Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Art Supplies...A day in my Drawing Journal - Learning ASL

I had a very good day today!  Yay! It's about time, right?

We went needed to go to the grocery store (woo-hoo, trip out of the house!), and decided to drop by the art supply store.  I had a coupon, just itching to be used!  I've had my eyes on a set of Inktense, by Derwent.
Here's a link to their website that can explain exactly what they are better than I can.

The best that I can describe it as is...they took the vibrancy and intensity of ink, and made a pencil out of it.  When you use it dry, it just looks like a colored pencil, but then when you wet comes alive with color!

So far, I have a love hate relationship with them.  I must play with them more and more to be sure exactly how I feel.  Are they worth the price? (lucky I had the coupon!)  Can I learn to control it?  Should I learn to control it????  (Oh that just sounded way too much like something Dr. Who would ask. - yes, big fan here.  Guess you figured that out from a previous post though, huh?)

Here is a drawing I was working on and started to wet it.  The wrist has been brushed over with a wet paint brush...the rest is still the original drawing:
I'm not sure the photo came out well enough to tell, but there is a drastic difference in how the pencils look before and after being wet.

You may ask, why the number 3?  Actually, that is the letter W in American Sign Language (ASL).
I've always been interested in ASL, and since my hearing has diminished so much in the past couple of years I thought it would be a good idea to learn least enough for Stuart and I to converse.  I've been taking a free "course" (I use that word losely, it's not structured)  on-line, and I've checked out a few videos from the library (the trouble with the videos...well, I can't hear them!)  We also bought a set of flash cards today to see if that will help build our vocabulary.

But...on to the drawings....
This version has been completely wet.  Looks much more like a wash with ink than a pencil drawing.

Here I just wanted to show the pencils I used.
Oh, I also got a new small sketch pad, the paper is 90lb!
This is the greatest, thickest paper I've ever seen in a small sketch pad.
I feel like I'm drawing on Bristol Board.

Showing how I used the drawing in my journal.

OK, I've been doing this for a little while now.  I'm very happy that I'm sticking to it, and if I can do it through this very rough spell I've been going through, I should be able to keep it up.

I must say, every day when I start a little project (often not the project I thought I was going to do), I'm surprised at how I get lost in it.  How much less I feel the pain when I'm doing it, and what a sense of accomplishment I feel after doing it.

(I haven't drawn a hand in years.  This made me feel good.)

How ever you deal with what life is throwing at you - I hope it's working...each and every day.

If you want - join me...Make Art, Have Fun, Feel Better.
To be sure not to miss a post be sure to subscribe.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Translating my Headaches into Images

My husband, and doctors often ask me about my headaches.  How bad is it?  I hate the statement..."on a scale of 0 - 10 with 0 being no headache at all and 10 is going to the bad is your headache?"

That is such a broad statement.  Doesn't that depend on the person?  Normally, I have a headache.  It's always there, I simply push it to the back so I don't notice it so much.  If someone asked me if I had a headache, I'd probably say "no", but if I thought about it...I really do have a's there, I just refuse to acknowledge it.  So is that a 2 or perhaps a 3 for me?

Then I will have the nagging headache...the one that just sits there, and makes it's self known, but I can still function...some what.  Is that a 5 or a 6?  maybe?

Then there are the OMG my whole body hurts, I can't stand the light, I'm screaming, and starting to throw is that a 9?  I'm sure for some my 7 or 8 would be a 10.  But I would probably have to pass out from the pain before I would go to the ER for a headache.  I keep thinking...I'll just take this (what ever med I'm on at the time) and it will be better soon.  Or I will take enough to knock me out...yeah...that will work.

Today I decided to play with a photo I took of myself when I was in a very interesting mood.

This is the progression of my headaches:
A bit more than the usual every day headache, but it's there a lot of the time.

Getting Worse....

Now the blinding shearing pain!  

A migraine and a Meniere's attack at the same time.  
One is bad enough by it's self, but having a horrible headache, while having vertigo....
a little slice of my personal hell.

Perhaps I should take these photos to my next doctor's appointment, and say...."My headache today looks like this!" and hold up the appropriate picture.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

As Promised, More Catch Up

I must say...and I probably said this the last time I posted, but I don't remember, so I'll say it again.
The recovery from my procedure on Monday has been much more difficult than anticipated.  I've had this done before, and it wasn't really a big deal.  This time...Big Deal.
But I've been trying desperately to create..what I can while being flat on my back, in bed.

My husband, the computer genius that he is, figured out how to get the pictures out of ArtRage.  Still, not sure how I feel about this program.  One thing that drives me bonkers...I keep loosing my cursor.  I have no idea where I am.  Then I have to search and find myself....what a strange thing to say.

Lately, I've been thinking about Mandala's.  The World Dictionary defines Mandala as:

— n
1. Hindu & Buddhist art  any of various designs symbolizing the universe, usually circular
2. psychol  such a symbol expressing a person's striving for unity of the self (in Jungian psychology)

I have always been fascinated by Mandala's.  I they fascinate me, and I can get lost in them.  In college, we had an assignment, to do a mirror image design of something in nature.  I chose a fish.  Our next assignment was to put it in a segmented circular design...I didn't realize I was creating my first mandala.  I often find myself drawing in circles, or with patterns.  They aren't mandalas, but they both have their roots in that study.

Here's what I accomplished this rest of this week:

I was playing with ArtRage making some patterns.
I liked this one, but I couldn't figure out how to get the bullseye out of the center....

As you can see, getting rid of the bullseye was harder than I thought.
I ended up blending the paint together (of course if I wanted to d that I couldn't.)
Again, Playing with ArtRage. (something easy to do when stuck in bed)
You know usually when I do create a picture I like, but don't know...there's just something about it that's not quite right.
I'll do it again and normally, I like the second one better...not this time....

I changed the background texture on this one.  And the colors just a little bit...
put in some more grass...and made the leaves swirl (thought I liked that, until I looked at the first one)
The leaves are too small.  The grass is too's simply not as good.  Oh well.

Here is the finished Mandala that was working on.  Please forgive that it's not proportional.
I did this all free-hand, it started out as just a little doodle, but I really like how it turned out.
This is my circle of life.  The center are the roots in the earth.  The blue is the water.  The light yellow green, represents birth.  The red is the vigor of life.  The dark between birth and the vigor of life are thorns.  They represent the hardness of life.  For some of us, our illnesses, others the death of a loved one, war, famine... 
Ah, but the purple are the wings of angels  (the ones we meet on earth, and otherwise).  And the dark yellow represents the stars in the sky.

I finished this mandala yesterday.  It made me feel good.  It was lovely to work on.  I've noticed while I'm working on a piece I don't notice my pain as much.  I'm proud at how much I've accomplished this week, while lying in bed.  The mandala I'm especially proud of.  I'm amazed I've was able to do it, with my head hurting so, and being so drugged up from the medication.

One last thing.  I only had a little to finish on the mandala yesterday, but didn't feel like starting a whole new project, so I colored.  It was such fun!

I hope you enjoy it, as much as I enjoyed coloring it.

You see, you don't have to be an artist for art to help.
Break out the coloring books, and the crayons (for my mother's 63rd birthday, I gave her a box of 64 know the ones....the box with the sharpener built right in!  It was the biggest box you could buy when I was a kid.)
We had a ball with them.  And used them often when she was sick with cancer.  We would color, and do puzzles.  Such memories I have.

Robert Fulgham once said: “Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air--explode softly --and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth--boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn't go cheap, either--not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.” 

How wonderful is that!  Don't you deserve a box of 64?  I know you do!  

Friday, August 26, 2011

Many Days to Catch Up On Aug 21 - 25, 2011

The day before having my procedure I decided to attempt a contour drawing.
In a contour drawing one only draws the outline of the object, very slowly, trying to feel the object.  A blind contour drawing is one step up from this.  You draw the object very slowly, while never looking at your page.  You never take your eyes away from the object.
In this exercise I started working on a blind contour, but will admit I had a hard time keeping my eye off the page.  When I finished, it just didn't look finished.  I should have taken a photo at this point, but I decided to alter the drawing a bit.  I added the inner lines, and some color.
This little stuffed animal, makes me smile.  I just couldn't leave him all naked with no expression.  He has such life, I had to share it with all of you.
Monkey, Monkey, Monkey!

The night after I came home from the hospital I decided to draw what was on my nightstand.  I was still a bit loopy, so please understand this is not in proportion.  I'm still re-learning to draw what I see, instead of what my brain is interpreting.
After Surgery Aug 22, 2011

I created 3 paintings on ArtRage this week, but I can't figure out how to post them.  How did I post the water color of Sandy?  Perhaps my husband can figure it out when he gets home.  If not, I'll try and take a photo of the computer screen...can't imagine that will work very well....but I can try.

Today, I am working on Mandala's. (Just coloring in Mandala's that someone else has created.  But, it is relieving stress, and it's fun!) I've been drawing out one of my one, and it has been giving me much joy, however, it is taking a bit of time to complete.  (I just keep changing my mind.)  Here's the partially completed version:

You can see, it has a long way to go!

Until I can figure out how to post those paintings I created on ArtRage, I guess, that's all for today.  Hopefully, I will be able to get those 3 paintings posted.  If not, I don't think I'll be using this program again.  Not even the demo version.  Humph.  

I hope you enjoyed these creations.
Please share with me what you are doing!
Remember!  Create Art!  Have Fun! Feel Better!
I realized the other night when I was drawing the mandala, that I felt better.  I had been in a lot of pain all day.  Horrific headaches, my back was very sore from the procedure....but when I was drawing that simple little circle...I felt better.

If you are curious about the procedure I had on Monday, I posted a play by play with photos on my other blog.  Picnic with Ants here's the link to that specific post:

If you have any questions, please ask.
If you'd like more details about the art projects I'm doing, please let me know.  I'm not sure how much is too much, or too little to be interesting.

Is there anything you'd like to see here?

When I'm feeling a bit better, I will be doing some collages, masks, out door sketches, figure drawing (in a number of ways)...but mostly I plan to concentrate on putting down my feelings in my art, each and every day.  The number one thing I want to accomplish is a drawing journal.
But I want to help you get through your stuck times too.  We're in this together!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Expressing My Feelings - with Finger Paint

I've read in a few books, and on one of my favorite blogs (Creativity to the Max) about expressing one's feelings with color,
So I decided to give it a try today.
I just sat down at my desk and thought about how I was feeling.
At first I picked up a box of crayons, I thought about covering a sheet of paper with layers and layers of colors then scratching designs in it...but then, I noticed the finger paints.  
Not only would I be able to express my feelings with color, and texture...but I could also get the tactile sensation...feel the motion...
My first painting...can you tell that I'm troubled about something?  The swirl that you may see in some of my work represents my vertigo, and disequilibrium.  The red is anger, the blue is sadness, the green is confusion - with hope.  The fingers on the left side and sliding off the page, showing how I feel I'm loosing a grasp on this illness.  But still there is hope.
This is the second painting.  I looked at my hand and saw this wonderful swirl of color on it...this  mixture of color and emotion.
This painting shows how confused I am, how life spins out of control for me right now.

 (both figuratively and literally).

Immediately after I finished these paintings and went to clean up I started to get a horrible headache, and feel more off balance.  I was having a good day today, but the further into the day, the more I started feeling icky.  

I'm glad I got these emotions on paper, and accomplished my goal of creating something today.  I do wonder, if bringing all these emotions to the surface may have contributed to me starting to feel bad?  I may be feeling bad physically, but emotionally, I'm feeling much better.

On Monday, I will be having another lumbar puncture to test my cerebral spinal fluid  (CSF).  If you'd like to know more about all of that, you can find it on my other blog Picnic with Ants.  
I may not be able to keep my goal on Monday, but I'll try to do a little something.  (I do normally sketch some in the recovery room.)

Here's one last picture to leave you with today:
A shot of my desk with the first painting just being finished.
Yes, I did get paint on the desk, on my shirt, and on me!
Good thing it's washable.  (as my husband said, "You know not to paint without your smock on.".... I answered "but I was just going to color.")  *shaking his head, as he helps me to bed*

Thanks honey for taking the pictures for me...and all your support.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Self Portrait - Feelings of Today

Having a rough day today.
Couldn't sleep last night, that always makes the next day worse.

Tried to do some sketching, but nothing seemed to be working... I had a very hard time doing anything today.  

So I decided to do a little photo manipulation.  Blogger uses Picassa, so I thought I'd play around with it and see what I could accomplish.

I took a couple of photos of me, and did a few things to them, trying to come up with how I'm feeling today.
Extreme Disequilibrium, Migraines, Loud Tinnitus - these are most of my symptoms today.  How do I feel emotionally?  Like this:

The original photo I played with is below, but I think the one above expresses my feeling better.
Too many smiles in this shot.  

It may have been hard to get anything done today, but I feel so much better after accomplishing this.  It's wonderful to be able to let my feelings out without saying a word.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sandy - Art Rage trial

Today I've been playing around with Artrage Studio, I saw it mentioned on someone's blog (I'm sorry I don't remember where.)  It has a 30 day free trial so I thought I'd give it a try.

It's fun, but I have to admit I'm really not a computer artist.  I just can't seem to master the control, or the blending, or shading...and heck, I really like the tactile sensations I get from my art supplies. 

Here's what I created today.

This is the original picture of my dog, Sandy, that I was looking at:

Here's what I created on Artrage:

I really don't know much about this program yet, but I had fun.  And I like the outcome...somewhat.  I feel it needs some work, but I also feel like the more I mess with it, the more it needs.  I don't use watercolors in real life, so this was a learning experience with that too.

This is a pretty neat program.  You get results that look much less like you do it on the computer, and more like you created them in real life.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Scribble Exercise

In the book Explore Yourself Through Art by Vicky Barber, they have an exercise that suggest that you create 3 scribble drawings.

First you get a dark marker, crayon, or drawing utensil of your choice, and just scribble on the page without looking at it for 3 seconds.  That's all, just 3 seconds.  The thought is any longer than that and you will start to think about what you are doing, this is supposed to be completely spontaneous.

Next you look at your scribbles and see what you can see in them.  It could be an emotion, a figure,..anything.  

Now draw on your scribble and bring out what you see.  How does it make you feel?

Here are my scribble drawings:

I think I was craving chocolate ice cream.
How does that make me feel?  Indulgent, guilty, pleasure, hungry..

Yes, a Yellow Polka Dot Bikini Top lose at the Beach!
I love the beach.  And I love yellow.  This brought up happy feelings, but also a bit of sadness because I haven't been to the beach in so long.  And because I doubt I'll ever feel comfortable in a bikini again.  : )

As soon as I saw this scribble I saw a person with really big glasses on!
I don't know if it's a male of female...I'm thinking a she.  And she enjoys life, is very self confident, and lives her life to the fullest no matter what!

I don't know how many other exercises I'll do from this book.  I've been reading a lot of different books on creativity and I'm getting useful information from all of them, so I plan to do an activity here and there from each of them.

This was a fun exercise, I felt I was getting in touch with my inner child.  I may scribble some more!

Lizard last night, Flower today

I have a ceramic lizard that hangs on a photo frame.
I think he's cute, so I drew him.
My husband picked a wild flower for me from our garden.

Last night I wasn't feeling great, but I hadn't done anything very creative all day, so I sketched the little lizard above.  It made me feel so good that I accomplished this little drawing.  I got absorbed in the the shapes, and the colors.  It made me happy.

This morning, I had a migraine, not a happy morning.  I got up and saw the beautiful flowers sitting on my table. I grabbed my drawing gear and sat down to immortalize one of them on paper.  They are so cheerful.

I'm remembering a lot about how to draw lately.
Your brain sees things a certain way normally, it simply doesn't take in all the details.  When you draw, you need to really look at the subject.  Draw what you see, not what you think is there.

Look at the shapes the object makes.  Pay attention to the negative space.

I'm thoroughly enjoying doing this project.  Even though I've been having a hard time lately with my health, this has been a bright part of each day.  Not just the art, but the fact that I'm completing a goal each day!    

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Two Days of Doodling

Yesterday I had a particularly bad day.  But I did manage to doodle a little.  However, I did not open my computer.  So today, you get two days worth!  (or more!)
My dog, Sandy, is a very important part of my life.  She will be 18 this year.  She has bladder cancer,  we were told in July 2010, that she had 6 months to a year to live.  As of now, she is still going strong!  She has a few minor issues, but what lady doesn't at her age?

Can you tell that I was doodling while watching TV?  Can you guess what I was watching?  
Could that be the Doctor?
Yes, I am a Doctor Who fan.
A Doodle of things I've been doing lately.  Mostly sketching and reading.

Some interesting books I've been reading...or re-reading...These are great for inspiration!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Polka Dots Can Be Fun

My nails, Purple with bright green polka dots.

For the past month..or a little longer..I haven't been able to do much.  Stay in bed, stay on the couch....keeping horizontal most of the time.  (this seems to help the symptoms right now)

A good thing that has come from this?  I have beautiful finger nails right now!  I mentioned this to a friend and he said to paint them Purple!  I went a step further.

It just has to make you smile to think that a 48 year old woman has purple finger nails with bright green polka dots!

(and I was able to do all of this while lying on the couch)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 2 - An Evil Goblin In my Head

I have Meniere's Disease.  Lately, it has been controlling most of my life.
This day, I was having a particularly bad day....

This is a drawing of Mr. M.  He lives in my head.  Some days I don't even notice he is there, other days, there is no way to ignore him.
Looks Evil Doesn't He?

A more detailed Sketch of the Mr. M's Head.

These are a few of the devices he uses to torture me.

Perhaps Mr. M isn't really an Evil Goblin.  Maybe, he doesn't know that he is putting me through Hell?
If you have a friendly goblin, gnome, elf, brownie.....anyone, who speaks goblin, I would appreciate it if you could kindly ask Mr. M to find a new home.  

If I could Evict the Creap myself, he'd be on the street!!

Drawing Journal - Day 1

I am seriously hearing impaired. Right now I'm not hearing well out of my hearing aids.
So I drew a shoe.
Then I laughed because, I wouldn't know if it was a squeeky shoe or not!