Friday, June 27, 2014

finding time for making art

July is just days away which makes this the perfect time to talk about your plans for your summer holidays. (The following is from my TMS June 27th, 2014 Newsletter)

Let me ask you this, do you ever find yourself wistfully wishing you could find more time to do art? If you are like a lot of people, the answer will probably be yes. The lack of time for the things that give us pleasure is a very common frustration.

 Are you ready for a solution?

Start now and plan on making art during your vacation.

And yes I can already hear your objections...

1.      You don’t understand, my holidays are already booked full with activities for everyone in the family. I simply won’t have time to draw or paint.

2.     I am traveling and I couldn’t possibly find room in my luggage or the trunk of the car for all sorts of art stuff.

3.     I can’t possibly work on my art during my vacation because I don’t have time before I go to get prepared for a project.

Hang on, keep reading, because as your art making mentor, I won’t let you stay stuck in your excuses.

a quick sketch of a bean from my garden using ink and a few coloured pencils

Here is my list of tips for making art while on your vacation:
·        No matter how busy your holidays look to you right now, please admit to yourself that you will be able to find 20 or 30 minutes each day to yourself. Imagine grabbing an early morning coffee, heading to the dock or verandah, sketchbook in hand. Grabbing some pens, pencils, markers or perhaps some watercolour paint you do a quick sketch – of some flip flops, a child’s sand bucket, a bird feeder, anything you can see from where you are sitting. That seems pretty do-able, right?

 ·        Pack simple art making items - some graphite pencils, or pens, a small number of coloured pencils or a small tin of watercolour paints and a brush. Add a small sketchbook and you are good to go. You don’t need to box up your studio! Even if you don’t normally making quick studies or sketches, your vacation is the perfect opportunity to give this a try. You won’t be disappointed. Working small, quick and imperfectly is addictive.
·        If you wish to work on a project, don’t fret about creating a new one from scratch – head to your stash and go find one that is waiting for you. You know what I am talking about when I mention your stash – I am referring to that pile of unfinished works-in-progress stored somewhere in your home.  You have probably forgotten about that drawing of a lemon still life you started in an art class that you never finished or that terrific photo you took and have always meant to use as a reference for a work, or that drawing of your grandson that you never got around to completing, that something that you kept meaning to come back to when you had a bit of time...Once you start really going through that stuff in your stash, you will surprise yourself at what you find and what you have forgotten about. It will be a gold mine for finding something you can dive into, now.

a very quick sketch of a poppy, done in ink and coloured pencils
Bottom line, you can have your planned holiday and make art. Keep your expectations simple. Decide to create fun, quick, spontaneous pieces. Or perhaps dive back into a piece that you walked away from and forgot about long ago.

You goal isn’t to create art that will be framed or offered for sale. Grits of sand and a smudge from a dog’s paw are all okay.

Instead, your goal is to be creative and to revel in the bliss of creating art.

You can do is your holiday after all, why not fulfill that creative desire and stop wishing you had more time to sketch and colour? ‘Wishing’ isn’t a powerful place to live one’s life from...

 Next week I shall share a super easy project that you can do with your children or grandkids this summer.



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

coloured pencil classes

Plum project from my CP Basics course, copyright Teresa Mallen

Interested in studying coloured pencil this Fall? My revised teaching schedule has been posted on my website. Click here for the link. Don't miss out as we have an awful lot of fun in these sessions. :-)
My Coloured Pencil Basics course, held over two Saturdays, here in my studio, in September, is filling up quickly. If you have ever wanted to take a coloured pencil class, now is the time to ditch your fear.

Over the past ten years of teaching, I have seen what works for my students and I am confident that my exercises and projects will give you the results you desire. You can do this!

I have designed these courses so that they are jam packed with content, with tools, tips and techniques you absolutely must know and it is all presented in an easy to follow and fun manner.

Plus these courses are loaded with juicy bonuses!

I provide line drawings and step by step instructions for each of our projects. The picture posted above shows how a plum gets coloured up. The best part of my hand-outs is that you can finish exercises at home if you find you run out of time in class. Working at your own pace is deliciously freeing...and art making should be fun.

If you are at all tempted, head on over to the classes page of my website,
to read all of the details and to conveniently register on-line.
If you don't live anywhere near my studio, I have great news - on-line courses are coming soon - as early as January 2015 for the Basics course. I shall keep you posted!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Are you getting in the way of your creativity?

peony, copyright Teresa Mallen
I have started publishing my newsletter again! This week’s feature article, from my newsletter, is being reprinted here. It is about stifling creativity. Could you be guilty of such a thing?  I have come up with a list of 5 ways I have found artists get in their own way.

I see these patterns of behaviour time and time again with my students. People start out having the best of intentions but once the workshops and courses are over it can be easy to fall back into old habits.

Here is my list of several ways artists can get in their own way and negatively impact their efforts to make art. Check it out and see if you might need to remedy how you ‘show up’ for your art.

5 Ways Artists Stifle Their Creativity

1)    You feel the urge to work on your art but then your mind starts churning. You find yourself thinking about the end results - before you have even picked up a pencil or a brush or attempted a sketch. Conversations in your head start to sound like this: “What if this isn’t good enough?” “I know it will be ugly.”  “I bet I am going to mess this up.” When you are worrying about whether or not your art is going to be any good, you are definitely going to find it hard to let go and be creative.

2)    You worry about what people will think. What will your kids think, your mother, or the person sitting next to you in art class (you know, the person you are absolutely certain is very talented)? Instead of making art for the pleasure of the experience and/or for the opportunity to improve your skills you now get lost in a nasty head game, focusing on what the viewer’s opinion will be.

3)    Checking your email (and all other social media) instead of heading to your art supplies. We all know we can get lost in the needs of others or in the entertainment on our devices, but letting the agendas of other people rule our time is a great way to kill our productivity and a great way to numb our creativity impulses.

4)    Striving for perfection in a piece can stifle creativity. Author Michael Crichton said “Books are not written, they are re-written.” The truth is we have all re-worked a sketch (sometimes more than once J) and we have all gone back  later and fixed something in a piece, a work we thought was doomed. Be patient and open to doing some tweaking later.

5)    Waiting for your Muse to show up. This one is something I hear often from students and other artists who declare that they are stuck. It seems people are waiting for everything to ‘feel’ right, waiting for the perfect dose of inspiration. I predict you will be waiting more than creating.

Allow me to remind you, (because deep down you know this) that you do not need to wait until you have the perfect dose of inspiration. You do not need to know with 100% certainty that your idea is going to make a great painting, and you simply don’t need to be considering the opinion of others. Allow imperfections and plan on re-tweaking if necessary.  Make time for art, turn off those pesky devices.

Try this - make a commitment to do some imperfect art this week – anything from a quick sketch while waiting for your kids to finish their piano lesson to grabbing the camera to take some reference photos for future projects. Whatever works for you, just go do it! Ignore the mind chatter (“Will this be any good?”), banish the self doubt and simply grab those art supplies and take action. It will feel so good, I promise.

So have you let any stifling behaviours and thoughts creep into your creative experience? Did you have any ouch moments? If you did, or if you wish to share other ways you know you stifle your creativity, leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

Also, if you are out making some imperfect art this week, celebrate by letting us know how it goes...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

love flowers or hate them?

tulip, coloured pencil on Stonehenge paper, 8 3/4" x 6", copyright Teresa Mallen

Ah to be famous...and to have your words live on.
Georgia O'Keeffe is quoted as saying "I hate flowers. I paint them because they're cheaper than models and they don't move."
Was she being serious or was this taken out of context? After reading biographies of Georgia and reading some of her letters that have been published since her death, I think she was a woman who enjoyed sparking a bit of controversy.
As well, she would tire of expectations and assumptions about her work and she struggled to be understood. She insisted that her famous flower images were not created with the sexual messages that were attributed to them. It seems no one listened. She turned to other subject matter...
Whether she hated flowers or loved them, I for one am glad she painted them.
I can't imagine a world without flowers so for the record, I draw them because I get great pleasure from their beauty.


Monday, June 16, 2014

in the garden...

Theses days if I am not in the studio, you will find me in the garden. If I want to eat beans like in the picture above (last year's harvest), not to mention my other veggies, then I need to log in some hours, especially in early summer when everything needs to get planted.

You have heard about my 100 tomato plants, seen the pictures, read the green tomato salsa recipe a couple of times over the years, LOL so I won't go there. Just saying I am busy these days!

This morning I was putting down mulch amongst my rows of corn and zucchini and peas. I had a visitor who seemed quite curious about what I was doing. She watched me for a long time. 

We see her just about every day. Sometimes there are two of them. Fortunately my garden has a very good fence around it or I would be planting a deer salad bar. The deer usually eat things in my flower beds. They love daylilies but I have lots of daylilies so I can live with that.

Friday, June 13, 2014

brand confusion?

 Blue Flag Iris 5 3/4" x 8 3/4"
 coloured pencil on Stonehenge paper
copyright Teresa Mallen

A confused customer never buys...a nugget of wisdom from the biz development program I was involved in this past winter. I probably have some confused customers! hum...

Why do I say this? Well, I have been guilty of not posting to my biz Facebook page. I would post, drop off, six months later post again, then oops, life intervened and I dropped off again. Of course this has happened here too, but I know that many of you have been reading this blog for years so you have had a chance to get to know both me and my work.

I realize that my facebook page has displayed only one side of me as an artist. I have posted a lot of funky cp work, all done on sanded pastel paper. This is work that I enjoy doing and it sells well (yeah) but it isn't all that I do nor is it what I have done the most of.

So today, I posted the Iris above. I changed my cover image too. Why? Well first off, I am in the beginning stages of developing a following on my biz FB page and I want my new peeps to get a better idea of what sort of artist I am.

Secondly, I shall be teaching again this Fall and I want FB viewers to see that I can do realism, I enjoy it AND I am definitely qualified to teach it. I do realize that not every coloured pencil artist wanna-be wants to learn how to do funky landscapes or imagination based pieces.

So, time to add clarity and clear any confusion...

I will be giving the details of the courses next week, here on my blog if you are interested. Have a great weekend!

Oh and if you haven't visited, you can click here to visit my FB page. :-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

art and memories

shaggy forest study, 8.5 x 4 inches, cps on sanded pastel paper, copyright Teresa Mallen

I really like how memories can be triggered by a song, or the smell of a certain dish cooking or even art. This little study triggers a specific time and mood memory for me.
The time was early last December and my mood was playful and indulgent. I had just worked my fanny off preparing for a Studio Tour, held the last week of November. I had spent a week moving studio furniture, putting all sorts of stuff away, got my display grid walls up, my art that was for sale unpacked and hung, Paypal buttons set for all of the items so that I could accept credit card payment easily, etc. etc.
Following this week of preparation, plus two days of smiling until my mouth was sore and talking about and demonstrating cp techniques until my brain felt scrambled - well I was cooked.
I remember the effort it took to put my studio back into a working studio setup, versus a gallery. Art was packed up, grid walls stored away, the floors mopped...
And then I found myself wandering around the studio, feeling lost, unable to even think of working on something 'real'.
I decided to play. I got a small section of olive coloured pastel paper (the sanded, toothy stuff). I grabbed my pencils and I quickly started creating a shaggy forest. :-)
Alright, so I don't name my work for sale in quite such goofy terms but seriously the shrubs in this quick bit of fluff makes me think of a shaggy animal's coat, like a long haired yak, you know the gorgeous beast that people get fiber from for spinning?!!?
So plain and simple, this was a joyous, recovery piece. Nothing serious, no lengthy time considering perspective and composition or, or, or anything. Just lots of fun stroking down lines of colour.
Every time I come across this little study, I quickly get hit with the memories of that week following the Tour weekend and how I really needed to mess about and do something freeing and fun. No expectations, it didn't have to be 'good' or worthy of framing or something someone would buy. I get a warm, positive feeling when I look at it. Maybe I should leave it out so I can remember to connect with the shaggy side of me. :-)
What art memories do you have? 

Friday, June 6, 2014

funky, little Fall landscape

a funky little Fall landscape, 6" x 2", coloured pencil on sanded pastel paper, copyright Teresa Mallen

It has been awhile...I am excited to be back posting work and this time I am sticking around. Even blew the dust off of my FB page and well, let's just say that is a big deal cause I have always been rather allergic to all things FB. :-)
So was I sitting on a beach reading novels all winter? Umm, no. (couldn't bear to be parted from my goats). I was working on my biz behind the scenes.
To start with, I took part in a three month biz development program so I could learn how to take Teresa Mallen Studio in the new directions I have always dreamed of - offering courses and workshops on-line! As well, I have been reading countless marketing books and participating in on-line biz webinars etc. (my new addiction apparently). 
Things are coming together slowly, but surely, and the time has come to get visible again. I have been here, drawing when I got the chance and I have a few things to show you over the coming weeks. AND of course there will be shout outs of all new developments. 
I am committed to not letting the dust gather anymore. It feels good.