Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Month of Halloween Is Upon Us!!!

Haven't posted here in a while but what else is new blah blah blah.  It's amazing I manage to keep myself alive sometimes...

But moving on to better things... ARTWORK!  Been busy experimenting with my style on photoshop these past couple months.  It would be an understatement if I said wrapping my classically trained brain around photoshop was/is a pain in the ass.  In hindsight it would have been extremely helpful if I had bit the bullet and taken a couple classes instead of diving in completely blindfolded, but you live and you learn.  So take it from me, unless you want to have an extremely frustrating couple of years paired with annoying headaches, take a couple JC classes on photoshop.

One of the most frustrating things for me in photoshop was the fact that the "brushes" didn't react like actual real life brushes.  These so called "oil paint" brushes that promised the textured clinging effect of actual oil paint were just plain thick lines void of texture.  The whimsical "watercolor brushes" were splotchy and produced a repetitive artificial pattern.  Why weren't these brushes delivering their promised effects when I made a stroke?!?  Oh, you have to dab them?  Or you have to lay the stroke down then choose a different brush to warp the edges?  After years of training I had to make my brain work in reverse and against logic, hence = headaches.

I've been at trying to concur photoshop for a couple years now, while working in traditional watercolor on the side to reset my brain so it wouldn't explode.  But during this time I had put oil painting on the back burner for multiple reasons; expense, time, prioritizing, etc.  That was until this summer.  Every year I try to participate in the Academy of Arts Alumni Auction in San Francisco and for the past couple years I have been entering watercolors.  This time around I got the itch to enter some oils.  Since it had been literally years since I've painted in oil I figured the experience would be frustrating and time consuming while I retaught myself, but I was wrong.  Muscle memory set in and the paints went down with every satisfying brush stroke.  I looked forward to painting every night (a feeling I don't always feel towards working digitally), and I was actually a little bummed when the 2 paintings were finished.  Apparently this was the reset my brain needed because once the paintings were done I decided to take "longer" on my digital illustrations and layer them more, like I do with my oils. 

vw bus oil painting

mach1 ford mustang oil painting

I had become so wrapped up in the speed aspect of digital that my illustrations were suffering.  Not everything needs to be done quickly.  Speed doesn't equal success.  Yes if a project is done quickly it is beneficial but if you can create a better end product by spending a little more time on it it is worth the time sacrifice.  I've also discovered through this journey that my clients 9 out of 10 times are more than happy to wait a little bit longer for their piece, especially if they know that the end result will be better.

So here is a little look at what little creations I've made lately!

vampire bat illustration halloween j shari ewing
vampire bat wife illustration halloween j shari ewing
 In the spirit of Halloween

I've discovered the work of Meg Park who's style has been very inspirational for me lately.

Also another big inspiration... Stranger Things on Netflix!  I jumped on that band wagon and I'm so happy I did because that show is amazing!  So many nostalgia feels

stranger things eleven illustration j shari ewing

I want to do a huge wordy post about my experiences at art school... hopefully not 5 months from now!  Til next time!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Post A Day Keeps The Self Loathing Away ...?

Or at least I hope it does.

I have said it before and I'll say it again.  If this blog was a living thing it would be dead due to how much I neglect it!

Yesterday a voice in my head said "Hey you, remember you have that blog thing you posted in MONTHS AGO!!"  Such a failure.  Which brings me around to the topic of this post!  Artists' tendency to self loath...


pity party illustration j shari ewing

To be honest I'm guilty of this as well, especially the past 2 weeks, but if we're really being honest it has been coming in tidal waves for the past 3 years (as in since I graduated college and was tossed face first into the work world without water wings to help me stay afloat).

Self loathing seems to be an inherent trait in most artists.  Comes with the territory of exposing one's self to the world and its criticisms.

As an artist it is essential to immerse ones self with inspirational things, whether it be people, places, things, sounds, and especially other artists' work.  The last one is a kind of necessary evil...


( most of the time it is best known as )


This magical abomination then brings on the Pity Party which leads to the feelings of Everything I Make Is Crap and Looks Like I Made it With My Feet!  Sounds extremely unappealing, and it is, but like I said it is most necessary.  Believe it or not, but obsessively staring at and studying other artists' work helps to make you a better artist.  But first, the Pity Party has to happen, which is where I've been for the past 2 weeks.  All the balloons have deflated and I'm ready to take control and get out of my funk!  I have a couple steps to get me back on track.


Post something on one of my social media outlets EVERY DAY.  Yes... EVERY DAY!  I have this bad habit of posting on a more monthly basis which does absolutely NOTHING for my social media presence.  I came to the realization today that I take posting things to social media as more of a monthly progress report of "What I've Been Working On".  This day and age revolves around "OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND".  So when I spend most of the month forgetting I even have an Instagram/facebook/infamous blog, then a couple days thinking up the idea of what I'm going to post, drawing/painting it, photographing it THEN eventually posting it... I have already been forgotten.  Here I am thinking that everyone is going to see and love this thing that I put so much time in when the truth of the matter is everyone has already forgotten they're even following me!  And to top it off because I rarely post, when I DO post it's at the end of their feed which means there's an even LESS chance of them seeing it!  


Post something EVERY DAY!!!  No each post doesn't have to be a mini masterpiece, but I won't post something I'm not proud of either (that would be a crime!).  Just post SOMETHING, and make it good, and most importantly make it fun.  I've decided to pick my Instagram ( j_shari_ewing ) as the main victim of my daily posts.  One of the easiest forums for me to post on at the moment cause I'm simple minded like that!

That being said I'm on day 4 of my post something EVERY DAY-athon!

Day One :
easter bunny illustration spring j shari ewing

Day Two :
house plant watercolor illustration painting j shari ewing

Day Three :
border collie watercolor painting instagram j shari ewing

Day Four :
boxtrolls illustration ink book j shari ewing

Lets keep this thing going!  That being said


I am also going to get a real calendar, made of paper and ink (digital ones don't work for me) and hang it next to my face in my studio.  I will then mark every week to write a blog post.  Yes... a blog post.  I can't keep neglecting this thing!  I want to post SOMETHING once a week here, whether it be a quick little post of some art, or a long winded post about something random.  Time to stop neglecting this poor blog!

My plan for next week's post... a topic that my friends and I have been discussing for years.  Our opinion on art school, coming from a Fine Arts degree perspective.  It's going to be a juicy one!

In the words of the bouncy legend Tigger...