I’ve Moved!

Hello, all! I’ve moved to a nice new weblog over at Typepad. Why don’t you come and visit (and update your bookmarks!).

 http://skharding.typepad.com

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December 21, 2006 at 10:06 pm 2 comments

Canvas Exploration

To me, working in a journal is comfortable, safe. The cover can be shut and hide all those drippings of experimentation and mistakes from the outside world, away from judging eyes — art is in the eye of the beholder, they say, and such fragile beings like us humans cannot, at times, take even the kindest criticism even if it means to improve us.

I’ve never worked on canvas, ever. Sure, I’ve walked through the art stores I so adore, watching others pick and choose those pieces of canvas stretched over a wooden frame, have looked up at the wall holding paintings by employees. I never considered myself part of that world — I am an outsider, a writer with a paintbrush with peeling handles because I never knew to get plastic or lacquered ones, a girl who draws doodles that couldn’t possibly be art or illustration because of their unprofessional nature. I would look on in awe while grabbing markers or pens to write with in my journals.

Yesterday, I went wandering — took the long way, turned on roads previously unexplored, flipped my route to see the familiar in a new way.

StargazerAnd I ended up buying some canvases.

What would I do with them? Paint and treat them like pages in my journal, try out those techniques I’d perfected where no one else could see? Unlike a page that could be turned, a canvas can’t. Sure, it can be painted over and transformed, but I have a hundred pages and only a few canvases. My last piece, on canvas board, didn’t sell or even have an interest — why would I keep going? Was there a light at the end of this tunnel I’ve started jogging down with high expectations?

I know my art is liked. I know it is accepted, thought of as beautiful, appreciated. I know this. And that’s why I keep going. Last night, while watching television with an old friend, I made my first piece on canvas. I figure I need to approach this in the way I would spec scripts, taking the advice of those writers who came when I was in Los Angeles: Don’t show your first specs. Or second. But keep writing them. Because with each spec, approached and treated like the final you’d try to sell or use to get a job, you improve. The more you write, the better you’ll get. And maybe your 20th will be the one to work, but you would never have gotten there without the 19 before.

December 8, 2006 at 6:50 pm Leave a comment

A Style of my Own

Birthday WishingI love working on canvas board. I just recently decided I’d gotten to a point where I could create artwork outside the safety of my journal, and picked up a few boards the size of my cards, feeling most comfortable with something that size — too large of a canvas can be intimidating!

After reading some books on techniques and practicing them, I think I’ve finally become comfortable with a style of my own, and don’t feel the need to seek out inspiration in the form of trolling flickr or the sites of other artists. I have a clear vision of what I want to make and how to go about it. It’s an amzing feeling and I have much more fun — a lot of it comes from a pleasant reaction to my first round of cards by friends, something that has me flying high and really beliving I can actually do something I love.

I’ve also started pulling images from family albums instead of looking elsewhere; copyright laws have me confused, so, in wanting to be better safe then sorry, I’m using personal photographs and even taking pictures when I’m out for use in collages. The birthday card above is a picture of my dad when he was young and a cake from a photo of my older brother’s birthday. Who knew I had such great material to work with? Granted, purchasing my copy/scan/print machine has helped A LOT. I recommend getting one to anyone who works with collage art.

November 30, 2006 at 5:09 pm 2 comments

[new header and a secret admission]

Look! A header! I finally broke out those rusty Photoshop skills to give the blog a more personal touch. If I weren’t poor, I’d buy the credits needed for the colors on the header to match the blog, but noticed the blue-green matches part of the journal image.

The image is from one of my journals I now use for Morning Pages taken by a lovely friend of mine for an article I’ve written but haven’t yet edited and submitted. Part of me feels my art, while it may be evolving, isn’t as good as the “professional” art I’ve seen in magazines and books. Published images intimidate me; my work doesn’t feel as embelished or colorful or original.

I do admit, I’ve gone through “phases,” times where I would find some aspect of another artist’s work I liked and tried my hand at copying it. As I work at things longer in my journals, and now, on canvas (more on THAT tomorrow), I’ve been discovering my own style — techniques or looks I like that are combinations of several things I’ve learned. But I still feel like the new student struggling to break through that shield of being unknown.

Except I’m the block on my own path. I glow with humble appreciation when I get comments from complete strangers on my flickr stream, but I’m still afraid they’ll laugh at me and ask me to try again later when I’m “better.” Being rejected from publication would not only temporarily crush me as a writer, but perhaps have longer-term effects on me as an artist.

Any advice?

November 26, 2006 at 7:10 am Leave a comment

thanks-giving

Today, I am thankful for many things.

+ My parents, for letting me crash rent-free while I explore less steady employment as a writer and explore myself as an artist.

+ The support of two wonderful friends who are there no matter what, ready to support me even if it means buying art simply so I can pay that month’s bills.

+ My health, however unpredictable and crappy it can be at times; while I can never run or climb stairs, I can walk, and that’s enough to get me around!

+ The new friends and contacts I’m making by sharing my art.

+ The inspiration of so many amazing people. Artists, writers, and every day people who dazzle me with their existance.

+ The holidays. 🙂

+ Nailpolish, buttons, and fabric squares. Paint and pictures. Faerie wings and kimonos. Markers and thread and sparkly pens.  My nieces when set free with all of these; their art and giggles are pure and innocent and tiny miracles.

November 24, 2006 at 12:23 am 1 comment

The world as she sees it… (the story of how this came to be)

My world changed when I graduated from college.

I thought I had everything figured out, knew what I was going to do with my life. I had passion, but no drive. A desire, but no flow. I wanted to write television shows, wanted to help make them, but whenever I sat down to write a script, I felt limited. Intimidated. I’d written scripts before, but none were really good, at least, I thought so.

Then life decided to throw me a curve ball.

The job I was working was bad — I loathed every moment there, and every morning when I woke up, I’d lay there and wonder why my life was so unbalanced. I wanted to move to California (the above picture is of me in Hollywood Park under the Hollywood sign); I loved it there, and memories made tears come to my eyes. I missed it. Missed the freedom and excitement and contentment I’d felt there. I had a similar experience when returning from Japan — these were places where life made sense, unlike home.

I’d taken up collage art as a hobby, a natural progression from keeping a visual journal through paper arts to using collage as a way to vent all my frustrations with the way my life had been going. This lead me to a shop I loved, and they just happened to be hiring.

So I left the horrible job, the responsible, sensible job with a salary and benefits and paid vacation days for a retail job working with paper and creative people.

I thought life had finally clicked into place. Things felt right — I worked somewhere I loved, had time to do art, and finally started working on short stories with the hope of getting published.

And then…I lost the job.

I fell into a tailspin of self-pity. Why had the great creator given me such a lovely, balanced time only to rip it away a mere three weeks later? Was I a poor employee? Was I a bad person?

I couldn’t see it then, but now, I know I was meant to be there for as long as I was for a reason. You see, I learned card making there, and encountered the artwork of an artist I grew to admire. So many artists sold cards through our shop, and so, why couldn’t I? I had journals filled with artwork that could easily be adapted to cards or stationary — if they could do it, so could I!

And life clicked into place. I am an artist. I am a writer. I am all of these things because I believe I am. And all of these things I saw as bad were steps I needed to take in order to become who I am now.

November 20, 2006 at 7:27 pm 1 comment

Holiday Cards!

Holiday 2006 -- Peace

I’ve done it!

It took awhile, and the purchase of a new scanner, but I finally finished my holiday cards! *G* I think they came out nice, and many really like them! If only I’d gotten them out sooner; I’m sure more people would be interested if they’d been available a month ago. But we all have to start somewhere!

I also need more practice on Etsy, I’m afraid — because something I did must have scared people off because the cards haven’t gotten any views. I’m just going to work on getting more designs finished and renting some space at a few places I know take consignment items.

This coming weekend, I’m grabbing some canvases to make some pieces for myself. My walls are covered in old posters and such that no longer reflect who I am, and I think painting them and then putting up some pieces might be what the place needs.

If only I could get things organized….

November 20, 2006 at 7:14 pm Leave a comment

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