Friday, January 25, 2013

A Bunch of Malarky

Next month, the OC illustrators will have a group exhibit at the La Habra Art Gallery.  We have chosen the theme "A bunch of malarky."  It should be a fun and exciting show.  There is so much talent in the group. I have been working on a few pieces.  I'm still creating more pieces, but I've been playing with my Mermizzle theme.  Elsie has created a lot of inspiration and motivation in me. 

 This was the first piece I began working on immediately after creating Elsie the Mermizzle.  I thought it would be fun for my Mizzles to discover an entirely different world from theirs up in the tree. I used Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils, Inktense pencils, and a 3x0 rapidograph pen.

This second piece was inspired by my need to play with paper collage.  I like the paper collage pieces I create because I go in with no plan and never know what it will look like when I'm done.  The characters and sandcastle are cut out of watercolor paper and collaged on, but I used watercolor pencils to color them in.

Day at the Beach
Lastly, I wanted to create a simple image with very little background.  Here I used mostly Prismacolor watercolor pencils and a 3x0 rapidograph pen on watercolor paper.

Hello Friend
Which one is your favorite?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Influences- Remedios Varo

Tomorrow, I will be introducing the final drawing for my beginning students.  It is a surrealistic city in one or two-point perspective.  I've spent a good amount of the morning thumbing through my favorite surrealism books, scanning, and printing photos for inspiration.  Of course, it led me to one of my absolute favorite female surreal artists, Remedios Varo.  I found her by accident when I was in college working on my single subject credential.  There is something magical about her work.  I look at it waiting for the hauntingly sad characters to move and interact with me.  I am captured by the textures, colors, and the transparency of the figures that seem to move with such ghostly grace. 

Here are some of my favorites:

I've come to realize that I'm attracted to her work that is about creation or building.  Perhaps it is because I have a desire to create or build? 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Brown Little Bird, Where Did You Come From?

This morning was a surprise I did not expect. I went into my classroom and found a piece of paper on the floor with bird poop on it.  With a very confused look on my face, I picked up the paper and threw it away.  I proceeded to my routine: turn on computer, put lunch away, and put my rolling cart away.  Then I went to the office.  When I came back, I opened my storage room and found a tiny brown bird flying around.  I stood there in absolute shock.  First thought: How on earth did it get in there?  I couldn't figure it out.  Second thought: How do I get it out of the small room inside my classroom?  Then, how do I get it out of my classroom?  I remembered I had an Audubon toy bird that makes an actual bird noise.  I squatted in front of the room and made bird noises with the toy trying my best to entice the bird out of my storage closet.  After a few minutes, I gave up.  I walked to the office to find someone who might help.  As I walked back to my room, I found my friend and made him come with me to my room, where we found the little brown bird sitting on a stool.  I rushed to my storage room and shut the door, while my friend tried to sweep the bird out.  It didn't work.  The bird flew somewhere and we couldn't figure out where.  So, I went in search of more help.  One of my fellow art teachers came in my room in search of the bird.  We saw "A" bird outside of my room.  We think that might have been him or her.  As we searched my room, we found tiny little spots of bird poop on desks throughout my room.  I think the little guy had been locked in my classroom all weekend! The poor thing!  It was a little disgusting, but I laughed so hard this morning! I felt a little bad as I discovered the bird had pooped on a few student drawings.  The good thing is that my students were able to laugh with me about the whole scenario.

I still have no idea how it got into my classroom.  I wonder what I'll find next in my classroom.  I'm a little scared to discover what that might be.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Works in progress

I have to say that I have been having a lot of fun drawing my new Mermizzle!  It is nice to regain my drawing mojo.  It has been feeling a bit forced... until now.

I'm having a great time introducing Elise Mermizzle to my regular cast of characters. There seems to be a natural flow in drawing her.  It feels as though I have been drawing her for years.

I have been slowly making more Mermizzles.  I'm finding they are a lot easier and faster to make than a regular Mizzle. Here are a few that are in progress:
 In addition, I have been working on some new pieces as possibilities for our OC Illustrator group show next month.
I'm falling in love with Larry in the bubble created by the Mermizzle.  It isn't finished, but I am pleasantly surprised by it.

This second one is a paper collage that I began yesterday.  The Mizzles will be making an appearance in this soon. Stay tuned to see how these projects turn out!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013 year of the Mermizzle

I find it interesting how inspiration discovers me. My friend, Cory, and his wife are expecting a little girl soon.  While I was taking care of their dog, they had asked if I could paint a few things for them in the nursery.  They wanted a sea themed room, but realized everything they purchased was blue and they wanted to "girl it up."  They gave me an image of a mermaid they liked, but told me what they didn't like about her.  So, I went at it and within 5 hours finished a cute little mermaid with a few friends.  At the time, I hadn't made their baby a Mizzle doll.  I had waited because I wanted to know if there were specific colors or themes they were using in the room.  Once I knew about the sea theme, I went on a search for cute socks.  I found nothing that screamed "make me a Mizzle!"  I just gave up looking.  I think the idea should have been obvious from the beginning, but it didn't.  Perhaps I wasn't listening carefully enough to hear the idea scream.  But since I couldn't find cute socks with cute sea creatures or mermaids (and I wanted to stay away from the Disney mermaid socks) I would make the Mizzle with a mermaid tail.  She would be a Mermizzle.  A Mermizzle!  Genius! 

There is something about this idea, perhaps a new creative fire lit, but I have decided to make it a series.  For the year of 2013, I will be making mostly, if not only, Mermizzles!

Meet Elsie Mermizzle!  She is the very first Mermizzle.  She is adventurous and spunky.  Her loves to gently touch the surface of sea urchins to watch them close, then slowly reopen.  During the day, she blows bubbles  to tickle fish and swimmers above her.  Her best friend is Mr. Octopus, who helps keep her out of danger.  Her favorite color is brown and she loves to eat veggie burgers.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Inspirational Quotes

I love reading inspirational quotes, especially if they are from artists or about creativity.  A few years ago, I began writing them down on post-it notes and stuck them all around my computer monitor or on the wall near my desk.  Mostly, they are little affirmations for my own personal creative process, or I find them amusing.  But, sometimes I find my students reading them.  Since I've changed rooms, my collection of quotes has been sitting aside waiting to be displayed in their new home. 

I thought I'd share what I've collected.

Live out of your imagination, not your history.
-Stephen Corey

As children, we all live in a world of imagination, of fantasy, and for some of us that world of make-believe continues into adulthood.
-Jim Henson

We wish to bring joy to your heart that the reality of who you are is far greater than anything you have imagined.

Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it.
-Salvador Dali

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep.
-Scott Adams

Nothing changes until something moves.
-Albert Einstein

If you don't jump, the wings will never come.
-Bruce Coville, at SCBWI summer conference 2011

Creativity is not rearranging; it is transformation.
-Viola Spolin

I believe that we form our own lives, that we create our own reality, and that everything works out for the best.
-Jim Henson

I'm creative --you can't expect me to be neat, too.

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
-Edgar Degas

Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun.
-George Scialabba

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.
-Pablo Picasso

I'm enough of an artist to draw freely on my imagination.  Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited; imagination encircles the world.
-Albert Einstein

Life is not measured by the number of breaths, but by the moments that take our breath away.
-Maya Angelou

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
-Thomas Merton

Art is not a thing; it is a way.
-Elbert Hubbard

And, the quote that makes me smile every time I read it is from my former student, Ayana Pepaj.

"I'm not judging. I'm just saying it's disgusting." 

I have no idea what the topic of conversation was, but I remember working on the murals and garden with my art club students and hearing her end the conversation with that statement.  It made me laugh then and it still does.

What are your favorite inspirational quotes?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Family Dinner

My family always has a lot of fun when we are together.  You can always find us laughing.  I love watching TV or movies with my family because we always add sarcastic commentary. But, I love it when my family decides to go out dinner.  It is filled with so much laughter.  We used to only go to Olive Garden as a family.  Over the past few years, we've explored other places, but they were always restaurants where we each order our own separate meal.  Then we discovered Korean BBQ.  I, especially, love it when go have Korean BBQ. We eat in harmony.  It is almost like dancing, the way we pass the food around.  We have been there enough times as a family that we no longer need to ask for someone to pass us a particular food item. No one fights over any part of the meal.  We eat and we laugh.  


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Art Adventures

Today was a fun day of various art adventures with my good friend, Heather.  She introduced me to a few places in Long Beach that I wasn't aware of.  We began at Art Exchange, a community arts center, where we make snowflakes for the surviving students of Sandy Hook.  It was amazing to see people walk in off the street and begin making art together.  There was definitely a feeling of a community in that room.

Inspired by our first activity, here are Dune (on the right) and Sparks (on the left) making paper snowflakes.

We made our way to a cool music store, Fingerprints, and had brunch and browsed the shop.  Then, she introduced me to The Long Beach Depot for Creative Re-Use.  This is a store with odds and ends that normally people would throw out, but artists may want to use in recycled art work.  It was a bit overwhelming to walk through.

We ended our Art Adventure with a trip to the Museum of Latin American Art.  I love this museum.  It is small, but it definitely puts on a big show.  If you haven't been to there, you should check out their current exhibits.  I love their permanent collection exhibit.  It always changes.  They find fun and innovative ways to display work in the permanent collection.  Last time I was there, they told a tall tale with the paintings and sculptures.  This time, they have connected work to cards in the game of the lotteria.

It was a fun and exhausting day!  I can't wait for our next Art Adventure.

Just a drawing

Just to warn you, this post has no purpose other than to share my drawing for the day.

I'm not sure what is going on in this drawing, but it makes me laugh.  This is Jalen.  I introduced her a while back.  She heals hearts through hugs.  I wasn't really trying to draw anything in particular.  I was just drawing and noticed she had this look on her face that said she just got caught doing something.  Part of it is her awkward pose.  It is almost like she was dancing and singing her heart out and then realized people were watching.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Daily Drawings

Creating a drawing daily isn't as easy as one would think.  I feel like it was a lot easier to achieve last year. I seem to find myself wanting to fall back on drawing the same things.  I might have to create a list of themes or things Mizzles might do.  Last year, most of my drawings were inspired by current life events.  But, I'm not feeling inspired by my own life at the moment.

This drawing was inspired by a photo I saw on the National Geographic Photography Facebook page.

This next drawing wasn't really inspired.  It is a drawing similar to one I've done before.  It is just a slightly different take on it.  I'm trying to spend more time including my newer Mizzles in my drawings.  I tend to fall back on the Mizzles I've gotten to know and am comfortable drawing.  It's time to give attention to the other Mizzles.

What activities, events, or themes would you like to see the Mizzles in?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Happy Place

Happy Place: a location, real or fictional, where worries, problems, and anxiety melts away and alms you...makes you happy.  I like creating "happy places" in various locations.  At work, I have a real tree standing behind my desk, along with reproductions of Claude Monet's waterlilies, and a poster of Fraggle Rock. At home, I have photos, drawings, or paintings of trees and my Mizzles. I think for many people Facebook has become their happy place. Facebook has become a bit boring to me.  People post the same stuff and most of the time it isn't very interesting.  I keep going back to the website because every once in a while an illustrator or writer friend will post something FANTASTIC!  It was last month artist, George Littlechild posted this photo:

The vibrance of the magenta is so amazing!  I just cannot stop staring at this photo and find myself smiling or daydreaming. Now if I can only recreate this in my livingroom!  Wouldn't that be awesome? This photo was so magical that it sent me on a wild Google search for magenta cherry blossom trees... And I found these beauties!

I might have to create some drawings or paintings of the Mizzles exploring these trees!  I'm definitely going to be adding some of these photos to my current "happy places." Here is my daily drawing of Fawn enjoying the cherry blossoms.

Where is your happy place?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Making my own light

When the shootings began happening this holiday season, it broke my heart there were so many innocent people being hurt.  People on Facebook were posting quotes about light in the darkness.  Here were a few that stuck with me:

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” 
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

"It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light."
Aristotle Onassis

"Give light and people will find the way."
Ella Baker

"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."
Leonard Cohen

They made me think.  It is so true that no matter how dark the situation is, there is always a ray of light.  There is always a bit of hope for us to find and hold onto.  It is when that light is found the darkness doesn't seem to be quite as dark as it originally was.  I began creating a Mizzle painting to illustrate it, but it was put on hold due to other projects.  I figured I could paint and sew while spending the evening with my family.  I wasn't sure if I would actually have time to work on anything, but I took it with me anyways. My night consisted of sitting on the couch next to my little sister surfing the web, laughing with my mom and dad, and answering my dad's cell phone, which seemed to go off all night with calls from family members upset or concerned about his current situation, and playing with all 5 of their cats.  Soon I was sitting on the floor painting while my mom worked on her knitting. It seems appropriate that this ended up being my final painting for 2012.  My dad seemed to enjoy watching me work on it and watching its progress.  Every once in a while my mom would ask me a question about the painting because it wasn't making too much sense.  I kept laughing and telling her "Just wait and trust me.  It will make sense soon. (Pause, a sigh, and a confused look on my face) I hope."  She just laughed.  At some point, I was a little afraid myself that I had ruined it.

This past week seemed to be the darkest.  To be honest, I haven't quite found the light, but I have decided I would create it. I ended 2012 laughing with my family and I woke up calm, centered, and hopeful for what 2013 may bring my way.