Having Patience with the Process

The smell of autumn whispers to me when I open my front door, and for a moment I allow myself to savor the anticipation of Fall. It’s coming. Pretty soon the leaves will be turning, the air will be crisper, and the smell of chimney smoke will be permeating the air. And for this brief duration the world around me will be bursting with color and I will be basking in the aura of it all. This is a good time to be rejuvenated and inspired.

It’s hard to believe that Summer is reaching it’s last days here, and I can’t help but think about everything that has happened in the last few months. Earlier this year I journeyed into the world of Surface Pattern Design through Rachael Taylor’s course The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design (http://makeitindesign.com/design-school/). I completed Module 1 in the spring, and it ended with me being highly inspired and slightly overwhelmed. So much juicy information was packed into that first module. But there was this lapse afterwards. I’m not for sure if it was just life in general, or if I just needed time to process all the info, but I started painting more instead of sketching. At that time my world of painting vs my world of sketching had certain boundaries. I have no idea why I set those limitations, but in my mind they were separate. Seems silly to say this now. As a mixed media artist I am usually very open to experimenting. I suppose I was stuck in somewhat of a rut. It happens.

On some level I think was trying to figure it all out…my passion for painting and my passion for pattern. Would these 2 eventually merge together? Do they need to be? Are they better separate? Painting for me is very self expressive and free, while pattern seemed more structured. I love both, but I was having a hard time grasping how they could work together.

Then something magical happened. I’m not quite sure what it was in my mind that made things clearer, but it all started when I began the Make It In Design Summer School. And WOW what an awesome experience this was. The MIID team posted segments of creative briefs along with a series of inspirational material with each assignment. Each brief was geared toward trends and were infused with interesting challenges. It was an incredible opportunity to focus on particular subjects that were not the norm for me. The limitations of the briefs forced me outside my comfort zone, and I found myself approaching pattern in a completely different way. It was seriously a light bulb moment. I began using more painting techniques within my patterns and I fell in love with the hands-on process. I was re-energized. I got my second wind.

BelindaSigs SS Typography Testimonial

Around this time I picked up a copy of Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. This book couldn’t have come into my life at a more perfect time. I read the entire book in 3 days. It was jammed packed with such awesome straight forward information and presented in such a real way. So many good things in this book, but one thing that really stood out to me was, “Amassing a body of work or building a career is a lot about the slow accumulation of little bits of effort over time.”

SLAA

I think sometimes we see huge portfolios of awesome work and think we need to hurry up and create and get our work out there as fast as we can. But in reality it takes time to produce good work…it takes a lot of time. And I couldn’t help but make the connection between those words from Austin Kleon with the Make It In Design Summer School. Those segments of challenges that were periodically released allowed me to better understand the process that small steps over time equates to larger productive results. Summer School really pushed my creativity, and I ended up creating more patterns within those 2 months then I had all year. It was all about just taking advantage of the opportunities presented and doing something small each day…even if it was just one mark making or one sketch. In the end, it all built upon each other and it was fun to see the progression of my work. I discovered having patience with the process is everything.

Some of my creations from Summer School:

sea splats pattern 2water pattern 1Aquatic Treasure Pillows Mahala Flights of Fancy Flights of Fancy Mock Ups Safari Sunrise Tote KineticSparkles

To see the galleries for Make It In Design Summer School: http://makeitindesign.com/summer-school/

I am so thankful for what I have learned through this whole experience, and as Fall approaches I am looking forward to diving even further into creating with The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design Module 2, and Flora Bowley’s class Bloom True…both starting next month. Exciting day ahead.

Thanks for reading,

Belinda

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Believing in the Amazing You

quote resource: thegoodvibe.co

quote resource: thegoodvibe.co

 

I’ll admit it, I am guilty of self sabotage. It’s not that I don’t believe I can do something, but there are days when I find it hard to believe that some things are possible.

Sometimes I feel like Flint Lockwood in the movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. As he is talking himself through his process…and when he is in the middle of working on something, he stops to look at his motivational posters in his makeshift lab and says to himself, “motivating.” Except I don’t have any motivational posters on my walls…but I do have a Pinterest quote board, which is about the same.

I find quotes like, “Amazing things happen when you distant yourself from negativity.”

and, “Transform criticism into creativity.”

The problem is that some people might think that this negativity or criticism may be coming from other people or sources, but the raw truth is that most of my criticism and negativity that influences me comes from myself.

I’m not the only one with this problem. I have found that many other artists suffer from this same dilemma. And not just beginner artists, I’m talking about seriously talented people.

And it’s refreshing to know that we are kind of all in this together.

But setting that common bond aside, I’m faced to ponder why I feel this way about myself. I look myself in the mirror and ask, “Why do you not allow yourself to think you are amazing?” I don’t always have an answer, but sometimes my mind will respond with something like, “you will never be good enough.” Which I know is a lie. And recognizing that allows me to push forward and keep going.

So if you are hard on yourself, take a moment to reflect why. Then look yourself in the mirror, and no matter how you are feeling about yourself that day, just say out loud, “I am amazing.”

Because you are.

Recently, I’ve been competing in some design competitions. I’ve noticed that this has really helped me to continue to hone my style and it’s been fun to see the progression of my work. I’m learning to put myself out there, regardless of how I feel about myself. Here is some of my recent work for the Tigerprint Cute Character, birthday card competition.

Go Nuts Tw Happy Cake Day Tw Have a Hoot tw

Thank you for letting me share!

And remember – You are amazing!

I think I can

When I was a little girl, my Dad used to read the story of The Little Engine That Could. And although I didn’t fully grasp the potential of the concept when I was small, I grew to love this book and I still remember the animated voices my Dad used when he read it to me. It was mesmerizing to think that a little blue train – not the biggest, strongest or the most qualified train – but a little train with heart, determination, and optimism could make a big impression and complete it’s journey over the mountain.

It thought it could, so it did.

This past week I’ve been thinking a lot of when I first started painting. Ten years ago when I started playing around with the idea of doing art, I picked up a few art instructional books by Walter Foster. I poured myself into them not knowing if I was doing things correctly, but I was enjoying the process. I’ve always been drawn to art, but when I first started doing it “for reals”, I was teaching myself everything from these books. And I was so insecure in myself that I thought everything I was teaching myself was the incorrect way. Nobody even knew I tinkering in art…I kept it all to myself. I felt I needed guidance for someone to tell me how to do specific techniques, or to confirm if I was doing it right. It wasn’t until a couple years later that I took a watercolor class locally. It was an elderly art teacher and she had been doing a variety of different mediums a very long time. She was so laid back and gentle in her approach and for the first time I realized that art wasn’t necessarily about doing things a certain way, it was about expression, where you were at that time, what you were drawn to, and what inspired you. Art had more to do with conveying expression through color and texture than it had to do with literal art “rules.” And this opened my eyes.

I was hooked.

Little did I know the journey I was on.

I just enjoyed it, so I continued. I was eager to learn and challenge myself. I didn’t think I was necessarily headed in any particular direction; it was a therapeutic hobby. I didn’t even know that my art was defining itself over time. It just seemed to happen. Then one day (recently) I looked back at my original sketches that I did when I had first started “formally” sketching and it was all there…my style. It’s always been inside of me. Yes my work has matured, and I have learned many more techniques since then, but the same vibe is there.

I still consider myself a student, and I feel I have so much more to learn. But I think I can do it. I think I can get to where I want to go.

Like the little blue engine that could.

For several years now I’ve had a passion about pattern design, albeit it was a closet dream of mine and I honestly didn’t have a clue how my art would tie into it. Then for some odd reason, everything at once just clicked. And I discovered Rachel Taylor’s “The Art and Business of Pattern Design” school; and I thought, “Wow, this is where I need to be.” I showed it to my hubby and he studied it (as he does everything…I think that’s a military thing), and that evening he came up to me and said, “You need to do this. This is in line with exactly what you’ve been talking about for the last few years.” And I cried…because I love how much he gets me.

So I signed up, and then they had a scholarship competition and I applied. I didn’t know at the time that over 300 people from 39 different countries were also applying for the scholarship. Had I known, I probably would not have submitted anything because I would have thought I didn’t have much of a chance (ya know, with all the talented people out there). Because as much as I try to stay positive, I am my biggest enemy.

But I applied for the scholarship. This was my entry:

Circus Carnival WM

And I ended up being in the top 10. I won the first class of the series, Module 1.

I was shocked.

Lil’ ole me. I’m not the strongest artist, not the most qualified, not well-known…and all that really isn’t important to me.

I still don’t know where this journey will take me, but I’m open to the possibilities. I started class this week and I’m excited to be on a path. I feel like everything has lead up to this point, and I’m ready for it.

I think I can do this.

CC Sketches

original sketches

Embrace New Beginnings

Free as a Bird Illustration

I’ve procrastinated.

It’s easy to do.

But today. TODAY. I’m dusting off my blog and sharing with you some of my art from the last year.

Oh Happy Day!

Life has changed since the baby arrived last May. I love my family life…I love my 2 girls. My oldest daughter made a statement a couple months ago about how our family now feels complete. And it does. And although the new change has had it’s share of challenges, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. So many ups and downs come and go, but the thing that remains in our family is that we are there for each other. And I can tell our new daughter, Grace, now 9 months, can already sense that.

Here is a painting I made for her nursery:

Embrace New Beginnings

Embrace new beginnings, for it is the gift of hope that enlightens our hearts. – Belinda S (that’s me) 🙂

So when I was making this piece, which is rather large, I couldn’t find a quote that I loved. So I had to come up with one myself. New beginnings. I love the idea of a new beginning. Every day is a new beginning. But there are moments in life when you are forced to analyze your life and make critical decision that will change your course…in those moments new beginnings emerge. It’s not easy to embrace the change, but it’s necessary to grow.

Close up of the words:

Embrace New Beginnings close up

I finally feel that my art has defined itself over time. This is huge progress for me. Sketches flow much easier then I started, and I see trends in my art. One trend that keeps popping up (unintentionally) is birds. I love to incorporate them and I find myself playing around with different styles. Here are some quirky birds I made when taking Life Book last year:

quirky birds

Did you notice my watermark? 🙂 I officially have a name for my art. (Whoohoo!) I’m playing around with this. Not for sure if this is my final design, but I like it for now.

I’ve started converting my art into vector, as well. Teaching myself (with the help of online tutorials) how to color my images in Illustrator and convert them into patterns. I’ve played around with patterns for years drawing within Illustrator, but incorporating my pencil sketches has given me a new sense of passion and direction.

I’m sure you noticed the initial graphic on this post, but here is the pencil sketch I did last year:

Free as a Bird sketch

From that to this:

Free as a Bird Illustration

It’s so fun coming up with different ways of modifying my art. I love sketching, I love mixed media, and I love graphic design, and I’m enjoying the process of those things merging together these days. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about? Doing what you love. 🙂

Do what you love, love what you do, and enjoy the journey it takes you.

Thanks for letting me share. xo

Bindy