Thursday, January 2, 2014

Something Old, Something New

Happy New Year!

I've been absent from this blog for a while.  I didn't feel compelled to write until now.  I've been going through some big changes in my life.  If you recall the last thing I actively worked on was my Failure Challenge.  I stopped short of posting 30 posts of things I was actively trying to fail at artistically.  However I wouldn't call that a failure in and of itself.  When I started the Challenge I needed it.  I needed to be held accountable so that I could push through my major emotional boundaries.  Fear led the way.  But I kept going, timidly painting a lemon or a pair of sunglasses.  It may be hard to imagine if you are not an anxious artist but the very act of pushing myself into the unknown caused me to be in a state so nervous I felt physically repulsed.  I had to focus on putting one foot in front of the other as they led me towards a thing I knew I had not drawn before and would not know how.  I think in the end I figured out it wasn't so much the fear of failure that I was trying to beat but the fear of not feeling completely confident in my actions.  There is a certain safety net I put myself in by only pursuing the things I knew the steps to take to achieve it.  When forced into new situations (drawing a boat!) I had no idea what step 1 was and all of a sudden my safety net became my cage.

It sounds slightly ridiculous to be so emotionally and physically disturbed by something that when said aloud sounds so simple.  But these were and are my feelings and therefore are not ridiculous.  They are true facts.

I felt very lost for a long time this year.  In a way I had never felt before.  This whole failure challenge really ended up testing me to my core and I really hadn't expected that.  It turns out that the things I fear about art are the same things I fear about life.  That is a hard one to face.
I spent the later part of 2013 trudging through my feelings, sorting them and facing them.  I grew tremendously but it was incredibly painful.  I am still growing and sometimes I wish it was easier but I know that if it was then there would be no point.

This small silly "30 post Failure Challenge" has irrevocably set me on a new path in life.  It has revealed certain truths to me that have changed the trajectory of where I thought I wanted my life to go.  Looking back I feel I was wandering, grabbing hold of anything that reached out.  This year I am marching down a path I have carved for myself.

So as to what this means for the blog?  When I started this blog it was because I had been laid off for the first time ever.  I was going crazy in my apartment by myself.  Work really defined me at that point and with no work there was no me.  I started the blog so I would have a reason to leave my room every day.  To go and draw.  When people started following this blog I wanted to use it to help inspire people because I knew how lonely it felt to be uninspired.  And then I did it out of habit and it become more for the people who were reading it than for me.  I became bored with it and bored with myself.  During another extended lay off season (yay animation industry!) I decided to tackle my knowledge gap with colour and thats really why I started the failure challenge.  So here we are.  After some major reflection I've decided to keep this blog as a place primarily for my thoughts as a person trying to understand what it means to be an artist.  I will post art from time to time but if you would really like to see my art and not my thoughts I encourage you to follow my tumblr.

2014 will be a very different year for me.  I'd love for you to follow along whether by my blog or my tumblr.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Get Lost

**In case you haven't noticed my new icon to the right I have started a tumblr.  Most of the art on there is different from what I post here so check it OUT!  It is also a place for me to post pics and whatever the heck else I feel like.**

With this failure challenge I have been experimenting a lot and working through a lot of my own problems.  I've been breaking out of the cage of my mind and doing new things.  This has been fantastic.  Sometimes when I try something new I can't wait for it to be over and I hate it.  That in itself is some form of progress!  Yet more often than not I find that the hours fly by and any noise of the outside world receded to an imperceptible buzz.  All of my worries and emotions quiet down as if they know something important is happening and they must now wait their turn to be heard.  I am lost to the outside world but during those moments I have found myself completely and I know who I am.
When hunger or phone shakes me out of this I am often startled by how much time has passed.  I take note.  When I Get Lost....I know I have found something important to me.  Something worth doing, something worth learning and pursuing 
When I sketch at a cafe, I am lost.  When I sculpt, I am lost.  When I animate, I am lost.  These things I knew.  What I did not know is that I would so loose myself in painting, and designing.  In finding those moments that I can shake the world loose and have only myself to dominate my awareness, I have stumbled onto new paths I never thought I'd cross.
So I think the thing I have taken away from all this is the only way to find yourself is to Get Lost.


Painting during the day and at sunset from my balcony facing west for the purpose of studying the changing light.  I used Acrylic and spent about 5 min on each painting.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


I've been doing 20min copies of some of Nathan Fowkes work.  I'll do it either before I got cafe sketching or after and it's become a really nice part of my day.  I just set a 20min timer and forget the world exists as I paint.
That man knows his colour.  I've already learned so much since I started doing this.  Again this is a thing I have thought about doing for years.  It is something I've been told to do for years.  Why I haven't done it until now... I can't say exactly but fear is a part of why.  I know I sound like a broken record by now but it just goes to show how much of a part of my everyday life fear played a part in.  Life is too short to be afraid everyday, even if it's only the little of stuff.
I've been doing these copies for about two weeks now (these aren't all of them) and I feel like I'm really starting to understand some of these colour concepts.  More than learning something new I find that doing these copies has reinforced knowledge I knew on an intellectual level and made me understand it more on an emotional/personal level.  It's just the difference between memorizing facts as opposed to discovering knowledge organically and letting it become a part of you.
I said it once and I'll say it again.  This failure challenge is one of the best things I've ever done for myself.

FAILURE CHALLENGE #15 (halfway!)

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Value of Values

I've been really trying to get a handle on colour for a really long time.  Whenever I see an amazing composition of colour by another artist (Nathan Fowkes!!) I get super excited.  And I really want to be able to capture colour and mood in an exciting way.  So I've been putting a lot of time into understanding colour.  I have this amazing book that really breaks things down well about colour.  One of the driving principles is how we measure colour.  One of the way we measure it is in values and although I had heard that many times before I didn't really understand it until now.  So I went and go myself some greytones markers and started putting down the values in drawings from observations.  The result was a huge learning experience for me because it helped me understand some of the mistakes I have been making.  I HIGHLY recommend that book and also do yourself a favour and just stare at Nathan Fowkes art for a while.  It's so freaking beautiful!  Another bonus about marker?  YOU CAN GOUACHE ALL OVER IT!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Maybe it's something in the air, maybe it's because my 8tracks playlist just started playing Backstreet Boys or maybe it's because I'm about to move into a sweeeeeeeeeet new apartment.    Either way this is how I've been feeling lately.  Also me and photoshop have really been getting along lately.  I took some time, put some work into that relationship and we haven't fought in WEEKS.  A new record.

I'm counting this as a failure challenge even though I didn't set out to do this as part of it.  I just sat down and wanted to experiment and this is what happened.  It's worth noting though that before I started the failure challenge I would have been too afraid/anxious to just freely experiment like this.  Progress people, PROGRESS!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Things are quite busy over here.  But most importantly: Look!  Marker!  I tried sketching with marker a while ago and wasn't crazy about the result.  I kind of gave up on them at that point.  I think mostly it was because I still didn't have a good grasp on colour.  Since I've been working a lot more with colour and studying it more consciously I thought I'd give markers another shot and I'm really enjoying them this time around!  I started a new sketchbook about a week ago and every page so far has marker on them.  This is a really great way for me to get down colour ideas on the spot.  It's worth noting that I felt my usual amount of fear/anxiety about trying something I knew I'd failed at before but the difference is that I ignored that feeling really easily and was able to just dive in without worrying too much about whether or not things would look good or not.  Hurrah for the magic of the Failure Challenge!!!

As I was drawing this the woman came up and asked to see it.  I was worried she would be offended at the way I drew her.  If she was she didn't let on so bullet dodged!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Loving It

Ever since I took a chance and used oil pastels at the last Dr. Sketchy event I've really fallen in love with them.  They are super portable and good for getting colour down fast.  I have been wanting to paint landscapes for years now and have struggled with the portability of paint.  So here is a much simpler solution that has allowed me to make colour observations and sketch in the great outdoors!  This is something that (again) I've been wanting to do for years at this point but was too afraid to do it.  Well look at me go!


I also just want to say a quick thanks to those of you who have been following my failure challenge and encouraging me!  It means a lot and helps me keep my momentum so thank you!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013



This failure challenge was really a catalyst for change that started with my art but then spread into other areas of life.  Something that I read recently that really stuck with me is "routine kills creativity".  Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while may have picked up on the fact that I LOVE ROUTINES.  I go to the same coffee shop every day at the same time.  I sit in the same seat and order the same thing.  I draw the same thing with the same pen.  Every day.  If one of these things changes slightly, I get instant anxiety.
Well since pushing myself to explore new things I've realized just how much my routine was limiting me.  It basically guaranteed that I would experience the same thing day after day and it really left no room for surprises.  So I took a little break.  And when I started up again I brought pens and pencils with me.  I went to a different place to draw.  I drew people and anything else I saw.  Then I stopped looking around and drew what was in my mind.  The first few days were really scary but I knew that what was even scarier was the thought of repeating my routine for even one more day.  The world is always moving and changing and sometimes you have to grow just to stay still.

And something else happened.

My anxiety went away with my routine.  I don't have an internal freak out if things don't go as I expect.  I'm able to actually take in what's different and enjoy it.  I have so much changing and going on right now with my art and I can't wait to share it.

So here's a start:

(One third of the way through my challenge! Yay me!)

Dr. Sketchy's - Oil Pastel in my sketchbook

Normally I'd try really hard to get a realistic skin tone and try to stick with pure primary colours.  Also I'd normally use my go to medium which is gouache.  This time I didn't and I think it has a WAY more interesting result.  I used oil pastel and really just tried to have fun with the colour and do something interesting while trying to remain true to what was in front of me.  It was a good night.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Water World!

I've been stuck on the problem of water.  My short film involves a lot of water and although there are many different ways I have seen this achieved in studios (resin with cling wrap, KY, hair gel etc.) I wanted to go a different route.  I don't necessarily want my water to look like just water (clear, glassy, reflective).  I want it to have some extra life and texture.  So I've been experimenting a lot with beads threaded on animatable wires to animate waves of water but it just looked to stringy and not quite what I was going after.

Last night I was experimenting with different textures for another part of the set when I had a brainstorm.  I got a small tupperwear container and filled it with 70% table salt 10% water and 20% different shades of blue beads.

Somehow the sum of these parts created a very animatable substance.  And because it was made out of very small particles it was easy to animate in some of the subtleties of water.  I did a quick test animation last night and was very pleased with the initial results.  I feel that the next round of tests will be even more successful   This is a HUGE step forward since the water solution was really holding me back.

I'm really excited to test some more with this.  Last night I just threw in whatever beads I had but I feel like some of them were just too big.  Next time around I'm going to keep it smaller and work with different tones a bit more.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I Done Did It

Well this was a big one.  I finally redesigned the old blog!  I had really been holding on to that last design for far too long and I'm very happy to have accomplished this change.  This new look is not only for the blog though, I've expanded it to my demo reel and I'm having new business cards printed.  I've been playing around with the idea of a monogram for years.  The past few weeks have been kind of amazing ever since I started my Failure Challenge.  I have finally gotten around to pursuing some interests that I had been putting off due to some sort of manifestation of a fear of failing.  Doing this challenge has really allowed me to face that and I feel like I'm entering into a new creative era of my life.  I'm really excited to see what comes next.


For your comparison:

Previous Blog Design:

Current Blog Design:

I'm working on a website where I can have more of an online portfolio so that I can keep this blog for my ramblings.  I'm excited to incorporate these new design elements into new things!