Gettin’ Busy!

Spring is well in bloom. The animals are twitterpated. The sun is hot and beaming. The work load has increased and….what was that thing I was suppose to do? Oh right! Have a post ready for Monday! I’m sorry I’m late folks but this season has been go, go, go since it started. I’ve been meeting tons of new people, working outdoors all day long, creating art all night long, and spending time with my family. My life is so packed right now and it’s quite awesome to be honest. I am very tired, of course, but the more I achieve the more I want to do! I’ve started a new drawing which I will post about later this week. I also completed a wedding gift earlier this week. Again, I will post this later so I don’t give away any surprises. So for today, I hope you will enjoy some images I have taken recently through out my busy life.

What spring projects are keeping you busy this year? Share a comment below. Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

“Yes. Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the springtime.”

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The owner of this piece calls this “Penelope’s Bum” after the sculptor who created it, Penelope Jencks. It really cracks me up!
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Been watching this guy and his siblings grow up in a friend’s tree.

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All the pollen/seeds falling from the trees. It’s like walking on clouds.
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All those little black dots are tadpoles. This was only a small portion that speckled the entire pond.
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Peaceful.

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Free Spirit Familiars

11189779_1572719099654707_1006592493_nWith being such a big animal lover, I figured it was time to introduce you to my familiars. First, let’s start with Sasha. Sasha is our 15 year old white German Shepherd. My husband belongs to her. She is quite a queen bee, of course she is at that wise old age. She gets whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Mainly because she won’t stop bugging until she gets it! We got her when she was about six from my husband’s aunt. His aunt was moving to a place that didn’t allow dogs. Who could turn down a beautiful white shepherd…for free! So we took her home and she has been a part of our family ever since. She was a great nanny to my son while he was a baby. She would always lay near him and lick his cheek, ever so gently, when he cried. Now that he’s older, she can get the special treatment! She’s content as long as my son says hello to her everyday when he gets home from school. On our walks, she has to say hello to every person that passes by. She is also quick to remind us when it is feeding time as she brings her bowl to us and drops it on our toes! Ouch! Thanks Sash! Though she is quite demanding, I couldn’t imagine our family without her!

11189515_975629605788727_1554221993_nNor could DeSoto. I’m DeSoto’s human. I got him as a pup, not more than six months old. He was the runt, always very timid. He is my best friend. He is always right up my butt, especially when I first get home. He is frantic and hyper and simply cannot control his excitement! He isn’t that young anymore, passing his ninth birthday this year! I still see him as my young pup though. He’s always eager to go on a nice car ride with me. His favorite thing to do is run like a banshee through the woods. I’ve never been one for leashes and collars so I set him loose with his blue bandanna ’round his neck and he takes off! He likes to act all big and bad when other dogs come by but he is seriously afraid of his own tail. Although he be a coward, he has proven several times that he will protect me if I am in danger. He really puts me on a pedestal and for that I treat him as my familiar.

They are the best canine companions any human could ask for. Now don’t get me wrong, they can really push your buttons. In the end though, my life is richer having them be a part of it!

Who are your fuzzy friends? I would love to hear about them! Leave a picture or a comment below!

Until next time,

“Ya won the jackpot! Charlie, I’m proud of ya.”

These are the portraits I did of them in 2008. I think it’s time for some fresh ones!
Here’s some more photos too!
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Her Majesty…
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…and the jester.
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Sasha loves water!
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What a ham!
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She loves her ball!
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DeSoto’s baby picture

 

 

Mother Earth

I hope everyone had a magnificent Mother’s Day! Unfortunately my mother and I live about 600 miles away from each other so I was not able to tell her in person. Thanks to my brother though, she did not have to spend the day alone. IMG_0377

My son woke me with a sweet voice and a warm message. We spent the entire day together. He accompanied me to the art store so I could get more paper for my projects. Afterwards, we went on a nature walk at Bog IMG_0388Meadow Brook. It was a great adventure. Within seconds of being on the trail, we spotted a snapping turtle chillin’ in the
water. He was close enough to touch, though we kept our distance. He eventually grew tired of our gawking and
burrowed himself out of sight, beneath the waters edge. I brought my camera along, of course. Though yet again, my failure to check the battery before leaving the house left me with a dead camera. At least I had my phone
handy so I could get some kind of photos!

 

 

As we continued on, it felt like we entered a snake pit! They slithered away from this side and that side! They were everywhere. We would stop to admire one slithering away, not IMG_0376realizing we nearly stepped on another behind us! I’m not afraid of snakes but I will admit, I got the “willies” from seeing so many at once.

Our final wildlife find was a pileated woodpecker! I didn’t notice it until it took off from a tree overhead. It’s body looked to be about a foot and a half long. I was unable to get a photo. It took off faster than most birds I have seen!

It was quite an exciting day! How did you spend your Mother’s Day? Share a comment or photo below!

And don’t forget…

“Adventure is out there!”

 

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The Hunt for Heron

Yesterday was just too gorgeous of a day to stay indoors. I felt as though I had been neglecting my camera for quite some time, so I brought it along as my family and I went to play near the creek. I ventured down the creek to see ractrac wmwhat wildlife I could find. As always, there were tons of little bird prints. I also came across some decent size raccoon tracks. Then I saw it; the bird that had been eluding my camera since I moved here over a year ago, the Great Blue Heron. I’ve seen them often, usually without my camera in hand. Then when I do have my camera, they fly away too quickly before I can get a clear shot. Another occasion, adventuring through the mud, my son and I found the monster tracks of one.

12106106_773801052730846_431528395_nAlas, we did not see the Heron that created them. But this time, down the edge of the creek, was standing the lanky beauty! But even with my 300 mm lens, I couldn’t get a good enough shot. I had to get closer. I tip-toed through the trees to get a closer look. I can absolutely guarantee that to the heron, I sounded like a bull in a china shop, despite my stealthy efforts. He stayed put though, in the same spot I first saw him. Now that I was closer, I could get the shot I wanted. I snapped a few pictures, tweaking my settings in between each one. After a few seconds he took flight and flew away right in front of me! I tried to venture further down the creek to where the heron stood. I was hoping it left tracks behind that I could investigate. In my efforts, I slipped in the mud and nearly went in the creek! Luckily, I missed the water, yet I was covered in mud. I landed on my elbow, jarred my shoulder, and mysteriously cut my hand. It didn’t feel good but I wasn’t bleeding badly so I decided to continue until I saw the unspeakable! Mud got all over my camera! NO! My poor camera! Why, cruel world?! I can’t take pictures with mud all over my lens! So I was forced to turn back for the sake of my beloved equipment.

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After returning to the house, I washed up my hand, cleaned my dear camera, and took a look at what images I had. Was it all just a pain in the rear or did I get my Heron photo?

TA-DA!!

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I’m pretty happy with the outcome. There is always room for improvement but these are my best ones so far! Next time though, I’ll watch my footing better!

Have you seen any wildlife since the spring season has started? Share a comment or photo below! Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for another completed eye portrait I will be posting later this week.

Until next time,

“Of course it’s hard! It’s suppose to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Hard is what makes it great!”

Free Spirit WIP

Spring came and then the snow followed! At least where I am! I’m scratching my head confused as to how this happened. Two days ago I was thinking about wearing shorts. Today I have two pairs of pants and three shirts on, struggling to stay warm! Baffling!

Well, enough about weather. Let’s talk art! I’ve had a lot going on and don’t have any completed pieces to share this week so I decided to share a WIP (work in progress). I am working on another dog portrait. By the image you can probably guess the breed. With every wrinkle I add to this image the more it makes me laugh. I am having a lot of fun with this one! I can’t wait to finish it.


I also have a few sketches I would like to do. I know too many people who have lost pets recently and I would like to do something in their memory.

I have many more ideas but let’s not get to far ahead! If I get too ambitious I’ll get overwhelmed!

Stay tuned for my next post featuring my completed piece.

Until next time,

“I’ll be back.”

Childish Chalk Talk

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

-Pablo Picasso

I came across a video of an artist, Ruth Oosterman, painting a picture using her toddler’s doodle as her layout. You can check out the video at the bottom of this post. I thought it was a really cool idea. I have a son of my own and I love his drawings and watching him grow as an artist from the very beginning. He loves to draw and paint, so naturally I encourage it. When he was a toddler, and even now, I would give him my sketchbooks so he could doodle in them. While I was sketching the other day, I came to one of the pages he had gotten his crayons on when he was about three years old. IMG_2746

I had thought of the video I had watched and wanted to try the same thing that Ruth did. I studied my son’s artwork for a while and starting seeing a waterfall. I began drawing water and the more I added, the more my son’s sketch guided me to the next piece of the scenery. By the end, it became a place I would definitely like to take him. I showed my son the sketch and he gave it his approval.

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Art is one of our favorite things to share with each other. He likes to grab his “How-to-Draw” books and pick a drawing we can do together.

It really got me thinking about how I truly believe we are all born artists. In one way or another we were born to create and explore the depths of our art. Whether it’s drawing, painting, music or even dancing. Art cannot be limited and each of us begins life with a great desire to be creative and make something beautiful. But as Picasso said, the problem is remaining an artist as we grow up. Everyone is so overwhelmed and stressed out nowadays. People are depressed and they don’t know what to do about it. Yet, when we pay more attention to the inner child we all have, we get a little self-encouragement. When we feed our youthful selves and remember what we loved to do as children and incorporate that in our day-to-day, life seems a lot simpler. I read something online the other day and it said, “What would the child you once were think of the adult you have become?” Food for thought.

To make a long story short, stay young and fuel your art. Your insides will feel better.

How do you let your inner child express themselves? Share a comment or a picture below.

Until next time,

“Your never too old to be young.”

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 “Art is as natural as sunshine and as vital as nourishment.”

-Mary Anne F. Kohl

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“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

-Albert Einstein

“You can’t use up creativity, the more you use it the more you have.”

-Maya Angelou

Free Spirit Leap Year!

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Take a nap.

How exciting! We have come to another leap year! What will you do with your extra day this year? Perhaps a marriage proposal will arise? In Irish history, it was called Bachelor’s

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Go on a picnic

day. Women were allowed to purpose to men on a leap day. If the man said no, he was forced to pay a penalty. He had to buy the woman twelve pairs of gloves so that she could cover her unbanded ring finger. Why twelve? I really have no idea. Perhaps a pair for every month of the year. Although, in Greece, it was unlucky to wed during the leap year, especially on a leap day!

 

Now, it’s just a formality. A time keeper. Just another day. I’m tired of “just” another day! Everyone says that. For me, this is my extra day! You know how people say, “I wish I had just one more day.” One more day to finish a project, one more day to

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Spend time with your family.

spend with someone, one more day of vacation. Whatever the case may be, I’m sure everyone has felt that way before! Well, it’s here! It may not be when you wanted it but don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Your one more day has come and you can do whatever you want with it! If you need to finish that project, today is the day! If you want to see that special someone, why waste a minute; today is the day to do it! Even if they have already passed on, go place a flower on their headstone today. If you wanted an extra day of vacation then

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Just relax.

go do something fun, or nothing at all!

No matter what, we all make our own choices. This is our extra day, people! Use it the way you see fit! And

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Have a friend over for lunch.

you know the best part about having an extra day? It’s not even “extra”. Regardless if we see it as February 29 or March 1, that “time” was always there in our life. We always had that one more day. We just don’t always see it that way. You could see everyday of your life as just another day. Or you can treat everyday like an unexpected gift. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” ― Alice Morse Earle

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Light yourself on fire! Wait…no, don’t do that.

Nothing is ever guaranteed, especially our time on this earth. So I guess that means that any time we have is “extra” to do as we wish. Everyday you wake up, you get that one more day to pursue what lies ahead. Before this gets too preachy, remember this; “Live everyday like it’s your last, because someday it will be.”

I am going to spend my extra day drawing. Are you at all surprised? What do you intend to do with your extra day? Share

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Swing on a tire swing!

a comment below and thanks for spending some “time” to read my blog!

 

Until next time,

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

 

 

 

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Go to a rodeo.
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Search for bigfoot.
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Visit someone’s grave.
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Find the end of a rainbow.
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Start a garden.
It is unclear who originally said this quote; “Live everyday like it’s your last, because someday it will be.” There are several sources stating different people said it, each person putting it in their own words. The most common information I could find was the quote; “Live each day like it’s your last, ’cause one day you gonna be right” said by Ray Charles.
In case you were wondering…I chose my image of the Bonobos for my header because it is the Chinese year of the monkey!

 

Free Spirit Flashback

I came across a bunch of old sketchbooks and school projects the other day. It’s really funny to look back and see the drawings you did as a kid and compare them through the years. I thought it would be neat to do a timeline of my work for my latest post. I wasn’t able to find something for every year but this is what I have right now. Here is a blast into the past of Free Spirit Meg.

1992

(5 years old)

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It was my favorite movie at the time.
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Just in case it wasn’t clear.

1998

(10-11 years)

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My home state.
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I won a school contest in 5th grade with this drawing.

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Well…That is not what happened at all. I did however move to Tennessee right after my 20th birthday. We lived right on the border of TN/KY. So that was eerily close. I never did get to race in the Kentucky Derby. I never got that brand new Dodge. I did, however, drive a ’98 Ranger. (Horse trailer not included.) I don’t own 100 horses, nor do I own 100 acres. Both are still a dream yet to be seen in reality. I am not an author though I did start this blog after all. I also have a million journals lying around the house and books out the wazoo. I haven’t talked to Ashley Smith probably since the year I wrote this. She is actually a body builder now. She looks completely different. I’m not traveling the world with her either. Although since I turned 20 I have been to Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Vermont, and Massachusetts. I have lived in three of those states. So the traveling is the same and I plan on doing more! The best part about that project is the last sentence. “At least I can experience being a kid again.” Even though my life as an adult was spectacular I still wanted to be a kid a little longer. I had my priorities straight!

1999

(12 years)

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Yes, I still have all my beanies. I’m a 90’s child, what can I say.

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2000

(13 years)

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2002

(15 years)

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2004

(17 years)

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2005

(17-18 years)

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We had to replicate a famous painting on a piece of furniture. This use to be a stool. The piece I chose was Andy Warhol’s “Close Cover Before Striking” 1962
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This was when I first started dabbling with colored pencils on a serious level. This was Goldie, my cat at the time.

2006

(19 years)

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One of the first original pieces I put up for consignment at a shop in Swanton, OH.

2007

(19- 20 years)

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“Quincy” – I started offering commissioned work this year.

2009

(21 years)

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“Leo” – This was the year I completed my first series. It was of the Astrological Zodiac. I am thinking about redoing it in the near future.

2010

(23 years)

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“Faith” -My first sale from consignment in a shop in Schodack, NY. It was bought for a bride by her groom.

2011

(24 years)

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“King” -I started doing a lot of art shows this year and showcasing my work. I joined Art ‘n’ Soul Inc. after my sale the previous year and worked with agent Janet Tanguay.
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“The Eyes Have It” -Little did I know, this piece would give me the exposure I never expected. This piece was a turning point in my career.

2012

(25 years)

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“Mother’s Comfort” -I did this for a Mother’s Day art show I was a part of.

2013

(26 years)

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“Tyler” -Because of all the attention from “The Eyes Have It”, I was receiving requests to do the same style with family pets.

2015

(27-28 years)

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2016

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So here we are. I have come a long way since the first time I “drawed” a picture. I guess I was just born to do it! I can’t wait for what future years may bring!

Until next time,

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

 

 

 

 

 

A Visual Universe

I have been diligent with keeping a sketchbook lately. I am usually terrible about it, inconsistent. I use to think there was a right and a wrong way to use a sketchbook and it discouraged me. I always make things harder on myself then they really have to be. Like there is a secret I don’t know about and I’m doing everything wrong. Why? I don’t know. I chalk it up to not having confidence. That’s changing now. I’ve realized that instead of trying to be confident in my work, I really need only to be confident in myself. Then the b13rest will follow suit. I stopped worrying about trying to be good at everything and started focusing on just being good at “me”. This idea completely changed my perspective. If I can just simply be proud of myself, then I am, by default, proud of everything I do. With this thinking, I don’t make mistakes. It’s just practice. You get better the more you do things and it’s your choice to better yourself as you see fit. No one else can say your doing it wrong because your the only one who knows what feels right. I wrote in a previous post about a sketchbook entitled Drawing is Magic by John Hendrix. There is a page in it that states, “If at any point in this sketchbook, if you are unhappy with what you are drawing, it is your fault.” It is so simple. I can’t believe it wasn’t this clear before. It goes on to explain that you create your own universe, or in an artist’s case, visual universe. With very little effort and change of perspective, I now am more motivated then ever to sketch! It is so relaxing to not have to fuss about every line being in the right place. I’m not concerned about it coming out “bad” because as long as I’m drawing what I want it won’t be bad! It’s just what I do; there is nothing wrong with that. If I’m the only one that likes it, then that’s all that matters. I have just recently began to create art for myself again, instead of everyone else. I have never felt more free and motivated with my work, then I do now. It’s a fantastic feeling. With this new-found pride and passion, I have been drawing like crazy! so6

I’ve been sketching “pets” lately. (I hate the word pet. It makes me feel like I’m putting them beneath me.) My aunt sends me pictures of her furry friends all the time so I decided to start sketching them for practice. I learned to draw portraits using a grid to get the details exact. I still use this method when necessary but I am trying to get away from it for a majority of my work. In the same time, I feel like I take too long to finish pieces so I am also working on my speed.

The first friend I drew was Hank. He is absolutely adorable! After I drew him I wanted to do more, more, and more. So I kept going. I got through Gemma, KiKi, Sal, and Zak. My sister-in-laws birthday just passed so I also did Cooper. Cooper is her cat that recently passed away so I wanted to do something to honor him. I like to call these “Animal Shout Outs”. The title is a work in progress. I have a lot of fun doing these sketches though. I enjoy drawing different types of fonts so it also helps me improve that skill, as well. I have so many thoughts that I want to draw now and my hand is literally getting cramped on a daily basis. It’s great. I can’t stop. So I won’t. I’ll keep going until my hand falls off. Hopefully that is a long time from now. I have way to many ideas I need to get on paper first!

Until next time,

“If you want something, go get it. Period.”

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I haven’t finished Zak’s “shouts” yet.

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R.I.P. Cooper

 

 

 

Do It in the Dark!

Yep…I did it in the dark. I drew in my sketchbook with no lights on and it was crazy! (get your mind out of the gutter, perverts :P) I have a magical sketchbook entitled “Drawing is Magic” by John Hendrix. It is kind of like a guide book for artists. I have been trying to rediscover myself in hopes to improve my work.b1

One of the exercises is to take your book into a movie theater with you. Draw everything and anything you want to about the movie while your watching it. No flashlights, in the dark. At first I was like, “Eh, no problem. The light from the screen will be enough to draw under.”

Nope! In fact, I never really noticed how dark it actually gets in theaters when the movie starts. It was very difficult. I could not see anything on the paper. It was definitely a new experience. Some of my sketches I wasn’t even able to make out anything at the end. It was fun. It gave me the opportunity to draw and have no way to go back and correct myself. My lines were permanent and they were loose, wiggly, squiggly, and all over the place! Nothing made sense and nothing was perfect and I loved it!

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I feel like I skipped (or took for granted) a lot of the basics when it came to drawing. I have always had a great talent to draw exactly what I see. Because of this, I felt like a b11lot of beginner steps didn’t apply to me. Now that I have gotten to a certain point in my work I’ve realized that I couldn’t have made a worse choice. I could see a stiffness in my work. I had lost the “play” part of art. My child-like view was erased. The view of creating anything and no matter how it comes out, it’s still awesome…because I made it. I had become too concerned with perfection. Exactness. Precise detail. Art is suppose to be free and fluent. Not rigid and exact. There is no right or wrong way to do something (especially with art) and for some reason when we become adults we forget that. We get set in our ways and then that’s it. No room for error but to err is human, right? So why are we all so worried about being perfect.

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I’m not anymore. I’ve realized I am who I am and I am a lot happier when I can be that person everywhere. I’m not perfect. Very, very far from but I don’t care if people see that anymore. I’ve always been taught to uphold a certain image. It wasn’t an image of me though and that just becomes too stressful. I make mistakes and I have to try things over and over before I can get them right. (I can relate, Charlie Brown!) I’m a mess. I’m a freak and I’m shouting it. Who cares? We’re all freaks, we just have to be honest with the world and it makes it easier to be honest with ourselves.

This exercise gave me the opportunity to be care-free. No stress, no strife. I couldn’t worry about making my drawing look exactly like the image I was seeing. It was relaxing to know I didn’t have to create a spectacular masterpiece and if it came out like childish scribbles in the end, it’s ok. Not b10everything is perfect and I no longer feel obligated to appear so. I still love my doodles and they make me smile when I see them. I had so much fun doing this experiment. The lesson was great and if your an artist I would recommend giving it a try!

On a side note…

I went to Scotia Cinema with my husband and son to see “The Peanuts Movie” (if you hadn’t noticed). I won’t give anything away but it was a great movie. I had so much fun with my guys and it was a great day. I’m thankful I brought my sketchbook so I can always remember how much fun it was. I think a lot of that came out in my sketches. The fact that I could doodle funny cartoons while hanging out with my family….for me, that’s perfection right there! 😉

Until next time,

“Step one: Forget everything you ever knew about yourself.”

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“If you only do what you can, then you will never be more than what you are.”
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Another page in my sketchbook that I enjoy!
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You have been warned!

 

“Peanuts” characters referenced for the sketches in this blog are the original design of the late Charles M. Shulz. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists of all time.