Pursuing Art, Creativity and Happiness

Two of the books I read last year were “Steal Like an Artist” and “Show You Work” by Austin Kleon. The books gave me the push to pursue the artistic path- the path that seemed to be way off-tangent from what I studied in the university and the career paths I took for the past 19 years. Here I am in my late 30′s and I am still pursuing and figuring out my passion, whatever it is. If I compare myself to my parents in their 30′s, it seemed like they had everything figured out while I am still clueless of what I want to do and I am nearing 40! At this age, my parents had stable jobs, were raising a family (me) and were in control of their lives while I still feel like a child: wide-eyed and unsure of herself. Yet, after reading the books, I felt that I have a place in the artistic world I am trying to squeeze myself in.

I do not remember everything the two books have taught me but there were a few things that stayed in mind that seemed to speak to me. Austin wrote,”Do not wait until you know who you are to get started.” I am one of those people who would wait for the right moment-the right time- instead of making the moment be the right time. Life is short. We have a finite lifetime and if we live by waiting for opportunities to fall in our lap, we might be waiting forever. Instead, we can create the opportunities.

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It is the fear of failing that keeps me from doing the things I planned to do. I may write cliches about handling failure and believe them but in reality, I really do not want to fail. I would rather not do anything than do something and fail. But what good does that kind of mindset do to me? Nothing. The fear of failure puts my dreams at risk. Amy Poehler has some wise words about it.

“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that- that’s what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself.”

And who else can talk to me about failure and success than one of my favorite authors, J.K. Rowling? Many of us who read her books know that she was broke when wrote Harry Potter in a cafe in Edinburgh and that the manuscript she submitted to publishers was rejected several times. Yet, she persevered.

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So what is the point of writing all these? This is actually a pep talk to myself. I am taking baby steps in pursuing a creative path. Right now, I am inclined to do a lot of art. I now have a Facebook page for those who are interested in getting me to do commission work for them. The Facebook page has samples of artwork that I have done in the past.

I have actually taken the steps quietly. Some friends asked me to do some artwork for them last year. This year, I am opening up the same service to anyone who is interested. You can like my facebook page to get updates on the projects that I am doing (or maybe you want me to do some projects for you. let’s talk!) and some snippets of my life. I will also share my blog posts there.

Here is the link to the eponymous Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/katrinakarenart

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Hope you have the time to interact with me in that page. See you there!

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Artistic Inspirations: Kahlo, Dali and Kandinsky

I got into watercolor painting when I saw a video on how to paint a realistic apple.  From then on, I kept on practicing and I usually do that by finding inspirations from famous artists and their paintings. I am always attracted to paintings with pretty colors and beautiful subjects like flowers and landscapes.  However, I came across artists whose paintings evoke their emotions and struggles.  There are those paintings that make you think and process what the artist wished to convey.  Here are three artists with thought provoking masterpieces:

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo has painted many self-portraits in her lifetime. These paintings reflect her life story and the pain that she endured. Art must have been a good outlet for her to express her emotions. In my case, I have only done one self-portrait and it vaguely resembles me! It was not an expression of anything but a practice on skills and I came on a realization that I need to practice more.

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This is my self-portait. Not Frida Kahloesque. Not thought provoking. ha!

Salvador Dali

 

Salvador Dali is a Spanish painter known for his surrealist painting. Surrealism is a movement that tries to connect  dream to reality.  An example of  a surrealism by Dali is “Persistence of Memory” which showed soft clocks against a landscape. There are many symbolisms in the painting that reflect his thoughts. Some objects are incorporated together that does seem to relate to each other.  The painting makes you think and you can just be engrossed in it at the same time.

Wassily Kandinsky 

Wassily Kandinsky is a Russian abstract painter. He is known for his colorful masterpieces. His early works were  impressionistic which gradually transitioned to a period of abstract painting. He is know to have immersed himself into art theory which explains his use of colors in his painting. I love colors and I must admit that I do not understand abstract painting. But there is a something about Kandinsky’s work that makes you appreciate the artist that he is.

How about you?  Who are your favorite artists?

The Art of Writing

My aunt is a retired elementary teacher and she has beautiful penmanship.  She told me that back then she would know a pupil’s grade 2 teacher by the penmanship. It was in Grade 2 when students were taught cursive writing.  I don’t know if there are still handwriting classes in grade school especially with the existence of mobile phones and computers.  I am still lucky because I was able to enjoy the analog world. We used to write notes instead of texting.  These are my friends notes for me in college. They left me written messages in my table in the dormitory when I am not around.  Priceless!

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It has been years since I have actually written a letter and gone to the post office to mail them so I welcomed Fozzy‘s invitation to write her a love letter.

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Well, I poured my heart out like a giddy fan! It was written in my regular pensmanship on a card I made myself. I painted watercolor flowers.

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I got my reply back and I also got another letter from a friend. Sweet!

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I finally bought myself a calligraphy kit for beginners from The Craft Central.

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I tried writing using the calligraphy oblique holder with NikkoG nib. I need more practice.

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Have you mailed a handwritten letter lately?

New Hobby: Lettering and Calligraphy

If you happen to read my list of 25 things I plan to do in 2015, you know that 3rd on the list is to learn lettering and calligraphy. I had to start somewhere. I have a calligraphy pen staring at me, waiting for me to do something creative. I started practicing but I was an impatient creature. So I googled and googled on different styles which led me to Abbey Sy, a letterer extraordinaire.  I figured that I would just practice freestyle lettering since I still do not own the type of calligraphy tool that can give the kind of beautiful calligraphy I wanted. (Yes, excuses, excuses.)

I found an opportunity to experiment with my greetings for my cousin, Ghia.  By the way, Ghia is an excellent instagrammer that the Columbus Museum of Art included one of her photos in an exhibit there.

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I found another opportunity to explore the art of lettering when Fozzy Dayrit, my calligraphy idol, started #10daysofcrushing.  You need to post on instagram lines for songs  or quotes that you would dedicate to a crush. It is easier to practice with the lines from the songs since you do not have to think of cool words to practice on.  I started with this one.

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On the second day, I want to use a different style to the lines. I came up with this one.

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I got a lot of ribbing from my friends for the “in love”  quotes.  Yes, I am in love…. with lettering!

I thought of using watercolor so this happened.

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And to avoid the teasing and still enjoy lettering, I made one with one of my favorite bible verses.

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You can see that I am really enjoying this. These are more of the #10daysofcrushing I did.

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I did a lot of practice and planning to come up with the ‘designs’.

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There is so much to learn. I am just trying to wing this one. I get ideas from Google, Instagram and Pinterest.  My friend also recommended a classic calligraphy book and I still need to look for a copy.  Calligraphy is a little technical.  There are measurements  and consistency of  strokes to look out for. Lettering is a bit more  flexible but I noticed that the output is cleaner and impressive when one incorporates the techniques of calligraphy into lettering.

I am off to do more!  The #10daysofcrushing is not yet done. For more lettering, follow me on Instagram.

More Art, A Poem and A New Craft

I am still not done with my friends’ requests for an artwork (which also doubles as my Christmas gift). My friend, Ernelyn, wanted a bamboo painting with a bird.  I thought this was an easy task since the first watercolor lesson we were  taught in high school was painting a bamboo. However, the artwork I took inspiration from was a thicker bamboo. I used to be able to paint the trunk with one  stroke using a thick brush. Now, I had to use multiple strokes and it required a certain amount of water to make the strokes unnoticeable.  It was challenging. This is the final artwork.

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My friend liked it and that matters most.  (Or she had no choice! hahaha I did my best with this one.)

My friend, Wela, wanted a lighthouse with a sea and some rocks. I let her choose from different pegs. I had trouble with making the rocks look like real rocks but I have to settle with a ‘cartoonish’ version.  I’ll practice more. This is the final artwork.

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She was happy with the artwork that she made me a poem.  My friend (who happens to be a cousin also) writes beautiful poems. She often does this when someone close to her celebrates a birthday.  I requested for a poem on my next birthday and, in exchange, I’ll record a song for her.  No, I am not a good singer. I do not sing when we gather together for a night of karaoke.  I have stage fright. I sing averagely okay when I am alone but put someone to listen to my voice and  no sound would come out.  Thus, I will just send a recording.  Hehe  But when we gathered for breakfast early this January, they urged me to sing which I obliged because a friend who is a very good singer sang with me.

This is the poem she made for me:

A song to sing,
A joy you bring,
To this morning gathering,
Of friends who are truly caring.

A friend since nineteen eighty six,
A gal who’s a wonderful mix,
Of talents and wit,
Of a genius that’s only fit.

Grateful to God for having met you,
A friend who is loving and true,
May you never be blue,
For in His perfect timing your prince
charming will be due! 

Yes, your parents may have gone ahead,
And left you longing instead,
But always remember, in this life there
are no accidents,
Things happen for a reason and not just by mere
coincidence.

So as you welcome the year two thousand fifteen,
Whatever may happen in between,
Stand still and be strong,
For with the Lord by your side, nothing can go
wrong.

What a nice gift! I really have sweet friends.  Thank you, God!

Now back to more painting. These are three different cherry blossoms-like painting which I will ask my friend to choose (if she likes any) since she wanted something similar to what I previously did for another friend.

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Yesterday, I finally tried my pastel dye.  I bought this last Christmas as gifts for my godchildren and I bought one for myself.   When I painted bougainvillea last year, my friend, Mau, wanted the artwork but she is a wanderlust. I told her she would just leave behind the painting in her house which she only visits a few times a year.  I told her I’ll put it in a t-shirt.

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I thought of printing the artwork on an iron-on sheet but I cannot find a sheet here. I asked about t-shirt printing and it was a little expensive which I was willing to pay for but when I asked about it, they cannot deliver at the time when Mau is in town. I have totally forgotten about t-shirt until I saw the pastels in a store.

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This is what  I did. I drew the design using a marker on a white sheet. I taped the sketch on an illustration board which I inserted inside the t-shirt. Then, I began tracing the design.

This is the finished work.

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I really enjoy creating something with my hands.  I am off to do more. I still have some requests to fulfill.  Bye for now!

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