It is almost the end of September. I cannot believe October will be here so soon! If you are like me, your days are full of things to do. Right now, my focus is on doing the art backgrounds for my book. Sometimes, the idea for an illustration just flows, coming together without any difficulty. The last two I have been working on are just the opposite. No matter what I tried, nothing seemed to work. The art looked choppy and did not reflect what the message said. I had spent hours of trying to meet my goal of finished this illustration and the next one without any success. Until I stopped and prayed, “Lord, I need your help. I just cannot come up with an illustration that works.” After that, ideas seemed to flow. Get rid of that, add this, change the opacity to this, use this blending mode. When I finished, I was so happy to have a background that went with the message and did not look like something a child would do!
Have you ever run out of inspiration or ideas? What did you do? I believe that if you are connected to God through Jesus, asking for inspiration should be something that is as natural as breathing. So, if you are running on empty, stop and ask for help. It is as simple as that.
This is called Shepherd, and the finished background is completely different from the first two attempts. A reminder to self to start with prayer and invite the Holy Spirit to guide me as an artist.
If you follow my blog, you know I did not post last week. Have you ever had one of those weeks (yes, week and not day) where all your plans came to nothing? Well, last week was like that. All the appointments had to be rescheduled, which meant lost time. It is so easy to become frustrated or upset when nothing goes right. I had to make that choice last week. So, what did I choose?
I elected to turn to my art, and use the talent God gave me. I chose to put the focus on God and not on my own feelings. Did I succeed? Well, most of the time. I am human and I have lapses. Do ever have slip, when you fall back into old patterns of thoughts or actions? If you do, you are certainly not alone! What do you do when fall into old thinking? Do you blame yourself and dwell on what went wrong, or do you ask Jesus to help you get up and go on?
Even if you are not an artist and cannot turn to art, do something to help change your focus from things that are out of your control. If you like to cook, try a new recipe, go for a walk, text a friend, read your favorite Psalms, put on some worship music, or… I’m sure you get the idea. Do what helps you to stop internalizing and go on with life.
This is called "Star Nebula" and is the art I created last week when everything was so crazy. I will have this in my Gallery Store for September.
I cannot believe it is the end of August. With September only a few days away, I need to pick out my art for the next month. Every composition that I do comes from my imagination, but is inspired by a scene, an object, or even a color.
This summer, I went for a short city walk with a friend. It was a short walk because the temperature was climbing and it was getting too hot to stay out in the direct sunlight. I was able to snap a few photos of scenes that caught my imagination. Below is the photo of a view that grabbed my attention and the art that I created from my imagination based on a real location. What inspires your imagination? Is it a city scene or a walk in the woods? Maybe it is a certain shape or color? How many of you have painted a room in your house because you were inspired by a color in nature? Take the time to look at the world around you and find a scene or object that stimulates your creative side. Challenge yourself to use that inspiration in some way. Share what you have done here and maybe pass this challenge on to others.
Reality on the left and imagination on the right!
I have a Word file that is 5 pages long, with every title listed that is in my book. I've had a lot of practice over the years in thinking up titles for the material in my booklets and books. I have another file where I've listed all the titles in alphabetical order to make sure I haven't duplicated any (I have!) Usually, I catch duplicates before the book goes to the publisher, but in one book, I do have a duplicate title.
I’ve developed my own color-coding system that usually works. It doesn’t work when I forget the colors assigned in one file and use different colors in the second file! Consistency is the key to staying organized.
Being organized does not only apply to authors. As an artist, I have to keep my art and related files in order, otherwise I would never find anything. So, you say are not a writer or an artist. We all need some type of method in our lives to keep sane in this busy world. Even with the pandemic shutting things down, we still have to carry on with life. You might not be going in to work, for class, or conference, but you still have to set aside time for virtual meetings. Have you developed a new way of avoiding chaos in your life?
Below is a snapshot of my Word file. Black=finished art, Purple=work in progress and red=needs to be done. With about 150 pages to illustrated, this helps me to know at glance where I'm at and what I need to do. The right column has ideas for each illustration. I started by just jotting down images as they came to me while reading each message.
Thursday, August 12, 2021 Art and Imagination
What is one of the most important things an artist needs to create art? If you are a painter, is it brushes, paint and canvases? Maybe a studio? Is it time and a peaceful environment? While all of these are needed, I feel the most important tool in any artist’s kit, no matter what your medium is, would be imagination. To see your world a little differently, to take materials that tell no story, and to come up with something that reflects how you see the world takes imagination.
Now I am not discounting learning about your medium and acquiring business know-how. That is all a part of becoming a professional artist. The marketing and business side has been a huge challenge for me. Most nurses do not need to know anything about these skills, and since I was a nurse for forty years, I came into the artistic world as about ignorant as you can be. I started learning these new skills over two years ago, and I am still a beginner!
However, I do not lack in imagination! Sometimes that imagination leads me down some strange paths. I have a folder of unfinished art that I keep meaning to get back and finish. I start with an idea or get inspiration from a photo I’ve seen. From there, my artistic imagination takes off and I start a new composite. I build layer after layer of my digital collage, not quite finishing. Something else strikes my imagination and I am off again or I just reach a point and I do not know what else will work. Have you ever been there? Started a project, all fired up with ideas only to be interrupted or started out knowing what you wanted, but not how to finish? Well, today is the day we go back to those unfinished projects, whatever they are, and decide to start again. I challenged myself to complete one piece of art this week and I am challenging you to take up an unfinished project and finish it. Only one, at least this week!
I finished "Bedtime Stories" today! One down and only 52 more to go! Yes, 52, but that is another story.
Ever had a time in your life things just fell apart? When you were hit with multiple problems all at once? I think that most people have been there or are there right now. The first thing to hold on to is that you are not the first person this has happened to and you are not alone in how you feel. Right now, I am struggling serious issues in my life.
Earlier this year, the Lord give me Proverbs 3: 5,6a as my key verses for 2021. If you are familiar with the Bible, you can probably quote this passage. Keywords for me are “trust” and “He will.” There has to be trust in a relationship. Doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. When ideas flow like a river and health is good, when there are no delays or setback, when there is laughter and rejoicing, then there is trust. However, when the opposite occurs, it is difficult not to give in to feelings. I received a word the other day from the Lord reminding me of the difference between feeling and believing.
There is a difference between feelings and believing
They are not always connected
Because you do not feel does not mean you do not believe
So, just because I am having some serious issues related to my art and health and I feel discouraged at times does not mean I do not trust the Lord. Feelings come and go. My belief does not change; therefore, I trust. Are you at a place in your life where you are dealing with a difficult situation or some negative feelings? Make the choice to trust and remember Proverbs 3: 5 and 6.
To help you remember this, there is a free download this week.
See my last two blog posts for type one and type two background art. The last type is 3) Texture. There are many definitions of texture. For my purposes, I am referring to texture that is visual, not actual. Created digitally, it suggests something that can be smooth or rough, coarse or fine, matte or glossy, and more. Texture backgrounds may suggest paper, sand, fibers, or other natural or man-made objects.
I often use my own photos of sand, trees, flowers, or clouds to build a texture file. Lately I have been using photos of old wood, rust, and even sidewalks. While not as complicated as my digital collage art, texture files can take on a life of their own and end up as abstract digital art.
For my book, however, I am not looking for something as detailed. I use a texture background for three reasons: 1) A photo would distract the reader from the message. Usually this will be a longer message and I really want the focus to be on the words. 2) The words in the message do not suggest any image that would be simple enough to enhance the words and not detract from them, and rarely, 3) Like the example below, I am using different fonts to emphasize the words and I need a fairly neutral background for this. I;ve only done a couple this way. It is really a challenge to balance different fonts and size those fonts to emphasize the right words without distracting form the overall message.
In the sample below, "A Sacrifice of Praise" I had created a paper background, which gave me the texture I wanted. I framed the paper background with the look of torn paper by using a digital brush. What words stand out to you?
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