One of the first artists I met online after starting this art blog was Jade Sutton. She’s creative, she’s imaginative, and she’s very inspiring. You may already be following her blog — Jade Sutton Art — and if you’re not, you’ll probably want to.
As we’ve gotten acquainted, Jade and I have exchanged artist trading cards, shared ideas for drawing and painting, and discussed books and other artists we follow. With the month of June underway, Jade encouraged me to take part in ICAD — Index-Card-a-Day — and join with other artists in a 61-day challenge.
I was a bit hesitant. I’m not good at following “art prompts” yet. I’m still learning different techniques, still finding my way. No problem, Jade assured me. I wouldn’t have to follow the prompts or suggestions from Daisy Yellow’s ICAD site. The purpose of the challenge is simply to engage ourselves and our imagination in the process of daily creation.
I agreed to give it a try, and on Sunday — the start of a new week — I grabbed a stack of index cards from my bookshelf and joined in the fun.
First, I did visit the site to read about the prompts. I was a little unsure about the process, but it seems there’s a weekly “theme” as well as a day-by-day prompt. Part of the fun is putting these two ideas together in some fashion.
All set and ready to begin my playtime, I was delighted by the theme: finding inspiration among words, typography, old books, and poetry, among other things. I was even happier when I read the daily “spark”: cloud.
Now, if you’ve read much of my blog, you know I love clouds and skies, and with art, I’ve quickly come to see that, as the saying goes, the sky is the limit. Art knows no bounds, and we’re free to travel as far — and as high — as our imaginations will carry us.
With those words in mind, I was off…and flying!
I first did an index card with a lovely light blue watercolor wash. Sure, I knew it would turn into a curled up mess, but I didn’t care. I was playing; I was having fun. I was creating.
I dabbed on another color — after flattening it all out on a wooden board — and my lovely sky went from a perfect blue to a rather sad looking color. No problem. I have lots of cards.
I grabbed a new card, painted a new sky with two shades of blue, and tiny traces of rose. Yes, it was perfect. I planned to let it dry and then use one of my Pitt Artist pens — or maybe a gel pen — to write “The sky’s the limit”.
But then new inspiration took hold. I glanced down and saw the Neocolors II I’d bought. Red. Yellow. Blue. Basic crayons for having fun. I hadn’t used them yet, and what better time to play with them! Like a kid, I grabbed them, grabbed my watercolor journal, and then stopped. What was I supposed to do with these crayons? They don’t come with any directions.
Well, I’d just have to figure it out on my own. I grabbed blue and then quickly sketched a loose little butterfly. I added a bit of red to the wings, then picked up the yellow. Hmmm… how about using that for the background?
But Neocolors are supposed to be wet, right? I took a brush and…ended up blurring my colors all together. Not good. Oh, well. I grabbed the blue crayon and drew the butterfly again.
Now, that was fun! The color seemed to practically melt on the page. I liked my Neocolors. A lot.
Maybe I could use them to write on my index card!
I tried it first with my not-so-pretty green sky. I quickly scribbled the words, and I liked the way the Neocolor flowed.
So, next, I used a neater script and wrote the words on my pretty blue sky. I didn’t like it quite so much.
It didn’t feel very creative.
I looked at my journal and thought, why not draw a butterfly on my blue sky?
Butterflies don’t fly among the clouds. That’s what my logical mind was saying. But this wasn’t just any butterfly. This was a butterfly from my imagination, a daring butterfly that illustrated so much of what art — and taking risks — is all about. There are no limits on our creativity. No rules we must follow. No precepts we must always obey.
I didn’t draw a butterfly on the card, though. Instead I used soft pastels to paint a new sky on a new index card. Then, I added text and, yes, I added a butterfly.
So, after three playful “warm-ups”, I finally had a card to share. I like it, and I like the reminder that art is limitless…and so is our imagination. I’m going to keep on flying today, and I hope you’ll fly alongside me.