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.