Tag Archives: drawings

Blast from the Past!

I’m getting back to work this week. I think my husband and I were in shock after his uncle’s motorcycle accident. It’s taken over a week to snap out of it and get back to our routine. Aaron’s uncle is still in ICU, but he is healing, slowly. Aaron still visits the hospital everyday, I go every so often. It’s so difficult to see someone in that condition, my empathetic self has a very hard time with it. I can’t even begin to imagine what he must be going through, not to mention his kids and wife and the rest of the family.

Newspaper clipping from one of my first ever art shows in 1991.

Newspaper clipping from one of my first ever art shows in 1991.

Back in the studio. I’m working on an art book of my “Paula Beck Prints” pieces from the early 1990s. I’m also negotiating a contract with a local management/publishing company to represent my art and specifically this book.

Sevier Station pencil drawing

“Sevier Station”, one of the first drawings I did as Paula Beck. Part of the Historical Building series I did in the Tennessee/Kentucky area around Clarksville, TN and Hopkinsville, KY.

I’ve been going through all the old images in my flat file and came across an envelope I had almost forgotten I had! Back in the early 1990s when I started selling my art, it was still that period in history when people wrote letters and sent things by what we now call “snail mail”. LOL! Luckily for me, my dad was pretty sentimental and he saved all of the art prints, photocopies, postcards and newspaper clippings I sent him. I found it after he passed away while cleaning out his things. Nine years later, I have rediscovered that envelope and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Another newspaper clipping from one of my first shows in Clarksville, TN

Another newspaper clipping from one of my first shows in Clarksville, TN

I’m working on photographing and editing all those images from the past. There are about 25 of the historical building drawings I did in 1990-91. The newspaper clippings are from the very first two art shows I did in Clarksville, Tennessee. This was my first year after leaving the military at Fort Campbell.

"Abraham Lincoln", part of my Civil War series.

“Abraham Lincoln”, part of my Civil War series. I did portraits of Lincoln, Gen. Grant, Jefferson Davis and Gen. Forrest

I’m going to stop there. For more of the story you will have to wait for my book! πŸ˜‰ I hope to have it finished by the end of September, but it may be longer than that before it’s published. I plan to share excerpts here leading up to the release.

 

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Creativity: Throwback Thursday

 

We have a friend visiting from out of town today, so I haven’t had any time for creating. What better time to share a #TBT post?! A couple of weeks ago I posted about my 25 years as an Artist.

Clarksville Methodist Church, pencil drawing

Clarksville Methodist Church, pencil drawing. Not the greatest photo, it was sent to me by a fan. I honestly don’t think I have a photo/copy of this drawing anymore.

In that post I talked about my first drawings being of historical buildings in Tennessee. For today’s Throwback Thursday post, I decided I would share some of my pencil/charcoal drawings and portraits. The church was done when I was 21 years old, just a baby as an artist. All I knew was drawing with pencil, I hadn’t had any experience with painting or selling my art.

"Nate sticking out his tongue", pencil drawing of my youngest son at around 2 years old, 2003

“Nate sticking out his tongue”, charcoal drawing of my youngest son at around 2 years old, 2003.

I surely didn’t know anything about computers back then. The World Wide Web barely existed then, at least the way we know it now. I was still 6 years away from owning my own first computer. At the time, I still had dreams of becoming an architect someday. I’ve always loved drawing buildings. I love architecture, especially older buildings. It fascinates me how much detail and work was put into buildings before the turn of the 20th century. Nothing was rushed, it was art. It’s sad to me that in today’s rushed world, buildings are put up in record time, with little to no architectural details. Little boxes everywhere you look. Big box stores, little box suburban sprawl. Boxes everywhere. I could go on forever about the loss of beautiful architectural pieces.

"Bryan and his big wheel", pencil drawing of my eldest son at around 2 years old. Circa 1997

“Bryan and his big wheel”, charcoal drawing of my eldest son at around 2 years old. Circa 2002

At the same time I was drawing historical buildings, I was always working on a portrait. Whether it was one of my own kids or commissions of other people’s kids, I used to really enjoy portraits. After drawing who knows how many portraits, I took a portrait painting class and did several watercolor and then oil portraits. Then one day, I was tired of painting portraits. I was good at it, not to toot my own horn, but faces are really not all that different. I knew I needed something more.

"Can I Hold the Baby?", watercolor portrait of my middle son holding his newborn cousin, 1997.

“Can I Hold the Baby?”, watercolor portrait of my middle son holding his newborn cousin, 1997.

For years after that, I drew and painted landscapes. Actually, all of these phases overlapped each other. I was unsure for many years which direction my art was headed. Portraits were always the best way to make a living as an artist, but also the most nerve wracking process. It was stressful doing commissions and never knowing if the person paying for the commission would be happy with the end result.They usually were, but that stress of self-doubt was hard for me to deal with.

"Martinez grandkids", commissioned portrait painted in oils, circa 2004

“The Grandkids”, commissioned portrait painted in oils, circa 2004

What it eventually came down to was I was searching for something deep down inside me that was MINE. My truest form of expressing my creativity. Not something I saw and wanted to copy, but something that came from my soul. I finally found that expression with my peace paintings and my spiral abstract series.

I will share my landscapes and Peace works in another post. Stay tuned for my next #TBT Creativity post! πŸ™‚ Thank you for reading my blog! If you like what you see here, please subscribe to my blog in the upper right hand corner of this page. πŸ™‚

Looking Back at 25 Years as an Artist!

This year marks my 25th year as an artist! It’s so hard to believe it’s been that long! I have been an artist since childhood, but at the young age of 21 I decided it was what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was actually a Tony Robbins infomercial in the middle of the night that inspired me.

pencil drawing covered bridge Tennessee

Covered Bridge drawing, the first image I printed/sold on postcards

I was working graveyard shift at a Comfort Inn in Clarksville, Tennessee after finishing my time in the Army. I was disgusted and frustrated because I was back at basically the same job I had left for the Army. New town, different state, but that same graveyard shift, minimum wage paying, sleep depriving job. I worked graveyard because my husband worked mornings and it was the only way we could have a second income without paying for child care. My two eldest sons were 5 years and 9 months old at the time. The third son hadn’t joined the family just yet.

I was at work, killing time watching cable TV in the lobby, when the Tony Robbins infomercial came on. I decided to watch it all the way through and by the end I thought, I can’t afford his book right now, but surely I can think of some way to make a living doing something I love to do. (I eventually bought that book at a yard sale many years later and I highly recommend Tony Robbins to anyone looking for motivation!)

After watching the infomercial, I thought of how much I used to love drawing and painting in high school. The next night, I brought paper and pencils with me and spent the graveyard shift drawing a local covered bridge that I found a photo of in a local magazine.

That drawing changed my life forever. (Little did I know at the time!) I showed it to my husband, grudgingly as he always told me my art from high school wasn’t that good, and he was blown away. It wasn’t long before we found a printer to make postcards of the covered bridge drawing and my husband took them to his job at a local convenience store where he sold them to people who came in for gas and cigarettes.

Before long, I had drawn several other local historical buildings and had quite an array of postcards of local drawings. I was invited to show my drawings at the local Chamber of Commerce, a local bank and eventually the local tour of historic homes commissioned me to draw several other local buildings and I sold art prints and postcards at the tour event.

That event helped me to really get my art business going. I ended up getting several commissions for other historical homes as well as portraits. After the buildings I started my portrait series and the rest is history! Of course, there is so much more to this story, but this is the story of how it all began.

A word to any young artists who are reading this post. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t make a living as an artist. Sure, it’s not an easy life, sure, it takes time to build a name for yourself and a portfolio of art that you are proud to share, but it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. The first most rewarding thing I’ve done was having 3 beautiful sons!

Artists starting out today have it much easier than I had it starting out. You have the internet and so many avenues to get your art work out there (Twitter, Instagram, weblogs like this one, and an infinity of other sites with a plethora of information). When I first started, the internet was out there, but not for the masses. I didn’t even have a computer until 6 years after I started!

One of the things I always wished I had starting out, was other artists to ask advice of. I was very isolated in a small town in Tennessee with no art scene to speak of. There were no smart phones or digital cameras. Thank goodness for the internet! There is so much information available in a simple Google search!

If you have any questions about starting out as an artist, please ask away in the comments and I promise to write another blog post in answer to any and all questions I receive.

Spiral Mandala Coloring Book II

Spiral Mandala Coloring Book II

Spiral Mandala Coloring Book II, 20 page, 8 1/2 x 11″ booklet, available for $18

It’s done! After about a month of working on this coloring book, I picked up my final proof at the printer this afternoon! I’m so excited! This is a MUCH nicer coloring book than my first one. There are twice as many coloring pages(20), the pages are not double sided, so markers won’t bleed into the backside and ruin your other pages. I left one side blank on every page so there is room for you to draw your own designs too! It’s now available in my Etsy shop!

open page on the coloring book

One of the inside pages

For a limited time, until the end of July, when you buy the new coloring book, you will also get a FREE PDF version of my first coloring book!

Coloring page colored in

This is one of the pages I colored. Fun! πŸ™‚

The drawing part was easy! It’s all the Photoshop work to get clean lines and a white background that take the most time. It doesn’t help that I’m a ridiculous perfectionist! I finally had to let some things go if I ever planned to get it finished. I hope you will enjoy it! I’ve already colored a couple of pages and they are fun designs, if I do say so myself. πŸ˜‰

Drawings are done! Happy birthday Mama!

Last five coloring book designs

The last 5 coloring book designs, pencil sketches before they are inked in.

I have spent the past few weeks working on my new coloring book and today I finished all the drawings! My shoulder is hurting from hunching over my drawing table for too long! I should know better, but sometimes, inspiration just pushes me to keep going. I’m so excited about this coloring book! My first book had 10 designs. This book has 20.

Working on this coloring book had me thinking a lot about childhood and how much I used to love coloring. Even into my 20s, when my kids were young, I colored in coloring books often. Adult coloring has apparently become a trend lately. I always preferred drawing to coloring, so drawing my own coloring designs just made so much sense. I WILL color them too, once done! πŸ˜‰

design #19

Design #19 before photoshop clean up. Almost there!

Thinking of my younger years got me to thinking about my mom. This weekend is her 70th birthday! I had to mention her here because she is the one personally responsible for my love of drawing and art in general. I don’t remember being younger than about 5 years old, but she tells the story of giving me a stack of paper and pencil when I was under 2 years old and how I would spend HOURS sitting and drawing.

Me and my mama

Me and my mama

In honor of my mom’s birthday week, I had to tell her here, THANKS MOM! Thank you for ALWAYS encouraging me to follow my dreams of being an artist. She has attended just about EVERY art opening and open studio I have ever had. (minus the times she was out of town!) I love you and I’m so glad you are my mama! Happy birthday, with MANY MORE to come!

Coloring books are coming along nicely

   

These are designs number 8,9 & 10. I’m halfway done with the second coloring book! 

Creating these designs is a multi-step process. I start with a piece of drawing paper divided up by pencil diagonally, to form an X. 

  

Then I use a compass to draw concentric circles at various distances from the center. This framework sketch helps guide my design by keeping the drawing symmetrical.

 

Once the design is penciled in, I go over it with a fine tip sharpie marker. When the drawing is fully inked, I erase all the pencil lines, photograph and then open the image in Photoshop where I clean up the image a bit more and save it for future printing. The images in this post are at the stage of just being photographed, but not yet cleaned up Photoshop.