Recently my husband and I traveled to multiple cities in Italy. This was a much awaited 20th anniversary trip for us. We loved it and soaked it all in! During our time in Italy we visited 5 different cities but stayed overnight in 3. I decided to come prepared and wanted to journal at least a little bit each day to document the wonderful things we saw and did.
I brought a little art journal that was full of blank watercolor paper. Mixed media papers would have worked too. My dad had left me a portable leather wallet that zips and has lots of spaces for things. It looks like it was for storing business cards back in the day. The wallet worked perfectly for paint brushes, pencils and permanent ink pens. I took it along with me in my travel bag along with my portable pan paint set. I'm not the most organized person, but I did love having a little compartment for everything.
On the train rides in between cities, I could make good use of the time by painting quick little sketches. Here I am on the train ride from Florence to Venice painting olives. Olive trees and fallen olives were everywhere in Italy; just like our Florida oaks and acorns!
We stumbled across an art store in every city. Above is one we found in Venice that was hidden away on a corner. We thought it was just office supplies, but once inside there were lots of art goodies and an Italian man behind the counter ready to help. Below is a "Coloreria" or "paint" store that we stumbled across in Rome. Of course afterward we made sure to sample the Gelato across the street.
Here I was picking out watercolor pencils. Luckily, I knew from reading art books and blogs that Europeans call watercolors "aquarelles." I could've spent hours in this store, but my husband and our travel companions were patiently waiting on me : )
I'll be honest, I didn't love all of the watercolors I created while in Italy, but it certainly helped make my journal colorful and unique. In the end, I was glad I painted the few that I did. I reminded myself that it's not about perfection but instead practicing, learning and having fun!
Last night my lovely artist friend, Holli and I hosted a paint night. We were hired to lead a watercolor tutorial for a birthday celebration.
The ladies brought an unbelievable array of food to celebrate.
As they were munching and mingling, Holli leans over to me and whispers, "this is now the age group of our church leaders... it's a beautiful thing". It caught me off guard as I had been so focused on things like, what we will paint? Was it too hot in my kitchen? What serving spoons should I put out?
All night I thought about that comment as I watched Jess (our pastor's wife) make us all laugh, Michelle (our music minister's wife) orchestrate the night and Hanna (our youth minister's wife) pop back into my sick teenage daughter's bedroom to make her feel loved and seen.
As we painted, the friends laughed, caught up and brought forth some beautiful peafowl.
Holli and I talked about how we used to be these ladies with young ones and ripe with little babies on the way. For Holli it was about 18 years ago and for me about 10. Now we are reminded that we are the older ladies...
Titus 2 in the bible says that older women should teach what is good and train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self controlled and pure, busy at home, to be kind and to love their husbands well.
Only on this night, they were the ones who were teaching and inspiring us ...
This next generation of mammas has us encouraged and feeling peace and hope for the future. They've got this!
If you are considering taking an art class but are worried about making the time or taking on the extra expense, here are 10 fresh things to consider ...
1. It's a myth that to make art you need talent. It's REALLY about making the time to practice and learn the skills.
2. As we get older, we should have a hobby that we enjoy (besides eating and napping).
3. The best way to make lasting, sustainable progress in anything is by taking baby steps.
4. A structured, set-aside time to paint helps you ... actually paint.
5. Art class serves as a great way to feel less stress. Taking a deep breath and slowing everything down to only focus on one task is refreshing!
6. Teacher and peer feedback. Being able to have others give you real feedback on how to improve your work is truly invaluable.
7. Learn about the creative process. If you aren't an artist yourself but love art, taking a class like this can help you learn more about what goes into a piece.
8. You'll stretch yourself. Say no more!
9. You'll have something in your week to truly look forward to. It's relaxing and enjoyable!
10. You will rekindle a long-lost passion. Most of my adult students enjoyed making art as a kid but set it aside because of life's demands. Now is the time to pick your love back up. As Pablo Picasso once said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once one grows up.”
If I've peaked your interest, then here is the link for class details.
A newly finished watercolor of a bundle of grapes to inspire you. I am planning a trip to Italy this year and I have vineyards on my brain!
It's coming around again .... SCHOOL. While it is still Summer time, My kids are starting to feel the weight of the impending school year. Summer projects still need to be completed, and most of our exciting activities have been checked off our list. Only a few more precious weeks of freedom!
One thing I can say I'm looking forward to about August is that my art classes start back up. This year I'm doing a little something different. I'm starting an advanced watercolor class. It will be Wednesday during the day for those who have taken art classes with me in the past. We plan to dig deeper and incorporate a book called, Art and Fear. The class will be a bit of discussion on art and life, then lots of experimenting and learning. We'll linger over our projects and hot tea longer and take each piece to the next level by starting with sketches and then bringing them back and forth to the group for discussion and feedback. I'll learn and grow right along with the students.
Tuesday evenings I'll continue the beginner to intermediate class from 5 to 6:15 . It is fine if you have to come a few minutes late, just come. Let this be a time that your children or husband step up to fix dinner while you enjoy painting. Seriously, you won't regret carving out this time for yourself. This class covers basic art theory such as light and shadow, perspective, composition, color mixing and much much more. We also talk about the emotional side of making art. I weave into the classes my theories on what I call, "Creative Truths." Here they are below:
(If you know these creative truths, you can jump ahead and read details on class pricing, get a syllabus, a supply list and sign up for either class here.)
Call yourself what you are.
If you love to create art, you are an artist. If you love to write music, you are a musician …
Proficiency in something or getting paid for it does not make you those things. Your passion for them does.
Quit trying to fit.
No matter how much you may want to, you can never completely divorce yourself from your own style, nor should you try to. It will follow you everywhere. You can get better and change your mediums and methods but your own unique style will always shine through.
Recognize that God made us to enjoy our work.
“ I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life--this is indeed a gift from God.”
- Ecclesiastes 3:18 - 19
Do things that scare you.
Art and creative pursuits make you vulnerable because they are so subjective. Embrace this vulnerability and fight through the fear. When we stop fearing failure, we are free to start being creative. Your mistakes are part of your process. Learn what to keep and what to erase and recognize that it is all part of learning.
Compare your work to your own work.
Yes, it is good to be inspired by other's work that you love, but when you are comparing, look to see how much your own creative work has grown and changed. A friend of mine keeps all of her old paintings so that each year she can go through her notebooks and see how far she has come!
Keep some white space.
Just as white space is important in art and design, it is also important to keep on our calendars as well. I'm still learning not to book up every moment, but when I leave some days unplanned and unscheduled, it leaves open space for refreshment and inspiration.
Learn to accept criticism.
Ask for feedback and develop thick skin to be able to receive it. Understand that most criticism can be used constructively. Begin to recognize what feedback is helpful, and flush that which is not.
When you think you are embarrassing yourself, keep working.
As we begin to make progress learning something totally new and outside of our comfort zone, the self-doubt kicks in hard. We think, who am I to do this or that, or why did I even think I could try this! This is where it is easy to get stuck. If not recognized for what it is, the fear of embarrassment can become an unconscious form of self sabotage. Don't let that happen.
Take the next right step
Don't wait to have it all figured out before you prayerfully do work you love. This quote by Agnes De Mille says it well, "Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what's next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark." For me this means faithfully moving forward.
Now's the time to get details and sign up for either class. Hope you can join us!
Whether I am working with a client on their brand identity, teaching students or creating a custom watercolor piece, I hope to refresh and inspire others with my work. Read more ...