in that nice creative "zone" I feel as if I'm not really there, as if something larger than myself is moving through me. It's like I'm just a vessel. This leads to the second thing, I don't want people to like or dislike my work because of who I am. Whether or not they like the way I look or dress or write. I want people to be able to connect with my work just because they do, or don't. While I still feel this way about those things, I'm also starting to realize and understand that people want to have a more personal connection to me when they do connect with my work. This brings to mind a third thing, I'm a very private semi-reclusive person. I get overwhelmed by lots of social interaction and would be very content to stay in my studio for days on end working on creations.
I've decided to try some new things. Writing a weekly blog that will feature progress pictures, interviews, 2am ramblings, news and such. Talking about my art with people I meet and interact with in day to day life. Being more active on social media sites. Allowing more of my personal creative process to be shared. All of these things make me squeamish and uncomfortable, so that means I should probably do them. One of my goals in life to remain changeable and open to new ideas. I don't want to become stagnant or crystallized in ways of being or thinking.
So whether this blog gets no readers, hundreds of readers or something in between, this will be a good exercise for me.