Tag Archives: drawing

Weekly Art Challenge: TIGER

Hey Folks!

This week our theme is: TIGER!

 

A friendly reminder THIS is our last post for this webpage. Next challenge is a two week challenge and will be the first challenge posted on our new site The Art Challenge Blog! If you have been following here and wish to continue seeing what we create, please check out our new site and follow us there.

 

RJ: Tiger Eye, Pen on paper.

RJ’s piece gives me the chills. That deadly expression of the eye with the small visible detail of fur and stripes reminds me exactly why Tigers are dangerous wild predators. I def wouldn’t want to be cross this tiger’s path! I love the hint of facial detail, leaving the rest of the animal to the viewer imagination.

 
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AmberEntertainment, Pen and ink on paper.

For this week’s challenge I decided to create an image that illustrates my feelings about animals, like tigers, held captive in zoos and circuses. I love animals and I strongly believe that they don’t belong contained in zoos or used as entertainment in circuses. They belong in the wild and if not there then in sanctuaries where they can live their best life in peace.

 

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Next theme is a two week challenge – due to the holiday season – and the theme is:  DREAMS COME TRUE.


Weekly Art Challenge: TRANSFORMATION

Hey Folks!!

This week our theme is: TRANSFORMATION!

And a short note, we have started an new blog site specifically for the art challenge at https://theartchallengeblog.wordpress.com. Challenges will be posted starting the first week of January. Currently the new site is in progress, but if you are a fan of our Art Challenge please stop by the new blog and follow us there!

 

RJ – Cocoon, pencil on paper.

I love Rj’s pencil drawings. His eye for textural detail and ability to depict delicate moments always bring a smile to my face. The butterfly is in the process of emerging, its wings not yet ready to spread out and be fully reveled. The nibbled leaves behind the butterfly reminds the viewer of the caterpillar this new butterfly once was.

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Karri – Phoenix, watercolor on paper

“I will rise, out of these ashes, rise”. This weeks theme made me think about all the transformation we all make throughout life. Overcoming struggles. Changing our situation or habits. This brought to mind the image of a phoenix, rising from the ashes of an old life.

WOW, you can really feel the heat from the Karri’s Phoenix flames! The intensity of the oranges and reds is brilliant against the blue background and definitely reminds a viewer to push forward. I love this positive message to overcome and keep overcoming struggles.

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Bethany –  The DoodlePen and color pencil on paper.

“I started a doodle and it made a transformation into a whimsical peaceful place.”

I am loving Bethany’s creative process and how a simple little doodle transforms into a beautiful landscape. Her pieces depicts how an artist’s mind works and the choices we make along the way. The touch of color added in the end really makes the image glow. Beautiful!

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InaButterfly, Pencil and watercolor on paper.

 “My piece for TRANSFORMATION is a butterfly just coming out of it’s cocoon. As a new creature, it does not realize yet how it has morphed into something new and what beautiful new wings it has. The nature spots and colors are amazing once you start analyzing how they make a pattern up so close. “

The colors of this freshly emerging butterfly are gorgeous! Ina’s Butterfly is eager to spread her wings and as a viewer I am eager to see her fly! I love the details of the wings and the light washes of blue in the background juxtapose with the bolder application of color of the butterfly. Beautiful piece!!

 

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Emily

“The transformation of everything turning Christmas-y”

First we see the calm and clean left side of a residential street and then I find myself falling forward into the black christmas-y side of this piece, like alice in the rabbit hole. The holiday season does have this wonderland whirlwind intoxication feel about them. Emily accurately depict the sudden arrival of the festive decorations and lights.

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AmberCharge! – (incomplete) pen and ink on paper

My incomplete piece was inspired by the greek myth of Persephone  I wanted to illustrate the transformation of a space or environment when my nieces enter.

My twin nieces are depicted as the youthful force of spring, charging into a snowy landscape to liven up the dreary greys of winter. They are fearless, jovial and loving girls.
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Next theme: BLUE

 

 


Weekly Art Challenge: SPACE

Hey Folks!

This week our theme is: SPACE!

RJ –  Untitled,  graphite on paper

RJ was inspired to create a companion piece to mine (last piece, below) and I am so thrilled with it! There a ‘Alice and the rabbit hole’ charm about it, and I’m a little bit envious of the figure and what he is seeing beyond the space we the viewers stand.
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Dylan – Untitled, graphite on paper.

 “This is an experiment in playing with foreground, middleground, and background. Details get hazier and edges get softer as objects recede into space.”

What a Beautiful experiment! I am completely enthralled by the expression of this beautiful and noble creature, she looks so proud and confident as she gazes outward toward the viewer. Dylan’s line work perfectly captures the strength and elegance of her subjects.

 

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KarriSpace,

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

 “This has been going through my head all week as I pondered what to do for this weeks challenge. While pondering this weeks theme I thought a lot about how small we are in this universe. How unfortunate it is that we are tied down by gravity and can not go and explore the stars.”

Karri’s dreamy representation of space is the kind of image that would inspire anyone with a youthful heart to wish they were an astronaut! Karri has such a beautiful relationship with color, her layering of bold and subtle colors is suggestive of the magnitude of our galaxy and reminds me how complex and spectacular the universe is.

 

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Emily – Untitled, drawings on paper

“I was in Amsterdam this week and then in London for the weekend! For me the theme space was about how I usually draw the things in the space around me to practice my drawings, so i’ve attached some quick drawings from my personal sketchbook that are from spaces I was in in Amsterdam” 

Emily’s statement reminds me a lot of a Buddhist teaching about being present in the moment. I see that with her images, the awareness of the moment and the details of the space that she is occupying. I am loving the red ink drawing below. Its a simple ink drawing of a window and lanterns and I find it comforting. I find myself waiting for a friendly face to look out the window and notice me.

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Val Moonlight – photograph

“I took this in our sideyard and I thought the moon was pretty”

Val was inspired by the moon seen from our backyard and the space between it and herself. Her photo suggests a longing to connect with the moon, a longing that reaches back generations. Taking the photo in a familiar space invokes the emotional attachment we have with the moon.

 

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Amber – Stretching the Void, pen and ink on paper.

This piece went through a lot of transformation between the various thumbnail sketches and mental pictures to the final image. I started with an idea that I would fill a page with odd shaped bubbles, each containing a person struggling to stretch the bubble out. Then the image was a single odd shaped bubble with a single person and this bubble was submerged in rubble full of modern distractions and materialism. Eventually, while sketching the final piece, I realized that the image needed to be only this one person struggling to maintain her small space within a void.

It felt emotionally accurate to see this sole person fighting for space within space. The nothingness around her is both open and claustrophobic.

 

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Next week’s theme: GRATITUDE

To our readers and followers, We hope that everyone has a joyful, safe and abundantly happy Thanksgiving with family, friends and the folks that love you the most. Even if you are not in the States celebrating this holiday, we still wish you a wonderful and thoughtful day.

Peace,

The Art Challenge crew.


Weekly Art Challenge: VAN GOGH

Hey Folks!

This week our theme is VAN GOGH! Van Gogh is famous worldwide for his expressive paintings and tragic life. He is a universal favorite for art lovers.

 

DylanThe Ear Selfie, Special effects and instagram

I love this! If Van Gogh was around today, I imagine his famous post ear-cutting self portrait would have look something like this! Only Dylan could make you envious of her mangled ear and blood splattered throat selfie!

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Karri – Sunflowers, acrylic on canvas

 “Van Gogh’s Sunflowers have always captured my attention. I love that he painted them to decorate a room for his friend Gauguin. The sunflowers in Provence must be stunning. Wish sunflowers around here were just as plentiful.”

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers are beautiful and one of his most iconic pieces! I love Karri’s loose painterly brushstrokes and soft color palette, she did a beautiful job capturing the spirit of Van Gogh and charm of sunflowers. I don’t think there is a person who can look at a a sunflower and not feel a little bit happier.  🙂

 

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Bethany

“My rough interpretation of Van Gogh’s Skull with Burning Cigarette. Only I gave him a sweet tea with lemon and a little umbrella, which oddly looks like a flower.”  

If I were a skull, I’d prefer the sweet tea over the cigarette too! I love the personal and cultural (nothing beats Southern sweet tea!) twist to one of Van Gogh’s early and probably lesser known works, but what I like most is that Bethany decided to tackle the skeleton. Most people prefer to avoid drawing skeletons, they can be intimidating subjects. Bethany went for it  and with beautiful contour lines. Great job Bethany!

 

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Emily – Quotes, monotype prints on paper.

“Here are my Van Gogh entries, my first layer of printing went well, then the yellow didn’t! Then I just ran with it anyway creating some strange messy pieces mixed with Van Gogh quotes, not technically amazing pieces but I kinda like the messiness!”

The prints are messy and I like that about them too! The messiness, in my opinion, gives off an energy similar to that of Van Gogh’s thick, bold and animated strokes. The composition, color choices and quotes remind me of street art. I can visualize these pieces becoming wheatpastes around a city. As a humorous thought, the blue piece looks like the sunflowers are growing out if Van Gogh’s head. Its as if his thoughts/dreams can no longer be contained within his head and are now becoming hair!

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AmberDandelions, Acrylic washes and graphite on paper

I loved Van Gogh’s artwork as a kid. He was the first artist that I learned about in grade school and was able to recognize when shown his artwork; this was a major thrill and feeling of accomplishment for a seven year old me.

For this week’s challenge I wanted to create a piece that was inspired by one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings, Sunflowers. Karri and I must be kindred Van Gogh spirits!

I painted dandelions (surprise!) in a teacup. Dandelions being my equivalent to his sunflowers and of course the teacup instead of a vase made obvious sense for me. Instead of painting with his preferred thick brushstrokes I chose to work in the muted washes that I lean toward. This piece felt like a collaboration between me and an artist that I greatly admire.

 

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Next week’s theme: SPACE


Weekly Art Challenge: DETERMINATION

Hey Folks!!

This week’s theme is DETERMINATION and it appears that we all were feeling determined to complete something of importance.

RJ – CowAcrylic on Canvas

RJ is determined to create a large-scale acrylic painting of this sweet jovial cow! He is in the beginning stages and doesn’t want to rush the process – slow painting is part of the goal – but will keep us informed as he goes! and THAT FACE! Who doesn’t want to be nuzzled by such a face? The bold choice of colors compliment the cheerful persona of this cow and the perspective creates an intimate connection between the viewer and subject. Can’t wait to see it finished!

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Karri – Prayer

“I posted this sculpture in a previous post when it was in its beginning stages. It has taken months to get to this point and is still not complete. There have been days when I look at it and think, “it’s made of paper, and I could just set it on fire!” Lol. Having said that I am determined to make it work.”

Wow, this piece has come along since the first time we saw it! She still so intense and focused internally, that I almost want to tip toe around her so as not to disturb her. I imagine that the intensity and focus felt by myself and other viewers is a reflection of the determination Karri is feeling while creating her. Don’t burn her, Karri! She is just as determined as you! Another piece that I can’t wait to see finished! 🙂

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Bethany – Determination – Pencil on Paper

“There are many things I’m determined to have, to complete or keep up in my life. Things like getting the dishes done, keeping the toilets clean, homeschooling my son and being a wife. But there is one thing WE have been determined to have….another baby. So this is my baby in the womb, holding my heart cause it’s my greatest determination.” 
There is a lot of love and longing in Bethany’s piece and statement. I like how her determination for her family to grow is expressed with a clear drawing of the child holding a meticulously shaded whole heart and surrounded by undetermined scribbled lines. The scribbled lines representing in once sense the womb and internal spark of her desire and determination, but in another sense the scribbled lines also express that little else is as important to her than both present and future members of her family. Lots of luck with your determination! Any child born into a creative loving family is a lucky soul! 🙂

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EmilyMan, Acrylic on Canvas Board

“A while back I started a painting to practice painting skin because I was awful at it, today and thanks to this challenge, I FINALLY finished it like I had wanted to. This challenge was me being determined, and thank you whoever chose this theme because I really don’t think I wouldn’t have finished it without feeling determined to do so for this challenge! aha”

Painting skin can be one of the most stressful accomplishments for an artist! Emily’s work since joining our group has continually and happily surprised me.  Just when I think I have a grasp on her evolving style she presents us with a piece that exhibits her growing talent in a different direction. I love the man’s facial expression. You see an elderly man with wrinkles, thinned hair and aging spots; but his eyes and countenance express an observant and youthful mind. Great Job!

Emily determined

 

Amber –  Nadia (Mix media on paper) and National Parks (Photographs)

This week was particularly hectic for me. I was making my final work-trip to Southern Utah and I was working nonstop on the final piece (Nadia) for a portfolio I needed for a residency application. My determination to complete the piece in time for the deadline was a success by three days! Yay me!!

Nearby our job-site are a few national parks and I was determined to see as much as I could before work took me away from this magnificent landscape – its not often that I am in this area of the country. I didn’t get to go on the long day hikes as I hoped, but I did succeed in seeing a clear view of the La Sal Mountains from where I stood at Balancing Rock – the first time I was there the mountains were hidden by clouds. I also drove through the CanyonLands and got a small taste of the adventures that I could have, since I am determined to visit again. AND I finally saw Newspaper Rock. I have seen photos of it for years, and saw the sign every time I passed the entrance to Canyonlands. I am fascinated by petroglyphs and the nameless artists who created them thousands of years ago.

 

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Nadia

 

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La Sal Mountains from Balancing Rock in Arches.

 

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Driving into Canyonlands

 

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Newspaper Rock

 

Next theme: VAN GOGH!!


Weekly Art Challenge: DEGAS

Hey folks!!

Welcome Back! This week’s theme is Degas.

 

RJ – Digital Painting.

“I just wanted it to feel light”

I love the light and airy feeling of RJ’s piece. His colors palette reminds me of the blush tones the skin achieves when the body is active and further suggests movement and athletic nature behind a form of art that most – those with little idea of how much work and effort is applied by the artist – view as delicate.

 

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Karri – Pastel on paper.

“Degas was born in Paris. He spent a lot of his time studying and copying paintings in the Louvre. So it is fitting to depict a copy of one of his drawings. He likes to focus his work on real life instead of mythology or history that’s why he became known for his paintings of ballet dancers in their studios practicing. When I studied painting in Memphis there was a Degas in the permanent collection at the Dixon gallery. It was amazing to witness the delicate lines and the soft pastels.”

As always, Karri’s use of color is rich and dreamy. I feel like I am in a darken theatre looking at a stage and watching a blur of movement, color and light. She definitely channeled her inner Degas through pastels and keen observation skills!

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Emily – Pencil on Paper

“I’m currently keeping a little journal of observational drawings to try and improve my skills. This was an Edgar Degas Ballerina painting, Dancer Tilting, that I tried to draw from for about 5-10 minutes. A lot of things are off with it, but i’m kinda proud, any tips would be appreciated!”

From a short observational sketch, I can feel the dancer’s body stretch and see from the dancer’s expression that she is fully in the moment. Degas would applaud Emily’s journal of observational drawings. He believed strongly that observational skills were what separate great artists from lesser artists. His “tip” to you would be what his idol/mentor, Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, told him once “Draw lines, young man, and still more lines, both from life and from memory, and you will become a good artist.”. Keep drawing those lines, Emily!! 🙂

 

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Amber – Pencil on Paper

I did some research on Degas for this week’s challenge and the details that stood out the most were his distaste for the En Plein Air methods of his contemporaries and his insistence that great art is the result of keen observation.

For this week’s pieces I decided to create two sketches ( plus one sketchbook doodle). The first is of my niece, who’s natural stance has always been similar to a dancer, was drawn from a photograph. Many of Degas’s paintings had the feeling of a being a “snapshot”, presenting his subjects in their natural state instead of being posed and allegorical.  The second and third pieces are landscape sketches created onsite in Southern Utah and drawn in 20 minutes (the sketchbook image was in less than 5).

I find it a bit ironic that Degas would mock En Plein Air since it requires the observation skills that he so greatly admired in the classical artists before him. I can’t help but wonder about his relationship to nature and how it affected his distaste for painting outdoors.

 

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Thanks for checking out our artwork!

Next week’s theme: DISTANCE


WeeklyArt Challenge: PRETENDERS

Hey folks!

This week our theme is: Pretenders

 

RJ: I’m a Fish, graphite on paper.

RJ’s piece cracks me up! I love the sly stubborn expression of the monkey as he determined to convince you, the viewer, that he is something other than a monkey. It leaves one to wonder, Why does he want to be a fish?

 

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Karri: Daniel, the great pretender – photograph

“This week I spent a lot of time with my 7 year old nephew, Daniel. He has such a huge imagination. Playtime consists of sitting at his Lego table. There are much more than just Legos there. He can sit for hours and play with the dinosaurs and the Lego men and the army men pretending that they are real. Just one Lego piece can be a person. He is the ultimate Pretender.”

 

Karri’s piece reminds me of a well known Picasso quote:

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”.

Children have the most vivid imaginations. They see worlds within worlds and artists have spent centuries repeatedly trying to capture that innocence and spark that so rarely exists in adulthood. Looking at the photo, I am curious to know the story that young Daniel drew from collection of toys.

 

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Amber: Untitled (for now), pen, ink and graphite on paper.

I struggled with the challenge this week. At first I was stuck on an idea that was good in theory and in my head it looked great, but the image would not manifest itself on paper. I was beyond frustrated!

After some complaining to RJ and several wasted art days, I started fresh with a new inspiration. The inspiration for this week’s piece came from a favorite and influential childhood book, The Velveteen Rabbit. As a highly imaginative child, I had come to believe that my stuff animals were in fact actually alive. In my mind they would have thoughts, dreams and individual personalities. I believed they loved me as much as I loved them. The Velveteen Rabbit, only confirmed the accuracy of the beliefs of my seven year old self.

This incomplete piece expresses that wish and belief that the games are not only pretend, that the toy is in fact as real as the child (or perhaps the toy itself) wants to believe. I mixed toy rabbits with the real to blur the line of reality and pretend. I also added the dandelions to emphasize the power of a wish.

 

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Next Week’s theme: DEGAS


Weekly Art Challenge: FEATHERS

Hey Folks!!

This week our theme was FEATHERS!

RJ: Chopstick Feather, found object.

RJ would laugh and tell you how he just did something spur of the moment so he would have something for this week’s challenge, But what RJ won’t take credit for is the creativity that one needs to think about transforming what most would see as an insignificant piece of trash – chopstick wrappers – into a piece of art.

There is the clear environment aspect of this image. The recycling of materials, the affect that our everyday trash has on the environment and our neighboring species and then there is the ephemeral aspect of the piece itself. This is a photograph documenting something that no longer exists – much like the mid century Art Happenings – and it eerily feels like a documentation of a now extinct species. A reminder that existence is ephemeral.

 

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Karri: White Pigeon, Watercolor on paper.

“The most amazing thing happened this weekend. A beautiful white pigeon showed up at my house. Turns out it was very tame. We feed it and gave it water. It hung around all day. One of its favorite places to be seemed to be on top of my head.”

What an exciting experience and beautiful image! I love the transparent softness of Karri’s watercolors, they inspire the viewer  to want to reach out and embrace the pigeon, and be apart of this moment.  Karri’s use of  color emphasize the gentle innocence of the moment and the childlike glee of being chosen by the pigeon. Beautifully done!

 

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EmilyFeathers, pen and ink on paper

 “I tried to capture the delicacy of a feather by using dots”

I think the dots were a smart choice and that Emily did a fantastic job capturing the delicacy of a feather. The black and white image has an ephemeral softness to it, like any moment the wind will come and the little dots will scatter across the page. The more colorful feather, while still retaining the essence of a soft texture, express a vibrant charge of energy, like a dramatic movement is about to occur. Beautiful!

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Amber: The Unconfined, Pen and ink with graphite on paper.

For me the most obvious association with feathers is freedom. 

Originally I had in mind an image of a sleek cat staring nonchalantly outward at the viewer while standing within a pile of loose feathers. Somehow the image evolved from a confident predator capturing his prey to the prey confidently expressing their freedom from control and fear of the cat and cage. I had thought about including a reference to the Greek myth about Icarus by including a version of him inside the cage; but, shortly after I started the basic sketch of the image, I felt that an empty cage worked better with the idea. I chose Canaries because they are a common bird found in cages and I had recently read that they are symbolic of freedom, which seems rather ironic.

 

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Next week’s theme: PRETENDERS

 


Weekly Art Challenge: FEAR

Hey Folks!!

This week our theme was FEAR!

Dylan: The Unfamiliar, photo

“Dry heaving, cold sweats, tunnel vision to my worst nightmares, and sheer panic are what I experience when I am forced to be in unfamiliar dark place. I have had this phobia since childhood and it has not lessened in value with age.”

Dylan’s statement gave me chills and reminds me why I, an adult,  still can’t sleep with limbs hanging over the edge of the bed, exposed to what lies beneath. I find myself trying to make out what exactly it is I see waiting sinisterly behind the ajar door.

 

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Karri: The Web, Graphite on paper

“Spiders are a very common phobia, but the spiders don’t bother me nearly as much as their webs. I hate walking through a spider web. that said, I can’t ignore the beauty in watching one being created. The deliberate dance around the delicate strands. Why does this carnivorous architect have to spend such an annoying trap. Doesn’t he understand that it’s the last thing I want on my wall or on my face!”

I love that Karri drew the web without the spider, to further reinforce that her sole issue is with the web itself. I can’t blame her, webbing in the face is creepy and never a welcomed feeling, no matter how beautiful they are. The graphite lends well to the nearly invisible and delicate quality of a spider’s web.

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Emily: No Fear, photo mix media collage.

“I accidentally managed to get a piece of art work in for this week. I’ve recently started an art foundation course, which is a scary thing for me. I had a piece of work from a dark room workshop that I wanted to experiment with, and I thought the woman in it looked really fierce and bold, and the words that came to me were NO FEAR. For me fear has ruled my life for far too long, trying to have no fear is currently where my head is at”

I admire that Emily used the theme not to express a fear, but instead show fear no mercy. I love her choice of colors juxtaposed with the dark blacks and greys of the photo. The effect gives this strong woman an eerie supernatural strength.

 

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Valarie – Fear, Pen, Pencil and watercolor on paper –

“ I create Fear from Inside Out because he is always afraid of everything”

Val did a great job drawing Fear. I liked that she gave him an ambiguous surrounding. The cloudy blackness reinforces who fear was and how fear can make you feel small and isolated. Great job Val!

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Amber: The Dinner Party, unfinished sketch on paper –

I know my fear – cannibals – is irrational, I joke about it all the time; but it is still one of my most common nightmares and a major reason why I avoid places like Florida. I don’t recall being squeamish in my youth; and I theorize that my vegetable based diet has made me more sensitive over the years to gore and violence of becoming dinner. Ironically I love (some) zombie movies/shows because they are the only thing that actually scares me, but still have to tightly close my eyes and cover my ears during the scary parts, even if I have seen that episode of The Walking Dead 10 times..

The piece is obviously unfinished and I was going to be complete it in the pen and ink style of my more recent pieces. So far I am happy with the sketch, but unsure of what I should do with the back wall.

 

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Thanks for stopping by!

Next challenge: FEATHERS


Weekly Art Challenge: CHANGE

Hey Folks!!

This week our theme is CHANGE! 

RJChange Of Luck, Penny and pen on paper —

I think RJ’s piece is a beautiful reminder to the viewer that you have the power to change your luck by changing your perspective. I like the simplicity of line and stipple along with the proportion between the penny and the drawing. The enlargement of the drawing insinuates that making a change can increases the rewards for taking control of your luck!

 

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EmilyStress/ Move Forward – pen on paper –

“Change is very relevant to me at the moment and I’ve found I’m awful at dealing with it, I get lots of anxiety and stress over it, yet I still always have this need in me that I want to be productive and moving forward in my life. So my pieces are just me realizing that it may be confusing and stressful for me but to move forward I need change

The energy in Emily’s piece reminds me a lot of her photos from FAIR challenge. The movement and use of bold neon color express the chaos of change and the resulting difficulty to focus. I can feel the anxiety and uncertainty of inevitable changes she is trying to express.

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AmberWishes – Mix Media (acrylic, graphite, pen and ink) on paper

For this week’s theme I decided to literally change a previous Art Challenge piece from something that I was not too happy with into something that I am happier with.

One of the hardest lessons for any artist to learn is that it is OKAY to make mistakes. And yet a better lesson, those mistakes don’t have to be mistakes.

 

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Next theme: FEAR!