Art, Painting

Back to work…

Every year (or multiple times per year) I decide it’s a great idea to revamp my life. By that I mean my work and all that’s related. Perhaps it’s not the wisest decision, but refreshers are good, especially for a mind becoming stagnant.

Four pieces were completed at the beginning of January for a play. As soon as they were done and shipped out, I paused to look around my studio and realized that it had become horribly chaotic. Paint tubes scattered, tiny shreds of paper, dirty brushes, not one surface was bare, including the floor. I did what I could, which was to walk away from it for a bit over a week. It was not a relaxing time because all I could think about was getting that area in order so I could get back to work. I had been so focused on those four pieces that when they were done, I felt lost.

I finally forced myself to clean (pics to come). I’ve found that even with this clear space, my brain isn’t working the way it needs to. The empty space is in my head, not in my studio. I’m uninspired!

While I continue to draw and paint, I figured I would update this blog and post a pic of one of the paintings. If you have thoughts, inspiration, motivation, anything, tell me. Share your brains.

Unrequited | 8" x 11" | acrylic on canvas
Unrequited | 8″ x 11″ | acrylic on canvas
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Art

Hot Press Watercolor Paper

…makes me want to cry.

I’m trying, I really am, but I am not winning at this type of paper.  I’ve read comments and perused tutorials and all of that stuff.  “Don’t soak it”, “Soak it for 15 minutes”, “Gesso the front and back so it doesn’t buckle”, “Only use it for drawing!”, etc…

My first attempt was using watercolor pencils.  I sketched my figure out, did a bit of shading, and liked how it turned out!  Then…I added water.  Mistake.  I only added a little bit of water, not a lot, and it was still a disaster.  So, in an attempt to fix it, I added more paint/water.  Of course, it got worse.  The paper buckled and pilled.  In some sections the paint just lifted right off, leaving my lady speckled.  Frantic, I tossed aside all water-related mediums and attempted to smother her with oil pastels (that I don’t even know how to use).  I was desperate.  Hopeless.  The painting was destroyed.

I started off my second attempt being a little cocky, giving a little sashay in my step.  “I’m going to gesso the shit out of it!” and that I did.  Paper didn’t buckle or pill!  It made the surface a bit rough, and that was okay.  I lightly sketched an image on the paper, using a ruler, gettin’ my perspective right and everything.  Then I added the paint — acrylic this time.  Watered-down acrylic.  It wasn’t the best move.  It didn’t do what I thought it would do.  The paint still sort of lifted off, so I reduced the water and added more paint.  That seemed to help, but the background lost its subtly tinted sky and bare landscape and was replaced by rough spots and brush marks.  I like dry brushing.  I might even say I’m not terrible at it.  But, I didn’t want to dry brush this one.  I wanted it to be smooth, fluid, and pretty.  It, too, is a disaster.  It looks like I squeezed a whole bunch of acrylic paint on my hand and mashed it on the paper in a fit of rage.  It’s terrible.  I threw my brush against the table, took a hot shower and cried while in the shower.

I’m a basket case.  I’m not giving up, though.  Today is a new day!  A new day to completely wreck anything I touch!  A new day to make a zillion more mistakes, possibly cry some more, but also figure out what I did wrong and try something else.  I thought that what I was doing wrong was to even attempt to do any artwork at all, but I need to nudge that out of my head with a hard elbow.  Maybe.  I’m full of self-doubt today.

If you have comments or advice, I’d love to hear them!  In fact, I think I need it.

Art

Stretching, stretch, stretching…

I missed last week’s I.F. – the word was “Stretch”. This is what I made and wrote.

Spindly with graceless steps, pointed toes, stretching limbs as far as possible, rushing to get off the street, hoping these sentient buildings (it’s in your head, dear) would stop with their imposing posture. Maybe the beginning of capture – “we snack on Marfan”. Maybe a respectful, welcoming gesture – “we mean you no harm as we mean nothing”. Her mind flutters with questions: “Is it a greeting or am I for eating?”

Life, Writing

Prepare for a long post…

I’m seriously, you guys.

I’ve noticed how lax I’ve been in updating my blog. I’m not sure what the deal is, but I’m looking into remedying it. I write out a list of possible posts and then don’t get to them or, I see them, but don’t remember what I was going to say. I figured that today I would write about a recurring issue I have that sort of ties into my work: My name. Yes, my name is an issue.

I have gone through more casual name changes than I want to admit. I’ve changed for a variety of reasons: paranoia, boredom, spelling problems, anger/spite, and simply not feeling right about my name.

I have only gone through 1 legal name change: I was adopted. I went through several years of one easy-to-spell surname and then it changed to a rather fantastic, albeit hard to spell/pronounce, surname. Like old songs or movies, names can be triggers to past memories, good or bad. My last name made me think of bad things, so I wanted to change it. My first name did the same, so I wanted to get rid of that too. And then it started.

In high school, I toyed with the spelling of my first name. I was usually called “Jenni”, so I continually changed the spelling of that until one day my Federal Government teacher pronounced my newly spelled “Jenee” as “Juh-NEE”. I knew I had a problem.

Early adulthood I signed my work with a symbol that I still use once in a while. I refused to sign my name because I still couldn’t accept it.

Then, as mentioned in the Explanation section of my blog, I went through several years of being ridiculously crazy and became obsessed with changing my name. I continually changed my online usernames or created new ones because I was scared that I would be found. Now when I see those names they seem so foreign – I don’t even recognize some of them.

Last year I created a whole new name: Morgan Dreag. I love the name Morgan. I think the letter “M” is beautiful, I have a massive connection to the sea, and I think Morgan sounds like such a strong name. I needed some strength. And “Dreag”…well, I kept that part. I like writing it. I believe it’s Old English for “apparition” and since I had spent most of my life feeling like I was a ghost, I thought it was suitable.

I used Morgan for a while. I look like a Morgan, so it seemed pretty natural. The family and friends I chose to tell about the name assured me that they wouldn’t say anything because they understood my fear of being found (it’s not a completely irrational fear…just mostly). Unfortunately, someone did mention it to another person and that name lost its power for me. The illusion of strength and protection was gone. The name hunt resumed…

Trying to find a name that not only fit me, but also matched my work was becoming a hassle. Here I had the documents ready to start the legal change – I just needed a name to put on them! I tried various names on, typed them out in different fonts, wrote them out by hand, entered them on forms, signed quick drawings with them; all to see how they looked and felt when doing that. Still, nothing.

I went back to look at my real name. My surname is relatively unique, so I don’t have the problem of being lost in a list, but it also makes me easy to find for those that know the name. During my name-hunt, I went through countless name meaning sites and books, typing and looking up each name that popped in my head. Of course I repeatedly researched “Jennifer”. In doing this I found that “Jennifer” also has connections to water and apparitions. For reals. Once again I already had something I wanted, I just needed to go the l o n g way to figure that out (can you tell that this happens a LOT?).

I’m sure that eventually I will, once more, become bored with my name or if I become mentally unwell again, I will feel the need to change everything, but I have a feeling by posting all these things that I’ve rarely said out loud, it will allow me to be okay with keeping what I got.

There is also the possibility of hitting the “Publish” button and eventually seeing a shadowy figure standing outside my window…

Art, Writing

Sensible blathering…

So, the whole purpose of this blog is to make myself get off my keister and keep being creative. I sometimes forget that one creative thing I enjoy doing is writing. One of the many things I wanted to be as a child was a writer! I loved it and still do. Lately, though, I have shoved it aside and focused more on the idea of making artwork (I would say doing artwork, but I haven’t been doing much these past couple weeks) and beating myself up for procrastinating.

Writing certainly makes my head work and when my head is working, ideas always come to me – including ideas for visual works. So…I’m writing. I had thought about making yet another blog strictly for “Sensible Blathering” but, honestly, I have too many blogs. Way too many. Since I’ve been using “It Does Art”, I haven’t posted to the others, so there is no point in creating another one that will eventually be neglected. I’ll just blather here because it’s tied to being creative!

A little known fact about me: I have started writing 3 books in my life. One was started when I was still in high school and the other two were started in my early 20s. Note I said started instead of completed. Yes…procrastinator. I like the idea of going back to them, but out of the 3, 2 will not be picked up where I left off because I’m not the same as I was then. However, I can still take the ideas and form them around who I am now and the similar messages I want to convey. I think about them often and I think about how much motivation I had when I started them and how I just became overwhelmed with life in general, not the writing. I think about how I am now and there are still aspects of me that haven’t changed much – the main one being my attention span and how frustratingly short it is. It’s something I work on and as long as I’m doing something to keep my head working in a creative manner, I’m okay with it.

I keep reminding myself that there really isn’t anything I’m incapable of doing. That includes finishing books, creating serious/ridiculous artwork, or even going outside when I’m just too afraid. It’s the same for you. Not a “if you dream it, you can do it” message – more of a “break things down into their simplest forms so you can see how non-complicated things can be”.

I want to make a candle holder out of paper-mache/papier-mache – I realize this would be along the lines of ridiculous artwork. Woohoo fire!

Art, Etsy

An Etsy test drive…

I finally (finally!) added some pieces to my Etsy shop. I’ve had an Etsy account for years, but never actually used it. I had the intent to use it, but I’m a procrastinator (as if I had to tell you that) and just never got around to it.

I put 5 ACEOs in my shop because I’m a bit hesitant about breaking out the big guns. These little drawings/paintings are harmless and inoffensive so I thought they would be a good place to start. Just to see, you know. Plus, now that I posted them, I’m motivated to start working on pieces again. I had to take a break for a bit over a week because I was busy being consumed with finding a reliable vehicle to replace our “Rust Machine Who Likes To Eat Money”. I was successful with that, so now it’s time to get back to my own thing!

If you would like to check out the Etsy shop, here is the link: http://itdoesart.etsy.com

Back to work!

Art, Writing

My difficulty with writing…

Those that know me have often been subjected to very long emails nearing novelette lengths. And they’re just emails. They’re filled with possible ramblings or just several paragraphs of intense thought. But still…they’re emails. They should be short and to the point.

I’ve been working on that, so now my emails usually are short and to the point, but I really have to fight off rambling and giving every detail of every thing I’m attempting to communicate. I think partly it’s because of my fear of being misunderstood. This carries on into my blogs.

When I create a post that involves a drawing, it’s much easier for me to just quickly jot down a few thoughts about the image and leave it at that. I certainly have an urge to go in depth and tell you every thought I have about not only the resulting image, but also my feelings on it while creating it and so on. What happens is I end up with a very, very long post that not many people will want to read. Plus, when I write like that it seems I get burned out. So much so that I won’t post for a very long time after. Obviously, that happens now without the burnout, but I’m working on that too!

I feel internally divided – where one part wants to share a lot with the world and be very open about everything (I think letting people know they’re not alone while still acknowledging their unique circumstances is important) and the other part wants to remain closed off, severely private and almost cold, I suppose. It’s a constant battle and whoever the victor is depends on my mood that day or moment.

The reason I’m thinking about these things tonight and writing about it is because I want to try to find a middle ground or at least a comfortable place with my posting (and myself). Presenting those pieces as I do was a big deal for me because there is a lot (a LOT) of resistance from my family and some friends about the type of work I do and it’s always been a struggle trying to feel good about myself and please them at the same time. My family likes what I do as long as it’s not what “I” do, if that makes sense. I don’t think I would ever be able to show them the works that I post here and the amazing thing is that these pieces have been very well received by others – I didn’t think that was possible. The voices of my family rotate through my head when I make those sometimes, so to hear/read positive messages/critiques about them floors me.

I know that when some people meet me and then see my artwork, their initial impression of me goes through a pretty large overhaul. I could say that I’m not a violent person; I’m actually very peaceful, but that’s not entirely true. It goes back to that division I mentioned earlier – part of me is violent and angry and the other part is incredibly peaceful and loving. That’s not to say that the work is violent though. I don’t think it is. I think the last two images I posted are actually very loving and represent an ultimate of something…maybe self-sacrifice? There are so many themes that could be applied and, if it were up to me, “violent” would be at the end of the list.

I like to keep this blog not too personal, but not so distant either. I hope I’m achieving that. I’m pretty sure I rambled…