Shaking It Up

I'm taking another drawing class this semester.  This time, it's a colored pencil technique class, and the whole point is to stretch our drawing in new directions.

Here is a little something I did in class last week.  It's a Lake Michigan sunset using wax-based colored pencils on sandpaper.  


Yep.  Sandpaper.

Sometimes it's good to just shake things up a bit and try something completely unexpected.  
In art and in life!

Time Out

I had a busy day yesterday.  Lots of running around.  Lots of taking care of things.  Lots of crossing off on the to-do list.

I really didn't have time to stop in at the KIA to see an art exhibit.  
Even though I've heard it's phenomenal.  
And time is running out, because it will be leaving this weekend.  
I've wanted to see it; I've planned to go.  
But I haven't.  
Because no time.

So yesterday, in the midst of my running around, I decided to stop in.

Let's just say. . .

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The artist is SeungMo Park.  (You can see more of his work here.)  The exhibit at the KIA featured some of his wrapped wire sculptures.




And also some of his wall-sized "images of illusion" -- truly amazing and just breathtaking!

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He creates these images from layers of stainless steel mesh!

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My iPhone photos just can't do these works justice.  I wish you all could've seen the exhibit with me!

More. . . 

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Another view of the mesh layers . . . 

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Such an amazing exhibit . . .

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 So glad I stopped on a busy day . . . for a time out.



Always With Me

As I explained last week, I'm letting my "inner artist" come to the surface this year as I explore my creative self with Carla Sonheim and Lynn Whipple's online Spark class.  So far, I've had a lot of fun trying some new things . . . and letting myself go WAY out of my usual "box."

But it has been a little more challenging than I thought.  And not because of the art-making.

Right off the bat, I encountered inner resistance.

You can't draw.
These people are REAL artists.
Who do you think you are?

I like to think of myself as a fairly confident woman.  I pretty much do what I want, say what I think, and step boldly.  I don't like to think of myself as . . . someone who can't.  

When that Inner Critic whispers in my ear, it makes me feel like . . . Junior High.

So I decided to . . . go there . . . into the belly-of-the-beast.  I decided to explore this Inner Critic of mine and see just what all the fuss is about.

First, I decided to just draw it.

  Inner Critic

Turns out . . .

It's a She.
And she looks like a cardboard cut-out.

Next, I used words to describe her.

"My Inner Critic . . . is blonde and has blue eyes.  She looks perfect.  But she is Not Nice.  (She judges.)"

"She might look pretty, but it's only on the outside.  (Inside, she's rotten.)"

"Her hands are behind her back.  (So she can cross her fingers while she lies to your face.)"

"You might think she's your friend, but then, when you've made yourself vulnerable, she'll laugh behind your back and make you feel stupid for every trying.  Or trusting."

"So then, you start to doubt yourself.  And maybe . . . you even leave yourself and become cardboard.  (Just like her.)"


Turns out I know just who my Inner Critic IS . . . and she goes right back to Junior High.

Discovering where this particular voice comes from helps me move forward.  

(In this case, drawing without judging myself so harshly.)


This simple exercise has been quite cathartic for me, actually.  My Inner Critic will probably always live there, deep in my soul.  But I can deliver some counter punches of my own now!

And that feels really good.





Psssst!  I'll let you in on a secret . . . 

An artist
deep inside me.

(I've decided . . . to let her out.)

I wanted part of my JOURNEY this year to include creative expression.  But.  Heck.  How do I do THAT . . . when I've been suppressing this whole artist-living-inside me thing for most of my life?

no time
where would I start?
no talent
people would laugh

I just can't.

Yes.  I could see that I would need to tread lightly here.  Because I was clearly running right up against that most formidable opponent . . . my Inner Critic.  But the more I thought about including ART - and the creating of it - on my JOURNEY, the more I felt the pull of of wanting to do it.

I've been following/reading Carla Sonheim's blog (author of The Art of Silliness) for awhile, and I've been tempted to try some of her online classes.  She seems to have a gentle, generous, inclusive approach to art.  

But.  Inner Critic.  (So I didn't.)

Early in December, though, I stumbled onto Carla's year-long online art course with her friend and fellow artist, Lynn Whipple.  Just the name of their course - The Year of the Spark - called to me.  The more I read about it, the more perfect it sounded.  Their promotional materials made it look fun and light-hearted and non-threatening.  They described the course as being "all about art, and how we can infuse more of it into our lives.  More art, more creativity, more inspiration, more motivation, and more fun."  

It seemed to be . . . just what I was looking for.

But I hesitated.  I agonized over it for days . . . 

should I sign up?
could I do it?
would people laugh?

(that damn Inner Critic . . . )

Finally, just before the New Year, I did it.  I signed up.  I freaked out a little.  But I signed up.


And . . . you know what?  I'm really having a great time.  It's FUN.  I'm trying new things and learning all sorts of art-y stuff.  The "Spark community" is diverse (artists and non-artists alike, from all over the world) and safe and supportive.  (Like, well, no one is laughing.  Out loud, at least.)  

I'm really glad I'm trying this.  It's definitely out of my comfort zone, but it's just where I need to be right now.  And I'll even share some of my "work" with you!  (Just . . . don't laugh.)

The result of lesson #1. . . (Guess who???)

J-pups pencil and pastel jan 2015 - Jan 20, 2015, 9-58 AM

(Feeling the pull of The Spark yourself?  It's not too late to sign up and join in. . .)