Alphapets: I J K and L

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The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters I, J, K and L. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Ivan refrains from eating the shoe

Joe remembers the things that he knew

Kameron eats eggs from the carton

Liam looks nice in his tartan

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a Rottweiler puppy, a Labradoodle, an English Setter and a Scottie dog or Skye Terrier (still practicing drawing specific breeds). While working I thought of a friends new puppy, dog training in general and memories of training my various dogs and seeing them beginning to learn what I was teaching. I imagined a puppy in the process of learning what is and isn’t okay to chew on.

Other dear friends have a Labradoodle that, pre-quarantine, I used to see and visit fairly often. So I thought of the breed, and how smart they can be, how quick to learn and remember.

The only English Setter I’ve known personally was one I’d see when on walks in a public park (also pre-quarantine). Seemed a loveable sort of dog and I loved the spotted pattern of the fur. So I combined my fur pattern thoughts with my past experiences with dogs of different breeds who were loveable but not the brightest. I still had “mental attributes” in my mind from having done the letters I and J. My apologies to the English Setter breed for the association here in my art with loveable but clumsy egg-stealing oafs.

Ah Scottie dogs and Skye Terriers – how I love you. Especially when, as I saw during pre-quarantine days, when you were with your bagpipe playing Scottish humans, practicing the bagpipes in the park. I also loved seeing you in parades, watching a band of bagpipers go by! Lots of Scottie, Skye terrier dogs walking in formation with your bagpipers! Makes my heart sing – even now at the memory!! And all the various tartans…Wow!!

I just realized I didn’t do a portrait of a cat this week. That can possibly be explained by the fact that I was thinking of mental thinking abilities. Dogs of all breeds can have a wide range of ability to learn and remember. Cats are all, of course, on the brilliant-mind end of any scale worth having.

As is my typical these days all of this artwork was created with ink, gouache and color pencil. I’m having such fun with this Alphapets project! Hope you are too! Soon I am going to have to order more art supplies somehow – my favorite local art supply store is closed due to quarantine – not even shipping supplies. I’ve called several times in hope. Sigh.


If you’re just joining the fun the previous post is here. My Alphapets project is aiming to be both an art exhibit and an artist book. With framing eventually done by Aurora Gallery and Frameshop. https://auroragalleryonline.com/ as part of the Ambassador for Small Frames program. I want to eventually bring them all together in a book – with my abecedarian poem. More of poem will be revealed on each Monday’s post as I get more of the artwork done. More of my artist books are here.

Anyway, see you next Monday with more letters…

the eggplant technique of creativity

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“Feelings are guides not gods” is a phrase from “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit”, the new print version I’m currently working on. The concept is illustrated by this story:

EggplantSM

Here’s some text from the book related to the artwork: “Do you think that feelings keep you from doing things? More good news – they don’t! We’ve all done many things we didn’t feel like doing – such as going to school or work when we didn’t feel like it – which proves that: Feelings don’t keep us from doing things. Moreover, when you do that thing you feel scared to do, you are nourishing your courage…… Remember, you are responsible for your feelings not responsible to them.” (see the Eggplant story above)

Cultivating and maintaining a high level of Emotional Intelligence is essential to well-being (and creativity). Good mental health is about more than just the absence of mental illness – it is the presence of good coping skills, being able to self-regulate, to see feelings as a guide whether the feelings are your own or someone else’s. (Btw: there’s a good article about teaching Emotional Intelligence here.)

I’ve found Dr. Bob’s concept of “feelings are guides not gods” applies to creativity, and the creative life, as well. Whether or not I feel a particular way doesn’t have to affect whether or not I make my artwork. My feelings are not a “god” to be obeyed. If it’s time to work in the studio, however short or long the time-to-work I’ve allotted is, off I go to my creative work no matter how happy, sad or inspired I feel at the moment.

Where I use my feelings as a “guide” is when I’m out in the world on the lookout for possible art-topics. I keep my inner eye open for things that capture my curiosity and my imagination. Then I keep a list of those things and my feelings related to them in my sketchbooks for future art-making. My use of this “feelings as guide” technique has helped me create many helpful guidebooks, so to speak, for my own creative life.  I find it a sustainable creative practice.

All that aside I’d like to add that eggplant can, once in a while, be a very good vegetable – especially as eggplant parmesan.