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Shiny Designs...on the Brighter Side of Life.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Slumps are like Spinach – Yucky but Good for You in the End

I haven’t created a significant amount of art, or anything other than writing, for the last nine months. So, this is what a slump feels like.

Now that it’s been long enough to see clearly what happened, it’s obvious I did it to myself. I took the joy out of creating so I quit and balked like a three year old at spinach.

My mistake came in two little words: have to. Having to do something turns it into a chore, a drudge, something to be endured. I turned my art and the very act of creating, making things, into a have-to-do by setting expectations that, in hindsight, were unreasonable. Then what? I set myself free by deciding to make whatever I wanted out of what was on hand.

It was incredible! In just a few hours, I felt the old joy of making something with my own hands come back. Rummaging through my collection of supplies and materials was intoxicating and my imagination came back to life. The old me, the one who hated to stop working to eat, is back.

Now, I’m working on a crochet book proposal for my publisher and have a modest selection of one of a kind Halloween things in my shop at Etsy as well as continuing with several magazine article assignments and planning new paintings. During the slump and subsequent invigorating burst of creativity, I learned several lessons but the most important for me is to be careful with setting goals. Having goals can move you forward but not if they stifle the root of your creativity.

Let me know your thoughts and if you’ve dealt with the same issues

Monday, June 29, 2009

Drawing of a Robin - Colored Pencil

This soft sweet Robin is in the same series as the Cardinals. It's 5x7, on Champagne Mi Tientes paper (smooth side) and done in Prismacolor Pencils.

For this one, I ended up with a few more colors than usual: Indigo, Periwinkle, Mineral Orange, Yellow Ocher, Black and White. The blue and orange tones are complements and work together nicely even though Robins in life don't have much blue in their feathers.

The softness of this drawing is very apparent, to me anyway, and adds a sweet look to the subject. That wasn't my goal when I started but I did work with it as it appeared.

The entire back of the bird is suggested but not drawn clearly or just plain missing. I'm still experimenting with the pencils to see how loose I can go. This may be getting close to the boundry of "not enough" - we'll see where it ends up.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Drawings! Cardinals! In Colored Pencil!

OK, so that's a lot of excitement up there in the title. But, it's been such a long while since I posted and almost as long since drawing and painting that I got kind of wound up.

This is the first drawing after being away for while and I could sure tell in my rusty hands and eyes. It's sketched lightly on Champagne Mi Tientes and then the color is worked in with Prismacolor colored pencils. In trying to stick with limited colors, I chose Tuscan Red, Scarlet, Poppy Red, White and Black.

Overall, it's OK but I didn't like the texture of the paper - too mechanical. Nor am I happy with the stiffness and lack of life in the bird; perhaps it's a bit overworked.

So, I did another drawing exactly the same- sort of.

Here's Cardinal #2, same paper (except on the smooth side), same size (5x7), and the same colors. To me, it seems fresher even if there's less detail. This one was much easier to draw and complete; I could feel myself loosening up as it progressed.

Colored pencils are a big draw for me, but I'm still getting comfortable with how I want to use them in a less precise manner. I'm enjoying exploring these small drawings and am trying to do some everyday. I've got another couple to show very soon.

Thanks for looking and any thoughts and comments are always appreciated.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Want a Kindle

No, I crave a Kindle, yearn even.

Now, I’m not an acquisitive person, especially where electronics are concerned. We have one television and it’s not even HD or a big screen. I don’t own an IPOD and most of the time my cell phone has turned itself off because the battery died.

So, why a Kindle? I’ve wanted one since the first version, Kindle 1, was unveiled, but I waited because I couldn’t justify the cost and unproven technology. Then came Kindle 2 and I waited again because it still seemed extravagant. But, the lure of so many books just a click away has wormed its way into my brain. Now, the Kindle DX is due soon.

The DX has a larger screen more suited to reading a newspaper. Think of it, reading the paper one handed without all that ink. No more flapping the pages around trying to find the continuation. Best of all, no more traipsing out in the front yard in your sleepy clothes to get it!

I’m not sure if I can hold out much longer.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Shiny Designs has a New Look ...

and a new outlook. There’s a fresh format and an updated take on things.

So, why? Apparently I’ve reached the point in my life, some would say the age, where I want to be more me as a whole and less of the separate parts that fit our notion of proper roles.

That means my blog will have to be more “me” as well. So, now there will be content from the many, and wide ranging, parts of my life: from my new business venture to articles and books I’m writing as well as artwork and the random curiosity treks I take occasionally. Most recent- investigating the decay chain of radioactive isotopes.

This may be messy and it may be silly at times, but I have high hopes it will be more interesting and it will be more authentic. Thanks for joining me; I appreciate the support and the company.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Colored Pencil Drawing - Clay Face

This is a sketch of my clay face from the previous post. The paper is Canson Mi Tientes in some shade of buff with Prismacolor pencils in White and Sepia.

The color choices for the pencils and the personality around the eyes are pleasing. However, I'm less pleased with how the mouth and chin look. It's obvious from this drawing (and another that I'm not posting) that the anatomy of the model's mouth and chin are not correct.

Until now, I was confident (perhaps overconfident) that I had a good grasp of facial anatomy. Certainly, I can draw and paint the face and portraits with some aptitude, but that's just not the same as making a 3D model. This has really shown me where I could use some more information.

So, that started me on a study of facial anatomy. First, I'm making a study of the skull and then the muscles of the mouth and chin. Look for those soon!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Clay Face - Just for Fun

Several days ago I had an idea to make my own clay model of a face for drawing practice. The idea isn't mine, it's from Bert Dodson's "Keys to Drawing with Imagination" where he talks about modeling your own subjects then drawing them to achieve a more personal interpretation of the subject.

So, I went to the local Michael's and bought some Laguna Self Hardening Clay. It comes in four colors, but I wanted the Terra Cotta for that natural look and because the lighter colors don't show shadows and contrast as well for drawing features.

That's my clay face up there and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out especially since I'm not accustomed to working with clay. It did remind me why I don't work with clay - too messy! Things that get my hands dirty just aren't my thing, but I wanted the end product enough to endure it.

Doing this did show me where my knowledge of facial anatomy needs work. Having to build it from scratch is a remarkable test of understanding. The nose and chin are purposefully exaggerated for character, the eyes turned out nicely, and the mouth could be more refined.

I'll probably make another one or two of these to have on hand for models as well as giving me the chance to explore facial structure. No time yet to draw and paint from it but, look for artwork based on the clay face in future posts.