Archive for Arts

Back in the Saddle Again

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 11, 2011 by Lisa Mills

I’ve spent the past week coming to grips with the fact that my artwork was not accepted for entry to the CPSA show slated for Dallas in July. I was really down for a while – since it was the first big thing I’d entered.  But I also used this time as an opportunity to better myself as an artist.  I’ve been evaluating my subject matter, my technique and my reference photos. There’s two main areas of weakness that jump out at me: my lack of experience as a photographer and my lack of ability to mentally compose a subject.

Photographs are the starting point to all my work since I am a realistic artist and a slow one at that.  My medium takes pain-staking hours to create and because of that I use photos (taken by me) as references for my subject.  Since I like animals, I have to capture shots very quickly so I’m not afforded the luxury of time to set up a shot.  There’s no time to think about aperture and shutter settings, and the “automatic” setting is rarely the perfect setting.  I’ve bought a great set of photography books by Scott Kelby who fortunately doesn’t dwell on techno-speak while explaining how to get the great shot.  Hopefully with some practice, I’ll get it down sooner than later.  Thank goodness for digital photos – I would’ve spent a fortune in film by now!

As for composition…this is the tough part.  People always tell me how “creative” I am.  Actually, for an artist I am not that creative.  I don’t visualize the shot or the final product easily at all. I can execute almost anything on paper with pencils – but coming up with that perfect idea eludes me.  It’s really frustrating.  I’m now trying to educate myself on composition and choosing the subject that “tells the story” and appeals to the viewer.  I want my viewer to feel something when they look at my work.  And that all comes back to the original reference photo – getting that great first shot.

I’m plodding on with the Duck Stamp entry – although I’m coming along slowly.  In the spare time, I’m educating myself on photography and composition.  Back in the saddle and back to the drawing board – right after I calm down two Golden Retrievers during a thunderstorm.

The Jury’s Still Out…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 27, 2011 by Lisa Mills

Tom Petty definitely had it right when he sang, “the waiting is the hardest part.”  I entered the  Colored Pencil Society of America’s 19th Annual International competition a few weeks ago.  I entered these two pieces:

The first one is Lucy, my Golden Retriever and is titled “I’m Not Too Proud to Beg” (Copyright 2011, Lisa M. Mills).  She’s doing what she does best…looking for a handout.  The second is called “Double Helix” (Copyright 2011, Lisa M. Mills).  It’s titled such because of the strange reflections in the crystal that resemble a double helix formation.  I was actually going to enter only Lucy, but decided at the last minute to enter  the other work which started out as an instructional piece.  It was  in progress when I learned about the CPSA show, so I put the piece on hold to work on Lucy.  I was able to enter Double Helix because my photo reference was my original photo and I had not received any feedback from my instructor on the piece (you cannot collaborate on works entered in this show).  Both are entirely colored pencil and are done on Stonehenge paper.

The jury was supposed to be finished making their selections on Tuesday, April 26th, but for some unexpected reason, the selection process was extended to Saturday, April 30th – a long four days.  This is the first major competition I’ve entered, so I’m really nervous.  I’m also prepared for many “no’s” before I finally get a “yes.”  I guess I’m not too worried about major competition, as the piece I’m working on now is going to be entered in the Federal Duck Stamp Art Competition this summer.  That competition has been going on for nearly 100 years and the winner’s artwork is reproduced on every Federal Duck Stamp purchased by hunters nationwide.  The fee for entering the show goes to help wildlife conservation – a good cause in my book.  I’ll keep you all posted on that as it goes forward.

So, while I wait, I have updated the blog here and added some additional pieces to my gallery.  I won all three Challenge Competitions for my colored pencil classes and those pieces are on the gallery page as well.  I learned a great deal while taking those classes and am very grateful to my instructor, Alyona Nickelsen who is an amazing teacher!  Take a look at the Gallery (click on the link on the top right).  Going forward, my artwork will focus on animals and other elements in nature.  I might throw in the occasional still life since that was the focus of the colored pencil classes.

So, until Saturday – results good or bad – I shall wait…