My very talented and amazing cousin Sammie Sidelinger is writing her first novel and I was fortunate enough to become her cover artist. I have never done book covers before so this has been an exciting journey for the two of us. I have wanted to quit and give up because it was out of my comfort zone and I didn't think I could do it but she has had absolute faith in me.
So much has changed since the last time I posted! Over the past months my husband and I managed to sell our home in Massachusetts, temporarily live with a friend for two months until our kids were out of school for the summer, and then relocated to the great state of Maine. We moved to South Coastal Maine to be closer to my cousins that live around Augusta and Portland. I actually hadn't seen any of my family in almost fourteen years since my mom's side of the family doesn't seem to ever talk or see each other for holidays. It kind of sucks in a way because I always wished for one of those close families who saw each other all of the time and had big meals and cook outs for the hell of it. But since moving, I have rekindled my relationship with my cousins and it has been amazing. I have learned a lot of new things about my "gifts" as my Gram used to call them. I am just so unbelievably thankful to have them with me.
In other news, I have done a lot of thinking over the past couple of days in terms of digital versus traditional paintings. I have always wanted to be some amazing digital artist but it is something that I have to teach myself. I went to college for Graphic Design and I don't even enjoy that fully. However what I did enjoy was the studio courses where I could sit and paint and draw for hours and hours. I even used to be one of those people who wouldn't cheat and buy premade canvases. Nope, I went and stretched my own and primed them with Gesso. It was amazing, fun, and I had the time of my life doing it.
But as of lately, I haven't had as much fun teaching myself to digitally paint. I feel pressure and keep doing the thing I am NOT suppose to do and that is.. Compare myself to Professional and Popular Artist! It's like a huge no no to do and yet I constantly keep doing it! I'm almost at the point of having complete anxiety attacks. That is not normal and you shouldn't be having panic attacks with something you are suppose to enjoy and love doing. With all that being said, I think I am going to really move towards drawing and painting again. It's what I knew and loved. I am pretty I had posted something about this previously but never followed through with what I had wanted to do (very typical of me).
I found out that there are some really cool art galleries nearby. My ultimate goal right now is to get my work in there and hanging on the walls. I think that right there would be spectacular and definitely give me a boost of confidence!
I finally finished the painting thank god! I had attempted to paint peacock feathers on her dress because I thought it was looking to simple but it only made things look way more busy and cluttered than I wanted, so I opted out. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out to be honest, since the past couple of months all I have managed to do were technically "speed paintings" .. This one worked out to be roughly between 10-15 hours I think? I didn't really clock myself on it.
I have been a bit under the weather lately on top of trying to prep my house to put on the market to be sold. I have SO much work that needs to be done all the while taking care of 3 kids. Needless to say my hands have been majorly full but I at least wanted to post some work in progress pics of my latest painting I am working on. And for once... it isn't a speed painting! :) I am trying really hard not to rush and make sure I take lots of breaks so I have fresh eyes to look at it.
So I have been trying really hard not to get lost with my addictive personality. I seem to do that a lot - whether it be games.. painting.. or my latest one, reading. I have read nonstop the past month and a half. So much in fact that I have neglected my art big time. And sadly, that is something I reaaallly do not want to do. I will fall into the same pattern and forgo painting for months and months and then kick myself for my procrastination, laziness, and neglectfulness. With THAT said.. the past two days I have attempted to try landscape paintings because well, why not? It's not my norm and quite frankly, it is something I do have to concur if I want to be professional or improve at all.
I used reference pictures for them and for some reason.. they appear blurry. I don't know why. In SAI, they look perfectly fine but when I posted them to my Facebook Art page, the quality went to shit. Maybe I am doing something wrong? I don't know.
I haven't posted in a while! I was super busy painting and then I decided to take a two week break, where I was lost in books and reading a ton! I also got to go on a road trip and visit my amazing cousin Sam. But now that I am back, I wanted to post the few paintings I did manage to complete before my mini vacation. :)
It has been a few crazy past couple of days. I have had doctor's appointments, read three books, took a spontaneous road trip to Maine to see my cousin Samantha ( You can see her blog here) I haven't seen her in thirteen years. Crazy, I know. And last but not least, I reached over 200 likes on my Facebook Fan Page for my art. It is all so amazingly awesome. I can't even believe I reached that many so quickly. I did manage to do one quick painting this week when I didn't have my nose buried in the Nook app on my cell. Not to talk down about my work but it isn't really anything super spectacular. I saw this stock photo, I really liked the angle and wanted to paint it.
I need to work more with hair and being more creative with design, texture, intense colors, etc.
Yesterday on Facebook, someone had mentioned "How do you do this?" I tried to explain as simply as possible how I painted my friend Jen's portrait. But I am sure it was still confusing as hell. So I decided with the next painting I did that I would take different screen shots from along the way. This way you can see from the very beginning to the very end how it transforms and changes.. how it looks really bad to sorta better to much better. I won't lie, at one point, I was ready to quit because I was convinced it looked nothing like Meghan and more like a drag queen who was asleep. But I pushed the negative thoughts aside and continued to paint while getting lost in Beyonce' Radio on Pandora and when I would get tired of that, I would zone out to Meghan on YouTube. I am pretty sure, I listened to her cover of Royals over thirty times yesterday, no lie!
It's my first attempt at showing the process of a painting so I hope I did this okay. I am sure I will get better the more I do.
If you have ever heard of Meghan Tonjes then you are awesome. If you haven't, you need to go look her up on YouTube asap. Here, I will help you out.. click here.
Are you back yet? Okay, awesome! Anyways, Meghan is one of my idols - hands down. She has an amazing voice, speaks her mind and doesn't sugar coat a damn thing, and she is just beautiful. Not to mention, being a big girl myself, I look up to her since she is all about being positive and loving yourself. So what's not to love? :)
Today, I decided while watching some of her videos on YouTube (like always) that I could try to pause it during one of my favorites. I wanted something difficult for me since I usually always do the same kind of blank expressions. On top of that, I wanted to try and play with different colors. I am not 100% sure if I was successful on that one. Regardless, it was fun to do! I even got the guts and tweeted her letting her know that I was painting a picture of her. She liked that tweet and have since tweeted the finished painting. I am just waiting for a reply. ( I hope she likes it!)
It is January 19th and I realized today that my blog is a little over half a month old. Granted, I have only posted a total of six posts which is definitely not a lot. But the more I think about it, the more I feel like I want to keep working on this and building it up more and more. At the moment, it is a sad sight to see with zero followers but I am not going to let it bother me in the slightest because in actuality, I am kind of happy. I am happy because she needs a lot of work and it gives me time to tap into my old designing days and try to come up with something.
A little bit of a back story...
I went to college for Art with a Concentration in Graphic Design. Granted, it was not some big Art Institute.. it was a state school that was more known for teaching degrees. But you make the best of what you have, right? Exactly. However.. if we had the option to go back in time and change something, I think I would change the effort I put into school and getting help for my depression sooner. It completely screwed up any drive I had to learn. Regardless Senior year.. I got married and had a baby. My graphics teacher, who was very rough around the edges, informed me I was ruining any chance I had to be a designer and pretty much ruining my life in general. At the time I thought this was really rude and heartless but in a way, she was completely right. After graduation in 2005 with a Bachelors, I became the stay at home mom to our now oldest son while my husband worked. A few years later, we welcomed another son and then after he was born, I became pregnant with our daughter. All the while, never really doing anything in the field of art. I took up a nasty habit of online gaming in mmo's and wasted so many years during my twenties.
Fast forwarding to today...
Now with our children being ages 10, 8, and 7, I am still the stay at home mom. I have kicked the nasty gaming habit. I am seeking help for my depression, bipolar, and anxiety. And I feel this drive in me to find that spark and love I used to have for all things Art - whether it be graphic design, painting, or drawing. Believe me, the designer in me is ridiculously rusty if there is one at all. But lately, I find myself continuously searching for and reading designing websites and other lovely blogs around the web. I find them extremely inspirational.
In the end, I would love to sell my paintings and drawings online or have some type of income that would involve art. I don't think I have it in me to do the whole graphic design thing anymore. Mainly because, I graduated in 2005 and never had a real job in that field. You can't have "2-3 years experience" if you have been a stay at home mom for nine years. It makes things tricky. So if you think about it.. the harsh professor was right to an extent.. I didn't have my design career but I am not going to let that stop me from being happy.
I have been really painting a lot which is fantastic! I can even feel like I am improving because it is coming easier to me as I do them more and more. This is exactly what I want. Last night, I decided that I would attempt a self portrait. I haven't done or should I say attempted one since high school. My parents still have the proof hidden away out in the garage. It was a 18 x 24 canvas.. acrylic.. and absolutely horrible. It looked nothing like me. Messy and just no.. I would rather have it continued to be buried out in the garage where no man or woman could see such a thing. Okay well putting the dramatics aside, yes, it is pretty bad. I almost want to take it back.. and show myself the improvements I have made from 1999. (The year I graduated high school) I am not entirely sure which year I painted that. The other option would be painting it white and recycling the canvas. Not sure which one I want to do yet.
This is me and my daughter Kaylee. Granted this is no acrylic painting but rather done in paint tool sai. In many ways it does look exactly like me.. but something is off. I am thinking it is the mouth and teeth. Well.. more reason to keep practicing and to get better. On a plus note, my Aunt was blown away by this and wants to buy a copy. Bonus, most definitely. Did I just finally find my niche in the art world? Recreating portraits? I guess we will have to just wait and see.
I definitely have been trying to stay on my game of painting more. I am pretty sure I have painted more since 2014 hit than half of 2013. I finished another painting yesterday and I am really happy how it came out too! It was for a very good friend of mine named Jen. She is actually well my cousin in law but we talk a lot like we are best friends. Jen had requested a painting back when I had originally showed Marina and I figured since her birthday was coming up the end of this month that I could paint a portrait of her for a present! I was originally going to do colored pencils but I definitely need practice. Right now, and I am actually really pleased to say this, digitally painting is easier for me. She had loved this school girl outfit but the photo quality of the pictures she sent me were rather poor, so I improvised! I perused through her Facebook pictures finding a really nice close up of her face from a wedding this past year and I fused it with the picture of the outfit. It was rather difficult but mission accomplished!
She saw it last night and freaked out. Beyond happy and excited, she showed her mom and dad who also were very impressed with it. Me being my own worst critic, I still see issues like the hands.. but it is what it is. Something to work on more in the future.
I haven't posted anything in a couple of days but I have been productive! I had been talking to a friend and she through the idea of doing a bunch of quick portraits and putting them up on my DeviantArt page - for a couple of reasons.. 1. To get stuff into my gallery. 2. It's always good practice and 3. The most important, I want to eventually set up a Paypal account and work on getting some commissions. So with me never having any decent ideas of "quick paintings" I perused through Tumblr looking at different gifs, music videos on YouTube, needless to say, it helped a lot. I snagged a few images and saved them for future sketch/paintings.
First one up.. Amy Winehouse. I was not a HUGE fan of her. In fact, I only knew a couple of her songs..Rehab and Back to Black. But with those couple of songs, I learned that she had a raspy soulful voice that was filled with heart and emotion. I'm sure if she had kept clean from drugs and lived, she would have continued to put out some amazing songs.
I actually painted this a completely different way then how I usually attempt. I used a single layer, no prior sketching, and one brush. I never thought I would be able to paint like that but apparently I can and it feels amazing. One side note though, I did use a reference photo.
It's Wednesday and I don't really have any drawings that I could show you today. To be honest, I didn't draw at all. It is not something I like to admit. I swear I have ADHD and become so distracted by websites like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube, and yes even DeviantArt that I sit there and refresh in hopes of something new to look. So much time is wasted when I could be working and doing something more productive (like sketching or cleaning my house) then strengthening my index finger by constantly hitting the refresh button. But alas it is a nasty habit that I am working hard to fix one day at a time. I'm pretty sure that I am not the only one who does this but others probably won't admit to it.
Anyways, what I can show you is a picture I took of my amazing new colored pencil set that I purchased with Christmas gift certificates and Christmas Card money. It is a set of pencils that any traditional artist would love to get their hands on and I know that I have been dying to take a set home with me for years. They are simply beautiful but I have only managed to take the plastic wrapping off of the tin and peak inside to the glorious trays of color that sit so snug within it. Aside from buying the pencils, I chose a few 4 ounce tubes of Acrylic paints. Colors that a few of my professors in college would have snubbed because they are not "classics". They would have rolled their eyes, stuck their nose in the air, and walked away. But that is okay because I am not in college anymore. I graduated years ago so that means I can paint with any damn color I want.
So these are my new items that I hope to be using very soon! I don't even know what I will draw really. Maybe some fan art? I have a friend that wanted a portrait done. I need to work on so many different things like lighting, expressions, texture, proportions, landscapes.. the list could go on. I feel like my muse is always taking extended vacations while leaving me sitting there art blocked, frustrated, and usually using a lot of four letter words. Imagination and Creativity are tools just like anything else and I'm afraid mine are very rusty and unused. But that is what this blog is all for right? To write, express myself, show improvement, show failures, to actually commit to something and do it! (Because anyone that knows me well, knows that I can never finish anything)
So let me wrap this novel up and wish anyone who may find this and actually read it a Happy Hump Day!
I think I am going to start pushing more towards the mediums that I am more comfortable with instead of digital - more like graphite pencils, colored pencils, and start trying to paint with Acrylics. Don't get me wrong, I love digital painting but I have a hard time with it. But I definitely admire people who can paint digitally with ease and bust out some amazing pieces. I am envious! :)
I had not done a whole lot of drawing since the new year hit. It made me a bit annoyed - mainly with myself. However, I did manage to do a speed paint the other night in about roughly 90 minutes. It is done entirely in Paint tool SAI, all on one layer with one brush.
So after much thought, I decided to create this blog for various reasons. Currently I have a DeviantArt page but I feel like I never use it really, plus I don't have a subscription to it either. You mainly post your really nice work there. Honestly, I don't think I have anything up to par right now. I made a Facebook page as well but it definitely has it's pros and cons. Often times, your posts are swallowed up by swarms of meme's being posted, rants, and shares and won't be seen. Also, if you are one of those people who don't sign onto Facebook everyday, most likely you will miss posts all together. But what exactly is the difference to this blog? No one probably will look at it either. True, but I feel like I can make it more. I can write more, post doodles, sketch dumps, and the beginning stages of my attempt to paint acrylic. If I can keep it up and continue on with my plan, I want to be able to see progress in my work by the time 2014 is at its end and we are welcoming 2015. And after that, I will keep on working and pushing to grow as an artist and improve.