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One week of strange visions

I’m over 1/6th through my 60 day challenge. How has it been? Oh it has been a rocky road. I always knew that x day challenges are a back breaker for me. Posts won’t come in the same time everyday, some days I won’t get to draw anything and there will be too many merges for the days lost. But, I didn’t give up on it altogether. I’ve found a perfect hour to paint or draw. Right after lunch.

But this challenge has been so weird I’m surprised at my daily visions.

I did these digitalized black pencil drawings of mountains for days 5 & 6.

Digital art of white and black streaks on a white background.

And this strange field for day 7. Again, a digital artwork. I liked the negatives I created without assigning any meaning to it. Just a few possible visions. At this point I think I was refreshing my mind for new images I could create. And next? A canoe.

Soft pastel drawing of a canoe stuck in snow.

I was truly starving for inspiration at this point. And I turned to pastels, which is quite a change for me! I drew this piece inspired by John Harney’s beautiful photograph.

And for days 9, 10 & 11, I tried painting the same image in my head with different color palettes.

So far, I’ve found this challenge very rewarding. I think I’m learning more because of how much I want to create in a specific time frame. My favorite work so far is the watercolor painting from day 9. I just love the subtle pink and varied brushstrokes. But I’m also daydreaming of that canoe.

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Flower bouquet

I think it’s good to take a step back every once in a while. Like when you’re a child and you’re window shopping with your grown ups, you stop at the toy store because they have something you didn’t see last week.

What about the grown ups? Where do we stop? Flower shops, cafes, designer stores, art studios, jewelry stores…the list goes on forever. I know I’d stop at them all, but a florist could take my entire day telling me about which flower I should keep in my vase. This is that stroke of color after three days of sketching.

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daily

Ice rink surface

That’s it. I wanted to ice skate but I couldn’t, so I felt like touching the surface of an ice rink. See you tomorrow!

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daily

A day in the park

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Central Park or even seen snow because of where I live. But I always enjoy watching videos of children and puppies playing in the snow. This year, it’s been extraordinarily virtual, but in a good way. I’m glad such an option is still feasible.

For the second day of my 60 day challenge, I’ve chosen to continue the black pencil streak and see where it takes me. Unsurprisingly, it took me to Central Park. There were children with parents, dogs, the elderly, and lots of snow. I also went to the ice rink to skate a little bit. But then I got so tired I fell into the pond.

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daily

First day

I imagined the first day of my 60 day challenge to be the hardest. I announced yesterday in my recent post that I will be doing a challenge to help me pass time in peace. It’s been difficult focusing on life and keeping track of time, let alone painting on a fixed schedule. But I found this challenge to be on a good start.

As I said in my post, the first artwork will be a black pencil drawing inspired by the Fauves. I’m not sure if it matches the picture I had in my head, but it is inspired by the things I’ve been experimenting with lately. And there is even one more thing that will add to its quirkiness: it’s digital. I broke almost all the rules there were when I began playing with fauvism in watercolor. But the way I see it, fauvism is all about breaking the rules. So why not go back to the basics to redefine the rules?

Here is the digital drawing I made.

Digital black pencil drawing of a river, or a road with rocks on and around it.
River or road, Multimedia, 5×5, 2021.

I’ve been realizing how much I paint and draw the things I don’t particularly like when I’m out of the picture. It’s like my hand automatically designs skies and bodies of water. It’s not that I’m against painting nature; I just don’t see myself in the pictures I create. And I’d like to be able to enjoy every scene I’m making. So this time, I thought of expanding the possibilities of the vision. Is this a digital demonstration of a river? Are the black areas rocks on a road? I may never know. But I feel like I want to dive into the drawing. Don’t you?

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Blog daily

Passing time

Over the years I’ve been quite reluctant about X-Day Challenges. Not for what they did, but for the commitment it required. It seemed like too much sometimes. I’d ask myself, ‘what if I don’t feel like painting one day’ or ‘how will I squeeze in a painting during my finals.’ Always an excuse like that, nothing substantial that made sense to me. Which is why I had this unknown icky feeling about challenges.

I have two goals that align with a 60-day challenge: First, I’m hoping to juggle a few art styles at the same time. Second, I’d like something to occupy my mind as 60 days are going by. I have a move coming up (very excited!), but moving can be quite stressful especially during these unprecedented times. So I’m taking the time that I will be patiently waiting to create something meaningful and impactful for my future. I’m looking forward to take a glance at the challenge and reflect on it when I’m on to something new.

To shorten this post, I’m thinking of a broad collection I will create in these 60 days. And I will post the theme of the artwork a day ahead. For today, I have painted an inaugural piece in honor of me finally committing to a challenge, which is the artwork below.

Watercolor painting of the river merging into the trees with fish and bushes surrounding them.
Intermission, Watercolor on paper, 3.5×5.5, 2021

If you’ve been sticking around for a while, you’re bound to know my obsession with Fauvism. It started with small and round brushstrokes of vibrant colors and now it’s becoming more linear and structured. I’m not defining my work, but I’m reflecting on what’s changing. This is exactly my goal for the challenge. In this painting, I added two colors to my primary palette; ochre and green. But the arrangement is similar to the other Fauvist-inspired paintings I’ve done. I’m trying to give my paintings more objects.

For the first official day of the challenge which is tomorrow, I will be going back to black pencils. I’m still not sure what’s gonna appear on the paper, but it’ll be similar to my fauvist paintings. Black pencils and fauvism; crazy!

I hope you’ll stay around for the challenge and perhaps you could send me your work if you’d like to be part of the challenge!

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The basics of an art block

Every effort to keep art alive in our lives is worth mentioning. I see keeping a micro art journal as the equivalent of writing a poem in the notes app. I think those poems aren’t appreciated enough. But neither are the pages of an art journal meant for subway rides and laundromats. Personally, mine comes out of the closet whenever larger paintings just don’t work.

So what do I think of these pages and how do they help me?

I’ve been guilty of not revisiting these tiny paintings after I’m over my art block. It may be because I have various ways of getting over an art block; sketching with pencils and charcoals, doing digital illustrations, attending virtual art galleries, watching documentaries of well-known artist, just to name a few. Yet that doesn’t leave out the instances I need to express some color in a jiffy. And that color needs to be laid out in a small piece of paper.

It doesn’t restrict me from pouring my ideas onto the paper; it gives me a window to look through. That window shows me all the things I needed to see during my art block. It’s like following rain drops and then falling into a river, but then realizing that the river is actually an ocean. And when you get out of the ocean, you see that you are in space. Because not every blue space is water.

Ocean and Fish, Watercolor on paper, 3.5×5.5, 2021

But this one is! And I just went with the feeling I had at the moment. Now if you’ve been with me on my “bubble journey” you know I’ve been exploring Fauvism, heavily influenced by Henri Matisse. Here is a recent post where I went full on Fauvist style. I used primary colors because I wanted to express myself clearly without the interruption of colors and the thought of mixing them. I went a step further in this second painting below.

The Park, Watercolor on paper, 3.5×5.5, 2021

Here’s a broader color palette, and more to look at. Brushstrokes of different kinds, various hues of limited colors; all things done in accordance to my mood. I say, just go with it. Even if you want nothing under your brush but a napkin, go with it. You can frame anything that means something to you. As long as it pushes you forward and brings art with you in every step of you way.

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Revivals

Pierre Boncompain’s flowers living in the modern age

There’s always a freshness to a vase of flowers trapped in a painting. Sometimes it’s the colors, or its the petals, the leaves, the vase, the strokes. Everything can make a difference in the scenery of a flower being displayed, even at the slightest amount. But this particular painting of Pierre Boncompain is one I’d like to analyze.

Pierre Boncompain, Valence, 1938

I’d like to stick with the color palette. It’s a light and monochromatic palette that plays with the hues of the same colors. But the contrast is there. The yellow flowers easily dominate the frame against the white vase and cream surface.

Now what would I do to Boncompain’s flowers if I were to keep them today, and trap them in my own painting? First, I’d take them out of the vase. Not that flowers aren’t in vases anymore, I’d just like to see flowers in petal to stem yellow. What would I do for the background? An unclean contrast. I think the pollution of today would have a place in my painting. And that’s pretty much it. I have a background with a bouquet of flowers; tulips that is.

I did this drawing using soft pastels. I wanted to keep some the contrast between the white color and the yellow from Boncompain’s work. So I left some of the paper untouched.

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Revivals

Reviving the blank distance between things: the appreciation of a canvas

I’ve embarked on my bubble journey toward Fauvism. It’s easy to get lost in the still life you can create within an art form. I’ve been very appreciative of keeping the white paper untouched with watercolors throughout the years. However, Fauvism has made it even more interesting.

As I’m heavily influenced by Henri Matisse, I’ve spent some time studying his work and the distances between things. The white canvas peaks through the colors stunningly. This reminds me of Paul  Cézanne’s art; the importance of what is left out. But that’s a different story. Henri Matisse doesn’t leave much out, he accentuates it with the white spaces around objects (in addition to the deep blue outlines). For now, I like focusing on the distance between what is portrayed and what is the significance of it.

I’ve been so used to merging objects and landscapes together that sometimes I’ve had to let go of the white spaces I could keep in watercolor paintings. But my experience of painting in Fauvist style has changed that. Everything is in its own place, not touching what’s next to it.

A watercolor painting of a stream in a field of trees.
The Stream, Watercolor on paper, 5 x7, 2021

I did this painting inspired by John Harney’s photograph. He is a wonderful photographer based in Connecticut. I’ve been leaning toward larger areas of colors and less brushstrokes with less water and more color. The presence of white paper makes me appreciate the vibrant colors even more.

This makes me think of the next chapter I will be going toward with Fauvism. Do colors get bolder within this art style?

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Grayscale

I pass time with grayscale moments. Like when I’m waiting for my hair to grow back, I draw something like this that depicts my cut hair. It may come back. Not just my hair, but those moments that seemed simple when they were the present. It will eventually, but I like to think my hair will grow faster.