Tag Archives: get messy habit

What I made | 006

It’s been ages since I’ve shared what I made.  Grace and I spend plenty of time drawing things like “Dad with a stroller” and “Dad with shoes” and “Grace in a bed” and “Grace in a different bed” and “Baby Nick with a shoe” and “Mom in a bathing suit.”  My solo creative time, however, has been a bit limited lately.  Everything is a bit rushed, weird, slightly ugly, and mostly unfinished.

Oh, and I’ll spare you the bathing suit drawing.

WHAT I MADE | 006

thoughts become things

Materials used: Actual gouache (Holbein, jet black and Winsor and Newton, gold) and Holbein Acryla Gouache — which is not really gouache, but it is really fun to use (pale aqua, luminous lemon, pale peach and pale mint), Bee Paper cotton watercolor paper (6 x 9 inches, 140 lb)

Just a quick little doodle while thinking about… thinking.  And the power of thoughts.  Keep ’em positive, people.

portrait collage

Materials used: Random letter stickers, Pilot Varsity pen (pink, water soluble), magazine clippings, matte medium, watercolors

The new season of the Get Messy Art Journal program centers on the theme of introspection (much more my jam than last season, which just didn’t do it for me).  This is the first self portrait I’ve done in years.  It’s a bit wonky, but so am I.  So maybe it’s very true to life?

season of introspection

Materials used: Acrylic paint (sky blue and black), magazine clippings, matte medium, Micron (black 01), Gelly Roll pen (white), watercolors

I love that smiling, proud lady.  I’ve been holding onto that image for a while and figured it was time to put her somewhere more dignified than in a stack of tear-outs.

ink blot

Materials used: Acrylic paint (Golden heavy body + high flow), watercolor and gouache paint

I really liked this week’s Get Messy prompt around ink blots (members have access to a great tutorial from Vanessa on this).  The mix of paint made for some really fun texture.

Materials used: Goauche (a mix of brands — Holbein, Winsor and Newton, Plakkaatverf, Daler and Rowney), Bee Paper

The top paintings were inspired by this month’s painting-a-day challenge on Creative Bug, hosted by Jennifer Orkin Lewis, a favorite artist of mine.  I love these courses for their short and sweet videos — perfect for inspiring a daily art making practice.

And the bottom doodle was in preparation for Mary Ann Moss’ gouache class, which starts Friday.  Just a little playing around with paint mixing and experimenting with how much/how little gum arabic would prevent my gouache pans from cracking.  Judging by the crack-iness, I didn’t exactly handle it

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you making this week? A mess?  A new playlist?  Some cookies?

Today: What I made | 005

So, we know I both fear and loathe Las Vegas going to the dentist, right? And that I semi-accidentally didn’t go for several years?  And that, ironically, I broke a tooth (more accurately: an old filling fell out) while flossing, prompting an emergency visit to that place of fear and loathing?  (If you didn’t know those things, consider yourself fully caught up.)

its a good day to have a good day

Materials used: Pentel brush pen (pink)… and, um… that’s it.

It’s been a year, and I’ve stuck with regular cleaning appointments and approximately 800 other appointments to replace various old dental work and (shame on me) tend to one or two… fine, three cavities.  I have one more visit to go and then I’m done with my treatment plan, which feels mostly good.

The last couple appointments, though, have been especially uncomfortable and annoying.  A temporary crown fell out twice in one day.  Oh, and a dental assistant tried to pull out a permanent tooth instead of the loosening a different temporary crown.  It was all I could do to not flee the office and cry in my car.  Or stress eat an extra gluten-y donut.  I know it’s silly, but I can feel my heart rate quicken even thinking about being in the dentist’s chair.

If you’re wondering what the H the dentist has to do with art-making, welp… Not much. But I did find my mind wandering away from the drill and that annoying suction thing and toward my sketchbook.  I thought about what I would paint or draw or paste if I wasn’t, you know, at the dentist.  Much of what I made in the last week or two was cooked up there.  And that cooking up (along with a pair of noise canceling headphones and some Led Zeppelin) got me through those appointments.

This is a super roundabout way of saying that you don’t need to be sitting before an easel to be creative.   And creative thought can be just as powerful and transformative as the actual act of creating.  You simply need to be open to possibility.  (Dental insurance doesn’t hurt though.)

Anyway…  Here’s what I made.

What I made | 005

rumi quote heartMaterials used: Gifted scrapbook paper, Sakura Gelly Roll pen (white), gel medium (matte), scissors (obvi)

I come back to this poem often.  When Graham (a fellow Get Messy member) sent me a beautiful packet of pink papers, I started snipping and doodling away.  Sometimes pages feel like they make themselves.

I weirdly enjoy drawing hearts and regret not being a better student in biology.  Just think what else I would be able to draw if I had spent more time paying attention and less time being grossed out and/or fainting.

wendell berry peace of the wild things

Materials used: Strathmore Artists Tile (black), Sakura Gelly Roll pen (white), magazine pages (Edible Boston), Winsor and Newton professional watercolors, random alphabet stencil, Micron 01 (black)

This is an old work (and one I’ve shared before, I think),  but it feels sort of like a cousin to the one above.  And I get the same comfort from reading Wendell Berry that I do Rumi, so I thought it worth sharing again.  I recently came across this recording of Berry reciting the poem quoted here.  It’s just perfect.

  • Other writers and poets that I constantly return to: Thomas Merton, Mary Oliver, and Hafez.

this too shall pass

Materials used: Starthmore Artigan paper (black), Sakura Gelly Roll pen (white), gel medium (matte), magazine pages (WSJ magazine).

Another collage, and more evidence that I don’t really know what body parts look like.  For the record: that’s a head.  With ears.  And a neck.

Moving on: How divine are these words?  They sort of stop me in my tracks.  And I have a crush on my own handwriting.  

watercolor pattern

Materials used: Winsor and Newton professional watercolors, round brushes (2 and 6, I believe).

Just some good ol’ watercolor doodling while watching The Americans.  (I am convinced Clark, who came to us by way of Russia, is a spy waiting to be activated.)

root down to rise up

grow up

Materials used: [top] Micron 08 (black), acrylic and watercolor paints, colored card stock, glue stick [bottom] Magazine image (Real Simple), black acrylic paint, colored card stock, gel medium (matte), glue stick

I really love how these two turned out.  They’re sort of half flower show, half yoga class inspired.  

P.S. The next Get Messy Art Journal season starts next week — it’s a collaboration with 30Lists and should be really interesting.  A new season is a great time to join Get Messy, especially if you’re looking to jump start your own creative routine.  No emergency trips to the dentist required.

Also On Tap for Today:

What did you make this week?  Which poems or stories or quotes do you keep coming back to?

Today: What I made | 004

It’s 70 degrees and the sun is shining in Boston, so we’re making a dash for the Harbor Walk (it’s where we do our best puppy watching).  I’ll leave you with a few sunny creations from the past week or so.

What I made | 004

Materials used: Small hardbound sketchbook, watercolors, round brushes (sizes 2 and 6), Winsor and Newton drawing ink and acrylic paint.

I’ve been following along with Courtney Pilgrim’s Make Your Mark prompts — they’re the perfect way to keep up with a daily creative practice.  The last painting (sort of abstracted storm clouds) is my favorite, so far. I think a weather series would be fun.  The senior citizen in me just loves a good weather forecast.  And trips to the post office.

Materials used: Acrylic paint, black gesso, watercolors, Winsor and Newton drawing ink, white gel pen, and a pair of small + extremely sharp scissors (I’ve got the wounds to prove it).

I can’t believe the first Get Messy Art Journal season of the year is already winding down.  I’ve filled this sketchbook with lots of bright colors and happy sayings, though these pages are a bit moodier than others.  The quote about breaking through is from a recent Elephant Journal post.  It just seemed right to cut the edges of that page, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

Materials used: Cold pressed watercolor paper (9 x 12), watercolor paint and a round #2 brush.

These paintings for Grace and our two nieces came together really quickly (as things must during Grace’s naps, which are getting shorter and shorter).  I almost made one for Clark… but no.

Also On Tap for Today:

What did you make this week?

Today: What I made | 003

What I made this week: A crappy video.  Olé!  (I’ll embed it below for your viewing pleasure so you can mock me.)  I also made some other stuff.  Mostly all on the same night.  Nick and I caught up on Homeland (by watching 900 episodes), and I was afraid to go to bed since Carrie and Saul’s escapades usually give me ridiculous nightmares.  

So I made a bunch of stuff, and then went to bed.  And had nightmares about the toxicity of acrylic paint.  Whatever, man.  Here’s what I made.

What I made | 003

what i made watercolor no mud no lotus

Materials used: Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen (blue) and Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors

This sketchbook goes from subdued (this page) to extra jazzy (everything that follows) very quickly.  The quote is from No Mud, No Lotus and the pen is from college.  Those things seem to last forever.  

what i made

Materials used: Sharpie permanent marker, magazine cut-out, the Wall Street Journal, Micron pen (black 01), acrylic paint, glue stick

We recently started receiving someone else’s WSJ.  After three calls to their customer service line and just as many promises that delivery would be stopped, it’s still showing up on our door step (and piling up in our building’s lobby).  

One of the Get Messy Art Journal program’s recent prompts was street art-inspired, so I used a page of our magically appearing newspaper as a background.   I’m quite pleased with the hand lettering and I’m glad I hung onto that random hummingbird cut out (which, I’m fairly certain, came from a car ad).  

what i made

Materials used: [Left side] Acrylic paint, Micron pen (black 01); [Right side] Strathmore Artist Tiles (black), Sakura Gelly Roll pen (white), foil sheets, Micron pen (black 01)

That’s supposed to say “trembling”… not t-r-e-m-f-l-i-n-g.  The b looks like an f… and I meant to fix it, but forgot.  Anyway, you get the point.  

The right hand page is another Get Messy-inspired page.  I loved scrolling through Instagram to see how everyone else used that same quote (hi, Julia).  And I love cutting up my sketchbook a bit so other pages peek through.

what i made

Materials used: [Left side] White velum, Micron (black 1), acrylic paint, Uni Posca paint pen (black); [Right side] Acrylic paint, magazine cut-outs, glue stick

On the flip side, a great quote about happiness and and door… and some of the coral acrylic paint that I accidentally spilled all over my palette, thus necessitating I use far more of it than planned.  (I sort of wish I had spilled the sky blue instead… can’t win ’em all.)  Plus a bunch of windows… and a door.

 

what i made

Materials used: [Left side] Handmade Modern acrylic paint (platinum, from Target), Winsor and Newton professional watercolor tubes (moved around the page with a paper straw), Uni Posca paint pen (black); [Right side] Winsor and Newton watercolor paint (black), acrylic paint, Gelly Roll pen (white)

Some brain wave-ish watercolors, a “good ideas” light bulb and more cut pages.

what i made

Materials used: [Left side] All pink everything… Winsor and Newton pigment markers, Sakura Koi brush pens, Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen, acrylic paint, watercolor paint; [Right side] Grey acrylic paint, paper scraps (cut into cone flower shapes), white Gelly Roll pen, glue stick

The all pink page is sort of a little sister to something I made earlier this month and the right side is evidence that I can’t stop making cone flowers.

gelli plate what i made

Materials used: Gel printing plate, acrylic paint, string, cardstock circle, gold leaf, Uni Posca paint pen (yellow), Micron (purple, 01… I think).

Lastly, I’m finally starting to get a hang of my Gelli plate (used for making mono prints).  I’ve had one for ages, but never liked anything I made with it.  I think I was over-thinking the process… which is kind of how I roll.  

I really like these two pages though.  I added a bit of leftover gold leaf and some doodling to make the circle look more like the moon.

Ok… now for the video.

Art Journal Flip Through Video | February 2016

Art Journal Flip Through | February 2016 from Elizabeth D. on Vimeo.

I’m looking forward to making a few more of these videos and improving as I go.  I’m glad I managed to paint my nails before filming, though.  That’s got to count for something.  

Also On Tap for Today:

What did you make this week?

Today: What I made | 002

This week I accomplished a whole lot of half-things.  Which is to say, I started a lot, but finished a little.  I feel like I’ve been washing the same load of laundry for a month.  And I’ve been reading the same paragraph of the same book for just as long (incidentally, it’s a very good paragraph and a very good book).  I don’t get much done these days.

I leave a trail of unfinished thoughts, ideas, sentences, bowls of cereal, and yes… piles of laundry in my wake.  On the best of days, it’s sort of funny.  On the worst of days, it’s sort of demoralizing.  I feel like someone who doesn’t follow through.  Someone who is unreliable.  Someone who can’t be counted on.  

And then I (mostly) get a grip.

When Grace was a newborn, I remember how much it helped to accomplish one thing a day.  Sometimes that was taking a shower, sometimes it was a trip to the library.  As time passed, we were able to accomplish more, but even the tiniest accomplishments went a long way towards building my confidence as a new mom.  

So I am reminded to both keep trying and to manage my expectations.  And to not start so many things that can’t be finished.  

This part of life is crazy, but it’s also really short.  And there is so much that is never finished.  The big things, like the work and joy of being a parent.  

This is turning into something waaaay more emo than I intended.  Sorry.  Here’s what I made.  Or, more accurately, what I started making.  

What I made | 002

what i made

Materials used: Winsor and Newton professional watercolor tubes, Winsor and Newton drawing ink (974 white), Royal Taklon brush (round 7), Strathmore 300 series mixed media sketchbook (11 in. x 14 in.).

The new season of the Get Messy Art Journal (click to join or learn more!) just started and the theme is happiness.  Much of what I made this week is inspired by the first set of prompts (thanks, Julia!), including this painting of the sky.  I love looking up (literally and, like, figuratively) and I love that Grace has taken to pointing out the moon and stars as soon as she spots them.  

So I guess the sky counts as my “happy place,” or one of them, at least. Few things make me happier than a clear, star-filled sky.  I don’t however, like to think about what’s beyond those stars.  Outer space totally freaks me out.  And don’t even start with me about aliens.  

what i made

Materials used: Posca paint pen (grey), Winsor and Newton professional watercolor tubes, Winsor and Newton gouache, Sakura Gelly Roll pen (white), Strathmore 300 series mixed media sketchbooks (11 in. x 14 in. and 5.5 in. x 8.5 in.).

This page references the aforementioned really good paragraph in a really good book.  I’m (very slowly) reading No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering by Thích Nhất Hạnh, which sounds really depressing… but it’s not.  It’s really quite wonderful.  The full quote I used for this page is:

“Without suffering, there’s no happiness. So we shouldn’t discriminate against the mud. We have to learn how to embrace and cradle our own suffering and the suffering of the world, with a lot of tenderness.”

what i made

what i made

Materials used: Sakura gelly roll pen (black), Handmade Modern acrylic paint from Target, Golden high flow acrylic paint (I mixed a few shades to get his pale robin’s egg-ish blue), Strathmore 400 series bound sketchbook (8.5 in. x 5.5 in.).

These coneflowers (a.k.a. echinacea) are one of my favorite things to draw from memory.  And I love Thomas Merton.  And order (or some resemblance of order) definitely contributes to my happiness. I’m hoping to finish up the lettering on that page sometime this week this century. 

what i made

Materials used: Winsor and Newton professional watercolor tubes, sea salt (it creates a fun effect with wet watercolors), Micron pen (black 01), black gesso, a cardboard box and x-acto knife (to make the bird stencil).

One of my favorite parts of the Get Messy program is the weekly tutorials shared by members.  This week, Vanessa shared tips on making your own stencils.  I got really fancy resourceful and cut these hawks out of an empty Cheerios box.  The quote is another one from No Mud, No Lotus:

“The French have a song they like to sing, “Qu’est-ce qu’on attend pour être heureux?” (What are you waiting for in order to be happy?) You can be happy right here and right now.”

I don’t particularly like how this page turned out, so I will likely turn it into something else.  Or (let’s be serious) trash it.

what i made

Materials used: Posca paint pen (black), 900 different acrylic paints, white gesso, Strathmore 300 series mixed media sketchbooks (11 in. x 14 in.), Winsor and Newton professional watercolor paint (Opera Rose).

I had an idea about where I wanted this to go.  And then I got carried away.  Thank goodness for gesso.  I like that you can almost see all the ridiculous flowers I painted, and that their full ridiculousness is obscured by a wash of gesso.  

This has “work in progress” written all over it.  

what i made

Materials used:  Everything I own that is both pink and an art supply. (I can provide specifics if you’re really interested, but…)

I saved the most pink and the most finished piece for last.  I sort of love how this turned out.  It makes me happy.  And what more could you ask for?

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your “to finish” list?