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Rain.

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The rain has been amazing. Days and days (especially nights) of pounding rain, and then spells of bright blue sky that foster a false sense of dryness only to be quickly pushed aside for another downpour. As I noted at Facebook... I don't wear a raincoat, use an umbrella, or own rubber boots. The moral? Wool (sweater coat, gauntlets, and hat) gets really wet!

During a momentary dry lull yesterday afternoon, we were outside after school when a first-grader (not mine) decided to give me worldly advice regarding his sense that my son's interest in video games is unhealthy. The conversation (so odd and so clearly echoing things he has to have heard a parent say) spins in my head today as I think about the unfinished CMP notes on my other computer. I'd hoped to have that show out... earlier this week. And yet it is still fragmented... there are 'windows' in it... and yet they are blurry... my foothold seems like a phantom, lighting up briefly so that I run off in pursuit only to get there and find myself standing, looking, uncertain, and just a bit confused by what I ran after.

The photo is a phone photo. It's proof that there's something happening... something unexpected, maybe.... but something to which I'm both holding and moving. There's more than just that, but the idea contained in that photo is one I'm coveting today. Seeing all this rain and chill, and knowing that Spring Break starts today, I would love to curl up in a warm house with happy kids, yet another cup of tea, and read and make art and eat fun food. Somehow I don't think it will be that easy or peaceful or smooth!

The photo was snapped just now at my desk. I wasn't really sketching or drawing amid all the clutter! No... I was doing that last night nearing midnight and not at a desk! But there's something ironic about seeing it plopped down on top of the chaos of papers, budget concerns, the coming tax deadline, work notes, and so on.

Working.

Working.

I fear I may never get well! But, I have a deadline coming up, and deadlines are good things, especially in January when I tend to battle the doldrums (even when I'm not feeling under the weather!). So, I'm working... and I love it.

Rachel's Moon


Many of you probably "know" Rachel. If you follow her blog or her twitter or her Facebook stream, she's got her finger on the pulse of a range of cool and edgy craft--which is important in her role with Craftzine.com. As a long-ago listener of the Creative Mom Podcast, Rachel emailed me about her "High Texture Hand Embroidery of the Moon" which is up for voting in an Etsy contest right now.

Rachel has made it to round 2 in the 2010 Etsy/Nasa Space Craft Contest, which means the piece is up for public voting! The winning piece might wind up on board one of the final space shuttle flights.

If you follow Rachel, you know she's got a bit of a thing for space and astronomy! This piece of art combines her passions. As she told me, there's "soul" in every stitch. It's a wonderful piece, and I hope you take a look--and vote!

Rachel's put together a number of resources related to this piece:

Life's Procrastination: Colored Pencil

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Unless you know me very well, and very few do, I keep a lot (or most) sort of buried. But this morning I've taken a coffee break from work and browsed my way around Amazon, starting at what point? I can't even remember what led me down the colored pencil path; I didn't start there or with that intent. But there is medical stuff (again) going on in my house today. Most of my days are somehow touched in this way, but not all of them involve moments that are clearly life-changing. So, I browse... and I see all of this:


Don't forget - other than with fabric, where I'm completely at the other end of the color spectrum, I work mostly/mainly/almost always in black and white.

Do I wish I could buy all of these books? Not really. Probably only one of them would be "the" book. But I wish I could thumb through them all! And I'm inspired just to see all the covers.

And maybe I wish for the time to become the person who could have these books and use them.

Do I wish I could turn back time? Pretty often.

(On other color fronts, I'm looking at pastel pencils to inspire my once-a-week pastels artist to do more pastels at home. I thought the 'pencil' variety might interest him.)

Artful Blogging - Winter 2011

I'm excited to have a drawing shown in the Winter 2011 issue of Artful Blogging. They've included an interview with Karen of Creative Therapy, and a few of our pieces of work are shown. Cool!

http://www.stampington.com/html/artful_blogging_winter11.html

What's Up with the Warning?

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In planning to head "home" with my boys for a few days, I faced the reality that my blankbook is at an end. I thought ahead enough to consider ordering one, but then I thought maybe I could get a kid to go to Flax with me. The days of camp, however, have been hectic schedule-wise and long. So, yesterday, in between one pick-up early and drop-off at art and the other pick-up, I ran into Flax just to get a journal. They were out of what I wanted, so I thought I'd get the same size in a Moleskine this time. I had it in hand as I grabbed the other essentials (new Pitt S just in case, a bottle of rapidograph ink, etc). I was trying to pick out a smaller (though bigger than mine) sketch book for the oldest to take. His is so big... And then I noticed the warnings on the Moleskine displays... huh? Warning signs for cancer causing substances. Huh? I admit, it gave me pause. I put back what I had and got the size I wanted in the Hand*Book, just the wrong orientation. But... health-safe, I assume. (By the way, Hand*Book has a new watercolor one out that has a linen colored cover and comes in three sizes including a very unusual narrow 'strip' size landscape one... really cool!)

Anyone else run into the warning?

Favorite Tools?

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I'll skip the preamble that might explain why I ask this... why I'm out looking... but I am curious if any of you have used Inktense colored pencils (by Derwent)... and what you think. On top of that, I'm curious what your favorite mediums or tools are for color... for many of you, I know, the answer will lie in paint. But not for all of you. What do you love and why?

Really, I'm mostly just curious.

Laugh Box

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Tonight was a different night. But last night, I read Calvin and Hobbes to two. We've read them all, I think, but I keep checking them out because in a pinch (and we are in a pinch often these days), it's the one thing almost guaranteed to get them both. As we cuddled together, three in a twin, a silly one got the best of them. They laughed and laughed, and the one on my right said, "I don't want to break my laugh box!"

That was quickly followed by the question, "Mama... can you die of laughing?"

When they both fell asleep, one on each side of me, I crawled out and left them there, the one immediately rolling to sidle up next to the other. And yes, I went back in after a cup of tea and sat in the floor and did the quickest of sketches. Just enough to remember the moment. Just enough to remember that sketching them - asleep - was how so much of this all started for me.

It seems like forever ago.

I wish all the nights were like last night.

Characterizing a Childhood

I've got another bit of pen and ink up this week at Creative Therapy 110. Less formal than recent pieces... but it's out there.

Window

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Pen and ink in response to Creative Therapy Catalyst #108. I tried several times, and the scan was bad each time. Frustrating!

This is one that didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped, though it's stronger, and the values are easier to read and distinguish between, in person. This is from a series of photos I had a friend take, all of which are important for me in capturing these days in this year in this life.

Childhood Tea

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I've got art live at Creative Therapy this week for Catalyst 105. Maybe it looks like I'm in a rut, but a quilt is not just a quilt is not just a quilt. This one was a challenge in many ways, and I've never seen this quilt in person so it was hard at times to figure out what was going on with the pattern I could see in the photo!

New Series

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This piece has been done for weeks, but it just finally went live at Creative Therapy today (#101). The second piece in this series is also done, and I've got the next one lined up, I think -- which reassures me that this time I've got my teeth hooked in a series that is perfect for me right now. The above is the first in a new series that I'm really excited about. I'm not sure how much I'll talk about it in the next CMP (146), which I'm hoping to record tonight. But I'm going to be asking for some help and soliciting some photos. This series brings into line several interests of mine when it comes to drawing. Let me know what you think -- at Facebook or at Flickr!

In Hand

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New art posted at Creative Therapy for #98.

The above drawing is not the one talked about in Episode 145 of the Creative Mom Podcast, but 145 is titled "In Hand." The piece above is related, for sure.

What 'nudge' works for you? What do you draw... for comfort?

Alone

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This piece is for Creative Therapy Catalyst 97. (There is a problem on the site with the text. The second paragraph with my art is not mine and not related to my art.)

I'll be talking a bit about this piece in the next Creative Mom Podcast. This seems to be part of an evolving set for right now.

No Man is an Island

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This watercolor is my response to the catalyst for Creative Therapy #72.

Our art is often inextricably linked to where we are and to what is happening in our days. Something we may see in our heads can evolve much differently when we begin to bring it to the page or canvas or fabric. Wisps of many quotes and adages came to mind this week as I thought about and worked on this piece. It was not an easy week and at some points, I considered submitting this art unfinished.

In the end, the piece is finished. It is softer than I think I envisioned it. It is different than it was in my head. It is a response and a capturing of a moment in time.

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