“Do What You Were Meant To Do” by Darlene Seale 13 x 19 giclee on archival paper
This “doing what you were meant to do” thing can be a struggle, can’t it? Most of the time we spend figuring out what that even is! I’ve learned what we were meant to do is the thing that we’re best at and brings us the most joy. So there’s no point in fighting it any longer. I was meant to make art. No sense in debating whether or not it will be successful, or whether people will like it. My directive from my Creator is just to do it! Make art. That’s it. Question answered.
With that in mind, I’m taking some rather unique classes online right now, in hopes that they will help me to do what I was meant to do. One of them is in Pattern and Surface Design Repeats. “Whazzat?” you ask.
In order to sell designs to companies that produce say duvet covers, or stationary, or gift bags or gift wrap, you have to be able to create what is called a “repeat pattern.” If a company plans to make fabric, they create it in long bolts which requires the pattern to be repeated over and over, seamlessly. It’s the seam that matters. If the seam is visible it’s not acceptable. I’m learning to create these in Photoshop so that they are suitable for marketing to a variety of manufacturers that require seamless repeat patterns.
I’ve discovered it’s not easy. But it will be worth learning because I’ve always wanted to create fabrics and gift wrap and bed sheets and other home goods. I’ve done a bit of this through Society 6 where many of my designs are available but they don’t require seamless repeat patterns. I’m progressing and moving on toward doing way more advanced compositions and patterns. I think I’m ready to really do what I was meant to do.
Meanwhile, I have some new art hung at the Z Cafe Gallery to replace ones that have sold. The show ends August 4th so please go down and take a look. And . . . this is exciting, I have some great new duvet covers at Society 6 if you have a queen or king size bed. I’m so excited to participate and offer my work on products, other than just wall art. This is what makes doing what I was meant to do – an awesome blessing.
(The above painting is a tribute to my special friend “Charlotte” the cat who is the biggest diva I’ve ever seen, only to rival Angel, my Cockatoo – who gives “Diva” a whole new meaning. Thanks to Colleen for letting Charlotte into my life!)
- “Peace Happens When You Land” – 19″ x 13″ Giclee print on acid free paper
Remember in the 2nd grade during art class, putting excess white glue on your hands so that later you could pull it off in long strings of “skin” from your fingers? Been there. Done that. Loved it! In the 2nd grade there’s nothing more satisfying than traces of art all over your hands and apron. (I had to use an apron because when I came home with paint or clay or glue on my clothes, my mom was not too happy or supportive of my artistic endeavors. To her it meant a load of wash!)
So how do you create mixed media art in a digital format? Digital mixed media isn’t much different except for one thing: You don’t get dirty. I can make art anywhere, anytime – on my iPad – and not worry about the glue and the paint on my hands, or having to clean up my work station afterwards. I can do it waiting at the dentist office or waiting for a friend to meet me for an afternoon espresso.
In the above digital painting, “Peace Happens When You Land,” I worked with layers just as I would in traditional mixed media. My first layer has lots of words on the page – words about peace and where it comes from. Then I added a new layer on top with lots of transparency. I start mixing paint around and making marks. The key is the transparency. Think of it as watered down acrylics or water color that you can see through. In digital painting you simply adjust the transparency level so you can see the work underneath. The digital paintbrush is damp and smudgy and then I blend it more with a blending tool. I may switch from a brush to a pen tool. The next layer is an outline of the bird and the branches. And here’s where everything changes: I create another layer on top of that and start to paint around the bird, with a bit of transparency, but a little more opaque this time so that some of the words on the layer below are almost unreadable. Working in digital layers gives the added advantage of making corrections, switching the stack of layers, turning off a layer or deleting it entirely if I don’t like it.
In traditional mixed media I’d be cutting out stuff and gluing it to the page, waiting for it to dry then painting or using gesso over the top of it, adding markers, and stamps. even inks maybe. Then I’d get to peel the glue off my fingers! In digital mixed media I don’t get to peel off the glue. That’s the only missing part. Sad, kind of, don’t you think?
Because technology has pushed us to new levels of sophistication, occasionally I have to squirt some white glue on my fingers, let it dry and then just peel away to my heart’s content. It reminds me of discovering how much I loved art in the 2nd grade and how that has never changed.
Ever wonder what Van Gogh was thinking when he painted “The Starry Night” or “Irises” or “The Potato Eaters”? These are some of his more known works of art but he painted a wide variety of subjects – portraits, landscapes, florals, still lifes. The sum total of his work tells us a lot about him as a person, his surroundings, things that were important to him, things he found mundane or beautiful or usual. He was such an “observer” of whatever was going on around him. Looking at the works of an artist long gone can tell us so much about what life was like then.
Art is about stories. Stories are powerful revelations about the meaning of things. The above piece is a lot different than some of my more recent works. It’s more like a page from an art journal. Still it’s a true story – a moment in time captured, but with my own twist on it.
It was mid-morning and I just passed Gum Tree Lane, heading to Ridge Drive when this well-fed coyote crossed the road in front of me. He wasn’t in much of a hurry. He looked in my direction, probably trying to determine whether or not he had enough time and space to reach the other side or be killed. Once on the other side, he stopped, turned and looked directly at me. I believe he was thanking me for slowing down enough so that he could reach the other side. I believe he smiled at me. My Native American name would be “She Who Speaks to Coyotes,” because I do. When I see them, I stop, face them unafraid and I say “hello.”
OK, at this point you’re thinking “she’s as nutty as Vincent Van Gogh,” but I do speak to them with unspoken words I believe they understand.
I also believe that later that evening, under a nearly full moon, he spoke back to me in his own language. As creatures made by the same Creator, I think we have a common language of belonging that must be respected.
So this piece is a tribute to that coyote who thanked me and smiled and spoke his howls back to me under a glorious moon. I love a good story. Hope you enjoyed it. As always, this print is available as a 13 x 19 giclee from my store, or as other products and sizes from Society 6 and Fine Art America.
“The Heavens Declare” – 13″ x 19″ – Giclee on acid free paper
Where I live there is a lot of sky and no city lights at night to interfere with the view. Sometimes I end my evening going outside and gazing up at this incredible sight – especially when the moon is full. It’s easy to worship the Creator who made all this, just because, and for our pleasure.
Psalms 8:1-4 reads “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him?” When I gaze up at the end of my evening, I wonder the same thing.
Recently I watched Cosmos on CNN, the series that delves deeply into the marvels of the universe. It is strictly science so the mention of a Creator is absent. But the photos taken from the Hubbell Telescope literally shout out the glories of God in the universe. For me, it’s impossible to not see it and bend my knee. I found myself tearing up looking at these photos from space,
Creation is vast, most of which man is incapable of seeing with the naked eye, in the sky and the seas and in the earth. There are places on earth man has not even explored, let alone the bottom of the ocean. Why would God make a creation so layered and complex that we couldn’t even appreciate it? Because He knew we would see it more closely one day, with the advent of microscopes and telescopes.
Soon a new telescope will be built to replace the Hubbell – one that will be able to see ever farther into the universe than ever before.
I ask you, how much more glory can we take? Or better yet, how much more glory must we be shown in order to believe? Hope you enjoy this new piece and can pick out all the creatures celebrating the glory of a night sky. It is available as a giclee print on acid free paper.
I don’t come by the habit of writing gratitudes easily. I’ve gazed through dirty glasses for decades and couldn’t see without squinting. Then things changed a whole lot. I had to really examine if I was grateful for the changes or would remain sad and resentful. Grateful is so much better.
One day a friend gave me a book by Ann Voskamp, called “A Thousand Gifts: A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are” It revolutionized my thinking about the daily acts of God in our lives and how we should be immensely grateful for His desire to fully interact with us. I mean, seriously, why should He bother?
I had started an earlier habit of “devotions” and writing before reading Ann’s book. Yet after pouring through it I was changed. I saw through clean lenses and began realizing that every day is filled with gifts from God. Really – every single day! For too long I have held my hand in clenched fist, tightly hanging onto the familiar and refusing to open it wide for God to place something new there. Much of what I held tightly to rotted in my hand, turned to dust and crumbled away. That left my hand free at last.
Now I wait to hear from God as I listen then write. The gratitudes flow easily one after another. Some days there are many. Even during dark and overcast days there are gratitudes when we look with thanksgiving. God always reveals.
Today I have journals filled with words of gratitude – journals I have made and sewn by hand. They are tucked in baskets within easy reach in case I ever forget.
Simply Bound – Journal Making Workshop
If you would like to learn to make your own journal of gratitudes, (or for any other purpose) please consider taking my 2-part workshop, “Simply Bound” which is coming up on August 2nd and 9th. The cost is $80 and you will come away with a fully hard-bound journal of painted pages – all made by your hand and ready to fill with your words and art. For more on Bad Bird Studio Workshops just click on Workshops.