July, 2019 I finally attended my first Urban Sketchers Symposium, this year held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands –and it was amazing! The only downside was that there was a historic heatwave throughout all of Europe, and made it quite challenging to endure the long days spent sketching out in the streets. I stayed in an adorable attic apartment, but it was sweltering as well, so it was a crazy-hot and bright week. Would I do it again? IN A HEARTBEAT. Next year’s event will be held in Hong Kong, and it’s my intention to get my heiney and my sketchbook in HKG next April!
My photos and sketches from my time in sweltering Amsterdam, where I took the following workshops:
Memories of a City, Reportage with Veronica Lawlor
Amsterdam Rooftops with Hugo Costa
Urban Portraits with Marina Grechanik
I’ve unintentionally started a habit I quite like; each New Year’s Eve I draw my version of a Marc Chagall painting, because Chagall was all about love; at least he is to me. His paintings calm me down, give me hope and make me buzz, happily. I like this ritual…
This was an extraordinarily strange and sad, yet inspiring week; my dear pal Kay passed away after bringing her to the hospital, I introduced the cows to some highly talented chefs, my interview with Modern Farmer came out, and it was my first solo Thanksgiving sans family nor significant other here in Mexico. I was highly distracted and busy with meaty business, yet remain committed my daily drawing because I see how my skills are improving. Plus I feel closer to my mom when I draw.
Thank you for following along; I am enjoying this journey tremendously, and totally appreciate the support I’ve received. I am sad to have lost some people from my life, but am inspired by new friends I have met and the places we are going. My feet are planted firmly on the ground as I reach for it all… and wish it all for you as well.
Don’t be sad because October is over, be grateful you had the opportunity to feel all the autumny-feels xx
This week I made the transition from using pencils and erasers to only using ink pens and I love it! It’s totally nerve-wracking because I look at the paper and I say, “OMG PLEASE DO NOT RUIN THIS!!” because there’s no erasing ink. Then I jump up & down, shake around my hands and pick up that pen. My version of the hocky-pocky ;))).
I’ve been frustrated for weeks and I am finding that tossing aside the pencil and especially the eraser has brought back that buzzy feeling of excitement once again!
Kudos too to Susan Dorf, because I took her excellent class, “The Artist’ Journal” and can’t wait to try more of her tools! I absolutely admire her work and appreciate all that she shared. ANDALE!
Another month of the daily PicTweetArt’s! The point of this exercise, although I wasn’t really sure when I began, was to create a daily ritual of drawing each day. I didn’t occurred to me that my skill would improve, because why would I think such a thing? My skill has improved and my non-stop curiousity about drawing people is pushing me to study the human body. I draw ’em when I’m walking down the street, I draw in my sleep. If you catch me staring at you, I’m probably looking at the line of your neck errrr something.
This daily exercise has also highlighted my weaknesses and where I want to improve; mostly hands and feet. I am practicing drawing the body in one continual stroke, which has been nerve-wracking, but also quite thrilling when I nail the curve of a back or something similar. But almost always, I choke when I get to the hands. Feet are getting better, but hands trip me up!
I am in a weekly live drawing class, which has been great practice for (d’uhhh) drawing the human body, and it’s rather up close and personal. I feel high as a kite when I walk out after two hours of drawing. I am trying to persuade Henry Vermillion to once again teach a drawing class, because I totally admire his work and think his hands are amazing–the ones he’s drawn.
Update: This was a pivotal month because I feel as though I moved closer to the type of art I want to explore; the humanness of physical love, the energy that dances between people. I do not wish to be vulgar, just visceral and many times I feel I just miss is, I want to go deeper. As I get more established in my new home, I will go deeper. Love on, Fair People!
Now heading into the fourth month of my daily drawing challenge — and the overall affect has been positive; it literally — okay figuratively, has cracked my head wide open on some level. When I fire up Twitter in the morning to select a tweet to draw, I move to a bigger space. I think bigger than me, bigger than you, something outside of me. I remove myself — at least I try. Third eye-thingy, if you will.
Ahhhhh but the ego enters back in as soon as I post the drawing on Twitter, attached to the creator of the tweet. I would say most of the time I get no response, and the overall responses I do get, is that my tweet gets favorited. What is a favorite, by the way? My ego goes, “waaaaahhhhhhhhhh nobody likes me!!” as I throw the crayons across the room. Ah, but the Third Eye chimes in to say, “Hush you, Rigid, Needy Ego, it’s not about you. It’s about creating a ritual, a daily practice to help take you outside of yourself; to see the world in a uniquely special way. It’s not about the details of each drawing, it is the showing up to the paper and seeing the world through your hands.”
Voila. I trust my Third Eye way more than my ego, ergo. xx
I’ve crossed into the third month of the mostly-random-daily-drawing from Twitter, although it feels as though I’ve been doing these drawing for many moons. I love the challenge of plucking out a tweet, serious or not, and quickly creating a snapshot of said tweet — without the use of words (and believe me, it’s tempting). I still struggle with hands, but I’m feeling much more confident about the emotions I’m able to convey; not every time and certainly not perfectly, but there you have it. The daily practice is what is helping me see clearly — not whether or not I nailed the hands (which I didn’t).
Twitter is rich, full of kings and queens, jokers and leeches. Thanks for following along!
…. that magical buzzword everyone is in search of.
when I was in San Antonio about a week or so ago, I visited a darling bookstore named Twig and asked if they had the book, “Notes on Graphic Design and Visual Communication” as was recommended by Jack WOW Davis in his CreativeLive Creative Photography class that I took last week. The clerk told me they did not have it in stock but she would be happy to order it, to which I replied, “no, that’s okay, I’ll order it from Amazon.”
Well the clerk just about crumbled to pieces and said, “nooooooooooo, not Amazon!!!” “Oh my gosh, I am sooooooooo sorry, that’s probably the worst thing I could have said in here! I will not order it from Amazon, I promise!!”
I did not order it from Amazon, I was able to find it at the independent bookstore Half Price Books and need to pick it up one of these days.
While the lovely clerk and I were chatting about books and graphic design and whatnot, a book called, “Steal Like An Artist” caught my eye. I felt a tad guilty for making the Amazon mention, so I decided to purchase this little book; I liked the title and it looked like a quick, interesting read. It’s a GREAT little read about how to stop making excuses and pop open that creativity. And of course it got me thinking…..
I KNOW I am a Creative-Type but, but, but…..
I have been taking loads of lessons in the past year, and even though my brain is sparky with all sorts of new lessons, I feel a little embarrassed to share most of it. There’s a part of me that says I should already know how to do these things, so keep it mums, no one wants to know. Well that’s It’s the evil side of our ego, something I learned all to well while doing Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way 12-week creativity program in Mexico this past winter. I still am doing the morning pages, which is H-A-R-D because a million other things draw my attention when I first awake in the morning. But I have been diligent about this sunrise exercise. Writing free-form morning pages does this lark a world of good to dump the junk out of my head to so it’s easier to focus on my goals.
Now…. what are my goals?
Well, y’see, I know I can do a million different things. I practice them all the time and then keep it to myself. Phooey, no more. I want to begin to fine-tune some of these skills I am learning. I want to publicly learn new things, and this magical thing called the internet and my little Lark of a blog will help me achieve this goal.
Tonight I attended a book signing for Steal Like An Artist’s author, Austin Kleon. He encouraged publicly learning things as a way to bone up our braveness. I want to bone UP the brave! I get scared but so what! No more.
Tomorrow, June 1, 2014, I start my 30-Day Public Learning Challenge. There are no rules.
These are just some of the things I’ve learned in the past year and I’m totally excited to learn more new cool things. Tomorrow I’m going to learn about raising chickens in my front or backyard, I haven’t decided which just yet. I am excited for this cluck-CLUCKKKKKKK! And don’t be chicken again!
Let’s face it, there are a lot of painting and other art classes available in San Miguel, and up until January of 2014, I had never taken any of them. Most are catered to visitors, and when you live in a city, you tend to overlook things targeted to tourists. However, I met Cristi of CristiFer Art Studios in December at the Instituto Allende‘s art fair, and her painting style really spoke to me. Cristi is an artist from Romania and her partner Fernando is an artist from Mexico City. They create paintings together (can you imagine?) and their use of colors & styles really delighted me. I signed up for their “One Painting in One Day” class, which happened to be on January 1, 2014. What a perfect way to usher in the new year.
One of Cristi’s painting in their home/studio in Colonia Independencia she shares with partner Fernando:
I arrived at CristiFer’s studio about 1pm and met the 5 other people who were there for the class; a couple from San Antonio and a mother & her two daughters from Portland. We were split into two groups and we each had our own table and painting supplies.
We first did some warm-ups, like shaking out our hands. I started jumping up & down in true qi gong style, because I knew I had to wake up the chi in order to get over the apprehension of putting paint to the paper. I would have loved to do more physical exercises, but that’s me and what I need to be doing. Cristi led us through some exercises which helped us break down the fear — and not only did it break down the fear, it got us laughing. “Grab your pencil in your non-dominant hand, cover that hand with a piece of paper and draw these objects from your memory” sorta of a thing. Loved it!
Cristi then led us through her teaching steps to paint a picture; a San Miguel street scene. This was a perfect way to whet my chops and feel the love for painting again — something I had not done in about 15 years. The day was fun, lively and very educational; both Cristi and Fernando were helpful with suggestions on what to do next, without ever grabbing control of our paintings. I enjoyed the day tremendously and was hungry for more!
At some point during the day, Cristi said to me, “if you had just three drawing classes, it would change your life.” I thought about this for a day and said BINGO. I took those three drawing classes with Cristi and they DID change my life. I lost my fear of drawing poorly and just started drawing. It’s amazing how just a few hours of instruction really helped me to get over the fear of making a mistake. Who cares if it’s not perfectly correct and out of perspective. WHO CARES???
And by stepping through that fear, my drawings and paintings were starting to come to life. And that made me happy =)
Soon after this New Year’s Day art class, I started Julia Cameron‘s 12-week spiritually based program, The Artist’s Way. Through reading exercises, daily journal writing, group discussions and weekly artist dates, I am starting to melt. And I mean that in a good way. I have art projects going all over the house and say to Reed, “it’s like kindergarten here every day!”