November 14, 2015

Tempermental Printers Rule the Studio

Today, there was no Pinterest-cruising and no reference book cheating, just straight to the studio to fiddle around with ideas for the painting of Great Grandfather Ross.  Once again, the shadows cast from the window to the back of the painting provided inspiration (although the lines are all in a different place), so I quickly traced them before the sun moved much.

Today's studio lesson was all about printer abuse and neglect.  A couple of years ago, I spent too much money on a fancy Epson Stylus R1900 printer because an artist and author I admire uses one for printing her art.  Hoping one day I would also generate art worthy of printing, I bought the same printer.  It's very rude and overly sensitive.  Apparently, one must use up the expensive ink faster than I do, or it just dries up and the printer thinks it needs to be fed.  I don't think I've used this printer in two years, in part because it was packed up when we were moving and then I just didn't get around to making much art.  Today I fired up the beast at which time it told me that I needed to replace four cartridges.  Ugh.  At least I had those four.  Then I went online and bought a replacement for each colour since they're nearly impossible to find in an actual brick-and-mortar store.  At least it seems to be happy and working well.  I prefer a simple printer that remembers settings and does the same old thing every time unless you tell it something different.  This one seems fussier, assuming you are printing something large and fancy and glossy at all times.  I'm pretty tech savvy and have read the manual and clearly need to spend more time finding it's secret tricks.

With my husband out of town and nothing but time on my hands, I need to remember that I can work after dark.  For some reason, I always feel that I have to stop working as the sun is setting.  It must be my mindset from the days of having kids at home to feed and knowing I'd get the, "I'm on my way and will be home in an hour" call from my husband.  It's hard to get used to all of this free time.  Now I have to make good use of it.

January 9, 2015

The Artsy Resolution

My resolutions for the new year are not about diet, exercise, losing weight or any variation of those things (a never ending battle all year long).  I have resolved to 1) spend more social time with friends and family less time in solitude and 2) to get my artsy self back. 

Having fun with art is something I don't do well these days.  I read about so many successful artists (and I mean success in the sense of making a living) that are self-taught, learning from books, DVD's or taking single classes of instruction here and there.  I found a year-long online course with artists Carla Sonheim and Lynn Whipple (I am SO excited) and signed up, something I would have been afraid to do in the past.  The first lesson involves line drawing.  I completed the first lesson, and found myself muttering, "I stink at this."  The lesson reads all over the place that this is about having fun, relax, just go with it, it's not supposed to be perfect...but I still caught my inner critic speaking out loud.  When I was to pick a single subject and make multiple attempts at it, I caught myself scrolling up on the screen to see what the instructor's drawings looked like.  ACK!  Mine don't look like hers at all!  I must be doing it wrong.  Then I stopped myself and zoomed down the page so that I couldn't see her drawings any longer.  Really?  I still can't just relax?  This is going to take more practice than I thought it would, but I'm up for it.  I just need to tape the mouth of the inner critic shut.

I have decided that I'm going to give myself permission to try my hand at something another artist does that inspires me, not to sell it or claim the idea as my own, but to get back in the habit of making stuff.  Last week we had another of those crazy wind storms that absolutely trashed my back yard, leaving eucalyptus leaves and branches littered everywhere among the pine cone bombs that came flying down.  I remembered seeing pictures of painted individual eucalyptus leaves at and figured I could have some fun experimenting.  I spent a good two hours painting, something I can't remember doing for ages.  Now my leaves look nothing like the artist's leaves, but I had focused fun, music blaring, and was happy doing it.

Tomorrow's exercise is to continue without self-criticism.