09-17-13

Pterodactyl says what?

daily sketch

It’s dinosaur week on /SketchDaily/ which is fun because I don’t think I’ve ever really drawn dinosaurs before.  Dragons, yes.   Yesterday’s theme was pterodactyl, which, having now spent some time trying to draw one, I feel is like the dodo bird of the dinosaur family.  So ugly and awkward.  Since I lean towards the cute aesthetic, I floundered a bit.  Here is the drawings I did yesterday:

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Bah. I couldn’t seem to get it right.  The bottom ones just look like really cute bats.  I still had fun drawing them, and it was good to be out of my comfort zone.

Today’s theme is Albertosaurus, cousin to the t-rex.  With Mr. Albert, it finally came together, and things started to click. I am much happier with how he turned out.

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I thought I would give another go at Mr. Dodo-bird, and yes, I like him much better than yesterday.  And he just looks so pleased with himself.

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No more waiting

daily sketch

I turned 31 recently. Last year for my 30th, my husband threw me a kick-ass party. All of my friends and family got together to celebrate me and we had an awesome time. This year was a much quieter celebration, just me and some of the girls enjoying mimosas. It is strange to think… I am in my thirties. I graduated from college ten years ago. TEN.

It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around it all because in my mind, I still feel like that young kid just out of college, barely out of her parent’s house. I’m still waiting for an adult to tell me what I should be doing here. Who thought it was a good idea to make ME the responsible one?

The only big goal I had for myself before I turned 30 was to have started to have kids. I never imagined that that dream would be so hard to reach. The last four years of our lives have been filled with so much heartbreak and disappointments. Going through the loss of baby after baby, each time going from the highest of highs, to the deepest of lows…. and so much waiting. Waiting on things that are completely beyond your control.

I am not an ambitious person. It doesn’t take much to keep me happy and content. A ball of playdough can keep me entertained for hours. A Frosty from Wendy’s will turn a bad day good. My natural tendency is just to go with the flow. I am not a born leader, I don’t put my own needs/wants in front of others. I’m much more concerned with what will make YOU happy. I think that is why I find freelancing so hard. I want someone to tell me, here, here is the project for you to work on, and then let me do it. Having to go out and get the projects for myself, to work out all the details and contracts and payments, ugh. Do. Not. Like.

And so these last four years have been beyond hell for me on so many levels. Learning how to speak up for what I need. Trying to figure out how to keep on “living” life while paralyzed by the waiting. None of these things are what come easy or naturally to me.

When I was a little girl, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would answer without hesitation, “An artist.” Here I am, 31, and that hasn’t changed in the slightest. I completely identify myself as an artist. Everything I do is about art. My personal vision statement is, “To reflect the beauty of God to those around me.”

I am an artist. Put me on a deserted island, naked, with nothing, and five minutes later, I would be drawing in the sand with a stick. I can’t help it.

But on the other hand, art is only a very very small percentage of my income. It’s what I do, but its not what I DO. I work at other jobs I like, with people I like, doing things that I like and sometimes I get to use my art too. But most of the time, art is what I do outside of work. And I’m not going to say that is a poor choice. Sometimes find a job you enjoy, and that gives you the freedom to do other things in your free time is exactly what you want. If it works, then why rock the boat?

But, I begin to wonder, if I wouldn’t have more fun if I was doing something… more. I’m not that girl just out of school anymore. But its become too easy just to go with the flow, and wait. This drives those closest to me crazy *cough CLINT* who feel like I’m wasting my talent.

If I could have my dream job, what would it be? See, here is where I have a problem. I want to do so MUCH…. I’ve thought about becoming a professional genealogist. A children’s book illustrator. Concept artist. I love doing research. And graphic design. Murals. Sculpture. Stuff animal design and creation. Costume making. Dollhouses and miniatures.

UGH.

Hear that? That is the sound of me banging my head against my desk. The problem is, I could do any of those things. But I can’t do them all. At the same time.

So its easier just to keep doing what I’m doing. Which is a little bit of everything, while I’m waiting for someone to tell me what I should be doing right now.

Except, I think I’m done.

Having kids… may or may not happen. And if it happens, it will probably be years down the road.

No one from Blizzard or Wizards of the Coast or Naughty Dog or Pixar or Disney is going to show up at my door and say, Hey! You should come work for us!

No one is going to come do my laundry for me and make my house beautiful… ok, well maybe. But I’d have to fork over money, and I’m too cheap.

What do I want?

I want to make art for people to be used. To be enjoyed. To inspire.

Here I live, in southern California, the backyard of Los Angeles. My husband is a video producer. So many of my friends and family are in the media business. It kinda seems like a no brainer, huh.

I have a lot of excuses.

But mainly its just fear. And having to force myself to go outside my comfort zone. I will want to go back to what is comfortable, and easiest. First big rejection, first big mistake, is going to send me running back to what I know.

So here I am saying, Don’t let me. Be annoying. Give me a hard time. Don’t let me get off easy.

First new rule for myself: draw every day. And be deliberate about it. I’m trying to get rid of the excuse that I don’t have the right experience or portfolio. I think I will post my daily sketches here on my blog to stay accountable for it.

So, here is today’s sketch: let’s draw a medieval ambiance from real life observation. (I used office at work for light reference and drew inspiration from the castle we stayed at in Ireland.)

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Altered Art: Sleeping Surprise

Art, Fan Art

Clint is a huge fan of the Alien movies. So I knew I needed to keep my eye out for any paintings that I could add aliens into. When I saw this one, I knew I needed to do something with it. Those girls…. the did NOT look like their sleep was anything natural. What could have happened to them? Hmmm.

Here is the before and after:

 

The original painting is “The Sleeping Beauty” by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. It is a bigger painting, I think about 24″x48″. Acrylics painted over the poster board print. It is now hanging in the hallway by our front door. And I love that you have to glance at it twice before noticing the facehuggers.

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Camp NaNoWriMo July report

Writing

I spent the month of July doing something I’ve never done before. Writing a novel.  Well, to be accurate, I wrote half a novel–50,000 words worth.

I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo (Nation Novel Writing Month), a summer version of the original November version of NaNoWriMo.  This year there are two camps, on in July, and a second round in August.  When I heard about Camp in March, I knew that I had to participate.  No more excuses.

I took the time to work up an outline, character studies, etc. And then jumped in when July 1st rolled around.  My original goal was not only to “win” by writing 50,000 words in 30 days, but also to actually complete the story, which I thought would take something closer to 60-70,000 words.

I quickly realized that writing 2,000 was going to be harder than I thought, even with my detailed outline.  Especially since I’d never written every single day before.  I told myself that if I managed to get the 50,000 words done by July 30, I would considered it a victory.

I fell behind in the third week, just about the time my outline came off the rails. Suddenly my character decided to do what she wanted.

It was hard. Harder than I thought. Even the scenes that I had very clear in my mind were hard to get onto the paper.

I found it took me longer to “get in the grove” of writing than I thought.  And I had to fight very hard to tune out my inner editor, who screamed at me to go back and fix the sentence I had just written.

But, in the end, I did it. I spent the last three days glued to the key board, ignoring my friends and husband, and managed to catch up and validate.

To reward myself, I’m allowing the editor loose on the first several chapters of the book that need to be seriously reworked.  My goal is to get those chapters fixed and back in line with the plot changes my strong willed character insisted on.

And then, I’m going to go for round two in August. This time, I’m going to rebel, and not be concerned so much with the final word count at the end of month, but focus on getting the first draft completed.

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Thrift Store Altered Art

Art, Paintings

So, yes, I’ve jumped on the band wagon.  The principle is: find some old/bad/unloved art from a thrift store. Buy it, and then add your own addition to the image, turning into something completely different. And hopefully more interesting.

When a friend of mine Susanne was looking for something to hang on her empty wall, this method came to mind. Her and her husband are big into robots.  So I hit up the local Savers and found the perfect framed lithograph from the 70’s. It was only $3. Perfect!

The design of the robot was based on an image I love “Come, Come Little One” by Szymon Biernacki. Since this was really just an experiment, I didn’t anticipate how much I would love the final produce. Therefore I failed to take a before picture. Whoops.  But I was able to find the original image online (the version I bought had been cropped down to a much smaller portion of the photo):

 

I loved the result so much.  It was so much fun to add these guys into the picture, and the challenge of matching the color tones and style was delightful. Then another friend Erin gave me the idea: TARDIS.  I hit up Goodwill on my way home from work, and picked up another few images.

The original art was a photo print of a painting by Gregory F. Harris.  I used acrylics to add in the TARDIS and K-9 and sealed the whole thing with varnish.  Print available here. Before and after:

I am hooked. I foresee many more of these in my future. Oh yes.  I am bursting with idea. And it combines two of my favorite hobbies. Painting. And “junking” as my Grandma would call it.

Here are some other artist’s thrift store alterations.

 

 

 

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A new WIP and I’ve gone a bit crazy

Fantasy Art, WIPs, Writing

It has been….a really long time since I sat down at the computer to do some art. Some of that because my computer has been brain-less for months. And lots of stuff going on in the real world that has been zapping my energy.  So I’ve been in a little bit of a dry spell creatively.

But, now, I’m back! The main thing fueling my creative juices at the moment, is that I’ve decided to stop making excuses, and participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this year. I hate that NaNoWriMo is in November. I have to many things going on at the holidays to even consider taking a month off to write a novel.   But then my friend Joi pointed out that they have started Camp NaNoWriMo, which takes place in June and August. Alas, there go my excuse.

So, I am in the midst of finished up an outline for a book I plan to write in June. I really really just want to complete at least one book before I die. Many if I have a chance, but I’ve got to get over my block and finish the first.

My notes have been filled with sketches of the characters and pieces. I’ve worked out a thumbnail for what I would like to do for the cover, when the book is done. (Note, I have no idea what I’m calling this book yet.)

I will probably work on the cover after finishing the outline, to give myself a break. I would like to have it done before I start writing, so I have some visual motivation/inspiration for the story.  In addition to the cover sketch, I started painting a picture of the main character. I won’t give away any details, but I will say she is pissed off in this picture, I don’t want to be in the shoes of the person she is glaring at.  I may get it done tomorrow.

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More miniature inspiration

Miniatures

I know I’m not the only one with a childhood dollhouse sitting around collecting dust, but now I have proof. While visiting my in-laws over the holidays, I got the chance to poke around my sister-in-laws old dollhouse. And although it was in need of some serious repair, it was a thing of beauty. I have to admit, I had dollhouse envy.

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Exploring the rooms was not unlike walking through a haunted house. The walls were crumbling, the lights hanging broken from the ceiling, the spiders making homes in the corners. But it still full of so much character.20120119-130734.jpg

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I now must have a weather vane for my own dollhouse.

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We also pulled out all her furniture and laid it out on the pool table to drool over. My favorite is this bear skin rug. So cute, I must make one for myself.20120119-130755.jpg

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I mentioned in my last post I got the chance to visit a real dollhouse store. It was like I’d died and gone to heaven. The shop was absolutely cluttered. But it was stuffed full of these tiny miniature scenes. I could have spent hours in this small room.

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I was happy when I saw she had a shelf full of “House of Miniature” kits, at 50%. It was such a trip down memory lane. These were the kits my dad used to mail order for us when we were kids. The company is long out of business, but you can still find the kits online and in shop like this.  I bought a dinning room table (which might be too large for the kitchen, but I don’t care), and for chairs.

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PS: Yes, that is a photo in the background of my studly husband when he was a kid.

PPS: When I showed him the picture of the miniature garage scene, he said, I WANT IT. Make it! This is why I love my husband. :)