Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Art Focus Blog

My interests have some pretty clearly defined splits in interest. There is the crafting side. And there is the painting side.

For my own study purposes, I'm going to start moving my painting/drawing posts over to a new blog: KellyAnnePowers.Wordpress.com. This is where I will post new paintings as well.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reaching 100

I just hit 100 drawn faces this week. It's the first time I've ever reached the end of a newsprint drawing block. My husband said the words, "You should feel proud." When I thought about those words I realized that I didn't feel proud. I didn't really feel anything accept the aching in my neck that comes from drawing with TERRIBLE posture.

Progress. It's such a nice idea and so hard to actually experience. The word progress makes it seem like you are aware of it. That it's this physical thing you can look at. Progress is this tangible idea we put on a completely intangible thing.

Doing is difficult. Really difficult. So difficult in fact that many of us think that the thing between us and being really good at something is the starting. That once we clear out enough time or sharpen enough pencils or get over enough self doubt and put pencil to paper (or fingers to keyboard or voice to mic, whatever) we will have started, and we will be on our way to that big success of our dreams. A huge percentage of could-be-would-be-artists never actually start. Starting is just that hard.

But the frustrating reality is that yes, while starting IS hard, the part after starting might be harder. It just might be. So we clear out enough time, we sharpen enough pencils, and we get over enough self doubt to put pencil to paper, and here we are with no actual skill set. Starting isn't magic. It didn't instill in us the habit of work or create the years it takes to sculpt style.

So now we now find ourselves in this terrible place with a terrible reality: We are bad. And now we face the daunting task of getting good.

One hundred faces indeed.

Image note: This is something like face 80. I'm not painting them all. That goal comes later.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Materials Clean Up Day

I would like to think that my materials, especially my professional quality mediums, will last forever. Occasionally I will open a new bottle of something and compare it to one I've had on my shelf for who knows how long and there is a remarkable difference between them. It's easy for a new product to get lost on a shelf with old products. So today I spent some time cleaning out old supplies. I probably still err too much on the "keep it it was expensive" side but it felt good to clear out some space and make mental notes of what I need to pick up at the art store.

A few things I did:
1. Arrange Bottles By Use
I have two types of bottles. The big 32oz or 128oz bottles that I keep to fill the little bottles and the little bottles that I will actually hold in my hands while painting. The big bottles simply refill smaller bottles but I have them all in the same space. Solution:  I Put big back up bottles in a lower, harder to access shelf and the small bottles of the same materials in the easy to reach shelf. By creating a specific place where I keep second and third bottles or the much larger cartons of a medium, I will know where to look to see if I am truly out of something. This also clears up the easy-to-access space and will mean tripping over multiple bottles of the same thing while trying to grab something else.

Monday, May 06, 2013


I am a huge fan of Pinterest, and just yesterday I saw the poster, "If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up."

Oh and how. After a long vacation and a brutal few weeks of work, I sat down to draw and paint. I hadn't regressed as far as I feared. And the first day I felt absolutely thrilled to have the pencil back in my hand. Maybe I could just start again. But then the next day I felt the oncoming dread. I felt the frustration and anger that I've felt so many times trying to learn to draw and paint. I was angry that my hands couldn't do what I wished for them. And even worse, I was painfully aware that I couldn't even articulate what it was I wanted them to do.

In the beginning, so much of progress is in the mental game of sticking with it. And when we are in the rhythm of doing, we overcome all these screaming voices that tell us we will never create something that will fulfill whatever it is in us that longs. And when you stop for a week or two or three, you have to get past all of those voices again. Maybe the skill in your hand hasn't all disappeared but the steadfastness of your head has weakened. And maybe that's worse. Today, anyway, it feels worse.

So up this hill again we climb. One foot over another.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Baby Shower Art

I put life (art) on hold for a week while I immersed myself into work's yearly auction. I came out on the other side with a baby shower on the horizon and dove fully back in. I was talking with a friend about some of the painting I've been doing lately, and it made me realized that it's been far too long (November?) since I picked up a brush and painted a face. Maybe next week is that week. It's hard to balance all the things we love. But balance we try.

This week though it's less about balancing and more about designing, creating, manufacturing and delivering a baby shower set for my sister. It's been so much fun getting back into party installation mode. I've had very few opportunities to do it to this level, and I need to find more. 

Image note: Attempt one of balloon magnet favor. Cutting magnet is leaving marks on my hand so as to make me appear to be the worse self-cutter ever.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Abstraction: Learning without Judgement

Week two of Jane Davies' Composition class just started, and I'm loving it. It's great to have a group of people holding me to task to get my work done each week. It's also great to have my mind pushed and pulled with the weekly abstract challenge. And to me, abstract is a challenge.

Abstract Art holds a funny place in our hearts and minds. It's the thing non-artists like to mock about the art world. "They just painted it all white. Big deal." So it starts at a disadvantage.

But abstract art is problem solving at it's finest. And for an artist of any level, the lessons found within that problem solving spreads out to all other art forms. Abstract art teaches us to listen to our inner voice. "Should this go here? How about here? Does it look better there? Why? How could I adjust it so it's stronger? Why?" It's a circle of constant inner questioning. We have to trust ourselves but also have reasons for the trust. "It's stronger over here because the balance is better. It's better over there because it draws the eye in and around." It's a questioning without judgment. Whether or not I put a square of color on the left or right doesn't feel like high stakes. I don't declare myself a bad person and an incompetent artist so quickly when it's just a matter of squares. But the lessons I'm learning in that time are invaluable. And I can't wait to see what week two brings.

Image note: The lesson was to stay within a color family in a grid layout but use various values and include a non grid shape (in my case a circle) to focus they eye's attention. My first pieces used hardly any layering, but seeing the beautiful work of my classmates encouraged me to try and slap a few more pieces on top of each other. I still didn't go that deep...but I'll take any progress I can get.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Jane Davies Composition Class

The wonderful (wonderful) Jane Davies is teaching an online workshop concerning composition. I had the opportunity to work with Jane when I was at Creative Catalyst and to say she's been an influence is putting it way too mildly. I missed her color class in January and instead of waiting for it to come around again, I'm jumping in to composition.

Am I terrified? Oh yeah. Even more so by seeing all the amazing work done by my fellow classmates. But you know what? You don't get better by sitting in the corner hoping to get better. This is exactly the kind of fear that you feel right before you learn a whole lot. It's the kind of fear we should all be running toward.

So, on your marks.