Making Time for Art – Even Bad Art

I was at my friend’s house yesterday and they were watching something I’d already seen and then after that came something I wasn’t interested in.  I pulled out my sketchbook and went to work.

This was my pen and ink drawing done with little light and I love this little sketch!

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While I sat there drawing I thought on the people that would have found it insulting that I sat there drawing while everyone else watched TV.  I was still talking with them, paying attention to conversations, listening to snippets and watching a little bit here and there.  I was still actively with them.  But that wouldn’t have been good enough for a number of people from my past.  They are no longer in my life and it wasn’t an active choice, but I find it serendipitous.  I no longer care if someone complains to me that I am drawing in a restaurant.  I’ll say right back to them “I don’t whine about you constantly being on your iPhone, so cut me some slack.  At least I’m still involved in the conversations.”  But I wasn’t always so… confident, I guess is the word.

Most likely this is because – before the last few years – I never put my art or myself first (no matter how often my husband told me to).  My husband’s constant reminders didn’t fall on deaf ears though.  I started doing what I wanted in my free time instead of what I thought I should be doing.  I did what I wanted with my hair for me.  Little things.  Then when I opened my first business I learned to say ‘no’ to people who wanted me to spend my time doing something else because I could have a flexible schedule if I wanted.  The hardest was friends, but I learned.

If I wanted to be successful at whatever I was doing, I had to give it the time.   I had to invest in it.  It had to come first at some point.

This year is the first time that I am putting my things as a true priority – my passions, writing and art.  I did prioritize writing and sometimes art in previous years – meaning they were higher on the list of things to do than before.  But this year those two things come first.  Like my husband must allow his job to come first (unless there are extreme circumstances like an emergency) I must too learn to allow writing and art to hold that same priority.  So every day my husband must work, those are also work days for me.  If he gets up at 5 am, he wakes me up shortly after (my request).  This way we share most of the time we have together in as equal states as possible.  It also alleviates the guilt that comes from taking a complete day off to just fart around with him and play video games, go on aimless motorcycle rides or hang out with friends.

Sometimes when you don’t have that support system in place though, it’s very hard to explain to people why you’re spending time doing something else.  And I honestly cannot help those who struggle with apathetic spouses or non-supportive friends.  I won’t have the arrogance to give tips or advice here or to link articles that I chose that might have spoken to me because how would an article picked by someone who has never felt that struggle you feel, help anything?

I will say that early on in my marriage I learned that both husband and wife serve each other.  I supported my husband’s dreams, he’s supported mine.  Now that he works full time, I have taken on his chores and tend to run around more when he’s home doing things for him so that he can relax – his job is very physical after all.  While he’s at work I have the luxury of staying in my PJs if I want, writing for hours on end uninterrupted, drawing and drawing.  Yes, there are chores, animals to care for, errands to run.  But we both fulfill our end of the bargain. When you support each other, when you serve each other, you find harmony.

A friend of mine is an artist (a painter with acrylics and a multi-media genuis) had her marriage blossom when she finally figured out that her husband didn’t act supportive of her dreams because she’d never been supportive of his.  To him, having a man cave where he could smoke and drink and watch the games with his friends was a dream.  She’d always put it down.  So he’d never been overly enthused or supportive about her art.  Once she helped him clear our their basement and start to work on it he seemed “transformed” to her.  He didn’t complain if she was going to go paint.  In turn she bought him a mini keg of his favorite beer for the first game in the room and he bought her a brand new easel.  Crazy people in love, huh?  She told me when he asked her to paint something football related in his basement, she cried.  He’d never shown any interest, never cared, never said she was good or bad – anything to her would have been better than indifference.  So she painted one whole wall with his football team’s logo, years, championship years and his favorite player.  Needless to say, he became her biggest fan, lol.

Like I said I don’t know what you personally are going through.  Maybe Cindy’s story above helped, maybe not.  But the point is that there is an answer.  Whether you have to have a heart to heart, or Google for art support groups, it’s there.  Someone somewhere else out there (most likely MULTIPLE someones) has been through what you are going through.  They can be invaluable resources on how to get out of situations, fix circumstances or just be a good person to vent to.

Wow!  What a long post!  So sorry!  My goodness.  Here is another piece, this one a COMPLETE FAIL lol.  I drew it for a friend of mine.  The top image is the meme she adored and asked me to make her something like it, the bottom is my drawing.  Lol, needless to say, I was having an OFF DAY.  Still mailed it to her though, lol!  I’ll just have to do better on my next attempt.

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“Old Art From an Old Sketchbook” or “Has it been 8 YEARS Already?!”

“Bad” art time.  Okay, so it’s not bad art.  It’s just old art.  And I say bad because so many people are embarrassed to show their old stuff or to share their sketchbooks.  And I understand because judgements and critical words and harsh stares or incredulous faces – all of that and more can be devastating.  I am just lucky because I don’t care what other people think.  I like what I’ve done, where I’ve come from and where I am now.

So this is the first “sketchbook” I created after reading Danny Gregory’s  Every Day Matters and The Creative License.  So I was heavily influenced by his style of drawings as well as the use of pen to do the initial drawings.  I didn’t use pencil, only pen and it really did create a looseness after a while and it helped to get rid of that critical eye – because when drawing with a pen if you’re fearing a mistake, you’re screwed.  You’re going to make them, so learn how to deal with them.  Really, The Creative License puts it more eloquently, but it gave me a certain confidence to push passed the mistakes that I still have now, even using pencil or a tablet (I LOVE the Undo button/option lol).

I put “sketchbook” in quotations (twice now) because it was just a pretty notebook (the covers are pretty but I don’t show them here) that I had and hadn’t done anything with.  It was just something I bought on a whim while at Ross and never really used.  That was also part of Danny’s influence – he insists you kind of “de-precious” your sketchbook by writing in it, writing down your grocery lists and so on.  I don’t always do that now (at least I don’t think I do) but it was something that struck me again, helping to realize that sketchbooks don’t need to be perfect but are tools.

So here are the drawings (in the order that I drew them) from that sketchbook.  Also, I’m sorry if you get an FBI/CIA File vibe from all the black ink, lol.  Portions of the text has been redacted.  I am not 100% sure what is even in there but I know some is private and I tend to curse like a sailor, so I figured it was just safer to make the text unreadable 🙂

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My old bestest buddy, Fred

My old bestest buddy, Fred

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Something, huh?  Lol, some are not good representations of anything!  Some are pretty good renderings.  But it’s not good or bad, it just is.  Feel free to share your own sketches or links to sketchbooks or sketchbook tours here!

Capturing a Camera in Pencil

In June of 2011 I really wanted to start focusing on drawing more realistically.  Despite my adoration for Danny Gregory and my gratitude for his books and support of the every day artist, I wanted at this point to get back to the pencil.  I wanted to strive for more accuracy in my work.

I took a book that had long been shelved down and started going through it again.  The classic that had been given to me by my mother when I was about 13 was Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  I remember it was both incredibly fun and somewhat tedious back then.  I had so many varied interests that it didn’t take long before I’d lost interest in doing the book work – maybe a month?  I’d done a lot of the drawings and gotten through about halfway, but hadn’t finished it.  I still haven’t finished it.  Hmm…  I guess that one will go on my book bucket list.

Here is me doing one of the exercises

Me Drawing on the Bed

Me Drawing on the Bed

Just looking at this picture I cringe.  It’s not good lighting, good posture, good way to hold my pencil, etc.  But it was fun.  I have certainly learned a lot.  Sure you can do fun and great drawings from in bed.  But you’re doing yourself no favors if you can work within a better set up.

I chose a beat up old camera we’d bought at a flea market somewhere for like $5.

camera drawing 3 (2)I wanted to try a slow pace but to also not go back over and over the same lines.  My years of drawing with pen and ink had increased my confidence and I quickly turned this:

Just started...

Just started…

Into this:

"Flea Market Find in pencil" by Rebecca GalardoThe bed was just a crappy outline and there are issues with it.  But for 45 minutes and for having just that day picked up a pencil again?  I am still happy with this drawing 🙂  It makes me feel great.  I love all the wonky lines and imperfections.  Even in trying to capture something realistically you have room to play.  That sketchy quality doesn’t take away from the art or attempt or even an ability to tell what the item is.  It only adds a fun and charming aspect to the work for me.