Pencil Paintings Just Added to the Site

Pencil Paintings Just Added to the Site

Today I had a chance to add some of my pencil paintings to this website.

I haven’t done a pencil painting in quite awhile and have noticed that the idea for something new is ruminating in my brain. These drawings take time. They are built on layers of graphite pencil and colored pencil that completely cover the page. They are far from sketches and that is why I call them paintings.

Many of these drawings are from dreams or from thoughts about our culture that capture my imagination. Sometimes I add writings like poems, or just simple statements that add clarity to them.

The one above is called Can I ask a Question? And this is what I am always doing. Lately my questions have been about color and light and just exploring the things around me. And that is why my new works have been mostly brilliant watercolors.

However these pencil drawings are very much a part of who I am and I need to share them. Some of these will be part of an upcoming event here in Ridgecrest on November 22, which you will hear more about soon. For now here is the link to the page of Pencil Paintings. Thank you for being here.

Have a happy day.

Cheryl

Fall is time for Old West Day in Randsburg, CA!

Fall is time for Old West Day in Randsburg, CA!

Well, we made it through the Summer out here in Earthquake Land. I live in what some people call the earthquake capital or just Ridgecrest. Having grown up in California, I am very aware of earthquakes, however, here they were not really any to speak of. Tiny ones that no one felt until the July 4th and 5th of this year, quakes that registered a 6.4 and a 7.1 and there have been thousands of aftershocks since!

We are all doing our best to get to a new “normal” where everything is secured with museum wax and locks or bungees on the cabinets and a travel bag packed and ready to exit quickly if the next big one comes. They say there will be a next one which could be anytime between now and a million years from now!

Anyway, I am very ready for Fall. In the summer here it’s really too hot to do much of anything and my business slows down. After Labor day, suddenly things start happening again. Art festivals are plentiful in the Fall, leading up to Christmas, and I try to come up with at least one new holiday card each year which will happen in the very near future. Right now I am working on getting ready for my first event which is always a fun one. It’s Old West Day in the tiny ghost town of Randsburg just off US395. Western re-enactments and dress, and lot’s of desert art, country/bluegrass music, shootouts, and more. It is always the 3rd Saturday of September and this year that is the 21st. I and my junk art and collectible friends will be selling out of the Hole in the Wall by the Joint. Hope you can come and enjoy.

I used to have a gallery in Randsburg and may someday again. I enjoy painting the desert and the old mining towns of California. Back in 2012 when I was in Randsburg I had a series of cards which I have pictured here, and this year I added a new one of the Santa Barbara Church which is a local treasure. Nothing like a deadline to get me energized.

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Also working on adding more to this site then just the blog, consolidating my web presence is something I have wanted to do for a while. Sometimes you just have to try it all to figure out what works. At least that seems to be how it works for me.

Not only am I busier in the Fall, but the weather is much nicer. We are still at the tail end of Summer and it’s hot, however, it won’t be long when the fresh desert air, lasts all day long and into the night. Looking forward to that!

Have a happy day!

Cheryl

The Captivating Magic of Making Art

The Captivating Magic of Making Art

I am wound up in the tendrils of a vine called Art.

I do not actually believe I am making art at this time with all my dot making, I am mastering a new technique and getting comfortable with the process. The art-making is coming, the imagination and the visualizations are once more starting to flow.

I like to make tedious art, I always have. I enjoy abstracts and flowing paint, however value, and light, and detail are the art that I am constantly drawn to, whether it is drawing, painting, or photography, or even digital for that matter. To me the story comes through in the minute details, layers of dots, lines, color, it all comes together to create the story.

Getting my mind to move in the direction of marketing, selling, accounting and all the rest of the details of running a business is like trying to extract myself from a Venus Flytrap. The struggle is futile. (Insert a laugh comment here). And yet, because I love the other aspects of the work that I do, I must. I must think about that marketing campaign for the new client, I must think about how best to show my work and market myself, I must think about the community activism I am involved in to create art awareness and community. I must because I love all these aspects of the skills and talents I have been given. I have read dozens of books on how to organize your day, I have tried dozens of calendars to try to reign myself into a schedule and yet I am constantly fighting the battle. I envy artists who have a partner that handles the sales, the galleries, the websites, and the workshop details. I would love to do nothing but make art, think about art, teach art. Maybe someday that will be my life, but for now, I just keep moving, I just keep learning and sharing and building connections and living the life I have been given. Giving gratitude for all the good that comes to me every day. I am a lucky woman and I know it.

Art, for me, is magic, it flows through my fingers like music flows from the hands of a musician, like motion flows from the body of a dancer. There are no good explanations of Why or How it only happens and that is what magic is all about.

🙂

It’s Fall Already!

It’s Fall Already!

The calendar doesn’t actually say that yet, but we all know it is anyway. Schools are back in session, pumpkin spice is everywhere, even the weather here in the desert is acting like Fall.

Business is gearing up for the holidays and art markets are advertising their events and we are back to work.

In the summertime, my business is slow and in the heat of the day I hibernate. I have started drawing again and that has been occupying my time. I sit in front of the air conditioner and make art.

It all started with an exhibit by a local artist who was doing wildlife drawings in pointillism or stippling. It inspired me to get out my pens and art paper and make dots. I have done about 14 I think, so far, and I see no sign that I will be quitting soon. I have always loved pen & ink it is a simple medium that gives you lots of ways to build complexity. In other words, I take this very simple technique and make it complicated.

FBMooilynbanner2

I am taking these new drawings and scanning them into Adobe Illustrator where I can translate them into a vector image. What that means is that they are then flexible and can be blown up or used in various ways without losing any resolution. Another thing I can do with these black and white images is to colorize them and turn them into Pop Art!  It is a whole new style of art making for me, combining all my skills both on and off the computer. The images above are one of these drawings translated into primary colors. I have named this wild cow Moo-ilyn Moo-nroe. Because she is very much a stylish diva. 

I am now making prints of them and have them for sale in my Etsy shop online and I am selling them locally as well. I am once more back in the art business.

I am also exploring print on demand websites that I can incorporate into my website where I can offer these images on useful things that people use every day like mugs, shopping bags, even clothes and more. I can layout the images within their parameters and then they do the printing and the shipping. Nice!

I am ordering samples of things to make sure I like their process before I sign up. There are so many and I have tried some and not been happy. I am a bit picky about these things!

So I am happy to be making art again and having the ability to create illustrations also makes my design work that much more unique. So it is a win-win for everyone.

If you would like to see more of these images here is a link to my Etsy Shop which is called simply CherylMcDonaldArt.

The featured image in the header is a fall photo from the Napa Sonoma Wine Country. One of my favorites, to see more from my wine country series here is a link to my website.

 

What’s the difference between art and illustration?

What’s the difference between art and illustration?

Good question! Both can tell a story, both can make a point, both can be beautiful or not. The more we depend on pictures and graphics to sell things and motivate us, the line between art and illustration gets blurred.

Vintage illustration- movie posters, magazine ads even pin-up girl art graces the walls of homes, as often as a landscape painting or a still life, another trend these days is decorative signs with positive sayings. Are these art or illustration?

Google says an illustration is a visual aid to make a point, and art is an expression of emotion or beauty. In the examples above, this is not so clear anymore.

As an artist for over 30 years, I am confused! When I look at many of the paintings and drawings I have done over the years, I can now see that they have value as illustrations in various applications. The stippled drawings I am doing these days can be art you hang on your wall or they can be used as illustrations in books and advertising. And with the help of digital media applications like Adobe Illustrator they can be manipulated and painted or colored to create illustrative aids for even more expression. Art is versatile, imagery helps us tell our story. It guides the viewer in a direction we want them to go. Opening their mind to see things in a new way. This is the point of both art and illustration. It all goes back to the story you want to tell.

The image I am sharing today is a gardenia done in pen & ink and then manipulated in Adobe Illustrator to create a rainbow. Its purpose is for Illustration Friday’s weekly challenge. What else could it be used for? I know of several applications, what can you think of? Would love to hear your ideas.

Wiggle Your Toes!

Wiggle Your Toes!

It’s the 2nd week of August already, and the calendar says today is “Wiggle Your Toes Day”.

So I had some time so I decided to do an image to represent this day. It is Summer and most of us are in sandals so it is not a difficult instruction to just thoughtfully or unthoughtfully just wiggle those toes!

My life’s work is about telling stories and I can do that with images and words and often times both. As I say on my website, “Your business is Unique, and You have a story to tell.” and if you take that a little farther, we are all unique and have a story to tell.

Every single one of us. And your story colors your perspective and your behavior in our world.

Have you ever thought about the story you tell? Everything about you is part of that story from the way you comb your hair to the way you drive on the freeway, to the work you do, and the way you play. Every move you make is an expression of your story and how you interact with people you love as well as people you don’t is defined by what has happened in your life in your past. We can choose how much we allow our past to color our future and that is really the good news. The negative experiences from our past are in the past and we can start fresh every day. There is not much I can do to change what’s going on in the world or even just with the people or things in my life. I only have control of me and what I know is that if I send out a positive vibe I feel better and those that choose to receive that vibe also feel better. Joy is a learned response it is something you can change. No it’s not always easy and I don’t always feel it, however, the more I try to cultivate it, the more it grows.

Wiggling your toes feels good, and if you can’t wiggle your toes, wiggle your fingers, or wiggle your arms, legs, or even your nose. It’s a silly little thing, but it made me smile today, maybe it will make you smile too.

Have a happy day!

If you want to know what other silly and interesting holidays happen every month you can subscribe to my newsletter or follow my facebook page. I create a calendar page for your computer or even just to print out and hang on the wall, every month with a beautiful image with a calendar of all the events. Here is a link to the August calendar. It is all free!

Mandalas For Peace

Mandalas For Peace

I am not a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Taoist, a Christian, or any other singular belief system. I am all of them. I believe in a power bigger than anything that has or ever will exist. I don’t believe in a benevolent God or an angry God. I believe in science and I believe there is an incredible amount of stuff we just don’t know.

I’m ok with not knowing everything

But for some reason, I do believe that there is a method to all the madness going on in this world right now. Even though it feels like the planet, nature and all its inhabitants are being ripped apart and all the beliefs and cultural order we hold dear as humans are being summarily destroyed, what it is I don’t know.

I do my best to be open, and honest, and caring, accepting, and understanding. I express gratitude and appreciation. I pray to this power I know, this awareness of what’s beyond. Asking out loud seems to bring serendipitous results, constant answers to my prayers surprise me daily.

These prayers are beneficial to me, however, I am unclear that they have the power to change anything for anyone else. It’s that (I am responsible for my own destiny thing).

Something I am struggling with is how to cope with and even help with the appalling inhumanity that is becoming the norm in this country. I vote I speak out, I participate, I do my best to love those I disagree with but somehow it’s not enough and my heart hurts. So once again I have started drawing.

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The simple act of drawing has been my therapy, my meditation since my early 20’s and now it is manifesting as pointillism or stippling in pen and ink. These tiny minute dots of ink are placed together on the page to create an image. It’s a long process and it requires slow constant repetitive mark-making. It clears my mind and calms my spirit. It occurred to me that this could be used as a prayer, meditative prayer. Just as the Tibetan monks who create the beautiful sand mandalas and chant as they go, I can send out prayers of peace into the universe as I make dots. Whether it manifests anywhere or not is not my concern, it manifests its effects in me which then transmits to those I come in contact with.

As I think about these drawings I have decided that they themselves should be peaceful images and I have chosen flowers as a subject. Each flower image is created from thousands of individual dots, just as the people on this plant are individual dots within the whole. Each one adds something to the mix. We all make a contribution which manifests in the completed fabric of our culture. We choose to be a positive or a negative contribution and the ripple effect is real. Every action causes a reaction.

So I share these drawing in hopes of passing the peace. Nothing more than that.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments, however, this is not a forum for discussion on politics, religion, or hatred and I will delete comments that are not appropriate and peaceful.