When I started streaming, it was an experiment to see if anyone at all would show up. Just even 1 person I don’t already know as a friend, or family, or someone else. I didn’t expect anything from it. Everyone’s asking me how I can tolerate having a camera pointed in my face when I can barely tolerate giving a presentation to a room of 3? Good question, because the truth is: I don’t know. I’m not psychologist and I can’t explain it, however I talked to some other streamers about it and we concluded it’s basically an introvert party where we get to control exactly how much socializing we get and with who. Anyone can leave at any time. If I don’t like someone and they’re being awful, I just ban them. No one has to make awkward eye contact. You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to. But I think there’s something more to it than that, because the other day I volunteered myself to go on a talk show I found filming downtown and asked questions on camera, which would otherwise have made me run and hide had streaming not been there to condition my shyness away.
It’s really helping with having an art-producing schedule; I can’t just keep putting off making art for some other seemingly important thing because I promised my viewers I’d be there so&so many times a week. It really makes me realize how much I do put off making art, when I always thought I didn’t. The span of time between two intervals when I create is a lot longer without a schedule to keep me in check. Generally, I’m not good at perceiving time… a month can go by and I won’t notice, or a day goes by and feels like it’s been weeks. So, I’m not really surprised. It’s not that I consciously procrastinate, it’s that I don’t notice how much stands in the way. My streaming computer broke for about 2 weeks and I felt pretty unhappy I couldn’t paint, and in that time span I realized that is usually how infrequently I painted. Yeah, that’s pretty bad. If I want to work on my style and have a new body of work that stands out, that can’t be happening.
So here are a few pieces I’ve completed since I started streaming! If you don’t count me goofing around with experiments, then I think I started in November of last year. As I’m selecting these, I’m realizing I made more than I thought. Some of these I already posted about, so I will talk about the ones I haven’t. All but 2 of these are in my art store as prints. If you’d think you’d like to watch one day, you can go here.
This diptych I didn’t post about because it was a commission and a surprise Christmas present. I always wait for the recipient to get their gifts so there’s no chance of ruining the surprise! The theme of these pieces is a friendship created through jogging. The pose is kind of like an animation of running, one stride after the other. The background is different seasons, brought together with an identical composition that I quite literally traced over to match. The real challenge was the lettering because I am not a calligrapher or a graphic designer. If you want a reminder of just how much work it used to be just to get something simply lined up, just try make two images like this with no layers, lasso tools, or undo buttons to help you on paper. I spent probably 50% of my time on the layout of these images and the painting itself went by quick.
Portrait of Hello
This is a watercolour portrait of another streaming artist, who I did a multi-stream with. What’s a multi-stream? It’s when you can watch multiple streams at once and the streamers usually can talk to each other with audio, and all chat is interactive across the streams. It’s one stream, x2, x3, or x4. We plan to do more like these, but we’ve yet to iron out some technical issues and it was definitely intense. The stream was 5 hours, so this painting is roughly 5 hours. I would like to do more portraits of humans and practice them in watercolour. I think I can probably do better portraits with acrylic and oil because the mediums don’t rely on line work, so it’s something I need to practice.
This was another experimental stream I tried from my smartphone in a café. That worked out fine, however the location I chose ended up being pretty loud. This was such a cool cafe though! Vines and plants hanging from the ceiling, study nooks with couches, a nice open bar, a large variety of seating for different purposes. Their internet is super fast (120-140mbs anyone?) and I will definitely go back there again because the waitresses didn’t bother me too much either. Oh yeah, the coffee was very inexpensive and still good. Highly recommend, here’s the place on Google Maps.
Evidently I can’t spell though, since I spelt the name wrong on my drawing… Since I threw my painting stuff in my drawing bag really fast after a long winter of no drawing outdoors, I managed to forget my palette and had to paint out of the tube. As the first drawing of the year post winter, it’s also a bit rough.
Valentine’s Day Roses
Painted these from the real thing! I am super happy with this painting. I’ve been looking to integrate mixed media back into my work and not get pigeon-holed into only using watercolour techniques. This painting is mostly watercolour, but the tiny flowers decorating the main roses are actually conté. I could’ve masked out the tiny flowers and gone a more typical route, but I am very pleased with the result. It actually looks more like the real thing, plus it adds texture to the painting. The other aspect I am pleased with is the composition and the balance of detail vs. ambiguity. This is something I’ve been struggling with, where I either feel a painting is not demonstrating my ability to capture detail for being too loose or so over-detailed that all life has been sucked out of it. I spent several sessions on these roses, to a point that they dried out completely. I think it’d be really fun to do more paintings like this one on stream, and I realize it’s not that I don’t enjoy painting flowers – it’s that I enjoy painting living flowers over photos.