Archive | February, 2014

Creative Fitness

25 Feb
blue & white leaf pattern

Mono print – background

ochre background with black tree

Mono print tree mask

green and white pattern

Mono print – green background

Painting is only one of many ways to exercise your brain.  Stuart Pink, in his article “Brainlifting – A Crash Course in Creative Fitness” (Sept ’13 issue of ToastMaster) tells us that “it is possible to group creative exercises under three broad headings (which overlap to some extent).

  1. Making connections
  2. Considering different perspectives
  3. Using imagination

He makes the point that using the imagination is perhaps the hardest creative category to do exercises for, but is what makes us truly special or unique.  Doing brain exercises is well worth the effort – it improves our creativity.

Other resources mention painting and learning a new language as two activities that will develop multiple regions of the brain due to how the exercises require coordination between different areas within the brain.

There are several different websites that sell their services to improve the brain, but why not grab a pencil, brush or paper to create a piece of art the low cost way?  Painting benefits us on several different levels, including increasing our creative abilities.

How does painting specifically help the brain?  Well, when you start a painting, you need to visualize to see the final painting in your mind (this is the right side of the brain working).  Then you will develop the painting, choose various elements and colors and where you will place the shadows, highlights ,etc (this is the right brain working again).  But at the same time, you need to look critically at what is developing (the left brain –analytical part) and use that information to help you place the elements, colors, etc.  Sometimes deliberately trying a different strategy than what you normally use to paint will create surprisingly different results for your painting.  So our right and left side of the brain work together as a team when it comes to creativity.

To learn more about creating and the brain, try reading the old classic: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, 1980.

15 Signs You’re an Artist

10 Feb
green & yellow print with teal figure walking

Textured monoprint

wet monoprint - blue with figure

Pulling a print off the plate.

bright red and green leaves printLeaves & petals monoprint

 This blog piece  by Courtney Jordan for artistdaily.com ( Feb 3, 2014) was so funny, that I had to share.  

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What makes an artist an artist? Certainly, we are unique individuals with our own creative impulses and drives, but we do have so much in common. So step away from the canvas, put the paintbrush down, and see how many of these “signs” apply to you! It’s a fun list sent to me from pictureframes.com, and I chuckled out loud over a few of them, so I thought I’d share them with you.

15 Signs You’re an Artist

1. Your sense of time is marked by how long it will take something to dry.

2. You describe the sunset using words like vermillion, amber, and ochre.

3. Your neighbor is excited about her new furniture, and you’re ecstatic about your new easel.

4. You organize your closet, books, and pantry by color.

5. You haven’t worn shoes in a week. And your socks have paint all over them.

6. You accidentally dip your paintbrush in your coffee cup, and drink it anyway.

7. You spread peanut butter on your toast with your fingers just to experience the texture.

8. You keep everything – EVERYTHING. Because one day you might use it for an art project or painting.

9. You find a blank canvas exhilarating and terrifying all at once.

10. You can’t find anything to wear out for a special occasion because all your clothes are splattered with paint.

11. You always judge books by their covers. And magazines. And posters. And menus.

12. You visit the home improvement store to pick out paint swatches and get angry when the perfect Tiffany blue you’re looking for isn’t there.

13 You carry pencils instead of pens.

14. You named your children Frida and Pablo. And your Dog’s name is Leonardo.

15. You can’t be bothered with framing, so you slap the same gold Plein Air moulding on every piece.

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What I’m Working on Today

3 Feb
painting partially completed

Work in progress.

I’m setting aside the mono-prints that I’ve been working on to pull out my TerraSkin and Yupo papers and work on a watercolor.  In this photograph you can get an idea of how I work with the smaller size paintings.  I have a series of small florals where I have drawn with ink first and then painted with the watercolor after.  I do the sketching freehand and don’t bother to use any pencil.  Some of my paints are starting to get too grainy and break-down, so I will probably have to dig them out of my palette pretty soon and start fresh with some new stuff.