Drawn To JLC

Landscapes for the Imagination



April 2020



Muddy Waters

Written by , Posted in Artist Notes, At Home

First off, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Easter or a Happy Passover. I hope this day finds you in good spirits and in a celebratory mood despite our current social distancing laws. I happen to be lucky enough to live in a community building neighborhood that loves to do whatever they can to create comeradere between neighbors. The neighborhood has two Facebook groups. One for buying, trading, and selling personal items, and one for everyday announcements. Lately the latter one is being used to generate fun ways to occupy ourselves and children, and to problem solve issues due to social distancing. As a result, we have found many fun ways to keep the kiddos occupied, the parents sane, and the empty nesters connected. This ranges from chalky words of encouragement or exercise goals written on the sidewalks, to scavenger hunts built around finding stuffed animals and pictures in windows for the kiddos to discover and check off their lists as they walk by. There are even little hand-made ‘fairies’ along walking paths in the nearby forested areas. If children have birthdays, the neighbors will honk their horns or sing ‘Happy Birthday’ as they pass by that child’s house. Today there is a planned “Easter egg hunt” for the younger children. Residents have placed Easter eggs in their windows so families with little ones can walk by and spot them during their ‘egg hunt’. I write about these activities not to brag, but to share positive news and ideas. I feel it is important to focus on the good. To adapt to change as much as possible, and to keep it all in perspective.

At this point, I was going to write a paragraph on current events and human behavior but it became a very long and philosophical tangent, so here is the jest of it. “It requires more bravery and strength to trust our fellow humans, than it does to be critical, hide, or hold a weapon.” 🙂

On to art! I have been very busy building an art routine. My day starts out with feeding and walking the Schnauzer for a mile, having breakfast, and then sitting in the office at my desk and painting. My husband shares the space with me and spends his working day making design decisions for engineering software programs and having lots of Zoom meetings about those decisions. So, I keep my headphones on and listen to podcasts, YouTube art channels, or relaxing music. Sometimes I put the headphones on and forget to play anything before I start painting. So they just sit there… silently keeping my ears warm.

After art, I exercise, then have lunch, then spend the afternoon doing house jobs, managing teens, and avoiding all the snacks… sort of. Sometimes I take the teens outside for a longer walk, especially if I’ve been eating snacks. In the evening, I make dinner, we play a family game together, and then the hubby and I hang out and watch the latest binge show while the teens turn into phone or gaming zombies. (You needed to know all this, right?)

So art takes up the morning. I am a morning person. I prefer watching the sun rise over watching it set. I have more energy in the morning and by 3pm I am ready for a nap. It is just the way I work. Since art is a priority in my life (After kids and hubby) I give it my undivided attention during my most energized time of the day. And lately art has been frustrating me. I am trying to make my brush strokes looser and my paintings more stylized and I end up overworking details and muddying my colors. I follow plenty of abstract artists and envy their works. They have trusted their instincts and pushed the boundaries while I am still needling ‘realistic’ details which results in a realistic subject, but one that lacks any emotion, expression, or personality. Never fear, I am not quitting. I’ve written up some exercises for me to work on that will hopefully give me the results I want. Tim Wilmot (You can find his painting videos on You Tube under his name) has some good suggestions on how to keep your paintings loose.

  1. Start off with a rough sketch
  2. Simplify the scene you are painting
  3. Hold the brush at its end
  4. Stand or sit at a distance from your painting
  5. Give yourself a time limit

So I will be doing a variety of exercises that include these tips and hopefully trust my instincts more and study my reference less.

How are things coming along with your creative projects? Do you have an Achilles heel when it comes to your artistic goals?

Happy Creating!

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April 2020



April 2020 Update – Social Distancing and the Virus

Written by , Posted in Artwork, At Home, Month Reviews and Goals

Books – “True Grit” by Charles Portis, “Leviathan Wakes” by James S.A.Corey

TV Binge – “Zero Zero Zero” Amazon, “Scrubs” Hulu, “House” Amazon

Spotify Playlist – “Pumped Pop”. (Trying to stay in touch with today’s music)

I’ve been pretty remiss in making regular posts on this site. Alas, I have no excuse beyond forgetfulness and lack of love for online technology. For example, it took me 20 minutes just to run all the site updates and to look up passwords to reconnect accounts to this site. I find the constant password requirements and my ability to forget them or type them incorrectly (even when using a password storage app) to be one of the few banes of my existence. Perhaps a sign of my age? Maybe. I’d like to think it is a genetic curse passed down from my father who also has issues with passwords and account log-ins. Maybe our fat fingertips are always hitting the wrong key. If everything could move to ‘face recognition’ I’d really appreciate it!

Anyway, “old lady” tech rant aside, hopefully you are aware that there is a virus going around and that we are (for the most part) social distancing. If not, welcome back from your six month vacation in Mars and just Google ‘news’ where there is a plethora of information about our current global predicament. My heart goes out to all those who are losing jobs, those who are losing loved ones to this virus and to those who are braving the virus every day to keep the rest of us fed and in contact with medical needs. (Distance hugs for all of you!) Life here in the JLC house is chugging along. As with most parents, I am now switching gears and implementing educational time for my two teens. We are also avoiding the stores unless it is absolutely necessary. For exercise, we are using a rowing machine, YouTube fitness videos, and we take daily walks with our dog, Zoey. Our backyard has no fence and backs up to a forest that results in occasional visits from coyotes, skunks, and raccoons so we need to walk our dog around 3 times each day. Like many of you, we miss interacting with our friends, and my teens really miss their extracurricular activities in music, sports, and theater. But, we are not complaining. In fact, we are trying to make the best of it by playing family games, talking a little longer at the dinner table, and giving ourselves a daily purpose or goal to accomplish. Hopefully this virus will have run its course soon, and we will have learned the importance of appropriate hand washing, food handling, and other germ control actions.

What about ART? Yes, the painting output has increased now that I am not spending extra time being a “free Lyft driver for teens”. We did manage to squeeze in a spring break to central Oregon before the state shut things down. I took plenty of reference photos and have been using those for my latest watercolor paintings. (Follow me on @drawntojlc on Instagram) This week I decided to whip out my Windsor and Newton and M. Graham gouache tubes, so there will be some paintings posted on Instagram using gouache. I forgot how easy it is to paint without needing to worry about leaving the white areas alone. The beauty about gouache is that I can always paint white on top of a darker color. I also want to try departing from realistic painting and going for more of a stylized look. Some examples of other artists who are inspiring me to do this… @yonghong.zhong.9 @ullathynell @victoriaprischedko @darbyroseart @jessfranksart and @blusmithgallery – If you get a chance, be sure to check them out. I have also been experimenting with a variety of watercolor paper (All cotton) and will be making a post on here with my reviews soon. Yes, I said soon! I will try to be more vigilant about posting on here in the future!

In the meantime, I wish you and your loved ones a safe and healthy stay-at-home experience while we all overcome this virus.

Happy Creating

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