THE ARTISTIC LIFE – Living the creative life in everything we do

Posts tagged ‘art’

My Newest Oil Painting

I hope everyone is having a great week! I want to share with you the most recent addition to my oil painting portfolio, a 36″x54″ (big!) oil on canvas of a pastoral scene that I recently completed. This was created for a friend’s mom, based on the view from her house.

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Oil paintings by Jennifer Lycke

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This Little Piggy

Hello again! To make up for lost time, I’ll be sharing some items with you, so we can all catch up. On June 29, eight pig statues, including mine, were revealed in the town of Smithfield and one was even symbolically “christened” (Have you ever been to a pig christening before? This was a first for me.) Here is the town’s link to their Olden Days photo album, pig reveal included. You’ll see some photos of children with my pig, which makes me happy, as I wanted the design to appeal to kids. Below is a picture of me showing one side (pigs in the pillory) of Cultural Pig.

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This Blows! …A First Attempt at Glassblowing

The very exciting new state-of-the-art glass studio is now open at the Chrysler Museum. I have always been a fan of glass art, often purchasing blown glass ornaments and decorations on my travels. For the grand opening of this studio, an expert from Murano, Italy even recently performed and demonstrated his art. I was very excited to try out this skill with an hour-long class at the studio with a friend.

We were shown around the Hot Shop and the Cold Shop and the kiln area and given some safety information. Then our instructor gave us a demonstration of what we would be trying. There were 8 students, and after the demo, the lesson became hands-on. We were each given a metal rod, so that we could learn how to properly hold it and turn it while the molten glass was on the tip. Then we each had our turn taking the rod, putting molten glass on the tip, rotating, spinning, heating, trimming, cooling and so forth…Pardon me if I do not have all of the terminology right yet, as this was my first introduction to glassblowing.

It was a little scary performing all of the tasks, both in trying to remember all of the steps while the other students were watching, as well as hoping I wouldn’t burn my hands off, set the studio ablaze, fall into the furnace, or singe someone’s feet off. After all, the waivers we signed indicated that there was a remote possibility of death due to glassblowing activities…But we gleefully signed off on our waivers anyway, knowing that glassblowing was bucketlist material.

So, each of us nervously had our turn, but everyone stayed safe and was happy with the clear glass marbles that we made and kept as mementos of our initial attempts at glassblowing. My marble has “feet”. I don’t think it’s supposed to. But at least it can stand proudly and remind me of another fun experience I had, getting out of my comfort zone and learning something new.

I can’t wait to go back and try something else!

Painting Baby Gift Idea

I was just reminded, as I went to a toddler twin birthday party, about the idea of painting small pictures for infants or toddlers. At our friends’ house, they decorated the twin toddlers’ room with the two little bright paintings I created 2 years ago as baby shower gifts. These paintings can be relatively easy to make, even for those who don’t normally paint. Most people enjoy a handmade creative gift, and I think, particularly, when it can become a keepsake for their little ones.

The design can be up to your imagination, but here I provide pictures of the ones I created. Small canvases can be purchased at any art supply store, and even most craft stores, such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. I liked the looks of these little 8″x8″ canvases, which I bought gallery-wrapped, so that they wouldn’t require frames.

Draw a preliminary design first; choose a topic, font, and colors. For infants and young children, simple designs and patterns work best. There’s no need to be Michelangelo for this. A simple design like a ladybug or butterfly works great, especially for little girls. Once the design has been decided, it’s time to start painting! With these small canvases and simple designs, it does not take that long to paint. Solid, bright colors to emphasize the simple design work best. I find it is also nice to include the child’s name on each painting, in a fun childlike font, to further personalize the artwork. Since we are using gallery-wrapped canvases, paint the sides of the canvas in a matching color, or by extending the background color to the sides.

Allow at least a couple weeks to dry (if using oil paints; acrylics dry much more quickly). You may add a simple picture hanger or wire to the back with picture screws. Make sure you take a photograph of your masterpiece, to keep a record of your artwork. Maybe you will want to make more paintings for the future babies in your life!

Eleven Tips to Be Creative

Eleven Tips to Be Creative (I was aiming for Ten, but I guess I was feeling creative)

While this is certainly not a definitive or a scientific list, there are certain things I personally do to improve my chances of having a creative day:

1. Read about lots of different topics – I’m not very into “niches”…and have never liked being “put into a box”. After all, no one category or “box” can describe me, which is probably the same for most people. I get bored with niches and am interested in so many different hobbies and topics. Learning about various current events and varied topics not only keeps life interesting, but keeps one’s mind alert and creative. One’s brain starts to connect disparate ideas and topics and relates them in new and different ways.

2. Take different routes to work/school/shopping. I’m not a neuroscientist, but I realize that doing something differently and not in the same old rut makes those synapses fire away. New connections are made in our brains, which are then recharged to start thinking differently. Besides, you might discover that new gift shop that just opened or an enticing bakery that you never knew existed.

3. Listen to music. Different types of music. Jazz. Rock. Alternative. World. Pop. Opera. Heck, even Country. Also, listen to your favorite song from when you were a senior in high school. Listening to your favorite music from days of yore, not only brings back good memories, but stirs your mind. Every painting class I’ve ever taken played background music during studio time. Music stimulates the right side of your brain, which of course is necessary for creativity. iTunes, CDs, and the radio are great, of course, but if you have the opportunity to hear some live music – even better!

4. Window shop and browse catalogs and magazines. You don’t need to spend money for this. However, just looking at a myriad of items and products, especially colorful and/or creative products stimulates my thinking and gets me excited to start creating! And, if you can afford it, spring for that new dress or bedspread while you’re at it!

5. Look at art. Get to a local museum, gallery, or art fair. Galleries and fairs usually have free entry and even museums may be free (donations accepted) on certain days of the week. Whether you are an artist or not, nothing stimulates the right brain like looking at various types of painting, sculpture, mixed media and photography.

6. Make time to recharge. Allow a little bit of time each day for yourself to relax or participate in your favorite hobby. Most people can’t be creative 24 hours a day…I know that I need to have a bit of down time daily to allow myself to recharge, so I can then focus my creativity for those times when I NEED to be creative.

7. Practice the art of brainstorming…when trying to come up with a solution or a new idea, let yourself relax and just write whatever crazy ideas come into your head. Most of the ideas might be too crazy to act upon, but write them down nonetheless. Don’t be discriminating. Try to come up at least 20 ideas. Later on, you can go back and cross off the ideas that simply won’t work. But, all you need is for 1 idea out of 20 to be the solution you’re looking for!

8. If you’re going to watch TV, watch something educational or a do-it-yourself type of channel. Seeing people working hard at their creative products, whether it be decorating, home re-design, or cooking that delicious and nutritious meal in under half-an-hour, motivates me, teaches me, and usually gives me ideas.

9. Exercise. The solution to whatever problem I’m trying to solve sometimes comes to me suddenly while I’m taking a brisk walk or using the elliptical trainer. I guess the increased blood circulations gets ideas circulating in the brain too!

10. Keep a journal. It doesn’t have to be a diary, and you don’t need to begin every entry with “Dear Diary…”. However after receiving a Christmas gift of a blank journal, I began jotting down creative ideas in it whenever I would think of something. I realized that I’ve always been creative, but I often forgot my “inspired ideas” by the next day, because I never wrote them down. My brain would then move on to the next idea, but it would then leave a trail of forgotten ideas behind. Now I DO write them down, and I can refer to them anytime I want. It is improving the amount of action I take on these ideas. In fact, my idea for this blog was jotted down randomly in this journal…

11. Eat healthy and take your vitamins! Being nutritiously minded keeps one’s energy, brain and heart at peak levels. On the other spectrum, lethargy leads to fewer ideas, and, more importantly, less energy to act upon those ideas.

Dog Portrait Painting Finished

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I’ve recently finished painting a dog portrait I was commissioned to work on, from a set of photos. Galahad was a beautiful subject to work from. The recipient of this painting has a minimalist style for decor, so I thought a modern minimalist frame would work well. I couldn’t find the right finish in the frame I wanted, so after receiving the frame, I sanded and stained it in a Pecan gloss. I think it suits the piece. What do you think?

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to The Artistic Life blog!

As an artist, photographer, web designer, and graphic designer, I am always trying to be creative in various ways, using different outlets. Even when I’m not working on an art project, creativity enriches my daily life, by getting me to try new hobbies and be curious about many different fields, seemingly unrelated to art, but still related in some way deep down. I’ve never believed that art and design are luxury items that can be separated from the rest of life…they are part of living and closely related to science, math, music, philosophy, culture, history, religion…you can’t have these without art. Anything produced must have a design. It may be a poor design, but a design nonetheless.

I’ve heard many people say that they aren’t creative…I don’t think that’s true! Anyone can be creative and probably already are creative in ways they don’t realize. One doesn’t have to paint a masterpiece to be creative. Many people experiment with a new recipe, sew a dress for their child, problem-solve an issue in their lives, invent a new game to keep the kids entertained….there are countless ways to be creative in daily life and this should be recognized!

In this blog, I hope to touch various topics related to art, creativity, photography, design, cooking, travel, or new hobbies…or whatever creative outlet seems to be taking shape in my life at the moment.

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