As an artist who deeply cares for the state of our environment, I want to share a little bit of my process for living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Media coverage brings to light many environmental issues that we face and how these issues damage our ecosystems. The more I read and research, the heavier the sinking feeling in my gut. I can no longer look away.
Last summer our LARGE black garbage can overflowed or came very close to overflowing (how embarrassing). After implementing a few small changes, our garbage shrunk down to two small bags, probably a fifth of what we used to throw away.
While at my local recycling facility, I decided to take note of all the items my community recycles. More items can be recycled than I thought!
I found it helpful to know which plastics I can recycle and how to organize them to take to the recycling yard.
The above images show the guidelines at the Stathmore Recycling Facility. For more information, check out the Town of Strathmore or the Strathmore Recycling Facility. If you do not live in the Strathmore area, plan a trip to your local recycling facility and take a look around.
When we reduce our garbage, we become more mindful of how we use resources and ease the pressure on recycling systems. Use reusable bags where you can and buy products packaged without the use of plastic.
The world around me inspires my art – I strive to create positive and life-giving art. Implementing an eco-friendly lifestyle allows me to see the beauty without having to look past the trash.
I will be creating more art products – hope you have a chance to join me.
Moments are precious, especially at Christmas when more time is set aside to get together with family and friends. This is by far my favorite time of year. I love the change in focus, in pace, and in activities. In our fast paced world time marches forward at an ever quickening pace making it even more important to be deliberate about setting aside time for family and friends. For me this is a constant struggle, but relentlessly I will keep trying because I treasure those moments spent with family and friends.
Enough about me, let’s talk about the wood projects. I really enjoy taking old wood, that no longer serves a purpose and is usually unsightly, and transforming it into something meaningful and beautiful. Sometimes the wood pieces that I find have great character due to weathering, age, and flaws; those pieces are the ones that become the most beautiful. I am sure there is some philosophical connection that could be made to humanity — I won’t go there, but feel free to explore those thoughts and let me know.
By far, the clock is my favorite piece. Although both pieces hold a certain charm, the character in the wood pieces from the clock really give it an old world almost antiquities feel. Incorporating wire art in the pallet projects is fast becoming a favorite for me. I like how the rustic look of the wire plays off the old recycled wood.
Clock: 20 X 20 pallet wood
Faith Plaque: 13 x 16 pallet wood and wire
A couple quick notes on the process.
Make sure your pallets are safe to use and know where the they come from.
Barn wood also has a lot of character and works well for wooden art projects and has not been used to ship chemicals.
Pictured are the two pallets cleaned, cut, and glued together. (Thank you to my husband and son.)
To avoid having the paint bleed when doing the lettering or numbering I covered the surface with a light coat of Mod Podge.
I warmed up the color of the boards with acrylic craft paints mixed with Blending Gel. The blending gel allows me to control where and how much paint I work into the wood grain by slowing the dry time down.
With the surface prepared, the sky is the limit — create away.
When I was happy with the lettering I applied a thin coat of Acrylic Wax – Flat to help protect the artwork.
That is a quick rundown of the steps I used in creating the two pieces here. For the next projects I will add a more step-by-step version including some tip and tricks when working with wire.
A few people have asked me to post the process that I go through when I draw. I know there are many methods out there, but this is what works for me.
I think the hardest part for me is deciding on the composition as a whole. How do I want to crop or frame the subject? What do I want to do with the foreground and background? Sometimes it is just a matter of, am I brave enough to try execute what I visualize in my mind? When I finally come up with some ideas I can begin drawing, and this is the fun part.
I start most drawings by blocking out shapes on my paper. I want to be able to erase the marks later, so I am very careful to make the markings light. If the graphite is ground too deeply into the tooth of the paper it is hard to remove. Too much pressure from dark layout sketches can also damage the tooth of the paper. While blocking out shapes on my paper I often squint, this allows my focus to shift from detail to shapes and silhouettes. Once I am happy with the collection of what looks like a bunch of shapes and lines I start joining these shapes to create a line drawing of my subject. Next time I will post a photo of this step.
As the shapes are being joined I will add some shadow lines or shadow areas. These markings become great reference points as I begin to add more detail. The photo below is a sketch I am currently working on. The shapes have been joined, most unwanted lines have been removed, and more detail is being added.
19×24″ Barrel Racer
In order to make the photo more visible the lines on this sketch-up have been darkened in Lightroom. My original is much lighter.
Before I actually start adding life to the sketch I will do a few small practice areas in my sketchbook. This helps me decide what look I want to create, and work out any problem areas before I start the actual drawing.
From my sketchbook
The practice drawing helped me determine what pencils I did and did not want to use and gave me a chance to try create the angled back leg.
As the piece evolves I will post updates on The Process. I just have to remember to take photos as I go. 😉 …happy drawing!
…one of my favorite places to visit for many reasons: beautiful breathtaking scenery for myself and my husband, quaint little gift shops for my girls, and an awesome candy store for my son.
12 x 18 Charcoal Sketch on blue-tinted paper
I am always amazed at the beauty that surrounds us, whether prairie or mountain, sky or earth, old or new – all you have to do is stop and look (or maybe I should say see). 🙂 Inspired after a trip to Banff I decided it was time to try sketch a landscape. I have to say that it was an experiment and I never intended to finish it. I wanted to know what effect black and white charcoal would have on blue-tinted paper. When I started the sketch I struggled with the cold feeling. I really wanted to add brown tones to warm up the sketch, but refrained and I’m glad I did. I enjoy the cool feel it created. It fits with our week in Alberta – cold and snow! 🙂
Is there a right or wrong paper to use for a graphite or charcoal sketch? Lately I have come across charcoal art pieces done on a variety of surfaces (newspaper, paper bag, MDF, canvas…) Each has a unique look and I am sure, and new set of challenges. Time for me to try! Thought I would start small – see where it goes.
12×18 Charcoal Sketch
I did this sketch on textured, colored paper. The challenge was the deep tooth of the paper.
I had to include this quote this week.
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ”
There was a lot of “dust” this week – the sketch was a great escape!
Yesterday I had the privilege of observing and talking with a local Canadian Artist in her home town of Banff, Alberta. Canadian born, Christine Ford has spent most of her life in the breath-taking Canadian Rockies. Passion for her home, the beautiful Rockies; and painting, is very clear when talking with Christine. Her passion also comes through in her paintings. This very personable young artist was more than happy to talk about her beginnings, art techniques, struggles in art, and much more.
There is a recurring theme when I talk with artists or read art related articles (beside practice 😉 ) and that is to find ways to surround yourself with art (and artists). This will keep you drawing, painting, and creating. Unless art is your livelihood, where you must paint to pay the bills, it needs nurturing daily to grow. It gives you a reason and purpose to do art. What does this look like? I think for me it means taking a course, setting some goals, entering competitions, being active in an art society, and even doing some commission work.
If you haven’t visited the Canadian Rockies, plan a trip – it will be well worth it. I have been to the majestic Canadian mountains many times, and each time I go, it is like I am seeing them again for the very first time.
Photographs taken by Martin Eisbrenner. Check out his website…some really cool photos!!!