Imagination, Not-Imagination

“What do you think is going to happen?!” my daughter asks me when I express anxiety about her traveling alone in Europe.

“I’m not even going to begin to tell you the things my imagination can come up with, ” I answer.

Today I have changed my mind. It is not my imagination that provides terrifying scenarios. It is the news, movies I’ve seen, fears expressed by other people. These things fill my head when I start to worry.

Imagination, on the other hand, is a positive. It’s what creates solutions to problems. When fears make your heart thump, your shoulders stiffen and your breath stop, a little imagination can ease the pain. First, you imagine angels and allies all around. You imagine everyone safe and sound. If you must, you imagine heroic and clever escapes. You imagine the day you see each other at the airport after months apart. You imagine eating breakfast together when you’re 10 years older.

Imagination, Not-Imagination

Not-cute Faces with Adobe Draw

At work I saw that my coworker was creating some graphics of people, but they were a little too cute for the audience. With my new Apple pencil and an iPad, I thought I’d see what I could come up with. So keep in mind: I’m new to drawing on the iPad, and new to Adobe Draw. Here are two beginnings I made, not in any way cleaned up. Adobe Draw is quite fun! And sharing it to Illustrator…oh my gosh! It’s fast and amazing! My jaw dropped. Seriously.

Photoshop painting

It’s hard to know how to even get started with software as powerful as Photoshop, but I’m determined to learn how to paint with it. I’ve been working in Illustrator so much that I’m having trouble remembering Photoshop again. It’s time to refresh my memory.

Here is a drawing I did (digitally) in October. I just added a new layer of color to it. I’ve got a lot to learn, but I’m having fun as I go.

 

Thoughts about What Should Be vs What Is

Two things: writing like you think writing is supposed to be and creating artwork like you think it’s supposed to look. It is very hard to catch yourself being inauthentic, because really, where is the line between trying to make it good and making it in your own way? I suppose some people call this your voice or, in the case of visuals, your style. That is a very complicated thing, isn’t it? Because when we share what really sounds like us, or what really comes from us visually, it is imperfect, just like we are. Who wants to show how imperfect they are? And yet, I’m just beginning to see that those imperfections are what makes it interesting and unique and here we are struggling and struggling to make things perfect before we share our work with others.

I don’t have an answer as to when to share. I mean, there is that quote —who said it?— about a painting never actually being finished, but just stopping in interesting places. I’m beginning to understand this.

Now design —that’s a different thing. Or is it?

 

Just Do, Don’t Think.

I cleaned up my drawing table and have a stack of cut-up Panera boxes from a work lunch a while back. (I hate the amount of garbage and waste one lunch can produce.) I’ve decided to assign some parameter or limit to what I’ll create on them. The parameter is there has to be a man and a woman. That’s all. Not having some parameter before is why this stack of blank cardboard has been sitting here so long.

So, make and move on. And don’t think.

This is called “Women Point the Way to the Future.” (Funny how sometimes it’s very clear what the title is. This title was just there in my head when I finished. Most of my pieces have no titles unless I force one onto them.)

A Little Spring Break

I was lucky this spring break: I got to spend some time in Portland, Oregon. On the way there, I had a layover in Los Angeles. Once back in my town, I went to my favorite coffee shop. Although I didn’t do nearly as much drawing as I’d have liked, it was a good break and I have these two sketches from the beginning of the week and the end.

one-line pen sketch


Pen Sketch

As always, excuse the poor quality of the image. I take these photos with my imperfect camera in my imperfectly lighted studio.

Getting Political

I would say that I’m about the most non-political person around. I really don’t like spending time on the news and I hate politics and greedy, power-hungry people. But it’s hard to ignore politics these days. My fear and outrage are strong enough that I thought I should do something through art. I didn’t really know what to do, so I just started with an image of a certain public figure that’s been in the news a lot.

Significant Object Project

I read a book (I forget which) a while ago about de-cluttering your house. The problem of objects with sentimental value was discussed and the author suggested taking a picture of them and then getting rid of them. (The ones you can, anyway.)

I liked the idea of having the picture, and I don’t know if it was my idea or the author’s to write the story of where the object came from and why it was significant, but I decided that that’s what I should do with the things in my house. Well, as good as the idea was, I didn’t do it. Then recently, I had a mini-revelation: I could draw the objects. That way, I get some drawing in and I have something to share with my children about the significance of the objects around us. (I have not gotten rid of any of them!)

I’ve just finished Object #13.

handmadebird steiffanimals