Colored Pencil Tutorial -Jasper Kitty

The Inspiration

I know that I have mentioned it before but I will say it again, “I am an animal lover.” I have a fur-baby named Hershey and he is so much a part of me that he is like one of my children. You could ask them and my grandchildren and they would tell you the same, lol.

My husband and I moved across country a couple of years ago and had to make the painful decision to re-home a beloved cat we had in our home for nearly 8 years. It was very hard to leave him behind and I miss him everyday. He was an absolutely loving cat and he was also strikingly handsome! Since I had already done a portrait of our Hershey I wanted to do one of Jasper, our cat.

I am just learning the colored pencil medium and so I struggled with making the decision to try to do Jasper’s portrait in colored pencil. I am so happy I made that decision! I really love how his portrait turned out. So in today’s blog I will share with you the steps and techniques I used in this colored pencil drawing of Jasper.

Step By Step

Jasper 1

Jasper Lay-in and eye

Of course I always start each drawing with my lay-in (initial sketch of the subject). Then I normally want to get the eyes done. This helps me see the life in the drawing right away and helps me with the values. I know that if I can get the eyes the way I want them that the rest of the drawing will come together. I used Prismacolor Premier colored pencils (set of 72) in shades of blue, green, grey aqua, and tan and black. I blended the colors with odorless mineral spirits and also burnished with a light color as needed.

 

Jasper 2

Filling in some of the fur around the eye

Next I wanted to work on some of the fur around the eye to see what techniques were going to work. so started out with the lightest colors first and worked in the darker colors in between. I would blend out and then add another layer until I got the look I was after. It was a bit of trial and error here because I am used to painting, where you add your darks first than add in your light shades. With colored pencil it is the opposite, which takes some getting used to. I used blacks, greys, and tan with a bit of white or light cream here. I was careful to watch the direction and the length of my strokes paying close attention to my reference photo.

Jasper 3

Working in the next eye, fur and nose

Then I worked on getting the other eye done following closely to my reference. After I was satisfied with the eye I continued on with the nose and some of the short fur on his nose and between his eyes; Making sure that the stroke length and direction were correct and blending in between layers. A trick to selecting the right colors for you project is to do a swatch test and hold it up to the area you are trying to match. It may take a combination of colors to get the right match. Most fur is several different colors if you take a close look and this is what makes it more realistic and believable.

 

Jasper 4

Working on the fur, direction, texture and length

 

So now I continued on with the fur and choosing several colors as I went. I probably used over 30 different colors in this piece to get it to match Jaspers fur. You will notice that his colors and markings are not exactly symmetrical. One side of his nose is a different color than the other in the photo. The fur gets longer the further away from his muzzle you get. The fur on his neck, chest and inside of his ear being the longest and softest.

 

Jasper 5The biggest struggle I had with this piece was getting the texture of the fur on his neck to look soft and somewhat out of focus. This took a lot of layers of light colors and blending to achieve this effect. I was not at all happy with it for the first few layers but I persevered and overcame my frustration and was happy with the final outcome. I then decided on a mat and frame for the piece and it is now hanging in my local art gallery. I have gotten numerous comments and lovely compliments on the piece so far by customers of the gallery and fellow artists alike.

So if you are struggling to learn a new medium or technique DON’T GIVE UP! You will be surprised if you just continue to work on it. Get up take a break, come back to it and work some more. You can PERSEVERE! You can DO IT!

If you have any questions or comments PLEASE leave them in the comments section below and hopefully you have been inspired to try something new!

Jasper 6

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Doing just a Little Each Day

Hello everyone! I have been super busy lately so this post is going to be a review of some wonderful and not so wonderful things going on in my life.

The Good, Bad and the Ugly

Well, lets see, where to start… My husband was hurt at work many months ago and then was let go due to his injury. Yes, we know, totally illegal but it seems to happen all the time. So we have been super busy running to doctors, lawyers, etc. But finally we have a light at the end of the tunnel on this situation and he will be having surgery done on his shoulder soon. Then we have some recovery time before he can use his arm again, which will be very difficult for him since he is a bit of a workaholic.

RIPNext, was the loss of another family member. My eldest step sister passed away of an aneurysm. It was such a sudden shock to the family. She was a loving person and a huge animal lover. We will miss her greatly. I feel so bad for her children, grandchildren and husband, let alone my parents. We lost my eldest sister just 3 years ago so this was just a hard blow, to say the least. We lost my youngest brother in 2003.

Now For Some Good

Produce MarketMy husband and I are thriving on our lifestyle changes. We were WFPB-NO (whole food plant based diet – no oil) for many years until we moved to the south where it is a bit of a struggle in a small community to live this way. We reverted back to the normal and very unhealthy way of living and suffered greatly for it! We are now back on track and loving the adventure of finding new places to shop, new recipes and bringing back many of the old recipes I used to make.

scakeNot only has our eating changed but we also try to get a walk in each day and our dog Hershey absolutely loves that time of day. We go for a walk with him and he gets so excited when it is time to go. So not only are my hubby and I getting well needed exercise, so is our 9-year-old Hershey! My husband and I both have dropped 10 lbs already and we can’t wait to see some more drop off here in the near future!

Need some help in planning some healthy recipes? Check out this link for more info!

New Art Student

Some more good news is that I am teaching a new art student! She has wanted to learn for some time now and she is doing quite well for her age. She is really trying and she seems to be enjoying it. She even shares with her class mates at school what she has learned in her private class with me! I have her once a week and it has been a joy.

We are keeping her class at one hour per week for her young attention span. She is also to practice 20 minutes each day and so I send her home with “homework.” Last week she was so cute; my husband came in and said your ride is here and she looked at me and said, “Already?” I was glad to know that it went fast for her and not slow and tedious.

What I am Working On

Since I have been so busy I am not drawing is much as I should. So I decided to just do a little each day to keep me going. I was looking through the photos that a friend of mine took and just fell in love with the one I am working on now. As my readers know, I love to draw animals. I find them so interesting and I am big animal lover anyway (one reason for not eating them) and so it is just one of my favorite subjects.

Raccoon - Sarah

Photo used by permission by the photographer as a reference for my art. This photo is protected by copyright as are all photos of my art.

This piece I am working on is taking me a while but that’s okay. If you find yourself (like me) not having the time you need to sit and draw for hours, just take it a little bit at a time. Set aside just a few minutes each day to do something, anything artistic.

I have gotten the lay in done on this piece and this morning I took a few minutes to work on the eyes. I plan to work on him just a little bit each day. Soon it will be finished and I can search for another great reference. Here below are a few pics of my progress. And I encourage you to check out my friends photography page on Facebook and Instagram when you get a chance. She is doing beautiful work. You will find her Facebook link in my last blog post here.

Art Inspires Life & Life Inspires Art

The Great Question

Many times as an Artist I hear the question, “What inspires you to do your work” or “What inspired you to do this piece?” Many times I answer with a short “I liked this or that about it.” But really it is so much more than just liking a subject, the composition or the color of something. Sometimes it’s an intangible thing that inspires me, such as a feeling or a mood or a person.

Inspiration1Nature inspires me and it is what I do most in my art. I love creation and the beauty in it. I love animals, I love the beauty that surrounds me each day, I love seeing the hand of God everywhere I look in nature – from the beauty of a flower to the texture of a tree trunk to the colors of a rainbow or water or the sky.

Inspiration4

Saving a baby bunny

I feel that many people are so busy in their lives that they don’t take time to see the beauty that surrounds them. As humans we can be quite self-absorbed and we just miss so much of what life has to offer us. Many people I know are not at all happy with their lives. They buy a home based on its location, size, distance to work etc., but never really consider whether or not they will be happy there. So, then they buy a “get away” property that they can run off to.

To me, this just adds more stress to their lives. Now they even have less time to enjoy nature, not more. Now they have 2 homes to care for. They are missing out on so much by adding to the burden and business of their lives. By the time they are ready to retire they are buried in debt and too sick to enjoy retirement.

My Philosophy

Inspiration2I was raised on a farm in Minnesota. My dad was a farmer. I was surrounded by nature and beauty as a child growing up on a piece of land that had a creek with its very own water fall. I grew up playing in the woods, watching animals being born. I helped my dad in the fields. We played out in the fresh air whether it was cold or hot. We played in the snow, we swam in the creek and played in the water falls. We enjoyed the natural beauty and didn’t even realize it.

Once I grew up and lived in Boise, Idaho my surroundings were much different. It was also very beautiful there, but I lived in the city.  Life got busy for me. I worked full-time to support my 2 children and life just got in the way of seeing the beauty around me. I didn’t appreciate nature as I did as a child. I was just to busy to care.

But now, in this stage of my life it was important to me to be back in nature. To enjoy life and take things slow. Not to rush from here to there, not to “shop til ya drop,” not to be so busy that the beauty around me is ignored. So my husband and I set out on a search for the right environment. We wanted to be surrounded with trees and mountains. We wanted to live where there were 4 seasons but the winters were mild. We wanted to be able to slow down a bit and enjoy life. This took us over a year to accomplish.

Find That Perfect Spot

We settled in a beautiful area and decided we would make it our home. We have had some stumbling blocks along the way but we are very happy with the beauty we see in nature here. We have activities here that we both enjoy; me with my art and Jim with his aviation. Not everything is perfect by any means, but we are happy.

Inspiration3Happiness itself inspires my art. Nature and color are inspirations to my art. My husband inspires my art. My friends inspire my art. My children and grandchildren inspire my art. But one of the most important things to me that inspires me each day to do what I do, even to just breathe, is my relationship with my Lord. He inspires me to move forward when people try to stop me. He inspires me to love even when there is so much hate. He inspires me to continue when I want to quit. He inspires me to be content regardless of the attacks. He inspires me in-spite the changes I’ve had to make and the decision to just walk away at times.

“I am so thankful I have family and friends that feel the same way and encourage me when others try to take my joy away. Life inspires my art and my art inspires my life. So take a look around you; take a look inside you; the inspiration for your art is right there. Be happy being yourself, be happy where you live, live where you are most happy and you will never lack for inspiration.”

What Inspired Me for My Next Piece

I have a beautiful friend that is a great photographer and I look at her work all the time. It inspires me greatly because I think she loves nature and animals as much as I do. Her Name is Sarah. Check out here work here and you will be inspired too. The piece I have chosen next is a photo she has taken of a raccoon. I have asked her permission of course to use her photo as my reference. Please be sure that you do the same whenever you find a reference photo you would like to use. Copyright infringement is a serious thing and is also just unethical.

So What inspires your work? Share with the readers what inspires you!

The Struggle is Real

This Last Month

This last month or so has been a monumental struggle for me. It has really been hard to be focused and get some work done. There are so many things on my to do list but yet I have little motivation or money to get them done right now.

Have you ever had a time in your life that you just felt like giving up on your dream? What do you do to shake out of it and get motivated? I am determined to not let things get me down or distracted but yet… “the struggle is real!”

What are Your Distractions?

One of my big distractions is a bad habit I’ve developed. Each morning I feel compelled to grab my phone and check in to all my social media sites to see what is going on with friends, family, the news and the world. Then it takes me from page to page, article to article and before I know it I have spent half my morning on the internet. The problem with this is

  1. It is taking time from my day that I can’t get back
  2. It is very un-motivating and I get caught up in things that I really don’t need to be caught up in.
  3. Sometimes it just causes frustration, hurt feelings, sadness or anger
  4. It is taking time away from ME! I Need to have some ME time. Many may think that this sort of habit is ME time but it is not. It is everybody and everything else time!

What I plan to Do to Break the Cycle

Because of the stress I have been under lately with ending relationships, which have also ended some church responsibilities (at least for the short-term) and a few other things. We moved to this community just under 2 years ago and so now we are kind of starting over again with building new relationships. Just that alone is stressing me out. Oh well, I have decided to not be passive in this situation, but instead decided to start thinking of myself, my health and lifestyle and so many other things I put on hold when I moved here.

My New/Old Health Choices

A few years ago I ventured into a high raw whole foods plant-based diet. It took some getting used to but once I got the hang of it I felt better than I had ever felt in my life! I had energy to burn and my creativity bloomed. I was able to exercise every day and still had energy for the rest of my activities. My Fibromyalgia was under control, my food allergies much alleviated and my skin, hair and nails were also much healthier. Even my hypoglycemia was much improved!

fruit-bowl-1600023__340So, I have decided and am very determined to go back to eating the way that makes me feel the best. Social pressures are difficult when you don’t eat the SAD (sad american diet) but I have to do this for me. My husband is also completely on board with me again and so we are starting slowly but surely and I’m feeling better already. I can’t wait to have the energy I once had so I can include more exercise.

Morning Routine

Lemon waterI am working out a morning routine that will give me a great start for each day. I am going to set up my very own Bliss Station! I will have a specific place and time to do some thinking, motivational & spiritual reading and also some planning for my Art business. I will start out each morning with a large glass of pure water and fresh lemon and in the colder months (which are right around the corner) I will heat the water. This lemon water beverage is very detoxifying and beneficial for the liver and digestion.

Green SmoothiesLater in the morning I will consume only fruit, approximately 1-2 pounds depending on my appetite and what fruit I have available. This could be in the form of a smoothie or just a big platter. Fruit is not only flushing for the system it is great energy food for the muscles and the brain. This is why I had so much energy and creativity.

I will then work in my art studio on projects and enjoy the rest of my morning. On Fridays I have an art student I give private lessons to, which will also benefit my creative side.

My Bliss Station

My Bliss Station will consist of a space in my home where I feel comfortable and surrounded by things that inspire, uplift and sooth my soul. Such as lovely colors, inspirational quotes, family photos, my day planner and a sketch book and pencils.

Do you have a Bliss Station? If so would you please share with me some ideas? I would love to see some pictures for inspiration! I foresee my space with a comfy chair and warm throw, a table and a lamp, a good book and my bible and my lap desk.

My Art Plan

I also have plans for doing some more portraits, and I really want to play with some acrylic pouring for some fun and something different. I usually work very tightly and I think that acrylic or resin pouring techniques will be a great way for my to loosen up once-in-a-while!

I watch YouTube videos with people doing there pouring and it just looks so fun. My hubby bought me some lovely canvases so I can do some traditional painting as well. I have made a list of art projects that I want to do. Whenever I get another idea or suggestion I just add it to my list.

My Afternoon and Evening Routine

ProduceI have definitely learned over the years that the body and mind work best on a set schedule and healthy food. My new life plan includes another 1-2 lbs of fresh fruit for lunch and then a huge salad for dinner with about 1 lb of fresh greens a day (some of that in my smoothies in the morning) topped with several nutrient dense veggies and fruits like tomatoes cucumber, broccoli, bell peppers, etc., and a sprinkling of nuts or seeds. As for cooked food, if I feel I need it I will eat some rice, a vegetable soup, potatoes, quinoa, etc. For fats in my diet I will add whole food sources such as nuts, seeds and avocado.

Many may ask the question, “Where are you getting protein?” The simple answer to that is from fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. The bulk of my protein comes from my greens! Yep, greens. Where cows, deer, elk, elephants, etc get their protein from. Don’t be alarmed, I am a nutritionist. I have run the numbers on the nutrient value of this lifestyle plan and believe me I will be getting a huge amount of nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and protein! Not to mention high fiber and water content. I take a B12 supplement (something anyone over 50 should be doing regardless of diet) and a vitamin D supplement for the days I am not in the sun enough. Everything else I will get in ample supply in my diet.

SaladYes, this diet requires more volume of food than the SAD but this is because of the low-calorie content of the foods that are best for you. They are much lower than fast food, greasy food, alcohol, and junk foods. And believe it or not plant foods do contain all of the amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that are essential. Think about it… have you ever met a person with a true protein deficiency? I mean a clinically diagnosed person that is eating real food and enough calories, have you? I’m sure not; why, because if you eat a healthy, whole food, plant-based diet you will get well over the amount of protein needed to be healthy, that’s why. When you add in nuts, seeds, sprouts, etc you will see that you can definitely get enough protein and way less fat in your diet. this way.

Now of course if you eat animal protein you won’t need to eat the volumes of food but you also will be missing many of the great disease fighting nutrients that we find in plants! Do some comparing of nutrient levels, not just protein. And don’t think that I am suggesting everyone go vegan, because I am not. What I suggest though for your own health is to compare foods based on nutrient levels and getting the most bang for your buck.

I won’t say I will never eat meat, because that just isn’t being honest. But what I am saying is, on a daily basis my diet will consist of high nutrient packed, low-fat, healthy choices. Why, because I feel so much better when I do that! I feel more Alive, and I feel more creative! I don’t feel sluggish and tired after I eat. I won’t have the malaise that I get when I eat junk food and so it is all worth it to me to give those things the boot. Not only that, the money I spend will be on the food itself and not on fancy crinkly packages and boxes of high calorie, high fat, low nutrient foods that come in them. Shopping is easy, food prep is easy, and medical bills are virtually existent! Oh, and did I mention that I feel so much better?!

“So here is to a new path of health and happiness! A new path of more creative juices flowing from a brain fed nutrient dense energy foods! Here is to my art career soaring!”

FriesWhen I do nutrition counseling I tell people to be an artist with their food and “Paint your plate” with nutrient packed colorful foods! So here is to you – “Add some color to your plate! Make it pretty, nutritious and life-giving! Beige gets boring even in food, look at a fast food meal, bun – beige, fries – beige, chicken – beige, burger – brown (dark beige) and even the soda!

My Questions to you My Readers

What works for you? What motivates you to create? Do you have a Bliss Station? Does you lifestyle help your creativity or get in the way of it? I would really like to know! Share your comments below, and until next time – God Bless!

 

A “Stable Environment” Tutorial

I’m sorry, but my internet went down yesterday and it took them til late last night to get it back up and running, so the blog post is late…

A Stable Environment Graphite Drawing

My latest piece of art work is of a horse in a stable. I thought the title I gave this piece “Stable Environment” was perfect considering the last few weeks of dealing with a situation in my life and career as an Artist. You can read about it here and here if you are so inclined. But enough of that! In this blog post I would like to share with you some of my tips, tricks and techniques that I used to do this Realism drawing of a horse and a stable. So let’s get started!

The Lay-In

Before I do any drawing in realism I make sure that I do an accurate lay-in (or initial sketch of the subject). This is so important if you want your finished piece to be accurate. You will have a much more difficult or nearly impossible time getting a realistic finished piece if your lay-in is not well done.

If you are a beginner, feel free to use a light box, or trace the image for accuracy. If you are a skilled artist and want to produce realism more quickly you too can utilize a light box or trace your image. Don’t fall victim to the “that’s cheating” mentality when it comes to using tools to help you. There is no such thing as cheating in Art unless you are just stealing someone else’s work and claiming it as your own, which is also stealing. If you love to just draw your image in free-hand that’s great. I use both methods depending on mood and time. Below is a picture of my lay-in for “Stable Environment” and as you can see I draw as much detail as possible to make sure my proportions and perspective is correct before I start on any details.

Step 1

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“Stable Environment” Lay-In

To do my lay-in I usually select an HB or a B graphite pencil. This way I can much more easily erase any lines I don’t want or need. I use Blick Studio graphite pencils. They have a nice range of leads and they are of good quality at a reasonable price.

After I do the lay-in I then use a kneadable eraser and pounce it on the lines to lighten them. You will find a kneadable eraser a wonderful tool for other techniques as well.

Step 2

The next step is to start on the details. I usually will start in the upper left corner or the eye of the subject depending on what I am drawing. Here I started on the wood grain to be sure I could get it to look as much like real wood as I possibly could.

I started with a 2H graphite pencil to lightly work in the grain of the wood. Then I used an HB over the top of the 2H pencil. After I was happy with the value I took a cotton swab and blended.  This left the grain marks and gave a lighter value on the rest of the area. Then in some areas I would work over the grain marks again and deepen values on the board where it was needed. I worked on one board at a time this way.

Once I was happy with the way the wood grain was looking I moved on to the horses eye and the darkest values on the face. I tend to want to get the darkest values in so that I can gauge the rest of the piece accordingly. To work in realism it is a must to get your values correct. By this I mean your lights, darks and mid-tones. Now this does not mean that if you have a reference photo that is too dark or the lights are to harsh that you can’t change them. But it does mean that if you change one value, the others have to follow suit. Realism is all about adding dimension and detail to your piece and making it look believable. Having a good quality reference is also very important; you can only draw the detail that you can see.

Step 3

Drawing Supplies.jpg

Drawing Supplies

Still paying close attention to my reference photo, I use the appropriate pencil (I have a range of pencils from 6H-6B and a carbon pencil for the blacks) to work in my lights and darks and blend out with the cotton swab where it’s needed. To lighten an area such as the reflection on the metal hinges or the glint in the eye, I use the kneadable eraser or the narrow eraser on a mechanical pencil.

 

Here are some pictures of my progress as I worked on this piece getting in the details including the nails in the wood, hinges, the tree to the right with the leaves, the texture of the wood, tree trunk, metal hinges and so on.

Step 4

After working in all of the stable and horse I worked in the tree and leaves on the far right. For my final work I checked my values to be sure I was happy with them an touched up any areas I felt needed more detail such as darkening shadows and gaps in the wood boards, etc. Then of course adding the copyright mark and name to my final piece.

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“Stable Environment”

 I work on Strathmore paper or Canson Paper most of the time. This piece was done on Strathmore paper. The finished piece is 8″x10″ but I worked on 11″x14″ paper. This allows me to have more matting and framing options. I can easily cut away any excess paper to fit a smaller frame but I have the option to use a larger one.

Was This Tutorial Helpful

So tell me what you think! Do you need more details? Was this tutorial helpful? Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below or contact me if you would like any more information.

Do you like to work in realism? If so, what are some of your tips, tricks and techniques? Let’s help each other grow in our knowledge and skill and support each other as Artists!

This piece is available for purchase. Just click here for more information.

Joining Your Local Art Community

The Local Art Community

Do you have a local art community close to you? If so, I highly suggest getting involved! Yes, there may be rumors about this or that and you may think the local gallery is not “your thing” but it is a great place to meet fellow Artists from all mediums and skill levels. Don’t listen to the rumors. Get involved and see for yourself the things you can learn and the people you will meet.

I joined our local art gallery not too long ago and decided to be a volunteer there once a week. Because of my membership I have been able to bring some of my art pieces in to sell and also some of my jewelry pieces. I don’t have huge expectations that I am going to make a living selling from the gallery but the exposure has been very good.

While working at the gallery I get to meet people interested in art. When I introduce myself some people actually say, “Are you the Artist that did the cat and horses, oh and the rooster?” It is so nice to have your name associated with your art.

 

Three of the art pieces for sale, on display at the gallery

A Wonderful Evening

Just last evening was a private reception at the gallery for the Small Works Exhibit. I didn’t have time to enter this show but I did receive an invitation to the private reception. I was excited with anticipation of meeting some of my fellow local Artists and being able to hear an Art Exhibit Judge do his thing.

My husband came as my guest (of course) and we had just an amazing time. I learned so much from the Judge of the show. He was very informative sharing with us the reasons behind his choices for awards. He also brought a piece that he had done (a still life painting) and shared it with us. I learned so much from him and from some of the questions posed by fellow Artists.

Later in the Evening

After the awards were given out we had a chance to mingle and look again at all of the art pieces that were entered. It was wonderful to hear what fellow Artists had to say about certain pieces. There were so many wonderful works to look at.

Especially interesting to many of us was the paintings of a young man from Toledo, Ohio. Not only were they interesting still life pieces the size of his work was absolutely astonishing! He had entered four pieces, each being 1 inch by 1 inch! Yes, you read that right, they were one inch square! The detail was impeccable! My hubby and I went over to take a closer look and to see which one of his pieces placed in the show.

A Closer Look

Meanwhile another couple were looking at the same pieces and so we struck up a conversation with them. I knew who they were since they both are well-known in the local art community and very talented in their own right. As we were talking about the pieces and questioning how on earth he could paint such detail so small the young man came up and gave us each a sterling silver magnifying glass to look closely at his paintings.

mag glassWow, the detail when seen through the magnifying glass was just stupendous! I asked if he worked under a magnifying glass and he said, “No, that’s usually not necessary for me.” So I asked him why he chose to work so small. “I want to break into the art world as a career. As you know it is a very competitive business. So I thought, well I am going to do something no one else is doing, he explained. He really wants to make a living with his art and found a niche for himself!

Back to the “Other Couple”

Gallery inside

A shot of the our local Gallery

My husband (Jim) and I continued conversing with the couple standing with us and looking at these tiny works of art. Eventually, the gentleman says to me, “So what do you do, are you a painter too?” So, I was able to tell him a bit about my work and my Jim told him that I had a few pieces in the store (of the gallery). Later on, the gentleman (his name is also Jim, so as to not totally confuse you I will call him gentleman) says to me, “Well let’s go take a look at your work!”

Of course I obliged, and walked with him to the back of the gallery to the little store area we have there and showed him the pieces (pictured above). He turns to me and says, “I was just talking to someone and she was telling me about this piece, its amazing, look at those eyes!” He was pointing at my colored pencil piece titled Jasper, which is a rendering of a cat I had. He said, “How do you do that?” Inside I was thinking the same about his work. We had a wonderful exchange of techniques, mediums and how he made a living doing his art. He then stepped back a bit and told my husband, “You can just feel the fur from back here (referring to Jasper).”

So the two Jims’ struck up a conversation and they both had so much in common. Both from the north, both were in the car business for years; they are even the same age, lol!

Artists Unite

I was able to converse with Jane, his wife and we shared also some commonality. She does beautiful work as a weaver of pine needle baskets. She has won several awards for her work as well as her husband. We ended the night exchanging cards and received an invite to come out to their home to play croquet. If you only knew how long it has been since I played croquet! I used to adore that game.

We also had the pleasure to meet some other art enthusiasts, Artists, and gallery committee members. We were also able to speak to a man that we met when we visited this area looking for a home to purchase. He remembered us as well and we were able to get reacquainted with him. He is an Artist and business owner with a beautiful Art Gallery and eatery. The atmosphere is lovely with art all around including on the tables! And the food is wonderful. Jim and I had a wonderful time and are excited to get to know our art community even better. We will be visiting our local theatre next! They are having a free movie night soon and have some wonderful live performances there.

Get Involved!

Gallery outsideSo, if you too are longing to get into the art world, and possibly even make a living at it, I highly suggest getting involved in you local community,  its businesses and your local art community!

You will strike up friendships, you will learn new things, you will surround yourself with positive energy, you will be encouraged and you will be inspired!

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I am determined to surround myself with uplifting, positive, like-minded people who inspire me, and I strongly suggest you do the same if your goal is also to be a Professional Artist! I truly believe all things happen for a reason. We get off our destiny path and sometimes it take something ugly to get us back on track.

What is Your Inspiring Story?

Do you have an inspiring story you would like to share? I would love it if you would! Share with the art community the things you have endured, learned, or have done along the way in your journey to become an Artist! Let’s build this art world my motivating others, sharing our struggles and our triumphs. Let’s be an encouragement to others and support the arts!

Leave your comments below and don’t forget to check out my other blog posts, my social media sites and click that follow button to show your support!

In my next blog I will be sharing with you lovely readers my latest piece “Stable Environment” and some tips and tricks I use in my work, so stay tuned! ‘Til next time… Enjoy your journey!

 

Art, Relationships & Stress

Stress Blocks Creativity

Have you ever been in a stressful situation or in a relationship that was stressful and draining? Well, I definitely have. Some relationships can cause stress even if they are “working.” People that are always causing drama, always negative, always talking down others are causing stress whether you are aware of it or not. It is really hard to be a positive, creative person when you are around a very negative miserable person. Some people thrive on drama. I on the other hand cannot stand drama!

Stress is not just the way you feel when you’re upset. It is the physiological response of stress that we need to be concerned about! You may have heard that stress can kill you; it is actually true. Chronic or consistent stress (i.e. toxic relationships) causes many damaging effects to the body such as:

  • Stress 1headache/migraine
  • high blood pressure
  • high blood sugar
  • rapid heart rate
  • hormone imbalance
  • insomnia
  • digestive issues
  • weight gain
  • heart disease

You may be thinking, “What does this have to do with art?” Let me explain. One of the hormones effected by stress and causing hormone imbalance is Cortisol. Cortisol is raised significantly when a body is under stress. Cortisol in its proper amount is needed by the body, but too much may actually be deadly! Not only does it cause belly fat, it causes many systems in the body to go haywire if the stress is consistent or long-term. Cortisol, like adrenaline causes the “non-essential” functions to nearly shutdown, such as the digestive system, reproductive system and the right-brain activities such as creativity! This cortisol overload also reduces the immune response, messes with mood, motivation and fear. These functions are not considered essential in the fight or flight response to danger/stress.

Stress Effects Your Art Career In Spades

My last blog post was about a stressful situation with a relationship that was becoming exceedingly toxic over time culminating in a situation that completely ended the relationship. I ended the relationship because of what this person did to me but also because it was becoming toxic to my health!Stress 2

When this happened I struggled to do anything, let alone my artwork. I forced myself to work on something and it was, in my opinion an epic failure. I came to the conclusion that I need to get some fresh air, exercise and go back to eating healthy again. All of these things, along with distancing myself from the cause of the stress, is enabling me to slowly but surely getting my art mojo back!

Are You Struggling to Be Creative?

If you are struggling to be creative, to find inspiration and to just sit down in your studio/art space to work, maybe you too are having a problem with stress! If so here are some things you can do to help your body and your mind to be productive again.

Stress Relief this Way

  • Pinpoint your stressors.
  • Do what you can to remove/change or distance yourself from it
  • Get regular sleep – go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning (the body loves a schedule)
  • Eat healthy! Drink water! Eat a diet rich in fresh whole foods. Eat at the same times each day.
  • Get some exercise and fresh air. Go outside! (This is a struggle for me as I am an indoor person)
  • Count your blessings each day. Write them down (if need be) so you can look back at them when necessary.
  • Look at artists’ work that inspires you. Watch YouTube videos that inspire you. Walk through your local art galleries for inspiration. Read blog posts that inspire you!
  • Clean your space – clutter can cause depression and ruin creativity

Beware of “Adult Onset BFF Syndrome”

“I have coined a new syndrome called ADULT ONSET BFF SYNDROME. It can be deadly so be forewarned. I have found that one of the biggest culprits in blocking ones motivation, inspiration and lifetime goals is the BFF.” Don’t get me wrong there is nothing bad about having friends. But as an adult the BFF kind can completely derail you. Just the idea of the competition of friends is disturbing to me. It is a contest I don’t care to be in at all.

Relationships are a wonderful thing if they are wonderful relationships. We are relational beings. But think about it, BFF stands for Best Friends Forever… Forever? What does forever mean these days? It certainly has a different meaning in this context. This word “Forever” does not add any loyalty to friendships. It is just a new trendy word that really means nothing. In my case I find people who label me a BFF is pretty much a way of saying they are comparing my “worth” to others they are friends with. It is a way of saying,  “I have much more to gain from you than others on my friends list.”

As an adult, this is just a bit too immature and self-serving to me. I don’t want to become someone’s hobby! I don’t want to be someone’s everything. I have my own hobbies, and I do not want to be so needed that I can’t be myself! I want friends to know me and to understand me, and be okay with it when I want to be alone or I don’t want to always be with them. I want my friends to understand that I don’t use the phone. I won’t call you. I hate talking on the phone because it is just unnerving to me. I will text you, I will see you, but small talk just drives me crazy.

Healthy Relationships are Good

FriendsMy husband and I have a wonderful relationship that way. I am not his hobby and he is not mine. We are okay with doing things alone and we love to do things together. But he also knows me and understands me and does not take my alone time as some personal thing against him. As a more introverted person, I need my time alone! I like the silence. That is when I am most creative. True friends know that and understand it.

The stress of always worrying about others’ feelings above your own can be a very stressful and draining thing. So my suggestion is to keep things in balance. Don’t let others dictate or control your time and priorities. In the end you’re the one loosing yourself bit by bit. Many Creatives are introverted people. They like being alone in their thoughts and creative adventures. This doesn’t mean they don’t have a desire for relationships. It means they need relationships that work.

Keep in mind that real friends understand you and one misunderstanding does not make them bring you down, and gossip about you. So choose friends wisely. Be your own keeper and don’t allow relationships steal your joy.

It Takes Hard Work and Dedication

Telling SecretsBeing an Artist is Hard work and it takes plenty of alone time hours to be successful. If it is your dream to be a successful Artist, having friends that understand your determination and support you in it, is a must. If they don’t, they will cause you needless stress, and pain. And when they don’t get what they want from you they can turn on you with a vengeance. Remember high-school? This just causes STRESS! Unneeded, unnecessary, undo stress. Long-term stress is never good for your health and it is a real detriment to your success as a Creative.