Sunday, March 18, 2018

An Instagram Update

-The Very Long Winter-

I'd like to give you a brief update on life here in my world.
Winter seems to have a strong grip on us.  We are weary of snow, ice, slush, and cold.  With serious effort, a positive attitude is being attempted so we can keep on with life.  We've had the most heavy and steady snowfall since a week prior to Christmas.  The amount of snowfall and wind have been a challenge not only here but worse in neighboring communities nearer the mountains.  We have had severe cold temperatures that kept the snow from being able to melt off at all.

I try to remember to keep my eyes watching for the beauty in what seems much like Narnia.

There is a lot of wonderful detail in the frost, snow drifts, and shadows created in winter weather. Still, we'll be thankful to put the snow shovel away for a brief 6 or 7 months. Our first snow usually arrives in October.

I am now back to work as the nanny for a local family. My first week of full time adventure with three beautiful kiddos is behind me. It's the best kind of tiring "work" with lots of hugs and cuddles. This past week we worked on a leprechaun trap and I baked banana muffins. We played games and watched Sesame Street among many other daily activities.

Now, before you get all concerned about me losing out on my art creating time and space...I have been giving this some serious effort! I am staying hopeful that my creative energy will still get put to good use in the next few months. Are you on Instagram? You might want to follow me there because I'm most actively sharing what I'm painting on my Instagram account.

It's difficult for me to be away from my blog.  I enjoy being able to write about my adventures with watercolor.  So I'm so glad the number of views and comments continues to grow because this is my way to sharing with other creatives in this fantastic journey.  Hopefully, I'll be able to share my own spring views soon with vibrant green shoots of new life sprouting up from the earth.  The new blossoms will be bursting open to be loved and enjoyed once more.  I'll be able to capture these glimpses of the seasons changing from sleepy winter to sunlit spring.  Here in northern Montana, we're longing for the warmth and glow of sunshine, longer days, and easier travel from one side of town to the other.

She must make art.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Writing My Artist Goals: 2018!

Graphic of blue skies with scattered clouds with foreground of land and telephone pole in silhouette.  Mountains in distance. Let's talk about goals.

While moving about the art room, my eye spots a simple sheet of paper.  At the top, it's titled 2015 Christy Sheeler Artist.  To anyone else, it might be just another list.  It is my list of art goals for 2015.  I quickly read over the list and feel amazed at what I was able to accomplish in that one year's time.  

So then I turn my head and see another list.  It's pinned to the bulletin board on the wall.  It's title:  2016 GOALS for Christy Sheeler Artist.  You caught that...not 2017.  There were no artist goals for 2017.  Well, 2018 needs some goals! The process and result will give me something to work toward for myself, the artist.

Let's get this process started!

Defining a goal

According to Merriam-Webster, goal can be defined as the end toward which effort is directed.

Synonyms for goal include: aim, ambition, aspiration, design, dream, idea, ideal, intent, intention, mark, meaning, object, objective, plan, point, pretension, purpose, target

White sheet of paper on bulletin board with 2016 Goals for Christy Sheeler Artist

A view of my bulletin board with assorted papers and photos.

Inspiration for Goal Writing

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which me must fervently believe, and upon which me must vigorously act.  There is no other route to success.
-Pablo Picasso

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
-C.S. Lewis

Outstanding people have one thing in common:  An absolute sense of mission.
-Zig Ziglar

File folder labeled GOALS and previous years' goals.

Why write down yearly goals?

I need direction.  I am easily distracted.  It begins with one task which turns into switching to another task.  "Oh, I need to put this away."  "Where did that list go?"  And months can go by without remembering to figure out how to learn a new social media platform...Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook...  I need more structure; organization that helps me function better.  Having a list of lofty plans and major milestones has made it possible for me to go after the hard things.

Something I read a few years ago really gave me a serious nudge to be serious about being more intentional with my goals.  Artist Habits of Mind-A Great Planning Tool for 2014 written by Rob Levit (title is linked) gives the challenges to

"engage and persist...make a list of what you'd like to accomplish in 2014-personally and professionally.  What opportunity would provide the greatest reward-financially or in terms of professional satisfaction-if you engaged and persisted in its accomplishment?"

Saturday, February 3, 2018

5 Steps For Making Your Own Watercolor Mixing Grid

Painted watercolor squares with title, 5 Steps for Making Your Own Watercolor Mixing GridPlan Your Mixing For Better Creative Flow

I use mixing grids as tools, because it saves so much guesswork.  Clearly seeing which mixes I want to use in my work,  I am less frustrated and make fewer mistakes.  It's less, "oh, I don't like that!"  There's more "oh, it's coming together!"  

Would you like to make one?  Does it seem intimidating?  Can I give you some tips to get you started?  It's an enjoyable process, methodical yet relaxing at the same time.  In the past, artists have shown interest in making a chart like this.  It's just paper and paint.  Really.  I promise.  Don't hold back because I'm just sure you can handle it.  

(Well, no...I don't know you that well...what do you have to lose?  You might have a great time!)

After the many years I've painting with watercolors, there's a stack of various watercolor paper scraps with free form brushstrokes of color.  Each one of these pages is a record of my time exploring how to achieve a certain mix for a painting.  The earliest mixing "notes" are filled with blobs of color with a few scribbled notes in my handwriting.  I sorted this stack into the following collections.  Some of them instantly take me back to the specific painting, others not so much.  It's interesting to see how my methods changed over time.

Various collected watercolor mixing grids with written notes.


Watercolor paper (I'm using 300 lb. cold press)
Fine-point permanent marker
Straight edged ruler
Watercolor pigment
Watercolor brush
Watercolor palette
Container of rinse water
Paper towels

Watercolor supplies: paint palette, paint tubes, container of rinse water, pencil, permanent marker, ruler, paintbrush, paper towel, watercolor paper.

1.  Choose your pigments.  

Keep the number limited.  How about the primaries, and then a few other pigments you're curious about trying out.  I usually begin by comparing my reference photo with my favorite reference book, The Watercolor Painter's Pocket Palette by Moira Clinch.  Over time, I have saved my mixing grids from previous artworks, and those are also great tools now.  So, for the hollyhocks as my photo reference, I've chosen these watercolor pigments.

I chose Daniel Smith Quinacridone Coral, Daniel Smith Quinacridone Red, Windsor & Newton Transparent Yellow, Daniel Smith Quinacridone Gold, Da Vinci Cerulean Blue, and Daniel Smith French Ultramarine.

Tubes of watercolor pigment.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Coming Soon: 5 Steps - Watercolor Mixing Grid

Coming Soon Preview of Color Mixing Grids by Christy Sheeler at She Must Make ArtHey there!  I'm just so glad you stopped in today.  I want to welcome you to She Must Make Art.  I am Christy, an artist and lover of creating in all kinds of ways.  I enjoy sharing my own journey in making and loving art.  While life has thrown me a few curves and I'm not making art as often, I am here no matter what.

There's a new blog post in progress and I've got my plan for a tutorial describing my method for mixing watercolors and creating a color mixing grid.

The tutorial is written and edited so now it's time for brushes to do their job.  This is a tutorial that needs new photos taken as I create a mixing chart just for the purpose of showing my methods to you.  Once the photos are taken, edited and'll be able to see something brand new.  Here.  From me.  Christy.  The artist.

So for now I'm just giving you a bit of inspiration for the next blog post.  Here are the photos taken as I prepared and began to paint cherry blossoms in watercolor last spring.  This was one of the most recent artworks completed before life changed in such a big way.  I'll share the progression of several watercolor paintings focused on cherry blossoms in a future blog post.  Can you see how I was just in the creating-watercolor-happiness-zone?  I really was!

A color mixing grid with watercolor.  © 2018 Christy Sheeler.  She Must Make Art.  All Rights Reserved.

Color mixing with watercolors and cherry blossoms artwork.

While the background is soft and pale, the layers of watercolor wash begin in a gradual process.  The watercolor mixing grid helps me stay focused as I work through the artwork.  

Cherry blossoms watercolor painting in progress.

Okay, well now I must be off to get the watercolor pigments on the grid.  I am excited to share it when it's finished!  Thanks for giving me the time to share and come hang out again soon!

She Must Make Art.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Quick Hello!

Well, hey there!  I'm still not back on schedule for creating art and blog posts.  I miss this creative life very much but our family has had some big changes since my previous March 2017 post.  Change.  What it really means.  It means that my family comes first.  If we are to survive the storms of life, we'll need to band together and work as a team.  My husband and I had some discussions of me finding a job to help with our monthly expenses.  Within days, I was offered a job as a daytime nanny with some laundry and housekeeping.  It was an ideal situation and I accepted the position.

With little ones ages 5 months, 4 years and 6 years of age, I was wondering whether I could keep up but it's one way to stay young, right?  Tired.  At each day's end, I was tired and sore.  By the end of the summer, carrying 20 pounds of baby (he's my personal trainer, you know) around the house was just what each day required of me.  I won't go into much detail here, but my schedule working for this family is most demanding during March to September.  I enjoyed this job so much that I am continuing on through the fall and winter months though my responsibilities have changed in many ways.  Next March, I'll gear up for be the weekday/daytime nannying again.  The joys of giggles, bubble blowing, sidewalk chalk drawing, park visiting, tickling, chasing, hugging, and caring.  I've loved it very much.

My art room is not used now.  I have been back at home for over a month and I'm not pushing myself to return to creating art in a hurry.  I'm taking my time.  I'm taking care of me.  I'm being present and available for my family when they need me.  Parenting two teens is keeping me busy and I keep remembering the remaining years are flying by faster than we realize.  My two are really talkers!  They need a mom who will listen and be involved in their lives.  They are learning more everyday about what adulthood and the real world will be like...and how we can prepare them for that time to come.  Oh, so sad for those youth not having anyone to mentor them as they learn what adulthood requires!  Growing up is really hard, especially now in this present time.

I love creating artwork, moving the fluid watercolor across the paper, and exploring what will happen as I loosen up my expectations and my need for control.  I miss it.  But I'm okay.  I'm spending time adding creative touches to my home in the meantime.  Throw pillows for the sofa.  New paint and bedding in my bedroom.  An old drugstore basket, once used for merchandise, now spray painted and holding towels in my bathroom.  Vintage accents in galvanized metal, filled with fresh looking but fake kids were so excited about fresh pears!  I'm so excited that these won't rot and need to be tossed in the garbage.  Now, I'm in the beginning dreaming and planning stages for beautifying my laundry room.  A lovely little wood table was my first vintage find; it will be just the ideal size as a laundry folding table.

One of my favorite indoor accents right now...succulents!  In preparation for winter, I transplanted a variety of succulents into a galvanized bucket.  Sand was already in the bucket so I added about 2 or 3 inches of potting soil and the plants.  They are thriving and looking so gorgeous.  I'll add some photos of them.  One is ready to put on a yellow flower.  My herbs came in as well and they are doing well.

 Succulents planted in a vintage milk separator.  ©2017 She Must Make Art.  Christy Sheeler

Succulents in galvanized bucket.  ©2017 She Must Make Art.  Christy Sheeler

Herbs in large galvanized bucket.  ©2017 She Must Make Art.  Christy Sheeler

A bit of fall decor on vintage trunk and weathered tray.  ©2017 She Must Make Art.  Christy Sheeler

Those pretty inedible pears in a white bowl.  ©2017 She Must Make Art.  Christy Sheeler

Some lovely new throw pillows for the sofa.   ©2017 She Must Make Art.  Christy Sheeler

This is a season.  Seasons are not forever.  Seasons are temporary after all.  While I know I could probably push myself to pack my daytime hours fully, that might not be best for me right now.  I'm reading books and we are planning a family trip in the next month.  We are putting family first.  We've been through some unsettling and unknown times but we are looking up and being thankful.  We've learned so much about letting go and letting God.  Letting God do what we know we cannot.  He's so good and we are blessed.

If you're here, leave a hello anywhere and I'll reply.  I'm checking in now and then.  I'm looking forward to being back here on the blog but can't know when that may happen.  I have so much to share, blogpost drafts in varying stages of completion, but those plans will keep.  People, like yourself, will continue to be pulled to creative expression of many kinds.  Some of us are in that prime art making season and others are waiting eagerly for that season to come.

So, go do something creative...and let me know how it goes!

-She Must Make Art