This is a color pencil portrait I did years ago of a much loved cat that we had. When we adopted him, he was about a year old. Out of all of the cats that we saw, he was the only one that wasn’t reaching toward us, or shrinking away, he was just…watching and was so cute. But also there was just something different about him. When I walked up to him he let me pet him, started to purr and rubbed against my hands. We brought him home to our other pets. He was so interested in them, and calm. Someone had named him Bic, (after the pen?), kind of silly. Being a Tuxedo cat, I get it but… We were going to change it, but eventually decided that it suited him. He was very human like, and even people who said that they didn’t like cats, loved him, and his strong personality. He was smart, and sweet, and welcomed anyone to our home, human or otherwise. Years after he passed, when people would get together, they would still talk about him, everyone loved him.
At the time that I did this portrait, I was very into using color pencil. It can be slow, and tedious, but also somehow satisfying. I used Prismacolor pencils which have a rich, creamy texture. Looking at this, it gives me the feeling that revisiting color pencil would be fun.
I hope you and yours are doing well, and as things “open up” again, remember to continue to be careful as you enjoy getting back to it.
No, not that crossroads. Though the “devil is definitely in the details”. Being at a crossroads with your art, or writing, or whatever creative things you do, is always a nail biting, angst ridden moment. And hopefully that’s all it is, a moment, a short period of time in your life where you may be questioning your creative ventures, your style, inspiration, or if you even want to continue. It can be a confusing and scary time.
OK so zombies may not be the best example, but they are scary and confusing.
In the course of my career as an artist, I’ve had many of these crossroad moments. In particular ones that in hindsight seem to coincide with that seven year evolution we all go through, uh, every seven years. (Proven, look it up). Not that I don’t have other “moments” in between, because I do, and have. But the big ones do fit that pattern. Currently I am going through it again. I should have realized as I have had a hard time concentrating, and finding inspiration, or ambition. At first I blamed it on this last, long year of Covid19 and isolation. You have to feed the beast, and being home all the time is not conducive to that. Hence my thinking that that was the only reason. It is a huge reason, but not the only one.
Recently, one of my adult children mentioned during a conversation about eye glasses, that she was “old” and her “eyes are sensitive now.” What the what?! She’s 35. And when I said that ‘I never really felt old until this year’, she sent a shocked face emoji. Humm. At any rate, that got me pondering, as us old folks will, that perhaps it isn’t just the plague causing my lack of inspiration. And doing some calculations, I saw that yes, I’m starting a new seven year cycle. I’ve embraced and been known as being an artist, nearly my entire life. If I don’t paint, or sketch, then who am I? Just another faceless person in the crowd?
Don’t worry, I haven’t gotten to the point of no return. As a matter of fact, I never really stopped painting or sketching. It just hasn’t been at the same level of intensity. I have been feeling somewhat directionless and all over the place. I’m sure I’m not the only person feeling this way. It has been a tough year for everyone, and many of us must be feeling at loose ends.
As with everyone else, I have been impacted in ways I didn’t foresee. Plans, important plans have had to be put on hold, possibly for a few years, possibly to never happen, and this has been difficult. Many toxic things happen on a daily basis in the world. As an artist, in a family of artists, I know that the impact of this toxic world hits us deeply, making creativity that much harder to attain. It’s hard not to be affected. It’s hard not to engage, or see it. But for us creatives, it is vital that we learn to do what we can to help, and not absorb all the toxins, because that causes us to become immobilized. Add to that the seven year metamorphosis, and you can see my dilemma.
As I sit here writing this, it feels a bit cathartic, like getting it out, writing about it helps. Yes, I have been painting and drawing things aimlessly, but maybe that’s good. I’m still working at it, and perhaps after I’ve had some time to just play around with it, something will kick in, and I’ll know which direction on that crossroad to follow.
Thanks for visiting and reading my blog. Stay well. If you are interested in any of my paintings or would like to commission a piece, please DM me, or go to my Etsy site, at etsy.com/shop/omordah I’d love to hear from you!
Continuing with the theme of my last post about having been asked to showcase my art at a local Juneteenth event, I managed to get two other paintings done in time to show along with the first, “Beautiful Son”. It’s always gratifying to be acknowledged as an artist, and this is especially so.
The second painting I did, I simply call, “Story Time”. It depicts a young father reading to his baby. Here are some photos of it, and the process of creating this piece. As you can see in the second photo, I drew up a sketch of what I had in mind. In the second, I filled in the background shape of a map of the USA, and began working on the figures. I continued from there, adding color and finishing up the figures to my liking. Once the painting was dry, I gave it a thin coat of acrylic gloss medium. This serves two purposes, it helps to protect the painting, as well as to highlight and maintain the bright colors. This is quite a bit smaller than the first painting, “Beautiful Boy”, for a few reasons, mostly concerning time constraints and having to use what I had on hand. It’s still a good size at 16″x 12″.
The last piece I call, “Grace Under Pressure”. I didn’t get as many photos of the process of this as I was short on time, but I used basically the same process. I did a few quick sketches, (sorry they’re very light, but you get the idea.) From there, I then drew up an approximate sketch on the canvas, arranging, and changing features as I worked on it.
I hope it doesn’t sound egotistical, or worse, silly ( heheh), but I tend to fall in love with my paintings and these are no exception. I think I have even more so, because I feel that I have gotten to a place with my work where I feel more confident about it, as well as am able to create what I envision at a quicker pace. Not that that is important in and of itself. But for me as an artist, it is, as I feel these representations wanting out of my cranium, and am compelled to create them, to get them on the canvas. And now being at a point where I can do so more readily, makes it more of a joy and less tedious. I’m thinking that, in my next post, I may go over some of the tools I use, and give some pointers on my own process. Let me know if any of you think that you might like that, or not. (I’ll still probably do it. 😉
I wish everyone joy, and to stay safe, and I hope you join me next time!
For those of you who are following along, I won’t go into the whole description of Inktober again. I will just mention for those who don’t know about it, to please visit my last two blog posts, or head on over to Inktober on Twitter. So I’ll jump right in here about my first ink drawing for week two. The prompt word for the day, was “frail”. As I do, I didn’t want to go with anything cliche’, and unfortunately this led me to procrastinate until I basically had no time, energy or desire to draw anything. But not wanting to skip a day, I did a very quick drawing of earth. Yes, I know it is not accurate in any way, which further on in this post, you’ll see was humorously pointed out to me. However I do feel it gives an OK representation. My idea here was to point out the fragility of our one and only earth. I hoped that people would pick up on that, otherwise, my “frail” image, is mostly a “fail”. Ah well, such is the exciting and dangerous world of art.
For day nine of our little adventure, the prompt word is “Swing”. Thinking out of the box and into the dark of Halloween, I thought an image of a child in a red cape, (wink), who decided to swing her lantern into the dark of night in search of, ahem, her grandmother as a large unfriendly, (though he came out looking more wise then “bad”) wolf followed her would be appropriate. I had a little more time to play with this, and I was happy with the shadowing, and how the composition generally came out.
Day ten, the prompt was “pattern”. I wanted to get an elephant or two into the mix this week, so playing around a bit, while also watching TV and “chill”, this is what I came up with. This whole thing was just an exercise in doodling. But it’s not too bad. My older brother, pointed out that it reminded him of 1960’s art. So there you go. This was a much better reaction than his about my “earth” drawing, where-in he inquired as to if “Australia, (where he mostly resides), was in the mix?”
The prompt word for day eleven, is “snow”. I decided to go with an image I had from a ride “up the road” out of our little college town, to a Christmas tree farm. The day we went it was bitterly cold, but very beautiful. There had been a fresh coat of fallen snow, and the trees and fields through the woods, were pristine, and just wonderfully quiet.
Finding that day twelve was “Dragon”, was fun. For a few years, in between jobs, I took a part time position at what was known as a “head shop”. It was actually two separate stores owned by one person. I worked on the side that sold a lot of hippie style clothing, rings, incense and things along that line. The owner also graciously “allowed” me to sell some of my hand made crochet bags, and other things I made, for the low low price of 40% ! (I have never since, worked with anyone who expected to make more than 10% off of my work. and neither should you.) Anyway, for some reason I got into drawing dragons, (I may have had it in mind to do a kid’s book.) In any case, it brought back some funny and sometimes odd memories (perhaps a story for another day), as I worked on this drawing.
I have to confess that I was actually at work when I did this quick sketch for the day 13 prompt, “Ash”. So I was interrupted a lot, and tried to get it done as fast as I could. This is why it may not be the best for a number of reasons. (I won’t point them out, as I learned a long time ago, with one’s looks, and art, it’s best not to point out what you perceive as problem areas, because most of the time no one notices anyway.) Where was I, oh, yes, I think depicting Ash from “Ash vs Evil Dead” probably fits the prompt and the whole Halloween vibe perfectly.
This last little drawing is for both the day fourteen and fifteen prompts; “Overgrown” and “Legend”. I pictured a story about a young boy, completely overgrown to giant proportions, who was the object of ridicule by his peers, until one day a great tsunami hit their seaside village. He saved them all, and was then a hero. I literally wrote a sort of sing song-y story to draw this picture for, which turns out, was for me anyway, a good way to make the picture evolve. So there you have it, week two of Inktober in review. I hope you enjoyed this post, and have maybe been inspired to try an art challenge. Thank you for reading my blog! see you next time!
As a quick recap, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Inktober is a fun art challenge that lasts through the month of October. It was started in 2009 by Mr. Jake Parker. An artist who said that he started it as a “way of challenging himself to improve his inking skills, and improve drawing habits.” It has become a fun, (sometimes stressful) way for many other artists to do this as well. Mr. Parker posts a list of words to be used as prompts to get you thinking about something to draw. He does mention however, that people can draw whatever they like, and many people do. I usually try to stick to the prompts. I did post the first two drawings of the challenge last week, so I thought I would stick some older Inktober or Drawlloween (another great challenge), sketches here as well to keep it interesting. (You can see these, and more from a past Inktober challenge on my blog post from July 9th, 2019, “Challenge Me”)
Some, maybe most of the one’s I did last year, had a decidedly more sinister aspect to them. I did this in keeping with the whole, Halloween month theme. I may do some in this vein this year, who knows? The following are the images I’ve done for the first seven days of this year’s Inktober, beginning with Day 1 “Ring”.
As mentioned in my last post, I decided to start out with a simple, easy picture for the first prompt, “ring”. (above), no pressure. You might ask yourself, ‘pressure? Why is there pressure’? Is there a prize involved, (no). Fame, fortune? (Nope). So why do literally thousands of people join in this challenge? Of course I can’t speak for anyone but myself, so I will give you my reasoning. I have no reasoning. No just kidding. I do like a challenge. It makes me think, often way outside the box, and gives me a chance to stretch my artistic chops so to speak. For me there is some stress involved though. And from different comments I’ve read on the Inktober twitter page, I’m not the only one. When I commit to doing something, I like, nay, I am compelled to follow through. Even though I do it basically for myself, I sometimes put pressure on myself. But then I remember the spirit of it, and find it is fun to do, and to interact with other artists and to see what they come up with. Day 2 is “Mindless” I decided not to go into the whole reason of why I ended up re-using an older sketch, as I explained it last week. So if you’re interested and (gasp) didn’t read last week’s post, you can find out why there. 🙂
For day three the prompt is “bait”. Trying to avoid the obvious, I went way out on a limb and did something that is maybe a little too sweet. But I was happy with it, so that’s all that matters, heheh.
Day 4 is “Freeze”. You may notice a little running theme. I had had it in mind to try to do all of my pieces with elephants as central figures. I’ve already missed a few on that. But again, no big deal. I did receive a very thoughtful compliment on this one, and that is always really appreciated. Like I mentioned folks doing this are extremely nice, and encouraging.
Day 5 is “Build”. Again, maybe I’m being a little corny, but this is a subject close to my heart, and if I can influence even one person to be kinder, and to want to help animals, then that’s OK.
When I’m doing any of these challenges, I don’t look at what others have done for prompts until after I’ve done my own so as not to be influenced. Drawings run the gammit from very simple, to extreme crazy-amazing work. I won’t lie, I do feel sometimes that I have to “up my game.” But that’s only for my own benefit. As an artist, I am always striving to stretch. These challenges aren’t a competition, and people are kind and honestly enjoy each other’s work. I highly recommend it for anyone. We are a week in, but you can jump in at any time.
Day 6 “Husky” This was a total “gimme” for me. I have a husky, and she loves to pose. (Really she just lays around a lot.) This is Kota.
Other than when I am painting abstracts, I’m mostly a realist painter. I have always admired fantasy paintings, and the artists who have the ability to bring that to new heights. So this last prompt for the week, “Enchanted” was a little trickier for me. I didn’t want to do anything trite, but again, it isn’t my usual style. After thinking about it a bit, I think I came up with a good mix of realism, and fantasy. Many times when I’m drawing or painting, time slips by me. I have often looked back at a piece and thought how it didn’t seem as if I’d done it, as if my paint brush, or my pencil is… “enchanted”.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe learned a few things. See you next time!
So I’m not sure if anyone’s noticed, but I haven’t been around as much of late. Truth be told, I just haven’t had the energy. Due to the changing seasons, some problems at the “other” job, i.e. people being out ill, and a general lack of employees, I’ve been filling in quite a bit. Thankfully, some awesome people have been hired, and things are easing up a bit. Time to stretch, aaahh.
With everything that has been going on, I haven’t really had time to even think about what to write. But as it’s always fun to see pictures of cats, (I know I can never get enough of them), I decided to share some kitty pics I’ve done.
When our cat gets this look on his face, well… heheh
I did this portrait some time ago, of a beloved cat named Bic. That was the name he came with when we adopted him from a shelter at the age of two. We actually thought about changing his name, but it seemed to suit him so we kept it. Bic was a very special cat, and was a legend amongst family and friends. Even people who didn’t particularly like cats, (I know, what?!) loved Bic. There was just something about him. He was smart, sweet, and playful. Years after he was gone, people would talk about him, and reminisce. So here’s to you Bicy-bear, we’ll always remember you.
Just a sketch I did of a pretty fluffers.
“Murray In Repose”
I think these ladies are going home to take care of their cats, heheh. Bye for now, hope you enjoyed this post. See you next time!
How does one decide what they want to paint, or sculpt, sketch or write? When it comes to writing I have struggled with that mind numbing empty void often. Although I’ve been told that I’m a passable writer, unlike painting, writing has never come as smoothly to me. I think people who like to talk, or have “the gift of gab” tend to make better writers. I neither like to talk a lot, nor have that particular gift. I tend to stumble over my words, or think after the fact that I should have said this or that. I guess in one way, writing is easier than talking for me, because I can proofread, and change things around. Or simply because there is no one interrupting my train of thought. But still, not my best skill set.
So what of art? That empty sheet or canvas that sends shivers down the paint brush of so many artists?
Well, here’s the thing; I have too many choices of things I want to paint! And I want to do them all yesterday!
There was a time when this insatiable need to create also included miles of crochet work.( One of my grandmothers taught me when I was four years old,) and along with a stint of about ten years of embroidering everything in sight, (oh those fun 70’s), and the occasional macrame, my hands and mind were never still. Interwoven among these creations, which also included years of quilting, I sketched and painted. And somewhere within all of this, I became a wife, then mother… four times, worked sometimes two jobs, and moved house 15 times while my family was growing. But I digress. Eventually these things went by the wayside, (not the kids, heheh) but I never stopped sketching and painting. So now when I’m not working my “other job”, I mostly paint. Although I still occasionally do something else like making a macrame rope lamp, or a cheese board from a barrel lid.
As you can see, I never want for something creative to do, As for painting, the list of things I want to paint, is endless! It’s choosing one to settle my mind on that is difficult. Of the many family outings, to vistas I see on hikes, things my pets do, other animals that I love, or the fan art I would like to do, deciding what I feel like doing and have the time for, is never easy.
Every so often it is easier, as was the case with a recent painting I did of one of my daughters, or these paintings I did some time ago. I’ll get a clear feeling that this is what I want to do. But whatever the case may be, for me I’ll never have painter’s ‘block”.
I hope you liked this post, I wish you abundant ideas, and energy to see them through! See you next time!
When painting a portrait it often feels like a love note in paint for me. The following pictures are some of the steps to creating one such “love note”. I recently painted this portrait of one of my daughters, Nikki and our puppers, Kota. It had started out as just a simple sketch of a nice summer day, but I liked the pose and decided it would make a nice painting. The following are some of the steps taken to build on this portrait and create something both meaningful to me and interesting to the viewer. I call this; “Walking On The Fourth” as I completed it around that time. Enjoy!
After I had lightly sketched in the initial drawing, I then started to block in the basic shapes with an underpainting of the general colors I planned to use.
I then began filling in the facial features, and added more to the background as well as added some more smaller details to the figure. Then I began to layer in more detail on the fence and on the piece of wood on the ground. Adding more trees as well as more colors and leaf shapes to the trees that were already there, gave the background more depth. At this point I also added some more shading and fur to Kota’s image.
Unfortunately I hadn’t gotten enough sequential photos to show all of the details used to further flesh out and finish this painting. Needless to say, there was some reworking, and a bit more detail work needed, such as the layers on Kota’s fur, and darkening Nikki’s hair. I did this until it felt finished to me. (Something I’ve gotten better at over time, is knowing when a painting is finished. Maybe I’ll tackle that topic soon!) I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the steps that brought this painting to life. Thank you for stopping by. See you next time!