“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery – air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.'”
– Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
It’s good to finally feel that spark of fresh artistic inspiration like I finally felt when I started painting mountains. The most frustrating times for me is when the desire is there to create, but nothing feels inspired.It’s those heart thumping, urgent, fully focused artistic moments that are what I live for. When I’m completely absorbed in a project and it stops being about perfecting a final product (something that insures I am bound to be disappointed and zaps me of desire) and more about personal expression.
Cutting up pieces of my abstract paintings into polygon (ish) shapes and then creating collages is one of my favorite ways of creating art. I love mixing and matching colors that I wouldn’t usually think to put together- although, sometimes my OCD kicks in and I spend hours gluing and ripping off, and cutting down shapes, hoping to make the “perfect” piece.
I’e been wanted to create my own mood board since I discovered the wonderful world of digital mood boards. I’ve always loved making collages and inspiration boards in my journals and on my wall-I love the physical and visual process of creating collages and have spent countless hours absorbed in arranging and rearranging pictures…. something about the process is soothing to me and have found them to be a helpful tool for aiding in my creative process because I often find new inspiration for creative projects and ideas.
With online mood boards it’s like a whole new world of inspiration has opened up to me. There are so many talented, artistic designers and artists out there to find inspiration from-
I’m going to try and do a round-up at least once a month….
I would really love to see what is inspiring every one else out there and wanted to offer to anyone who might be interested in being a guest blogger and creating their own individualized mood board on This Wild Precious Life. It could be any handful of things that are inspiring you at the moment: books, music, food, shoes, movies, art, diy projects…and give you a chance to share here! If you are interested just email me at email@example.com with the subject title “my mood board” and we can work out the details!
So here is what is inspiring me in the month of May (2015)….
I’m really happy simple leather sandals (or Jesus sandals as I like to call them) are making a come-back. I don’t know why every time I see a pair of simple classic looking leather sandals I just want to be walking around in Greece or Italy…so the closest I can get to either of those places at the moment is a pair of my very own jesus sandals.
I am so so excited to be collaborating again with the AMAZING Shana, and her equally amazing blog: The Mom Edit on a series of monthly fashion themed art pieces.
I love being able to collaborate with Shana. She has been an enthusiastic supporter and an advocate for me and my art, even when I usually can’t stand whatever it is I’ve made. supporter and cheerleader She is passionate, enthusiastic and just all around bad ass. I love all of her style and she approaches each post with honesty and frankness about life that makes me laugh out loud.
I was really struggling creatively the last few months and this collaboration has breathed new life into my art and given me a new purpose and direction. This project has also been hands down the hardest artistic challenge I’ve undertaken simply because it’s so scary for me to have my artwork “out there” to be seen and judged. I usually have two modes: 1) being super impulsive about what I publish on social media and then afterwards feeling embarrassed or 2) overthinking and analyzing every thing I make until I just stop mid-way through and never finish it.
Here is the March art piece I did for The Mom Edit along with Shana’s picks to go along with it:
She is an architect and urban designer with a passion for vibrant colors and a sense of style that is one of a kind. I first discovered her via Instagram @monlinglee fell instantly in love with every single one of her photos. She combines her unique and brilliantly colored personal style in perfectly coordinated urban environments.
By following her instagram account, I found out that she was teaming up with J. Crew to “Test-drive” Their new spring accessories on their blog: hello.jcrew.com. And was inspired to try to create my own color blocked outfit with my skirt I bought for a penny at Nordstroms Rack. JCrew and Monling Lee are having an instagram contest on how where you wear (and pair, and pile on) your J.Crew accessories with the hashtags #ACCESSORYFIX and #JCREWCONTEST for a chance to win one of three $1,500 shopping sprees. And although I don’t have a new spring accessory to actually join in…here are my outfits:
As usual, I left things till the last minute…I don’t know how to do it any other way. Under pressure is usually when I am most motivated and inspired. I got a little carried away with my Gold Leaf paint and pens and painted just about everything in it last night.
The start of a new year means a new sketchbook. I get really excited about starting a new journal- especially at the beginning of a new year. It literally allows me to turn a fresh page in my life and re-organize, reflect and motivate. I’ve been slowly compiling pictures of some of my sketchbook pages from this past year or so and funny, I never realized before just how often my pages center around a quote or lyric that is inspiring me at that time. I think because a big part of the reason I keep a journal is to motivate me and to help me stay positive. Oh, I also apparently am big on bright colors and florals.
I put together a little Holiday Themed Art Journal Idea List, some of the ideas are a bit simple but fun.
I always find myself journaling and sketching a lot over the Christmas and New Years breaks. I think it’s my way of reflecting on everything that happened over the past year as well as gearing up for the new year ahead (also because I usually like to start the new new calendar year off with a fresh journal so I try to fill up the remaining pages in the old one). Also, I am one of those people who religiously comes up with New Years Resolutions every year…The older I get, the more it’s becoming a bucket list and a reminder for me that life is moving fast. I am a big list person too…I just feel better about my lack of organizational skills when I can cross off even the most mundane tasks.
I also rounded up some of my favorite journal pages from this year….they are nothing like some of the pages I see of other artists on pinterest or tumblr…but they make me happy 🙂 Some of them can fit as examples for the Winter themed list so Ill note them if they do…
e e cummings mixed media art journal collage page
One of my favorite things to do is write down inspiring quotes, passages, poems r song lyrics I come across and then create some sort of art around it.
I can’t help that my natural artistic impulses are the same as every 2 year old who has just been given their first ever box of crayons (to take all the colors, smash them together, color all the paper, mess all over the floor and then take a nap curled up in the eye of the hurricane). I swear I have every intention of trying to become a decent artist when I get out my graphite pencils and little eraser to practice sketching. Somehow though, I always end up on the floor surrounded by paint in every color and shade available. But Im at my happiest and most inspired making my kaleidoscopic messes…
I happened to spot the inspiration for this DIY art project in an advertisement in House Beautiful magazine for minted.com. I ripped it right out (don’t worry, it was my copy!) , taped it to my wall and started to go to work on my own version. Later, I was able to investigate further and discovered (thank you pinterest) that the Artist’s is Yao Cheng, she specials in beautiful watercolor paintings and her online store on Minted’s website is FULL of stunning watercolor prints. The above piece and the object of inspiration is “Hexagon Cluster,” and you can purchase her Limited Edition of Hexagon Cluster print on Minted (or click through the links) for anywhere from $20 to $200 depending on size and finish.
Here is everything you will need to make it:
1) watercolor paints (the Kids Crayola watercolors work just fine) and paper (brushes and cups of water as well)
I suggest the following liquid watercolors for bright, vibrant colors:
Sargent Art 8-Ounce Watercolor Magic Set (10 different watercolors for $49.95)
or Dr. Phil’s Concentrated Watercolors (my personal favorites) They average about $5.00 a bottle or a set of 14 is around $69.99.
2) Watercolor Paper Pad
For the best price and quality, I suggest Strathmore 360900 Cold Press 140-Pound 12-Sheets Strathmore Watercolor Paper Pad, 9-Inch by 12-Inch, which is only around $7.00, also available on Amazon:
3) Thick, heavyweight white paper Mixed Media paper works well, just something to hold the weight of mixed media and glue without tapering.
4) Scissors and a gluestick!
The How To:
The steps to making this DIY project are super simple. But since I’m not sure of how the original artist created her stunning piece so I’ll tell you how I made my version.
1) Get out your watercolors and watercolor paper and go crazy (this is one of my favorite things in the world to do). You don’t need any fancy paper or expensive watercolors. In fact, I mostly used plain old, reliable Crayola Washable Watercolors (available in probably every single pharmacy and grocery store in America). because I had just moved to Grand Rapids from Chicago when I got this project itch, I had none of my supplies and couldn’t wait a few days till I went home again.
* Try experimenting with colors…I love playing with colors and mixing and matching up colors I wouldn’t usually put together while doing this…I tend to lean towards bright, bold, colors but what I love about Cheng’s is that she uses subtle, subdued colors with a pop of bold color that makes the piece stand out. Her use of subtle tones and light/grey hues accentuates the rich blues and the subtle use of warm orange colors all come together to create a vibrant, yet refreshingly simple and peaceful piece of art that would compliment many differently styled rooms.
2) Using a ruler or something to help you draw straight lines, trace out 20-30 hexagons (6 sided shapes). Make sure to make all different sized hexagons..the sides don’t necessarily have to be symmetrical or have all equal lengths..this will help to add to the abstract and organic feeling of the piece.
3) Arrange them in a way you like on your heavyweight art board..the only rule I used for myself was that each shape has to be touching another shape by at least one point..I think this helps adds continuity and fluidity of the artwork and helps guide the viewer’s eye from each unique hexagon to the next.
I also tried another technique and did one piece where all the sides of the shapes had to be touching sides perfectly..this one took a little more time and a lot of cutting down shapes to fit better…
4) admire, frame and hang!
Here are a few that I did, as you can see, I have a hard time using natural and subtle colors- which I think makes my finished pieces a little to “in your face.” But to each their own!
I saw something very similar to this on etsy and it inspired me. A friend has “commissioned” me to paint a large canvas for his new apartment and this was one of the sketches I was considering doing..later I added some sharp black lines. I really love making art with gemoetrical shapes.
I found this in one of my old journals when I was looking for a password or something. I thought it would be a cool idea to do a gallery showing of artists’ journal pages. I would love to see something like that!
This is my new chalkboard wall in my apartment (I hope my landlord hasn’t seen this!!) I had a quote by Emily Dickinson on the wall with some really bright framing shapes and colors and it was too much. Plus, I change my mind so often that this works perfectly for me! I can change it whenever I want. I try not to think of the hassle it will cause me when it’s time to move out!
Okay, *le sigh* This is my latest project and has taken a considerable amount of time! A few weekends ago, my husband and I went to the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair, and I was feeling very inspired. One artist I particularly liked was Dolan Geiman. He did some beautiful and intricate artworks using magazine pages. I like the different textures and colors and a project like this is perfect for my OCD tendencies. I get to collect little scraps of paper and sort through old magazines cutting and gluing things for hours!
Okay, so..hahaha…As someone kindly pointed out to me: “isn’t it ‘Not all who WANDER are lost”? yup! It is! ah, well. I took things to a whole other level without even realizing it. Maybe my true calling is philosophy? No? okay…