The above picture is deceiving. Its a lot warmer than it was three days before. But the event was well worth a bit of shivering. It was an opportunity to get out and talk with friends and meet new ones. So the above painting won second place in the quick draw. We had about two hours to start and finish a painting. Its good to not worry about too much pre-thinking and jump right in. That’s when the sketch book habit kicks in. I painted the quick draw from a sketch I did in my sketch book. And the practicing capturing a scene in my sketch book helped me get the drawing down quickly on my watercolor paper so I could dive right into the painting.
The above painting was the first one I painted at the plein air event. It also received a second place award. This view caught my eye right from the parking area of the goosenecks. There is beauty all around us just waiting to be captured by an artist with a bit of paper and paint. And because the weather was so cold and unsettled, it made for capturing some great atmosphere.
Also I have a few paintings displayed at the Gathering of the Guilds. Dave and I will be at the Gallery Stroll from 6 to 6:30 pm this Friday, if you would like to come and say Hi. If you want to come and check out the paintings, they will be there until November 28th. The Gathering of the Guilds will be at the Urban Arts Gallery at Gateway Mall, 116 South Rio Grande St., Salt Lake City.
So I don’t know when I first became aware of Jerry Pinkney’s amazing illustrations, but I remember my very first book with his illustrations, ”Home Place” 1990. No I wasn’t a young child,I was a young aspiring illustrator with young boys and picture books were a treasure.
I loved his style, his design and the beautiful feeling of freedome that his illustrations displayed. I loved this picture book and studied the illustrations for hours. I read it to my boys. I went searching for more at the library
Barbara Williams took me to my first big SCBWI Conference in Los Angelos. What luck, Jerry Pinkney was presenting and signing books I had scraped up enough money for the conference but not much for books.
I was green. I didn’t know the proper manners for signing books. I had ”Home Place” at home and wanted a signature for it. I waited in the long line to meet Jerry Pinkney.
“So I have ”Home Place at home is there a chance you could give me a signature for it?
Jerry Pinkney asked, ”Did you buy it?
”No . It was a birthday gift but I asked my husband for it specifically. Jerry Pinkney took a purple post it note and signed his name on the note and handed it over with a kind smile. I took it home and tucked it in my book.
So when money came, I bought more Jerry Pinkney books. When Jerry Pinkney came down to BYU in Provo, I once again stood in a long line. This time I had a book for him to sign This time there was a question running through my brain. What do you use to put the line around your illustrations? Could I ask him that question? Would he answer that question? I really wanted to know and there was no other way than to ask? You know that pit you get in your stomach the closer I got the bigger the pit got Finally I’m there at the table. Jerry smiles and signs my book. I open my mouth and the words actually come out. I get my answer, graphite pencil and indigo. It changed the way I did my illustrations.
Jerry Pinkney continued to inspire me with his books. I purchased them when I got a chance. I saw him on the streets of San Feancisco with his family one evening after signing books at ALA. I went and listened to him present at SCBWI in NewYork.
So it tugged at my heart when I opened my Publishers Weekly and read that Jerry Pinkney was gone. But he is still inspiting me. He was working on projects. That’s how I want to go out. Creating. Thanks Jerry for a lifetime filled with beautiful illustrations and books to cherish and love.
I’ll be spending a bit of time with other artists this weekend. It’s fun to share your art with others. It’s fun to visit with those that come to see the art and chat about process and see their reaction to what you’re creating.
What happens when you put your full effort into something? When you put your full effort into a painting.? When you give all you can even when you think it won’t be enough?
A little over four years ago, my husband was in the hospital. We were lucky he beat the odds and lived but he did lose his leg. Our young Granddaughter filled our hearts with love and brightened our day with the following card:
I hope that you will get better. And here is some money to help pay for the “prostetic” leg. I know it’s not much but it’s all I had. I love you and Grandma.
“I know it’s not much” Many times we think that what we have to give and to share is not much but we should go ahead and share, put our heart into the project and give all that we have. Our efforts might share the beauty and joy we see with those around us.
The artist has a tendancy to want to stay isolated in their studio and work on their paintings or illustrations. You can’t get the work done unless you are in your studio working but there is a great deal you can learn from being around other artists. It doesn’t matter at what stage you are at in your art career. You can learn and be inspired from those around you. Not only do you want to learn from other artists but it is very satisfying to see someone else find great joy from looking at your artwork or purchasing a piece to hang were they can see it every day.
I have met some of my good creative friends from getting out of my studio. Even when you are quietly sitting, listening and just happen to take notes and sketch in your sketchbook. Even then you can meet someone. I met Carol Williams that way. She saw that I was sketching and she got caught up in the sketches and started talking to me. We worked on a picture book together and worked on other ideas. We sat at book signings together and presented at conferences together. But more than that, we became friends. The same thing happened with a group of young illustrators who attended a presentation I gave at a children’s book conference. They became colleagues and then friends.
So if you would like to meet some other watercolor artists and form some nice friendships with those that paint with watercolor, you might want to join a local watercolor group. Somebody caught me in a weak moment and I will be the president of the Utah Watercolor Society this year. It’s a great way to be inspired and make some lasting friendships. If your in Utah come join us.
Where do you practice, put your thoughts down on paper or paint your painting before you paint? Your sketchbook. So ideas pop into your head and if you don’t get them down on paper, they disappear. The sketchbook is a place to capture them. They are stored in a place where you can go back and get ideas to use on any number of projects. I love to add words to my drawings. They can help spur my memories. They can also spur your imagination. They can be a jumping off place for paintings, illustrations and stories.
The sketchbook is also a great place to practice seeing with your eyes and toning your muscle memory. It’s amazing how your eyes and your arm can connect to make beautiful creations. The continued use of hand and eye can improve your drawings and observations. Spending sometime every day observing things around you and sketching them on paper blesses your art. How do you practice your painting in a sketchbook when you are using a pencil or a pen and the white paper? Thumbnails capture ideas for the composition and sketches help you to see the values you want to put into your painting and the placement of those values. All the work you do before your painting, adds to the freshness and freedom of your painting when paint actually hits the watercolor paper.
The sketch above came from thinking about who would take care of Santa’s reindeer and working at BYU Hawaii with students from Mongolia. So The Reindeer Keeper” was born. The spark and working on that spark started in my sketch book. Get in the sketchbook habit. l
“The Reindeer Keeper” 12” x 16” on metal. Limited edition.
The Reindeer Keeper is one of the paintings and prints that will be for sale and for viewing in person at The Gallery in the Garden at Becky Hartvigsen’s beautiful backyard garden. Come join me and other artist August 27th and 28th if your in the Davis County Area.
There is so much beauty in this world. I love painting people, landscapes and flowers. So I paint whatever grabs my eye. I love painting flowers because they have beautiful abstract shapes. There is a real freedom in painting flowers. You can splash paint around and have great fun with water and paint and still capture the flower.
So my granddaughters participated in a entrepreneur outside market and the booth across from them were selling gorgeous sunflowers. I bought some to paint and they have been fun. I’m going to participate in Becky Hartvigsen’s. Backyard Art Sale, Gallery in the Garden the end of August. So it will be fun to have some of these paintings ready to hang. I’m framing them with a wax finish and no glass. It leaves a beautiful finish. There is a nice mood to this painting. Create some beauty in the world today.
What drives an artist to create? What causes them to want to draw or paint so much that they think they should pick up a pencil and try to capture the impossible. Sometimes those goals drive us to spend hours practicing the piano. Other times it prompts us to get out of the isolation of the studio and take a workshop where you have to paint with other people watching your progress. What will they think of your efforts? All those eyes looking at your painting.
There is alway uncertainty looming there. In the book “Art and Fear” Bayless and Orland say,
“Naive passion which promotes work done in ignorance of obstacles, becomes – with courage – informed passion, which promotes work done in full acceptance of these obstacles. Foremost among those obstacles is uncertainty.”
So even though we are uncertain about the outcome, we dive in anyway. We take courage and see where the creativity takes us. The uncertainty of my art has taken me on some grand adventures.