Occasionally I’ll dream about work I want to make.
I’ll go to bed with a vague idea in my head and wake up with a relatively fleshed-out image that is burning to be made. Some days I scrawl it down on the notepad next to my bed, roll over and fall back asleep. Other days, I am instantly wide awake and know that there will be no sleep until I’ve painted what I’m seeing.
So there I was, 4:30 am at my desk with a cup of tea trying desperately to pull out supplies without waking the husband. I got to work in the easy stillness of pre-dawn, and remembered how much I liked getting up when the world is still asleep. I’m always saying I need time to just stop for a little bit and let me catch up — and it felt like I sort of got my wish.
2 hours later, my painting was finished and I went back to bed <3
Sometimes new projects are painful experiments in how *not* to paint. Other times, they come together surprisingly fast and end at a place I’m pleased with. I wish I knew how to make projects in group A turn into group B, but alas – that’s a discussion for another day.
Today’s project was thankfully in group B. I started yesterday with a vague concept in mind, just wanted to bust out my recently-neglected watercolors and make something pretty.
With those two goals in mind, I think this little painting was a success.
My hops-loving husband and I first started to experiment with different beers about 3 years ago – when we *finally* discovered a place called Total Wine. We started learning our hop variations, the brewing process, flavor profiles… etc.
Eventually, we decided it was time to brew our own beer and since then have been excited and passionate members of the craft beer/brewing culture.
So of course, I had to make some art. Surprised it took me this long actually.
I’ll have three of the 11 x 14 posters available at World of Beer Midtown Miami for the WOBtoberfest raffle (which benefits
I was doing a deep clean of the kitchen the other day and I ashamedly realized that all of our kitchen tea towels are either; stained (in colors that would suggest a hasty cleanup of spilled merlot…) ripped down the side (not even sure how that would happen) or fraying along the edges (love and overuse).
My first thought was to make a purchase on Amazon, but I quickly realized this was a chance to try out something I’ve been curious about recently; printing onto fabric. The only issue would be my lack of sewing machine…and any semblance of sewing skills to speak of.
Mom to the rescue! She’s an awesome seamstress (and is in the process of setting up a little pop-up shop with her wares) and I had a feeling she might like a bit of new, custom fabric to work with. And maybe I could get a few custom-printed tea towels out of the deal
I started with exploring the basic shape of the pineapple by repeating it multiple times in different color combinations. I wasn’t too particular in this stage, just having fun with the colors – though I made note of what was working and what wasn’t. Eventually I decided I wanted to stick to the pink, coral and beige palette that has kind of taken over my life right now, and I felt like that would be a good match against the white and dark wood of our kitchen.
So here is the final print! I’m excited to get it shipped off to Spoonflower and turned into linen, and even more excited to see my mom makes with it.
One of the more common pieces of sagely advice given to a beginning artist is “change how you see.” In countless books, tutorials and lectures it’s fairly easy to pick up on this theme of learning how to see things differently, but most of the time (at least it was for me) it isn’t all together clear ‘why’ until I actually managed to do it.
The time first time I did, I remember with alacrity.
It was 10th grade Art II, taught by the beloved Mrs. Angus. The exercise was taken from Betty Edwards’ book Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain. (Which I highly recommend for anyone who picks up a pencil, not just beginners.) We were first given a line drawing by a famous artist and told to copy it. The drawings the class produced were *close* to the original in line weight and general composition, but each was very, very markedly different from the original. All the noses different, all the fingers different… obviously drawn by students of varying experience.
Of course it was. We all thought. The original was done by a master. (Picasso if I remember correctly).
Then the saintly Mrs. Angus had us take the original line drawing and hang it upside down. I remember watching as the class erupted in, “Oh yeah right. Now I have no idea what I’m drawing.” and various other statements attesting to this being a ludicrous exercise.
And that was the point.
Stop drawing what you ‘think‘ you see and start drawing only what you actually see.
The results from the class were astounding. Every. Single. Drawing was frighteningly close to a copy of the original. All of us were in awe, it was one of the more beautiful moments of my time in highschool.
Since then, I have tried to make myself aware of the difference between drawing/painting what I believe I am seeing, to what I am actually seeing. Unfortunately, good intentions can be just that – intentions and I find myself making marks that aren’t true to life. Marks that feel right, but aren’t.
That’s not to say I don’t let my artistic voice come through in a work, because that would be shooting myself in the foot. Both feet more likely. It’s just terrifyingly easy to get into the habit of disregarding the truths of the subject and only draw from that mishmash schema the brain has already shackled together.
I would totally advise everyone to go give this experiment a shot. It is a neat trick for the brain and a great way to become a bit more intimate with all of the ways our perception might deceive us.
Or better yet, find a copy of Betty Edwards book and try going through all of her exercises. It’s not the holy grail but it will absolutely make you far more aware of the way you process your sight.
After being back for a few days, I feel like I have finally caught up on enough sleep in order to make a quick little recap of our adventure to the west coast.
I embarked on this particular vacation with slightly different art supplies than in the past — only my large format sketchbook and one pack of micron pens. I knew we were going to be on the road for 2 – 3 hours each day as we made our journey from Canada down to San Diego and was very concerned about portability/size. So it was with a heavy heart that I left all my paper, brushes, markers, and various precious sketchbooks behind. I did however bring a few extra cameras. If I wasn’t able to document via painting, at least I could have a few formats of images to draw from later. (pun quite intended).
We began in Vancouver, relatively sleep deprived but very happy to walk around the city. I must have stopped at every. single. flower garden along the water that day — they had some very well manicured blooms that needed to be documented for later.
The city itself was very beautiful as well and we spent a good deal of the day just walking around, exploring what Vancouver had to offer. We ended up in a park, took an elevator up to a lookout and had some of the most delicious vegetarian dim sum I’ve ever had.
We were off to Victoria BC the next morning, utilizing my very favorite method of transportation — BOATS!
We began in Vancouver, moving in a *mostly* southern fashion for the next two weeks. It was a blur of beautiful gardens, incredible mountains, adorable wildlife and of course, beer. We made several stops at breweries and tap rooms we’ve been dying to get to, and in that regard turned the trip into a bit of a craft beer pilgrimage. Ninkasi, Russian River, Lagunitas, The Bruery, Stone, Greenflash… we tried to fit in as many as we could into our two week span. The non-beer-drinkers (my mother-in-law) were incredibly understanding and very good sports during the latter, more beer-themed portion of the trip.
I came away with some incredible experiences (most of which revolve around whale sightings) that I will remember for the rest of the my life. Now I just have to paint it all.
Yep. Totally painting you when I get home.
Sunset. Victoria BC —-> Seattle
Pacific City. Ugh, like a dream.
Myself, taking pictures of this beautifulness. Do we have to leave?
I cannot contain my excitement. I just received a first look at the new Fin and Feather Art website from the designer, and I am quite literally jumping around my studio.
Since the beginning of Fin and Feather Art I’ve been hoping to end up with a website that not only shows my artwork in a well-organized and easy to sort manner, but that also acts as a launching area for the sites elsewhere on the internet that show what I make.
It’s taken a few years (yikes) to go through various designs and designers, but it’s almost here!
We’ve got a few minor changes to make and I’ve got a boatload of photos to ship for the site, but I’m super excited to be able to post this little bitty sneak peek here.