Thursday, February 22, 2018

'Tricking' Myself Into the Studio?

Don’t think about making art, just get it done.  Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it.  While they are deciding, make even more art.” Andy Warhol

Where Are Those Eyes?

Practicing regularly and often is when I get the most improvement and experimentation in my work.

How do you achieve regular practice? I've tried various things such as carrying a sketchbook around with me EVERYWHERE so I could sketch when I had little moments. That was great but eventually fell by the wayside. I've tried Inktober which is making an ink sketch every day in October. I made the month but then that petered out. I tried one painting daily for awhile and amassed quite a few of those but it too stopped. 

You might be different from myself in how you are motivated but here are a few things that have worked for me:

  1. Attending a weekly group. I attend life drawing once a week and I carve in a group once a week. Now, I do paint and draw more than that but having the commitment of the group keeps me working throughout the rest of the week on my own. That is when I often get working on larger projects. 
  2. Working in series. Currently I am wanting to improve my drawing and painting skills of animals. By choosing a goal and also telling others about it seems to motivate me to keep practicing.
  3. Because I think a lot of artists paint their own lives, being engaged in the subject matter is key for me. As I am painting animals currently, I asked my niece to send me photos of her dogs and I have had great fun and challenges practicing where the lab's long gangly legs go in relation to it's body and how to show the eyes under all the fur in the little one's face.
  4. Commissioned work is not something all artist's embrace but I think I learn a lot from it because it forces me to do something I wouldn't normally pick. It gets me experimenting and I like that. Oh yes, there is often a deadline associated with it. 
  5. A special gift for someone or a special project for a charity. Those sorts of things always feel great and gets me running for the studio. 
  6. Requiring art for upcoming shows and galleries can also keep me working be it in the studio or on location.

Do you have other 'tricks' that keep you heading for the studio versus dealing with all those distractions we have in everyday life? 

As a young pup, I don't think he was too sure about the ocean!

Okay the cat was in one of the photos. How could you resist painting that cute face?

I am going to be searching for more Border Collies to paint. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Carving on a Bird Feeder

Carving on a Bird Feeder

I've been bird carving. And for the first time carving into a flat surface (the leaves on the feeder). The birds were painted with acrylic paints that were thinned with a glazing liquid. I sanded some highlights after the paint was dry. 

Back of the Feeder

The leaves were carved with a V tool and painted with watercolour. I wanted them very transparent. Watercolour can bleed from where you want it with the grain of the wood. It takes patience and a building up in layers using a fairly dry watercolour mix.

The Carved Roof

The lovely bird feeders were made by CDSCL Woodshop for the Art Trot Fund Raiser in Creston, BC. The money raised when they are put for sale goes to the Therapeutic Riding Program.


A female cardinal was sighted over a period of time in Cranbrook, B.C. in 2017. Wouldn't we like to see one at our feeder.

The cardinal, mountain chickadee and mountain bluebird were carved from a 3/4" piece of bass wood. I love carving these decorative birds as although they require some shaping, mainly with a flat carving knife, they are not as intricate and time consuming as carving a 3 dimensional bird such as the winterwren (A.K.A. pacific wren) pictured farther below. 

Mountain Chickadee

 I had a lovely mountain chickadee at our bird feeder today.

Mountain Bluebird

Alas, I didn't have any bluebirds at my feeder today. Once in the winter, I was fortunate enough to see one in Arizona.

The Winterwren/Pacific Wren with the Big Voice

One of my most favorite birds.

 Harris's Sparrow

This Harris's Sparrow showed up in our feeder today after almost a month of not sighting it. It is a rare sighting here, especially at this time of year. I was delighted to see it! Can you tell how different his feathers look on his head? All finely dotted.

I know I am going to have to carve or paint him one day. Heh wait, I did paint him. Let me find that photo.

Experimenting with Alcohol Inks. 
The alcohol ink technique was so much fun.

I know I have been away from blogging for a bit. I was busy with a very big project. I will post about it later on. Has winter got you in the creative spirit?