Let’s start at the very beginning


Whenever I ask myself “Where to start?” I think of the song from the Sound of Music.

“Let’s start at the very beginning
A very good place to start
When you read you begin with A-B-C”

She then goes on to explain the basics of singing.  After they get the basics,

“are only the tools we use to build a song.
Once you have these notes in your heads,
you can sing a million different tunes by mixing them up.”

Which is true of most things. Once you have learned the basics, you can mix them up and do most anything with them.

This blog is all about my journey to becoming an Artist, and  I started with the basics of art a long time ago.  This morning I found myself saying where to start, and realized that I need to better define my goal so I know where to start.  How will I know if I am on the right path if I am not sure where I am going. Do I want to teach art and creativity? Do I want to make a living by selling art? Do I want that art to be production pieces or do I want to be the type of artist who is hung in major museums?  All of these appeal to me, but if I want one of them to be the final goal, I need to chart a part to it that includes the other destinations on the way.  It is very similar to saying I want to be in the mountains.  When I say that I mean that I want to be in the Rocky Mountains, specifically in Colorado.  It is very different from being in the Swiss Alps or on Mount Fuji, just to name two other mountain destinations that would make me happy, but are not what I am envisioning.

My goal of being an artist is a bit like this start of a painting. It is a mono print that we created in a watercolor class that I am taking with Marie Flahive. Everyone looked at it and said, what a great tree line, you have a great start. I was a loss for what they were talking about.  They were all on the other side of the table and were looking at it upside down.   Once I had looked at it from their point of view I knew I was the one looking at it upside down, but even then, I know this painting could go any number of ways.  I putthis post in the business of Art, because as I been trying to pick up a new set of basic tools for a while, the tool set for being able to  make my income as an artist.  I have reached the point where I regularly get introduced as an artist, and not as a mother or paralegal.  This is a great feeling, but I know that I do not want to be the starving artist. This means I have a choice, stay where I am, doing what I do and hope that someone discovers me, or learn how to promote myself as an artist.Everything I have read starts with having a plan, and knowing your long-term goals.  This is both  traditional business books and books on how to make it as an artist.  The place to start then is “Where do I want to go?”

It is a good question. I need to take some time and listen for an answer to this question.  Where do you want to go with your Creative Journey?


Work in Progress

Watercolor.jpeg I have been having fun working with and reworking watercolor painting. I had always thought that once it was on the paper, that was it. This one has been repainted a couple of times and will most likely get at least one more go round to remove the circle texture on the mountain and the bleeding into the sky.

Catching up on AEDM

IMG_20111106_144735 I am happy to report that we have power again.

It has been an interesting week. I have been amazed at what all was accomplished in the space of a week.

Yesterday I finished felting this hat. It is supposed to have a nice pillbox shape with a scalloped edge. In reality it has much more of a bubble effect.

I know that it still needs to have a stiffener added, to help it hold its shape, I use have not gotten to that step.

Peeking out from underneath is my first attempt at a hat stand. What I can say about it is that it works. I will need to play around with the design to get it to work the way I want it to work.

I had a clever plan to start with a stack of my photos and sketch, and then watercolor sketch and then possibly paint my favorites over the weekend. Spending the week without power made me decide to bunt. I do want to get back to that, but this hat was midway through the felting process when the power went. I wanted to finish it before I went off to the New England Fiber Festival .

I had a great time, and even found a pattern that I thought I might try knitting lace. I talked myself out of it, because I decided that it should be knit in oranges and fall colors. I like them, but they are not the best choices on me. But I did decide that I should look for a similar pattern, with only a lace edge to get me started.

Taming the Teacup

Originally published http://www.rennatatropeano.com/growingunique/?p=147

The hardest part about learning to draw is learning to see.   Even though I used the lines of the towel to help me,  My own learned perceptions still came into play. I drew the plate bigger and rounder than it is.

Layers of teacups

On the other hand, I drew the open part of the cup as much more of an ellipse.

In this image I have used a graphics program to layer the two images together. I find that this can be helpful in helping me “see” what is off.

This comparison also shows the difference in color. Yes, I am drawing a white teacup, but only a few highlight spots are actually white.

Most of the photograph is in the mid tones, neither dark nor light. What I have drawing is mostly darks and highlights.

Usually when I point things like this out, the first words I hear are “Don’t be so critical, your art work looks great.”

Being critical is how we learn.  The important thing to avoid is being a critic of my own work.  Each thing I said about has an easy and specific fix.

It is all too easy to look at problems with our own art work and become a critic.  “I suck at drawing. I can’t draw teacups.”  Those are the thoughts to avoid, as there is not a specifc fix for either.

They are just negative and completely without merit.  By focusing on what you can do to improve, it allows you to see what needs fixing and usually how to fix it.

There is not a quick and easy answer, the only way to improve the way we see things and get them down on paper is practice. Different Instructors will suggest different ways, but there is not a right way and a wrong way. It is a matter of what works for you.




I should have, I could have…..

Grey Morning

Originally posted  http://www.rennatatropeano.com/growingunique/?p=133

This weekend I attended an art show where I looked at a number of pieces and felt that I should have entered the show.

I didn’t because I felt that my work just was not good enough to enter this particular show.  While looking at the show I found myself measuring each piece of art against my own work.  I was thinking how similar or dissimilar each piece was in terms of style, skill level, subject matter, color choices and technique. My favorites were the ones that were of a higher skill level in a similar style with similar color choices.  The subject matter and technique seemed to be the areas that I was more willing to be open to something new. Not completely open because subject matter also fell into the the area of which I was most critical.

It was the ones of a different color pallet and subject matter that made me look at them and think, I should have entered.  I felt that my skill level was on par or better than a few of the artists, but I would know better than to paint ________ in ___________ color.

The truly ironic thing is guess which paintings won. The painting of the _____ and the one with the odd colors.

While the image I choose is grey, it is not because I am feeling down. It is because it is one that I was thinking of doing for a different contest, one that had to be done in shades of black white and grey.

I am feeling very optimistic, and encouraged as I review my works in progress as I feel more confidant in sending them out into the world. WIP Review, the plane is nearing completion,  and I have pulled out the pencils and watercolors to work with those media for a bit.   I have not put the acrylic away yet, as I want to create some fall paintings, and I may even go ahead with my monochromatic painting.