” A writer is dear and necessary for us only in the measure in which he reveals to us the inner working of his soul.” –Leo Tolstoi, Russian author, 1800s. When young, while eating breakfast each morning before getting on the school bus, I always had a couple of favorite books handy for entertainment. Cereal boxes only had so much content and this was in the days before digital stimulus. I actually LIKED studying for spelling tests. Something about words: their meanings, sounds, and placement engaged me. Was I a budding writer? The day an English teacher in high school read my fiction story to the class as a quality example sent a flush of excitement through me and planted itself in my memory. But, I didn’t choose writing, I chose art. The writing, however, tagged along. I have a trunk full of journals, several story starts, and then…I started writing captions to go along with the sketches I post each day. This book, “The New Dictionary of Thoughts” has been a faithful companion in that process. It was published in 1936 and contains quotes from “thinkers” prior to that date, of course. I find the language usage elegant. It also helps that the topics of quotes are arranged in alphabetical order. Autumn and Avarice are right next to each other, lol. How cool is that! And one can not simply walk into the Mordor of writing without the research assistance of the Internet. What an astonishing age to live in! Posting on Instagram has helped me keep my musings condensed, valuable to whittling the words down to their essence and essential in a world of short attention spans–myself included. The writing has become as important as the sketch. That was unexpected. When I look for a subject to sketch now, there must be a concept to go with it. Keeps me on the edge of my intellectual seat. When the visual and the writing come together there is that same “flush of excitement” I felt in my English high school class so many years ago. A few more recent and favorite postings follow:Day 506: BEAUTY or BURDEN? No kidding, standing on a low wall I looked down on some rocks and a desert plant in our yard and from that slightly different perspective I saw this head and shoulder adorned. BEAUTY: Move over Marie Antoinette updo, Marilyn Monroe’s glamour waves, and Princess Leia’s side buns! BURDEN: Or perhaps this is a cactus to bear, an opuntia around the neck, stickers on your back, a prickly conscience. Just a little artistic fantasy to badger the point: BEAUTY (or BURDEN) is in the eye (or heart) of the beholder?Day 520: Traveling the earth tiny Earthlings? I see your excited faces inside that little blimp. Taking a risk to see what’s around the corner? Got toothbrushes and quarters to call home? No, wait! Quarters don’t work anymore. Got your phone chargers? Take lots of pictures! Don’t forget clean underwear and an extra pair of socks! “Rather see the wonders of the world abroad than, living dully sluggardized at home, wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.”–Shakespeare.Day 523: Simple food and drink, simply put, is not simple…now. These essentials of life have brewed and bred a world of complexity and memorable quotes: A Dish Fit For The Gods; All You Can Eat; Chow Down; It Is Meate And Drink To Me (Shakespeare again); Let Them Eat Cake (Marie did NOT say this); and the growing harvest of study indicating that YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. (Unless, of course, something is EATING YOU. Think GRABOIDS, “This valley is just one long smorgasbord!” And DINOSAURS, “Let’s get this moveable feast under way!” I digress.) Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may have to count your calories, measure cups of vegetables, ounces of water, and be sugar free.Day 593: Oh, the CRAZY things you could find on the Internet today!!! The U.S. Army has NOT discovered how to teleport people. The National Air and Space Museum has NOT begun breeding tribbles. Archaeologists at Vanderbilt University have NOT discovered the skeleton of a 39 foot tall squirrel. The British Milk Council is NOT selling unicorn milk. Sony has NOT developed a slime resistant proton pack. Verizon is NOT connecting your eyeballs directly into your social media accounts. There are NO pizza scented candles, No T-rex line of T-shirts, and No 3D-printed clam chowder. Dang! Happy April Fool’s Day anyway, lol.
April 2, 2016 | Categories: Art Adventures | Tags: art, art adventure, art and writing, art project, being a writer, concept, creativity, daily posting, daily sketches, design, illustration, words, writing | Leave a comment
“Your face is a book, where men may read strange matters.” – Shakespeare. I think he was on to something! Much about the artist is always revealed through the art they make. So it was with the children and the masks they made. In September of this year I taught two classes of fifth graders how to make a simple mask. In 45 minutes it was easy to see a connection between their personalities and their created mask-faces…even though they were all strangers to me.
Materials used: 1. Brightly colored and black cardstock. 2. Glue sticks, scissors, staplers, and colored pencils. Instructions: 1. Choose a vertical (hot dog) or horizontal (hamburger) mask face. 2. Close your eyes. Put your hands on the sides of your face and slide forward to your nose. Notice that your face is not flat. 3. Fold your cardstock in half to begin adding a sculptural 3-D effect to your mask. 4. With your cardstock folded in half, tear or cut through the two layers from a corner near the fold, diagonally to its opposite corner. You have now created the jawline shape of your mask. 5. Where do you want your eyes? Mark with pencil. Poke a hole in the cardstock with the tip of a pair of scissors. (Beware of poking too hard and jabbing your fingers.) The hole you poked is for your scissors to have a place to start cutting from. Cut fabulous eye-shape holes!
Now the final touches! 6. Use your scraps of left over cardstock or trade with your fellow student to get a mix of colors and shapes. Bend, curl, fold, crumple, tear, or cut (paper is such marvelous stuff) these scraps and attach to your mask with the glue sticks (if the pieces are small) or stapler (if the pieces are bigger). Always try to get the paper scraps to stick out from the mask. This contributes to a 3-D, sculptural effect. Much more interesting than just flat. 7. Decorate with fancy colored pencil lines, squiggles, shading, cross-hatching, dots, and dashes.
Now go look at yourself in the mirror! When you take these home, don’t put them on the refrigerator door…push pin them on a bulletin board or wall space somewhere. The key to keeping them 3-D is to fold slightly so your mask sticks out from the wall and then push pin it in place. Do not pin it flat to the wall. When your art is 3-D it will cast interesting shadows. You can always put more decoration on your mask. Think of all the possibilities in your mom’s or grandma’s craft drawer!
December 3, 2014 | Categories: Children's Art Projects | Tags: 3-D paper masks, art, art project, cardstock, children art projects, color, creativity, faces, glue, mask making, masks, paper, simple art project, tearing paper | Leave a comment
1. Impressionist/Realistic Painting: Started this portrait with free-hand drawing with a brush from a photo. Two days in I used a method I had seen a great portrait painter use: traced the photo onto tracing paper, enlarged to the same size as my painting, transferred enlarged tracing onto a clear plastic overlay, gently laid it over the painting to check major inaccuracies. I was thrilled to discover that aside from raising the shoulder and sliding the top of the ear to the right a bit…I had been amazingly accurate with my eye/hand co-ordination. The face’s profile was an exact match! It’s got to be the practice of drawing every day from life!!! Yay!
2. Social Media: Today I will be drawing-from-life my 70th sketch in a row. I am amazed that I have been that consistent. Sometimes the drawing gets done by the stroke of midnight, but it gets done. I have posted each day’s drawing on Instagram and also shared it with my Facebook timeline. Was told about a #inktober project artists were posting to and joined in. Since I was already doing my sketches in ink I fit right in and have met some new artist friends. Finding thematic and interesting things to draw every day has become a game that requires some thinking. My dear husband has gotten into the swing of things…doesn’t object to my disappearing into the studio or out into the wilderness for a while to draw and even will remind me on occasion: “Have you done your sketch for the day?”
3. Concept Painting: Have decided to begin painting characters in the stories I am writing. These paintings fit in the concept/stylized compartment of my art life. I am looking at self-publishing some of my stories. Therefore, art needs to be produced! I love these little characters and it is delightful to explore what they will look like and how they will act in visualization as well as in words. This is a fairy-princess named Siz.
4. Story: It is amazing what you can accomplish, a little bit at a time. This past week, because I am eating that “live frog” first thing, I have made some real progress on two stories: “A Little Sad Love Story” and “Nightmare Roundup”. At this rate I may actually join the ranks of writers, storytellers, and children’s books aficionados within my lifetime!
What!!? “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” My favorite “bard”, Mark Twain said those words. Why would doing art that I choose to do be like eating a live frog (YEEESH!)? It’s the: getting into the studio, focusing, figuring out the next move, avoiding distractions by starting earlier, etc. that falls into the category of eating a live frog. (Again, YEEESH!) On a Sunday night I declared that I would get up at 7am the next morning, do morning rituals, and be at the work of art by 8am. Sabotaged myself by staying up really late and fell asleep without setting an alarm. At 6:59am Monday morning I spontaneously woke up. Had one minute to decide whether or not to eat that frog. Ate it! Was at work by 8:07am. The preceeding or following is what happened this last week.
October 26, 2014 | Categories: Art Adventures | Tags: A Little Sad Love Story, art, art adventure, art life, art project, author/illustrator, concept painting, creativity, design, Dilleen Marsh, eating a live frog, Facebook Timeline, fairy-princess, getting into the studio, impressionist/realistic painting, Inktober, Instagram, Laser Mode Masters, Mark Twain, Nicki, Nightmare Roundup, oil painting, painting, pen and ink, posting art every day, preliminary drawings, self-publishing, Siz, social media, studio, telling a story | Leave a comment
Supplies: 8 1/2 x 11 inch black cardstock, pastel, chalk, or prismacolor pencils, origami paper, tape, and glue.
1. Use the black cardstock as your base. Colors really “pop” on a black background. Cardstock is stiff enough to survive the art-making process and still be hangable on the refrigerator door.
2. Roll a piece of origami paper into a tube and tape it closed. If it is hard for some fingers to roll the paper, roll it around a pencil to help you get started. This tube of paper is the main “line” of your art.
3. Glue the tube of origami paper onto the black cardstock in the position you want it-straight, bent, or flattened. We just used simple Elmer’s glue. Glue sticks are not strong enough to hold the “line” to the cardstock.
4. Use pastel pencils, chalk, or prismacolor pencils to color in the rest of your design. (Markers will not show up on black very well.)
5. This project could be done on white paper with any art supplies you have on hand. The concept is to see how “line” is used in art and “What Does A Line Inspire?”
This was a demonstration I did of bending the “line”. Inspired me to use it as a nose in a face.
December 16, 2013 | Categories: Art Adventures, Children's Art Projects, Uncategorized | Tags: art, cardstock, chalk, children's art project, collage, creativity, inspiration, line, paper, pastel pencils, prismacolor pencils, project with children, project with grandchildren, texture | Leave a comment
November 12, 2012 | Categories: Children's Art Projects, Uncategorized | Tags: art experience, cardstock, children, children art projects, creativity, fun with children, glue, masks, paper, paper sculpture, projects for grandmas | Leave a comment