Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Minimalist Approach

Hi!
Carol Sloan here.

This weekend, my husband and I had to travel to another state for an umpire conference.
I had several hours in the car to sketch, paint and journal a little bit.
I have a kit (of sorts) that I carry with me in such circumstances.

Check this post for the tools that I use.

I usually use the Pitt Artist Pens but decided to try the Micron pens from our sponsor.
I do love the smaller pen tips in these pens - great for teeny tiny little details that I tend to add.

I used the two sizes of pens, a pencil, a blending stump, and the Wausau Exact Vellum Bristol paper that I like to use.


When I am given the topic to work with and have to create artwork that way, I usually begin by doing an exercise that
involves free flow writing.

I pull out my sketchbook or just a piece of scratch paper and write what the words mean to me - fast scribbles, the first things that pop into my head...
I thought about what I highly prize...
what do others prize or value?
I look up phrases that include the words. I follow the links to read a bit about each one.

Can you tell that the research of a new subject is one of my favorite things? It really helps me to wrap my head around the subject. It helps me to think of the topic in a deeper, more meaningful way.


The first things that came to mind that I personally prize are my husband and my son.
Above all, these two are the most highly prized things in my life.

I read some of the comments that talked about not feeling comfortable drawing faces.
I love to draw faces but don't trust my skills enough to draw someone I know without them being there to look at or having a photo to reference. My sweetie was driving so I couldn't ask him to keep looking my way so I could sketch him and my son is away at college (art school!)  and I had no photos...

What's a girl to do?

The second best thing of course!
I simply wrote about them.

Drawing something is one way to represent it but writing about it is another way. 
I began the sketchbook page by folding my paper in half. That really helps me as I don't have to fill an entire page. I can handle the smaller size of a half page much better!

One theme that was repeated in the research of "Highly Prized" was freedom.
How we all truly prize our freedom - whether it is personal freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of religion.
It's all freedom.

So I drew an image that represents "freedom" in our country (USA).
An eagle.
It may not be a realistic rendering but I have the freedom to decide that, right? <insert a big smile here!>

I used the smaller nibbed pen for all of the detail work.
Then I used a regular pencil to scratch around the drawing. What I wanted to do was lay down enough graphite so that I could go back and smudge it with the blending stump.
This is how I created the shading, the shadows on the drawing.
It is a really simple and quick way to add some dimension and depth to your work.

I drew some uneven, meandering lines for journaling. Don't worry about being precise (unless you want them that way!), just put the ink on the paper.
I added little detailed areas on the lines (click on the photo to see it enlarged), scratched the pencil on it again and used the blending stump to smudge it.
Lastly, I added my journaling.

"Highly Prized- what do I value.
As an American - a human,
I find that I highly prize my freedom,
personal liberty ranks right up there too...
the freedom to choose are all things that I Highly Prize.
My husband, my son,
family,
creativity,
friends,
Love,
nature,
choice,
 individuality."


So there you have it. A sketchbook page that I created while riding down the road, using only four tools.
Simple tools.
I hope that you are giving yourself the gift of time.
Giving yourself at least 15 minutes a day to sketch. To journal. To paint.
Whatever you love to do that sparks your creativity.

10 comments:

  1. What a great page. I love the eagle. Sometimes creative is better than realistic. It catches the eye and makes one pay attention to the meaning of the piece. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Cute eagle and of course I appreciate that you use text in your sketches. It takes a real talent to be able to draw in the car!

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  3. I like your take on the "highly prized" theme! Reading about your sketching on the road brings back memories of childhood road trips. I always had to have pens, pencils and paper with me...I still do!

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  4. How amazing - your page is wonderful. I just did an unexpected road trip also and ended up with My Man (husband) as Highly Prized also. The road trip was to a NWR in Southern New Mexico and one of the images I sketched was a bald eagle...great minds you know? I'll post my sketch on my blog, www.keepanartjournal.com and in the flickr group. Lori

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  5. Oh how I wisht ath i could write draw andd read in the car!!! I still get car sick!! Yuck!! Your eagle is fabulous- it would make a fabulous Art Quilt in so many different styles!! I can see done in the Kelli Perkins style and the Jane LaFazio style and of course the Carol Sloan style. The bird really reminds me of a Mexican thunderbird, or maybe that is Mayan Thunderbird!! The manner of the journaling is wonderful as well- very free and open!! Must try that- I tend to be too tight!!!
    I really love this post and how you explained your process!!! Bravo!!

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  6. Great inspiration! I love how you approached this prompt.

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  7. well. Yes, I do give myself those 15 minutes... more actually... but my pages do not look so groovy.
    I bet that is not the point....
    Look. I am happy that you've started this whole shebang- because while my pages still look crappy, I feel that I am growing as an artist. The sketchbook causes me to think of art in my downtime... the time I spend away from art. I bet that makes no sense to you.. but for me to see my sketchbook outside of my workroom, and to draw during non-art time, well... that is a bit of a growing experience for me.
    Enough of not making sense now, I'm going to bed.
    Xx,
    Amy

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  8. Hy Carol, tell me more about the sketchbook challenge - I see some people posting on this

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  9. Hi Carol,
    I loved your eagle sketch so much that I made a page last night using your wavy line for text method as a spring board, then combining a few other techniques, like contour drawing. Will post it in the Flickr group.
    thanks for the inspiring post.

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  10. Lori - I loved your sketchbook page from your birding trip!
    Elizabeth- I can only draw for so long and then I have to stop for awhile too...
    Amy-I do understand about needing a place to be imperfect! I have a lot of really Bad Pages...that's one of hte reasons that I like to use looseleaf pages...I can pick and choose what I place in them!
    Cathy- go to http://sketchbookchallenge.blogspot.com/p/how-challenge-works.html to read how it all works and join in with us!
    Anna Marie-I visited your blog and LOVE your page! Way to go! What a great way to add the work back into your sketchbook!

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