My favorite thing to do is to art. I use that word as a verb because arting is such a fun thing to say! I’ve had so many phases of art in my life- from drawing farms and houses in junior high to rock icons in high school, moving on to enjoying painting and sketch-booking. I honestly can’t remember when I didn’t draw, but I do know that I did it a lot to escape things going on in my life. And I still find solace and comfort in putting pencil to paper.
First off, let me say, I believe everyone can draw. It is like any other skill, it can be learned. Of course there is talent, but many people have come a long way without it. If you want it badly enough you will do it until you learn it. That’s how it happened for me anyway. When my students ask me how to get better at drawing I tell them to keep drawing and to really look at what they are drawing.
When I want to do art I like to “fill my creative well” with books, images, movies, anything that will inspire me. This helps a lot. Then I try to write down all the ideas I get to save them for later. I also like to have a cup of tea during this time. It’s so relaxing.
When I want to paint I get out my pallette, either my little Winsor and Newton Field Kit or my Schmincke metal one that is filled with my own pans.
Then I get out my paper and brushes, and fill my water cup. I’ve been very spoilt by my husband lately and he has given me sable brushes for gifts. Before, I bought sable/synthetic blends or synthetics, but they don’t last. I hope the sables do. So far so good.
I’ve tested both DaVinci Sables and Esocda Reserva Sables; both travel brush models. They are both excellent. I wish Winsor & Newton made their Series 7 brushes in a travel model. The handle comes apart to make a lid to protect your bristles. This is the biggest reason I like these. When I want to get really tiny I use a Winsor & Newton Rigger or a University #2.
Favorite papers are Arches cold press blocks and Moleskine watercolor books for their ease of travel and use.
I typically use watercolor pencil or a Bic 0.5 mechanical pencil to do the drawings for my paintings first. Sometimes I use a fountain pen with waterproof ink to do the drawing or I go over the pencil lines. I enjoy watching a good old movie while working. Many’s an day I wiled away watching Hitchcock movies and painting.
If I go out in the field I like to take a 1/2 sized French sketch easel with me, but mostly I just love to get cozy at my house with my family and furry animals.
I want to draw right now way more than I want to paint. There is something so satisfying about writing and drawing on paper for me. I don’t know why. I typically journal for drawing. I’ve been in love with art journaling for over 15 years. I like to draw my home, my children, made-up things, and my toy collection. I like to write down quotes, recipes, and things that happen in our lives. I also like to imagine my life as English as it can be sometimes and I do little spreads called “Ginger & Pickles” after the shop in the Beatrix Potter Books.
I use Moleskine Large Journals or plain copy paper to draw on. I draw with a Bic mechanical 0.5 or 0.7 pencil. For color I love the creaminess of Prismacolors and the pure pigment of Caran D’ Ache watercolor pencils (these do double duty as I use them in my paintings too).
Sometimes I schlepp my art stuff around the house in a basket. Mostly I hang out in my studio or in bed.
I haven’t used a full-sized palette or easel for over 14 years! But I use my little studio almost every day. During the school year I do my whole evening routine after school so that dinner is ready and cleaned up quickly, lunches are packed, I’ve exercised, etc. Then I have a lovely couple of hours to potter around with my art supplies before bed.
I did get a studio, just a couple of years ago. We gave a lot of furniture away and moved our Heywood-Wakefield dining set upstairs to the spare bedroom. It fit beautifully and now everyone congregates there to work on art or be on a laptop. But I still prefer my little portable studios!
I want this post to encourage you to do whatever it takes to make your passions fit into your life. I hope, if you are struggling making art, you find some good ideas here. If you want to make art, but don’t feel that you are “good at it,” I also want to encourage you to keep going. I have used Sketchbookskool for many years as a wonderful resource to inspire me and to hone my skills. They have classes for all levels with wonderful artists. Here they are on Youtube with lots of free, short video lessons perfect for busy artists!
Whatever you choose to do, just keep moving forward!
Arty happiness to you from Kansas Street,