Painting on the Canvas of Your Life

21 10 2014

I’ve been reading Panache Desai’s Discovering Your Soul Signature and wanted to share one of the meditations from the book:

Imagine that your life can be portrayed on a canvas….When you look at this canvas, you’ll see see everything that’s been placed there. And most of it doesn’t originate from you…. As you’ve moved on through life, external labels have been superimposed on the canvas…. People have told us who we are, and this fills the canvas too.

Now start pulling off those labels…. Peel away those limitations. Remove all of those different words that are getting in the way of being a blank canvas…. As you do this, experience the freedom (or perhaps the terror) of the blank canvas.

When an artist approaches a blank canvas, all that is possible is a single brushstroke at a time….
What splashes, splatters, or messes did you erase?

Now what will YOU choose to paint?
soul signature

(excerpt taken from p. 179-180, 182)

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Painting with soft pastels…

10 11 2013

 

I was lucky enough to attend a talk by Caldecott winner, Erin Stead at the National Book Festival, and I was intrigued when she mentioned painting with pastels dissolved in water. At the time she was working on her second book, Bear Has a Story to Tell, written by her husband, Philip Stead. See some of the illustrations from the book here.

I thought I’d share these illustrated instructions for this technique. Enjoy!

me + art = 🙂

I got this idea from Erin Stead (Caldecott Award winning illustrator for A Sick Day for Amos McGee), and I believe she used this technique to create the illustrations for the book Bear Has a Story to Tell.

1.  Start with a small glass or plastic container (glass works best because plastic tends to stain).  I get ALL mine from secondhand stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army, and rummage sales or flea markets-I seriously find them every time!  Drop whatever color, or colors, of pastel you like into the container.  I love making my own colors, and its very easy to do that with soft pastel.

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2.  Add small amounts of warm water (you can always add more but its hard to take away)…

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3.  …until it starts to dissolve and look like this.

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4.  When you can see no sediment left on the bottom of the container, then its ready to…

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Linoleum Printing and Coretta Scott King Award

20 02 2013

Ellen's Broom coverBecause this is Black History Month, I thought I’d highlight one of my favorites from the 2013 Coretta Scott King Awards. Ellen’s Broom, with art by Daniel Minter. I did mention it earlier in the month, but this time I wanted to explore the art a bit more closely.

Minter’s linoleum prints are painted with watercolor. After experimenting with lino prints this summer (see Jungle of the Night, 5th picture down), I now appreciate how difficult this medium is to work with. Artists who choose it know that they have a long process ahead of them.

First is warming and carving out the linoleum block. I found this the most difficult step, as you have to cut away whatever you don’t want to be printed. It’s the opposite of painting, because you’re taking away rather than adding. Getting delicate detail on the block without cutting away too much or leaving too much behind is a real art.

Once that’s complete, the block must be inked and prints pulled. Once the prints dry, the painting begins. If you make a mistake at that point, it means starting over. (And how do I know this? Don’t ask.)

Minter’s details are amazing, and deserving of the award.* But I also want to mention the great story by Kelly Starling Lyons. I’ve highlighted Kelly’s writing on my blog before, so if you’re interested in finding out more about her, you can read about her One Million Men and Me, which tells about her books and her childhood.

*Interesting fact: Did you know that only one book illustrated with linoleum prints ever won the Caldecott?





More Monkey Business?

13 04 2011

As a follow-up to the previous post, thank you to all the kind people who thought I was the cute little girl on the bottom step.  Unfortunately, that’s my younger sister. So I guess that makes a monkey out of me. At least that’s what my sister always told people.

So I’m planning my revenge…

I’ve been working on art for the African Animals book, and have a partially completed painting of a monkey. I think I’ll do one similar to this, but paint me into the picture with the baby monkey. Then we can each have a picture called “My Sister and Me.”

 

© Laurie J. Edwards 2011

 





African Animals

4 04 2011

As long as I’m on the subject of art, I thought I’d post one more picture I finished recently for a book on African Animals. Because the series of stories and folktales are from West Africa, I wanted a mudcloth border for the pictures.

Jaguar

© Laurie J. Edwards 2011

Anyone who knows me, knows I love drawing jungle animals, so this book was a treat. Perhaps my love of the jungle comes from living in West Africa when I was young and impressionable. Which reminds me of a story… which I’ll save for another post.





Cow Mania?

8 05 2010

Watercolor by Laurie J. Edwards

I like cows. I really do. I even painted this picture of one looking at me with soulful eyes.

We live in a fairly rural area where we have a few cows across the street along with herds of goats, flocks of guinea fowl, and some donkeys. Yes, donkeys whose brays sound like an tortured child’s screeches. So the quiet cows, who chew their cuds, and the adorable calves with big eyes tug at my heartstrings. It’s hard to believe anyone can actually eat these animals.

But after reading some frightening statistics recently, I discovered that cows are one of the greatest sources of global warming and air pollution. How could such sweet, gentle animals be responsible for this awful deed? It seems their gas is filled with methane. Supposedly cows are a greater hazard to the environment than all the trucks and cars in this country put together. Yikes!

And the biggest contributors to that pollution are the massive farm factories that serve the meat market. Guess I should have painted this instead:

Stop air-pollution! Stop eating beef!

Watercolor/Photoshop image by Laurie J. Edwards

But wait a minute. If we eat the beef, won’t that decrease air-pollution?