Feeding the inner artist

For two weeks I am on vacation. (Kind of. Other than a work day on Saturday and going down to a meeting in the middle of the week next week and being sick the past two days, I have at least a few vacation days!)

So my goal this vacation is to nurture my soul. Part of this means exploring the creative and artistic part of who God made me.

The first two days of my vacation (Monday and yesterday), I spent being sick. I had the stomach flu and threw up 4 times, spent 20 hours lying in bed before I finally felt well enough to get up a little bit. Then soon fell back asleep for another 7 or so hours.

Today I am way better, but was very low energy. At least I got the bills done, but most of the day was pretty low key. The whole 3 days I have eaten saltines and 7-up. Oh yeah, and 2 bananas today. I was a little overly optimistic and ate a little fried rice and didn’t feel so good after that. So dinner tonight is chicken broth.

Anyway, I digress on feeding the body. I was talking about feeding the soul.

Since I was five years old, when people asked me what I wanted to be, I said an artist. It was a statement of absolute certainty. Never in all my years growing up did I ever think I wanted to do anything else. I certainly never expected to go into ministry!

However, over the years, I heard a clear call to ministry. Even though I have done ministry most of my adult years, there has always been the consistent thread of design and creating beauty, no matter the context.

Over time I realized that if I don’t attend to this part of me, over time I get tired and feel empty inside. Expressing these gifts is a way that God made me to worship him.

So I have done many projects over the year, but it’s been a very long time since I have actively tried to improve my skills. This week I was very excited because I got some tools to grow in this area!

This first is a book on artists’ journals, Artist’s Journal Workshop: Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures, by Cathy Johnson.

This book was super inspiring. It talked about how you can journal your life through drawing.

I love the look of watercolor and it was cool to see how people used watercolor or other media in different ways.

Another topic I have always been interested in is fantasy landscapes and architecture. I was very curious when I got this book, Drawing and Painting Fantasy Landscapes and Cityscapes, by Rob Alexander.

I really enjoyed this book! It was so fascinating to read about the different ways scenes were constructed.

I’ve been working on a mural at church which I’m not too happy about. It looks flat to me. Part of it could be because I’m using latex paint to try to make a scene. That in itself is a difficult tasks! Another part is I know I need to use more colors for shadows, etc. But I think there were other things I didn’t really think about much.

Most of the stuff in the book applies to painting any kind of landscape. There wasn’t really much in there about how to make a fantasy painting, per se. Like all the different creative elements… how do you do that kind of stuff? Nevertheless, I found it very inspiring and so interesting!

I read both these books in like one day. It’s been a long time since I have read through books like that!

The third book came today, Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter, by James Gurney.

This book looks totally rich in content and examples!

Even though my degree was in fine arts, I actually didn’t take that many painting courses. Most of my classes were design type classes. Looking through this book, I can see my painting education was sadly lacking. There is a ton of stuff to read and learn!

I never even heard of “gamut” til Photoshop. You mean people think about this kind of thing when painting??? Yes, I have a long ways to go.

Inspiration is fun and exciting, but I’m a practical person; I’m all about application. So I was also terribly excited when today my pocket watercolor kit came!

It has a little palette tray that comes out.

Underneath are small cakes of paint, a water brush, and 2 sponges. The water brush is super cool. It has a reservoir that holds water so you can wet your brush automatically. This designed is designed to be taken on the road and is super compact!

So while the family was randomly eating dinner (i.e. scrounging for leftovers), I quickly sketched a banana (a reminder of what I ate today) with a Micron marker and did some quick watercolor. This took maybe a whole 3 or 4 minutes.

So fun! It’s a pretty basic banana but I was testing out the capabilities of the paint. (You can see the paint sample swatches above.)

Looking forward to doing more sketching this vacation!

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — angelayeedesign.com) and teaches leadership skills at strategysketchnotes.com.

6 comments to “Feeding the inner artist”

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  1. Corrie - June 14, 2012

    So cool!!! I want to borrow that journal book!!

  2. A Yee

    A Yee - June 14, 2012

    Sure! When I’m done going through it you’re welcome to borrow it!

  3. Carmen Lin - June 15, 2012

    I’m glad that you’re developing your God-given gift more fully!

  4. Glen Nielsen - June 15, 2012

    I am always interested to see what details you focus on in your posts; for example, the graphic details you include about your illness and food consumption.

    Very noble vacation goal: to nurture my soul. I will be quite curious to hear how that goes and what you learn along the way.

    Your statement of absolute certainty at age 5 is quite intriguing. Though you majored in fine arts, you focused on design … why was that?

    Last week at small group, we were all lamenting the fact that there is so little interest these days in creating high-quality fantasy landscapes and cityscapes. I mean, c’mon … where have all the mythical cities, planets, and alien worlds gone? Not that CGI garbage either … we’re talking painstaking detail by hand, including hue, shadow, creature realms, weather & time of day, luminescence, triads and gamut masks.

    The pocket watercolor kit instantly transported me back in time to my childhood with those 12″ long compact plastic snap watercolor trays we all had. Will that be a new item for your purse? I was starting to laugh until I paged down to your final image. Three to four minutes??? I can tell you that no banana I have ever drawn or painted (regardless of how long it took) EVER looked like THAT.

    [bowing in your direction, on my knees] i am not worthy … you got skillz …

  5. A Yee

    A Yee - June 16, 2012


  6. A Yee

    A Yee - June 16, 2012

    < >

    Because I was no good in math.


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