Always Be Pushing Your Art Boundaries

When struggling with a thing you don’t want to do, go do art?

In a fit of wanting to just Do An Art Thing, I printed out the mandala from Mandala Microsample on some plain copier paper and busted out the colored pencils.

A design with 8-fold radial symmetry featuring flowers and shapes is colored in blues and greens with yellow, red, and orange details

What I learned from that was that pressing the pencils hard enough to achieve bright colors made my wrists ache.  I also didn’t like the way they didn’t blend well.

Which turned out to be a perfect moment to be lured out to one of those “non-painters come paint and drink” places.  I painted a thing and it’s not great and it’s in acrylic and it’s not the subject matter I would have chosen and yet.

And yet it got me working backwards of what my “do the thing I know how to do first” inclination and so we did backgrounds before foregrounds and gosh that worked, huh.

And yet it got me doing wet on wet and blending on the canvas not just the palette (I mean, the “palette” was a paper plate, there’s only so much one can do) and some of it not actually blending but being textured and gosh that worked, too.

And yet it reminded me that I have a stack of canvases and brushes and oil paints and such in the closet of my office/studio.

So now what?

Somehow the next step doesn’t seem to be painting with acrylics or even oils, but markers and watercolors.  I’m still not sure how that worked out, and I’m deeply unsure if it’s working.  At least I’m putting in hours towards the ten thousand, eh?

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In Which I Return To Doing Art

Is it just me, or is it a little ART in here?

Art has once again cycled back towards the top of my interest/activity list and in this case, that means trees!  Yay!  Trees are great!

My friends like my trees!

Nobody buys them.

Yes, I’ve heard all the things about how one should do what one loves and all that and so maybe it’s just fine that I do these trees and people like them on FaceBook but they’re not worth my time to vectorize.

That kind of positivism is for people without childcare costs.

Which means taking a more critical look at What Sells As Art, and there is really glaringly one thing that my stark trees lack … a place to stand.  They just sort of float there, black in the emptiness of white.  To be sure, they have a penstroke of grass, but that’s not much at all.

So, now what?

Now I guess I need to figure out how to put trees in context, I mean landscapes.

The sticky wicket is how to do it without making it impossible to clean up and make big enough to print on things, but maybe I can figure that out later.  I mean, I focus on Print on Demand (which pushes for many-pixels) because taxes scare the crap out of me but eventually originals are a thing, right?

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Mandala Doodle Round-Down

To everything there is a cycle

One of the things I’ve observed about myself over the years is that I go through cycles with just about everything – try something new, get really excited about it, do it a lot, and then drift away again (usually because I’m trying something new).

Sometimes (ok, ok, often) it’s because I hit a plateau … I reach the end of New Thing Energy and discover that my skills just aren’t as good as I want to achieve what I want with the thing or my tools aren’t good enough or something else on the to-do list is on fire and needs to be dealt with.

Occasionally, it’s because something has cycled back around to being inspiring and I’m shifting over to being excited about that and doing it instead.

So long and thanks for all the symmetry

In this particular case, where I’ve drifted away from doing doodle mandalas, it’s a confluence of a few things:

  • I was frustrated with the limitations of the tool I was using (it really was very limited)
  • I had found a better tool for mandalas generally (Illustrator), but it wasn’t good for doodles
  • I started picking up on doing Tree Sketches again
  • The tool I was using got an update that made it even more awkward to use
  • It started to be more work to come up with cool mandala doodles than “relaxing finger wiggling”
  • I started picking up on doing text-based designs again

So, the practical upshot here is that I didn’t get around to putting up any mandala doodles on Twitter in May, won’t in June either, and so the Mandala Doodle Roundups have come to their end (for now).  Maybe they’ll come back around later.

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Tiny Coffee Bean Believes In You

What it says on the tin

One of the things in the animated header image of this blog as I type this currently is “snowclone factory”.  As much as I’ve been doing trees and mandalas for quite a while now, text-based designs still loom large in my sales reports and they’re still a thing I get the sudden inspiration for.

Like Always Be Creating, this was the product of two things floating around in the back of my head and doing a little mashup: the highly popular Little Tato (aka “tiny potato believes in you”) imagememe and, well, coffee.  Because Caffeinate ALL The Things! And because what gets me actually up and moving these days is coffee, not potatoes.

Which is to say, the tiny coffee bean believes in you.

blue background, tiny coffee bean and text "I am a atiny coffee bean and I believe in you. Together we can do the thing.

Tiny Coffee Bean Believes In YOU

This is available on an assortment of products (tshirts! journals! mugs! stickers!) over on RedBubble.

I am also releasing it under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license (CC-BY-NC), meaning you are more than welcome to click through on the image to the full size one and share the hell out of it (with attribution, but not sell it).  My website address is on the image for attribution already, to make it easy. :)

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Mandala Doodle Roundup, May edition

Monday. Mandala. Monkeys.

It is entirely possible that this will be the last of the Mandala Doodle Roundups – the app I’ve been using to doodle these has gotten a whole lot more difficult to use (aka “we want money for the features you’re now used to” and “default save is to our website”), and so I may let that drop off when I run out of doodles.  Fair warning.

On to the doodles!

April 4:

A black radially symmetric design on a white background

April 11:

A black radially symmetric design on a white background

April 18:

A black radially symmetric design on a white background

April 25:

A black radially symmetric design on a white background

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Team Don’t Wanna

Meanwhile, on social media

A couple months ago, a friend (who will remain nameless and link-less unless they wish otherwise) posted about being really unmotivated, but needing to Do The Thing anyway.  Somewhere in the conversation, someone (me, I think) commented this:

#TeamDontWanna

Note: The apostrophe is intentionally missing because it breaks up the hashtag

In a later, separate conversation, someone objected to this hashtag, on the grounds that it was negative and whiny.  That not being really what it’s all about, since the companion and implied hashtag is #GonnaDoItAnyway I had this idea to make an image-meme-thingy.

In which I make typographers cry

Because I hate myself and typographers, I thought “hey, let’s spice this up this list of stuff the ‘speaker’ is going to do anyway by using a lot of fonts!”  Because if you do it a lot, it looks intentional and interesting, yes/yes?

So, here it is in all its glory:

Black text on white background with yellow stars, text begins "#TeamDon'tWanna ... but today I'm ..."

This is available on an assortment of products (tshirts! posters! mugs!) over on RedBubble.  If you want this on Zazzle, leave a comment below.

I am also releasing it under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license (CC-BY-NC), meaning you are more than welcome to click through on the image to the full size one and share the hell out of it (with attribution, but not sell it).  My website address is on the image for attribution already, to make it easy. :)

 

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