Tag Archives: fun

E.T.s bringing in the oxygen sucking machines

My fellow Americans, stop wasting ammo. When this happens the rest of the world will be depending on us to kill the E.T.s

Anyone can do art.

Art can be a discipline, therapy or just for fun depending on your needs.

If you really want to get into doing art, the more skill you get the better. It’s like playing a musical instrument. You have to spend a lot of time practicing but anyone can pick up an instrument at any time in their life and if they live long enough to keep practicing they can see an improvement and possibly even master it. It’s not something an artist is born with. To think that is to ignore the time the artist has actually worked on it.

But not every artist wants the discipline. And they don’t have to have it in today’s art world. Self expression is valued even more highly than skill.

A lot of people just need to distract their minds from a problem and art can help with that. If you have some fun doing something with paint, that’s a couple hours that your brain took a break from whatever is eating you. What if you’re stuck at home and you’re tired of Netflix? What if you’re stuck at home with a tyrant and you can’t escape to your job like before? What if you have to home school your kids and you don’t know how to teach? Art will help in all of those situations. Any art, any project.

Art as therapy:

I wasn’t always sane, but now I am. I can’t say for sure how I got my mental health because there might be more than one reason but I think art helped. It didn’t happen suddenly. I didn’t get my head shrunk or take meds for it.

And simply not dying might have helped. Like the cliche, Time heals all wounds. That’s why I tell young artists who are suffering to stay alive. If I lived long enough to enjoy my retirement you can too.

This art therapy project:

First, think of the thing that bugs you the most. Do a rough illustration of it (stick figures or blobs will work for this). For me, the thing annoying me is the global pandemic so I threw some yellow watercolors down on the paper and then scribbled in some red lines with my Inktense pencils to make rough corona virus waves and hot spots. If I didn’t tell you my E.T.s started out as corona viruses would you have recognized it from the pictures on TV?

You can do corona viruses too or some other subject.

Second step, Think of something much worse than the original problem and add that thing into your picture. Like, what if those yellow dots with red lines aren’t corona viruses? What if they’re aliens coming to rob us of our air?

It could happen. Then we’d feel nostalgic for the days when all they talked about was the virus because suddenly they forgot all about the virus and then it would be E.T.s 24/7 on the news and our president might not be able to strike a deal with them.

Third step, Put the more scary thought’s picture in the brains of 100 people on your blog. Now 100 people will have a new perspective on corona. It’s possible to live through the pandemic without ever getting sick but impossible to live without our atmosphere.

We have a lot of brave guys who would volunteer to fly up there and destroy the oxygen sucking machines and kill the E.T.s. They’re going to need bullets and bombs.

That’s today’s art therapy project. I’ll leave it to the mental health professionals to explain how that made me feel better.

It’s raining again. I’ll go back out to draw in plein air as soon as the weather clears up.

fashions for the artist / winter – spring / 2020

IMG_2473

This is the shirt I wore the day I didn’t get shot. Isn’t that kind of ironic? The song illustrated on this shirt is about a guy who shoots another guy. My daughter gave it to me for Christmas, now it’s my favorite shirt. I’d like to call it my lucky shirt but I know it wasn’t the shirt that kept the bullet from hitting me, but the long odds of that happening.

lggxyvfbepf41

Sing it Freddy! Meme stolen from somewhere else.

 

 

IMG_2471

This ET / Abbey Road decal  is on a tee shirt I bought when I had a vacation in New Mexico. It’s great to wear fun shirts when out painting in plein air.

IMG_2468

This is another shirt my daughter gave me. Isn’t that a scream?! That crab isn’t from around here. Chesapeake Bay Blue crabs have big sharp points on each side. He has so much personality!

IMG_2467

This is the recommended accessory for the plein air artist this season, the famous Ikea art cart. If you want to buy one, I should warn you, I only used it a few times and the retractable  handle got stuck in the down position which would make it impossible to use. But I got the handle back up and now it’s staying up. I’ve been using it for years. It’s great because I can take as much stuff out there as I want to. Also it’s better than a pochade box for lugging your supplies down a path because pochade boxes don’t have wheels. It would make my back too tired if I had to carry any weight. I lay it down on it’s side to use as a taboret in Plein air, putting my palette on the wheel where it’s best balanced. I’ll get a photo of the way to use it as a taboret some time.

I have a beach cart with wide wheels for painting in plein air on sand dunes. The beach cart is an accessory for warmer weather though.

Spirit horse abstract / mixed media

IMG_2311

That’s metallic gold oil paint stick on watercolor paper with watercolor paint. When I’m trying to do an abstract painting I don’t know how to proceed, or how to start at all. So I stole this idea from one of my favorite artists, Matisse. He taped his brush to the end of a yardstick and stood far back from the paper. You have less control of your drawing. Lines go where you don’t want them and you can’t erase with oil paint sticks. this is an exercise for artists who want to loosen up their work.

I hear that a lot, loosen up, and I don’t think it’s really necessary to follow the trend and draw and paint loose and fast. But I do kind of enjoy taping my charcoal or a paintbrush or in this case, my oil paint stick, to a yardstick. I could knock out a whole bunch of these in one day! IMG_2308

This photo shows how I set it up. I taped the paper to the board to protect the wall in case I went off the edges with the oil paint stick. I taped my charcoal sketch from last week above it and didn’t bother transferring the original sketch to the paper first. I just started in drawing with the oil paint stick on the white paper freehand. That should add to the abstraction.

That little stub taped to the yardstick is my gold paint stick.  From where I was standing I couldn’t see the end of the thing on the paper. It’s too stubby. Drawing and not being able to see what you’re doing also makes it more abstract. Some artists like to sketch without looking at the paper. There are a few tricks you can use to get an abstract look. The brush on a stick technique is fun.

IMG_2309

The first photo I posted was taken inside on my work table. I like it because it shows the gold reflecting. This photo was taken on my patio in natural light.

I think I have time to do another. I want to use my white oil paint stick on watercolor paper. That will be impossible to see what I’m doing. I might do just the head.

untitled / watercolor pencils

IMG_2254

I wish I could be an abstract expressionist. Yesterday I read a blog, Vin de Vie Wine of Life, by Sarah Abraham. about an artist Oliver Lee Jackson who’s work is hanging in the National Gallery until Sept. 15. His paintings are so beautiful. At my art school, YAA, they discouraged us from that path. We had to plan our paintings. Abstract expressionism is painting from your subconscious, if  I understand it correctly, and we were expressly forbidden to do that. I distinctly remember our esteemed teacher Fitzkee saying , “Don’t clean out the cobwebs from your brain on your canvas, no one wants to see that.” I understood Fitzkee’s point of view.

But last night I just wanted to have a little fun with my Inktense pencils after working on that academic exercise for hours. The old school exercises can’t hurt if I’m trying to see the colors I can make with the pencils and learn to use them, but is scribbling blindly bad for my art?

I don’t really want the viewer to see the cobwebs or worse things in my brain. I thought abstract expressionism was for the artist to communicate their emotions to the viewer, and I’m not feeling at all emotional these days. (Thankgawd for less of that)  Does this  little play painting speak to you at all? Should I title it, “I Find Myself Amusing” ?

jellyfish / mixed media

img_2190

In the aquarium they’re graceful, delicate and so beautiful but they don’t look  good when they wash up on the sand. In fact they look scary and gross on the beach and you might want to stay out of the water if you see them.img_2191

My models move, but slowly, so I thought it would be easier to sketch them with oil paint sticks since that medium forces me to draw faster and looser.

I sketched them on watercolor paper then painted the blue background with watercolor. The oil paint sticks resist the watercolor from going into the paper. It was almost like drawing blindfolded because I couldn’t see the white oil paint stick on the white paper even if I looked at the paper. I could see a little shine from the oil paint stick but it was dark in the aquarium so I moved back away from the jellies exhibit to see what I had and really couldn’t see it until I put the blue background on the paper over the white oil paint stick. I could see the pink sketch as I was drawing.

They have hair like tentacles which I couldn’t draw with my thick clunky oil paint sticks but I like the texture of the paint sticks on the watercolor paper.

The aquarium has a real laid back atmosphere and zen sound effects. They have some great marshy overlooks outside on a nice trail. It gets crowded in the summer but I can sketch more for a couple months without getting in the way of others.

I’m excited because in March I’m moving again. This time within a mile of the oceanfront and only 3 miles from the aquarium. I’ll be able to bike over to the aquarium because the road has a wide sidewalk the whole way. I’ll be able to walk to the ocean, the Neptune Festival, shopping, dining, etc. I’ll be much closer to Back Bay too, but it will take longer to drive to the botanical garden.

alternative media for plein air sketching / watercolor pencils

img_2187

It’s fun to try different media and techniques. This is a close up of my first attempt using Aquarelle watercolor pencils, which were recommended to me by my blogging friend, Vivienne Lingard. I’m looking for something that would be easier to transport than oil paint and the supplies I need for oils. I tried oil paint sticks and they’re bright but clunky to draw with. Pastels can be heavy to take out in Plein air, but sometimes I pick a few to take along if I can guess what colors I’ll need, so I don’t have to lug my whole box of pastels down a path. There’s also a wide variety of markers I could use in plein air. And my old favorite, charcoal and chalk.img_2189

I sketched a few Chinese Paperbush flowers from memory for my watercolor pencil  experiment since I’m not finished with that painting and I want more practice drawing the flowers.

I have very little experience with watercolors, so this will take practice.

This winter weather is keeping me at home too much. I think I’ll check out the Virginia Beach Aquarium and find some bright fish to draw if they don’t object to colored pencils.

dragons on silk scarf / oil paint sticks

IMG_2168

Dragon one says to dragon two, “Gurrrl, how you doin?”

Dragon two says, “I’m good. How you doin?”

Dragon one says, “I’m fine. Lets go torch that big flock of sheep.”

Dragon two says, “Lets torch the castle instead. We can get their gold.”

Dragon one says ,”Good idea. Lets go.”IMG_2170

These are the new templates I made using my concoction of corn starch and Elmers glue piped out of a cake decorating bag onto foam  core. The foam core warped as it dried. I’ll try to find something that won’t warp for my next experimental template.

portraits of ladies / blind drawing exercise / mixed media

IMG_2161

A lot of contemporary artists do this blind drawing exercise so I wanted to give it a try.  I did double blind because I picked my colors blindfolded too.

Before I blindfolded myself I arranged my work table with a pile of my watercolors and a jar of water next to them, piles of oil pastels in groups of dark medium and light and a jar of terpenoid next to them, a pile of paint brushes and my paper. For my first experiment I put some watercolor on the palette which I could feel but then I couldn’t tell if my brush was going into the paint because I was blindfolded and I didn’t cheat by looking.  I stuck my finger into the paint. So, for my next experiment I picked up my random color of paint and opened the tube and dabbed it directly onto the paper in several places then dipped my brush into the water, which I could feel for.

It was fun! The first few blind paintings didn’t work at all and I wanted to keep trying. I did six and I’ll show you the two best two.

The thing I like about the one above, is the eye seems to have floated off her face to the right. IMG_2163

Her dad was a glass maker.

The funny thing about this one is, I did draw eyes nose and mouth, but they got lost somewhere and her head looks transparent.

So this is my latest attempt to be contemporary, though technically, all artists alive and working today are contemporary. But art style labels don’t always apply.

Did this exercise improve my drawing? Even though I goofed around with it most of the day, I’d say, no. It was fun, but it won’t help my drawing improve. So, what is the real point of this exercise? To make modern art easier for someone who draws and paints in an old style? If either of these looks like real contemporary art, then the exercise did that for me.

Also, sometimes if you’re working on a project and getting nowhere, you can play around one day with this blind drawing exercise and take a break from the thing that’s not going well. Then go back to the other project mentally refreshed.