Challenge Me

From time to time I think most artists will encounter a block, much like writer’s block, or as I like to call it, white canvas syndrome. If you make a living with your art, there is nothing more frightening than that endless blank canvas or paper waiting… Personally to combat this stomach knotting, twilight zone of emptiness, I’ve used various tricks, tools, incantations, whatever you want to call them, to get back to a more productive zone. I’ve done things like just go and sit in my work space, or studio if you will, and go over old ideas I’ve written about or tried, looked through art books, and more currently gone online for some free inspiration. Sometimes I write up a list of categories, such as wildlife (the animal kind, sadly I have none of the other), or just simply goof around looking through photos I like. But there is one more concrete tool that I have found to be useful, and that is the “art challenge”. In particular ink challenges, or more specifically “Inktober”. Created in 2009 by Jake Parker, an ink artist who was looking for something to ” improve his inking skills, and to develop more positive drawing habits.” Something I know I can always use, as there are so many distractions on top of real life needs, that it becomes very easy for weeks to slip by without creating something, and for the old ferrules to get rusty.

The prompt for this was “graceful”.

Therefore its crucial to find something that not only gets us off of our sorry excuses, but to also find something that is fun, challenging and engaging. For myself I have found that Inktober fits the bill. The premise of Inktober, is this; For each day of the month leading up to Halloween, there is a list of “prompts” . They don’t always have to do with Halloween, but generally they do. But it isn’t a rule or anything that you have to interpret the prompts that way either. Again it is meant to get you excited about creating something. It’s always interesting to see what other’s take is on each prompt. There is a massive range of ideas, styles, and talents submitted each year. I prefer not to look at other’s work for the day, so as not to be influenced. After you have drawn your idea, you upload it to the site on Twitter with a few different hashtags. I have even been surprised myself by what interpretations pop out of my head, heheh. They often take a completely different turn as I work on them, than what I had planned.

“Deep”

I used to use pen and ink quite a bit, back in the day in the “purest” form. Actual pens with removable nibs and small bottles of ink. There was something almost sacred about picking up these supplies, lining them up on my art table and working like the old masters did, learning by trial and error how to use this medium, careful not to splotch my work. Most of the time these were smaller pieces, and were very detailed. Like any time I am working, I tend to lose track of time and sometimes it feels almost mystical. I normally use either oils, or acrylics, mostly the latter lately. So it’s fun to take a month and work in a completely different medium. I highly recommend Inktober. Since Mr. Parker started it back in 2009, Inktober has grown exponentially into a massive worldwide endeavor. I’m posting some of my Inktober challenges for you here to see for yourself the strange, interesting and sometimes odd places it will take you. Enjoy, and I hope you take up the challenge. See you next time!

“Furious”
I did this as a “mash up” of two day’s of prompts, “trail and juicy”. I thought it was pretty clever, heheh.
“Ship”
“Squeak”
Another “mash up” “Climb & Fall” (It works both ways.)
“United”
“Mask”

“Drain”
“Poison”
“Tranquil”
“Precious”
“Angular”
“Bottle”
“Whale”
“Muddy”
“Prickly”
“Chop”

PS Please take a look at my site on Etsy- oMordah etsy.com/shop/omordah for originals and prints of my work. There is a price range so everyone can have some sweet art 🙂

From The Sketchbook

“Greeting The Newest Member Of The Family”

Finding Time For Your Creative Life.

Hi everyone! Welcome to my new art site, oMordah at omordah.com! I’m excited and grateful to be able to start sharing with you some of the insights, lessons, musings and helpful ideas that I’ve learned the hard way over the years; to help make living your most creative life a little easier.

Ready? Let’s Go!

Today let’s tackle what in my humble opinion is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to a consistent and happy creative life; time.

Without getting into the whole science of time, alternate timelines and space time continuum, one thing to realize is that we all have the same amount of time in a day. And although it’s not always up to us how we use that time—we have kids, pets, work, and bills to pay—there are ways to make time work for us.

So how do we do it? How do you do all the things, stay fairly sane and healthy, and still manage to live a creative life? Well, here are a few good things to remember:

  • Know and respect your own limitations. Sometimes I wake up in the morning, and feel like I can tackle the world. I make a real plan, and set out with the energy and excitement of a puppy with a new ball, to get it all done before dinner. But then by the third item on my list I’ve had road blocks, and unexpected things happen, and I’m already getting tired. But I still feel I have to finish it all! This is discouraging and a fast track to giving up. Instead go ahead and make a plan, but be realistic, and fair to yourself, and understand that you may not always get everything done, or even half—but, make that plan, and take the first steps.
  • Start slow. By this I mean, if you’ve never ever crocheted anything, maybe start with a smaller project. Something that won’t take too long, and you can feel a more instant form of gratification when you actually finish it (And maybe don’t buy the most expensive wool hand carded from Peru, enough yarn to cover a small car, or set out to paint 5 masterpieces in a month). No one needs that kind of pressure. You’ll feel happier, and more likely to move on to the next stage without it. Or even if you have done it many times, but know you only have so much energy at the time to go around, be honest with yourself.
  • Take yourself seriously so others will too. This is a hard one. You’ve made your plan, and have all of your tools ready—you’re psyched. Then one of your family members needs something, or a friend calls, or one of a thousand other things come up. What do you do? It’s very easy to say, “oh, yeah, OK, it’ll only take a minute” or “I’l get back into this when I’m done”. This is energy sapping, and more than likely you won’t “get back to it”. If you’re serious about that painting, or practicing that cello, lock in your time. Lovingly make it clear to others you’ll help them out or be there another time, but right now you’re in the middle of something. Better still, let it be known ahead of time, you’ll be busy at that time. It’s usually better not to get into specifics that others (and yourself) can talk you out of. Also, enlist help when you can.

So you’ve made a realistic plan, and let everyone know that you’re serious. You stand in front of that canvas, or computer, and … nothing happens. You suddenly can’t think, and it’s just not working. Now what? Is this it? Have you done everything that you can to set the stage to begin your creative life, and now suddenly you can barely remember your name, never mind create something?

Don’t give up! This happens to everyone. Take some pressure off, but don’t completely walk away. If you had planned to start a painting and that blank white canvas is just staring you in the face and mocking you; stop, grab a cup of tea or whatever your favorite calming tool is. Then sit down in the same space as your canvas, and maybe sketch or doodle. Take a ten minute breather and check out some photos online of something in line with what you had planned to paint. Use these few minutes to get re-inspired. If you still don’t “feel it”, don’t beat yourself up—come back to it on your next planned scheduled time and try again.

OK! Now you’ve cared enough to set a schedule, and be firm about others (and yourself) respecting your time. You’re excited, and maybe a little scared. But you’re ready, you can do this! Show the world (and yourself) what you’ve got!

Remember to stop by omordah.com for more inspiration and ideas to help you in your creative life.

Thank you for checking out my blog and supporting this new adventure! I look forward to seeing you back here next time!

I can’t be remiss in thanking my producer, and site designer Nikki Moore. Please check out her amazing Anime style plushies at BleedingHeartsCrafts at etsy.com/shop/bleedingheartscrafts