Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Where the Wind Blows

I thought I finished this piece, "Where the Wind Blows", a few months ago for the project Operation Gaia, but right afterward, I did a stupid thing and ruined the piece.  A bit upset with myself, I let it sit for awhile.  After I got over my turmoiled emotion, I decided to attempt to fix the piece.  As I fixed the piece, I started working on it even more, putting in more hours, more marks, more effort.  I enjoy the process and love the result even more after the second finish to the piece.  Each piece is a chance to learn something new, about the art, the medium and myself.

First finish:

Second finish:

Where the Wind Blows is where the wind takes me, off to the distant land, world or universe, exploring new places, new experiences, new joy and fantastic adventures.  Where might the wind takes you?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

My Participation in Operation Gaia

Each of the past 3 years, I’ve been able to participate in Operation Gaia.  For those who have not heard of it, Operation Gaia is an art event hosted by The Changeling Artist Collective and The Bird Whisperer Project to raise proceeds for the National Audubon Society through an online art auction open to the public.  During the first month of the event, participating artists create images fitting a weekly theme.  In the following month, artist can choose to donate art for the online auction.  I started in 2017 with the image “The Butterfly Effect.”  In 2018, the image was “Look up," where I first started my process of incorporating graphite powder with my pencil work.  This year was “Where the Wind Blows.”  I usually don’t have any external prompting when creating my artwork. This project gives me a chance to experience working with themes, guidelines and deadlines.  It was fun and challenging for me to come up with images to fit the themes and meet deadlines. 

This year I donated "Where the Wind Blows" gold pigment embellished Giclee print for auction.

Last year, I donated "Look Up" color pencil embellished Giclee print for auction.

In 2017, the first year I participated, I donated "The Butterfly Effect" original artwork for auction.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

My Mark Making Obsession

Art for me is not totally about creating works of art.  Art for me is about mark making, the act of using an instrument, such as a pencil, and making an impression on a substrate, such as paper or board.  The artwork is incidental to this process.  I’ve heard it said that a great artist never really looks at his or her art after it is done, that the admiration for the art is in the process, not the art itself.  I’ld say the admiration for the art process is why I stare at my art afterward, and also at other art I enjoy. I look at the art not only for the art itself, but also to admire the process that created such a piece of work, each line of pencil, each stroke of brush, each dab of ink pen.  Until I realize making marks is actually an obsession for me, I never fully understand my need to create.  I never have the full image in mind when I start, only fleeting thoughts sometime, if even anything at all.  When I hold a pencil or a pen and place a mark on the paper, each mark is placed by feel.  Each subsequent mark change the image in various ways according to my mood and thoughts.  I add marks until I see things I like and tease them out some more.  Often times it is hard to know when I’m “finished”.  Sometime, there is no end.  Maybe a deadline ends the piece.  Otherwise, it might go on.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Artist at work

It has been a while since I kept this journal up to date.  I had posted this on my Patreon page and thought I'll share it here also.

My husband said this is how he usually finds me when he comes home from work, drawing in my Dark Cave.  This is one of my workstations, my Moerkle drafting desk acquired during our stay in Germany.  I love this desk.  Next to that is my digital work station where I do 32-pixel digital art for an Indie gamer and where I process all my videos.  Also in the same room is a wooden work table where I do various other things such as laying down graphite powder, ink pen stippling, sketching and attempting to paint.  I hope you will join me in this journey into peace and tranquillity, finding your own center and balance amidst the chaotic world as you watch me create.  Thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Inktober 2018

I almost forgot to talk about my Inktober this year.  For those who do not know what Inktober is, it is one of the many art challenges that artists use to improve their skills or just have fun with making art. This year  I decided to do small pieces for my Inktober.  I find that when I draw, even with a pen, I tend to completely fill the page instead of doing line drawings with ink pen.  So I ended up taking more time with my ink drawings because I cannot fight the urge to fill in between the lines.  I am giving in to my artistic urges.  I start by cutting 9x12 sheets of paper into 4x4.5 pieces.  For personal esthetic reasons, I add a circle to the cut paper.  My Inktober drawings then go within this circle and I can fill in all I want.  Each piece still takes me somewhere between 2 to 4 hours to complete.  This year I was able to complete 13 Inktober pieces.  Here is a video of my Inktober drawings.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Fantastic Workshop

I recently attended an art business workshop hosted by the podcasters of One Fantastic Week (1FW).  This was the third year I attended this workshop.  I never shared my experiences from past workshops but I wanted to take the time to share that now.  This is totally my own personal opinion and there is no sponsorship for this blog post.

The first year that I attended I was still working a full time job and the idea of being an independent artist was just a thought in my head.  By this time I had only gotten back into art for a couple of years.  I knew absolutely nothing about owning your own business let alone an art business.  I went to 1FW’s very first workshop hoping I would find out more about being an independent artist and make up my mind if I could do this or not.  I walked away from the workshop with an overload of information but ultimately with the decision that I think I can do this.  

I spent the next year wrapping up my old career and resigning from my 20 year civil servant job. Within 2 weeks of that, I started up my LLC. I took everything that I learned from the workshop and implemented them one by one.  I learned all about bookkeeping, taxes and licensing. I researched and found companies to scan and print my artwork  in my area.  I looked for and entered local shows, events, galleries and conventions, although there were not too many galleries in my area.  

I skipped the second year of the 1FW workshop to focus my time on just getting my business together.  I returned a second time for their third year and by this time I had my business running and was selling originals and prints at conventions and exhibiting my art in my local community.  I returned with more questions about how to run a better  business.  By my third year, the workshop’s 4th year, I was comfortable in my business.  I wasn’t raking in the dough as some other artists but I was able to funnel my sales income back into my LLC to pay for materials and convention costs. I was looking to the workshop more to up my game rather than just basic business 101.  My third year at the workshop is  when I finally became comfortable enough to just connect with people and talk about personal  and artistic goals. 

I believe there are two reasons why I finally reached that comfort level. First, I did not have to dedicate my full attention to the art business fundamentals, rather, I could just revisit some of the topics. That allowed me to use the majority of my time to just reconnect with other artists. Secondly, I think I started to overcome some of my own social fears about being inferior to other artists that I respect. I started to feel more a part of the 1 FW family and that I had something to offer that would be accepted. Maybe those things were always there, but I couldn’t grasp them during the first couple of years while trying to absorb all the information, trying to get the business started, and overcoming all the fear that comes with putting yourself out there artistically, and as a business.

Hopefully I just conveyed how I felt about my 3 years attending the workshop.  I felt like it was “college”, in the sense that I started out needing the “foundations”. Then I needed more specific pointers. Then I  solidify those foundations through connections with other artists, and reemphasis of past workshop knowledge through a more mature business mindset.  I felt like I “graduated”.  I don’t think it has to end in the same way college ends. For me, I see myself continuing to attend the workshop, each year or even every other year, to continue solidifying my foundations and make connections.  I also see it as a place for me to continually make my business better by having more focus and candid conversations with the creators and guests of the workshops.

In summary I think 1FW is a place for both for new and veteran artists.  In my opinion, I don’t foresee a diminishing return for veteran artists who plan to attend in the future because there is always something new to learn and people to connect with that can benefit both new and veteran artists. Ultimately, if 1FW continues to foster a community that encourages people like me to make the leap into doing what they love, and connects other people passionate about our profession, then that’s a community I want to be a part of. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Banned Book Cover

During the Banned Books Week, 23 - 29 September 2018, the Friends of the Bowie Library group from my local public library, sponsored an event to "creatively express your freedom to read by designing an original book cover inspired by a banned book.”  I’ve always loved to draw book covers but never really had a chance to do it commercially.  This was a great chance to draw a book cover, if just for fun.  I chose the book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou.  I remembered reading this book in high school and am now re-reading it.  It’s still a great read.  

When my artwork, along with others, were displayed at the library, each of us was asked to explain our choice of illustration.  I chose this book because it is one of the books I remembered reading in school and it touched me personally.  To me the book is about a struggle of a young girl trying to find her own identity and herself in the midst of all the things that happened to her along the way.  She felt trapped but she won’t let herself be trapped.  She sings loudly to be heard and find her escape.  It sounds so cliche to write about it here, but I think this could be a struggle for any young girl in any generation, even in today’s world.  I think this book transcends time.

I’ve included the artwork of the other 2 artists who participated in the challenge. 

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou. My book cover with title and author added digitally.

My original drawing. “My tears were … for the helplessness of mortals who live on the sufferance of Life” -“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou

Book: “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury.  Artist: Kenneth McLeod.

Book: “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut.  Artist: Kenneth McLeod.

Book: “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle.  Artist: Margarita Alvarez-Kuinlam.

Book: “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle.  Artist: Margarita Alvarez-Kuinlam