As a language enthusiast, it's a lifetime foal of mine to become fluent in several languages (like I said, it's a lifetime goal). I am currently studying Spanish at my high school and a word on one of my vocabulary lists caught my eye: altibajos. The translation: ups and downs. I liked how Spanish summed it upped all in one word. It reflects how the two opposites really do come together in one package...
I have in my bookcase a truly inspired book, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, written by Sarah Ban Breathnach. As my mom astutely put it, "I do believe she was touched by grace when she wrote that." The book is composed of 366 essays that gently teach us to find grand yet simple abundance in our everyday lives, cultivate a more fulfilling life, and above all find our authentic selves. The person we dream, both consciously and subconsciously, about becoming. I swear she has an essay over just about anything and I've discovered something new each time I open it. Even the entries I have read before hold new meaning when I revisit them. More pertinent to "altibajos," she also writes about embracing the bad days as well as the good. Although I know I still have a long way to go, I feel as though I have come a long way already. I've begun to discern what is important in the long run and to not agonize over the rest (But like I said, I've still got a long way to go). Metaphorically, my cloudy days are becoming sunnier. It's funny thinking about it actually because I often prefer real cloudy days to sunny ones. For me, the clouds relax my tension and put my heart at rest. Great weather to sit next to a window, reading!
Yes, reach! I've decided that a partial reason why I haven't posted in a while (other than the usual shortage of time) is that I feel limited in my blog material. As I browse and admire the blogs of other artists, I realize that much of their appeal comes from the fact that what they write about is not limited. It pertains not only to the artistic sense, but also to the spiritual sense, the emotional sense. What they write is relatable.
So, I have come to the conclusion that I am not going to limit myself in terms of writing. I will write about my problems, my personal changes, my life goals, what inspires me, what influences me... What makes me me.
I think I'll give the credit for this sudden change to a recently discovered blog of mine. It's by a publishing artist by the name of Monica Sabolla Gruppo and this is her blog. I will say that she is a wonderful woman. She focus on the beauty that is all around us and she not only notices it-- she writes about it!
In general, I have felt limited. With college and new, glorious opportunities posed on the horizon, I feel like a cloud that is pinned to a certain spot in the sky, as if to say "You shall move from this state of mind." And with a mindset that has been dying to expand its horizons and try new and different things, this limitation feels simply debilitating! So, my blog shall be my mind's new (if only temporary) horizon. No limitations here!
So my parting words with you tonight are: Open your wings! Fly! Expand! Leap! Let's get to it!
I got the idea of scribbling thumbnails for concepts of paintings from Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, another watercolor artist I mentioned earlier today. Much of my process of starting a painting has come from looking at her blog. Generally it goes like this: An idea or sudden inspiration strikes and you immediately try to scribble out a thumbnail in order to catch the gist of the painting in terms of composition. Then you begin to flesh out more detailed sketches of elements of the thumbnail, such as the focus or other figures. With today's wonderful technology, you can then scan it all into photoshop and play around with the placement of the different elements. Once happy with the result, you can print it out onto paper and then transfer it to the painting surface.
This system has worked well for me so far... at least to the thumbnail point. I'll admit I haven't had any time with school to consider working on any full-blown paintings, but if God can grant me a little peace and patience, I know it will happen eventually! However, I do have time to put down quick ideas and compositions throughout the day in random notebooks and in an itty bitty sketchpad that I have recently purchased. Here are a couple of examples:
What's funny is that I didn't even think of Narnia and the lamppost in the woods until after I had gotten the idea out!
The idea came to me when I was in need of a bit of comfort- the title "Solace" kept rolling around in my head. Sitting amid the starfish and shells as waves surge and fall around you and storm clouds billow in the distance... It's a calming thought.
So much for keeping myself accountable, but I suppose late is better than never. Here are some scans of little practices and studies that I did a while ago, around Christmas, when I had a little extra time for myself.
Some experiments with mountains.
These are some trials with petals and shadows- I got the idea from a watercolor tutorial book by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, who is an incredible artist, so please visit her site!
These are my own little tree illustrations, trying out different techniques of wet-into-wet and wet-on-dry.
Credit goes to Stephanie for this one-- it was a little piece meant to practice using masking fluid-- but I'm still in love with the idea!
This is my second-full size piece (not quite finished yet, still need to wrap up details on her hair and the birds)-- also from Stephanie's tutorial book! Can you tell how enraptured I am by her depictions in watercolor? It's meant to show the enchantress Morgan LeFey. I can say I've truly enjoyed the journey, because you can learn something from each step in the painting, including the mistakes that aren't exactly planned.
I'll say that's enough for now, but I'm planning on uploading some more of the in-progress shots that I took while painting so maybe some of us can find some insight on this fascinating process!