Is this thing on? I don’t really know what to blarg about. My daily activities aren’t super interesting (wake-up, go to work, or go into the studio, or stare out the window for a few hours in a paralyzing panic about how much shit I want to accomplish but actually can’t so I will do nothing instead, eat some foods, and sleep again). My art is kind of meh and in a constant evolution, so I don’t have much sage advice regarding technique, or supplies, or how this works, or what to do, or anything, really. But I thought that calling a blog a blarg was so goddamn funny that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. So I’ll phone it in with some words and I can probably scrape up some images and round this thing out into a hideously misshapen Frankenmonster. The internet is beautiful.

Now, this font. I know it’s awful, and practically unreadable for blarging, but it feels like it takes itself about as seriously as I do this blarg. So, for now, it stays. I have a backup. But I like this for now.

Okay. So let’s discuss the image on the left, and why I included it in this blarg post. It looks like a mess, but you can tell what the subject is supposed to be. This shit is so fucking hard to do. You would assume that splattering paint around to make pictures would be easy enough. Turns out, it’s really hard. It also turns out that there is a very specific (and likely magical) amount of everything that has to come together in order to make expressive art that isn’t just emotionally-charged brush marks (which is totally cool. I do that, too).

For me, the sketch on the left is fun, but I wouldn’t call it good. The composition of the actual subject is fine, but some of the ink trails make it feel unbalanced to me. I like the spontaneity of the sketch, but I think it just goes a little too far. This was the first of three that I made during a color study session as part of Jen Dixon’s Skillshare class where I was testing various color palettes that I pulled from the National Geographic Image Collection using AdobeCapture.

Slight tangent. I find artist’s processes fascinating. Some processes seem to come so naturally to some people. I’m sure for some, it is second-nature–something they have been doing their whole lives. For others, like myself, figuring out the processes that make the art they envision is a struggle.

So what happens as I keep sketching is that I start thinking about what I’m doing. I very much like what is happening in this second sketch. The color palette feels unnatural, but I kept the values consistent and it works. The composition is similar to the first and the erraticness is toned down. It doesn’t feel so drunk. It’s spontaneous, but not totally out of control. This was probably the sweet spot. You can see the lines getting a little tighter. I think that’s okay. The first sketch was a little more abstract than I feel comfortable passing off as art.

The more I think about a sketch, the tighter my lines get. I can tell when I am overthinking things when I find myself erasing and redrawing multiple pencil sketches. These were sketched entirely with watercolor. Having a palette already picked out and mixed up made it much easier to work with the appropriate values, and to plan as I went.

By the third sketch, I had lost almost all of the abstraction. The forms are pretty rigid. The barn is so square. The more spontaneous elements are more balanced, but I was likely obsessing over them. I like the colors in this one, and again, the composition is okay, but it is starting to feel like a boring barn painting, and it’s definitely lost the expressive feel.

And that’s why art is so fucking hard. I spent, at most, a couple hours working on these sketches. The first sketch–the warm-up–is imperative. But sometimes it sucks so much that it puts me off from continuing. If I can power through, there is potential to create something I like, and that I can learn from. But it is so fleeting. I know practice will lengthen the amount of good focus I can achieve. So I keep going.

Art is not easy. I admire artists who really understand their process, and what they need to get to that place where everything is flowing expressively and freely. It is so hard to get there. I get hints what that feels like for me, and when it happens, it is beyond cool.

Anyway. There we go. I made up some words. I found some images to talk about. It’s sort of coherent. Maybe it’s helpful. I don’t know. Make art. Do stuff. Fuck off.

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Stef D'Angelo

I make art. Also other things. Sandwiches. French toast. Crafts. Fresh pasta. I have a website. It's this one. I like the planet. I'm trying to be less wasteful.

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