Perhaps there are a few people left in the online artist community who don't know what "Illustration Friday" is. If so... check it out! It is a wonderful weekly challenge to keep artists thinking on their toes and producing work based on a one word prompt. Each Friday the word is changed. Artists in many skill and medium categories join in on the fun. It's great to browse through everyone's images and see all the different interpretations of the words.
One of my online classes is taking it a step further by inviting class members to participate, and video tape the process of their work.
I've decided to further challenge myself by #1: Sketching the first thing that pops into my mind when I hear the weekly word, and #2: To work rather quickly and use the first image I come up with.
You see, I can be a bit OCD and have such a perfectionist attitude that I end up not doing what I set out to do half the time. I figure this will be a fun way to force some creative "exercise" and also work on my expectations, and my artistic flaws a bit. Besides, since the first thing that pops into my mind may not even be something I'd want to hang in my own home, or offer in my shops, why beat myself up trying to "over-perfect" the finished product? It doesn't mean I won't try my best, but I'm more concerned with honing skills and forcing creativity with this weekly challenge than I am with producing "marketable" work.
This is my first entry at Illustration Friday, and it's a perfect example of everything I just wrote. Normally, I would NEVER publicize it because I'm not thrilled with the outcome. AND the first thing that came to my mind is not something I normally include in my "cutesy" art. BREASTS! Now, don't get me wrong, I think the female body is a beautiful thing, and proves that God has an artistic hand in His creation. But my work is more simple "storybook" kind of stuff, and nudes are just not my "thing". So, how does one focus on paisley breasts and remain somewhat modest and true to one's style???
As I was researching paisley, I came across it's interesting history, and the fact that for some ancient religions, paisley was a symbol of life and eternity. PERFECT! Since mothers are the portal of life, and we are born for eternity, what's better than the image of a nursing mother? She has recently given birth, and is sustaining life with the flow of milk coming from her paisley bossom which is being gently caressed by her precious child's tiny hand.
Sounds lovely... However, you can see that it was a challenge for me. I wanted to capture the warmth, love, and comfort that the bond of nursing always created for me while nursing my precious little ones. I wanted to capture the truth of a mother's beauty shining through the exhaustion of new motherhood....
Well, I think what I captured looks more like a strung out 80's Rocker Chick. But... I have to stay true to my goal. And hubby says it's beautiful. (he always has had a thing for too much hair and dark eyes... hee hee)
I'm feeling really vulnerable putting this "out there", but I think that's part of it for me too. One of my new favorite quotes is "do it afraid". I guess that's what courage is anyway. We don't become "un-afraid", we just do what has to be done when it has to be done. And right now, the artist in me needs to be jump started again. So.... "Paisley", in pencil.
Don't forget to check out all the other artists' work, and join in the fun! There are lots of categories to choose from!