Things around here can be busier than a squirrel at a nut factory. Those of you who follow and know me know that isn’t really unusual, but it seems that things have moved to a new level and I am kind of catching on.
I am grateful for this, as not only are people seeking my own designs and surfaces, but the surfaces used by other designers that I work with due to their own amazing talents and abilities. Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone take one of my pieces and make it beautiful. I am so honored to be working with such wonderful, talented and artistic people. For me, it is a dream come true.
Initially when I began working and promoting my designing friends, I was often asked why I would promote other artists instead of promoting myself. I never really understood why I wouldn’t want to do this. After all, we all have our own style of designing. The great thing about art is that there is no limit to what you can like or who you can follow. It isn’t like picking a dessert where you only get to choose one (or maybe two) things before you get full or reach your limit. You can enjoy as many designers and types of art you choose and the more you like, the more enriched you feel. What a great thing that is!
Besides – I don’t think we can lose by promoting ‘art’ in general. I know very few people who limit themselves to just one type of painting style or medium. It is human nature to seek knowledge and want to continue to learn, and with the many types of paints, pencils, mediums and styles of painting being taught it is only natural for someone to accomplish one thing and then move on to others. It is part of the process and is usually a satisfying and positive experience.
So why not promote my talented friends? I would never in my life think that I as a designer and artist would be everything to everyone. I think that bringing someone into the world of creating – whether they are creating my designs or someone else’s – helps grow the industry as a whole and is a win for everyone involved. Even though someone may not feel drawn to my style of art at this point, they may evolve and be interested in it in the future. After all, learning and art is never stagnant and is something that is ever-changing. Ask any artist or designer. If they look back several years or even several months, chances are that their style is quite a bit different that what it is now. It is part of the process.
So about a week ago, my colleague and friend Tracy Moreau had an online demonstration on her YouTube channel: ( https://www.youtube.com/user/TheRenoir63 )
Here is a photo of the wonderful project called “Christmas Cookies” created using DecoArt acylic paint.
You can purchase the pattern on Tracy’s website here: https://tracymoreau.net/shop/ols/products/christas-cookies-e-pattern
And the surface is available on my website here: https://tolepaintingdesigns.com/decorative-painting-supplies/a-charming-welcome-beveled-plaque-wood-kit/
To say the project was successful is an understatement. As soon as Tracy announced the project, the orders for the surface (and several other things) began rolling in. I don’t think I ever had such a great response to anything like that before, and it kept me busy for most of the week cutting and sanding the surfaces and packaging them up to ship out. I had quite a pile of work to get through!
Even for me, that is a tall order of work for a couple of days. I actually spent two days cutting, one day sanding and two days packing the orders. But I did pace myself, and I tried to quit at a reasonable hour each evening. I had made a promise to myself to do this and I know if I don’t stick to limiting the hours I work on ‘work’ every day, I will burn out and not be good for anything. All in all, it was a successful week.
In the evenings, I tried to take the time to do some ‘fun painting’ that I would enjoy making just for myself. Since spring has been on everyone’s mind, I thought that painting a nice little watercolor chick would be a simple, yet fun project and would allow me to practice a looser style of painting. I tend to embrace realism when painting and while seeing those highly detailed paintings is fun and challenging, I want to be able to develop my ability to do something with LESS detail and more of an impressionistic feel to it. Just as I stated above, there is always more to learn.
I went on Pixabay and chose a photo by Lolame of a group of chicks. While it would have been nice to paint them all, I thought I would just isolate one to make things simple. I painted this up on about a 5″ x 7″ sheet of 140lb cold press Canson watercolor paper using my Mission Gold watercolors.
The Mission gold paint is very strong in color, so my self-challenge for this project was to get a nice, soft, pastel look. I didn’t want to over work things or put ‘too much’ detail in. But I wanted the shape to be implied more than actually painted. This was more of a challenge for me than one would think. I have been trying to train myself to look at the basic shapes of things rather than every hair, feather and detail.
While the painting looked nice (I left it at that stage for the evening) I felt it needed some more definition. It was a little bit too plain and bland, and needed some little punches of color for a nice contrast.
Over the weekend (which I reclaimed for my own sanity as a weekend to play and create and catch up on house-things and a nap or two) I decided to finish this up by using my Dr. PH Martin’s Bombay India Ink set and adding in some grass, some definition on the feathers, and a couple of little butterflies to fill the sky. Here is the final result of the painting:
Like the Mission Gold watercolors, the inks are quite strong in color. I was able to mix the bright green with some of the brown/sepia to tone it to match the watercolor grass. The butterflies did come out a bit dark, but I had a bottle of white iridescent ink that when brushed over them in a thin layer, toned them down quite a bit. I also added a couple of deeper gold feathers around the edge of the chick just for a little more contrast.
It was truly hard to stop. But I knew that if I continued to pick at it, it would be made into a busy, muddy mess. I find that working with watercolors, things go very quickly and part of the challenge is to know when to say when. So I am calling it finished.
I don’t know what I am going to do with it. The finished card is hanging on my board next to my desk here in my studio. I kind of like it for its simplicity and it makes a very nice little picture.
Everything doesn’t have to be like building the pyramids. I am learning that. One of the biggest goals I have for myself this year is to ‘art more’ and ‘stress less’. It is so easy to bury myself in my work and forget to take the time to do some of the fun things for myself. I look at all my beautiful supplies and most of them look “New”. We have to put a stop to that.
Yesterday I purchased an online self-paced course from my other friend, Kelly Horenig called “70 Days Art Challenge” ( https://kellyhoernig.webs.com/apps/webstore/products/show/7448062 ) She is having a sale on her site and closing out all of her pattern packets – but only until March 31st. I love her work and her approach to teaching. She allows her students to choose and dictate their own direction and inspires them rather than asking them to copy her own work exactly. It helps us as students think for ourselves and follow our own, unique creative path. Now is a good time to check out her site before her patterns are gone.
I am not sure if I will accomplish the 70 Days of Art in 70 days. My thoughts are ‘probably not’. But even if I take a day or two at a time and learn something from each exercise, I feel that it is worth it. There are 21 technique videos that are included in the course that I will have access to ‘forever’. I look forward to all I will gain from it.
I hope you all like my “Quick Chick”. I hope to do many other “quick” projects like this in the weeks and months to come. I believe that projects like these are the building blocks we need for the foundation of the larger projects on our creative horizon. They help familiarize me with the materials and types of supplies that I am using, without pressure to create a masterpiece. I am finding that each time I use my supplies, I become more comfortable with it. Different types of media are like different languages to me. While there are similarities among them, there are differences as well. The only way to learn to use them is to experiment and – yes – PRACTICE.
It is back to the shop for me for the rest of the day. I hope to tackle most of my new orders and get them shipped out tomorrow. Then I will be able to get back to my bakery and creating the pattern for that. It is all fun and good.
I hope you enjoy seeing my creative journey.
Until next time . . .