Patreon!

If you’re on my mailing list, you already got this news, but…. I’m starting a Patreon for my art!

For those unfamiliar, Patreon is a site artists and creators of every variety use to fund their work. In my case, this means helping me switch to part time work at my day job, so I can spend an extra day a week on art.

My Patreon page will be a place to get all sorts of art sneak peeks of larger projects I’m working on (like Boneflower!), reviews I do of art supplies and other fun things, and a great place to get some neat rewards for supporting me, too, like monthly or quarterly signed art print postcards.

Got your interest piqued?

Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/clairewhitmore

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I’d love to see you over there. 🙂

Thanks!

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Dover Publications Poetry Illustrations… Sneak Peak!

Hello folks,

Fall is… falling. The dark weather has me in a big of a funk, and the recent rainy, cloudy days on top of already short ones has me missing summer mightily. But c’est la vie.

I’ve spent September and October working on a series of illustrations for an upcoming poetry collection by Dover Publications, and despite the oncoming winter blues, I’m stoked about it. You should be, too, as it’s a collection of classic women poets and some of their best work to boot.

It’ll be coming out in February and will contain 25 black and white illustrations for select poems done by yours truly. I’ll make sure to post and let you know the details when it’s out!

Here’s a sneak preview of a few of the illustrations, just for you. 🙂

 

 

 

The Quiet Delight in Having Fun

I’ve been a little quiet these last few weeks. Part of the reason is that my delightful, endlessly rewarding and challenging project, “CC:Otherworlds” ended. And I took a little bit of time to recover from it– for all that I loved the snot out of it, it was a year long project with very little room for error, and we shipped every single fortnight without delay or issue, a thing I’m exceptionally proud of!

The other reason I’ve been quiet is… that I’m taking a little time to reevaluate the way I approach some of my art.

I’ve been doing a lot of projects. Projects I’m proud of! I just finished up CC:Otherworlds, I’m starting the process of revamping this website and updating the art in the portfolio, I’m working on a short comic, “Boneflower,” and I have a half dozen other project ideas in the wings. These are all lovely, beautiful, amazing things I’m excited to be working on.

But they’re also all projects.

In this day of instagram and blog posts and newsletters… it’s no longer natural to make things that aren’t for immediate consumption– I post sketches to my instagram regularly, and show my process here as well as there, because it’s enjoyable to do so! I love sharing my work. But that also means that I feel an (internal) sense of pressure to make all these aspects of art-making ‘pretty’ and easy to digest. Sometimes art is UGLY, guys. Sometimes it’s so, so ugly. And it doesn’t work out right. And it’s uncomfortable.

I’m forgetting how to do art just for me. Art that’s utterly, unquestionably, unselfconsciously exploratory. And that scares the snot out of me.

So I’m going to make some ugly, ugly shit. 🙂

In fact, I have an entire notebook now, that I call my “Ugly Secret Art” notebook. I even painted that across the cover. Even that part of it is ugly! This is my place to draw whatever random doodles I want, scribble, paint with my thumbs, and do collage.

And I’m not going to share it with you.

😉

Scandalous, right?

Don’t worry, my projects haven’t gone away (in fact, Boneflower is completely storyboarded, now, and I’m going to begin the drawing and inking phases in October, and I’m working on an exciting illustration project I’ll be able to tell you more about in October, too). But I am taking September at a slower pace. I want to make sure art always and forever remains FUN. 😀

So join me on this quest for fun! Pick a notebook out, make it special and secret, and make some god damned ugly art!

Project “CC:Otherworlds” is Almost Over!

My lovely friend Cislyn and I embarked on our year-long project… nearly a year ago. CC:Otherworlds has been an amazing, fulfilling, challenging, and rewarding project. No, seriously. I know those are silly buzz words, but they’re also all super true.

We drew a prompt out of a hat every 2 weeks for an entire year. For an entire year, we each took that prompt and went off (sometimes collaborating, sometimes not) and made Things. Cislyn is a fantastic, fun, and weird writer who finds amazing twists on the world. She produced some incredible short fiction and a few lovely poems. And I go off and make an illustration. Or, in one case, a flip book. And in another case, a tiny coloring book.

Our very last prompt draw was last Friday… which means in a week and a half, our project will be complete.

I’ve never done a year long project before, or anything longer, and it’s amazing both how shockingly fast it went (holy crap an entire YEAR has gone by??) but also how truly challenging it was to do this project on top of all my other commitments, and not lose steam on anything. I’m going to miss CC:Otherworlds. A lot. It’s been our baby, and I couldn’t have asked for a better creative partner.

Do you want to see what we’re up to and support us? This will be your very last chance on this project. If you ever thought to yourself, “Hm, maybe… but I don’t want to commit!” then this is your chance. It’s the last one!

Come check us out! I promise we do good work. 🙂

https://www.patreon.com/CC_Otherworlds

Mobile Art Rig

Now that I’ve gotten the taste for plein air painting, I’m starting to refine my technique for going on the adventures themselves. The first time I went out, two weekends ago, I had to stuff my entire pochade box into my backpack– it worked, but it wasn’t elegant, and it made biking a bit uncomfortable as the whole thing was knobby.

This past weekend I went out on Saturday, and I got a little smarter about it. I borrowed my roommate’s fancier bike side-bag– one of those lovely clip-on types. The entire pochade box fits in, which means I don’t have to bring a backpack at all– much more pleasant biking!

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This was in Tenny Park in Madison. I hunkered down in the dwindling shade to paint a neat stone bridge. The painting itself wasn’t a particularly amazing result, but every time I go out, I feel like I learn something. And if that’s not fantastic, I don’t know what is.

Do I plan on going back out next weekend? Why yes, yes I do. 🙂

Art in the (not so very) wild!

Do you know what’s great? The outside. Know what’s even better? Doing art in it.

Plein air painting is new to me, but I’m just behind the curve ball by several hundred (thousand??) years– it’s a well honed and time honored tradition among artists. Take your fancy art box, take your paints, and go sit somewhere for a while. Preferably while putting the paints onto a surface of some sort and calling it a painting at the end of the day.

It’s something tremendously pleasing and exciting… and also something I need to practice a lot more before it becomes a proper skill. Good news: practicing means going outside on adventures and making art!

This past weekend I took my fancy pochade box and my tripod and a set of acrylics and I headed out by bike to the local botanical gardens to plunk down and get some real-life practice in painting. I didn’t take a huge number of pictures, but here’s my basic set up– I already know a few things I’ll tweak next go around.

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And here’s a slightly better (if over-exposed) picture of the painting itself.

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I learned a ton from my first foray, and I’m deeply excited to head out again. I’ve got Sunday of this coming weekend earmarked for my second plein air painting adventure….

Stay tuned!

Homework? For Fun!?

Since coming back from vacation in Germany, it’s become clear to me that my life needs to include a lot more art. And, most importantly, I have a loooooot more to learn. Making art is amazing, and the fact that I’m only scratching the surface of what there is to know about it is mindbogglingly exciting! How sad would it be if I were already bored…

So I’ve decided to get serious about making sure I keep learning about art in my day-to-day life. For me, that means homework. 😉 But homework that’s fun! Homework that I’m doing voluntarily, and that I’m designing for myself.

The lesson plan is very much a work in progress, but this week I’ve been focusing on value studies– something I often struggle with as my drawings or paintings become more complex. But solid values, planned out in advance, make a piece that much stronger. (And values that are weak, suck the life right out of it). So I’m practicing!

Here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been up to:

Learning (and re-learning, and keeping ideas and concepts and techniques I already know fresh) takes time. And energy. And it doesn’t always look very pretty.

But boy, is it refreshing to be back in the saddle. 🙂

 

Street Art in Berlin & Bonn

I just (as in, two days ago) got back from an amazing trip to Germany with a friend of mine. It was filled with shockingly good food (Persian walnut and pomegranate stew anyone?), fun adventures, and… also art!

We didn’t travel to Germany looking for art, and in fact only went to one art-specific museum, but something I learned from Berlin in particular, is that art doesn’t need to be put in a concrete box to exist in a city. The street art in Berlin is astounding! There were several instances of entire buildings whose sides were done up in murals.

Here is just a tiny sampling of what we (literally) stumbled across:

(Note, some of these are from the East Side Gallery, which is the remaining Berlin Wall… transformed by art. Others are from Berlin’s streets, and a couple are from Bonn.)

There was something wholly liberating about seeing such vast quantities of street art. It hadn’t been painted over, or scrubbed out. The city embraced it, and that was so freeing to see.

Traveling always leaves me in a different place, mentally, when I come back. It reminds me that the world is very, very big. And (most importantly) that there are more ways to walk upon it than I can even begin to imagine. It’s exhilarating, in a way, to look at your life and realize it could be so, so much bigger.

(And filled with so, so much more art!)

 

The Balancing Act

It’s true for me, and I think it’s likely true for the entirety of humanity, that the hardest part of life is achieving balance between who we want to be, and who we are being.

I struggled with writing this blog post for awhile. I was afraid that if it wasn’t “puppies and kittens and magical art excitement” it wouldn’t have value. This is my art blog, after all. I should blog about art. But art is life.

Right now for me balance is hard. I’ve joked the last few months that my life goal is to become an Art Jedi (I am, and always will be, a consummate Star Wars fan). Something about the fictional idea of monks in pursuit of higher understanding (in my case, in pursuit of Pure Artness) is deeply appealing. Of course I want to be the sort of person who wakes up, meditates, and spends hour after hour in deep, meaningful art practice. I mean, when you put it that way, who wouldn’t, right?

Except I’m not an Art Jedi. And Jedi are fictional. And the sacrifices I would have to make in order to achieve Art Monk-status would be extreme.

I have a full time job unrelated to my art, a cat who I love spending time with, a garden I’m excited to start, and a host of amazing friends. I also enjoy writing, reading, and playing Pokemon, and I’m about to embark on a 2-week challenge where I only eat home cooked food.

This is my life as I’m leading it: not an Art Jedi.

This morning I didn’t get up and meditate and then spend hour after hour making deep, meaningful art. I got up, played with my cat, made banana-egg pancakes and started making sourdough bread.

But it’s still a good life, and I still make art (in fact, I’m working on my CC:Otherworld’s painting for this fortnight, and spoiler alert, but there are mermaids), and being an Art Jedi still lives in the back of my mind, whispering, “someday.”

Balance. (Easier said than done).

Your turn: Do you struggle balancing the platonic ideal you strive for with the life you actually live? What have you done to reconcile the disconnect?

I Moved! + Reveal of the Wacom Cintiq

Did you miss me?

Over the last month I moved out of an apartment, and into a house. It’s been a phenomenal move, but it meant that for a few weeks my art setup was chaotic while I packed everything up… and then for a few weeks it was chaotic while I got everything unpacked. BUT the hard work is complete, and I’m more than ready to be back in the saddle.

Want to hear about the Most Exciting Thing (ever)? You may remember me referencing this in my last post, where I built a new art computer.

(Drum roll please…)

I am now the delighted owner of a (used) Wacom Cintiq!

I’ve been using digital drawing tablets since high school, and Wacom is the king of the mountain when it comes to the technology. But they don’t do it cheap (at all. At ALL.) and they know how good they are. Which means that a Cintiq model was something I never seriously considered, it was just so far out of my price range.

(For those not in the know, the Cintiq model of drawing tablet not only has useful buttons, and an incredibly pressure sensitive surface… it has a display surface you draw directly on, and is the most ‘like’ traditional media drawing you can get while going digital. It’s really cool!)

And then suddenly a local friend of mine (and FANTASTIC artist) Rhea Ewing was selling their used model, as they’d upgraded to the latest version of Cintiq.

I dithered about it for a long time, and I talked it over with a particular group of online friends, who all agreed that while it was extremely nice, I probably didn’t ‘need’ it and saving money was a good plan since I was in the middle of a move. So I resigned myself to getting alone with my perfectly fine tablet, and leaving visions of the Cintiq to ‘someday.’

(Bet you weren’t expecting this story to go this direction.)

(Drum roll please…)

And then that group of friends sent me a letter full of very lovely words. And in that letter was money to buy the used Cintiq. I was speechless (and still am, a bit.)

My first act on this fantastic piece of art equipment was to doodle them all a thank you.

Sometimes the universe tells you to do a thing, go a direction, make a choice. Sometimes your friends do. And in that situation, you listen to the damned message. I am still stunned, and humbled, and exceptionally grateful.

But I bet you really just wanted to see a picture of it, didn’t you. 😉 This is it!

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Art space in the new place is my bedroom. Don’t mind the random cat toys!

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Working on the Cintiq is not only super functional, it’s FUN.

I have a lot of learning curve to figure out on this machine, and (sadly) it doesn’t magically transform my art into Michelangelo status. But it’s great to work on, and I feel a lot more connected with the art I make digitally.

Thanks for reading!