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Once Upon a Time 9.5 x 8.5 Mixed Media portrait in Graphite, Watercolor and Colored Pencil (available in my Etsy Shop here)

For the Love of Words

Have you ever staged a painting based on a series of images? I have a collection of inspiring art saved in a few categories on Pinterest, and one of them features readers. I love books (I’m listening to this one right now), and the escape to other places, with imagined people, with their loves, longings, humor, and fate is such a great pleasure for me. The magic of words and writers, and the worlds they paint with stacked rows of letters on a page is a source of fascination and my deeply felt gratitude. We benefit from the gifts of writers, and the love of words is not unlike that of a painter using shape, color and hue to create a narrative that transports us to other places. Does the art you love inspire you to “re-create” certain moods and scenes? Readers? Musicians? Garden scenes? What moves you in other art, and how does it manifest in your own work?

Grid-drawing the basic shapes and positions of the girls. This was erased and re-drawn after spotting a few mis-steps
Attempt #2 of using the grid method to lay out the girls’ carriage and posture under the pattern of the quilt
Adding watercolor, making decisions, altering shapes, on the couch, on a lap desk, in the last hour of the day before bedtime.
Mixed Media Portrait – Using colored pencil to change the cat into a dog, and alter the darks and lights around the girls

Noteworthy Links for You

  • The Tate Museum celebrates the work of women artists in Great Britain, and they’ve compiled a personality test on their site to help distill the type of art that inspires you the most. Take the quiz here.
  • There is a difference between feeling inspired, and being an inspiration. One is an internal sensation, and the other is more about sharing. But what exactly is inspiration, and what is it made of? In this article, Connor Grennan breaks down the four elements of inspiration.

Inspiration propels a person from apathy to possibility, and transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities.

  • The trick with inspiration seems to be about timing. When something moves you to create, you have to grab it fast. Tucking the inspiring moment into a pinterest board might work for some, but if you’ve been wandering a vast desert absent of creative time for awhile, I think it helps to grab-and-make in one fell swoop. If you feel inspired, stop everything, and make something, immediately. Waiting till you have more time, or after all the housework is done will allow the spark of inspiration to cool, and the tip dulls too much to make a mark. The Harvard Business Review published this piece on why inspiration matters. It does matter. Read this one.

So grab inspiration when you see it, and don’t let go till you’ve used your other hand to create one little thing. Act on your inspiration. Whether you use words to create, or art supplies to paint, the simple act of creating something is a little bit of magic in an otherwise mundane hour. Prioritize action while you feel inspired, and get the ball rolling toward living your best creative life, again. C’mon now. You’ve got this.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post –


P.S. You can subscribe to get each new post via email by signing up here.

P.P.S. If you need a little nudge to paint more often, here’s a free mini course you can take at your leisure.

Art Quote

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.
~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

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11 thoughts on “Graphite, Watercolor and Colored Pencil Portrait: Once Upon a Time”

  1. That is a beautiful piece! Do you spray some sort of “fixer” over the graphite before you paint? Otherwise how do you keep the graphite from blurring and muddying the paint?
    I’ll be in SoCal for five days next week. FL is beautiful right now (though there is pollen all over the cars AND frost on the roofs) but I miss the mountains and our favorite Mexican restaurant.

    1. Hi Kendra! Thanks for your compliments. No fixative on the graphite. I’m painting with a light hand in transparent layers, so I think the first few washes of pigment act as a bit of a fixer on the pencil. It would muddy if I scrubbed, but I don’t. 🙂 Have So much fun here in Cali! If your adventure leads you out to Ventura, send me a note and we can have tea! xo, B.

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