Cookies with Art: Baby Yoda

Welp… I played video games instead of painted this morning. Hence why I’m posting this now (without coffee) as opposed to posting this morning with coffee.

My grandma made cookies. Cookies are cute by nature.

Anyways, Baby Yoda!

Coffee with Art: Advent Roses

Happy second Sunday of Advent my friends scattered throughout the world (was just looking at my analytics, and there may not be many of you, but MAN you sure are spread out! I cannot describe how cool that is. You make me happy. ^_^)

Since it just so happens to be the second Sunday of Advent, I was inspired to make a watercolor composition of four roses, each one representing an advent candle: Three purple, one pink (yes, my Catholic friends, I know it’s ROSE, I just thought it a little redundant to call a rose rose-colored! Sheesh!)

So, once again, happy Second Sunday of Advent!

Coffee with Art: St. Nicholas

Not sure if I’m done with this picture, but here it is so far!

I’m a little late to the party, but turns out yesterday was St. Nicholas day. I was inspired by all the St. Nicholas art that was popping up in my social media feed, so here it is.

Jaroslav_Čermák’s St. Nicholas

Coffee with Art: Shine Like the Sun

I’m sure it’s happened to the best of us. There are times where something happens that make us really not like people. Everybody has a bit of good and bad in them, but there are days where it’s seemingly impossible for not seeing anything other than the bad.

http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3ur7v7

Here’s a cold, hard fact. People suck. Everybody lies, everybody is self-centered to a degree, and many people will take their own insecurities out on others- especially if they think they can get away with it.

But, here’s another cold, hard fact: We have to live with them.

An even colder fact: We ARE them.

And a less colder fact, but no less true: Everybody thinks they’re the good guy.

What I believe: If you ask God to see people the way He sees them, they’ll shine like the sun.

Well. I did not intend for this picture to literally mean that, but now that I’ve said it, I can’t unsee it.

Also, have you ever had an epiphany, then sort of forgot about it months later?

I wanted to go back to drawing portraits for a little while. One of my original reasons for loving to draw and paint portraits is because I believe it’s so hard to see the good in people sometimes, but being able to make beautiful paintings of people can help put your mind in a new perspective and appreciate the beauty in people as well as art.

I especially admire Rembrandt in this respect. He painted honest portraits of himself as well as portraits of unattractive people, yet, his art is the magnifying glass that better allows you to see the beauty within.

https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/monarchy-enlightenment/baroque-art1/holland/v/rembrandt-nga-self-portrait

The reason why this is important to me is because as someone who’s been bullied a lot in my life, it’s been hard for me to like people or understand why I should like people. As I grew up, I realized that you live in a world full of people, and when have you ever been purely good? Have you honestly never cut someone off in traffic? Been jealous of someone who succeeded more than you with seemingly half the effort? Wished something bad to someone else thinking it make you feel better?

So, what’s the better way to live? Live grumpy and resentful because of the sad fact that malevolence and spite exist in the world? Or to make an effort to see good in people? To understand… no… admire… that like you and me, everyone is suffering a lot. Everyone thinks they deserve more and that life is unfair, and lots of people try and fail, but still try to be better. Even the ones that don’t still deserve a chance.

More importantly, think of someone in your life who radiates this sense of joy and peace, think of that person who inspires you to be- not like them necessarily- but just a better, kinder version of YOU.

If you were to be like that, think of the next person you’ll inspire, and the next person they’ll inspire.

Today, I think I’m going to think very hard about that. How important it is to be add something to this world tainted by malevolence. To bring people up in a world that’s always tearing them down.

Coffee with Art: Red Panda Watercolor

I wanted to draw a portrait of human, but there were too many portrait references to choose from.

I’m having a bit of a rough time this morning. I’m having palpitations like crazy and the thing that’s bothering me just won’t go away. For this reason, I was inspired to draw a red panda, which, come to think of it, started this whole thing.

Only this time, it turned into an entire watercolor rather than a drawing built off an abstract watercolor shape.

There’s something about the red panda smile that’s very therapeutic, any cute animal really, but I’ve attributed a lot of meaning to this particular animal. They remind you that life isn’t all bad, that people who bring you down- especially if they know they’re doing it just to be bullies- are not worth fretting over.

Good morning!

Not a bad way to start the morning.

Coffee with Art: Dreams

Effective immediately, I’m changing this series to “Coffee with art.” This is important.

The Process

I really was in a bit of a pickle this morning. I forced myself to wake up and I was particularly groggy this morning. I really didn’t know what to draw.

So, I took my watercolors and started painting little blue squares, then little pink squares, then little yellow squares…

With 25 minutes left on the timer, I still didn’t know what to draw, so I turned the paper upside down. To which the color then looked like a body of water, hence the ship.

My Thoughts

Last night, I resolved to break my bad habit: which is to not sleep in. I realized I needed to figure out WHY I was sleeping in- sure, there’s the obvious “I just want to sleep more,” but with a little thinking, I realized there was a little more to it than that.

The biggest one was I was putting off facing reality.

I often wake up in the middle or at the end of a very vivid dream, when the alarm goes off, I really want to go back to that dream. There’s are some things in my life right now that are a bit too much to handle (as the case with all of us), and I would rather not face that right now.

After coming to that conclusion, it was a lot easier to get up at 5 this morning. There’s something about using sleeping in and dreaming as a means of escaping reality that’s very unappealing.

It much more heroic to get up and face those realities. If things are going wrong, you’re not going to fix it by staying in bed.

Conclusion

I’m really glad I started doing this series of blog posts, especially first thing in the morning. There’s something therapeutic about it. I pretty much wasted my weekend worrying about going to work today, but the truth is, there are responsibilities at work I need to take care of as well as responsibilities at home. Worrying about it doesn’t do any good, and neither does escaping into sleep or video games.

Maybe that’s what I’m seeing in this piece, there’s the bright, colorful, disjointed sea of dreams and unconsciousness, then the more realistically drawn boat representing the need to take the helm and navigate forward.

Coffee and Art: Quotes and Fear of Failure

Oh hey, it’s my Mona Lisa coffee cup!

Ran into a similar problem today that i did with the Birds, which was… not knowing what to draw today. Before I resigned to painting random colors on the paper and seeing what comes out of it, I had another thought:

Write a quote or poem and draw what it makes you think of around it!

One of my biggest inspirations is G.K. Chesterton, so I googled quotes from him. The first one that came up was:

"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It's been found difficult and left untried."

So, I wrote it down. The second I wrote it down, I remembered a scene from the movie, Pan’s Labyrinth. The young protagonist, at the request of her mother, tells her unborn baby brother a story.

If Youtube has removed the video since I wrote this post, here’s a brief synopsis of the story: There is a rose at the top of a mountain and whoever picks it will be given eternal life, but it’s guarded by poisonous thorns, so no one dared go to the flower even though it offered eternal life.

The Drawing

Even though it was a small drawing, I still set a timer for myself for 30 minutes and just got to drawing. There were several times where I thought I was “done” but decided to keep going since there was still time.

I’m glad I did. Normally I will draw until it feels done in which case, I’m scared if I keep going, it will get ruined. But since I kept going, I had the idea to add more tiny thorns as really neat little details, the isolated bit of watercolor on the flower, and even putting black watercolor in the shadowed areas.

My Thoughts

It made me think about the good things to strive for, not just Heaven, or being the ideal Christian, but anything good in general. Chances are if you have a goal you’re trying to reach or a dream, more likely than not, in order to achieve it, there is no easy or risk-free way of getting there.

Heck, even the Christian ideal comes with a lot of sacrifice and risks. If you volunteer in war-torn areas, visiting people in prison, and helping provide services to the homeless, you’re not going to be in a safe place.

The alternative is staying still. Living a life dictated by others, going to work at a so-so job, breeding, dying, and never willing to put in the work the achieve their dreams.

There are so many understandable excuses:

“What if I try and fail?”

“What if I succeed and it’s not what I expected?”

These are things I’m struggling with myself right now. The fear and lack of motivation to make changes or sacrifices to get what I want in life.

Heck, today I felt like a failure because I overslept on my day off! My husband, because he’s the best, reminded me that I got up at 7:30. Which is still early and a lot earlier than most people get up on their day off.

In Conclusion

  1. When you don’t know what draw, start by writing a quote.
  2. Success is difficult and scary and daunting, but hopefully worth making some sacrifices.



Coffee and Art: 6 Drawing Tips for when Time is Limited

For today’s Coffee and Art session, I decided to make a list! It’s important to draw every day, but it’s easy to feel like you never have time to draw. So, whether you slept in a little too late (again) and don’t have a lot of time to draw before you leave, on your 15 minute break, or you only have 10 minutes to draw before you pass out after a long day, here are 6 things I found help me when time is limited:

1. Draw Small

When you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, drawing on a small piece of paper can be super helpful. It’s a lot easier to draw things quickly when you don’t have a whole lot of space you need to cover.

Something that helps me is cutting paper into smaller pieces, or drawing thumbnail squares on a larger piece of paper to force myself to draw in a smaller space.

2. Or… resume (or start) an art piece that’s not meant to be finished in one sitting!

The truth is, I had this idea for a blog post yesterday when I was drawing my Annunciation sketch. I didn’t have a lot of time, so I drew this with the idea that I would work on it again today.

Personally, I think the best art I make is the one that I make over several days. I paint or draw a little bit one day, leave it alone, get a good night’s sleep, then come back refreshed and ready to go. Larger pieces especially don’t take 5 hours. They take several sessions of 30 minute time periods. Either way, you get a painting that you spent five hours as the end result. The difference is you spread out your time over many days.

3. Focus on the Shadows First

Shadows are the most important part of objects. You can see objects better by the shadows they make. Try this excercise: draw a picture where you would draw normally, maybe drawing the outer contour lines and the details first, step away, then quickly block in the shadows.

See what a huge difference it makes!

Bonus tip: squint at your reference first

4. Focus on the Negative Space


When you’re drawing, it’s easy to get caught up in the object you’re drawing. Instead, trying focusing on the space AROUND the object for a bit. This is especially helpful when you’re drawing from a painting and you’re drawing the space between multiple objects.

This makes the drawing more interesting. 

5. Music Choice could help.

Something that helps me when I need to concentrate and do something relatively quickly is having a good music selection. I like metal. The reason being it fills me with an aggressive sense of determination that makes me want to do a good job. It helps me channel my passion into my drawings.

Try listening to video game soundtracks while you’re making art. Video game music is designed for the progress/reward feeling we get when playing video games.



6. Don’t Let “Perfect” be the Enemy of “Good”

When you don’t have a lot of time, it can be easy to get anxious. How can you make something “perfect” in such a short time?

Problem is, you can’t. Even if you had all the time in the world, since you’re an artist and therefore, naturally hyper critical of yourself, it will never EVER be perfect.

Remember: you need to draw every day. You don’t need to draw a masterpiece, you just need to draw. If you so desire, think two things:

  1. You can draw this again tomorrow
  2. You can KEEP drawings this tomorrow

You have a lot of time left in your life. If your picture isn’t perfect every day, so what? You’re still drawing every day, and getting closer to be an artist who “draws every day”. Not all your drawings are going to be hits.

Be kind to yourself, do the best job you can in the time you have in the time you’re given, and pick it up again tomorrow.

Jordan Peterson said his psychology paper syllabus, that essentially turning in a bad paper will get you 50%, no paper get’s you 0%.

I’d rather have 50% than 0% when it comes to art.