Ink and pencil drawing, trial and error

Here’s a current project: a drawing around 18×24″ in pencil and ink. I’m at a wall, wondering whether or not to incorporate color, some fabric flower collage, or something I haven’t yet thought of. The drawing was a struggle: even though there isn’t much information there, I must have drawn and erased the face at least six times! I think I’ll set this away where I can’t look at it for a few days, and come back with new eyes to see what I’m missing now, but thought I’d post these – if you have any feedback, I’d love to hear it – I certainly need it!

Trying to force creativity

“What inspires you?” vs. “what inspires you to actually get off your ass and work?” are two totally different questions: the first one is easy: basically, everything. Okay, that’s cheating, I know, but really, sometimes it feels like it’s coming from all directions – other people, their art, their music, their love stories, stumbles and embarrassments. Being a sponge is easy – soaking up things you love – it’s the wringing out that we so often find so difficult.

I get stuck in creative ruts all the time. I fall into the habit of overthinking: wanting to make only ‘perfect’, ‘polished’ work, to make statements, to be clever and poignant and everything that my favorite artists seem so effortlessly to be. It gets so that some days I’d rather not pick up the brush because then, at least, I won’t create more chaff.

Then I’m reminded that lots of the artwork that I love so much – much of the stuff , the people I love so much, is because of the flaw, because of the fragility, imperfection and fleetingness of it/them. Going into the creative process with a single-minded goal and rigid expectation denies the opportunity for surprise.

The book Zen and the Art of Archery by Eugene Herrigel was suggested to me years back and it deals with the problem of trying very, very hard to… not have to try at all. Pah! What a joke! But it’s a good read. This small book illustrates, through the personal account of the author pursuing knowledge in Zen through the up taking of archery, the art of letting go. The relationship between artist and art is dissolved, and the author carefully addresses his struggles with the nuances of his Zen teacher and the Japanese culture:

“So I must become purposeless… on purpose?” (p. 35)

When I feel like I’m all used up and don’t know what to draw, I pile up a stack of paper, get out my ink, and sit down until all the pages have something – anything – on them. You can try this too. You don’t have to think or plan anything out, and it doesn’t matter if you aren’t happy with all the drawings – actually, that would be amazing! Rather, you will end up getting work out of your system that hopefully is a surprise even to you – no pressure – and it will be fun. I promise.

What inspires you to work?

How do you get out of creative ruts?

Shuki Kato, origami artist!

Who is this beautiful man? I don’t usually do posts on boys, but this immensely talented origami artist is my brother, Shuki!

Look at what he does! (An ohmu from Miyazaki’s epic manga series and following anime: Nausicaa):

His original designed origami models are now available in his freshly opened etsy store, here:

Spread atlas beetle

Shuki’s been doing origami, the art of folding a traditionally square piece of paper, no folding or cutting, since he was nine. He’s devoured just about every origami manual available, and has long ago graduated from following the steps system of folding to be able to fold a model directly from looking at a crease pattern… for example:

This turns into this:

If you’d like to see more of his work, he also has a flickr and deviantart account:

And don’t forget to support him at his shop:

Spring! Sugar!

I’ve never candied flowers before, but it’s deceptively simple: paint [clean, edible] flowers with beat egg white, dip in sugar, and let dry. Yum.

Vanilla rum cupcakes with honey cream cheese frosting.

It’s finally spring and I can’t stop looking at the ground.

Tired Eyes

Pencil, watercolor and acrylic on a cradled wood panel, 5x7x1.5″.