Category: best effort

Staying Positive Works — Strong Spirit

Strong Spirit

Strong Spirit

This painting was done in Painter, using oils, liquid inks and pencils.  I am using it because it is entitled Strong Spirit.  That is what I have.

I started this blog to write about fibromyalgia and lyme disease.  My intention was to write how my belief in a God of my understanding, coupled with affirmations, gratitude and positive thought had allowed me to find a peaceful, fulfilling life in spite of these chronic illnesses.

Then, practicing those things led me back to being able to do art, and art has pretty much been the focus of this blog.

Today, I want to write about positive thinking.

I came across the idea of having God in my life and thinking positive about 30 years ago.  I began reading a lot of varied books on many religions.  I put together an idea of what God is for me, personally.  I believe there is something that holds us all together.  I believe that we are all connected in some way.  I believe that when I, or someone else, does something negative or harmful, it affects us all.

I believe in taking personal responsibility for myself and what I can change.  As I read and researched, I concluded that the only thing in this world that is possible for me to change is me.  I can’t change you.  I can, however, change how I react to you.

This was working fine, and life was going along real sweet.  I was a textile/mixed media artist.  My work was starting to sell.  I was having shows in galleries.  I had been in a group show at a very prestigious museum here in Seattle.  I won awards for my art.  Life looked good.  Positive thinking and a belief in a God of my understanding was working.

Oops, I got sick.  I didn’t just get sick, I got completely disabled and unable to do anything but lay in bed and wonder when I was going to die.  Doctors said I was crazy.  No one, absolutely no one would help me.

Friends and family walked away.  As they left, they said “Screw, you.  You’re a little liar, you’re not sick, just crazy.”

OK.  I got mad.  I got angry, I got resentful, hateful, mean-spirited, the whole thing.  I threatened to divorce my husband of over 30 years.  I was one sick, miserable person.

Where had it all gone?  What was happening?  One day I woke up, and could stand myself no longer.  I vaguely recalled what I had practiced just before I became sick.  I was very dubious.  I figured, this stuff works when things go well, God is there when I’m happy.  But what happens when the pedal hits the metal?  It’s all gone.

Hmm.  Perhaps I had missed something.  “OK”, I said, find something to be positive about.  What?  I can’t remember what I found, but I found one small thing.  Like breathing or something.  I practiced being grateful.  I said affirmations.  I worked at it.  I was not convinced, but I went on with the teeny, tiny bit of faith I had left.

It worked.  Just as negative things build and grow larger and become overwhelming, so do positive things.  It built up.  I found more things to be positive about.

Don’t get me wrong, it was slow going.

I’m Calling You

I'm Calling You

I’m Calling You

 

I have been wanting to use more kinds of media in my work to give it more interest and texture.  In this piece, I used liquid inks, pencils and oils.

I have decided to focus on getting better values in my paintings.  Values (or tones) are the darks and lights in a painting.  Not so much the colors, as their values. For instance, a highly saturated yellow can have a dark value in a painting.

I was dismayed when I first learned this about value.  I love to use really bright colors.  But doing that in the painting means that the painting won’t have much depth.  If you don’t have much depth, you usually don’t have much of a painting.

So, what’s a girl like me to do?  I have had to tone down my colors.  I looked to the Impressionists.  They have incredibly bright paintings, or so it would seem.  However, many of them used greys in their paintings to make their other colors look bright.

Right now, in my paintings using grey is just not something I’m up for.  So I started adding highly saturated colors that also contained a lot of white.  That way, I can get better values going in my paintings.

I’ve been working with a new category of brushes in Painter, the app I use.  They are called liquid inks.  Painter has a category for regular inks, but liquid inks are a whole other thing.  

Look In My Eyes

Look In My Eyes

Look In My Eyes

I have taken a brush making class at the Digital Art Academy (DAA). The DAA is an on-line school that teaches art while using Painter, the app I use to make my art.  Jason Maranto taught the class.  It has been fantastic.

First, let me explain about brushes in Painter.  You don’t just grab your mouse and paint.  I use a stylus and tablet that plugs into my computer.

Painter comes with over 700 brushes.  These brushes are in many media, such as oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, pens, pencils, watercolors, conte, markers, crayons, inks and others.  The brushes actually mimic real world media.  The brushes work with paper textures.  So one can take charcoal or pastels and draw on a rough surface or smooth surface.  The brushes will show the textures of the rough papers and be smooth in the others.

The brushes in Painter have a number of adjustments.  Painter calls these adjustments the Brush Engine.  It is much like an engine, very complicated.  For each brush, there are setting about how the brush will interact with paper, opacity of the paint, the saturation of the paint, the paper grain, the angle the brush is held, and many more settings for each brush.  Users of Painter can make brushes in addition to making adjustments to the brushes that come with the program.

In my art, I want as much as possible to have every part of it my touches, my strokes, my decisions.  In order to do that with digital art, I needed to understand the brush engine. 

Bird Stamps

Bird 2

Bird 2

Bird 6

Bird 6

 

 

 

As I blogged before, I recently took an ecourse from Tracy Verdugo.  During the course, Tracy took us through a painting for six weeks.  In addition to the painting we did, each week, there were other projects and creative ideas given to us.

The ecourse was for mixed media artists.  I took this course because Painter, the app I use to paint with digitally, is actually a treasure trove of mixed media.  I wanted and needed some fresh ideas.  I had spent the previous two years just figuring out how to get paint on canvas in Painter.  I wanted to start exploring all the other media that is in Painter.

One week during the course, Tracy had people take some material similar to the trays meat comes in at the store.  Then people made a kind of stamp out of these by pressing down with a dry pen.  Everyone was making fantastic stamped art.

That left me kind of out in left field.  What to do?  Everyone was making these great stamped art pieces.  So I put on my thinking cap.  This is the creative nudge I had wanted, I just needed to figure out how to do the process in digital.  I decided to make stamps in Painter. 

I’m so Excited

Pink Fish

Pink Fish

In 2012, through an odd series of “coincidences”,  I took a painting class from Flora Bowley.

A very good friend at that time, tricked me into signing up for Flora’s eclass.  I was very sick with fibro, lyme and CFS.  I had been in bed for over 20 years.

I was kind of doing art.  But I was just too sick to do much.  Making a phone call overwhelmed me.  Trying to be creative was impossible.

Then, I discovered the computer app I now use, Painter.  At that same exact time, Flora came into my life with her philosophy of life and art.  I had a positive outlook on life, but it had never occurred to me to apply that to my art.  Duh!

Flora has shared stories of her students  in her blog.  This week, she chose my story.

Click here to read the blog.  While you’re there, check out her fantastic art and be sure to check out her classes.  Be sure to click on “Shop” at the top.  She has fantastic products made from her art for sale.  Flora’s art or her classes make fabulous Christmas gifts.

Milestone — I got 200 Followers

Sea Life 2

Sea Life 2

I would like to send all the people who follow my blog a BIG thank you.  I just reached 200 followers.

When I decided to start a blog, I figured maybe I’d get ten people following.

I started this blog to talk about how I managed to have a life even with Fibromyalgia and lyme.  But soon after I started blogging, I saw that really, I’m an artist.  That is who I am.  Life can do what it will to me, I do art.

I thought Fibro and lyme had taken art away.  I basically did very little art for over 15 years as I was too sick.

Since starting treatment for lyme four years ago, the art abilities have come back. 

Kerry’s Orchid

Kerry's Orchid

Kerry’s Orchid

I have taken a Botanical Illustration class at the Digital Art Academy (DAA).  They have classes for the app I use to paint, Painter X3.

Botanical Illustration refers to the kinds of highly technical drawings that were in vogue in the late 1800’s.  I didn’t stick strictly to the style they used back then.  I updated it for now.

I signed up for this class on a lark.  I didn’t know I could paint like this.  I ended up kind of dreading the class and wondering what I had gotten myself into.

Then, I decided to have an attitude change.  I decided to show up, put forth my best effort and have fun.  Guess what, I did have fun and amazed myself at what I could do.

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