Thursday, June 25, 2015

Brain Ridiculousness and Such - SOC Challenge 3

Do you ever get something ridiculous stuck in your head that just has to come out?  No....  hmmmm....  I was quite sure it happened to everyone....

Well, for future reference, if it ever happens to you, you will now know that you must -yes, must- let him... I mean... it out.

Let me back up a little.
Week 3 of the Summer of Color Challenge, over at Twinkle, Twinkle, required I use two purples and a yellow for a piece of art.  Neither is a favorite color of mine, nor did any breath-taking artistic ideas pop into my head...  Only little Zirg, here...

Don't ask because I don't know.  Really... I did try to come up with something else.  
I even looked through old photos of some of my art to try to spark an idea.  Apparently, although I don't love either color, I seem to put them together a lot!  If you don't believe me, check back through some older posts.  :)
  So, anyway, there was no epiphany.  No masterpiece in my little brain.  Just this - 

Maybe I ate something too spicy or stared at the sun too long, but I'm telling you that you just might as well let the ridiculousness out of your brain from the onset, or he, uhh.. it... will just run round and round your skull driving you further off the sane map than you already are.

I guess I'll be refilling my paint bin with the shades of purple and yellow acrylics I bought.  It seems Zirg found his way out of my brain and into my glass.  Good riddance.  He'll have to find his own way out of there.  Maybe it will give me time to get some art done!

Won't you join us for the Summer of Color Challenge?  It's not too late!  Head on over to Kristin's blog and check out the rules!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Summer of Color 2015 Challenge #2

This week's challenge required two pinks and an orange. I almost made it… With a little burnt umber…. I know....  I said almost!  I have to say this was another tough one for me.  I like the fact that my comfort zone is being stretched with the Summer of Color, but I already broke the pact I made with myself when I started the challenge.  I had every intention of using only the three colors - no blacks, umber, or whites.  Although many of the other players are using extras, especially black and white, I wanted to try to pull off paintings done entirely with the three chosen colors.  That would be great if I chose to paint flowers, or sunrises, or.... flying pigs headed into the sunset... but no.  I had a horse on my mind from the start.  

When I had reached this point -

I almost threw it in File 13.  The screaming pink was doing nothing for me, and I couldn't get any contrast.  I'm glad I stuck to it, though.  Sometimes in life, that is just what it takes - stick-to-itiveness - and, of course, God's grace!

Why don't you join us in the Summer of Color 5 Challenge?  No excuses.  Just do it!

I do hope you take the time to 
Be still and know that He is God.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer of Color 5 - Color by Number Challenge and Such

My, my, my... I found another challenge to try... I must have had a weak moment.
It promises to be great fun, though!  I had to dash through this week's challenge, though, because I am off to church camp in the morning, and the deadline will get here before I get back home.
The challenge - create art with three colors.  Two blues and a green.  Get it?  Color by number... hehe.  I love it... no, wait.  I hated it!!  I wanted so badly to add shadows with burnt umber or blacks or anything!

I struggled through it in record time because I had none to spare.  There is more motive to the madness that I can't share just yet, but I slung paint, and the rooster crowed in the morning sun, albeit a green sun.
I even cut loose and thumped some watery drops all around - that was EXTREMELY difficult for my oh-so-orderly self.  I wanted to wipe it off immediately, but I didn't.  Whew, that was tough, but it is starting to grow on me.
So here is Morning Calls-

Here were my colors-

Why don't you join in on the fun?  Check out the challenge at Twinkle, Twinkle.  I know we are going to have a great time!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Summer Art

Summer is here, and I'm enjoying it!  More than the time off, though, I have come to some amazing revelations in the past couple of days.  Do you know how you hear something over and over and over until one day your little light bulb goes ~ZIT~ and you get it?  Surely that doesn't just happen to me, right?
Anyway, I've been struggling with where my creativity fits in with God's plans for me.  I love to create whether it's sculpting, painting, writing, or devising the next science lesson for my students, but how does any of that play out in the eternal picture?  I am often concerned that I am wasting time by feeding that Creative Monster that lives inside of me.  I am, however, created in God's image, and He's the one who made me this way.  
Being the bag lady that I am, I decided to paint a new book bag for myself.  A selfie - a skinny selfie, that is!  I knew I wanted scripture, but I didn't know which one.  I started Googling thoughts that were on my heart, and Ephesians 2:10 popped up!  

I can't really even put into words what I finally got, but I got it.  I am who I am for a reason.  Here are some things that I realized:
God has a plan.  I am His workmanship.  There is a reason I make art even if I'm not quite sure why, yet... YET.  Although I like for people to enjoy my art, I don't need them to enjoy it for me to be happy because my plan was already prepared for me.
That being said, sometimes I have wondered if I talk too much about God - that I'm that freaky Jesus nut that everybody wants to avoid.  That was answered, today, too.  We had a guest speaker at church today.  God spoke to my heart through him when he quoted Ephesians 2:10- my scripture, and then he said that God's Word would not come back void.  I will keep sharing His Word.  He has good works prepared for me, and I pray that I walk in them.
I guess folks that think I'm too freaky can just hop on to another blog!

So, here's my little bag along with its message to me and to you -

What path are you walking?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Digital Art - The Battle Continues

Digital Art...oh, how I've had my battles with that term.  I've wrapped up a week of physically painting a watercolor a day for my Spring Countdown Art Jam, and then I pick up the latest Digital Studio Magazine while watching the rain on this first day of spring.  I started reading about one of the featured artists and came across a couple of new photo apps I hadn't seen.... One of them being Waterlogue.  And, yes, as the name suggests, it turns your photo into a watercolor painting....
And a good one, I might add.

These first three are different versions of this photo I took looking out the window-

Pretty amazing, right?  The app not only changes it, but it paints it before your eyes.  That's where I struggle with digital art.  I feel like I'm cheating!  These photos are, by no means, deemed art, but there are artists who take photos and transform them into beautiful pieces with layer upon layer of digital brushes, stamps, and images without ever getting paint on themselves. I know there are thousands of art forms, and I'm not knocking the hours of work that go into the layers created by digital artists.  It's the little voices in my own head that keep calling me Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater when I create "art" digitally.  I guess that's where my struggle lies - what constitutes art?

I'll never turn loose of my paints and my clay, but digital art keeps poking its finger at me. I don't like being taunted, so I keep dabbling.
The next photo app up for testing was SnapSeed.  I don't do gloomy art, but I loved, loved, loved these effects.  The spooky story wheels were churning.

I could already imagine snapping photos of seemingly, ordinary scenes at school... a little SnapSeed magic, and Viola.... the perfect setting for a spooky mystery or Halloween tale.  I know, it's the first day of spring, but one can never plan too early!

The final app in today's test run is called Mobile Monet.  If you'd like to get a quick tour into the world of Impressionism, this might be the app you need.

I liked this look, too.  I tried to find some off-the-wall facts to drop on you about Monet but was saddened to read he was an atheist.  Imagine a gift given by God never acknowledged by its recipient.  I wasn't surprised to read he'd tried to drown himself in the Seine River.  I'll leave the puns for another day, and, instead, thank God for His gifts and soak up the blessing of creating - whether with a paintbrush, a computer, or an iphone.

How about you?  Have you thanked the Lord today?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring Countdown Art Jam Update and Spring Break Ponderings

Thank you, Lord, for the warm weather and the rain!  It has been so nice to relax and enjoy time off without thinking about the looming tasks coming at work... I know, I'll have to suck it up and face it some time before Sunday, but not today!
I've been steadily working to get the hang of painting with watercolors, and I've enjoyed little challenges thrown at me by my friends!  They have forced me out of my comfort zone with the subject material... elephants, giraffes, and llamas, oh my.  Although a little crazy, it's been fun!  I know I promised daily updates on the paintings, but I always feel like I'm double-slamming all of you when I post on FB and again on the blog. So, I thought I'd share with you some signs of spring I've been catching around here, and a collage splash of paintings to finish.

Oh, I wish you could smell the sweetness I can smell!  The algerita bushes are blooming, and the air is sticky sweet!  You'll only know it, though, if they don't send your allergies into a tailspin, like they do my husband...

and the weeds are waking up....

I know... who gets excited about weeds???  Well, it's that, or dirt around here!
Maybe that's why I've splashed so much color on my Spring Countdown paintings.  Here's a look at #1 through #5. 

Hmmm, I think there's a pastel longhorn waiting in the paint palette for today... thanks to another friendly challenge from those folks who like to torment me... I mean, my friends!  :)

I hope you take the time to see what God had done for you today.  
You will be amazed.  
I promise.

Friday, March 13, 2015

3...2...1...Spring Break, Spring Art Jam, and Spring Cleaning!

Let the games begin!  It's after 6 pm, and it's finally sinking in that Spring Break has started - a welcome relief from the state testing frenzy that is going on in schools across the state.  I've already had my pencil out to welcome spring in with some art, and I'm feeling the need to splash some colors around this evening!

I know I've got a long Spring Cleaning list, but I've added some fun to the mix, too, with a countdown to spring - one piece of "Spring" art per day to celebrate.  I'll be posting daily updates and works-in-progress with hopes of some of you joining me.  How cool would that be.... a flood of springtime awesomeness from all the folks who drop by here.  Photography counts, of course!  Help us count down by sharing in the comments, or sending me a picture via the email link on the sidebar.

Come on, are you in?

 PM Paint Update....

Friday, February 27, 2015

Snow Day and Some Time to Draw

It has been a long, quiet spell here on my blog.  Life has been zooming along!  After driving 15 mph for over an hour, I made it to town this morning just in time for the powers-that-be to cancel school.  I had a coffee break at the convenience store and headed back to the house.  I've had a nap and some stew, and now I've got some time to spend in my craftroom.

Although school has had me jumping through hoops, I have been making art, of sorts.  Learning, I should say.  I've been studying and practicing - taking on some challenges to improve.  And, let me tell you, there's a LOT of growing room!  It's inherent in my genetic makeup that I am a life-long learner.  I can't help it.  I don't think that's a bad thing, though.  I had given a quote to my students this week from Pablo Picasso -
I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
That's a normal motto for me, but we talked, as a class, about what it meant.  Later in the week, I had one of my students quote it to another one when faced with a state practice test.  That made me smile.  So what am I doing these days that I cannot do, so that I can learn how to do it?


I know... I do a lot of that, but I've decided to learn to do new things like inking.  I've taken on a personal Design 100 Somethings Challenge posted by an artist on YouTube.  I've only reached #5, but I'm having fun!

The goal is to create 100 different designs of the same recognizable "Something", to get out of the box and stretch creative brain cells, and to have some low-stress fun drawing.  I am a terrible inker, but I am practicing that which I cannot do!  Maybe #100 will be a little better than #1!

I've also been learning to develop characters and to create turn-arounds of the characters I've created.  I've never been able to draw the same character in different positions... such as would be needed to write a children's book.  :)  But, I'm learning!  Here's a peek into the sketchbook at a Space Punk... I know, who even knows what that is, but here he is-

And, no, I don't know why he's in space shooting a bow and arrow, but check out the perspective, another of my weak spots.  Still needs lots of practice!

I've been loading up on YouTube tutorials from some great artists who people-watch and sketch interesting characters.  I've been people watching and sketching - kind of like the old USA network slogan, "Characters Welcome"!  I saw the skinniest skinny jeans EVER at the tech conference I recently attended.  It's quite a challenge to sketch on the fly as people walk by.  I've not been too successful, but "Skinnies" was a successful capture.

The Blue Purse Lady was a semi-success..

I just love learning, and who knows, maybe it will pay off one of these days.  Why don't you break out the pencils or markers and create a something, or why not 100 Somethings?  Catch a character and share it with someone to give them a smile, or practice that thing you wanted to do but were never very good at.  

What are you learning these days?  Leave a comment and share!

May God shake out the blessings on your day!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

What a year it has been!  I can't begin to thank God enough for His daily blessings.  I hope your year was filled with His gifts, as well.  We're iced in and hunkered down by the fire - quite a drastic change from the 60 and 70 degree weather we've been having!

We had lots of fun with grandkids over the week of Christmas! And, although the new den is still under construction, we were able to have Christmas in there.  The time we spent with our family was the best gift of all (I do LOVE my new ceiling fans in the craftroom and my new Shark, though!).

With the cold weather and some relaxing vacation time, I've been thinking about where the new year will take my creativity.  I flipped through old art magazines, dared myself to make a paint mess.... those who know my "OCD"ness will understand the challenge in this...

To be honest, it just doesn't thrill me.  Now and again, I get the feeling I need to be creating what others are - to expand and try different styles.  That is true, to an extent, but in the end, it comes down to the fact that God has given me certain talents for creating and joy that comes when I'm creating things that I like.  Occasionally, I get the notion I need to be creating something that interests the rest of the world, but that never plays out the way I imagine.  

I guess my art journals and canvases will be filled with horses and mules, old boots, and such, and God's Word, of course.  Earlier in the week, I watercolored the imfamous Ima Jean...

Now, that's what makes me smile!  So, I guess in a long-winded explanation, my art will continue to reflect the things I love, and my hope will be that God will use it to make someone else's days brighter.

I am super excited about the New Year and bringing more thrifty art challenges to the work table for those of you who play along with me.  Let's really step out for God this year and make the ol' devil wish he'd kept his mouth shut!  

Happy New Year
from Sherry's Cabin
the Hall Gang! 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Ponderings and Birthday Wishes

I hope this post finds you enjoying the Birthday celebration that is upon us!  Anyone who knows me at all, knows how much I love this time of year.  If you are too busy to enjoy the most precious Gift that has ever been given, you need to slow down, unload a few things, and check your spiritual thermostat.  God wants folks that are sold out and on fire for Him, so turn up the heat and join the Birthday Celebration for the King of Kings!

So, where have I been?

It is an annual event in my life - school starts, and it takes me until the Christmas decorations start coming out to get my life back!  

The worktable has been a happening place, though.  Several pumpkin heads and custom Christmas ornaments have passed through here over the last couple of months.  Clay just makes me happy!  Many of you have probably noticed that I dabble in all sorts of art mediums.  There's just a little piece of me that says, "Hey, we've got to try that!!"  That little voice packs a punch, too, because I usually give in without too much of a fight.  As of late, I am trying to learn digital painting.  Digital brushes will never replace my real ones, but it was driving me crazy that many of today's children's book illustrators work in nothing but digital art, and I don't know how.  That's how it starts....
The voice, "Hey, we could do that...." "Pssst, we should try that..." "Surely it can't be that hard..."
...and, in the blink of an eye, I have given in.  Anyone else have that annoying, little art bug in your ear?  
Before I knew it, a few of my pumpkin heads were sacrificed to purchase a little Wacom tablet, Photoshop's free trial was downloaded, and I was running blindly through the digital forest!!!
I've done lots of photo editing over the years but not true digital painting.  There is a HUGE learning curve!!!  I am shouting a big THANKS to all of the folks who have taken the time to put tutorials on YouTube... bless you for knowing that some clueless person (me) would come along and desperately need your advice!

Last night was the first time I actually sat down and tried out some of the tutorials which left me with a digitally painted tree -

and an ornament completely made through manipulating the photo I too during last year's snow!  It's not an added picture, but made from scratch!

Ok, ok, I know there are millions of folks doing much more fabulous things on Photoshop on a daily basis, but I'm not one of them...yet.  :)

I guess I'm just an art junkie.... Jacqueline of all trades.  Master of none.  But enjoying every minute of it!

What's on your worktable these days?  Leave us a comment!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Life at the Hall House

This time of year always finds us busy, but no so much so that we don't stop to see the gorgeous mornings that God paints for us each day.  The sun is slow to show its face this morning, and the air is so thick it could be sliced and served with strawberry jelly!

While everyone at the barn was munching their breakfast, I happened to notice an oddity...

Green grass.... in West Texas....unbelievable!  Thank you, Lord!  This time of year, as most times of year around here, we are enjoying various shades of brown.  Incredible!

What else is happening, you asked?  Somebody out there had to have asked, right?
Gayland is buzzing along on the den addition, and the walls are getting closer to be muraled.  I think I just made that word up according to spell check...

It's also the weekend to drag out the fall decorations!  Ok, I cheated....I started last weekend with the tree in my craftroom...

and the pumpkin heads are still growing... I think they may be plotting against the Christmas decorations...

What's that, Santa?  You demand a mustache and hair?  
But it's fall decorating weekend...

I know you're feeling nekked.  

You say you'll incite an elf strike?  Really???

Well then, it seems Santa may just have to get a little hairdo this weekend, too.  I would hate to be the cause of an elven strike!

Just another beautiful day at the Hall House!  What's on your weekend planner?  Leave us a comment and share what's going on in your neck of the woods!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pumpkin Heads Are Growing! 29 Faces Challenge 2, 3, 4,....7

I broke out the clay today.  When I don't sculpt for a time, I forget how much I love it.  I've been doodling and dabbling in cartoons, and digital art (clueless dabbling here) without much satisfaction.  On the way home from church today, I was counting the days until Fall...with Gayland just shaking his head... and had an itch to start the fall decor.  I have such a great husband!  When I asked him to drive the get-away truck while I clipped wild sunflowers along the road, he didn't even question my oddball request.  Come to think of it, he doesn't question much...he's come to expect the that a word?  After 21 years, he doesn't hardly even blink... :) 

Anyway, after getting my sunflowers arranged on the butcher block, I headed to the craft table with Pumpkin Heads dancing around my pumpkin head.  These little pumpkins just happen to fit perfectly into the 29 Faces September Challenge which I am playing.  Days 2 through 7 are sprouting nicely!  Here's a peek at one little Punkin -

May your week be filled with blessings!

Monday, September 1, 2014

29 Faces September Challenge - #1

It's that time again - The 29 Faces Challenge!  I just had a few minutes to get my first face onto paper this afternoon, so I thought I'd give you a little peek into my view of life...

This is how I see me...

(all credits go to DC Comics for this me)

And... from my comic sketch book...

This is likely how my students see me....

:)  Yep....

Finally a Little Rest and Some Time at the Art Table

I cannot believe it is already September 1st.  I see the last time I posted was in July...that is somewhat disheartening for me, as I had plans on sharing ideas with you throughout the year.  I know, however, that when it gets close to the beginning of the school year, I go AWOL from my blog.  I now have much of my dad's business handled after his passing, the first week of school under my belt (what an awesome group of students I have), and a day off from the regularly scheduled programs!

In searching information on mixed-media for some writing I'm doing, I ran across digi stamps.  I'm sure the rest of the world is much more up on this than me, but I wanted to know more.  I found a very helpful video on YouTube done by AJsArts, and I wanted to give it a try.  I'm not sure what I would use digi stamps for, but I could see sharing some of my doodles with others if I ever got the hang of it!  Here's my first attempt...

So, what can you do with digi stamps???  

Here's a little info I took from The Complete Guide to Digi Stamps by Kate Pullen:

Digital stamps, or digi stamps, are black and white digital images that are downloaded onto a computer where they can be manipulated before printing out. At their most basic, when they are printed out digital stamps are just like traditional rubber or clear stamped images. One of their attractions, however, is the fact that the images can be resized, flipped (create a mirror image) or manipulated in other ways before printing it out and colored in the same way that a rubber stamped image is colored. This gives a stamper a range of new design opportunities. The most significant difference between digital stamps and traditional stamps is that there is no physical stamp. A digital stamp is just the image.
Once they have been printed out, digital stamps are used in much the same way as traditional stamps. This means that they can be colored and embellished. The finished images can be cut out and incorporated into handmade cards, gift tags, scrapbooks and a whole wide range of other papercraft projects.

I have a long way to go in perfecting my digi stamp!  Maybe by next Halloween I'll get him right!

So, is anyone counting the days until we can put out the fall decorations?  I'm feeling the decorating bug coming on!  I'm really curious to see how digi stamps are being used in the creative world, so share ideas with us by leaving a comment.  

God bless.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weekend Challenge

It has been awhile since we've had a weekend challenge! I have the watercolor pencils out again, and I'm working on a requested project.

This made me think of how people sometimes remark on the artwork that I've done... about how they really like something or how it reminds them of something in their lives.

Weekend Challenge:

Think of someone specific in your life. Create something that is a special sentiment just for them. Surprise that person with it for no particular reason!  Now, go be a blessing!

Project Update: