Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday Progress

Acrylic Underpainting - Melissa Mead 2012

This is a portion of something I'm in progress with....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursdays Progress

This is a sketch in Planning for a current project.  Pencil on Paper
Still some tweaking here and there and the fight with the hand (because I wasn't LOOKING).  I love posting here as I see mistakes more clearly.  I am really excited about seeing this in oils...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

SARK TUESDAY: Willingness

Melissa Mead 2012 Photograph
On Forrestry Side of the Grabouw Country Club Dam 2012
SARK:  Willingness is the ability to move without proof.  Willingness is the cupcake for yet another FUNdraiser.

MMinP:  For this to make the most sense please read this... From Facebook:
There should have been a story about a professor - a mayonnaise jar, golfballs, pebbles, sand and beer.  My most FAVORITE part is that the golf balls represent your most important things like family AND YOUR PASSIONS.  Your passions aren't relegated to the pebbles or even down to the sand (these being those things that you must fit into your life like doing the grocery shopping and paying bills).  The other best thing is the reminder that there's always time for getting together with friends....

My personal story on this is that I am WILLING to keep moving forward with my art even though I have no proof it's going anywhere or that I'm creating anything...  I think about it everyday.  I make plans for it everyday in many ways.  I even get pencil to paper often.  At the moment I am willing to leave this "as is" while supporting my husband moving through his rehab and getting stronger everyday and before we know it life will be into another semblance of moving forward.  Then the paint will begin to flow again!

I'm no longer willing to do the cupcakes though....not even painted ones.

What are you willing to do for your creative dreams?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Snail trails in a tidal pool: Melissa Mead Photograph 2012
SARK:  Creative dreams LOVE surprises!  We can become so accustomed to our routines that we forget about the JOY of surprises or the unexpected.  What new surprises can you arrange for?

MMinP:  I've had a few surprises in the past few weeks.  They've upset the holy cods waddle out of my routines.  The first surprise was my husband's accident.  He injured his knee while playing soccer and needed to have surgery to reconstruct the damaged ligament.  The next thing was a change to our homeschooling plans - meaning that some weeks I may only have two days to work instead of three.  AND of course there was the school break thrown in for good measure! That wasn't a surprise but it JOYOUSLY changed our routines.

I like surprises in my creative process - as in starting a painting/drawing with a solid idea and having it evolve to a totally unexpected completion.  I like that.  I like the surprises of meeting someone and finding they like stuff that I like.  Otherwise - I don't really like surprises.  I like to know what I'm eating, where I'm going and what I'll be doing next Tuesday.  My husband likes to offer me food thinking I'll taste it without asking.  I ALWAYS ask.  He eats things like tongue, kidneys, giblets etc. (no thanks :).  Don't get me wrong - I like change.  Change is good - surprises...well....they upset my gyroscope.

Please bear with me while I reset my gyroscope for the next quarter.  My husband should be back on track in the next few weeks.  I know I missed last week - my apologies - but really, between the sniffles and doctors appointments and the usual things in life, blogging was just not going to happen.  SURPRISE :D

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday Progress

Mixed Media Quilted Giraffe - Melissa Mead 2012

This quilted giraffe was a card for my mom.  She likes giraffes and she's a quilting fanatic.  She took part in:  Quilts That Helped Us Heal a 9/11 initiative.  I put the two loves together and tried for a painted version based on some ideas from the quilts she's made for my family.  Luckily she loved it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

SARK TUESDAY: Acknowledging

Z's creative dreaming moment.  Melissa Mead - Photograph 2012

SARK:  The process of living our creative dreams is AS important (or more) than the progress.  We often become overly focused on the outcomes and conclusions.  Acknowledging your process is a power-full way to support your creative dream-living; it gives weight and wonder to your work.

MMinP:  I asked for a card that would give me insight into balance.  As family life hits a high and creative has to swing low for the balance I am concerned about keeping up with my blog/painting/illustration/learning etc.

I don't know what I'm worried about though....we have found a great balance and already I have been given the time to work in my studio to make up for what was missed last week.  If I could make one positive, affirming statement to acknowledge my creative dream life it would be:  There is time for all that I make time for - I chose to make studio time and family time.

My creative dream is "in Progress" IS the combination of family and creative endeavors.  Or...Creative endeavors combine family..... hmmmm

What is your positive, affirming statement?  -Play with it....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursdays Progress

Pen sketch of Lily  Melissa Mead 2012

I made this little sketch of my collie dog while she slept on the floor near me.  I've always want to sketch my collie dogs.  There's a famous artist who painted his dog sleeping - its a very abstract oil painting - I loved it the moment I saw it.  I saw the painting several years ago I can't remember either where I saw it or the name of the artist...pity.

I really have been enjoying my creations - much of the angst I used to feel is mostly subsided and I can just get on with getting on - instead of procrastinating from fear! (as per the SARK TUESDAY: Procrastination),  Every time I see this little sketch I want to take my doggies out for a walk!  Maybe soon I will get her Momma sketched.....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

SARK TUESDAY: Procrastination

Completion of Winter Sports, (best in sport medals):  Photograph by Melissa Mead 2012

SARK:  Many of us use time to procrastinate instead of experiencing completion.  The favorite word of procrastination is "LATER".  Shift to saying "NOW" more often.

MMinP:  Well now I think it's important to look at the story behind the procrastination.  Is it because you are actually trying to get too much done and it's your subconscious saying...whoa - give me a break.  Is it fear of completing a task that will get you closer to the dreams you dream?

This is close to my heart because as a mother of young children I always felt that I wasn't getting anything done and when I did have a moment I'd be so dazed and dumbfounded that I'd waste that time.  Was I wasting it?  I actually needed the break.  Now that my kids are a little older (still quite young though) I have more moments of time for me.  I find many opportunities to procrastinate.  And I indulge often.  What I miss most at the end of the day/week is that feeling of completion.

Perhaps, procrastination is a signal to self that we need to think a little deeper about what's important to accomplish and also take seriously our need for time out.  Time out is a time to create dreams and allow the dust to settle from our endeavors.  Completion makes new roads to the destination of our dreams.

Procrastination is only a bad thing when it's a habit that we forget we can actually change.  Balance is everything.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thursday Progress

Illustration for IF: Suspend.  Mixed Media: Melissa Mead
Illustration Friday had the topic Suspend. This illustration is my very own from beginning to end.   Thank you Pia Drent for your help in refining the idea.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SARK TUESDAY: Celebrating Mistakes

MTO Forest Path Grabouw, South Africa
SARK:  From our "mistakes" comes some of our richest material for our creative dreams.  Every mistake is a teacher and can lead to new success....

MMinP:  What do you say about mistakes?  They are REQUIRED.  How does the quote go? "if you aren't making mistakes your aren't living" (If you know the owner of who said that please let me know?).  There is also the great quote:"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

I remember asking my mom if she could make me a dress that I could see in my imagination.  I couldn't find a pattern for it even after ages of searching the catalogues (yes - the days before search engines - can you imagine!!).  She told me it couldn't be done.  I was really frustrated.  I had loads of these experiences throughout my life.  What I've learned is that ANYTHING can be done.  It's a matter of putting in the effort to find the way.  I think at that point in time my mom - to her credit - realized it was an adventure she wasn't willing to embark on being a working mother etc.

I would like to encourage you to explore Edna Fourie's gallery and story.  Amazing to say the least.  You can find it here.  I walked into this gallery and felt something so strong I can't explain.  There were two paintings so moving that I found myself in tears.  Both had a similar beginning - the canvases had been left in the attic where owls decided to roost.  They were soiled with owl poo.  What a mistake... ?? Ms Fourie saw something in the markings and decided to paint on them anyway.  I love this "mistake".

I think they should be called mini-searches.  Mistakes are more like moving searches in our steps forward up the mountain of realizing our dreams.

How are you feeling about your mistakes these days?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thursdays Progress

Illustration: "Tall"  Melissa Mead 2012 Watercolour and gouache

This is my Illustration Friday from last week.  I barely finished it in time - I'm still not yet ready to start posting on the site but at least I can participate in my own way on my blog.  This is my first attempt at the Boabab tree.  I find it an awesome tree from so many respects.  It is truly a tree of life.  Lumbering below in the shady twilight the lonely bull elephant seeking a cool spot for the evening....both tall.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

SARK Tuesday: Call or Reach out for Good Things

Experiments in Natural Pigments - photograph from homeschooling. Melissa Mead 2012

SARK:  We are surrounded by such goodness, and in times of fear or resistance, we can rapidly forget that our creative dream life exists to keep us nourished with goodness.

MMinP:  I think the most important thing to remember in each and every moment is that we can choose to stay where we are with what we have or we can choose something else.  It's easy enough to say/write.

I get to practice the act of calling or reaching out for Good Things daily as I balance my ever changing array of hats (woman, wife, mother, artist....).  I find that when I reach out for something positive and supportive it makes everything so much clearer.  Often we reach for that which will allow us to continue the drama or fear or resistance - hanging onto the truth of the fear.   Is that REALLY true?  Really?  Have I really not worked hard enough, organized properly, practiced enough etc?  Really?

Think about it now and the next time you are in a state of fear or resistance.  When there seems no way forward.  Where do you reach?  Does that which you reach out for pull you forward or dance you around and leave you where you are breathless and not much further?

You can always reach for Planet SARK's "marvelous message boards" or go for a walk (with or without another person).  Or you can distract yourself with all manner of useless garbage - usually leaving you in the same spot.

Sometimes I reach for the dance but I'm getting much better at moving forward.  I often talk to a friend get out into nature or start writing.  Sometimes it takes all of that plus a bit more.    How do you reach out?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

20minutes Figure Exercise

This was a quick 20minute exercise in figure drawing (quickly becoming my favorite kind of know versus physical exercise).

Exercise sketch from D. Michie's Photograph 2008.  Graphite on Paper - Melissa Mead 2012 NFS

I used D. Michie's gorgeous black and white as my "exercise" for today.  I'm working on a few things from proportion to shading to ....okay everything a usual.  I'm really happy with the energy of the lines and the proportions. - There's obviously more work that COULD be done but...for 20minutes I'm happy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

SARK TUESDAY: Transforming Fears

Family and Friends helping each other through a challenge.  Photo by Melissa Mead
SARK: FEARs have the ability to become so real that we can become paralyzed by them.  Creative dreams can quickly expand through transforming fear.  Describe a fear [you have about living your creative dream].  Expand [that fear till it becomes the worst possible outcome].  Call in the strongest part of you [to respond to that fear with practical reassurance].

MMIP:  Fear....hmmmm a toughie.  Sometimes we are held back by unseen/unconscious fears.  I think those are the hardest.   I'm working through a fear of missing what is coming to meet me.  I can feel a change coming...but what is it?  It sure is taking a long time to come - is it ever going to get here?  Will I be in the bath and miss it?  My biggest fear is looking so urgently to the future that I'm actually missing the now.

A short original poem:

F - futile
E - emotions
A - awaiting
R - redirection

I just made that up....I think it's well expressed however and shifts it from a big dark monster to something simpler.  Easier to find your courage through redirecting fearful emotions?

Are you also struggling with this enigmatic sense of expectation?  Are you afraid/excited/apathetic?

Well - if you are excited and expectant - check in Thursday for an update on what's been happening in the studio....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

SARK Tuesday: Clock of Forgiveness

SARK:  This clock doesn't keep time, but gives it to you in the kindest measure.  You now realize that time is entirely your perception and there is always enough.

MMinP:  When I can relax and remember the clock of works brilliantly.  When I need the space to just stop "should-ing" all over myself - the clock is there.  For example:  I should practice this art lesson or take that class, clean the kitchen, do the laundry, attend to the kids (who are happily playing their own self involved game!).  A deep breath in and long out breath followed by doing something I really WANT to do.  Like just sitting and scribbling or actually painting anything...  Suddenly it's as if the world stands still for the time it takes for me to have this pause.

Usually everyone survives without me.  Everything is still waiting to be done/accomplished.  I find setting my timer allows me to totally submerge into this timeless space.  I stop fretting about forgetting to get my children to sport or start dinner etc.  I completely fall into the doing of my task - fine tuning little profiles of babes, how to make a hand and fingers that look like little fingers.  My mind clears long enough to write a sentence or idea for the Picture Book challenge of 12x12.

When my time is up - I'm so happy.  Calm, relaxed.  Better than anything - I'm energized -  Whoopie!  Why don't I do this more?  I always wonder.  Then the long to-do list punctures the bliss.  Oh yes.  I must be productive-(do all those things people expect I should do).  WHY?

That's another post for another day....or maybe more than one post....

Use the clock of forgiveness - come back and share your experience.  I might start living on CoF time instead of GMT+2.  Maybe I'll get more accomplished!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

SARK Tuesday

SARK: Courage to let loose the wonders inside. Our creative dreams expand brilliantly with this courage activated. Open your heart now to let loose the wonders inside you... MMInP: I drew this card today and immediately thought...Yeah Right. How many times does an artist let loose only to face a backlash of fear from others. Some folks recommend that you remember to let loose in safe company. This is a good idea. In some ways I think this is why so many of us blog. We know we have something to share... It's also a very good idea to remember those who have inspired you in your life journey. Remember how that person said or did something that gave you hope or even more? Well- what IF your courage to let loose your wonders were to inspire, give hope or other wonderful things to another person? What if it changed someone's life for the better just because you had the courage to let loose? What do you think the world might look like then? It's such a vulnerable place. Such a deeply human place. NOTE: this post is missing links and photos due to a failure in the hard drive of our computer. We are hoping for a full repair by next week -at which time this will be edited and linked!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thursday Progress

Today's post is going to start with  a tiny book review!  The Wizard is a children's picture book written by Children's Poet Laureate Jack Prelutzsky and beautifully illustrated by the talented Brandon Dorman.

The Wizard is adapted from a story originally published in 1976.  Mr. Prelutsky's rhyme combined with Mr Dorman's illustrations make this story a real page turner as the book opens you are invited into a seemingly ordinary suburban cul-de-sac with one very odd house at the end.  The wizard stands at his window deciding what to do that day when he spies a bullfrog...  There is a lovely surprise ending and the duo of Prelutzsky and Dorman leave the young reader with curiosity instead of fear as you turn the pages to discover what evil deeds the wizard is up to.

I found Mr. Dorman's illustrations so perfect for practicing my Make Your Marks Make Your Splashes water colour sessions run by Mark G. Mitchell.  Here are two of my attempts to copy digital art with traditional media.  They are thumbnails of the larger version I'm working on.

The Wizard my version from Brandon Dorman's work NFS -this was a leaning purposes only exercise

The Bullfrog my version from Brandon Dorman's work. NFS - stricktly for learning purposes
I'm very pleased with these two.  There are some imperfections but it is about learning and improvement.  Let's see how the big picture works out...

I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

SARK Tuesday: YES and NO

Still Bay Rock Pools - Photo Melissa Mead
SARK:  With regard to your creative dreams, what would you like to say YES more often too?  What would you like to say NO to more often?

MMinP:  A friend of mine once told me the story about the big rocks and the little rocks.  (Hey.. - April Draft Idea!!)  Okay - back to YES/NO.  A few years ago I was struggling to "do it all".  So my friend gave me this story about how you've got big rocks (priorities) and little rocks (all the little stuff -like grocery shopping) and you have to put them all in a jar.  Now if you put in the little rocks first you can't fit in all the big ones.  But - if you put in all the  big rocks first, all the little ones will fit.  (This comes from a popular motivational speaker whom I do not know his name because my friend couldn't recall - please if you know leave it in the comments and I will edit this post!)

It's been a few years, like I said, but I still can't get all my rocks in even if I shake the heck out of my jar.   I've got a new policy this year.  I made a notebook of goals.  I broke the goals down into month size pieces.  I put the notebook away on a shelf I walk past a million times a day.  I look in it at the beginning/end of the month to check what's done what to push into the next month etc.  I sometimes check in the middle of the month to remind me what I can do in the small moments.

Doing this has really helped me prioritize and see just HOW full my jar is.   I think everybody wants a bigger jar or maybe we want less rocks.  Either way my goal book helps me say NO to more rocks and YES to what is important to me.  I'm the only one who can say "no" to more small rocks and "YES" to the rocks that rock my world!

How do you fit all your rocks in?   (mine fall out sometimes :D)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

New Facebook Page

I have been working out HOW to incorporate all my new changes into my blog and social media.

Still Life with apples and arum lilies - Melissa Mead

Thus far I've decided to embrace the "in Progress" portion of my title and put everything onto this blog.  Also I've made a New Facebook Page for MMinP.
The blog will be a place where I put "regular" entries - ie: Tuesday Sark and Thursday Progress.  I will work on getting a Children's Writing and Illustration Day worked into the mix as well.

The MMinP Facebook page will be for more spontaneous things and also for bits and bobs that I don't know how to fit into the "blog box".

Please visit the new page - there are already a few things there.

Friday, April 6, 2012

April 2012 is...

I'm fascinated by April.  April is Poetry Month.  It is also Autism Awareness Month.  I think this is amazing.

Some of my fellow 12x12ers are celebrating Poetry Month.  Please visit Rena J Traxel and No Water River for a month of poetic excitement.

My first Picture Book draft for the 12x12 in 12 was in verse.  Inspired by a verse from Hurry, Hurry, Mary Dear.  Perhaps I should try my April draft in verse also?  Hmmm.....

I grew up on Shel Silverstien maintaining my love of non-violence through his poem Hug-o-war.  I can still rattle off a number of his poems to this day and it amuses my children no end.

I'd like to leave you with a link for an American Poet (living) her name is Elizabeth Alexander.  The link is not to her webpage but to an interview she had with Krista Tippet for the radio program On Being.

Driftwood Poetry
And some thoughts on Autism...
Autism in and of itself is a kind of living poetry.  Some moments born of: beauty, love and wonder, others of: deep frustration, lonliness and anger.  My experience with Autism was brief - while I was working as a physical therapist at a children's rehabilitation center.  I remember the children I worked with and I remember their parents and their stories.  Such strength.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thursday Progress

from Marvel Comics Scarlet for learning purposes only.
Above is the inked in black bits of my "smalls" for art class.  The term is over however I will still finish it for the learning of it.  I've really enjoyed experimenting with the acrylic inks and am looking forward to more of this.

This will be my watercolour version - below was my first sketch

For learning purposes only - from "THE WIZARD" written by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Brandon Dorman
The above pencil sketches (very light) are my preliminary work efforts to better take hold of children's book illustration.  The Wizard by Jack Prelutsky (Children's Poet Laureate) and illustrated by Brandon Dorman (Thank you Brandon for such amazing illustrations!).  Watercolours are not something I've worked much with neither gouache.  The amazing colours are enough to get me to try and Brandon's work is so inspiring.

I'm not sure what medium Brandon uses - the quick research I did gave me not a thing but maybe I can write to him and ask.  I love this books images because they use primarily greens and purples which made me think of Mark G. Mitchell's lesson about colour - the Queen and her court.  The book itself is perfect for Poetry Month as it's in verse.

I hope by next week to have both of these images painted in and maybe even finished.  These are high hopes.  Our fridge quit today, Easter weekend is here (in South Africa it's a serious affair of holidays and travel) and school starts again next week (year long school here - cool and not so cool).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


There are a few SARK cards that are about resources.  They state two for specific purposes related to the card.  I'm going to give some of my own for today...

Fooling around with coloured pencils and the kids!

1.  "Women Who Run With the Wolves"  by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D..  My husband (when we first met) sent this to me to read.  You can imagine I thought he was just too amazing for words.

2.  A quote by Bruce Lee:   "If you put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and life.  There are no limits. There are only plateaus and you must go beyond them."

3. "Daily Paintworks" this is a family run business of the Marine's.  The most important thing here for me to share is the "artbyte" page.  There you will find a FREE download if you register (for free) about Carol Marine's experience of becoming a daily painter.  Better than that - probably the best advice you've ever read.  Give your self a great big FREE present - go register and read it NOW.  Then come back so I can tell you why I missed a few posts last week.

WHY is Mr. Lee's quote standing out there like mad.  I happened to mention to my hubby that I felt I was on a plateau.  That I'm feeling like I'm not really making progress in my dream vocation.  I've realized there is only so much attention I can give to my priorities and I obviously have to many of them.  The conversation continued as my partner looked at me with increasing amusement.  He gave me much encouragement and reiterated that it was just that - a plateau.  Furthermore - moments later he recieved this quote from a friend on facebook.  You gotta love serrendipity.

If you happened on this entry - maybe you too are feeling as I am.  So the point is - THERE ARE NO LIMITS except those you put on yourself or accept from others.  Keep going forward anyway.

Now I want to explain my abscence.  Mostly because I like to know why other people miss posts.  You see....we went on holiday.  They always twist me around-but that's fine.  Change is good.  We had good internet reception however I don't know how to run internet from my phone to the laptop.  Further I don't know how to make links etc from my hubby's i-pad.  So I dropped a note to say so.

I was in the process of posting on Saturday - the day after our return - when POOF.  No internet connection at home.  For Earthday we were treated to no electricty (and no internet- and no finishing my holiday laundry fun).  Instead we made recycled plastic candle holders in preparation for a candlelit Earth Hour.  We had discussion about taking Earth Hour that little bit further.  Sunday I couldn't post because you might think it was all a joke!!  And also because I was painting and drawing, exploring and experimenting with colour and paint and lines.
My eldest son waiting his turn with the scissors.

A value study for Marks and Splashes course.
This post was updated Tuesday 2 April 2012 to include labels.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Away for holiday

My post for today is sadly going to have to wait. I was blessed with a few extra hours of class time this morning which means that everything else was put aside. In the rush to leave for our holiday I managed to leave something behind. I left our main course, the machine to blow up the inflatable mattress and my drawing progress (from this mornings) for this post! I also left other mundane things but nothing crucial. We have all the kids, our toothbrushes, bikes, books, my sketching supplies.. I will post again before April to be sure but at this point -family is primary for the next week. See you again soon....

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sark Tuesday: Solo Adventures

SARK:  Solo adventures can awaken new creative dreams.  When we spend our time with ourselves doing something BRAND-NEW, it literally changes how our brains function.
S ucculent
O pen
L uscious
O ptions

Update: March 21, 2012: The above is my version of A.Modigliani's painting (for the sole purpose of  education - Please see below to learn more about Modigliani.

MMinP:  I laughed out loud at this card.  I laughed because for every week since I started SARK Tuesdays I have shuffled the deck with a focused intention for the answer to a specific query for going forward as a beginning artist.

I don’t do workshops generally.  They take time from my family - I like something deeper than the quick one-day experience and mostly I tend to shy away from new unknown experiences where I am flying solo.  This past weekend I took a Reverse Painting Class given by Paul Birchall. 
I had some really great experiences from the entire process of deciding to take the workshop to the actual point of my return home on the day.  I think the best part  worth sharing is the part where I realized I was TOTALLY confident in myself -through the entire process.  I rarely feel this way in general, so it was quite amazing.
This gave me such a shift in paradigm. I was actually able to clarify my idea for the 12x12 picture book draft challenge so that my March manuscript is now drafted.  Yipee!!
Please share your BRAND-NEW experiences here.  Look around you and take note - what spurs you to take a SOLO path?  What keeps you from taking part?
A bold experience is right here now !! - leave a comment ;-D

(The above painting is NFS - mixed media painted on plexiglass - Amedeo Modigliani.)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Drawing Resources: Pose Maniacs

Starting today I will be sharing my research findings on everything "how to" art/writing/creating.  This won't be a regular posting as it is time dependent and resource dependent.  There are many great on-line sites that will teach you how to draw or paint or write (a children's book for example).

I will keep a page with the resources listed and I will organize them for us.

So today - Pose Maniacs. From the website:   Pose Maniacs supports all artists, including art students and people who study illustrations and mangas on your own. This blog is for uploading variety of poses for nude sketching, and introduces other FLASH training tools for drawing. Some donation enables me to make English version. Thanks alot

It seems to be a Japanese site (English not being the strongest point.)  I'm not going to get into the technical portions of it because I'm just not able to do that!  There are many sites that explain HOW they do it and what the software is etc.

I posted about Pose Maniacs previously.  At the time I was focused on the adult form and mostly just getting my "figure drawing" up to scratch.

Post Maniacs Gives:

  • timed drawing sessions of varying times : ie 30sec poses.
  • organized options of male/female/child/bodybuilder/dancing/running/ etc etc
  • figures are offered in anatomical view - you see muscles and bony landmarks - no skin.
  • negative space drawing
  • random pose viewer
  • there is an iphone app available

Pose Maniacs runs on donations - so it is a free resources, (thank you says the student in me!)

I downloaded the app but it doesn't seem to work nicely on my phone.  I've not managed to update it though so it might work great now.

I practiced every day for 10minutes a day - increased to 30minutes a day - for over two months.  My drawing improved greatly.

Downside:  Posemaniacs wouldn't be perfect as there can be some questionable poses that 1. might appear unnatural.  2. might have the weight distributed incorrectly and 3. there's no skin!

Up side: Posemaniacs is brilliant for learning to see and observe to record what you are seeing in a relatively time efficient manner.

They appear to be social media oriented so you should be able to find them in a medium that suits you.

Here's to you improving your skills or finding resources for a painting!  Let me know how you liked this resource.  I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Progress

The beautiful Milly posing for our morning life drawing session.  Great triangle action happening in this pose.  I love the other sketchers at work behind her. 

Gorgeous Michelle sketching.

I would not post this except that you've seen it in progress and I am in progress so... While I would like to do it again I really need to move on - so below is Brief 1 Scarlet

Brief 1 Scarlet complete.  

Below is brief 2 (or maybe 3?) of Scarlet.  I was much more interested and inspired by this one.  I did change her facial expression - I thought it was more interesting with the car lights coming out of the car part.  Her original expression was more...maybe determined?    I know it's not perfect but I am happy with it overall.

Brief 2 Scarlet complete.
Feel free to leave a comment.  I wold love to hear your feedback.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

SARK Tuesday: Blaming

SARK: We can all find people or things to blame about why we're not spending more time with our creative dreams.  Blame is misdirected energy and a habitual fear reaction.

MMinP: This is an amazing card.  How often do we blame lack of time for not being able to accomplish more?  How often do you blame house cleaning or family needs from taking you away from your art.  How often do you blame your "real" job, lack of space, lack of money or anything else?

I find when I get really down I will blame just about anything and anyone.  I know the truth however.  I'm just afraid.  I'm afraid I can't create what's in my head.  Or maybe I'm afraid I can and I'll do it so well everyone will start expecting me to do it every time.???

The real truth is we often don't know what we are afraid of.  We really have everything to gain from creating art, writing a picture book, putting ideas out there.  I think a way to move out of this blame experience is to simply make a date with our creation supplies.  A true block of time like you would give to someone you adore.

I often experience resistance when I do this.  I spend the first part of my time settling in.  Getting a snack to make sure I won't be hungry.  A cup of tea or coffee.  A glass of water.  I set up all my stuff.  Cruise a few websites to "get me in the right space".  I know I'm "wasting time" and somehow this pushes me to the next space.  The space of getting to "play!".   Suddenly I'm on another plane of reality and all that exists is the creation at my hands.  I often find it disconcerting to have to leave this place and return to "the real world" when time is up.  I promise myself to make another date.  A good friend once gave me some great advice: "If you don't set a date and time then it won't ever happen."

Over time this beginning routine will decrease in length and the amount of creation time would increase.  This would also lead to less blame - because if you are making that daily date creation is happening!!

What is keeping you from spending more time on your creative dreams?

What can you do to assist yourself to make that date?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday Progress

The above constitute the best of brief 3.  Still on Scarlet from Marvel Comics A. Maleeve.  I'm not keeping up at all with the class.  In fact I've had to decide what I might manage to finish before the end of the term - especially as I will miss the last class!  No way around having children and school holidays starting before the big kids get a break.

I will hopefully get a chance to add colour to the above work by the end of the weekend.  I'm quite happy with what's here and how I managed to accomplish it.  I must say the class while feeling like torture at times (because let's face it graphic novels aren't my preferred excitement) has taught me so very very much as well as improving my drawing.  That was the WHOLE point of the class.

I'm going to apologize again for the photos - they are taken late at night under florescent lighting with a cell phone.  I am really looking forward to adding the colour as it's my VERY favorite part.  I really miss my oils - I mean I REALLY miss my oils.  Gouache has been interesting to work with and learn about.

Feel free to leave a comment -

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

SARK Tuesday: Develop Support

Dancing Fairies -Newsprint Cutouts by Melissa Mead 2011
SARK CARD:  Our creative dreams need support.  It is essential to practice receiving so that you can ask for, AND receive support.  We are meant to help each other.

This weekend I was surrounded by my core support staff.  Family and friends came to spend the weekend with us.  We laughed, shared food and children and talked and planned.  It was wonderful.

This core group allows me to have space and time to paint.  I call on them to assist me.  I have slowly learned not only to ask for the help but also to accept it.  I think sometimes we ask for the help but when it comes we start to feel guilty for needing the support.  This guilt fouls the creative juices in such a way that we can't really make full use of the support we've received.

I'm also learning that I am surrounded by a HUGE support team in my links with the Marks and Splashes Course as well as my 12x12 and PB Dummy groups.  I'm not at all versed in social media and I'm really floundering about trying to work out the best way to assist these folks.  I know that what I give I will receive.

It's a funny awkward feeling knowing help is waiting and all you have to do is figure out how to help another (sometimes how to help yourself!)

How are you supporting your SELF?  Do you have a support team?  How might they help you?  Remember - voicing a question can lead you through a myriad of people who lead you to the answer.

Leave a comment about your answers - I look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Missing a Post

The above reference photo is my allusion to myself.  After the past few weeks of mayhem and disorder I have only crumbs left.  Lucky for me I have a wonderful supportive family and they are giving me rest and rejuvenation!

I apologize for any disappointments.  I know how I feel when I'm waiting to see more from a favorite blogger.

I will be back again with my Tuesday Sark interlude and Thursday we can all wait expectantly for something from the easel or drawing board.  Maybe even further blog changes!

Happy resting.

Monday, February 27, 2012

SARK TUESDAY: Impatience

Today's Creative Dream Card from SARK is about impatience.

Making creative dreams real can sometimes be a slow or uneven process.  It can be tempting to practice impatience to try to accelerate progress.  This leads to fear and frustration.

The above is incredibly true.  So true in fact I've been living it for the past few weeks.  I keep breathing and napping and pushing and ...ok ..yes trying to do it all and have it all and be it all!  There...the first step to recovery.  Whew - I still don't feel less frustrated or fearful.  I am being patient with the process though.

For me it seems I get one opportunity, (I was encouraged by a gallery to send them pics of my artwork just four days ago!) - to have it feel taken away from me, (I walked into art class this morning and looked at my three weeks behind work and felt I might never reach my dream).  How could I have gallery ready art when I can't even finish an art class project?  The two sides of me went head to head and what I'm left with is the knowing that I need to breathe and believe that with each micro-step I take I am doing something to reach my dream.  It may take me an eternity longer than I would like it to but at least I'm moving forward.  I have been in two exhibitions, I have sold art works, I have paintings in New Zealand and will soon have one in Australia.  I can do this and I even have moments when I AM living my dream.

I think the best part is what's slowing up my process is being present with my big beautiful family.  I am behind in my projects because I go to the sports games and gala's.  I do the homeschooling and the outings.  My children are growing and learning and watching me do the same.  My stretching nourishes their potentials.  I have to keep in mind that there are limits to what one person can manage in 24hours.

I also need to keep putting one creative mark after the other!

What are you being impatient about with your dreams?  How are you being patient with your process?  How do those around you benefit from your journey?  Share your success or slides!  Let's get there together.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My candle burns at both ends - and maybe through the middle!

Well - it's been the most wild ride of a week we've had in a while and I can't believe that it's not over yet! Cricket Game matches and practices and home schooling outings and school picnics and it just keeps going.

First of all the work I managed in my shortened classes Monday and Tuesday - shortened due to my hubby being away on business for those days:
The top left you saw before but the others are all new WIPs  of Scarlet from Marvel Comics
I did rotate this however when I posted it - my computer twisted it back!

Wednesday I wanted to try and put some work on my illustration course and picture book work so I sat down with the children and they worked out some of their own illustrations:

This is a picture of a family baking a cobbler on the left and a picture of swimming at the dam on the right - by Aurion  
This is a cobbler in a pan with butter and crumble on top - by Kael.
Then The Two Oceans Aquarium visit:
Clowing around with the clown fish

Fairies among the clown fish
This IS only Thursday.  I've barely managed to get my blog posted today for all the family activity.  I really hope there is time and energy left this weekend in between all the sport till to come!

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light.
Edna St. Vincent Millay, "A Few Figs from Thistles", 1920
US poet (1892 - 1950)   

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


SARK Creative Dream Game Card face


One of the most inhibiting factors for creative dream living is how we think we need to do something well or perfectly to begin it.  

Give yourself permission to do something badly.  How badly could you do it?

From Me:  I think this is one of my more favorite cards in the game.  I am a recovering perfectionist.  I make my life (and my families life) really tough trying to be perfect.  This card reminds me to LET GO!  PLAY.  Having fun is OK!  Heck it's preferred.

One more beautiful husband phoned me one morning.  It had been a tough morning.  I was really getting a lesson in practicing patience.  Keeping my cool.  Thinking outside the box because my homeschooling plans were crashing worse than a freeway in the rain during rush hour.  After the usual how's it going - fine etc.  He said "I love you".  He meant more than that.  Then he said "Your doing a good job."

This tore off my perfection coat and allowed me to see that I was actually doing a good job.  I wouldn't really do a bad job, (on purpose) taking care of my children.  I was doing my VERY BEST.  I think we need to remember about our "very best".  It's a changing gauge based on experience.  When we first do our very best we usually need to do it again.  For instance in our first draft - the first expression of ideas etc.  Then we do it again and improve on our best - making a new "very best".

So - what are you going to allow your self to do badly?  I'm going to write my February Picture Book story and I'm going to finish my first "Scarlet" Art class project.  I will do it badly - and I will leave it alone.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

BREAKING NEWS I've been Choosen

I've been honored by Rena J. Traxel - a great writer, photographer, humorist and more...please check out her blog.  She's given me the

This Award is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers, all in the spirit of fostering new connections and making friends.
Liebste is German word that means ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’ but also ‘favorite’ or 'like'.  The idea of the Liebster award is to bring attention to blogs with less than 200 followers.  

The Rules are (possibly changeable):
  1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  2. Reveal your top five picks for the award and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Post the award on your blog.
  4. Bask in the love from the supportive people on the blogsphere.
  5. And, best of all – have fun! 
  6. There seems to be an additional rule that you tell five random things about yourself.
I searched briefly for the "original" liebster Blog award but I came up with only more and more amazing little blogs (as opposed to big with over 200 followers).  What I found was that each one eventually had some little change to the rules.  The basics seemed to be 1-3.  But alone they are a bit...lonely.  4-6 add a little spice.

Rena J. Traxel I want to thank you deeply for this opportunity.  I found so many amazing blogs and got most of the way through the Picture Book Dummy Challenge blog list.  Amazing talent.  I also found that many of my favorite blogs had received the award already - of course.

These are the five blogs I wish to nominate for this award (in no particular order):

Lisa Thompson I don't know how many followers you have but - your blog is great inspiration.  As a mom of 4 I know the challenges of 3.  I'm also starting "late" on knowing what I want to do when I grow up! PLUS we are both in the Marks and Splashes Course .

Helga Pearson Another Marks and Splashes Course  cohort, mother, late starter.  What can I say - like attracts like.  The kicker is we are both in South Africa.

Josh Reed What a fabulous drawing site!  The BEST BEST BEST - Thank you Mark G. Mitchell

Kevin Cross Super Rad illustrator and Dad to be.  Kevin - I also don' t know how many "followers" you have but I found you Super Rad (as advertised)- even the dad to be blog!

Karien Naude If it wasn't for Karien I wouldn't have signed up for the Marks and Splashes Course .  Thanks for the encouragement Karien - such beautiful work!

Cheers, Ciao, Adios and Thanks for all the fish! *Curtsey*

EDIT:  I visited Lisa Thompson's blog this morning to find she's received the LA already from another M&S cohort.  Great minds!

Also I realized I failed to DIRECTLY state 5 things about me.  I must say I think you can find them between all the lines but here's to simplicity:

1.  I get REALLY excited about sharing with others - so much so I forget to put it all together BEFORE I put it out there.
2. I am proud to be living in South Africa - And I'm proud to be from TEXAS (San Antonio - home of the Alamo!)
3. I'm a dream chaser,  encourager and muse
4. Fine art, illustration, paints, colours and general creative expression fill me with happiness.
5. I love books and writing - especially if they are children's books.  So little drama and so much fun!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Zombie Thursday

Doesn't that sound  Actually my two youngest children have been ill and we have not had much sleep.  I missed a class and am now even further behind than I already felt.  Andrew says I must just have fun!  Yeah - ok.  It is great and I do love it but it's a strong push to keep up.  I am a mother first - but my artist has waited so long!

Here is what I've managed so far from our new project for a page layout from Scarlet (I'm struggling to find the exact link for this exact series so I am giving links to get you at least some of the material.  Alex Maleev and Michael Bendis are the original creators)

This is my first try at Officer Guzman

This is my first attempt at scarlet up close and personal - the rough below is the second cell on a 6 cell page.
Please excuse my less than stelar photos - It's the best for what I've got at the moment.  Maybe by next week I can have some character roughs for my picture book idea too.  I am hopeful at least.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Today's SARK GAME Card snippet:

What excites or inspires you about living more of your creative dreams?  Are you hiding for some reason?

Make a list of [people who are living their creative dreams].

From me:  Do you have anyone in mind?

This makes me think of role models.  I don't really like to have a role model.  I find it makes me push to hard for a perfection that doesn't exist.  I know - it's good to strive.  My point is that we often live our lives under the illusion that our role models are or should be perfect.  They NEVER are.  They are real people.  I'm inspired by REAL people.

For me -SARK, Piet Grobler, Helga Pearson, Tanya Liebenberg, Julie Hedlund -  They start my list - it's a long list.  They make  me laugh, think, stretch and grow.  Also this little guy - you can see from his eyes that he asks WHY a whole lot.  AND he's excited about most anything in life.  (he's a bit tired here from some late night Christmas spoiling)

Now some of them you may know and some of them - well -they are my friends - you might not know them.  Those you know:  Piet and Julie - well they inspire me because of their amazing ability to move things forward and go beyond the expected.

My friends; they inspire me because I see them reaching for their dreams and I know some of their challenges make that a very interesting journey across the proverbial tight rope.

Who inspires you?  Could you see yourself having a similar impact on others?

(and of course - Happy Valentines Day - send yourself some roses!)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Scarlet Update

After a few fine hours of work I've managed to get this far.  I must admit - I'm not into guns.  Not even in paintings.  There is still a good bit of work to go but I wanted to post the progress as we may have a new project in class for the coming week and ol' Scarlet may be waiting for the finish.  I don't think Marvel Comics will be signing me up anytime soon!  What's with the chain link on her top?