Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Never Give Up. Never. Never.

 Have you ever stopped doing a creative practice and then tried to restart after a solid block of time has passed? It's not a pretty picture!

Do as I say, not as I have done. I stopped painting. I stopped making even the smallest collages. I stopped sketching. I stopped practicing my art.

And now I'm struggling to get back to where I left off. Really struggling. 

I stopped sewing.

When we downsized five years ago I thought I'd give up sewing... and I did for quite some time, maybe two years. Then one day I had the urge to make a knit top but even with the experience of making clothes since I was 9 I had forgotten some basic skills.

I had forgotten a basic alteration I always make to a pattern so it was cut wrong at the start.

I forgot which way the thread should unroll off the bobbin and did it backward. Had to rip out the very first seam I stitched... after I remembered how to change the stitch length! I had sold my serger so had to figure out how to finish the seams without it. 

The top didn't fit. Of course it didn't. I had given up the practice.

I stopped practicing art-making. 

I had excuses. There was a letdown after my successful Open Studio and I was tired. Then came the holidays and a wonky schedule. I had some health issues that slowed me down and I drifted away from my normal studio routine. I gave up painting, drawing, collage.

Now I'm struggling to get back and I'm making all sorts of beginners mistakes that are quite frustrating. But I'm trusting that I'll slip back into those neural pathways I laid down in my brain and find my mojo soon.

Then I began again.

HOW?    How did I begin again?

  • I joined Cheryl Taves's #insightcreative30daychallenge at the first of the year and while I haven't kept up with doing a journal page every single day according to her prompts, I have resumed my regular practice both in my new studio journal and writing Morning Pages.

Journal spread using black

Journal page using white over color

  • I spend a few hours each week mixing paint. That's such great fun and results in some awesome collage paper. 

Matching paint to roses

  • I've decided to spend up to $15/week on flowers for the studio... and I'll draw them, use them to inspire paintings and collage papers. The bunch of roses I bought yesterday are gorgeous, sort of a buff titanium/dusty pink color and so lovely. I've matched the colors and painted the roses... not worth showing, either but I won't let that throw me
This week's flower selection

  • I began a series of works on paper using paint and glue. The results are rubbish so far but I'll continue adding layers, knowing that as I work the ideas will come.
  • I began drawing... blind contour drawing.
Blind contour drawing of the roses.

Blind Contour Drawing

For those of you who aren't familiar with this method, it's a simple and deeply satisfying way to look and draw. While looking at your subject, and without looking down at the paper, draw the object, following the contours/edges as though you are an ant crawling across the edges, letting your hand move along with your eyes, slowly, steadily, without peeking. The results will surprise you. Make it a game. Do it over and over. One drawing after another until you run out of time or your hand cramps. Yes, you can look between drawings. Click here for a video about Blind Contour Drawing.

Draw with ink. Use a cheapo ballpoint or whatever you have. Maybe you prefer a pencil.

You could use an old textbook or book of poetry as use as your Blind Contour Drawing journal and draw right on top of the pages.  Or lightly coat each page with gesso first. (Let it dry before drawing or try drawing into the wet gesso.)


Even if it's only a simple drawing or collage or watercolor painting, keep up the practice of showing up and doing a bit of creative work.

Creative Visionary Program

Are you considering Nick Wilton's Creative Visionary Program? I've signed up for the third year. It's the most helpful course I've ever taken and while it's pricey it's a huge bargain compared to what you get in art school or from taking a few of the usual weeklong workshops, either local or distant. With CVP you'll have three months of intensive direct online involvement and then 9 more months of interaction with the teachers and other students and alumni, plus you get a deep discount when you enroll again in future programs. Call or email me if you want more information. 

 CVP Sign-Up

(Using this affiliate link gives me credit and costs you nothing.) 

Sunday, February 13, 2022



The free Art2Life workshops start tomorrow, February 14. Don’t miss out.

A week of intensive and fun experiences, delivered online, will help improve your art quickly and easily no matter what medium you prefer. Workshops and daily Facebook Live events will be delivered throughout the week to those who register.

I’ve done the free workshop for three years running and my art started to get way better right away. I work with acrylic paint and paper collage as well as using watercolor for urban sketching. The training helped me with all these media and you can expect the same for yourself if you do the work.

Click here or on the image to register:

The workshop week is really free… with no hidden costs, no annoying catches…. just 5 days of short classes and events delivered by my fantastic teacher Nicholas Wilton and his Art2Life team. Their unusual take on using Design, Value, and Color to make better art will be a game-changer for your art.

The week of events begins tomorrow, February 14. The workshops are recorded and delivered online at your convenience so that you can view them at any time until February 23.

Grab your sketchbook and a pen and join me for the Art2Life free workshop.

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