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drawing the neolithic way

9 Jun janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014
janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

 

These things always start off poorly. At this point I’m a bit panicky, because it looks more like a dessert rather than rock.  I stay with it, knowing that if I throw enough color at it, it will be fine. If in doubt, add more. (color, coffee, nutella…)

 

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

Getting the lines of ochre and sepia in, and the grey speckles. So far, everything in marker. The inner lines are outlined in black, so the point of this  is softening  up the black indentations and flattening them out visually. Nevermind the resemblance to  intestines. Or worse.

 

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

 

Now. Cover over the whole thing with a white pencil. rub most of the pencil off with a piece of kleenex. (beware the kleenex with the lotion!) then go back over the lightest bits with cream pencil. burnish again: if the kleenex isn’t ratty by now, push harder.

 

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

 

More colored pencil: Add in all those little veins with french grey 90%. Sienna, Light Umber. I speckled the entire thing with warm grey 90%. popped up the white with chinese white. I also added Rust(colored pencil) haphazardly across the top – partly because it gives a look of granite but mostly because I’m never really sure when something is done.

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

And there it is. A spiral cut into rock. Just like they did it in 10,000 BCE. ;)

Here it is in the overall picture:

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

 

The Castle

7 Jun
janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

 

 

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

 

Ever forward, but slowly…

Creative people…are also Innovative?!!

30 May

Are creativity and innovation really the same thing? Do creative people have inherent innovation ability? Well? Do we?

Best answers:

CREATIVITY:

Creative people are like a dog with a bone. They refuse to let go of an idea. They mull over the problem at their workbench as well as in the most mundane places. They chew on it just as a dog chews on the same old bone for hours. And just as the dog guards the bone safely between its paws when not actively chewing it, creative people nurture an idea, even when not actively thinking about it. The true marks of creativity are:

1) an ability to sense which problems are likely to yield results and so are worth tackling,

2) confidence that you can solve the problems that you single out for solution, and

3) a dogged persistence that keeps you going when others would give up.

Creativity does not result from mysterious visions that come in dreams, or from fortuitous circumstances. Creativity and persistence are synonymous. Constantly thinking about the problem, consciously and unconsciously, maximizes the possibility that a chance occurrence is likely to be useful in solving it.  ~ Neurologist Richard Cytowic

 

AND INNOVATION?!!

It’s the age old difference between theory and practice. Creativity is having a unique, strategic idea for something — innovation is finding a tactical way to implement that idea and actually derive tangible, quantifiable benefit from it. A good idea doesn’t always translate into a feasible practice. JoeNatoli (User/Customer Experience (UX) Analyst & Consultant, Give Good UX)

 

Innovation requires creativity, but creativity alone does not lead to innovation. The difference between creativity and innovation is simply that creativity refers to the ability to generate new ideas while innovation is the ability to turn new ideas into reality. More often than not these attributes occur together as creative people are also very likely to be innovative. Creativity without innovation may never have any impact because only the latter ensures that new ideas are implemented. Matthias Rothkoegel (Founder & Owner, Engage Marketing)

Yes, yes we do! Whew!! Another feather for the cap…

New project and…marker paper!

29 May
Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

Here’s my new project. I love, love, line drawings! I always intend to complete the entire image in ink before I color…but that never happens. I grab the markers and pencils. I suppose I can’t wait for it to begin to ‘come alive’. (forgive my photography – the darkness- took it with my phone)

download

canson marker paper

This picture is 19 x 24 inches, one of the largest I’ve done recently. I drew it out  out in pencil on marker paper. If you’ve never tried marker paper – try it. Get a small pad…  Initially, I was scared to death to use it. After using Bristol for 30 years, marker paper seems incredibly thin and flimsy, but actually, it’s not. It wrinkles and loses that pristine smooth look very quickly but then  begins to adapt itself to the drawing – much like working on vellum. I think the Irish Monks would have used marker paper if they could have got their hands on it. No skinning of animals necessary either. The markers hold their brightness and colored pencils float over the top making for some amazing effects. Marker paper holds up fairly well to erasing, but I usually retrace my entire drawing from an original piece of marker paper or vellum where I’ve done  my initial sketches. I keep a folder full of the sketches and drawings that eventually get transferred to the final  piece of paper.

 

solar medallion

solar medallion – Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

lunar medallion

lunar medallion – Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014


 I got this great copper look on the solar medallion  (found on the right hand side of the ink drawing above). Mainly done with prismacolor markers.  The Lunar medallion(left side of larger drawing) looks more like shell;  burnishing with a white pencil gave that effect.  ;)

 

My Muse wants me.

8 Mar

we-can-do-it

There is a lovely story told of Monet as he sat deep in thought in his garden. His neighbor looked over the fence at him and said “Ah, the life of the artist – all rest and repose.”   Monet looked up in surprise and replied “No, you see, I am hard at work now. It is when you see me finally painting that all the work has been done. This composing, the pulling what I see to the canvas, this is the work my friend.”

I say this because every time I start something new there is a nasty bit of time where frustration and impatience threaten to end my creation even before it begins.

Frustrated by the inevitable loss of something in the translation from feeling/experience to manifest image, I lose my connection.

Frustrated by the fact that I don’t see clearly enough, I lose my connection.

Frustrated that I am ‘wasting time’, I lose my connection.

Meanwhile, my Muse patiently picks at her gel nail tips waiting for my return to the task at hand. It’s  gonna happen. We know each other. We have a dance worked out.

I am greatly relieved to remember Monet and his understanding of the role of the artist in the attitude, preparation and conception of any creation. The necessary hard work which often deteriorates into courting, begging and flat –out threatening of the muse. My Muse, in addition to her traditional role as bringer of inspiration, has also taken on the admirable qualities of any good bartender/bouncer. She listens patiently, nods, encourages, yet will swiftly cut me off if I threaten unconsciousness. 14280-last-judgment-michelangelo-buonarrotiAncient muses were lovely, slender ethereal beings. Looking more like one of Michelangelo’s manly, robust gals, my muse is fully prepared and willing to kick my ass.  At first I was a bit put off by the tattoos and piercings, but I realize why she has had to toughen up.

We don’t take our muses seriously anymore. Only a century ago, Thoreau, Yeats, and Emerson walked endlessly across the countryside courting, pondering; thinking. Einstein takes a menial job so that he has time to think. Monet sits in the sun.

Time is a luxury. I know this. We say we don’t have the time. But time contains within it eternity. It takes only an instant for a sunset to move us to awe, the grateful look of a child can bring us to tears in a heartbeat, and lovers can show us the face of god.

Forget about time. I’m talking about attitude. Being open to the mystery, the awe, the wonder – Muses have always been irresistibly attracted to this type of human. If working out gets you into your creative grove, do it. If volunteering at your kid’s school gets your compassion going, be there. If having a glass of red and staring at a blank canvas gets you in the moment, do that. Cranking up the music on the drive home? Cooking gourmet dinners? Sitting in a garden? Do whatever it takes to show up.

Maybe art isn’t your thing. But if you are human, creativity is your thing. Your Muse is here. Waiting and a little impatient I might add. Tough gals now, appearing with sleeves rolled up and ready for work. Try to be there when she shows up.

So work it. Work the attitude. Spend time doing things that engage you with the mystery that is beyond, around, and within us all. If you can bring just one bit of that wonder and awe down here to earth, you have served us all well. Court the Muses, create space for their whisperings. (Yeah, unfortunately they still whisper. Seriously? Who whispers anymore?)

And if you don’t want to take my word for it, my other Muse whispers this:

It seems to me that it’s the work of poets and artists to know what the world-image of today is, and to render it as the old seers did theirs. The prophets rendered it as a manifestation of the transcendent principle. That’s what we lack today, really. I think poets and artists who speak of the mystery are rare. There’s been so much social criticism of our arts, which is just one facet. But the other function of the poet – that of opening the mystery dimension – has been, with few great exceptions, forgotten. I think that what we lack, really, isn’t science but poetry that reveals what the heart is ready to recognize. ~joseph campbell

We are here. Whatever the reason. Our only real job is to show up and be open to inspiration. We don’t get to choose to be inspired; it’s hard- wired into our nature. It has always chosen us. Let her find you ready to work when she comes.

Full Moon : the phases/faces of a woman’s life

25 May
Triple Goddess

prismacolour – markers and pencils. a few copic markers too. pen and ink outline. on my favorite- marker paper. it always amazes me how flimsy, yet strong this paper is! finished size is 12 x 17

Maiden, Mother,Crone!!

My celebration of the wise women on this planet who are entering the full flowering of their being.(In plain old english, those of us turning 50 and beyond) It’s a full moon today too, and I have just finished. How’s that for a little synchronicity? Have a inspiring, creative and fruitful day…

celebrating woman

13 Mar
aspects of woman

Marker paper with lovely rapidograph pens, (which I didn’t have to clean because I remembered to when I finished the last drawing) colored with prismacolour pencils and markers

Here is the progress on the three aspects of woman; maiden, mother and crone. ‘Wise woman’? Yeah, it nices it up , but there are days(and moods) let’s face it, when ‘crone’ is much more descriptive!  This is one of those projects which is drawing itself- Isis showed up suddenly in the fire fifth- didn’t see her coming. I intended a phoenix. I took the picture with my phone, and cut off a significant amount of the picture. This is why I draw instead of take pictures.

Blue Lotus

27 Feb

Ah… now you can see the frogs!

For my friend Bhante Sujatha at Blue Lotus Temple.

The whole thing is prismacolor markers with a few copics and colored pencil.

blue Lotus

Suicide.

23 Feb

What do you do when a child of 14 ends her life?

What do you do as your daughter, in tears wonders and wished that she could have, might, have done something, anything, if only…if only she would have known, if they had been better friends…or what about the other kids at school, the kids that are well, different, she says kids are really mean to them. She tells me about a boy that was called horrible names that day at school.  ‘Mom?  Kids were teasing him- I could have stuck up for him…mom… I didn’t. Why didn’t I?’

My heart breaks, my heart aches for this girl that I didn’t know, breaks for her parents, for her family… they have nothing today but pain and unfathomable loss…my rage at the kids who bullied her because she was ‘different’. Really? Aren’t we all striving to be individuals? To make our mark by being different? Unique? Isn’t that a big message from our culture?

And yet, I have compassion for the pain, the suffering that these ‘bullies’ have- the no-inside, the lack of sacred space, of any kind of belief that life is precious, sacred. That they themselves are acting out of terrible pain. As my daughter points out- ‘we have all these anti-bullying talks and pep rallies. But they don’t work…’  She looks back over her brief 17 years and cites examples that she feels regret about, people that she could have been far nicer to, people she could have advocated for. I’m proud of her. I think this might be a choice point for her. For her life.

The one thing this other girl hasn’t got.

Life.

I’m angry, sad, confused.

I want to agree with my daughter, that this could have, should have been avoidable. When you think of people that die for their beliefs, I don’t typically think of 14 year old girls. But I can imagine some of those beliefs: I’m different. I don’t fit in. It isn’t worth it. Did she think any of these thoughts? I don’t know for sure.

But I am ashamed that this can, and does happen. In her obituary it states that she was a student, artist, singer, and master of the ukulele. Sounds like someone I would have liked to have known.

I have another website- The Journey. Art for Healing. www.journeyartforhealing.com It sits unattended. My husband asked me a couple weeks ago what I was doing with it. He wanted to post some picture of my art class’ artwork at Le Petit Marche where I staged a gallery display –opening and all for my class, a group of 7 – 11 year old budding artists. We had a huge turn out on opening night- much to the amazement and delight of these kids. These kids come to my house after school on Thursdays and we do art. This is the sign that is still up on the wall for that art display.

art class description.indd

 I do not want to fall into the knee-jerk reaction of “I have to DO something’. But I am already here. And I think I see a way to help. But I’d like to add practicality to my initial gut reaction.

I want to form a group. An Art for Healing group. At the high school level, where these kids need an advocate, a mentor, someone to encourage them in their uniqueness and someone to just be a friend.

As an artist, I believe that I can reach this group of kids who feel different, outside. I get them. I know what that feels like. I already teach, already had the intention of this business, Art for Healing, and now have an opportunity. Two years ago, I intentionally decided to not set up The Journey: Art for Healing as a nonprofit. But it is registered as a business.

 Where your talents and the need of the world intersect…there is your vocation.

-Aristotle

So here I am. I’d really appreciate your comments/ideas/thoughts. I honestly don’t know what this could look like, or how it will practically come about. All I know is that there is a need here. And I am here.

Wisdom

31 Jan
triple goddess

this is the very center of an 11 x 17 work in progress.

I have two works in progress right now; one is a celebration of us women who are fast approaching the other half of their lives- the half where wisdom is more appropriate than stiletto’s. It’s relatively easy to see the shoes go- all I have to do is look at my 17 and 19 year old daughters as they raid my closet and try on shoes that they themselves aren’t even ready to wear yet- but I can see as they stand there, towering over me in my beloved high heels, that the day is not so far off after all. They are beautiful and young, with so much life and adventure ahead of them. The passing of the baton is not difficult for me, I look at the two of them with so much wonder and excitement for the possibilities ahead of them, which, I am sure will eventually go far, far beyond and much deeper than their adolescent love of external beauty and fashion. They are beautiful inside as well as out. How do you tell them that ‘this’, this fixation on ones’ looks and accomplishment is temporary. fleeting? At twenty it seemed to me too, that I had a whole life in front of me- that youth would last forever and beauty was, well, just a new face cream or wrinkle remover away.

There isn’t much in this culture to tell our youth otherwise. And this is where the crone, the ‘old’ wise women comes in…we women have to start cultivating our wisdom now, not wait until we are indeed old in spirit as well as body. We need to open our hearts so that our spirit will grow younger, full of insight and knowledge cultivated from an honest assessment of the lessons life has brought to us. We need to understand our purpose – that our incredible value goes much further than raising children, holding a job or giving to charities. We are desperately needed to become a wellspring for those following- for every woman who doesn’t do the work necessary to bring her story to fruition, there are girls and boys who will miss the wisdom only she could have provided.

How do we do this work? By loving ourselves. By taking an honest assessment of our lives, accepting and allowing all of our rich experiences, not judging ourselves, but seeing our lives with love and compassion for who we are now, and for who we will choose to become.

By simply allowing our lives to  matter, our experiences will translate into worth and meaning for others. Our culture does not support this. It is difficult work. It will not be accomplished by any cream, surgery or vitamin…the results, however, are guaranteed to be truly life changing and affirming. You may never know the far-reaching results of your hard-learned lessons. But if you begin to look out over your life at this moment and start to recognize patterns of joy and suffering, of bliss and despair- out of this close looking will come wisdom. The beautiful, unique person that you are has so much to offer to the world, and the older we get the richer and more fascinating the story. Mine your treasure for all that it is worth. Be willing to give birth to your story. It will be silent at first and only carried deep inside of you. That is the beginning.

death…and life.

17 Dec

The Tree of LifeI just completed this picture for Agnes, an Irish woman who recently passed. I never knew her, but the words of her son and his wife were enough to inspire this drawing. We decided loosely to include a Tree of Life and Celtic knot work. Those were my only directions. . .

I thought of Agnes a lot while I drew. What was she like? What would she think about this picture if she could see it?

The Tree of Life, with its mystery and its commonality to all peoples throughout human history represents in this picture, the connection between heaven and earth and also the life force that sustains and surrounds all forms of creation. Knot work can also symbolize this inclusiveness and interconnectedness of all things.

A couple of days before I finished, the words came to me -I like to think they were helped along by Agnes-and all I can say is ‘thank you’. Agnes’ spirit is here, she is alive in the stories her children tell and in the fond memories she inspires.

This was a very special commission and I am honored to be a part of this beautiful woman’s legacy.

The original image is 12 x 36. I have to thank Jen Emery for inspiring the green knot work which I rendered into pencil.

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