If you follow me on Instagram, you probably have noticed a lot of art in my feed lately. I’ve gotten the bug to create, and for once I’m not creating functional items — I’m creating for the sake of creating. I’m by no means an artist. I’m a graphic designer, which means I am an expert in typography, symbols, shapes, and color — not art. Some of these elements translate nicely into artistic mediums, so I can fake being an artist when the mood strikes. The mood has struck.
I visited Mark last week in Minnesota, but he worked most of the time. So in my spare time I cleaned his room. I won’t detail all the things I found in his room since he lives with his parents in the bedroom he’s had since he was little, but I will share that I found a good amount of art supplies that he promptly donated to me. I bought a mixed media sketchbook, and have since been experimenting in it with paint and a few different types of tools that can be used for application.
The previous image is watercolor, and I don’t love watercolor. It takes too long to dry and I like being able to layer my color without things getting muddy. Read: I have no patience. Watercolor aside, I did finally figure out how to use acrylic paint. It turns out that acrylic paint is probably the easiest type of paint to use, as long as you work fast. Unlike watercolor and oil paint, acrylic paint dries really fast, which allows you to work in layers of color in a short period of time. Each layer is sealed once it’s dry, which allows you to add more layers without the paint getting muddy, as it would if you were using watercolor. You can thin out the paint with a thinning medium or water or slap it on really thick to get some fun texture going. I’ve not worked much with acrylic paint because I never did the research about how to properly use it. Now that I’ve done some experimentation, I will likely use this medium more often.
I don’t have a plan for any of the stuff I’ve created, but I’m sure some of the experiments will end up in my design work at some point.
I may not be a real artist, but I have plenty of friends who are. I frequently mention my friend Amanda who is a ceramic artist, but I haven’t talked much about my friend Molly‘s or my friend Kim‘s artwork.
My friend Molly Nagel recently graduated with a Master of Fine arts from Iowa State. We met as undergraduates in the graphic design program at Iowa State. She used to paint animals and landscapes in her spare time, but realized she was really good at it, and enjoyed art more than design, so she went back to school for art.
I have the privilege of owning one of the works Molly created for her thesis show. She made six hummingbird paintings, each with a different pose and slightly different coloring. I knew I had to have one of these hanging on my wall.
Molly’s hummingbird fits in quite nicely with my decor, but this isn’t the bird’s final location.
After I bought Molly’s painting, I decided it would be nice to have a mini gallery in my bedroom that is full of artwork by my friends — sort of an adult version of my college dorm room: instead of inkjet printouts and Johnny Depp posters I will have actual art on or in frames . I asked my friend Kim if she could contribute. Kim and I have been talking about her a painting me something for ages. Kim is one of my best friends who I met in 2002 at our short stint at Wartburg College. Kim is the catalyst that helped me realize that I am responsible for my own happiness in life. She’s had to remind me of this so many times in the last 12 (!!!) years, but ultimately, I wouldn’t be where I am today if we never met. I have a longer version of this story that I’ll share soon since I just found a bunch of photos from the trip we took to Chicago that made both of us want to change career directions and schools.
Anyway, Kim sent me this beautiful painting in the mail. The dimensions are 42″ x 22″, and it covers the space on my wall that I’ve set aside for my mini gallery of friends’ paintings, which is amazing because I never told her what size I wanted. She must be psychic.
Kim is also a fantastic photographer, so I borrowed the photos that she took of the painting because my photos would never do it justice. I think my favorite part is the glitter she added because she wanted the painting to sparkle like me. She left me a sweet note on the back of it (and here is where you get to see what I mean about my photography skills).
Here’s to creativity and long-lasting long-distance friendships!
Do you paint, draw, or do anything you consider to be creative or artistic? If so, what do you do?
I love gathering inspiration from other creatives so if you do anything at all creative, please share (images are great!).