Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Art Day: finding time to make art

Over on Watercolor Wednesdays, Wendy asked me a question that I thought other people might have too. Wendy was nice enough to let me repost her question and my answers here, along with the story of today's painting. Thanks for the question Wendy!

I see on your live journal you have decided to post a drawing a day. Kudos to you for actually succeeding so far. How have you accomplished this? I can't seem to maintain any kind of regular schedule in my creative output and would love some pointers from you.

My Original Answer:
Getting started doing one a day is the hardest part. Once you get on a roll, it gets easier. There seems to be a momentum that builds (I've found this other times when I did challenges, like cow a day or dog a day for a year). The momentum can wear off, like this week after finishing a big art deadline for something else. But then you just have to start again.

There are days when it's hard to get one done (thus the midnight postings) and other things that need to slide a bit, like reading and commenting on blogs. I'm not doing as much of that since I started, but maybe that's not so bad.

Remembering that it can be a sketch and it doesn't have to be perfect helps. Also, you can start sketches or do a bit of the color before the day you're going to post it. It doesn't all have to be done that day, unless you are behind and have to squeeze it in.

It's also easier to do one a day if you don't have to post them to the blog, because that involves scanning and posting, which takes time. If you just do a small sketch or a painting and don't post it, it's easier to do it.

I think making the public announcement that I was doing it also helped. It makes you feel like you have to do it or you'll let people down (not that tons of people read my blog, but you know...).

Then there's the story of today's painting, a.k.a.
How things went horribly wrong, or how forcing yourself to work with a deadline can lead to creative solutions for artistic problems.

For today's painting, I sketched a kitty, then re-drew it on watercolor paper, painted it (multiple layers), then got to the very end of the painting, which is when I normally add the black outline and details with paint or marker.

When I got to the outline stage, I already knew there was something wrong with the face. The drawing was fine but it looked weird now. However, I didn't have time to paint another painting. I'd already spent part of last night and off and on all day on this one. Plus, it has to dry before I can scan it and I didn't have anything else to post today. I had to use the cat.

So I inked the painting, including the cat's face. It looked horrible. Then I tried to fix it. It looked even worse after I tried to fix it (you can't fix watercolor unless you get lucky).

I thought about just posting the bottom of the painting - the grass and flowers looked nice. Or the cat with a blanked out the face like they do on TV. I even thought about not posting anything tonight, but it's almost the end of the month and I've made it this far.

Then I said to my husband, "I could put a mask on the cat."
He said, "No ... unless it's a bee mask."

I'd been thinking of an elephant mask, to tie in with the end of elephant week. Or maybe a big yellow smiley face. The bee mask was a much better idea, since there were already bees in the painting. Plus, quite honestly, there was no way the cat could look worse than it already did.

So I painted a bee mask (with acrylic to cover the watercolor and ink).

Then I waved the painting around and used the hair dryer, and waved it around some more, so I could scan it (while it was still just a bit on the sticky side) and get it up while it's still Monday somewhere in the world.

So here now, is my creative solution (with some help from my husband) for today's painting. I kind of like it, and it's a bazillion, gazillion times better than before the mask. What do you think?


  1. Cute!
    I've had to cut back on how many blogs I post a week. It really is hard to find the time to everything you want to!

  2. Thanks Kelly! I'm going to have to cut back too when this is all over. But I still think it was worth it.

  3. Nice save!
    This is why I can't work directly in watercolor- I'm a big klutz, and I'm too prone to just trying something at the spur of the moment.
    I put down some tissue paper first. Then, if I really hate it, I can (maybe) scrape some of the tissue off, paint over it, and try again.

  4. Thanks Lily! Yeah, I have the same trouble with watercolor. I can't always save it, but I usually try. I've never tried the tissue paper idea. How does that work? Do you get the paper wet and the tissue sticks to it? Sounds cool anyway. Maybe I'll have to try that.