Are You Ready to Improve Your Art?

rothko cats

If you’re looking for someone to give you constructive feedback, I would love the opportunity to help you take your art to the next level. It can be scary to receive criticism about your art, but it’s a risk worth taking.

When I was in college, I was surrounded by other artists. I would look at their work to be inspired (and give criticism) and they would look at my art and give me criticism. At first, critique was terrifying. But it quickly became one of my favorite parts of making art.

Why? What’s so great about putting yourself on the line and hearing what people have to say about your art?

Improve – Whether you made mistakes or your work is as close to perfect as possible, critique will help you see your artwork better. It will ultimately help you identify your weaknesses and your strengths. You’ll strive to work harder and smarter because improving your art, and understanding how to improve it, is very rewarding.

Fresh Perspective – Sometimes we artists get too close to our work. You might need a fresh pair of eyes to help you see what you cannot see for yourself.

Bond – If a trained artist is giving honest, but kind feedback, you create an opportunity to bond with them. If you ask a friend or family member who isn’t an artist, they might not really know what to say. And they probably don’t want to hurt your feelings. So, they end up just telling you they like it. Or worse, they inadvertently hurt your feelings because they only point out what’s wrong with the piece. Which brings me to my next point:

Thick Skin – Creative people must develop a thick skin. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there creatively. The more practiced you are at receiving criticism, the better you’ll be able to handle it when someone bashes your art.

Free Will – Ultimately, it’s your artwork. It’s your vision. You can take it or leave it. Critique gives you the opportunity to practice free will and stand up for your artwork.

These definitely are not the only reasons why critique is so valuable to artists, but they’re some of my favorites. Art Critique is a new service I am offering. If you are ready to improve your art, go ahead and start today.

I’m offering 2 Critique choices:

  • A Quick Critique – I’ll take a quick look and give quick feedback. This is perfect if you just have a little bit for me to look at.
  • In – Depth Critique – I’ll spend more time and give more thorough feedback. This is perfect if you have a lot for me to look at.

You can find more details about my Critique service at the top of my blog, under Art Critique. Here’s the link: Go Here.

I can’t wait to look at your art, and join you in your risk taking adventure as an artist.

Some Pics and a Project for a Customer

flowers on ground

I took this picture the other day while taking a walk through one of the trails on the college campus. I loved how the petals on the ground looked in the sunlight.

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Right next to those fallen petals was this dead looking plant. I liked how it glowed brightly in the sunshine.

Cornhole Toss Game

Someone recently asked me to paint her Cornhole Toss Game. She wants it to match her Luau theme, so she wants me to paint an underwater scene for her that includes an octopus on one and a shark on the other.

The first step is to remove those Dallas Cowboys stickers. Just pealing it off isn’t gonna happen, so I’m planning to use steam to get the majority of it off, and whatever is left I think I’ll use some olive oil. That should nourish the wood some.

Once the wood is exposed, I can check it out for impurities and then get started preparing it for paint. I love the ocean, so I’m pretty excited to see what kind of images I can come up with.

Who likes playing this game? I remember playing it in my hometown when I was 8 years old. It was a tiny town, so there was always some kind of town/church/school/Brownies function going on. And this game seemed to always be there.

me playing corn hole

There I am at Vacation Bible School tossing bean bags at some square holes.

Finished Pumpkin Drawing

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My god daughter drew this picture of some creepy stuff. I love how she draws. She’s very observant and creative. I like how she drew the expressions on the ghost’s faces. And below is my finished pumpkin drawing.

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I got so tired of drawing pumpkins! But I think it turned out pretty good. I don’t think I’ll be looking at another pumpkin for a while though. I used graphite pencils, black charcoal for the background, and white charcoal for the spider webs. Now, I’m gonna try to go find a scary movie that will hopefully give me nightmares! Happy Halloween.

A Few Pumpkin Sketches

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I just wanna share a few more pumpkin sketches. My Jackabee, Sunny, got right between me and the drawing while I was trying to snap a pic. She always does that. She lays down on my paper, gets between me and the video game I’m trying to play. She’s so cute.

 

 

I worked a little bit more on the large sketch of the pumpkin that I showed in the previous post. I’ll probably do some more work on it this week.

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This pumpkin I drew with some Faber Castell Polychromos Colored Pencil Set. It was my first time using them. They’re very smooth. Very different from my Prismacolor Pencils that I’m used to using. I still gotta do more on this one too.

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This last one is some quick sketches of the decorative gourd. It looks so cool and it’s fairly easy to draw, but it’s also kinda complicated. It looks like some kind of alien octopus with it’s tentacles wrapped around a planet or something.

I’m still in the sketching stage. But I need to come up with some ideas soon for the final art pieces that I’ll be drawing. There’s just so many options. If anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear them.

Pumpkin Drawing for October

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Fall is my favorite time of year. The air starts feeling cool and fresh. The leaves start changing colors. And the best part – I start getting the heebie jeebies to the extreme. I love it.

Heebie Jeebies – By Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five.

While I was grocery shopping the other day, a giant display of pumpkins grabbed my attention. They had so many interesting looking varieties that I thought could be a lot of fun to draw. I got a bag of small orange pumpkins, and the other two kinds in the picture above.

Apparently there are at least 50 types of pumpkins. I used to think there was just one type – the big orange ones you see at Halloween and on Cinderella. Some of them have the coolest names too, like Hooligan and White Ghost.

Which Ones Did I Buy?

The similarities made it a little difficult to know for sure . . .

Pumpkemon – The white one with the orange and green stripes. Sounds like a cross between a pumpkin and a Pokemon. Maybe I can create a Pokemon character from this little pumpkemon.

Ornamental Gourd – I was going pumpkin crazy trying to figure out what kind the weird looking one on the left of my picture is. I’m pretty sure it’s a gourd used for decorating. Regardless, it looks like fun for making some art.

I started out sketching the orange pumpkin. Below are some quick sketches I did on yellow paper. I held the pumpkin in my hand and looked at it for a long time, trying to get familiar with it. This helps to be able to draw your subject better and faster.

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Side, bottom, and top views

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2nd page of sketches

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Nupastel and pastel crayons

The next sketch I did using graphite and white charcoal on my gray paper sketchbook. I was still going for speed with this one.

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This last one I decided I wanted to work on a larger piece of drawing paper and take my time. I like working large. It helps to focus on the details of your subject. I still have work to do on it.

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I’m having a lot of fun drawing these pumpkins. My plan is to post my progress throughout the month of October and we’ll see what kind of art I can create with these cool looking pumpkins.

Are you working on any Fall/Halloween inspired art? If not, then run to the store and grab some pumpkins and get started!

How to be a Fearless Artist

I love the feeling I get when I’m ready to make some art. I gather all my colorful supplies and make sure I’ve got plenty of light. Then, I look down at my clean, stark white canvas and suddenly I go blank. Blanker than the empty canvas. Fear suddenly enters into my heart. Like a lil’ wimp, I let that fear take me away from the art to go snack, rake the leaves, or (seriously?) clean the toilet.

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The Scream, Edvard Munch

Creative Courage

 

Writers do it too. Staring at the blinking cursor against the bright white background of the empty document, has the power to traumatize more effectively than a terrorist in war. Before you know it you’ll be laying in a fetal position hugging your stuffed animal and wondering how you ever thought you could be an artist.

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Lucas Scott, from One Tree Hill, experiencing writer’s block and typing, “I Suck.”

How to Develop Artistic Bravery

Artists like Bob Ross make it look easy. He fearlessly slops some paint down and creates a beautiful work of art. Below are some helpful tips to overcome fear:

1. Sketch -Before you start the finished piece, grab some cheap scratch paper, do some sketches and work out your ideas. It’d be awesome to create the masterpiece on your first try but that’s also a lot of pressure, and not always realistic. (It’s not impossible though.)

Constantly sketching and drawing will help you improve, which will build your confidence and you’ll be saying, “Goodbye Fear.”

2. It’s NOT permanent – Some art supplies can’t be erased like graphite pencil. So it feels like your marks will be permanent and if you make a mistake, what do you do? First, relax. Start out with a lighter touch and build gradually. Oil takes forever to dry so if you make a mark you’re not happy with just wipe the paint away and cover it up with more paint. Remember that many art mediums are forgiving and workable.

Or, like Bob Ross, you might get a “happy accident.”

3. Act Brave – Being an artist requires bravery because you’re doing something that cost you. Your art comes from inside of you. And what if people don’t like it? What if they put it down? Just be brave. And if you don’t feel brave, then PRETEND.

Do the opinions of other people strike terror in your heart? If so, be inspired by the war hero. Look fear in the eye, be strong and stand up for your artwork. Allow the reactions from people to be constructive criticism to help you improve.

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Hide the Knives! Van Gogh Self Portrait with bandaged ear

The Tortured Artist

Artists are sensitive and have to develop a thick skin. It may seem like I’m being a drama queen but I think fear is a common problem for everyone . . . not just the creative souls. Remember . . . feeling these raw emotions is a big part of art. And for me, overcoming fear makes me feel like a BOSS, and gives me the power to overcome whatever obstacles I might face.

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Bob Ross!

Being Your Own “Worst” Critic

Do you like your art? Are you conveying your message? Are you giving it your all? Maybe bravery in art, is really in facing yourself.

100 Days of Learning T-Shirt Art Project

My best friend is a grade school teacher and asked me to work on a school art project with her and her daughter. Of course, I’m always down for art. Her daughter is also an artist and we have a lot of fun making art together. We brainstormed for a couple of days and got a practice shirt out of the way, but I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

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Diamond

Finally the idea hit to use her kitten, Diamond. I recently took some pictures of her with plans to do a drawing so that was Puuuurrrr -fect. Haha, yea I went there. Based on the ideas we talked about during our brainstorming sessions, I came up with this design.

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Shirt design and sketch of Diamond

Everyone loved the idea so we got to work. We planned on using those two butterflies but they didn’t make the cut. I put my drawing of Diamond under the shirt and traced it with a pencil. Then after I added the sun I got started adding the fabric paint.

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My girl helping me out

I’ve never heard of this 100 days of learning thing, but I guess it’s something schools do when they hit 100 days in the school year. You have to use 100 things, so we glued a bunch of little diamonds.

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Diamond posing with her shirt

There’s Diamond checking out her portrait. She was upset that I made her quit messing with the shirt and look at the camera.

My friend thought about saying something along the lines of “being brighter.” So it seemed appropriate to use lyrics from Rhianna’s song, “Diamonds“: Shine Bright Like a Diamond. It’s also consistent with her personality.

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t-shirt drying

I forgot to take a picture of the finished shirt. We just added some more diamonds and the words “100 Days of Learning,” inside the sun and I wrote her name on the back. I also forgot to take a picture of the finished shirt I made for her mom. Haha, I was getting tired.

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The teacher’s shirt

I added a bunch of yellow, orange, and blue lightning bolts all around the shirt to represent all the electricity from the brain power. It still needed something else though. My friend finally came up with a really good finishing touch: At the bottom I wrote in blue paint, “Leads to a Brighter Future.”

These shirts were a lot of fun to make and I love supporting art and education.