Life has a funny habit of getting in the way of our best intentions. Because of this it can sometimes take a monumental effort to make the time to pursue the things that make us who we really are. I’m sure many of you have dealt with this. Things like work can take up whatever time and energy we have away from this effort.
I’ve had this happen more times than I can count. This time I’m trying to get back to it after having been working the last year at a new job. I have done a few things but I have been slipping more and more into the habit of work, home, work, home…
So to climb out of this rut, I’ve been utilizing a trick that I worked out in the past. And maybe this is something that will help some of you that may be struggling with this as well. I head over to one of my favorite spots to create. I don’t make any “plans” or hard thought out ideas. I grab some paper or an inexpensive canvas, and some paints. I may only have a half hour, or even a few minutes, then I just put paint down and see where it takes me.
It’s been a few months since I created something that I really planned and spent time creating. So I used my old trick, and what I painted is OK. Not the best I’ve done, but I’m good with it. It’s getting a bit late and my non art work days start early, so I put the paints down, wrote this short post, and feel like I have accomplished something. I may not make this a daily thing, but it usually gets me back on track to being a working artist again, and I hope it can work for you too.
Some time ago I became fascinated with the life story of Beatrix Potter. A story that had for the most part become forgotten amidst the mythos of her popular children’s stories.
At the time I had been writing pretty much non stop. Writing stories for magazines, and small publications. I did a lot of research into her life, and the more I read, the more interesting it became to me. I also had a thing for sheep, heheh. I had always wanted to live in the country and loved these funny, sweet creatures.
I began to write a feature about her, and her life before she became known only for her children’s books. It was sad, and interesting, and sometimes weird. She overcame a very lonely childhood, and was able to study her passion for science at a time when women were considered unintelligent children. She had actually begun her study of science as a child, doing some things that today especially, would be considered bazaar and even grotesque. I wrote my feature in a fictional, and sometimes humorous style.
She eventually married, and as she got older she began raising a certain breed of sheep, called Herdwick sheep, on her farm. She became a well known figure in the town where she lived, and then known as Mrs. Heelis ‘O the Fells. And this is what I named my article.
I had done some sketches in pen and ink for the article, which, though small, are some of my favorite art pieces. I think this is because I really fell in love with her story and these fuzzy, beautiful sheep.
I never got sheep, I guess other things were meant for me. But looking back at this article is a nice memory.
I hope you and yours are well, staying safe and are able to make happy new memories every day.
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!
I am writing to say that I understand that we, all of us, have done things that we are not proud of. But with the passing of time we have learned to face this, and those of us who strive for goodness have done our best to change. To make amends and do what is right.
Together we have gazed toward the heavens as NASA and The MSFC showed the world what we could accomplish. Through it all we have stood strong. And yes, we have had our differences but at the core we are more alike than not. We want the same things; a safe home for our children, good food, to protect the stunning lands and animals that we have guardianship over.
This is what has made us strong, not perfect, but still strong. We have been a leader not because of our arrogance, but despite it, and know now that globally, we are all one.
Right now, in this time we face one of our greatest threats. We are splintering. And those who would do us harm are joyously embracing this. But we can still be strong enough to defend ourselves from those who would turn us against each other, and embrace those at home and around the world who stand with us.
When there is a tragedy in your home, we suffer with you as you do with us, and we join together to help each other. We can come together and show the world that we are one. That we can still be that beacon of hope.
Because at the end of the day, we are still the UNITED States of America.
Love, New York
Please feel free to change the state(s) names as you see fit and pass this on.
A few months back, I decided that I would like to participate as an artist at a Comic Con that takes place a few hours from where I am. It’s usually around March. In order to do this, I will need to have enough art pieces in various sizes to warrant paying the price of the booth area. After taking some time away from drawing, I did feel somewhat refreshed, and thought that this goal might be a good place to jump back into the “paint” so to speak. I decided to go with a favorite super hero of mine, The Flash. (I do have a few other art works almost ready for this Con, but that’s another blog.) Not being an official expert on The Flash, I of course have to go with what I am into. And that happens to be the most recent incarnation on TV. I like the characters, the actors, and the overall look of the series. (Everything except the most recent version of The Flash’s outfit. I’m sorry, but good grief. They seriously need to go back to the season four costume). I meander. Anyway I’ve begun by doing some simple preliminary sketches. (With the season four costume).
For the title of this post, I left it a bit ambiguous for the simple fact that, although, I have my subject, I haven’t quite nailed down the exact form I’d like these to take.
I haven’t had an art booth in some time. And have never don a Con. But I’ve been to a few, and I know what I have personally been drawn to.
Personally, I enjoy the whole experience, from the cos players, (sometimes myself included), to the panels, and of course the many related items to purchase.
It’s always interesting to see all of the artists. They are as varied in their art, as in their separate approaches to selling it. Many work as a team with another artist. Some are more approachable than others. There are those who reach out to people wandering around. This can be a good thing or a bad one. If it’s done in an easy going friendly way, it’s usually OK. But of course there are always those venders who just have too much of a desperate vibe. It can be awkward, and is usually a turn off.
But for the most part, I have found the venders to be friendly, interesting and fun. Many of the venders spend their time there, working on more pieces. This is always interesting to see. The artwork ranges from simple to unbelievably detailed and excellent work. But whatever the case, they have put their hearts and energy into it, so it’s important to respect that.
Getting back to the question mark in my title. It also covers the how and how much to charge per item, aspect. Another thing that seems to be a good idea, is to have a few different price point items. I know that whenever I go, I like to get a few small things, sort of as souvenirs. For example I almost always get a few Lego super hero or Star Wars figures. Many times these have been refined or modified by the seller. I also like to get a few small art pieces, or hand done comic books. On occasion there may be something that really catches my eye, and I may be willing to make a bigger purchase.
I’m guessing a lot of people think this way. Unless they are hardcore collectors, most people are there for a good time, and may get a few little things. But It’s also a good place to display your more expensive pieces. People may not be interested or able to get something there and then, but might consider it for a later date, or as a future gift. The question here is, how many, and what kind of small items I should have on hand, as well as larger pieces, some small hand outs, business cards, and maybe some written items that explain my process, or a little about me? People do seem to like to know something about the artists. More importantly, I feel that the venders should be relaxed, and enjoy the venue as well. Those are the ones that I like to talk with. I don’t feel pressured, and neither do they. I’m more likely to purchase something from them as well. But if I don’t that’s cool too.
As a side note, there was a young woman at one of these venues, who had written and self published some comic style books. She was asking a reasonable price. It was late in the day, and the second time we came around and had decided to get one, she gave it to us for free! As fellow artists who know what has to go into this sort of thing, (after our first shocked delight), we just felt that we couldn’t accept that, and insisted that she take payment. See, relaxed and happy, and generous. We practically begged her to take our money!
If you are an artist, writer or musician who is selling your work, here’s hoping someone begs you to take their money!
I hope you enjoyed this post, and 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!
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.
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.
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!
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 🙂
Is daydreaming a prerequisite of being an artist? So many I have known, and including myself tend to have this trait to one degree or another. For myself it is a necessary requirement of the job, letting my mind wander, and rest, gives me a clearer vision of what I want to do. As well as takes me on impossible flights of fancy, (which may not always be a good thing, ) but it is essential.
One thing I’ve always daydreamed about is being part of, what feels like to me, some of the more important times and births of genres in the history of art; The Renaissance, the time of the Impressionist, the Abstract painters of the 20th century, (I only missed that one by a few decades), as well as the coming of age of comic art. To have been included in one of these circles of great minds and talents would have been an incredible experience.
The era that I’ve always felt most drawn to, almost as if I had been there, was the time of the Impressionists. What an exciting, brave romantic time of a burgeoning artistic genre and group of artists to have been part of!
It was bold, and difficult. They were mocked, and bullied by fellow artists. The official royal salon did not accept them. It was most likely when the terrible lable of “starving artist” came to be, and most certainly was true in many cases. Because they were creating a new, often maligned artistic style, it was a constant struggle. Often even amongst themselves, the impressionist artist couldn’t always agree about what was “acceptable ” and what was just “too far”.
Yet, with all of that, how exciting it must have been! They were rebels, outsiders, but passionately believed in what they were doing. They fought for their art, sometimes living in drafty, damp quarters, with little food, (hence the “starving artist sobriquet “). Often in between sales, or the help of patrons, they lacked art supplies, making what they could and reusing canvases to paint new works.
This may all sound pretty rough, and I imagine it was. But there is that wistful charm about it. Somewhat like looking back on our own “glory days”, growing up. There was magic in the struggle. It makes us who we are. It made them who they were, and they were true to themselves.
I imagine, living in an attic studio in old Paris. Lead lined skylight covering most of the ceiling, pans catching the rain where it drips down from the old, cracked caulking. It’s chilly, but there is some warmth from the old stove in a corner. A large bank of lead lined windows, looking out over Paris. Easels, canvases, and brushes everywhere. And being too thin, but still young, strong and dreaming of people loving your work. Meeting up with other like minded painters, giddily talking about what you’re working on, and dreaming of what’s to come with this new way of painting. Complaining of the fools who don’t quite get it. Knowing, feeling to your bones that you’re on to something great. That all the hard times will be worth it. Maybe not knowing that these are the glory days, but maybe a little part of you hanging on for dear life to it, because it is “something “, something important. And it was.