Saturday, 22 August 2015

Expressing your creativity

Modern image processing has become quite an art form these days. With the advent of the computer age, numerous opportunities have arisen that challenge the way in which we explore the world surrounding us. Engineers use computers to process data and visualise results, while artists found in this new media an attractive way to express their creativity.

I am by no means au fait with the array of image processing programmes available these days, but I do enjoy playing around in PowerPoint and PhotoShop (which I still haven't QUITE got the hang of!), adding my art or photographs to back-ground textures, many available for free on the internet.

Above I have added two of my sketches to a back-ground texture by Kim Klassen, using PowerPoint. Below is an image from Country Roads on Pinterest, where I have added photographs of my chickens using PhotoShop.

'A walk down Memory Lane'

"From silvery woods there comes a call" - Watercolour forest scene with a wolf (clipart) added in using PhotoShop

"Be still" - Two of my watercolour Arums added to a back-ground texture by Kim Klassen using PowerPoint

"You are ... beautiful!" - Watercolour daisies added to a back-ground texture by Kim Klassen using PowerPoint


Sunday, 16 August 2015

Fear of the Great White

“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” 
- Sven Goran Eriksson

Painting on anything bigger than A4 used to scare the living daylights out of me - I kept on taking out that BIG piece of (expensive) art paper and then quickly putting it away "for another day"!

Part of this fear is the idea of wasting materials. What if I make a bugger-up? What if it's horrible, then the whole piece of paper is wasted. And all that paint! I used to dip my paintbrush into tiny amounts of precious Winsor & Newton watercolours and carefully apply the paint, concentrating on not messing up anything. This often resulted in a completely "tight" and over-worked piece of artwork. The more I did this, the more I was dissatisfied with the results and convinced I couldn't waste a large sheet and precious paint on art that is no good.

 An old painting with lots of fiddling going on and mud happening (and do you see the 'mistake' in the perspective? One thing I'm very set on is that the perspective of a painting must be 100% right!)

Then one day I decided that I've just got to tackle those large canvasses, no more procrastinating!

First I took a sheet of Bockingford 300gsm, 20" x 30", quite prepared to lose it and relaxed. I mixed large quantities of colours, and with no preliminary sketching, I dipped a large brush and let fly, working quickly to get a feel of the brush as it moved across the paper, enjoying the feeling as the back-ground started taking shape. Every now and then I could feel myself starting to concentrate on a particular area, so I stood back, relaxed and started over again, wielding my brush loosely, allowing the colours to flow and mingle until I was satisfied with the result.

Standing back and viewing my painting, I almost whooped aloud, at last a had a pleasing piece of art! And a LARGE one to boot!

Getting over those paralysing thoughts of "Oh, I spent 'x' amount of dollars on that canvas/paper. If I just start playing and it turns out awful, what a waste it will be! I better do something good on this or forget about it" is crucial to making good art. Give yourself permission to make complete and utter crap to get you past the initial roadblock and into the flow of creativity. and if it turns out no good, cut it up into ACEO's, paint over it or throw it out. Each experience leads to the next and having some "failures" are important too. Once you get started, the sense of fun kicks in and you lose yourself in the process. And if you find yourself stuck in fear along the way, a simple reminder to let go of the end-product is usually enough to get going again.


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Keeping a Journal

Journaling is the process of regularly writing your thoughts, your dreams, milestones, events and feelings down on paper and, these days, virtually on blogs. There are many different kinds of journals you can choose to keep but it is a powerful process that provides the opportunity to explore things in a measured way. It can also be fun to look back and discover how far you have come!

"A common symptom of modern life is that there's no time for thought, or for letting the impressions of the day sink in," says Thomas Moore. Setting aside a block of time, however brief, to freely express thoughts and feelings is psychically healthy.

Journals also affirm the value of our lives, preserve our memories and dreams, and help to pin-point emotional patterns. Writing about problems is a great way to work them out, and recording negative emotions is often akin to dropping them altogether.
"Singing sweet songs" Hardcover Journal, Available in a selection of ruled, graph or blank pages

Women's fitted scoop T-shirt printed with "singing Sweet songs"

Keeping a nature journal, or art journal, for example, is a wonderful way to become spiritually centred. We are rewarded for the attention to detail and patience this practice requires with deepened understanding of what it means to be human and alive and a part of Creation. What you decide to put in your journal is a personal choice. Nature journals can be anything from field notes, which limit themselves to objective descriptions of what the writer has observed, to fully developed poems, stories, or essays in which the landscape is a major character.

You may want to draw or paint in your journal as well as write in it or to fill its pages with photographs or pressed flowers. Experience the natural world through fresh eyes! Keeping a nature journal is your most powerful ally in crafting the kind of life you want.

One of my Nature Journals - here I used a Feint