Sunday, September 11, 2011

Today is a new day

    I've had a pretty busy summer  - starting with the wedding at the end of May, then our Anniversary on June 12th, Sacramento for 4th of July, and then San Diego two weekends later for Ken's (my husband's) birthday.  It was August before I knew it and then I was left wondering where the summer had gone.  A few weekends of laziness in August, going to the farmer's market, seeing movies and taking naps.  Then a summer cold hit me the last week of August.  Now I'm really left wondering where all the time has gone.  In the midst of all my vacationing, eating out and napping, surprisingly I've gained some weight and needless to say I'm not very happy about that.   I'm feeling like all of this (the bad eating and weight gain) may be contributing to my laziness and all over defeated attitude as of late.  I decided to post this today because the point of this blog is for me to see over time the ups and downs and what exactly it takes to get where I want to be and that includes the good with the bad.  I can't lie, I've really been thinking lately "what if I just give up".  What if I just accept the idea that I have a job and can pay the bills (even if it's barely).  What if I just get up and go to work everyday and have my evenings and weekends to do what I want, like everyone else on the face of the earth.  What if I had time to - play tennis, go on hikes, go to the movies, go to the farmer's market, have coffee at Starbucks with a friend, clean the house, run errands, cook meals (and the healthy ones that take a little longer to make).  What if I took a nap on a Saturday afternoon with the windows open and a beautiful breeze blowing across my skin?  What if I just painted when I felt like it and just for myself? - what if I could do all of these things without the weight of guilt constantly on my back that I haven't been working on my illustration and I haven't gotten enough done with the time that I have, and If I don't hurry and get it all done and sent out to publishers and agents, that this year will be gone before I know it and I will be one year older and year further away from doing anything with my life.  I've grown tired of the guilt.  I've grown tired of telling people that I'm working where I work followed shortly by the "but i'm doing that while i'm working toward being an Illustrator" - I don't know if I believe it anymore.  I kind of just feel like a liar at this point.  With the worst part being that I've been lying to myself all this time.
     So here I am today - sorting through all the crap in my head.   Trying to get through my pity party in one piece.  I do realize that giving up is not an option.  Putting aside that I couldn't do that to everyone in my life that has believed in me and encouraged me and the student loan bills that are draining our account every month.  Even when I put all of that aside I realize that giving up would never really be an option for me.  I do need something to work toward, something to give me a reason to get up everyday.  I do want to paint everyday, and I do need a purpose behind it.  I can't just paint for myself.  That's just not enough.  I realize that some small part of me needs a challenge, a deadline, a problem to solve.  So I will pick myself back up again and get back to what it is that makes me truly happy.  I realize that I keep going in circles.  It seems that I've written this before.  When I let myself get too far of the path I fall apart.  I know by now that the only way to feel at peace to get that brush or pencil back in my hand.  So that is what I will do.
     I've spent some time today looking at other illustrators and getting in my head that if these people can do this then so can I.  I have to remind myself that I'm not as bad as I may think I am.  I am perfectly capable of really doing this.  I feel a little twinge of inspiration again and I plan to run with it.  Looking back at this post I see that I may have had a little too much bottled up - and now that it's all out (sorry to anyone who may read this), it's time to work.  I hope to be a little more cheerful next time, but this is what it is right now.  I've started exercising again, eating better and I'm ready to get on track.   My next post will bring much more joy!  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

     This is the firs time I've had a previous illustration that can be used for Illustration Friday.   Here is my submission for "Launch"

Sunday, June 19, 2011

     So much has been going on over the last month or so.  We flew back home to Illinois for one of my best friends' wedding.  It was great to spend a little time at home seeing friends and family.

     A couple weekends after that my husband and I celebrated our 7th anniversary at Disneyland - seems to be our tradition since being out here in California.

     Yesterday we went into Pasadena for the Chalk Festival - which was so inspiring.  What a great time we had.

Now I'm ready to get some work done before we head out to Sacramento for 4th of July weekend.  Looks like it's going to be a busy summer.  I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time outside, hiking, tennis (and hopefully some biking if we can get them working again).  OH!!  some big news that I almost forgot.  We bought an ipad!!!  SOOOO EXCITING!!   I'm starting to work on Sketchbook Pro and getting a feel for it.  I'm really excited to start doing some more digital work, but the main reason I wanted this was to start using it as my sketchbook.   I tend to have my sketchbooks all over the place and am always picking different ones up to work in and then can't find the last thing that I was looking for.  I'm really liking the idea of using this as my sketchbook and keeping everything in one place and always having it on me.  Ken may be doing a lot of overtime at work - so my plan is to have the ipad on me so that I can use the extra time after work sketching.   I'm also liking the idea that I can sketch and print without having to scan the images.  This is really going to help me start going in a digital direction.  I'll post some of that work in a few days.  Till then, have a great Monday everyone.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

      I'm hoping that I can really get back on track again.  The last month I've been doing a lot of overtime at work and been pretty tired when I get home, and now I'm wondering where the last month of my life has gone.  Getting caught in that rut again, but feeling like I'm about to get back to what I need to be doing.  I guess it's just how it's going to be, at least for a while.  Getting stuck in the monotony of life and then breaking free of it, then getting stuck again.   This is a cycle that is impossible to break until I can begin illustrating full time.  A struggle that of late is really beginning to wear me down.  But I'm glad to be feeling that little burst of energy again.  I hope that means a productive weekend.
     I've been spending a lot of time looking at other artists.  I suppose that it's all part of the process.  It's been a good way to step away and gain a little insight into what I'm doing at the moment.  I've been really inspired and have been able to see what I need to improve and what direction to go in.  I think it's an important break needed for any artist.  It's great to be really involved in your work and feel driven and be completely focused, but sometimes you can start to drift off course without even realizing it.  It's important to stop for a time and re-evaluate things, make sure that you're still going in the right direction.  So now that  I've begun to gather my thoughts and ideas once more I'm ready to head in the right direction.  I need to step away from the computer and get back in front of my own canvas.
     On that note, I've still been slowly working on the whale painting.  It's coming along, but I'm kind of at a stand still with it right now.  I'll work on some other things and hopefully I'll figure out where I need to take this.  I'm trying to figure out this sudden obsession with water.  I have a few thoughts on the subject, but it sounds silly to say them out loud., so I'll keep them to myself.  But I do know that something about it is speaking to my soul.  the ocean, rivers, rain, baths, tears - all of it.   And something about whales that I'm in love with.  I think it's something to do with a mammal that lives in the water, because fish don't seem to fascinate me quite as much.   Is it living in water, but needing air to live?  Now I'm rambling, so I'll move forward before I bore everyone to death.

      Here is the latest update of my painting ....

I also have begun this new piece - closed my eyes one night and saw this.  The next day I couldn't get it out of my head.  here are the sketches I started with .....

I've gotten it onto canvas board and decided to try a red underpainting.  I want to keep it sepia toned, but bring out the red in the fox.  And then to balance the red fox I'll have to bring out some red in the old woman's house coat, and possibly somewhere on the table.  I'm also going to play a little with patterns on this one.  But, I'm enjoying documenting the process of each piece so i'm going to try to keep track of this one as well.  
So, here is the underpainting, step 2 (step 1 being the sketch) ..

the fox has changed a little and now I'm feeling like the body shape was better in the sketch, so there may still be some changes.  But now what was going to be a short little update has gotten completely out of control.   I'm going to say Goodnight now.  See you all again soon.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

     Illustration Friday - Cultivate ....

the plan is to have this completed in color before this friday - but just in case
that doesn't happen I thought I'd put this up now.  Still trying to work a few things out.
feeling like I need to bring out the focal point and figure out how to 
minimize the rest of the piece.  It's a little busy and just too much going on.  It gets across the idea
I wanted, but It's feeling a little off balance.  The right side doesn't feel heavy enough for the the figure, but I don't want to clutter this up anymore.  Also considering the idea that the two tall stacks in the middle are too similar in height.  Guess I still have a lot to work out, this
should be a busy week.  I'm also still working on the whale painting - which is taking
a lot longer than I anticipated.  I'll try and update again in a few days.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

     updating my painting progress.  looking at these pictures on the computer gives me an entirely different view and I'm realizing some things that I really need to fix.  I'm still concerned with overworking it, especially the water.  but now that i've worked on the water a bit I realize that it's too light.  I have to decide if the water or the what is going to be light - and I really think the whale should be since it's the focal point.  I may have to work some stuff out in photoshop before I go any further.  I'm also realizing that while I wanted a rich deep background, I may have lost some of the warmth.  I may need to bring some of the yellow up - but keeping in mind that I still have to add the trees and boat.  so, we will see.  I want to try and get this completed this weekend.  That may be a bit ambitious, but it's worth a try.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    I finally did something for Illustration Friday.  I got the sketch done and have been wanting to do some pen and ink, but once again I'm afraid I won't get this completed in time.  I figured I had better just submit what I have done.  At least it's one step closer  than I've gotten in a long time.  Maybe this weekend I can actually complete a piece.  But for now, here is my drawing for "Stir"...

here are the sketches I began with.  I'm just at a loss as to what kind of environment to place
my subject in.

    I've been doing a few things lately.  Still slowly working on my whale painting and doing some sketching.  I went out on Sunday with my husband to spend some time outside enjoying the beautiful weather and decided to bring my sketchbook along.  I thought it was finally time to attempt some life drawing again, it's been too long and something I've been thinking about doing for a while.  After sketching for only about 15 minutes I realized just how long it's been and felt completely frustrated.  I had no attention span for it and became so aggravated that it was so difficult and no one would stay still long enough.  My sketches were horrible and I only lasted about 5 more minutes after that.  I seriously need to get back in the habit of this again.  I hope the next attempt will be a little better.

here's my sad attempt .....

I thought that I should also add some other sketches since I was already scanning stuff.

feeling like it's been a little forced lately, but I really have to put more effort in, no matter how tired I am after work :(
But on a lighter note, I did have a great time outside on Sunday, and my husband took some really great pictures at the Americana - where we like to hang out.  Now that it's getting so nice out I hope to start spending more time there.  I'll leave you with these pictures - and I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Monday, February 28, 2011

     Feeling guilty for having neglected this blog again for so long.  I'm afraid I got a little bit lost on the way, but have managed to get back on track again.  It still amazes me that only a certain amount of time can pass before I begin to feel that desire to have a paint brush in my hand.  As soon as I sit in front of my canvas I always feel the need to run my hand across the rough surface - and as soon as I get the first few brush strokes on to it my heart finally feels like it's home.
     I've been painting for a while tonight, and I wonder how I could have stayed away for so long.  You think I would have learned by now that if this is the only thing that brings me such peace, that I wouldn't neglect it so much.  I still struggle with balancing everyday life with what I truly enjoy.  I don't know if I'll ever get it figured out.  But on a good note I'm really excited about the painting that I'm currently working on.  Since I've been painting for hours tonight I'm having a hard time settling my mind.  I'm afraid I may never be able to fall asleep.  
     I thought I would share what I've been doing.  In a previous post I had a whale sketch that I wanted to work on.  I've made a few adjustments and I'm really happy with it so far.  I feel that with this piece I'm finally heading in the right direction.  I apologize that these are such horrible pictures.  They were taken late at night with an old digital camera.  But, until I can get better ones these will have to do.  (I really wanted to take picture of the process of this piece).

this is the sketch that I began with

The flash really ruined the richness of the colors 
but I think you get the idea.  I'm so in love with this one.
I'm just afraid of overworking it, so I feel like I have to really be careful,
but I also don't want to over think things like I always do.
I'll keep you updated on the progress.

Even though I haven't blogged in a while - I have been doing some sketching.  Not as 
much as I should, but I have done some.

I've been working on my characters a bit.  I've decided to go with the smaller eyes. (as you can see above)
I had been fighting it for a while, but now I'm sure it's the right way to go.

I saw a few other illustrators doing this and wanted to give it a try.  You quickly draw
some shapes on the page and then turn them into characters.  It was a fun exercise.  I need 
to work on more expressions. 

some rough ideas I'm working out for my Children's book.   I'm antsy to get to the artwork
but I don't have the story worked out yet.  I can't get too ahead of myself, but I also can't help it, I'm really excited about it.  I just wish I had more time to dedicate to all of this stuff.

this is the last thing I sketched today.  don't ask what my obsession is with whales and umbrellas lately - I have no idea.   Well, on that note I need to get to bed tonight.  I'll try and be back again soon.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

     I'm trying to figure out how to share things that inspire me from other sites.  let's see if this works ...

I LOVE all things with a bohemian style.  all the rich colors & textures.  This is something that I'm striving to add to my painting style.  Here are some things that I find inspiring.

for now it looks like I was able to add the pictures successfully.  I'll check back tomorrow and see if they are still here.   On that note - "Goodnight Everyone".

     I'm not really sure what I want to say today.  I have a few paintings and such that I wanted to post since I haven't been blogging in a while.  I've also been trying to figure out how I can become more productive with my time and better organize my ideas and projects.  This has always been something that I've wanted to improve on, but I really became aware of how important this change needs to be the other night.  I realized that when I do finally have some motivation to get something done I tend to do 5 things at once (literally) in order to get everything accomplished.   I made the following list at the time that I came to this realization -

"At this moment in time I am ...

1. drying dishes
2. cooking my dinner
3. scanning pictures
4. watching a movie
5. writing this list"

     I need to find a way to focus my energies into one project at a time.  It's not a bad thing to multi-task, but I take it to a point that I think may be more scatter-brained than multi-tasking.  This is something to add to my list for improvements in 2011.

     Here are some of the things I've done in the last few months ...

thought I'd add my sketch + color comp this time so that I can share a little bit of the process.
(also tried to incorporate a more texturized background  ( I used paper to scrape the blue paint across the background) - didn't quite turn out like I had envisioned.  Something I'll have to keep working on.  Trying to get out of my comfort zone a little).   I  feel like something is not quite right with the umbrella - so I guess this is still a work in progress.

and I guess I would call this the "companion piece" to go along with "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas".  Trying to work on consistent characters and show some action.  A good start I think.

I'm also including a sketch that I did last night.  I've been looking at a lot of other artists and trying to figure out where I want to go with my work.  I want to develop a more stylized way of rendering my figures.  Here is the sketch that I worked on with that in mind ...

we'll see what it looks like when I use paint.  I'm trying to add more shadows and highlights to the skin - to add more dimension.  I'm not sure how well the sketch turned out here (it looks better in real life).  There are some subtleties that just don't show up.  hmm.. maybe I need a new scanner.  I guess I can add that to my list of things I'll get when we're rich.

I've also gotten the sudden urge to get out a canvas and so something larger.  I really want to paint a wall in my house, but since we are renting this is not an option.  I can't wait for the day that we own our own place and I can paint everything and anything I want!!  :)  (don't tell Ken).

Anyway, I got out a canvas and started thinking about some ideas.  I've been really wanting to do a whale illustration for some time and also wanting to incorporate some collage.  I've been fascinated with collage for years now, but have been unable to incorporate it into my art and create a cohesive style.  So this is my current undertaking.  Here is the sketch that I plan to work with ...

well, I suppose this is enough for tonight.  I'll try and update everyone on my progress by the end of the week.  
Hope you all have a great week.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

     I had a great New Year's Eve.  I spent it with great friends and had one of the best New Years Eves Ever!  Now I'm ready to focus on the new year, which I'm really excited about.  I have such a great starting off point since I was able to get so much Illustration work done at the end of 2010.  And just as everyone else is doing right now, I'm thinking about what I want this new year to be.  One of the first things I though about was what my word for 2011 is going to be.  It actually came to me pretty quickly and I feel very confident about it.  My word is ..... "FEARLESS".  This word embodies everything that I want and need this year to be for me.  I want to live my life with no regrets.  I want to loosen up a bit, unwind myself and allow myself to just be me.
     I also felt that I needed to make my lists today (my 11 lists).  I felt that it was important to do these on the very first day of this year  - and not procrastinate.  So here they are....

11 things I am thankful for in my life right now .....

1.  That I have art and creativity in my life.
2.  That I have an amazing husband that is still as motivated, passionate and driven as he was when I met him, and is a huge support for me.
3.  That I have such amazing friends and family, who continue to encourage me.
4.  That both my husband and I have jobs
5.  That I live in California!!
6.  That we were able to get this apartment and live in an amazing town where there is so much for us to do and enjoy (especially since I don't have a car)
7.  That I've had the opportunity to see so many new places
8.  That I'm able to go to Disneyland all the time with my husband and friends :)
9.  That my husband and I have good health
10. That I don't have kids yet and can still enjoy sleeping in and being lazy on the weekends  :)
11.  That I have a Starbucks a block away from my place.  (something I've always dreamed of - lol)

11 things that I want to do in 2011 .....

1.  To start getting illustration work
2.  To get in shape and feel comfortable in my body again
3.  To make Yoga a routine
4.  To loosen up and let myself show through my art
5.  To go to the Farmer's Market more often
6.  To have more fun with my clothes again - maybe go Thrifting again.
7.  To sketch more often
8.  To hike more
9.  To try more new foods
10. Take more photographs
11. To be FEARLESS

I'd love to know what other people would like to do in this upcoming year.  Feel free to share.
I hope everyone had a great New Years Eve and that 2011 is everything that you want it to be.