Friday, July 29, 2011

Start of a New Painting

I've had this idea for a painting for a couple of months now, and today I finally did a sketch to maybe map it out and think about what I want to do. No, I will not tell you exactly what it is.

I will tell you that it has to do with the diary of one of my favorite saints, and it's predominant colors will be red and green. It will most likely be quite dark in the background, seeing as most my paintings are, whether I plan them that way or not. More or less. I like to start dark, and add light and color gradually.
    I know I kind of gave it all away, seeing as there are very few saint's diaries.
     I have no idea if this will even resemble the composition I end up with, but I wanted to get some ideas down on paper. I don't know what medium I will use either; I know I want to use color, but I'm not sure if I'll use my usual acrylics, or watercolor. Maybe I will do a few versions over time. I most likely will, seeing as it is one of my favorite painting ideas I've thought of. I am actually quite surprised no one else has thought of it- especially when you consider how popular this saint is.  It's something she herself thought of! I was reading the passage, and she actually described an image herself that I think is amazing! I'm kind of excited that I haven't seen another painting of it. Could I actually come up with an original masterpiece? We'll see. If not now, then maybe someday when I have acquired more skill.
      Anyway, this drawing only reveals half the concept; and so I am risking displaying it, and having it stolen, before I even start painting. I know you will be holding your breathe in anticipation of this painting- but don't hold it too long! I am a slow worker these days.
     Good night! The last of the Harry Potter books calls for a bit of reading before bed!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Flowers, Ink Pens, and More Movies

Well, I worked on this a bit and a painting over the weekend, and finished it last night. When I started it, I was re-watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and finished later with Sense and Sensibility. I think I was looking up Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) to see what else I had seen him in, and that reminded me of Sense and Sensibility's existence (he plays Colonel Brandon), and put it into my head that I could use a bit of Jane Austen.

   I used a Bic Atlantis pen for this. I discovered this pen's amazing ability for sketching during my note taking days at Franciscan University. Yes, I DID take real notes- it was nothing for me to take 10 to 15 pages of real notes per class- but I will admit to being distracted here or there at times, especially in the library whilst studying. Ugh, especially then. Whenever I wasn't sketching I was being distracted by the AMAZING selection of books there.... but believe it or not, I did actually get a lot of work done in that unattractive modern building full of wonderful old books. I love you Franciscan, so much, but you don't always have the best taste in architecture..... When I am a famous artist I will come help you out- when I am on vacation in the states away from my home somewhere in the British Isles that is.
      I am in the mood for yet MORE Jane Austen- I think I will listen to Pride and Prejudice while I work today. I hope the narrator's good, I can't stand it when I listen to audiobooks and the narrator is getting on my nerves. It messes with the feeling of things! I prefer real books, with actual paper and smells. Which reminds me, John William Waterhouse, one of my favorite artist of all time, used to draw in his books (novels, for example), and sometimes ended up using those drawings for his paintings. I think that that's a wonderful idea! I should try it sometime. Here is an example:

     I had no intention to discuss Waterhouse at the beginning of this post- but he is a delightful diversion any time.

   How about some Jane Austen quotes?

"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."

When a young lady is be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.” 

    This was a rather, um, gushy post, full of Waterhouse and Austen. Maybe next time I'll post something on Caravaggio or Michelangelo- they were pretty tough! Not that someone like Jane Austen wasn't hard as nails to be sure! But I am due for another dragon soon. It has been a while. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One Of Those Moments That Makes Everything Worth It

Last Weekend, a wonderful Priest, Fr. John Malloy of the Father's of Mercy, passed away. He was an Irish priest from Stanton Island, NY, who was always telling stories about his Irish New York City Cop of a dad who didn't tolerate no nonsense. He was a good man who never wanted to stop, and who wanted to "die with his boots on," and who blamed the poor nuns for keeping him from missionary work in the nursing home. Shortly after his 65th anniversary of being ordained to the priest hood, he passed away.
     Some time in the past few years, my Dad gave Fr. Malloy a print of one of my paintings from 2004. I remember thinking that I was glad he did it, but I wasn't sure how much good it did- Fr. Malloy's memory was deteriorating and I didn't know if he even remembered who I was, or if the painting would have any meaning to him at all. I think that the day we gave him the print was the last time I saw him alive.
      At the funeral, I had more than one person, including one of the nuns who took care of him, tell me that he actually was aware of the painting, that he was very proud of it, and that he had it with him within sight as he died. It was this painting that I did when I was about 15:

              It's funny. Things like this always happen when I am doubting whether I am called to study art at all. I have tried and tried and tried since I was about 6 (ok, 14) to get into art school, and it just refuses to work out- at least so far. In Austria (I studied abroad there for about 3 months with Franciscan University), this was a huge issue for me... There I was, on my last semester with Franciscan, about to graduate and leave my friends, go into the world, surrounded by AMAZING art in many forms, etc, and all I could think of was how I no longer felt called to study art, because 1), I had no way in sight to do it, and 2) because I felt I could never paint anything like the masters did- I could never paint anything that would make a difference or mean anything. But, during the weeks that were particularly hellish in this way (and that is hardly an exaggeration- art was my life), some little nun on campus in Austria would whisper in the chapel, "keep drawing," or, "can I see what you've drawn recently!?" (it's always nuns.... watch those nuns!)
      It's tough. You can't go to school to make yourself "useful," and you do blog posts of mice and spiders and dragons and Harry Potter. How on earth could God use that? And yet that's just it- I may be discouraged, but the fact is you just never know. The same day of the funeral, I read this in a little daily prayer book:
              "For those who love God, all things work together unto good." Rom 8:28

               Reflection: Those who love God are drawn nearer to the Father by every circumstance of daily life- joy brings them closer by ties of loving gratitude, and sorrow by the painful way of the Cross. 
               Those who do not love God become haughty and forget Him in the passing joys of this life and in sadness become bitter and desperate. 

               Prayer: "Lord, grant me Your true love. This is all I need."

This is why I LOVE BEING CATHOLIC SO MUCH! Jesus is good. As long as I strive to love and trust God more completely, to become a saint (A thought which nearly makes me laugh. Good thing God is ALL powerful.), everything is taken care of. I may have no idea what I am doing. I may not have known that a painting I did at 15 would mean so much to such a holy man during his last hours, but that didn't matter. I may never know of anything good I accomplish with my art ever again- but if I paint out of love, I can have complete confidence that it is doing something out there in time and eternity. St. Therese truly was such a gift. Her little way of trust in God's loving mercy applies to everything- so simple, yet all encompassing. I do not see how I could have made this far without her little way. If you have not read her Story of a Soul, fix that last year.
"Lord, grant me Your love. This is all I need."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Harry and Hedwig!

What you guys don't know about Harry Potter is that he stole Hedwig from me.... when I was living in Ireland..... on the coast with my wild ponies and painting studio. But I still drew him out of the goodness of my heart.

    One of my favorite activities for a Sunday afternoon these days seems to be taking a movie I have seen, and drawing from it- especially if it has cute little kids in it. Yesterday I watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I tried drawing Ron- but it wasn't ideal, and I cropped him out of the picture to the left. I will have to draw him some other time. Besides, I got distracted drawing the picture below. Once I  can across that scene, I had to stop all I was doing and draw it! It's such a pretty movie! I love the snow parts! I love snow! (just shows how, again, Hedwig is my owl, and should be returned to me)
I am trying to fill up space so I can get to the next picture. 
It's not working.

Oh look at that- how did that extra space get there? 

By the way, I have started the fourth Harry Potter book, and it's only been about two weeks. I will have this done and the last movie watched before you know it! But then I will be sad.... oh well, just can't win. 
   Yay! Now we can get to the next picture! 

          Aren't they cute? Isn't the lighting lovely! I enjoyed myself with this one- and I put in a bit more time on it than I usually do while watching a movie/drawing. 
    Quote time. 

"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." -Pope John Paul II

"Literature and fiction are two entirely different things. Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity."- G.K. Chesterton  

I found that last quote on facebook of all places. I would like to read the rest of what he had to say on the subject someday, but for now the quote will do.
    Oh, ran across Brenna the kitty yesterday, doing her usual thing: sleeping anywhere that most people (or kitties) would not. She always does this! This is actually a rather comfortable place to find her sleeping.

LOAD ALREADY! I have a book to read!

Mischief managed.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

School for Sacred Art

I just got back from the Church Teaches Forum today (where I heard preach such persons as Cardinal Arinze and Cardinal Burke), and while I was there a seminarian friend of mine handed me some information on this sacred art program in Florence. I would LOVE to do a program like this someday! So much! Sigh.... maybe someday. Florence would be the perfect place. I was only there a short time last year, and I know I benefited from that much alone. I can't imagine what it would be like to actually study there.
   Hmmm... I just got back, and I am rather car sick, and so yeah, that's my excuse for not having a new drawing on here for you. But, speaking of Florence, how about I post the quick sketch I did in front of Michelangelo's David? I think that's a good idea- one of the highlights of Europe, and maybe my life.

There it is! I drew from a master just like the masters did themselves!
   I have to say, Michelangelo intimidates me- I hear he was intolerant of slacker artists.... and man, he practiced what he preached! I cannot even fathom how one artist can do so much in a life time, and they didn't live as long back then. Another reason is that he loved sculpture and did it well. He considered it a higher form of art than painting. Well, I have yet to tackle sculpture at all, and so the sound of it sounds big and unattainable. I do hope to tackle it someday. Maybe in Florence.... or Ireland.
    I also hear he destroyed his anatomy studies so no one would discover his secrets. I may be wrong about that, but that sounds like something he'd do.
     Quote time. Hmmm.....

If in my youth I had realized that the sustaining splendour of beauty of with which I was in love would one day flood back into my heart, there to ignite a flame that would torture me without end, how gladly would I have put out the light in my eyes. -Michelangelo


"The liberating encounter with forgiveness can be experienced even by a wounded heart, thanks to the healing power of God, who is Love." - *Blessed*Pope John Paul II

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Inspiration for the Day

Two things.

1) I am not sure why I have been putting the date on my posts, seeing as they are already dated- and so I think that that will come to an end. "I swear on my pretty floral bonnet that I will end you.".... Sorry. (Firefly anyone?)

2) This post is awesome! as is that entire blog I might add. It's art related, and while that's not quite a sketch, it's well worth reading none the less. Besides, it has Johnny Cash in it, which makes my Southern heart proud. Anyways, it's on a subject that has been in my thoughts lately, and it's always good to find a kindred spirit on the matter. Nothing creates art like suffering. Amazing how good can come out of evil, almost as if there is more good as a result of evil sometimes. Man that must frustrate the devil!

No, Three things.

3) I am reading Harry Potter LIKE CRAZY! I will finish this series on time to see the last movie! Even if the darn books just get longer and longer as I go! (I think the ever growing size of the books is a cruel joke to make me fail. Maybe the books ARE magic!!)

3 again) No way! A 13th follower!? Two in three days!? God is good and yall are awesome!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 12th, 2011: Two posts in ONE Morning!.....

...... but does that make up for not posting much at all for the past two months (or who am I kidding- the entire time I've had this blog)? Hardly, but I am trying.
    Ok! Two things that are rather momentous for me!

1) Someone bought a print from  My Zazzle Store that I do not know! At least, I don't know who you are yet- if you are a friend don't tell me: I am rejoicing in the fact that this may have been a stranger.

2) I have a 12th follower that I do not believe I know, or that someone I know knows! I think number 12 may be the first unknown follower that I have acquired so far- thank you number 12!

Let's rejoice with a bit of Hot Kool Aid!

July 12th, 2011: Finding Neverland

So, last night I decided to watch a bit of Finding Neverland to pause it here and there to draw. I love drawing little kids apparently, and Freddie Highmore is one of the cutest! (at least, when he was little, I don't know what he's looking like nowa days) While it is rather depressing, I do like that movie quite a bit.  For one thing, it has the BEST soundtrack EVER! And it's cute and quirky and ridiculous.... I seem to e attracted to that more and more. Anyways, I love action movies and such as much as anybody, but, I don't know, I find the whole children's book industry (illustration, etc) a welcome retreat from, well, the world, and things that are just too complicated.
   I thought about drawing Johnny Depp, but, it was late, and I rather chickened out of drawing someone so well known for the public to see: at least while I was tired and wanting to read my book a bit before bed.  Speaking of cute kids, I am reading/watching Harry Potter! Yes, the bug bit me. I always thought "how on earth could something that popular be that good?" and surprise! It is that good. At least to me. Harry and Ron are so cute in the first two movies so far! Especially Ron! (I LOVE red hair- I WANT red hair) Hermione is cute, but a liiitttle bit annoying- at least this far. But somehow I think that is the point sometimes. I was hoping to read all the books on time to watch the last movie in theaters- and so far I have read 3 books in a week and a half ( That Is Alot for me, seeing as I am a slow reader)(click on the link! I was proud of that!). I have a feeling this will just get more challenging though, seeing as the books just get longer and longer.
       After I mention this fact, I will stop talking about Harry Potter: I WANT a snow owl to give me letters! I WANT Hedwig! Red hair, a snow owl, and Ireland- oh, and a baby grand piano- then my life will be complete. Ok, I'm done. For now. I'm afraid you will hear more about Potter later on.
    I need a quote for the week..... hmm... (going to look at my quote collection and my goodreads quotes)..... CHESTERTON!

        “Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance.” – The Speaker (oops, I am rather impartial most of the time... )

        “What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism.” – Sidelights on New London and Newer New York

Now, just how I went from Finding Neverland, to Harry Potter, to G.K. Chesterton I am not sure- but somehow I think it fits: all roads lead to Chesterton. I think it makes sense, because he was so very common, normal, and charitable.