Oh yeah! This thursday eve at 6pm is the artist reception for the AIMAE show. This is a show that exhibits small artworks that are mailed in from anywhere in the world! I am half excited about it, but mostly nervous, because Granville Island is so heavily touristed. I mean, it's so busy there that it can be hard to stick around for too long. Luckily, there are some nice, quiet ocean spots to rest and watch the kelp. And there's an art supply store that usually isn't too bad. And a gem store. And a lot of ice cream. Because it's a random weekday, unfortunately, I might have to go it alone, and I don't do well on Granville Island alone. Wish me luck.
And if you're in the area, come check it out! Finally, something you can do on Granville Island for free :D
May lost its charm pretty quick! Things feel a little bit like walking through a thick sludge, these days. It's probably a regular thing for humans, to worry about nothing no matter what. I should be grateful. Should I be grateful? Should I feel like I'm working enough? Should I feel like I'm working too much? Should I feel like a lazy slob? Who knows!
Mermay is still in progress, but perhaps only because I feel obligated to do so? Maybe I have abandoned sunday youtube videos, maybe not. Maybe I will get the hang of my day job, or maybe I'm just getting used to the management style. I feel like a bag of loose change being sorted in a machine that doesn't quite work right.
There is a severe detachment happening.
This month's patreon theme is food! I have not purchased as much snacks/exotic fruit as I thought I might (and maybe that's a good thing??). There's still nearly half a month left to pick up the pace! It's kind of fun to do a watercolour study every month, and I guess the challenge of that is to twist it in SOME way to integrate some different process to keep it fresh.
This week I am FINALLY starting this intimidating commission. Why is it intimidating? I don't know! I'm doing this one fairly large because it is a generous commission and I want to put everything I've got into it. It's not like I haven't painted this exact garden before. It's not like I've never painted cats before. It's not like I don't have OODLES OF TIME these days in which to do it!
Savour these moments. Even if the moment itself seems so precarious and lonely.
I know I just did a whole ATC thing, but the idea of doing tiny mermaggies for Mermay2018 was irresistible. Mermaids is such a trend these days, and it hasn't really tempted me much until now. I'm posting these daily on instagram (so far), and will do a weekly round up on youtube.
My current mood for May: really, it's my favourite seasonal month of the year so I've been psyched. However, I have also learned that it is considered a "depression" season, which is really surprising! At least in my location, it has nice weather, wonderful floral scents, extremely looonnnggg days.
Admittedly, I feel like crap in the psychology department. So what else is new? I have a long history of feeling worthless which will never go away (don't we all), and this combination of
A: having a lot of days off all of a sudden
B: making no money in a world that values money over everything else
C: feeling unfit and scared in a new part time job full of passionate leader-types and ending each shift on a downbeat of failure
Has been a real damn drag. My personal philosophy is that feelings come and go and that when I feel like this, it's just a matter of waiting it out.
(though sometimes waiting it out turns into staying at a bad job for 9 years and having zero memory of my entire 20s so maybe don't trust me, heh)
In other news, on Patreon we are doing FOOD! for May's sketching theme. I can't imagine not injecting colour into food drawings though, so we'll see how it goes. Might as well since I've got all of this time. Come practice tasty snacks with us!
Where has April gone? This month I prematurely severed ties with my convenient part-time job as mass layoffs were scheduled for May. I've found something new in a small cake shop, which is also extremely "part time" (so yay!) but is also interesting in that I will be working in what was technically my educational "field" way back when. There is a scant possibility that my life is about to be enriched in a genuinely soulful way, so I'm trying to keep my head up through this discouraging training process to get there.
But it also means that I've been flipping between two jobs this month. One which is full of anxiety and mystery, the other full of boredom, sadness and a twinge of guilt for leaving early. Technically three jobs, if you count the bounty of artist activity in the corner of the living room (which I do)!
This month, I somewhat foolishly signed up for a huge artist trading card swap, rationalizing it with the promise that I will have an easy source of material for videos. Which really was a blessing while I was so busy.
I also had a small surge in art commissions, which naturally only happens when I am working full time! Heh. I love making art for the promise of future return, but I REALLY love making art when it is my actual job to do so. It is much more challenging/scary to make art that exists in someone else's imagination. You could say it is more of a collaborative effort. I have a custom pet art listing in the shop for pricing purposes, though I've gone beyond pet commissions!
Surprisingly (to me), my crow and gift painting "Return" was accepted into the AIMAE show! What is notable about this (to me), is that this show is taking place at the Federation Gallery on Granville Island! If you've never been to Vancouver, Granville Island is this little touristy spot under a bridge that considers itself to be a little art haven. Emily Carr art school is located there, among the small handmade-goods shops, food market, theatre, art supply shops and an awful lot of foot traffic! It's a far cry from the quiet little art galleries I go to locally. It's going to be a blast. Register for the artist reception on thursday, May 31 (it's free)!
Finally, it's been tough to keep up with everything that is happening while still trying to fit in sketching for the Patreon sketchclub. It's still the art that I most look forward to making. I'm very glad I got to do a theme that is easy to sketch (people and portraiture), but due to time constraints, I pretty much only got to hands and feet. Today, I am definitely doing some drawings of friends, but there are so many more hands/feet photos to play with!
Psst! You get to use my photo references too, if you are in the group!
The first post or so on Patreon are public to give curious folk a look into what we're doing. This time I posted images in stages and I thought that I would share them here on the blog. I'm drawing my social media icon.
Rough linework... It doesn't exactly match up in size, but oh well. Drawing faces can be scary because when you add the lines and creases, it can seemingly add 30 years to the face! lol
Choosing lines I want to stick with by tracing over them a little harder...
Using a paper blending tool to add a flat middle tone. My blender has some weird edges so it looks really splotchy. I used the kneaded eraser to pull back out the highlights on the edges.
Hatched out all the darks and for fun, added a sparkly green background with the coliro colours!
I kind of like this format of taking progress photos, and I'm sure it takes some mystery out of the process which might actually be helpful too. Maybe I will switch to this format permanently? At least throughout the portrait month, it will be good.
Follow this portrait sketch series on Patreon!
This month on Patreon, we're doing some people-sketching! In high school, people is pretty much ALL I ever drew. Well, anime-type people anyway. I guess I got sick of it. Or I was overwhelmed by the ethics of drawing someone's likeness and then sharing it. Or I got tired of being asked "so who is this?" or "What show is this from?" It can be a very complicated issue.
The purpose of this adventure is study and practice. At the very least, I plan to sketch a lot of hands and feet, anyway. If you need an excuse to finally sit down with a pencil and try mastering some fussy body parts, do join us!
Last week was so intense and this week is a very slow week. This week, I do find it difficult to imagine myself out of work. When I imagine myself having my dream lifestyle, I imagine myself as being another person entirely! I do miss human contact when I'm at home.
The motivation is very low this week. I procrastinated so much on my crow painting that I planned to do for AIMAE (a show which is "gift" themed). A few suggested reasons:
- it's too typically "me", and maybe I am getting bored of me
- because of the clientele, there is extra pressure to create something that is traditionally "good" art or maybe it will flow into the Edgy, Youthful, Trendy scene, neither of which I fit comfortably into. Plus, there are so many fees, that I would have to spend an extra long time on this piece so that after the deductions, it would even be worth it.
But that's done. And I have a personal painting started for the cat cubesat series (for which I really need a better name!). There are so many possibilities for the cubesat, that despite my lack of motivation, I am definitely still swimming with ideas.
Is this how my "low tide" of art motivation going to be from now on? Because I'm feeling pretty lucky in that regard. I remember blogging like this just a few years ago when an art crash would have me sitting around making no art for WEEKS! For months, maybe.
Having hard personal deadlines, and working in different "series" and themes (whether it's specific projects, or styles, or media or even different types of hobbies)... it's quite transformative and you should try it.
The major downside to giving someone else complete control over your schedule in exchange for minimum wage, is that sometimes bad decisions happen behind closed doors, and no one thinks to ask if you are okay with working a 6-day weekend.
So I've been just GONE for a week, sleep deprived and can't remember what I was doing before all of that. Also, just under a week is an awful lot of time for me, as I have 3 video deadlines every week, a calendar of submission deadlines to keep track of, and nevermind personal stuff!
Well I survived and I'm back! My original plan was just to worry about video editing and patreon sketches on worknights, but wow, that's just not productive enough for six days. Usually it's about three, so slowing down is okay. I didn't get as much sketching done though, as the sleepiness compounds every day. My bad!
Today is a day off, finally! And it is refreshing to be Down to Work. No time to procrastinate today, I was at the desk by 9am! It's halfway through the month and I need a real-time patreon video to go up! I don't have a video finished for youtube tomorrow, either! I need some artwork to send to a couple of upcoming juried shows. I just got a commission request last night that is going to have to be Suddenly Prioritized. It's a busy day, but I'm LOVING it. Now if only I could do it full time... hmmm....
Also, I might not be unemployed this spring after all. It's a stretch, and not a very wise one, but it would be nice to take one thing off my plate at the moment.
The weather has been suddenly warm this weekend and I haven't gotten around to cleaning up the balcony yet - aaah! What an inconvenient time to have such an unpredictable work schedule. I haven't even started to file taxes yet!
Guys, Patreon has given me LIFE! The notion of receiving pledges from (relative) strangers in the trust that I will release enough *stuff* to make the pledge worth it is a terrifying one. Especially for someone with bad self esteem, generally. There is a new pressure for excellence on Patreon, that isn't present on youtube. Filming and editing videos for youtube is very one-sided, and it's easy to fall into a routine and not worry if I'm having an "off" week because the content is free so there is no guilt about it. Apart from the regulars, it can feel like putting my art out into a void of sorts. There are nearly 5000 subscribers - 4800 of them who don't watch any videos (??), and 195 of them who do watch but don't interact. I love it, but it's very mysterious.
I'm so glad I decided to do a monthly theme, as it's easy to keep everything sorted between "what is public" and "what belongs to patrons". Revealing a few things here and there is important to entice more people to come around, and will be a slower process for me than most. Regardless, just having a few people in the beginning sketch and share (!) has been a real delight. It's no longer "one-sided", and I hope more people will join in soon just so I can see what all of you are up to! I've sold so many sketchbooks and always wondered what could be going on inside of them, wherever they are.
My friend once told me she had a random vision of me being a teacher, and have I ever thought about it? Not really. I never envied my teachers. But the more I interact with Patreon, the more I step into a teacher role. Or at least a host of some art study group.
While I haven't sat and sketched as frequently as I'd like, I can already see and am surprised that this Patreon sketchbook is going to be my favourite sketchbook of all time. And as of this end of February, it seems like only a small handful of people will get to see it.
Things I have posted in January:
- Photos from the patreon sketchbook
- A few photo references that patrons may use without worrying about copyright
- Scavenger hunt list (for sketching outdoors)
- Art prompt
- Slow video for people who want to see my process in real time
- Printable downloads for anyone who wants to decorate their sketchbooks
- Poll for patrons to vote on the next monthly theme
- Sketches mounted on stiff matboard to mail to some patrons
- A small original painting available to one patron
And I still plan to add a few short video clips of watercolour techniques, or whatever else I can think of.
Don't miss out! Participate here: https://www.patreon.com/yellowmelle
I haven't been around on the blog much lately! Between youtube deadlines, I've been nervously working on my new Patreon page!
If you don't know what Patreon is, it's a reliable website where people can pledge a little money toward their favourite creative people. Creative people do a lot of unpaid labour, especially in the beginning, and sometimes you want to appreciate them in a monetary way, but can't shell out enough for a piece of art, or an online class, or a music album. Patreon lets you commit as little as $1 a month, for as many (or few) months as you want.
In exchange, you receive small rewards for your patronage, so it is very much like a subscription!
On my page, I am motivating myself to do more sketching! My hope is that we can get together as a little private art club - sharing each others' sketches, interacting more... I love posting videos on youtube, but the real rewarding part is the part where I get to meet like-minded people. It's hard to find close, artistic friends!
It's also hard to carve out good time for all of this extra stuff. I would love to be able to do this full-time someday.
Please consider joining us! There will be slow videos, mailings, art prompts and scavenger hunts in the mix!
Hello! I'm Melissa, and here you'll find some behind-the-scenes footage of an artful life. Won't you join me?