Art in a Time of X

I did some sketching on my tablet–it’s been a while. Apparently, i’m better at it than i remember. This looks way better than I remember art on the tablet looking. I’ll have to mess around some more!

The CEO of Tee Public had a great reminder for artists, so I thought I’d share it here:

“Today, you don’t need to be Pablo Picasso and you don’t need to have something poignant to say. But you are an artist. You do have a sword to wield. Can you push through anxiety and find the space to be creative? Can you find your voice and whisper to us, a joke, an idea, or a memory of some better time? “

Adam Schwartz, CEO Tee Public

Read a book, look at art, make art…get out those coloring books, the beads you were going to do something with…If you can’t get outside, you can find solace in art or escape in stories. We’ll do our best to keep you supplied!

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gouache, coasters, and summers on the porch

Paint is funny. Colors come from mostly the same selection of sources, what changes is the binder. And that binder makes SO MUCH difference. Gouache is more opaque than watercolor, but shares some of my favorite features in that you can wet and reuse after its dried. This piece, the rearing rose gray, is me trying to get a better grasp on layering and start to mess with mixing wet paint again. With my watercolors, I have gotten so absorbed in my many little trays that I forget to mix the colors while they are wet. (Can you tell the horse is free-hand with no reference picture? I can :-P). I appreciate the way white gouache behaves. Makes dapples easy.

And yes, that circle was done with a coaster.

This particular coaster set belonged to my grandparents. It’s woven wicker inside wood. It was the outdoor coaster set which we used on the screened porch. After we made our sandwiches with deli meat and filled our plates with chips (a treat!) we’d take our soda (also a treat) out to the porch and eat on the blue stained furniture while we talked and watched the birds at the feeders. They had a lot of bird feeders. Thistle, sunflower, peanut butter, suet, and of course sugar water for the humming birds. My grandfather had built an elaborate baffle (or three) to keep the squirrels off. He also had a heated birdbath for the winter and every year asked for birdseed for Christmas. We’d easily spend hours watching the local wildlife–and there was plenty–besides a bazillion song birds there were the rabbits, squirrels, doves and fox.

Every time I use one of those coasters to draw a circle–or keep a drink from leaving stains–I think of those lazy summer days. A lot of my early fiction writing was on that porch, too, thanks to the advent of laptop computers. I cherished that time. Soaked it up like a sponge, and look at the memories with gentle fondness. I try not to wish to return to the past…but I would go back there.

Someday, I want a screened porch in the shade of my own. While I have invited quite a lot of wildlife onto my deck by attempting to maintain a container garden, it’s not quite the same. My kitchen, sadly, is not arranged for me to sit and watch the bird feeder.

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Knight with a Red Plume

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I just really like red plumes.

I painted this when I first got masking fluid. I’m still trying to learn how to use it. And putting riders on horses is startlingly difficult. Perhaps because I think I know what it looks like, but the eye and the brain don’t actually communicate as well as I think.

I am trying to push myself to explore composition more and think creatively.

What? Think creatively? In a painting? I know.

i did really enjoy manipulating the masking fluid and brush flicks for the flagging tail. I think there must be Arabian lines in this horse 😉

I’ve always liked Arabians–not just because they are spectacularly gorgeous, but also the legends around them, their endurance, and of course their loyalty. Marguerite Henry’s King of the Wind was also, definitely, instrumental.

Actually, I learned a lot from that book. I read it repeatedly, and the details of how Agaba treated Sham, the care he took to groom and saddle for the comfort of the horse, has definitely influenced how I treat horses. I try to always be kind and respectful when handling a horse. When you do that, they take it much better when you correct them for not being kind and respectful.

This is actually a character from my novel. If you read The River Rebellion on zarecaspian.com you’d know him, Trinh Kegan. His armor should be golden, but artistic liberty dictated bloodstone for this piece.

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Faith is a Blue Bird

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Remember that line from The Rescuers? “Faith is like a bluebird, you can’t catch it or buy it or wrap it up tight, but it’s there just the same making things turn out right.”

The Rescuers wasn’t my favorite movie mostly because I found Madam Medusa *very* scary, in a way that McLeach just wasn’t. Yet Rufus the Cat and his little bit of encouragement, as well as about a zillion other lines from the movie, are burned indelibly into my memory.

When people in my generation start losing their memories, they will probably still be able to quote movies.

I always preferred The Rescuers Down Under–I think I may have even seen it first–who knows, I was so little. I mean, Wilbur is fantastic, then of course there is the lovable Australian cast of creatures.

….oh yeah, and I painted a blue bird that I can’t look at without thinking of the Rescuers and subsequently Australia (which is so frighteningly on fire)…

The background is inktense, the bird itself is Daniel Smith watercolors, and the black tips on its wings are gouache. The eye, ever bright, is ink.

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English Labradors

Thought you might enjoy seeing this piece I did as a gift this Christmas. Schultz and Rylie were my in-laws’ English Labs. Different as night and day, both entirely and completely lovable.

Schultz has been gone for a couple years now, and Rylie for a year. It’s still odd not having them to greet us when we visit.

Schultz generally conducted himself with dignity and restraint when greeting at the door (but boy, that was a big bark if he was so inclined). Rylie was pretty much always exuberant, always loving, always underfoot.

Neither of them would have tolerated those hats for a moment.

I don’t normally work with colored pencils, but it really seemed best for capturing the buttercream coloring of the dogs–Rylie darker than Schultz.

They leave these gaping holes when they move on.

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