Too pooped to paint? Don't feel like pulling your supplies out, or making a mess? Watch to see what I do!
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The world of art supplies can be confusing and it seems like cool new stuff is coming out every day! Listen people, art supply addiction is a thing. I think you should have all the supplies you want - as long as you are USING them. They do you no good if they're just sitting there unused. And guess what? They WILL go bad.
With that in mind, I've put together a few lists of things that I love, use and recommend. Please note that these are affiliate links, and if you purchase supplies through these links, I may get small commission - thank you for supporting a dream!
Mark-making tools - whatever you've got, or feel drawn to:
Oil Pastels (My go-to!)
Collage ephemera - magazine clippings, junk mail, old books, newspapers
Palette or paper plates
Beginning Acrylic Painting
Palette Knife Painting
We've been exploring a different color each week this month in my art journaling classes.
It's interesting to be assigned a color to explore (even when you're the one doing the assigning!) We tend to have "go-to" colors that we like to use, and colors that we avoid. Generally speaking, I don't use a lot of red in my work. It's bold and powerful, and can overwhelm. Which is not necessarily a bad thing in art; it all depends on your intent.
Art can soothe, enrage, amuse, entertain, cause us to think, and feel a whole range of emotions. Color can be a big part of that. How does color influence your art?
Some things to consider when you paint:
Above are my art journal pages for Red, and below for Blue. Interestingly, I struggled more with Blue even though I paint with blue more than red in my everyday work.
For Red, I layered magazine images, acrylic paint and oil pastel over my journal writing on the color red.
The first version of Blue has layers of magazine images, a sheet from and old book, acrylic paint, oil pastels, and song titles and lyrics written in pen. All layered over my journal writing about the color blue.
The randomness was bothering me, so after class I worked on it a bit more, and below is the final version of Blue. Did I make the right decision? Whether I like the final result or not, the answer is yes, I absolutely made the right decision. I was what I was moved to do in the moment, and for me, art journaling is about my own personal expression.
In my journal I create art for myself, for my soul, not for anyone else.
Would you like to create some art for your soul? Our art journaling class meets Thursday evenings 6-7:30 MST on Zoom, and you can sign up right here.
You may have heard me say this a dozen times already, but art journaling is one of the things that is getting me through 2020. I journal with my classes, and I journal at home.
This particular journal I'm sharing with you is my home journal. The journal itself is an old writing journal from 24 years ago. I decided to transform that old pain - and the stress of 2020 - into art.
Almost all of the the art in this book is oil pastel (the art journaling we do in our Thursday classes can include painting, collage and/or oil pastels.)
There is something about oil pastels that really help you to work through things. Emotional things - especially anger and stress. Oil pastels are very tactile. You color with them, smudge them around...it's more physical than painting.
I recommend everyone keep an art journal - whether or not you're an artist. If you don't have oil pastels, try coloring with crayons or markers. If you don't have a journal, color on paper. If you have a journal - even an old one with writing - like the one in the video - make some art it it! Journals are great because you can close the cover when your done. Closing the cover is like sealing the energy: you worked out what you worked out, and you're done with it.
Also, you are more free to experiment when you're working on paper. People tend to be less precious with their work when it's on paper.
Give a try and let me know how it goes!
If you want to art journal with me, you can find the schedule right here, or join my free virtual art community at www.PaintThroughIt.com
I took a break from painting portraits for a while; several years, actually. While I love the process and the sense of satisfaction I get when the painting is done, I don't love the pressure that comes with a commissioned portrait.
When I painted Johnny Cash, or Marilyn Monroe, I painted faces that I had been seeing my entire life. But to paint someone I've never met? Now that's a challenge. I really want to capture the subject, and have the person who commissioned it say "Yes, that's it!"
Don't get me wrong - the people who commission the painting usually give me a lot of artistic freedom. The pressure I feel is from myself. From my inner critic, from my perfectionist, and from me just wanting to do a good job.
Such is the case with the painting above. It's a portrait of a friend's father who recently passed away. She commissioned it as a gift for her sister. It is really an honor being asked to paint a portrait for someone, but to get to memorialize their father? That's just amazing.
I was excited about the opportunity. I loved the black and white source image she gave me; it was really a moment in time. Here's the thing: I knew the inner critic would pop up. I knew the pressure of wanting to honor my friend's late father would be there. But I was able to paint through all that muck because I knew I could. Experience told me that I would be able to get through it.
So many new painters want to give up when they're halfway through a painting.
At some point things start to get challenging, and often enough, the painting will start to look bad. It's perfectly normal for paintings to go through an ugly or awkward stage, and that's not the time to give up. That's the time to double down, dig in, and work that paint! Paint through the doubt, the fear, the voice in your head that says you're not good enough.
If you're a new painter, know that that voice may never go away. It's your inner critic and it's there to protect you. After a while you just learn how to deal with it. And until then, you've got me to tell you to keep going.
Join us at www.PaintThroughIt.com for inspiration, painting tutorials, and community.
Today my phone told me that it was full up - out of storage. So, time to delete some videos. And actually, sorting through my videos to find goodies to post on my brand new Paint Through It network has been on my to-do list.
The very first video (worth saving) was one I made in a class I took on creating live videos. I did a challenge as a part of the class - I had to poll my Facebook audience and see what they wanted to know, then discuss it in a Facebook live video.
The video I made is me talking about mistakes that beginning painters make. What really strikes me is that I was such a beginner at making videos!
I'm still learning, but I've come a long way. And guess what? This video is far from perfect, but it still has value. And that is just like a beginner's painting, or any painting along your journey; you may not love it, but it still has value. YOU painted it. Maybe you enjoyed the process, maybe you worked through something, maybe you learned something. The value may just be in the experience. It's all good, and it's all a process.
Allow yourself to be a beginner, allow yourself to crawl before you can walk.
And if you want more tips and inspiration to get you painting, join me at Paint Through It! Community membership is free.
I gotta tell ya, I love art journaling.
I never thought that would happen. I feel like some people begin their art journey with journaling, but it took me over 20 years to get around to it! And once I did, I had to share the process.
My journey teaching art journaling began with one of my Artist's Way courses just about a year ago. After keeping my own art journal, I realized that art journaling was the perfect companion to my Artist's Way Creativity Course. Not surprisingly, the students loved it! And I saw such benefits that I decided to add a stand-alone art journaling class to my schedule.
The classes start the classes in April, and because of covid, they have all been on Zoom so far. It turns out it was perfect timing; keeping an art journal is a great way to process the complex feelings so many of us have right now. And, there is a strong sense of much-needed community in these classes.
We meet each and every Thursday evening and create art around a topic that I've chosen.
The image above is one of my favorite art journal pieces, created for the word faith. In the art journaling classes I demo a technique, then it's up to each student to interpret that word into her or his own art (or they can just follow me if they like.)
How does this image represent faith? I guess that's up to you, the viewer, to decide.
Want to get started art journaling? It's easy - you don't need any fancy supplies. You don't even need a journal (although it's a good idea if you want to keep going with it.) Just grab what you've got: some combination of paper, pencils, markers, paint, glue, images (from magazines, junk mail, wrapping paper...)
Last year on a trip to Atlanta I found a burned piece of wood in a park. I thought it would make a good drawing tool, so I scooped it up (must have wrapped it in a napkin or something) and brought it all the way back to Denver, where I did this little sketch.
I wasn't planning on sketching a woman and baby, it just sort of happened. But here's the thing; I don't think this particular sketch would have emerged if not for that particular piece of burnt wood that I picked up a thousand miles from home.
It's interesting how a different drawing tool can influence one's art.
Who loves art supplies?!
Maybe the question should be: Who doesn't love art supplies? Because really - art supplies are AWESOME! I love cheap supplies, I love expensive supplies - I love it all.
But if you get them, make sure that you USE them. They're not doing you any good just sitting there looking pretty. And many of them WILL go bad in time.
Not an art supply junkie? Let me break it down for you: A lot of people just collect paints, brushes, pastels...all the beautiful tools of potential, but are too afraid to open them up. I know, this sounds insane, doesn't it? But, like so many things, this is often based in fear. I get it; there can be pressure to create something "good".
If this is you, forget that nonsense! Bust those things open and just CREATE. Who cares if it's 'bad'? You don't have to show anyone. You can paint over it. You can throw it away.
Or, you just might like it.
Whatever the case, you've gained experience. And you won't get any better until you start using what you've got.
Whether or not you like what you made is really irrelevant. You've won just by venturing out and making something.
Make art for art's sake.
Make art for growth.
Make art to express yourself.
It's all beautiful.
I live in Colorado, but I'm not a "Colorado girl". There is this Colorado lifestyle that people here talk about - we have tons of parks and trails in the Denver area, and of course the mountains are a short drive away. If you live here you're supposed to want to take advantage of all that stuff. You're supposed to own bikes and skis and snowshoes...but honestly? I'm just not outdoorsy - I'm a city girl at heart.
Don't get me wrong - I love sunshine, fresh air, and to look at beautiful scenery. But I don't like bugs (perhaps it's because they LOVE me) and I really don't like trekking through the wilderness with all of my painting gear!
However...I do like painting outside. If I had a backyard, I would paint outside all of the time. So this summer, I've decided to give plein air painting another chance. My BFF is an artist and is definitely outdoorsy. Happily, she found some spots where we wouldn't have to trek too far. We've gone out three times now aaaaaand...it's been awesome! We set up by a bubbling stream and paint for hours.
Which brings me to another plein air challenge for me; all of that green!While it's ever so beautiful to look at, I find it rather dull to paint. It just doesn't move me.
In the end I came away with a finepainting. I'm not thrilled with it. It's just...fine. It took me a bit to understand why I didn't like my painting: it just doesn't feel like me.
Getting to the crux of why I didn't like my painting was a huge aha moment! I don't like the painting because I wasn't true to myself.I did take somecreative license, but really, I was trying to paint what I saw, not what I felt.
So, it turns out plein air painting is fantastic! I just need to let go of the idea that I need to paint realistically - or that I need to paint what's in front of me. I need to be true to my own artistic vision, rather than being true to the actual scenery.
I can't wait to get back out there and shake things up!
Here is one of two paintings that I did - it was mostly finished, but now that it's back in the studio, I'll change it up and make it more mine.