Here’s my newest watercolor painting called “Brave” (for sale in my art store!) I got an idea of using a horse to symbolize bravery that comes with finding your passion(s). Isn’t it a romantic thought to see the passion as a horse inside us, rising from the depth and blowing strength!
Past Passion for Horses
Recently, I have found a lot to be passionate about. Many of those things have been inspiring to me as a child. but I have let them go for tens of years. One of these things is horses. I used to play a lot with toy horses, and I was also addicted to taking care of my hobby-horse, an ugly plastic blue thing! Sadly, I rarely saw real horses and I haven’t ever had a horse as a companion.
Once my parents took me to a field where a small horse farm offered horse-riding for children. They lifted me on a big Finnish Horse that had no saddle. Someone walked the horse, and I tried to keep myself sitting straight even if the back of the horse was really slippery. I made it to the center of the field and then fell off. The field offered a soft ground, and the horse didn’t step on me. They offered me a horse with a saddle, and it was much more comfortable! That’s most of the practical experience I have about horses. But of course, my theoretical knowledge was much more vast. As a child, I had borrowed all the possible horse books from the library and stayed busy building stables or crocheting rugs for the toy horses.
Finding the Creative Play with Horses Again
It must be early teenage years when I got alienated from the subject. Since then, I had never had a desire to own a horse, to ride a horse, or to do anything with horses. Until I participated in Inktober, the monthly drawing challenge. While making this drawing, my love for horses was reawakened.
As adults, we easily ignore things that resonate with us but that don’t belong to our outer world. Even if we can draw and paint anything, we easily define ourselves with outer standards. If not having experience about real horses didn’t bother me as a child, it shouldn’t worry now either. I may not be a horsewoman in the outer world, but I can have a stable as big as I want in the inner world.
Creating Horse Art with Watercolors
I started the painting from the flowers and as usual, didn’t use any pencil sketch. It’s a bit risky way to create, but I love problem-solving and knowing exactly what to put and where is not always a practical solution for me. Here are some quick early stage pics! I used a reference loosely for the head of the horse.
I was painting happily but in the middle of the process, I was in trouble, not knowing how to finish the piece. When working with watercolors, it’s especially tempting to just stop so that the painting doesn’t end up too dark.
But here, I loved the idea and didn’t want to leave it looking unfinished and busy.
Planning in the Middle of the Project
I took a snapshot of the unfinished painting and made a plan in Photoshop. This is how I help my students all the time, and it’s a very handy skill to have!
The first image above is the starting point, and the next images are made in Photoshop. They demonstrate what changes should be made next. This time, I also followed the plan. But sometimes it happens, that I end up with a totally different solution but which would have never crossed my mind without the Photoshop play.
Late Night in the Studio
I like to paint so that I watch tv shows or video podcasts on my iPad at the same time. It can happen that I paint a romantic and profound piece and then watch a tv reality show that I can barely stand! Sometimes it feels like the worst the show, the better the painting becomes!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post! What did you love as a child but that doesn’t show in your current creative life?
Here’s what this challenge did to me:
1) Following the prompts and working with black ink only revealed some creative blocks. Becoming aware of these helped me to remove them!
2) I found what I love to draw and it has strengthened my visual voice.
3) I have always liked to draw with non-erasable ink but now I am addicted! I am more creative when I can’t erase the lines.
4) I have a lot of stories to tell that have never found their way to my art before.
5) I like being challenged by weird words that are difficult or even appalling to visualize.
What you can learn from all this:
a) Draw with pen or pencil only now and then so that your voice won’t get hidden behind the products.
b) Write what people have said to you about your creative skills. These may have been good advice back then but irrelevant now.
c) Start a list about things you love – these are also the things you should draw, no matter how superficial or deep they are. Make sure you include some things you loved when you were a child.
d) Give yourself a problem and solve it by drawing. Don’t settle for the obvious solutions!
Strengthening the Visual Voice – Watch the Video!
In the video, you can see all 31 drawings as a flip-through video, some thoughts, and how I used my sketchbook during the challenge.
I also attach the drawings in this blog post with the notes that I wrote for each one during Inktober.
Inktober #13 – Guardian
The external world may be designed for extroverts, but every introvert is a designer and guardian of her own world.
Inktober #14 – Clock
As a child, my favorite play was to be the queen of England. I lived in a small town near the Russian border, and the only real luxury was nature. To me, trees were the pillars of the enormous halls, and I graciously wandered from room to room, repainting every plant and bird in my mind. No matter what’s the time or the place, this is still true: We can’t be the queens of England, but we can all be the queens of Imagination.
Inktober #15 – Weak
Even if all the ties and responsibilities may feel heavy, they are what keep us going through the hard times. Let’s stay connected so that we can support one another!
Inktober #16 – Angular
Have you seen the newest version of The Great Gatsby? It’s directed by Australian Baz Luhrmann, and it’s gorgeous. My favorite scene is the big party scene where everybody dances disco: “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” wearing art deco party dresses in a divine-looking villa with pools, staircases and all. So today and tomorrow my Inktober pieces are dedicated to a big party, and you are all invited!
Inktober #17 – Swollen
Let’s continue the party from yesterday! Imagine that art has two feet. One foot represents the techniques, and the other one is the imagination. Moving forward in one foot only is impossible in the long run. You need both feet. And – even if sometimes your other foot is swollen, don’t let that bother you too much! Here’s to celebrate our creativity!
Inktober #18 – Bottle
If only we could bottle nature inspiration! I would have a stash of Finnish summer days! Now when trees are losing their leaves, I could spray some summer breeze and the smell of peonies!
Inktober #19 – Scorched
Sometimes the process is more beautiful than what comes out of it. All of us who like arts and crafts have experienced that, do you agree?!
Inktober #20 – Breakable
The misconceptions about what we can’t do are breakable. When becoming aware of any of mine, it feels like I have been a bird inside a soap bubble forgetting to use the beak. Why float inside the bubble when you can fly? Let’s believe in ourselves!!
Inktober #21 – Drain
After drawing some ethereal and romantic pieces, I went to a couple of contemporary art exhibitions and this happened! When I was studying industrial design, it was made clear to me that this is NOT the acceptable style to draw. But today, let’s not care about those “don’t”s and “no”s and denials, and let the humor be a part of the art!
Inktober #22 – Expensive
What could be the most expensive bouquet ever? All the four seasons in one bunch!
Inktober #23 – Muddy
I believe in mud and dirt. If life becomes too sterile, it is not enjoyable anymore. That’s why I have animals and house plants, the garden, and I think that those who have children share this thought too. The same principle applies to art as well. If every stroke you paint, every line you draw is controlled and pre-planned, it lacks the soil where the ideas grow. So here’s to celebrate the mud in our lives!
Inktober #24 – Chop
Now when I am well over the halfway, I have started to make a list of things that I love to draw. My list includes stuff like folk art, antique jewelry, glass, fabric, etc. Most of them are quite decorative and luxurious stuff. I have also sliced and chopped these words to less general subjects like Russian handpainted trays, victorian necklaces, crystal, kelim, etc. It has felt like day by day, I am getting more hang of what I really love to illustrate. One item on the list is citrus fruits, oranges, lemons, etc. so I made some for today’s challenge, decorated with jewels and folk art, of course! — Tell me, what’s on your list!
Inktober #25 – Prickly
Virginia Woolf has said: “You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” So when the pot feels prickly and the hat too heavy, there can still be some kind of peace and satisfaction in all that.
Inktober #26 – Stretch
This one is dedicated for all who love to write. Many prepare for NaNoWriMo to write a novel during November. I am more of a visual creator, but there’s definitely risktaking involved in both writing and drawing. You never know where it takes you, but that’s also a big part of the reward!
Inktober #27 – Thunder
Only 4 to go! Really enjoyed drawing this one.
Inktober #28 – Gift
Out of the box, towards the change! Ink pens and watercolor on Bristol paper.
Inktober #29 – Double
When you get to spend time with someone who likes similar things … Thank you, my friend, fantasy artist Eeva Nikunen! Here’s for the friendships between artistic souls!
Inktober #30 – Jolt
When I started this monthly challenge, I was quite timid. First, I used everyday life as an inspiration, but the more I drew, the more I yearned to go on a journey to the hidden world. I have always loved Russian zhostovo paintings, luxury handbags, decorative fabrics, antique jewelry, Dolce & Gabbana … so slowly all the luxury found their way to these drawings.
First, it felt like they would be fragile and disappear soon, but now I can take a hammer and hit them, and they just keep flowing onto paper. I have cried because I have lost a part of my old style and mindset, but after 30 drawings, there’s no hammer big enough to make all of this luxury disappear. Thank you for still following me, I know this has been quite a change for many of you, I hope you continue the journey with me anyway.
Inktober #31 – Slice
After the challenge, I am a like a nomad, carrying all the stuff that has come along with the journey, wondering what will happen next. Time will tell! Here, have a slice of cake with me to celebrate both this accomplishment and Happy Halloween!
Here’s a quick abstract portrait from my sketchbook, painted with acrylic paints in 45 minutes. I didn’t use any reference photos for this one but just played with the shapes.
Create an Abstract Portrait – Watch the Video!
Get tips, ideas, and inspiration for your abstract portrait. Watch the video!
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