Thursday, January 28, 2016

Advice for Artist Moms Who Long For More Art Time

I ached to bring back my artist self

I missed the artist "me".  The "me" that had time to spend an entire Saturday with my brushes and a sheet of watercolor paper.  So as crazy and mixed up as that may sound to any non-artist types, I believe other artists (particularly moms) will be able to relate.  

My becoming a mom story is a bit different than most.  When I was 33 years old, we brought 2 children home ages 3 and 4...and I went from not-a-mom-yet to mom-of-two sibling group.  Life as I knew it was turned upside down but in a good way.  The changes in our lives and theirs meant we were always playing catch up.  I was very tired.  There isn't a word for how tired I was at that time. 

What can you do to keep the artist flame burning while pouring yourself out in dedication to spouse, children, job, or caring for a parent?  Many can attest to the fact that it's not always easy to be an artist while life is happening.  I felt lost, trying to find the way back to feeling like a real artist.  While visiting with other artists it was hard to say, "I'm an artist."  I fought the urge to say, "I used to be an artist."  I wondered how to keep some aspect of art interest alive during that season of my life. 

I've been formulating in my mind, what tips and encouragement I might give another artist in that place right now.  I know it feels like you are the only one but please take heart!  It will not always be like this... and there are ways you can keep the flame from going out.

5 Ways to Keep Your Artistic Flame Alive

1.  Squeeze some art into the between-moments.
Pause and give some thought to what you can make time for with your current restraints.  What can you do with short bits of time?  When you're waiting to pick up children from school?  When you're in the waiting room for dental check-ups?  While waiting for sports practice to end?

For me, it was reading magazines like The Artist's Magazine and Watercolor Artist as a quick afternoon reward while kiddos had rest time.  I've gone through them and added sticky notes to help me find favorite tips.  Now there's Pinterest!  Now is the time to get started gathering ideas for projects.  Find ideas that can be done in small amounts of time.  Find ideas for projects in the future when life changes once again.

Three books I love looking through...just lovely ideas to ponder over in the few quiet moments.  Watercolor A New Beginning by Ann K. Lindsay is just fantastic for beginners.  She's encouraging and hopeful, while giving a well-rounded foundation for watercolors.  Watercolor Made Easy by Janet Walsh is another valuable beginner's book.  The photos break it all down into simple to follow progression.  The Artistic Mother by Shona Cole will delight the senses with fantastic photography of lovely projects.  Her Introduction is titled, Why Should Mothers Make Time to Create Art?  In this book, you'll find inspiring ideas for tying photography into a variety of unique projects.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Feathered Friends and Frosty Days

I'm fascinated with the birds...

I just love the view of birds in the backyard!  For me, seeing them gather is relaxing and soothing so the bird feeders are often filled with seed.  We've found great entertainment with the variety of birds that visit our yard.  Over time, I've learned the types of feeders they prefer most.  I know there are different types of seed...but we buy a general mix.  Certain types of birds come in different seasons.  They are a familiar part of my day in the studio.  My husband knows well that I'd rather have him bring me birdseed over flowers.  Fill up that bin with a big bag of seed and I'm a happy girl!


Today (written earlier in the month), we're experiencing moderately colder temperatures...lows near -10 degrees F and the current temperature at noon is 4 degrees F.  The sliding glass door has ceased to slide very well for now.  The dog is a little confused, waiting there to be let back in while we coax him to the back door instead.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

In The Studio: Watercolor Poppies

Poppies in the midst of winter

My fingers have been itching to begin working on poppies.  During the summer months, I watch neighborhood gardens for colorful blooms.  I spotted my neighbor's garden had poppies...lots of beautiful red orange poppies.  With camera in hand, I disappeared for a bit to capture some photos.

I guess I was away from the brushes long enough to feel a little out of shape.  My creative groove has been a bit tough to find again.  Perhaps with each flower it's necessary to get acquainted; the layering of the color, the change in values, the shadows, remembering how the light hits the petals.

The process is going well but it hasn't been as smooth flowing as other paintings in past months.  I've got three more sketches on watercolor paper staying in the poppies theme.  I'll continue on with this one and bring you an update soon!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Watercolor Adventure with Yupo Paper

While planning my next few paintings, I've had an urge to try something new.  On my shelves, you'll find several really thick art supply catalogs.  Do you remember paging through the JC Penny catalogs in days gone by?  That's the best way I can relate to how I dreamily wander through the pages of the art supply catalogs.  It's my great escape to discover new products and tools, wondering how they can be used to create more art.  I have seen the Yupo sheets before but had never tried painting on this surface before...until recently.  Maybe I just needed a little break and a chance to be more carefree with paint and brushes.  My artistic style at time has been very tight and leaning toward realism a bit.  I get a little nervous at the thought of trying to loosen up and work in a bolder way.

There are artists I really enjoy following a few work on Yupo.  Seeing their work gave me a longing to discover more for myself.  The beautiful effects achieved are just so appealing!  It seemed to me that it could possibly be quite a relaxing experience.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

My Winter Views

15 Photographs of My Montana Winter

It's taking more effort to get back into the creative routines again.  November and December were so busy and activity filled; it was too much to fit in my art goals.  We have had a bout with head/chest colds here.  In the process of taking care of everyone else, moms catch the ick, too.  I was able to play with watercolors and Yupo synthetic paper for a few hours.  Such fun to explore what paint does on this plastic surface.  I will share more next week!

This week, I've got a series of photographs taken over the past few weeks.  I'm writing very little today.  The room I use as art studio is our family multi-purpose room.  Art supplies have been stowed away off to the side for a place to wrap Christmas presents.  It's going to take an hour or two to clean up, put away Christmas related items, and set up for art process.  This is the best I can accomplish this week.  

We took a few drives as a family across country roads last weekend.  The sun was low in the sky and lighting was not ideal but I was able to adjust for better contrast.  Maybe there is no snow where you are and I'd like to share photographs the views we have here.  I've been away for a few weeks now and I want to get back into the creative swing of things.