Song of the Week

I'm trying out this new thing where I share "Song of the Week" posts. Music has always been an important part of my life and also one of my must-haves for when I'm creating my artwork. I thought I'd share whatever particular songs have helped me get "in the zone" while art making, and also it's always fun in general to talk about good music!

What songs get you in the zone when you want to get creative? Here's one of my top choices ...


SONG OF THE WEEK: "Desperado" by Rihanna

Back when I spent most of my free time choreographing at the Velocity Dance Center (in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle), I would often find myself overthinking every move I came up with. The song let me loosen up, lose the fear of doing a "wrong" move and just go with the flow. Out of that came some of the dance moves I was most proud of that were part of a performance I did sometime last year.

It turns out the song has had a similar effect when it comes to my drawing process. I tend to get too cautious and worry I'm going to do a "wrong" stroke that's going to ruin the whole sketch, and the song (among other songs from the same Rihanna album) has helped me get out of my head, really focus and lose the fear of making mistakes. Besides, awhile ago I had decided to force myself to make any drawing mistakes look like they were done on purpose, so it all seems to be working out so far. :)

Dancer

Originally posted on June 21, 2016.

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The above photo is my latest work. It's the first time maybe in years that I've used charcoal and oil pastel in a single piece. Oh, and I have my adorable 7-year-old cousin to thank for generously lending me his oil pastel set. He's an angel. :)

As per usual, I had grabbed a picture that caught my eye after typing something along the lines of "portrait photography" in Google search. But, this time I chose to draw a figure instead of a face. Also, I decide to create a portrait of a woman facing away from the viewer rather than toward the viewer. I was generally faithful to the original photo of the dancer ... except for the fact that I completely removed her dance partner. I wanted the woman to be alone to give the piece an air of solitude -- not in a negative way, but in the sense of one facing inward, toward your own thoughts instead of focusing on all things outside yourself. Basically, I wanted to focus on the internal versus the external. I partly chose to think this way while drawing because generally I see dance as a profound way of expressing oneself, of deciding who you want to be and how to portray that through movement.

Do you modify original images as you draw or paint? If so, to what degree? What things inspire you to do this?

Another Case of the Unfinished

Originally posted on April 26, 2016.

So, the above drawing was my second attempt at doing the whole half-winging-it-half-being-faithful-to-the-original-photograph thing, except in this case I winged not actually finishing the drawing.
This might have partially come from how I've been listening to a lot of Nirvana lately (specifically the MTV Unplugged in New York album, if you must know) and how I've had a lot of necessarily and unnecessarily stressful things turning over in my mind. Thus, my artistic style became more aggressive, rushed and borderline sloppy.

Usually, when I veer away from my usual artistic style like this I give myself major guilt trips, but this time I'm fine with the change. The different mindset allowed me to explore a different way of creating art. I also like how it added a bit more of variety to my range of pieces.

Do you rely on being in a certain state of mind for when you draw/paint/etc.?

Just Do It

Originally posted on March 13, 2016.

Have you ever found yourself tired of hearing your voice going on and on inside your head, and you just have the urge to think less and do more? As someone who tends to overthink, I end up in this situation from time to time, and it feels liberating when I let myself go and allow things to happen on their own. I do this letting go particularly in drawing, which I guess in a way classifies drawing as a form of therapy for me.

Last weekend, after finishing my latest piece (see in previous blog post), I decided to draw without thinking. I thought it would be a good way to take a break from all the concentration and energy I put into the last portrait, and I went on Google images to find a picture of a figure rather than just a face (which I usually do). As soon as I found my image, I told myself to complete the figure drawing as quickly as I could. I didn't even put time into finding the right music to play on Spotify to fit whatever mood I was in (which, again, I usually do) -- I just went for it.

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Even though it's not the most neat or finished looking drawing, it fits the idea of drawing from spontaneity and impulse.... And, before I end up getting deep into Art History and writing an essay-long blog post talking about artists like Jackson Pollock, I'm going to stop writing. :)

Pablo Picasso, Take the Wheel

Originally posted on December 19, 2015.

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Usually, when it has come to the steps of drawing a piece, posting it on the home page of my site and listening to people's reactions, I've found it all exciting. I'm always fascinated by how people can have totally different interpretations about one drawing. This morning, however, I decided to take on a refreshing approach: I decided to draw purely for the sake of drawing... which led to the picture you see here.

Specifically, I wanted to try drawing without mentally preparing myself for people's opinions. I didn't want to think about the moment where I reveal my piece to the public, to eyes other than my own. Also, I wanted to focus on the experiment of speed drawing since I usually take my time when I draw.

So, here is my finished piece (above). It may not be much (one eye is slightly above the other, the nose is too wide...) and it may not look like the previous pieces I've done, but it's something I created.

I'd like to finish this blog post with a quote from one of my favorite artists:

"Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon." ~Pablo Picasso