One of my friends commissioned me for a few drawings the other day. He wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted so he sent me a large selection of pictures for inspiration. One of the pictures was a fascinating tattoo:
After seeing this tattoo, I knew this was closest to my style. I was working on a 8*10 canvas and initially intended to go with black and white only. After mostly finishing the piece, I remembered my gold India ink and tried it to see if it would work on canvas. I was quite pleased with how well it played on the rough canvas. I added the gold accents and the piece was done. I am really liking this geometric style more and more with each project.
These fish were one of the first coffee paintings I ever did. I no longer remember exactly how it all began. I have always had a particular interest in sepia photography and it occurred to me that perhaps with coffee tones could emulate that style. After my first couple tries I realized that while producing interesting colors, the coffee I had was unable to produce any dark browns. I get some dark roast coffee out of my cupboard and ran it through the machine twice. Suddenly I was able to good a much wider range of contrast.
After I produced a couple of coffee paintings, it quickly became apparent that this was the kind of art people wanted to see. I received overwhelming responses on my Instagram page (@joel_artaccount shameless plug) and had over 4000 followers a couple weeks after I began posting coffee paintings. For some reason however, after producing around 10 coffee paintings I seemed to lose my desire to create coffee paintings and became fascinated with learning how to use watercolors instead.
I will do another post later of some of my other coffee paintings. In the next couple weeks I am hoping to sit down with a couple cups of coffee and try again to see if inspiration strikes me.
I have a 10 hour drive today returning from Ohio and I have been learning a little lesson about how deeply my art is or isn’t based in creativity.
I’m sitting in a bumpy car with a sketchbook trying to draw some sea creatures from memory. At first I was concerned that the piece would be unappealing because of the sloppiness and difficulty of drawing in the car. I quickly realized this was not the problem. I was much more limited by drawing from memory than I was limited be technical skill difficulties.
I have only drawn fish a couple times. So when I tried to draw a couple here I completely botched it and hated the drawing. Not because the car made it sloppy, but because I don’t have the details of a fish sufficiently memorized in my brain.
I moved on to a squid which I have drawn a few more times. I was immediately more happy with this drawing because I was much more confident with the anatomy of this creature.
To test my theory I moved on to a creature I have studied and drawn more than any other (perhaps aside from the human form) Sure enough, the limitations of the bumpy road were hardly significant at all.
How is this useful to me? I spend a lot of time honing my skills, working on my pen work and my painting technique. After today I am strongly aware that I am being more limited by my creativity than my skill. I have spent so much time getting my skill ahead of my creativity that I haven’t taken time for a while to study the form of things and learn to draw them. That’s good enough of a goal for me for the next few months, a challenge to notice and internalize the complexity of things. To focus less on skill and more on creativity.
Here is a drawing I did this morning in Ohio. I have really been enjoying the scribble art lately. I used some incandescent black ink with a dip pen on top of the smaller scribbles with a 005 micron pen. It’s hard to see the shimmer in the ink but it’s a nice effect.
Incandescent watercolors attempt #1
A couple weeks ago I picked up some incandescent watercolors at Hobby Lobby. I rushed home thinking of all the things I could do with them. Of course when I sat down I only wanted to draw my very favorite brainless creature. The watercolors aren’t quite as shiny as I had anticipated, but under the right light they do have somewhat of a glimmer.
If you look very closely under the bottom point of the triangle I had to white out some black splashes from my dip pen I was using for the black. Oops.
Combining scribble drawing with watercolor and geometric shape imposition is looking a lot more intriguing than I had anticipated so I may have to investigate further soon!
Favorite part of this piece is where the jellyfish stringy things (if you know the scientific term hit me up) creep around the triangle pulling the shape into the drawing instead of it being a separate entity.
A painting along with some rambling
I politely welcome you to skip all the words below and take a look my recent painting, if you like it then perhaps if you have time you can come back and read my post.
I am currently halfway through my journey from Ames Iowa to Cincinnati Ohio. Given a few hours of silence, my thoughts have become more introspective than I typically allow them to be. It occurred to me that art itself is not the thing I love. I do enjoy creating art, I enjoy appreciating the art of others as well. However, I believe the real reason I create art is for it to touch the life of someone else. I acknowledge this is cheesy, but let me explain what I mean because I am only just now learning this.
When I finish an art piece I have no real sense of accomplishment. I see it and am content with it, (or it would be in the garbage) but I do not feel that I have created anything yet. When someone sees it and appreciates it or contacts me about it, then I begin to feel like I have created something. Finally, when a piece is purchased and finds a home, the thought art created by my hand hanging in someone’s home being appreciated, that is when I love my art. It is not until then that I would even describe my relationship with art as something I even “love” to do.
Upon this realization, I now realize that if I want to get a sense of self fulfillment out of art I need it to speak to people. In order for this to happen, people need to know why I do what I do. From now on I intend to keep a regular blog. I want to go back through some of my pieces and think about what they meant to me. More importantly, going forward, I want art to be more than mindless doodles but to put my heart into it. This is as much for my own progress as an artist as it is for the readers appreciation.
To anyone who has read to this point, I am extremely grateful. I am not particularly eloquent nor have I ever had any sort of special affinity with writing. I am doubtlessly making countless linguistic errors and I hope you can continue to suffer through with me and see what I have to share.
Here is a watercolor I completed a couple days ago. Enjoy