Sunday, October 5, 2014

Can I Do It?

On my art journey (re-launched a few years ago now), I have sought sources of information from a variety of teachers. I knew very quickly after picking up a paintbrush again after a couple of decades that the feeling of paint on my hands and working with acrylics fed a part of my creative soul. I wanted to explore all that medium could do when pushed to new limits. I started with very inexpensive supplies and added cautiously as new products were introduced to me.

I weave creative time in between a full schedule of full time work, appointments, child's homework, committee meetings.... well, sometimes it's only once a week and I'm operating on fumes, but I'll take it. Any way I can get it. When the opportunity to join in a new class hits my e-mail or tempts me on social media, I'm hooked. More is MORE, right? Ha. Ha.

But it's been these temptations that have enriched my art abilities and stretched my mind to uncharted territory.

This gal really has no business nosing around two new online art classes at the moment. Holidays are coming (vendor shows! Need inventory!) No matter. I can juggle. But I'll let you in on a little secret: it's with a great deal of anxiety I enrolled in Effy Wild's "Radiant Faces" class on a whim, the day the class launched. Faces?! Who am I kidding.

Since I'm getting be a veteran of online courses, there were several traits very attractive about Effy's class: 1.) phenomenal price for instruction by artists I adore, 2.) the entire course content available all at once to "pick and choose" which video I could watch given my available time - no handholding or pressure, and... 3.) I knew I would be pushing myself. I have not done anything that looks like a portrait in over 20 years. 30, maybe.

Here's part of the genius of this course: it kicks off with luscious work by Jane Davenport. Oh. My. Goodness. Dive right in.

Then there's Dina Wakely. Christy Tomlinson. Tamara Laporte. Need I say more?

So I'm giving it a shot. Getting over the anxiety.

In August, I attended a few workshops at CREATE Mixed Media Retreat in Chicago. It's an easy drive for art immersion. Two of the classes spoke to my normal mixed media repertoire while the last class was "In Your Face" by Karen O'Brien. If you look at her work, it's mystical, youthful, almost from a fantasy of childhood dreams. There were certainly illustrators of children's books I had as a girl that I can close my eyes and see in fine detail, and I felt a little pull to see if I could create something like that.


These are rough faces from memory using an ink dropper on paper scraps. To loosen us up. The ink I brought in my supply stash turned out not to be waterproof as it said on the bottle, so the next layer was mud. Not pretty. I won't show you those. I had other instances of supplies not working with me that day, so I returned home exhausted but hopeful for another attempt someday soon.

A few days later, my son was painting huge watercolor flowers at the kitchen table and became frustrated when one of the blooms didn't come together like he wanted. I explained that everything takes practice. Then I pulled out my example faces and showed him what I was talking about. He laughed. Giggled. Guffawed. Yes, we all start somewhere.

So I finished one of my class attempts and decided there would be many, many, many more hours of practice ahead.

The critic in me is all over this particular image with thoughts on proportion, highlights, shadow, line, etc., etc. 

This morning I watched the Radiant Faces installment by Dina Wakley and she's a scribble girl after my own heart. It's phenomenal what she can get deli paper, colors and pencil to do.... I have a few of her new paint colors calling to me. I'm gonna experiment with her style and see if I can get closer to something my sensibilities can embrace.

Can I do it?!?

Stay tuned.

Oh, and by the way, my other online class that launches TOMORROW is Jenni Horne's "Paint Something." Yes. The paint will be flying this week.