My 2017 Calendar is here!

09/22/16

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Friends, I am so glad to announce that my 2017 calendar is now for sale! There are only 275 available 143 available, and last year they sold out by December, so get yours today! Read more about it and purchase here.

The calendar is 7×14 inches and there are 13 full color pages, including the cover.

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Get yours here.

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Experiments in Blue: Week 38

09/19/16

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I’ve created most of my 2016 Experiments in Blue over the weekends of the past nine months; and then I try to post them each Monday that follows. Some weekends I have a lot of time for messing around in my studio, and I can make an entire painting in blues. Some weekends I’m traveling away from my studio and my experiments come to life in my sketchbook (which I mostly carry with me everywhere). Some weekends I literally have one hour and I make something super quick and easy. This past weekend fit into that category. I was away most of the weekend, too busy to make anything until last night. And, would’t you know it, last night I didn’t feel like drawing or painting, even something small.

“What if I mess around with some paper?” I thought to myself. So I dug into the boxes in my studio and pulled out all of the paper, both sold and patterned, that was mostly blue (and some fluorescent pieces for “pops”). And I set about creating a blue-themed cut paper design in my sketchbook, which you see pictured above.

I forgot how much I enjoy cutting and pasting paper into designs, something I used to do in my art practice all of the time. And it got me excited to get back into collage again.

Here’s to making more time for experiments, and the unexpected results that come from them.

Happy Monday, friends!

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Reflections on my Self Portrait Challenge

09/15/16

{Once a week for 10 weeks I drew my self portrait; this is a slideshow of all 10, in order}

This past June I was in London for a speaking engagement. I hadn’t been to London since 1998, so I took a week to explore the city for the first time in 18 years. I love museums and I love portraits, so naturally one of the first places I visited was the National Portrait Gallery. While I walked the different rooms of the Gallery, I noticed how many of the portraits were artists’ self portraits. I’ve been an artist for almost 20 years and a working artist for 10, and I realized that day that I’d only drawn a portrait of myself maybe two times in the past 17 years, and the last time was many years ago. I couldn’t stop thinking about that fact for the rest of the day.

Part of how I make my living is drawing other people’s portraits — mostly for books. But the idea of drawing myself filled me with anxiety. I try to look at my anxiety as something calling my attention, so later that day I asked myself: What was I afraid of? What if I attempted to draw a self portrait a week for several weeks in a row? How hard could that be?

I went back to the apartment where I was staying that evening and began drawing the first of the series of self portraits in my sketchbook (it’s the first in the video above). Each week for the 10 weeks that followed, I made 10 self portraits (all of them in my sketchbook) and posted them on Instagram. People were instantly curious about my process: was I looking in a mirror? Was I drawing from memory?

The first thing to know is that I cannot draw myself from memory! At least not accurately. I am someone who can draw a likeness, but only from looking at reference. In this case, I took a picture of myself with my iPhone each week and looked at that while I made each portrait. Some weeks I attempted an accurate, proportioned portrait, and some weeks I focused more on my feelings, and one week I allowed myself to go super messy and almost abstracted. I created the least technically correct portrait the week after I returned from two weeks in France in early August, when I was hit with the worst jet lag I’ve ever experienced. It might be the most accurate portrait I drew the entire series! One week I even drew myself as Marie Antoinette after visiting Versailles in France. I was traveling a lot this summer, and so there are portraits from London, Austin (Texas), Paris France, Antibes France and Rock Hill (New York); and of course, my home, Portland, Oregon.

The best part of the experiment (which is now officially over; I feel done) was pushing myself to do this thing that previously scared me. I learned that I could do it, not once or twice, but many times over. And each time the result looked different! In the end, the drawing part ended up being fairly easy for me. The hardest part was actually posting the photos of the portraits on Instagram. It felt incredibly vulnerable to both draw myself and then to share those drawings with my 115,000 followers. “Wow, so interesting how you see yourself!” people would comment. What does that mean??, I’d think to myself.  And then one week, something like “Maybe next time you could smile.” Maybe this isn’t about posing for the camera, I thought. Somehow sharing my self portraits felt like the most vulnerable thing I had ever done on the internet (and I’ve shared some pretty vulnerable things on the internet, including writing some very personal essays on this blog). It was like every week I said, Hey, everyone, look at me! And look at how I see myself! And look at how badly I draw myself! And that felt so raw. Of course, many of my followers instantly understood the rawness of the project and were enormously supportive and encouraging. Many of them acknowledged that this is not something they could ever do, or that they’d be scared to try.

I have always liked the saying, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” (no one really knows who said this, but it’s widely attributed to the great Eleanor Roosevelt). Thank you to everyone who followed along and engaged with my project. You made it less scary.

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Experiments in Blue // Week 37

09/12/16

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This week’s Experiment in Blue, was really an experiment in a) painting on a clay board surface (without applying gesso first) and b) using a bit of maroon in one of the rainbows (a color I rarely use).

The results? I remembered why I don’t normally paint on clay board: it’s extremely smooth and so paint doesn’t stick really well to it. Some would say “it has no teeth!” So it’s super difficult to get paint to go on opaque (even paint that goes on opaque on other more toothy surfaces), even after several layers.

The maroon? I like it! I think I’ll use it again (though next time not on clay board). I like the way it contrasts with the blues. pink and yellow that I normally use.

Sometimes pieces don’t come out very in pristine condition, and this is one of them. But I always learn something from my process, especially when I try new things, even when the result is not show-worthy. And that was certainly the case this week!

Cheers to learning from the process.

Have a great week!

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New Podcast: Creative Push With Youngman Brown

09/08/16

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Friends, I am so happy to share with you Your Creative Push podcast, where I was recently featured. I was interviewed by Youngman Brown, the host, about big life decisions, existential questions, how I deal with angst and a bunch of other topics. You can listen here. Enjoy!

 

CATEGORIES: Podcasts
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