Art-A-Day wrap up for 2013

I blinked and 2013 was gone.

As 2013 drew to a close my life became increasingly busy. Seasonal activities included the annual production of my holiday card design. I produce about 100 cards by hand each year. I usually cut a block to print in a key color and then hand color with watercolor. A pair of cedar waxwings proved to be a challenge in the watercoloring step. Those birds are very colorful. You can see the result — the last image in the set below.

Art-a-day really slowed down after Thanksgiving because of the cardmaking and school semester wrap up. Even so, I have a fair amount I did since the last post. You can see the images below. Click on one and it will open a slide show.

2014 began with a trip out to California to visit family and friends. It was a relaxing week away from the harsh weather of Minnesota and my ongoing work for my teaching.

Then back to the grindstone to prepare my classes for the semester. I dug in for days on end at my desk and in books to prepare projects, lectures and demonstrations. I am still at it as we dip into the third week of classes. The preparations are more intense than usual for me with 6 classes, three of which are new to me. Consequently, any art making has taken a back seat.

Art-A-Day was a wonderful project for me in 2013. I produced a total of 284 pieces of art. Luckily they are mostly quite small or I would have a bit of a storage problem. I posted all of them on my facebook page and now with this entry, on this blog. The responses from my followers were wonderful and motivating. I felt the project brought me closer to some people. It was a great way to be connected. People were very encouraging and that really made it even better.

I have decided not to continue the Art-A-Day project in 2014. Though it was a great project, it was demanding and the way my schedule is now, I don’t think I can keep up with that kind of project. I will still make art, and post about it. But it won’t have a project name or goal. Art-A-Day is not dead, however. I may resurrect it another time under another name. You’ll just have to stay posted to find out what and when that will be.

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Art-A-Summer

As the summer months progressed and daylight and outdoor activities were more possible, I simply was drawing less. A sweaty hand sticking to paper is not pleasant so I skipped my daily many times. Then the skipping became a bit of a habit.

Even so, I continued my work in papercutting culminating in a workshop in Vermont led by papercutting artist extraordinaire Beatrice Coron. Sadly, since my return from the workshop I have had very little opportunity to continue my explorations. August was eaten up with preparations for a new semester and some days I ran out of steam to do any artwork.

Enough with the excuses. It is now September and I am 8 months into my Art-A-Day project. Even though I feel guilty for the missed days, I am impressed with what I have done. I have made more quantity of single pieces this year than any other time in my life because of Art-A-Day. I have not yet reached what I hoped the project would provide. I was hoping I would be able to develop a theme or direction for my in-studio practice. There has been some light on that and I have progressed but I still have not settled on the next thing. I’ve been feeling stuck, like there are too many ideas and they are all interesting and I can’t get myself to move on only one. I am like the butterfly flitting to each flower and tasting the sweet nectar. Will I ever settle down and find my direction? Maybe I am not meant to develop a big project now. Maybe it is just a time of flitting around, fertilizing so to speak. When I am meant to settle on something, it will appear clear and steadfast, right? Well, that is what I hope.

Here are the dailies from July, August and part of September. Click on any image to start a slide show.

Art-A-Day Marches Along

March was a busy month and art-a-day did not happen daily, but who’s counting. I decided that staying up until midnight just to finish my entry was proving unworthy and it was taking a toll on me. I decided that some days it just wasn’t going to happen and that’s o.k. I still feel virtuous to keep at it as much as I can.

In March I experimented with digital media practicing with some software on my desktop Mac and a newly acquired iPad. The iPad is a very expensive sketchbook so I don’t recommend it unless you plan to use it for a lot of other things as well. On my Mac I’m working in Corel Painter, Photoshop and AutoDesk Sketchbook Pro. I am by far no expert but getting used to it. Most of what I tried is not worthy of publication so I have reserved it for the trash can. On the iPad I have tried Sketchbook Pro for iPad, Auryn Ink, and ArtStudio. I want to try more apps but figure I better master some of the ones I have before jumping to something else. I still like traditional drawing much better and I think that is unlikely to change.

I am quick to flutter around many methods and ideas and seldom settle down to one thing. This is one of my challenges. I do not stick with one subject, medium or style. I figure if I do enough art, I’ll land on something that will hold my attention longer.

I like taking an approach of working with what is present, the current tool, the current idea, the current surface, the current visual stimulus, and making something of it. I even will go as far as picking colors with my eyes closed and challenging myself to make unity out of the randomness of the choice. My favorite mediums for quick sketching are markers and colored pencils. They lay down quick bold color. Sometimes the medium itself directs the outcome of the drawing.

The art-a-day drawings are usually purely at the moment. In most cases, I do not premeditate what I might do. I simply sit down and draw what comes to mind at that moment. This might be inspired by shapes I see, a photo I collected, an event I am attending or recollecting, or an item sitting in front of me. In my ideal world, I work toward ideas for the artwork I pursue as printmaking in the studio. And some of the March entries were for this purpose.

Here are my art-a-day entries for March 2013. Click on any image to see a slide show.

More Art-A-Day

Here’s the past few days since last post.

10JAN2013

10JAN2013 – Hook and Loop – Pen

11JAN2013

11JAN2013 – Tropical – Faber Castell Pitt brush marker, Permanent ink, paint pens

12JAN2013

12JAN2013 – FIre and Shadow – cut paper

13JAN2013

13JAN2013 – Tiger Ice – Colored pencil, permanent ink

14JAN2013

14JAN2013 – Cobble Topography – permanent ink

17JAN2013

17JAN2013 – Pattern – Permanent ink

18JAN2013

18JAN2013 – Black Dog Coffee – ink

The Art-A-Day Project

I don’t usually make new years’ resolutions but this year I was inspired. My resolution is to make art every day, and then post these on Facebook. Posting daily here on the blog is too much so I will post occasionally as the dailies accumulate.

How I got inspired? Well, there are a few reasons. And to me, when there are a few reasons that amount to a force then I must pay attention. My first inspiration was my cousin Suzie who was posting a photo a day last year. They were not simply snapshots but beautiful works of art.  This daily activity seemed so fulfilling, I wanted to go out and do my own right away. But I didn’t because, well, I didn’t want to be a copy-cat. So I thought I could wait until this year and find another theme, another angle.  My next inspiration came in a thought that I want to spend time on meaningful things. Less TV, less online solitaire, less online anything, more art, more looking at the real world, more sharing with others. I was looking at some of my old sketchbooks and knew I wanted to renew a habit I broke some time ago—my daily doodle. Also, I need to draw to work out some art ideas I have brewing that have not materialized. How can I do that without making marks? Just do it. And finally, I love to draw, make pictures of most anything. I like to experiment with media and subjects, hone the skills and share that.

And so hatched my Art-A-Day project. Make art every day. Join me, you’ll like it.

I made a few ‘rules’. They aren’t strict, only guidelines. The most ruley rule is I have to post every day. I decided to make my daily entries into sketchbooks I’ve had lying around. I actually have six about the same size (5.5×8.5) and this is just enough to get through the year. I like the idea of using up stuff I already have. I am not limiting myself to inside the books, but will use this as a collection place so to speak. In fact, already I have made two digital images using Corel Painter. I also will count doodles in my notebook as well as larger work (when I get to it). I’m not required to complete a work each day. I can include incomplete work, documenting stages. That way I can get into a big thing one day and not worry I have to finish something for my art-a-day post.

Unless it is digital, I made these in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon Series for heavyweight paper for pen and ink. Here’s what I’ve done so far.

01JAN13

01JAN13 Birdwatching Awaits – graphite

02JAN2013

02JAN13 Blue Gray Gnatcatcher – Digital, Corel Painter 12

03JAN13

03JAN13 Starfish – ZIG marker and colored pencil

04JAN13

04JAN13 Flamingos – Collage and paint markers

05JAN13

05JAN13 Pattern Internationale – Paint marker and ZIG Millenium fineline

06JAN13

06JAN13 Tamarula Astromeria – ZIG brush marker, colored pencil and Helix drafting pen

07JAN13

07JAN13 Blue Kitty – Digital, Corel Painter

08JAN13

08JAN13 Swirls – Pentel Stylo pen

09JAN13

09JAN13 Illumination – Watercolor, paint marker, ZIG Millenium fineliner

Wrapping up 2012

My last post of 2012 will recap the past few months of artistic adventures.

The Art Attack studio opening went well. Here’s a sketch from the view at the studio while there was a lull in attendance. My favorite part is the rolled up wool blankets and towels we use for the press that are stored under the work table. I used a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen for this sketch.

studio sketch

Metro Sketchers visited the American Swedish Institute in November.  I loved the architecture and green tiled roof. Here I used a Helix drafting pen and some watercolor.

ASI

In December Metro Sketchers went to the Bell Museum of Natural History. The Bell has wonderful exhibits of preserved specimens. I painted these pieces in gouache with some ink additions. I have been working with gouache to try to master it. A great help to me has been Roz Stendahl. You can learn a lot about gouache from her on her blog http://rozwoundup.typepad.com And specifically the gouache compendium she compiled. http://rozwoundup.typepad.com/roz_wound_up/gouache-compendium-notes-from-roz-wound-up-posts-to-accompany-my-gouache-demo.html

ruddy ducks

Owl at Bell

Early December I took a 3-day watercolor workshop with Andy Evansen. Andy’s  method is new to me and I enjoyed experimenting with it in these few paintings I made in the workshop. I love one of his sayings “get in and get out”. It really embodies the spirit of watercolor as a fresh and direct medium.

Fairgrounds nocturn

Bela on the porch

At Visual Journal Collective we had a drawing scavenger hunt. One of the items to find and draw was a holiday decoration. So I drew this owl ornament on a tree there. Turns out about four other people drew this same little owl.

Owl ornament at MCBA

And finally, I completed my annual Christmas card. This one is block printed with watercolor hand coloring. I made 100 cards so this was some time investment but I am pleased with the results. The red breasted nuthatch overwinters in Minnesota. A cheerful nasal “ang-ang” call will let you know they are nearby.

nuthatch card

Cheers!