Back to school

Hello!

Today is wednesday, the day I usually post. As you may noticed I haven't been so active lately with my website. I'm so, so busy taking classes that, sometimes I just don't have the energy to seat down and go writing. Well, MATS part A started, it's a very intense course and I'm, so far, very disciplined with my assignments. For those who want more information check it here. This week we are covering Children's book market, last week was Home Décor and the first week we had Bolt Fabric. The good thing about it is that you learn a lot about each market, what Art Directors are interested in, time management and yourself... Which is so far everyone's struggle.

Do I fit in? Is my style good enough? Am I a commercial artist? Do I really want to be? What's next? All those questions are popping up in my head like every five minutes. Having a studio is helping me a lot to manage my time and to focus on creating art. My drawing skills are getting in shape and I have many others to develop, like character development and hand lettering. Where is everything is taking me? I don't know but I'll have good and varied portfolio and I'm having fun, a lot!

Check it out my presentation pages for MATS A. Do you have any comments or suggestions? Please feel free to do it! 

Bolt fabric week presentation page

Bolt fabric week presentation page

Home décor presentation page

Home décor presentation page



Explore Colour and comfort zones

Hello everyone,

I've been "hiding" my progress with my painting online course Explore Colour to post here. It finished last weekend, but the Facebook Group is still very active and people keep posting their paintings. The goal was to have 4 still lives works finished with the method that Este McLeod developed for over 25 years of experience as a full time artist. How about me? I only finished one painting and I'm in the middle of the second one! It's been very challenging to be pushed out of my comfort zone. So let's talk about it...

It's been years since I touched a brush to mix acrylic painting colours. It used to be my passion, painting... I was in the university getting a BFA degree, I had an studio, I use to pay my vacations selling my big scale works, well, I was MEANT TO BE a painter. Sometimes when the whole world expects you do to something it can be very scary, and you fight AGAINST that. I don't know exactly what happened (because things happens) but I quit the university, I had no more studio and I stopped. Years later I restarted everything again: I sold paintings, I had two art galleries representing my work and I stopped. Like that. A good friend told me: "Lavinia, it's so easy to know when you are really happy, you just make art!". I think this is probably very true.

So again here I am: painting, with a new studio, searching for my style, testing new materials and opened to the many novelties in the Art field that I wasn't aware of. All I can think about are the endless possibilities of effects and textures with the use of mediums and drawing plants...

Finally, my conclusions with the process are:

  • 1) The botanics theme (plants, flowers, still lives...) are maybe not what I'm interested on keep painting but, as weird as it sounds, drawing it in a regular basis. I always struggle with themes. 
  • 2) The mini exercises proposed were an amazing Nature eye opener and I think I'm much more aware of the outdoors surrounding me. 
  • 3) Patience. I'm learning to give time to each work. Waiting for a layer to dry, analyse the work and enjoy it.
  • 4) It's good to have two or three paintings going on at the same time. It helps a lot with the patience issue.
  • 5) Style. I'm far, far away on finding my own style. Practicing is the only way and I'm enjoying this  creative "quest".
  • 6) Painting a still life is definitely not easy as it seems.

There is nothing better than testing your limits.

The early stages of my painting... I didn't like it at all but I kept going!

The early stages of my painting... I didn't like it at all but I kept going!

When I asked for help to Este and she showed me the possibilities

When I asked for help to Este and she showed me the possibilities

The painting finished

The painting finished

About online courses and why I'm addicted to them

Hello everyone!

I decided I'll be posting regularly on my blog on Wednesdays and I'll also try to keep my site updated with my latest projects. Anyway, if you want to check it out or suggest something, please drop me a line whenever you want.

That said, my life has completely changed after my little "atelier". I feel so grateful with the opportunity given by my studio mates (I'll talk about them later) of sharing that space. Getting out of my house to work has increased my productivity a lot and, with the goal of improving my skills, I can finally follow my online courses much better. Yes, I confess: I'm addicted to online courses and I wish to have much more time available to watch and practice!

For me there's nothing more practical than that, not to mention the community, which is the best thing you can achieve, a cool connexion with people who have the same interests as you. It can really changes your life, like it changed mine as I posted before. The content available out there is so cool, there are so many different things, that I made a selection of the courses I'm taking now, going to take soon or wish I could take:

Explore Colour: This brand new course is the one I'm taking right now. It got me back to practicing acrylic painting and I couldn't be happier. I haven't painted in acrylics for about 15 years and I'm re-discovering a huge passion. The content of the course is posted in two weekends and you make 2 paintings with her guidelines each weekend. Este's is a very skilled painting artist, her method is very unique and her availability and tips are precious. I believe she'll have a new class in January 2016. More information here.

MATS A + Bootcamp 2016: In October I'll be taking the last live reviews courses from Lilla Rogers ' "Make Art That Sells (part A)". It covers five different markets that an artist could approach and sell their art (like children books, scrapbooking, paper goods, etc.), the Part B is another 5 markets. The previous home décor course I have taken was packed with lots and lots of info and I believe I wasn't really ready to take it. Summer trips, kids at home, lack of concentration... I needed much more time and experience because the level is really high. But, I'm excited to take another one once Lilla is an inspiration and keep us very busy with many exercises, marketing and business tips. Anyway, I'll be busy with her a lot because I signed up to Bootcamp 2016. Can't wait! 

Skillshare and Creative Bug: These two platforms are similar in the way they work: you sign up and pay a monthly fee to access their content. Creative Bug is more arts and crafts oriented and Skillshare is great for design and tech skills update. There are so many options, sooooooo many content that you have to filter what interests you the most. And those platforms are REALLY addictive. Creative Bug features Lisa Congdon, Molly Hatch and Yao Cheng, some of the few artists that admire. Skillshare has Jessica Hische, Elizabeth Olwen, also Lisa Congdon and many other to discover.

Koosje Koene: Top of my wish list. The co-founder of Sketchbook Skool has beautiful designed courses for improving drawing skills and art journaling. I love the way she teaches and the exercises she proposed... I think after MATS, I'll be going back to the basics. I gave a break from Sketchbook School, that I love, but I think I'll take January courses as they'll have Felix Schoenberger as a teacher.

Liz Steel's Sketching Now courses:  I found about Liz in Sketchbook School and she's a very well known artist in the Urban Sketchers community. I love her style and her techniques on drawing observation, my friend who took Foundations told me she learned a lot.

Carla Sonheim: Some of the classes offered are in my wish list, like Word Play. I never took any of them but I hope I find time soon. Few of my online friends totally recommend it. 

Long post isn't it? You'll have fun checking out about all of those courses. Let me know if you get inspired and enroll to any of them. See ya!

Few exercises for Explore Colours course

Few exercises for Explore Colours course

3 essential Art History books that I strongly suggest you to read

I'm my last post I talked about what changed my creative life and gave all the information I could about it... and it was a success! I had many people discussing and getting interested about learning. Which makes me really happy and gives me fuel to keep sharing anything that can help to get you more creative.

That said, I realised that is great idea to combine both sides of the same coin: Theory and Practice. For a period of my life I dedicated myself to study Art History and Theory, which I really love, and I completely neglected practicing drawing or painting. There's no particular reason for that and I was really busy on writing my final paper for getting my BFA degree at University. Later on, my knowledge led me to open an art gallery that you can see here.

If you ask me what what I think about getting a degree in an Art School, go back to the university, I would ask you if you have time for that. If you have go for it, I particularly love the academic atmosphere (but this is me). If you don't, you're not interested, or if life happened in a different way, it doesn't mean that you can't be an artist

Anyway, to help you to build a stronger knowledge basis in Art here are my tips: 

  1. "The Story of Art", E.H. Gombrich: this is the first book I read about art when I was 17 and I keep going back to it! Great for beginners and easy to read. It covers almost everything in Art History, pretty much a classic.

  2. "Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book By Artists and Critics" by Herschel B. Chipp: another book that I keep coming back to research about the artists - like Van Gogh, Matisse and Gauguin - ideas and inspirations. A great collection of letters, interview and notes.

  3. "Styles, Schools and Movements" by Amy Dempsey: an excellent source book that lists all the Modern Era movements in a chronological way. It evens come with a graphic so you can see how many movements happened at the same time! I think the way she describes everything is priceless and, if you want to go deeper, every description comes with references. 

There are many other sources that I check regularly, like magazines and websites. There are few other books that I find very important but the language can be very academic or difficult to read if you're a beginner. But, if you want to share your preferences or suggest me a book, feel free to drop me a line. :)

Book shelf here at home. Many of my books, including those that I suggested are in Rio.   

Book shelf here at home. Many of my books, including those that I suggested are in Rio.

 

5 things that changed my creative life

I was someone, since I remember, meant to be an ARTIST. My parents enrolled me in a kid's Art School when I was 2yo! During my school years, I was always the kid in the class who use to draw caricatures of the teachers. Anyway, time passed, I took many art classes in many different places and periods of my life. 

When I was 17, I shared an art studio with some friends, I "fell" in my professional life as a Graphic Designer when I was about 20 and before finish my course at the University (that I eventually dropped)... I worked with wonderful people and, having a gap in my formation, I finally had a BFA degree in my 30's.

After that, I opened with my best friend our art gallery entre-tanto. Then I moved to Paris, became mom and, even never stop working as graphic designer, I missed something... Well, to be honest I kind of sabotaged my artistic life for many personal reasons.  

So, last year, to be more precise, around April, everything changed. I was reading my Facebook timeline and I saw a post that a friend enrolled to Sketchbook Skool, yes with a k. To make this post a little more interesting, and because one thing leads to another, I decided to make a list of five things that REALLY changed my creative life forever:

  1. Sketchbook Skool: I can't be more grateful to have stumbled upon Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene and, since the beginning of their project, be a part of this wonderful creative community. All the courses are just fantastic and the teachers are amazing artists.
  2. The book "Art Inc." by Lisa Congdon: I was at the Louvre one day and after my visit in the museum, I entered a book shop and I saw this book, I bought it and read it... a whole new world opened to me.
  3. Pattern Camp by Jessica Swift: After reading Lisa's book, I started to check her website and she posted about this course, that I took last February. I always interested by Surface Pattern Design and I didn't know where I could learn it. Jessica is one of the most generous teachers I ever had.
  4. Creative Bug: OMG, inspiration and stretching skills everywhere! I'm in love with Yao Cheng's work and watercolour classes.
  5. Urban Sketchers: Participating in the Paris Urban Sketchers meetings, or sketchcrawls, I had the chance to make new friends and share my work.

What I learned with my experience is not new: "the more you give, the more you get". Just simple generosity. Sharing tips, drawings, posts, sites that can enhance yours and other people's skills is just something that I intend to keep doing.

The wall in front of my desk

The wall in front of my desk

Lisa's wonderful book. 

Lisa's wonderful book. 

Flowers and leaves

Since I restart drawing and painting I live Spring in a different way. I think I have my eyes more opened to the colors and shades of leaves and flowers. I love the variety of them, each week I see some new varieties blooming. Inspired by that, I started to study the shapes and test new papers for watercolor. Florals are not my real thing but I kind of enjoying them. Style shifting? We'll see. 

I don't draw firm reality but I think I'll give a try. 

I don't draw firm reality but I think I'll give a try. 

Testing, testing... 

Testing, testing... 

I love the way my little watercolor moleskine is filled now. 

I love the way my little watercolor moleskine is filled now. 

Well, this painting went a little bit wrong. But she told me to don't get her that way so I accepted my mistakes.  

Well, this painting went a little bit wrong. But she told me to don't get her that way so I accepted my mistakes.  

Playing with watercolor

Watercolor is a medium that I never tried till last year. I find it very interesting to experiment with, there are so many possibilities... I love the portability when sketching outdoors but I'm far away from controlling and getting what I want. Papers, brushes and the mist important thing: patience. Which, to be honest, I don't have too much. Too deal with it I work now in multiple projects at the same time. I create a background in a paper, go back to another drawing, then, while one is drying, I continue another. For now, I'm testing and having fun with the process. 

 

Today's studio setup at my dinner table.  

Today's studio setup at my dinner table.  

Studio setups

Many years working from home lead me to wish to get out and have my own private space. My atelier, my bubble, the place I can concentrate and the everyday home tasks don't overcome my work time. While planning, searching THE place and day dreaming, I set up pocket studios. This is what I learned with Urban Sketchers: anywhere can be a studio. You just have to see and draw... no procrastination allowed! 

This setup was at the dinner table in Porquerolles, a very beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea, South of France.

This setup was at the dinner table in Porquerolles, a very beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea, South of France.

My dinner table always turn into a pocket studio.

My dinner table always turn into a pocket studio.

Launching (finally) my website

I'm so excited about this website... And very happy you're reading this FIRST post! Blogging is something pretty new for me and I'll be writing, or at least, trying to write in English, just because is the universal language. 

I've been working as a graphic designer for 20 years now and I had never, ever displayed properly my work. You can only find it in the websites of the few communication agencies that I worked for. Anyway, my career is something that simply happened (I have a BFA degree that took me a long time to complete, but that's another story...) and taking care of it, organising my portfolio, sharing my work and showing it to the world is something that I decided to do it right now... 

Turning 40 causes this kind of (r)evolution! 

Trying new experiences, improving my skills and connecting with people interested in Art in general is few of my goals with this website. Please feel free to make comments and suggestions. A website is something that's always improving and I'll be adding new work and features (like signing up for a newsletter) really soon.

Little by little you'll get to know me better... Enjoy it!