Essentialism in illustration is pretty powerful. I was working on some slow and detailed watercolor illustrations of hats when my five year old wandered over and pointed to the beret and said Paris! She then called out the witches hat, the winter hat and the police hat. I abandoned that watercolor painting (for now) and went in this direction instead.
The JP Open Studios are this weekend September 20th and 21st all around the JP neighborhood that I and work in. You can find me with my work inside at the UU church by the JP monument in Central JP and some of my work will still be hanging at Hatched until the end of the month. I will be be sketching and painting, will have my woodblock prints along with a couple of carved blocks for demos throughout the weekend. I have been looking forward to this weekend for months now. There will be some fresh prints, including new collagraphs, but this is the year that I decided to teach myself watercolor and became smitten with the medium.
The first page of a new sketchbook is always a bit stressful to start. I have a tendency to hoard and collect supplies rather than use them up like they are meant to be used. Often I start on page two and then fill the first page when I am feeling more confident. It is a little bit easier in these Visual Journal books that I have been filling up lately since I can always rip a page out and leave no trace other than a smaller page count. But I have some super nice journals stored away calling me to draw on them and I want them to be perfect. I'm not ready. I will keep filling up these $5 journals every two weeks until I feel ready. For years I had sketchbooks that I didn't draw in because none of my drawings felt good enough for them. Now I have found a sketchbook brand that is a good balance between affordability and quality. If it wasn't for the ugly cover and bulky wire binding it would be all I would ever need. I have a small Holbein Sketchbook ready to travel with me this summer vacation. Two more weeks of school!
This morning I feature my favorite drawing, painting or print from my week. As always you can find more from my week on my Daily Drawing Tumblr. I spent the afternoon with the windows open breathing in fumes as I added transfer images to a bunch of cards that had either hand printed or painted designs. This one surprised me. I did it enough that my Blender Pen ran out of solvent and i had to stop for the night. But then my Inktense colored pencils arrived and I had time to experiment with those.
Quicky collagraph of a little house in red and yellow. Concept to print in under a day. Collagraphs are about as instant gratification one can get in the printmaking world. Now I need to give them about a week to dry before I can draw on them without smudging the ink. Good thing I set up a handy drying rack string using some twine and binder clips. Totally out of the way of my work so they can hang there indefinitely. In the meantime I am working on another couple of cardboard collagraph plates to print this week. My art studio is my happy space.
That is how I learn. I have nothing to lose by trying. I have everything to lose if I don't try and keep experimenting. Embarrassing creations are part of the learning process and they are good and not a waste of time. The reality is that I often have no idea if what I am doing is good while I am making it. If I'm lucky I will know when I am done, but often I am unsure. But that the fear is actually a good sign that I am onto something and not playing it safe anymore. Being an artist is rarely comfortable. Be wary of comfort as an artist. I ripped up an old collage that I did not like and salvaged the board to experiment with this portrait of my daughters. I may eventually do the same with this but for now I am happy that I tried something.
Yesterday was the first day of spring. I love new beginnings. Longer days leading into summer. More time spent in local playgrounds with my young daughters. More bike riding. Less cold. More color in the city I live in to inspire fresh ideas in my art.