Monday, October 27, 2014

The Art Critic

When I finish a painting I don't just feel accomplished. I feel giddy and artistically invincible -- for a few days. Then I begin to notice all the imperfections in my work. My artistic weaknesses nag at me, sometimes scream at me. 
I'm hard on myself, and I know it. 

The problem is, self-deprecation can become a bad habit. It can keep me from making art at all.

sketch by Lacie Myers  2014

 I don't find fault in my paintings in order to get attention and have people tell me things like, "Oh don't be so hard on yourself," or "I love your art!" I do it because it's genuinely how I feel. Or part of how I feel anyway.

But, there is another side of me. A side that recognizes my strengths and wants to keep building from that place.

I want to dissect my criticism and keep the part that will make me a better artist, leaving the pity party behind.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Quoting Picasso

To quote Pablo Picasso, 

"It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child."

One of my goals with this blog is to post inspiring artwork created by children. The freedom, spontaneity, and non-judgement they bring to their drawings and paintings are the keys to their brilliant originality. We can learn from them!

Some months ago I wrote about my 18 month-old granddaughter being my mini-muse. Here are some of her more recent drawings, done without prompting or planning by adults (as you can tell by the lined paper surface):

by Ember Rose -- 4 yrs. old

by Ember Rose --  4 yrs. old

This little granddaughter of mine comes from creative, passionate parents, so I know we will continue to see imaginative work flowing from her young mind and fingers. 

Ember's drawings remind me of these paintings by Russian artist, Wassily Kandinsky:

"Improvisation 31 (Sea Battle)" by Wassily Kandinsky, 1913

"Composition IV" by Wassily Kandinsky, 1911

I'm always happy to post artwork done by children, so send some way!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Paint Until You're Happy

Sometimes I have to force myself to stay in my studio and not talk to anyone. I have to shut out all the things I think I should be doing and paint until I'm happy again. It always works.

I did that yesterday and finished this painting:

"Gemini" by Lacie Myers 2014

The scene is imagined and not based on any fathers or babies in particular (consciously at least). 

Some days I just sit in a comfy chair with a pencil and paper and see what my brain gives me. If a sketch says "paint me," I try to listen. 

Here's the sketch that started it all.

Lacie Myers 2014

Once again, thanks to Cecile Veilhan for helping me mine the paintings in my brain and helping me see what is possible.

Happy Thursday,


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lacie and Cecile

About a year ago I learned about a contemporary French painter named Cecile Veilhan. I felt an immediate connection with her art to the point that I wondered if she were my long-lost twin sister. I made a board on my Pinterest specifically for her paintings and filled it with my favorites.

painting by Cecile Veilhan

One day I made a quick sketch of me and my sisters and set to work on a painting of my own -- inspired by Cecile Veilhan's style. 

"The Connie Girls" by Lacie Myers 2013

We grew up in the 1970's. No one had a camera with them at all times, ready to capture their children's lives in colorful detail, so it was fun to imagine this picture of my sisters and me -- based on my memories and my love for them both. 

All the information I can find about Cecile is written in French, so I don't know much about the materials she uses or her methods. But... it was fun experimenting with acrylics, oil pastels, and colored pencils to get effects similar to those in her work. 

Hug your sister today!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I Finished!

This morning I finished my watercolor sketch of the almond blossoms. That's one long-standing goal accomplished. Hurray! The sneaky thing about goals is they give birth rapidly -- to many more of their kind.
 My brain is telling me that if I take what I learned from this sketch and do a few more of the same subject matter using different techniques and interpretations, my skills would quickly improve. If only my art time were unlimited.... We will see. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Painting Almond Blossoms

In 2000 when I first began drawing and painting, I used soft pastels to paint a picture of an almond orchard in bloom. I think it was a great beginner's attempt, but it's packed away now, and I don't even know where. It's a precise and carefully rendered piece, but it lacks spirit. I know that now. Painting the gestalt of a tree, an orchard, a person, or even an object is much harder for me to do than merely copying what I see in front of me.
 I want to paint how it feels to see all those blossoms at once; to see the space around me utterly transformed by the pink and white delicacies that arrive on their own timetable. I'm challenging myself to paint the blossoms this year while they are still here. This is my first attempt (in progress) of a sketch in watercolor:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Finding Your Muse

The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.
                            --Stephen Machmanovitch

This is Ember Rose at 18 mos. You'll see her here from time to time, because she loves to paint. It calms her busy little body and focuses her active mind. When she paints, ALL of her is quiet. As the world around her disappears, she paints with passion and pure creativity. She cares about exploration and experimentation and has no fear of judgement.
I try to learn from her to play with the paint and be fully present in the moment -- enjoying the process more than the product. I'm lucky to have a little mini-muse in my life to remind me about the little girl inside of myself who loved to draw and paint but became hidden beneath layers of responsibility and adulthood. I need her to help me become a better artist.

So if you haven't let loose in a while, strip down to your diaper and get out your paint! Metaphorically, of course.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Almond Blossoms: It's That Time Again!

I'm happy to live in a town where acres and acres of almond trees begin blossoming in February. 
Durham is known for its almonds, and orchards of them border our property on two sides.

These silent, unassuming trees put on a spectacular show.

photos by Lacie Myers

Everything else is still under the influence of the barren winter, but these pink and white blossoms remind me that spring is coming, and they help me wait.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Playing With Photoshop

This year's birthday present was the latest version of Photoshop Elements.Today I used it to superimpose some of my favorite quotes over photos I've taken.
I thought I'd share some of them and get your opinion.
 Below are two versions of the same quote.
If you like one of them, pin it and pass it on.

Any preference? Why?
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