Monday, January 5, 2015

Finding new paths

I am taking Juliana Coles class Initiation which is a great class. In one of the many assignments I did this image.

Pathfinder image
I found a beautiful picture of a woman (I think) standing looking into the distant in an old National Geographic magazine about some American indians. I decided to re-draw that image on the page and when I did I suddenly realized that "I'm a pathfinder". Not in some serious kind of way, I don't believe I have been an indian in a present life or anything like that, but I enjoy taking long walks in the woods nearby our home. 

I constantly seek out new trails because I'm curious where they might lead and I discover waterfalls, caves and big rocks etc. I never get lost because I have some sort of map in my head and unconsciously notice things in the surroundings that I navigate out of.

So if I had lived among the indians back then I might have been a pathfinder!?! Today obviously such abilities are not useful for the bigger community with GPS and smartphones etc. but to me personally it serves a purpose.

I think I'm a pathfinder in other senses too. I used to be an engineer for 15 years but never really liked it and after going back to the university to study journalism I quit my job to become a freelance journalist. I am a curious person and love to learn new things so that suits me very well. However media is a though business and I constantly try to find new ways to be an entrepreneur. It is sometimes stressful and I use making art and especially in this art journaling form to release some of that and stop all the ideas and thoughts that swirls around in my head.

(I shared another piece I made in the Initiation class here.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Watercolor Christmas tree

Since it is rather cold outside I decided to stay in the sofa and draw what I could see from there. One thing dominating our livingroom right now is ... ta da... the Christmas tree so it became my object.

To be honest it is not the most beautiful creation in it self and our decorations doesn't make it much better. But it is our tree and it is decorated with things my two boys have made in school and kindergarten over the years.

Christmas tree 2014
I also made this little sketch in my sketchbook of one of all the candles that we have around here. It feels a bit sad no lit up and all but anyway.

Sad  little candle

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Drawing shrimp

I know there are a lot of people out there who like to draw food and recipes. I love food but not to cook (but I'm covered when it comes to that since my better half is an excellent chef) and I think that's behind my unwillingness to draw stuff I eat.

However I have found one exception to that rule (enter the shrimp!).

Shrimp of the day (and wine)

Every now and then we eat shellfish and mostly shrimp. And they are great to draw! They are lying quietly on the plate and they don't need any special preparation before eating so no chef will take them away from you. They also have a pretty simple shape so you can make a quick sketch. But if you look closely there are a lot of small details, so if you want to work on the sketch some more, you certainly can.

Here's another example.

Today's catch: Norway lobster, lobster and shrimp
This time we had a bigger variety of seafood and I tried to draw them all. However the lobster was chopped up before I got to draw him completelly. Anyway it was delicious.

If you would like some more food sketching inspiration Koosje Koene has a lot on her site and she also has a class dedicated to this matter.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How to make a selfportrait (that doesn't look like you...)

Selfportraits can be fun to make. But in many cases not. Well, to be more precis; they are fun to do but what comes out is often a surprise, and not always a fun one, at least not if you are vain.

My selfportraits usually shows me +10 years. That's what I say to myself. Maybe it is how I look right now, but the simple truth must be that I'm not very good at sketching (me that is).

This weekend I did another kind of selfportrait. I'm taking Juliana Coles class Initiation (you can find out more and sign up here) right now and one of last weeks (many) assignments was to do a metaphorical selfportrait in mixed media. This is what I came up with:
Metaphorical selfportrait

It isn't actually me or look anything like me but I pretended it was me. It was fun and I don't have to be sad that I'm REALLY that old (or anything). 

I made it in the journal I have chosen to work with in the class and this is how I went about it.

Step 1: I painted one spread with pink and skin colored acrylic paint. 

Step 2: After that I made quick sketch of a face but not really of me because I didn't have a mirror at hand. 

Step 3: Then I grabbed an old Vogue magazine that I had and looked for pieces to add to my sketch. Without thinking too much I cut out eyes of the right size and added to my sketch. Then I cut out some hair and added to the  right. I found a picture of Jennifer Aniston and stole her left side hair and her mouth and added that. The hair-parts didn't match on the top of the head but my plan was to add paint and cover it up.
Then I found a nose, but it was quite big :-)

Step 4: With white and skin toned paint I tried to make all parts blend in and I also tried to fix the hair. I also added the turqoise and penwork on her body. The title says A lot of pieces to keep track of, refering to the pieces that the picture was built up by but also all the things I try to juggle in my life right now.

If you are curious of Juliana Coles classes I think you should sign up. She focuses more on process than the actual outcome. It is not about making pretty pictures but to look inside of oneself and find ways to put your own pictures and word on paper.

It can be intense if you want it to be, or you can use it as an excuse to play. I'm somewhere in between. I like to play with it and see what comes up. Sometimes, or really always, things comes up that relates to what I struggle with right now (like the title in the selfportait). I enjoy the process and I do recommend it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Wear your art!

A few weeks ago I shared some tree drawings in my sketchbook and this weekend I had this idea to redraw one of them on a T-shirt. I have never done anything like this so it was an experiment. I bought a new T-shirt that was not very expensive, incase I would ruin it. But I think it turned out ok and I even think I will wear it :-)
I wasn't able to take a decent selfie wearing the T-shirt but here it is.
I kept the sketchbook next to me and used it as a reference when redrawing it on the T-shirt. Before I began I lightly marked the center by folding the T-shirt both horizontally and vertically. And then I just began drawing with fabric paint directly on the fabric with a thin brush.

Sure I could have made a quick a sketch with a pencil of something erasable, but I decided not to do that. Mainly because it would take longer time and I just wanted this to be a quick project.

I quickly painted the outline with black fabric paint.
I went over the lines one more time since I wanted them to be more black.
I dropped the brush on the fabric but I turned the stain into a triangle.
Then I added some of the doodles.

I used my original sketch as a reference before adding the doodles.
I was happy with the result so far but felt I wanted some color. I choose red and yellow to spice things up. Why? I don't know. Another day it might have been something completely different.

I added one triangle of each color to the black one. It became some kind of bird!
All in all this project took less than two hours if I don't include buying the garment. With a more complicated sketch it would have taken more time of course.

I think it could definitely be a great idea for a Christmas present to someone who appreciate your art. To speed things up even more one could scan a sketch and print it on (fabric) transfer paper and then iron it on the T-shirt.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sketching at a café - I finally did it!

Almost every week I have this idea of breaking up my normal daily routines by working at a café for an hour or two. In my mind I will have great coffee next to my laptop and also add some quality sketching time. But then I end up having so many excuses for not going today. This goes on week after week.

But why? I have a job (freelance journalist) that makes it possible for me to work almost everywhere. And I still end up going to my office or work from home. Not on a café.

I think it's because I have this idea that serious people work in offices. Working at home is already in the greyzone so I don't want to push it any further. But still I dream about cafés and I say to myself that once in a while I should really draw from the benefits of my freelancing lifestyle and just to it.

So the other day I actually did! I went to a café in the center of Gothenburg in the morning. I chose a seat overlooking the entrance, had a great cappucino and sandwich and started sketching.

I began with this stack of take-away-cups on the counter. Great to start with since they were completelly still. And then a customer came up and stood behind them so I quickly added him.

My other subjects where two customers talking on the phone. This lady actually held up with the phone for a few minutes while I captured her.

Lady without hair having a coffee.
And this guy stared out of the window and talking while I did my thing.
Staring out the café window.
To conclude; I had a great time sketching and I actually did some work too. I must do it again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Color in a grid in my No Excuse Art Journal

In the beginning of this year I took Gina Rossi Armfields online class No Excuses Journaling. I had seen so many intriguing pages all over the internet on things people had done in their calendars. I didn't really need an excuse to journal or every day but I was curious to learn more about the "system".

One of the things Gina Rossi Armfield teaches is to make a grid for each month and fill in one square each day. I'm not a very obedient student so I usually do a bunch of squares at one time. And then I do some more when I get back to it days later.

I set my own theme for each grid and on this one I decided to do small patterns. I never filled the entire grid but today I decided to fill them with color. That was not my intention in the beginning. But I felt like adding some color to see how it would turn out.

For some reason I began in the bottom of the page.
I kept going.
Adding orange and blue.

Played with different colors next to each other.

I added black to create more dynamic.

 This was a no brain excercise but I used it to test my water colors and adding hues. More fun then I expected. Try it!!