Posts tagged ‘Facebook’

“Breakthrough” Another Adventure in Acrylics

I just finished a new acrylic painting last week called “Breakthrough.”   This is another addition to my “Black and White, and Red All Over” series.  Clearly the color gray is present in this piece instead of black, however black is a key ingredient of gray.  Cheating? Probably.

Here I’ve depicted the balloons making their escape and ascending upward through the cloudy skies, far away from whatever has been holding them back.

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This is the fourth acrylic painting that I’ve completed and I’m gaining a better understanding of this medium.   Here’s some additional lessons that I’ve learned:

Layer in Neutrals

I didn’t layer in neutrals when I created my earlier paintings and because of that I had to work harder at applying color into the canvas.  It’s amazing how difficult it is to cover a white or a light color with a darker one.

There were two painters who told me that they always layered in neutrals before applying other colors.   Heeding their advice,  I layered the background in a light gray and added the white clouds. Then I layered the balloons in a slightly darker gray and then painted them over in red.

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The red in the balloons was still vibrant but deeper and richer thanks to the neutral undercoat.  Unfortunately though I made another painting mishap.

Don’t Overdo White In A Painting

I was concerned that the gray background might make the overall work look somber, and that caused me to go overboard with the clouds.  I didn’t realize this until after I painted the balloons red.  The piece looked stark, almost as if I would have been better off painting the balloons directly on the white primed canvas.

The following day I saw a post on Facebook  from Jerry’s Art-A-Rama that mentioned that painters make the common mistake of adding too much white to their pieces making the work look cold, chalky or dull.  The timing of this post couldn’t have been better. So what did I do?

Acrylics Are Forgiving

I repainted the entire background in gray and re-applied the clouds with a little less vigor.  With acrylics you can hide your mistakes and make corrections.

Hindsight, I wished that  I would have done that with “Ninja” where I botched a splatter technique more than once.  I trashed two canvases when I should have just continued to rework the same one.

At any rate, I’ve enjoyed the process of creating “Breakthrough.” I am inspired to work on another piece using the black, red, and white color palette, although this time I am going to try my hand at working on a black canvas. Pray for me.

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“Still” – A Spiritual Journey

About a month and half ago I lost my job where I worked at the same company for about twelve years.  Such is the nature of corporate life, right?  Oddly enough I’m not bitter about it.  After the initial shock, there was a feeling of relief.   My time was long overdue.

Finding the right job, or should I say career, is a daunting task.  It’s sobering to know that in this economy, the average search time to find something permanent is approximately a year.   Would I ever be able to find something that I like?   Would I be able to find something comparable to my salary from my previous position?  What are the next steps?

I shared these thoughts with a coworker the day I was let go, and my coworker said, “Ani, maybe God wants you to be still.”

She was right, however it’s a struggle.   It’s hard to convince your practical side to be still as it’s launching into survival mode.  My severance pay isn’t going to last forever, and it’s possible that I’m going to be job hunting for a long while.

This has not stopped God from speaking through scripture, random Facebook quotes, or even a song on the radio.  The overall theme was the same, “Be still.”

So I am practicing being “still,” by applying my drawing skills.  As many artists will tell you, the creative process can be a very spiritual one and I’ve had times where I received some wonderful insight from God just by making art.

I drew two sketches.  The first one drawn in watercolor crayon on cold pressed paper depicts a woman sitting down cross-legged in silent meditation.  This is funny because I accidentally drew her right foot backwards!  Her hair is straighter  so it looks like it’s standing straight on end.

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A couple of weeks later, I drew a close-up of the face in colored pencil in my sketch book.  In this sketch I drew an afro with a gray streak in the middle.  The afro reminds me of a halo and will probably be a focal point in the final rendering.  The background will be blue, the same color as the previous sketch, which the color of the Holy Spirit. I’ve also heard that on some psychic level a blue aura means wisdom.

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So we’ll see how this all pans out. I’m going to complete the final work in chalk pastels.  Pray that I find some insight into my circumstances as I work through this piece!

Baptism

Have you ever created a work of art where you’ve practically poured your heart and soul into it and you thought that this was the greatest thing ever?  You show it to the world waiting for the heavens to part and that everyone will be soooo enlightened.  Then the reaction you receive from the audience, whether negative or positive, is less than what you expect.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you create something with a fraction of the effort.  Not only that, the imagery is really nothing new.  You post it on Facebook and you get this strong, positive reaction.  In this case, “Baptism,” I am talking to you.

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I like church scenes, really I do, but I don’t necessarily like to draw them. And if I do, I do my best to put a unique spin on it by throwing in some unexpected imagery.  Not sure if this was accomplished in this particular case, but I was surprised at how many people “liked” it on my fan page and that it had the most reach of any of the pieces that I’ve ever posted.  Again, this is another work that was digitally created on my awesome phone.

It goes to show that at the end of the day, there will always be imagery that never gets old no matter how many times or ways you present it.

Aside

The Birthday Gift

I don’t do it often, but every now and then, I will make art specifically for a friend for a special occasion. In this case this piece was a birthday gift for one of my volleyball buddies whom I have known for years.

I started this drawing a few hours before the party, although I had been processing the idea in my mind for several weeks. I did a quick preliminary sketch and then went to work immediately on the final.   Unfortunately I had no time to scan the final product after I was done, so in a mat and plastic sleeve it went.

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There were just so many scenarios that I could draw from, and so many sarcastic one-liners that I could use. I couldn’t get the voices to stop talking.   You would have to understand the personality types and day to day activities and conversations of all of the players, in order to really appreciate this.  As a rule, Jim, the birthday boy, definitely does his share of trash-talking in a “I-like-to-toss-a-grenade-into-a-room-and-see-what-happens” kind of way.   I will have to give him credit for earnestly taking as much crap as he gives.

On his Facebook post he announced he was having a birthday party and that he didn’t want any gifts,  just money and some volleyball wins.  There was no way I was gong to give him any volleyball wins. Historically, any victory that he has had over me and my partner (or anyone else for that matter) typically results in much trash talking via Facebook.  Mostly the phrase, “I am awesome!”  is often interjected  into his bragadocious remarks.   This prompted me to create the scenario with him napping at work, dreaming that he won while Jen, his longtime volleyball partner, best friend and coworker, hacks into his Facebook page.

I was told that I was spot on in my interpretation of everyone.  There were the personal touches that we all could appreciate such as Jim’s ankle braces, Jen’s bandana, my big hair, and my partner Don’s seemingly permanent tanline above the ankles.

In the end Jim really loved the gift and it was passed around to everyone at the party generating lots of laughs.  Even people at the party that didn’t play volleyball with us got the gist of it.    Months later at  Jen’s birthday party he made a copy of it, framed it and gave it to her for her birthday.  And thankfully, he also made copies for me and Don as well which is why it is on this blog today.

What I’ve Learned About Blogging

So its been about a year since I’ve been blogging.  First, to those who have been following me or just visiting my blog,  welcome, and I appreciate your taking the time to read my posts!

I’d like to share my  personal thoughts and lessons learned on this whole blogging experience.  Trust me, I am no expert and some of these ideas you may have heard before.  I, however, can at least say that I have attempted these things with some amount of success.  I don’t profess to have a huge readership but as long as I grow day by day, month by month, then that’s progress.

Visit other blogs and comment

This was one of the first bits of advice that I came across.  I actually read this  from an article written by WordPress on how to increase blog traffic.  I do agree that it is a great way to not only increase your readership but also build relationships with other bloggers.   It’s nice to visit  familiar blogs on a regular basis.  It reminds me of hanging out at a friend’s house.   What would really be great would be if once a year there was an event where fellow bloggers could all meet each other face to face.  Who knows?  Maybe something like that does exist.  There are definitely some writers that I’d like to meet.

Write often and consistently

Yeah this is the hard part.  I try to post about once a week.  That’s probably the best I can do.  I am in awe of people who can post something every day.  For me coming up with the subject matter isn’t the hard part, it’s trying to organize my thoughts in a post the best way possible.   I spend too much time correcting grammar and making sure my sentences are flowing correctly.  That’s important I know, but I wish I could do it in a more efficient manner.  In spite of it all, I feel that I am getting better at writing the more I continue to blog.

Identify the Best Time To Post

I noticed that when I publish my post in the morning, that I receive more hits.  I suppose people like to have their morning coffee and their blog soon after they roll out of bed.    Most times it’s not until the evening when I finish writing a post.  After it’s all written, I am so eager to have it published that it’s all I can do to wait until the next day. When I look at the stats though, it’s worth the wait.

Use Your Tags

Tags can be pretty useful for bringing more traffic to your blog site.  This blog, “Drawing Out Loud”  is art-focused, so no matter what I write about, I always add the tag “Art.”  Here in WordPress this at least puts me under the right category if someone is reading about art.  This is the audience that I would want to attract (although not mad at anyone who randomly stumbles upon my posts and likes them anyways).  Then of course I add the other tags that come from the stuff that I am writing about at the moment such as drawing, painting, the title of an art piece, art fairs, etc.

I have heard that the more tags you use, the better, but I try to keep my tags at a reasonable number like maybe ten at the most.  I’m not sure what is considered to be too many. WordPress actually has link on their homepage site that shows a list of popular tags to use.

Post on Twitter and Facebook

My posts automatically upload to Twitter and I also post on Facebook.  Twitter seems to be more effective to me than Facebook because I am reaching an audience that is more far-reaching and outside of my circle of friends.  I feel that with the Facebook page, I get better responses if I publish pictures of my work rather than my blogposts.

Write about lessons learned from past experiences.

Personally I like to read about blogs that talk about this very thing.  I appreciate that these writers help me to prepare for what lies ahead when doing a particular task as well as warn me of any pitfalls that may come my way.

Make good use of your format.

A good format makes all the difference in the world.  You should break  up your text with headings, lists, or pictures.  Your readers will more likely read the blog it in its entirety rather than skim through it.

Well that’s all I have for now.  I’m sure there’s plenty more I didn’t add and if so,  then that’s more blog fodder for the another post.   What are your thoughts?

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