Scattered Leaves

I love leaves.

I love leaves so much that I am constantly picking them up in our yard or on the trail, saving them for inspiration. I often find leaves tucked in books and sketchbooks.

I’m so happy with how this drawing of scattered leaves turned out. I picked a random leaf from my pile and drew it on my page using graphite pencils.

I added the names of the trees these leaves fell from in my cursive writing, which seems to be a dying art these days.

I love working on compositions like this. I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to finish.

I need to work on staying focused on one project at a time, in spite of all the ideas swirling around in my head and all the inspiration out there in the world.

Summer Curriculum – Assignments 2 and 3

I got behind in my summer curriculum assignments because I lost some of my motivation and inspiration. To get back on track, I put some heavy metal music on my iPod and cranked through these projects. Works like a charm for me!

Our second assignment was to illustrate a quote using traditional media, no digital rendering allowed. I tend to fill up many pages in my sketchbooks with quotes, things famous people have said or things I hear on the radio, so I was excited to try this challenge.

I have an entire sheet of favorites quotes I love by Ralph Waldo Emerson, so that’s what I started with. Instead of illustrating the actual lettering, I wanted to connect my illustrations with the quote in subtle ways, and just use my own handwriting.

I have always wanted to do a self portrait, which is actually quite hard – hard to draw yourself and then to include those little details you might not like but still make you You. I chose to include a self portrait form of illustration with this next quote because it can be hard to change yourself, change the way you do things, and to stop measuring yourself.

I’ve had this next quote written in my sketchbook for awhile, but I didn’t make a note of who said it or where it came from. I illustrated it like a trail or the loop of life.

Our third assignment was to create a traditional collage, using newspaper clippings, ribbons, bits of colored paper, artwork, photographs and found objects, glued to a piece of paper. I’ve never done any collaging, so I wasn’t sure how to approach this one. I looked for a central idea in a stack of magazines and catalogs I have been saving. I originally intended to look for images of body parts to go along with a theme “your perfect body.” But then I came up with an inspiration I liked better, “Express yourself.”

I am happy with how this turned out, but I learned that I’m not crazy about doing collage as an art form or a form of expression. It can be very putzy with all the cutting and gluing of tiny pieces. With that said, I was inspired by this post, so I felt like I should try another collage piece.

I like my second piece much better because it just feels more me. That’s why I like to try multiple versions of these assignments – it gives me a chance to try again if I’m not completely satisfied with the first attempt, especially when learning a new technique.

(Addition: I should add that your final image or message also really depends on the materials you have on hand to cut apart and glue back together. For this exercise, I had access to Lucky magazines, Martha Stewart Living magazines, Victoria’s Secret catalogs, Title 9 catalogs, and Patagonia catalogs –  quite the hodge podge of imagery!)

I’m not sure what our fourth assignment will be for our summer curriculum, but I’m looking forward to it even more now that I’m caught up again! UPDATE: our next project is to create a poster for an every day event by taking a trivial daily activity and promote it with a poster.

Art Cards – Week 23 – Gardens and Travels

What a difference the sunshine makes to me! I had the most unproductive Saturday in my history, which I’m blaming on the damp, cloudy weather. Today the sun in shining, so naturally, I feel 100 percent better.

I didn’t do anything significant last week, other than apply for jobs and make a couple new bags. We had a really big thunderstorm come through our area that caused the power to go out for several hours. That would have made cool inspiration for a set of art cards, but I didn’t think about that idea until I started writing this post. Doh!

I had two different sources of inspiration for my art cards this weekend.

My first inspiration came from my garden, which is always changing. I did a messy little illustration of a few alliums, and then I found a perfect quote that I just wrote in my natural handwriting, which I’m trying to like better. I’ve never been a fan of my own handwriting, whether it’s cursive or printing. But with all these art projects I’ve been working on lately, I really want to like my own handwriting!

My second inspiration came from my travels and my terrible packing skills. I tend to overpack my suitcase, or just don’t put things in there in a more compact way. I’ve been thinking about buying a smaller suitcase, just to limit the amount of stuff I can actually bring on a trip. How much stuff do you need anyway?!

Check out what my art card buddies  Michelle and Sandra have been adding to our Flickr group – so cool to see our variety of styles, inspirations and techniques.

Wishing you a sunny day too!

Art Cards 2011/14 – Wild Side

My theme for this week’s art cards was based on the color combination of electric blue and hot pink.

I started out with these bright colors, and then did a whimsical illustration as a fun way to express the wild side I try hard to keep hidden inside. I know, I should set her free more often!

I made another card to reflect on some of my favorite things, especially things coming up in the spring and summer seasons.

Just some simple ideas and illustrations this week expressed with fun colors.

Stop by our Flickr group to see what Michelle and Sandra have been doing on their fun art cards.

Art Cards 2011 – Week 12

Last week, Michelle and I swapped cards to celebrate the first day of Spring.

She received my package so I’m excited to be able to share what I made for her. I was inspired by a photo she shared recently of a ribbon of daffodils growing across a field. Daffodils are such a cheerful flower, usually the first to bloom in my part of the world. Since I was mailing this little card to Michelle, I really wanted to created a postcard image. I found a piece of paper in my craft stash that had stamps all over it, and I saved one of those air mail stickers from another package I received from her.

I also found inspiration from one of my favorite spring flowers that will be blooming soon, crocuses, along with some lyrics from a Bob Dylan song that I know hold a special place in her heart.

The entire lyrics say “just to dance beneath the diamond sky, with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea, let me forget about today until tomorrow.”

I have to admit I was happy with how these turned out, so I made a duplicate set to have in my own journal.

I also made a couple more cards for the new week.

I have been inspired by all the spring bulbs trying so hard to come back to life here even though our temperatures continue to be cold (30 degrees F). I drew an illustration of the first tulip leaves to come up, cut them out and pasted them on a bright blue background for a 3-dimensional effect. I found a Chinese proverb that was a fitting sentiment to use for my journaling.

More and more birds have been returning to our part of the world, especially the common grackles, who act like bullies of the birdfeeders in our yard. They are fun to watch, but they are noisy and eat everything. I loved illustrating one of them clucking away because of the beautiful irridescent blue and purple and black colors of the feathers.

I haven’t added a journal sentiment to this card yet. I want to add this saying “Birds return every spring like clockwork, but where is the clock” but I’m not sure how to make all that fit on this little card. You know me, I’ll figure it out!

Be sure to stop by our Flickr group to see what Michelle and Sandra have been doing on their fun art cards.