As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance. -- Calvin and Hobbes

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Rent I (Picnic on the Lake)

Click here to go to the Auction: Picnic on the Lake


Saturday, March 19, 2011

#18 Pen & Ink Rhino; 31 Days of Rhinos

#18 Pen & Ink Rhino

Say hello to my little friend, the quill! (ok, the fake quill, the calligraphy tip!)

[Wikipedia more or less states evidence of the following potential truths:
Did you know that the pen was first used for writing in ancient India? Yup! They used bird feathers and bamboo to hold the ink. The Egyptians used bamboo reeds to write on papyrus scrolls and they could also have been used in the First Dynasty (3000BC). The quill pen even wrote the dead sea scrolls.] Cool!

So, why do we say "Pen and Ink" instead of just ink? (Back to the feather). If you are using a feather or pen with a nib that must be filled with ink order to draw, then voila, you are using pen and ink technique! We use the name loosely, though, as my quill is often a pre-filled pen of India ink with a lid. When I create a piece, I do try to write the exact media I am using just for posterity (just India Ink, or Pen & Ink, Ballpoint pen, Prismacolor marker & India ink, etc).

To draw with ink, you don't have to get fancy; great works have been achieved using a ballpoint pen. There is no need to get fancy with the tools, unless you are a freak for art supplies, as I am.

Good ol' ink pen, yet another technique that arose from childhood, waiting in my Dad's office, to be precise. He worked as an Architect for a while in Chicago, and when we went to visit him, the few things that were always available to keep us entertained were pencils, pens and paper. What do you do with that? Ahem. (hint: It wasn't algebra.)

Today was a quickie Pen and Ink sketch, using a combo cross-hatch technique, and also scribbles (Hey, what do you want for 20 min?). You can achieve terrific precision with ink in the perfect linear fashion of cross-hatch, making perfectly horizontal lines and then countering them with a comfortable cross-hatch of your wrist at about 45 degrees, I guess.

Alternatively, you can achieve a liberating level of Fabulous with scribbles and rapid fire lines, which is the way that I sketch when I want to get something down quickly and I don't need it to be museum quality. Journal quality. I encourage you to try both.

If you have never tried calligraphy tips, treat yourself! Try pretending you are John Hancock and get ye a plume and try that. It's tough to control the flow of the ink, though, so I recommend writing with it over drawing with it. Light a candle and put on a puffy shirt to enhance your experience.

Today's Rhino bears likeness to yesterday's, and that is because when I got down to the studio tonight, I realized I had no reference photo, so I just quickly rendered (not all that accurately either) my #18 Ink Rhino from yesterday's #17 Graphite (pencil) Rhino.

Have a great night, see you soon,

Friday, March 18, 2011

#17 Graphite Rhino; 31 Days of Rhinos

You blinked and it stopped. A year ago.

Welcome back to my continuing jaunt into the history of art, my way, with 31 days of rhinos to celebrate Art's affect on civilization and humanity for cryin' out loud! The depths that art has reached in it's 30,000+ years (well, since the cave drawing days, anyway)

It's a good time to pick up where we left off because this month, is taking entries into the Rhinoceros show! So, if you like Rhinos, head on over to enter one of your own. If you like rhinos but don't want to actually make rhino art, then head over to April 1st-8th to vote on your favorite rhino in the show!


Graphite, the salt of the Earth. Sort of.

Drawing is a basic function of Art and artists. It's a basic function of survival in fact. We draw directions, we draw a diagram, we draw plans, we draw figures! The pencil is probably the most prolific instrument in the history of time!

So, what better way to jump back into the 31 days of Rhinos than with the most beloved and fundamental tool known to man. hee hee. Good ol' #2! (and 3B and 4H and 8B and 2H, etc.) Well, there is certainly no dispute that Graphite is the oldest drawing tool. When cavemen drew on the walls, they picked the charcoal out of the fire (probably the same cave men who invented kabobs. I love kabobs.)

It has evolved over the years, but even as fascinated as we are by all kinds of lovely media, something still draws us (pun intended) back to the pencil drawing. Beautiful and simple and portable. We love a good masterpiece, yet when a show comes to the museum that involves, say, the sketches of Leonardo, you want to see it, don't you?? Every artist draws to enhance their talent. Pick up a pencil today and draw something. Then, treat yourself to an ice cream cone, because ice cream is good.

So, I hope you'll continue to look out for the rest of this series until I hit 31 in early April. The 31 days of Rhinos are an exploration into art and art history, celebrating some of the worlds most famous art genres and also art techniques and practices to enhance your skills! I am here to share. Some will be quickies, some will take all day. It's all good clean fun! See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday Worshipiness

Isis, Goddess of love and stuff what's good. for Jen.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Where is your attention?

I've been reading a lot lately about attention deficit. (Luckily, even though my attention isn't always on writing, my desire to read never seems to wain.) What is this deficit? Is it lack of focus, or disinterest in a given subject matter, or boredom? Or, could it be TOO MUCH to do ??? Not completely sure yet, but I suspect it may result from our crazy world that requires us to do and be everything all at once, and none of it with complete success. Heck, when you can't focus throughout your day, your sleep probably sucks, too.

So, I teach kids art. I also teach computer skills to adults (artists mostly).

Kids, especially teenagers are the most challenging because their energy is so darting, I often wonder how they get anything done in school apart from driving teachers insane. Although keeping a kid's attention is a tough task, talking to an artist about the need for discipline trumps it. Teaching an artist about discipline is like trying to teach someone with ADHD to sit still and concentrate. It is not always in their control to do that. So, I have had to assess my intent and find a way to use the artist's personality in his/her favor. And, I have been thinking about how to tackle just one moment in a time.

But first, speaking of ADD, I learned a lot about adults with attention issues by teaching them computer skills. I could always spot them in my class, because they're the ones who continually ask me a question about the very thing I just finished speaking about. I blame myself, though, because I had them turn on the laptops at the beginning of class so that I could work through the day with a demo and then an exercise. The resulting behavior was that I was talking to myself while they played on their computers for 10-15 minute blocks of time (the demo time), followed by another 30 minutes of individual question and answer about the demo that they weren't watching (exercise time), followed finally by the exercise time (of which there is none left).

Let's face it, we just have too much to think about and do each day. I would like to live in France again for a few years, or forever, just so I can again be in the company of people who know to enjoy life, live deliberately, and savor a moment.

As long as I am here though, how about trying your own little exercise tomorrow. Each time you have a task, tell yourself, "This is my task, and it's all I am going to do right now, for X period of time." Then, move away from your computer or turn off your phone and just allow yourself to focus on that one and ONLY ONE thing. And, if someone calls you or approaches you to talk and you can't talk, make it clear why you can't talk right now, and that you will be available later (after that block of time is up).

Regarding speaking to people: If you can talk, make that deliberate too. Move away from anyone and anything distracting, and give that person ALL of your attention. They deserve it. You deserve it. When you focus, you will retain. Take a breath and listen for a change. You may find you have never done this before. I guarantee it will feel so much better remembering what someone just said to you, that you will begin to deliberately give people your whole attention.

Whatever your intention, I bet you will feel better and more satisfied if you do it with all of your attention!

Oooo, I can move mountains.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordy Wednesday

A funny video I couldn't resist sharing. One of my favorite love songs.
Happy Wednesday!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday, Schmonday...just fix your Sunday!

I have never been one to say I hate Mondays. I'm not really sure why people have such loathsome despair for this day. I think what they really hate is Sunday! Sunday you wake up and realize that Saturday is gone. You only have one day to relax and half of it is nearly gone, too! Sunday afternoon, you are already considering tomorrow morning and the commute. By Sunday night, you have mentally prepared yourself for going back to work, only in the worst way.

If you hate your job, you probably will have the worst night's sleep of the week on Sunday, because you are ticked off that your weekend is over and you didn't get as much done as you wanted to and you still have to throw some clothes in the wash to wear tomorrow and you are dreading the load of crap you will encounter upon entering the office tomorrow.

I could be wrong, of course.

However, if any of this sounds plausible, how about trying some psychology mixed with a little time management and pure unadulterated joy on for size and follow this list:

Hire a maid who does laundry. If you can't afford a maid, just do enough laundry in other moments of the week so it wont swallow up your precious free time on the weekend.

ALWAYS eat ice cream on Sunday. I cannot remember seeing an angry frustrated spiteful attitude from a person eating ice cream.

Have sex on Sunday afternoon. (optional, mostly)

Take a sleeping pill early Sunday night, like around 9 and make sure it's strong enough to totally knock you out so you will have no choice but to get a good night's sleep. (or have sex right before 9 so you'll fall asleep!)

If you live with someone who doesn't care what day of the week it is, who is generally happy and optimistic, maybe you could consider for just a moment that you might have a crappy attitude and there is another way to look at life. (really, there is). The best part is that it's ok to change! You don't have to stay an asshole forever. Choose to make your own day, and you will in turn add to your partner's happiness.

I'm just sayin'.

(Honestly, I had a great Sunday and have no idea where this whole post came from except that I just read more than one post about how sucky Mondays are...)

PS. Here is how an optimist (me) views going back to work: I love changing the sheets on Sunday night and getting into the most cozy comfy bed that was ever made! I love smelling the freshly folded clothes that I will put on in the morning! I am feeling good and refreshed from the weekend and that amazing meal we (probably) prepared together or the fun lunch date we shared while we were out running errands. Tomorrow, I'll get to see and interact with co-workers, learn what they did over the weekend and see some progress with a project I'm working on. I have a brand new week ahead of me and it's exciting that I have so much time!

When I get up each day, I have a choice to make today awesome. I choose AWESOME! Why choose sucky? You know that saying, "Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right?" Well, same thing goes for choosing how to approach your Monday!

Mondays are good days! That's how I see it anyway.

Things to Ponder

Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches. -Andy Warhol

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
-Walt Disney
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