March 18, 2019
Warning ... this is a long post.
A couple of months ago I joined several sketching and watercolor groups on Facebook. I had two goals. I wanted to discover new artists with whom I might like to take a workshop and I wanted to share my own experience as an artist with others who may benefit from it. What I wasn't expecting was to be pushed out of my comfort zone so quickly and consistently by joining one of the group's March Madness Challenge! I can't encourage you enough to give yourself the opportunity either by attending a live workshop or by joining an online group that will open your eyes to new possibilities, help you to break bad habits as well as motivate you to create new habits that will produce amazing results in your art. Making connections with artists from all parts of the world is a joy. As much as I resent the time I spend in front of my computer, I am forever grateful for the opportunities and friendships that the internet has made available to me. I would not be teaching in Wales if it hadn't been for an artist following me online and inviting me to visit. She's become a dear friend and a fabulous traveling companion.
The primary purpose of March Madness Challenge, as many sketchbook challenges are, is to inspire artists to develop a daily habit of creating art. Though I've sketched daily for decades, I haven't worked from anyone else's prompts. I didn't pay much attention to that fact and decided I needed to add a bit of personal challenge to the March Madness. I committed to create my daily sketch in a Dala format and to use only the 42 pigment Superior Watercolour travel set that I'd purchased to test out to see if I can recommend it for my students. It is too many pigments, too heavy and too large for me to use when I travel. (I wasn't thinking about the fact that I would have to pack it in my suitcase when I leave for Wales on the 23rd of March.) The pigments are quite nice and for artists who don't need to fit eveything into their carryon it's a great set. It also comes in a small set of 18 pigments.
To say that the working from the daily prompts and forcing the results into a Dala format has challenged me is a drastic understatement. I thought that I constantly hijacked my brain to keep from falling into creative ruts. Little did I realize that I can push myself so much further when it comes to my imagination!
I will be posting about this again. Today, I wanted to share the way I tweaked today's prompt to comply with my additional, personal challenges. The prompt was to draw a vase, making sure that you make it symmetrical on both sides. Though that sounds easy, I remember struggling with that for years.
Nothing is symmetrical in a dala. Hmmmmm. The point of the challenge is to create symmetry, not just to draw a vase. I decided to go back in time to the circular design format that led up creating dala art.
I'd been making mandalas that I turned into color wheels so I would have fun learning about color mixing, color theory and color schemes. After several dozen, I got the urge to move away from the simple geometric shapes and repeat the shape of an object within the constraint of the geometric shapes. This is what I did with today's vase. It is a glass vase from my childhood. I collected wildflowers and iris from my mother's garden which she would carefully arrange in this vase. I loved the way the arrangement looked like a flower fan.
I posted my Vase Color Wheel Mandala this morning and already I've been asked how I went about making it. The following photos document my steps:
Try it! I think you will learn a great deal AND have fun doing it! You don't have to get so mathematically crazy about it. If you do want to use a compass and divide the spaces equally, below is a link to an old video I made to help you out. The video is for creating a star mandala, far more complicated than necessary for repeating a shape six times. I'll make another video soon to show you how to divide a circle into six equal pie pie-shaped pieces in less than a minute. Enjoy!
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Chris Carter - Artist
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