Bridging the “Gap”

Checking my “On This Day” on my personal Facebook account has become somewhat of a habit. And by that I mean, when I’m laying in bed, unable to sleep, I look at the clock, see it is after midnight, and think, “oh, at least, I can check my ‘On This Day’ now.” I regularly have difficulty falling asleep, hence the use of the word “habit.”

This past Friday, I was a bit behind in checking it. However, I did make time in my day to post a new business card I designed. It is a joke card I designed about my dog, who I have decided needs to stop whining in my ear, getting hair on my carpet, demanding food, and instead get out there and make a bigger contribution to society. There is also a resume I created for him, which you can see here. After I posted this image of the business card, which includes a portrait of the pooch, Facebook reminded me to check my “On This Day.” As it turns out, five years ago, I also posted a portrait of Renegade. It was created much in the same way the one on his business card was — I drew out a quick sketch, transferred the hand drawing to my computer, then outlined it and colored it using a couple of Adobe’s programs. The process being the same, the end result is certainly not:

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What adds to this coincidence is that on a different year from either of these dog portraits, I ALSO posted  on this day, the embedded video below. It is two minutes of audio of Ira Glass speaking about what he calls, “the gap.” (It also has some beautifully animated typography by David Shiyang Liu)

For a very long time, and sometimes still, I get an idea in my head, get very (quietly) excited about it like a dork, research if I need to, sketch it out, possibly sketch it out a second time, transfer it over to whatever media I will be creating a finish in, complete it, and along the way have arguments and make compromises with myself over how this is not looking the way I intended it to. As a result of this, many of my canvases have multiple paintings within the layers of paint as I try to get it right. Even if you go through my files of digital work, most of those pieces have more than one version of a finish.

This happenstance, of both these portraits being shown to me at the same time, along with this video, is an inspiring and much-needed reminder of how far I’ve come. Not necessarily in a monetary way, or worldwide renowned way, or even being settled into life way, but a deeply personal, building-myself-into-the-artist-I-want-to-be way. I do not feel like I have yet to completely bridge the gap Glass describes, but I think my bridge is coming along very nicely.

For anyone who is undergoing any type of creative endeavor, or even just trying to get through life and developing their ideas of who they are as a person, this video applies to you.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.”

“It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

A wish of peace and warm toes this holiday season.

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

I am really not quite sure how it has become that time of year again, but oh boy has the tail of the end of the year come up fast.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 12.24.24 PMMany, many changes this year for me, with even more coming as we enter the new year — however, one tradition is staying the same:

The SamSketches 4th Annual Holiday card is finished and on order.

And as the tradition holds, this limited edition card print (signed and numbered) is free to anyone who trusts me with their address, allowing me to mail it to them. It is a token of my sincerest thanks to followers and patrons for supporting me once again throughout the year.

I am delighted to have been able to already have added new addresses my constantly growing card list. But, not to worry there are still a few slots left!

To any interested, you may email me, info@samsketches.com, with your request for one. Or, reach me via any other form of communication at your disposal.

“Victors of Survival”

Finding My Peace of Space #1This Saturday morning I will be riding over to Port Jeff to drop off two pieces from a currently five piece series I started this summer called Finding My Peace of Space.   

Able to submit up to two pieces for this show, I selected #1 and #3 from my series (number two is kind of tiny, and I wanted to present with larger works). When given the option, I always submit the max allowed to increase my odds of getting something, anything in, and as luck would have it, both were chosen.

THE SHOW: 

It is labeled as “Victors of Survival: Artists United Against Breast Cancer,” an Art exhibition and Breast Cancer Victory celebration benefiting Fortunato Breast Health Care Center at Mather Hospital, Port Jefferson. The location for it is the Port Jefferson Village Center and it has been put together by the North Shore Art Guild.

The prospectus for this show describes the theme to be, “not just about breast cancer. [But] about personal transformation, the person you become having faced the experience. It’s about the emergence of the warrior within you, and the struggle that brings it forth. It’s about you, the artist, and how you choose to transform that passion into expression.

With that said, I am looking very forward to the many ways people have been able to visually translate this concept.

In addition to this show bringing people out to support a worthy cause with their presence, all of us artists are not only putting our paintbrushes, but our money where our mouth is — a portion of every sale goes to the Benefit.

Finding My Peace of Space #3The show will be opening to the public this Sunday, August 30th and remain viewable until October 31st.  Allowing plenty of time for everyone to make a stop. According to the Village Center Gallery webpage, gallery hours are 9 am to 9 pm daily.

The formal opening reception will not be held until October 3rd, from 4 – 7 pm (where you will find me walking around admiring all of the art).

Getting ready to “Paint the Great South Bay”

Amidst the several other projects/goals I have set for myself this month and going forward into fall, I signed up to participate in an event taking place this week that will be a new experience for me.

I am half excited, half nervous to be one of a number of artists painting the Great South Bay “en plein air“** for an event led by the South Bay Art Association aptly named, “Paint the Great South Bay.” Myself, along with other artists from around Long Island, will be setting up our easels to capture and create views of our island’s beautiful Great South Bay.

Rain or shine (I hope to get out early to avoid the rain) we will be creating artwork on location this week from Thursday, the 20th, thru Saturday, the 22nd. I will use all the assorted social media outlets to post where I am, as well as document my progress. I plan to be setting myself up in Gardiners Park, right at the edge where I can grab both a view of the Fire Island lighthouse, the Robert Moses bridge, the *raincloud-less* sky, and of course the bay.

On Sunday, August 23rd, from 1 pm to 4 pm, there will be an opening reception at the Paper Cup Studio art gallery (139 South Country Road in Bellport), displaying all of our work from the week. The pieces will be available for viewing and for sale from then until September 20th, with gallery hours being Thursdays to Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm, and Sundays from 12 pm to 4 pm.

There has been a Facebook group created for any one interested to check in and see where other artists will be located: Paint the Great South Bay FB Group.

**en plein air: a French expression which means “in the open air” and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors, which is also called peinture sur le motif (“painting of the object(s) or what the eye actually sees”) in French.

From Quick Sketch to Gallery Wall

I am the owner of many, many scraps of paper: whether they be stuck into a sketchbook, on my dining room table, my purse, my back pack, my messenger bag, my other purse (yes, it has been mentioned to me I have quite a few bags), my closet, my night stand, my dresser, and finally my desk – the only place they are actually supposed to be. On these scraps are sketches, doodles, thoughts, and emotions jotted quickly down in order to get them healthily out of my system. A lot of the time these scraps are placed down, snapped for the sake of an Instagram post, and then not so much forgotten, as they are just left where they are as I have to get up and go about the rest of my day. From this, you can imagine, many of these sketches do not get to become the complete illustrations I would like them to be. Unfortunately, I have not yet discovered a way for there to be enough hours in the day for me to accomplish that task. But I am working on it.

Elastic Sketch      Cross My <3 Sketch

It was with this idea in mind, of looking back through these scraps, that I pulled the above two sketches and decided to make them something more. The sketch on the right is minimum three years old, and the finished piece created from its beginnings was not completed until two months ago. Both these “scraps” have been sitting around with potential, and I am glad I was finally able to make them something more.

It makes me even happier that they were both completed in time to be accepted into the Huntington Arts Council’s Juried Art Show, “Artie Techie.”

Both works have been printed, framed, and will be on display in their Main Street Gallery from July 2nd to 18th.

Elastic      Cross My <3

My Life in Paper and Piles

I somehow always find myself in a situation of coming and going. I have for a long while. My room and workspace is in a constant state of disarray, with the somewhat hopeful thought it will be alright: this constant back and forth is only temporary. The result of this is my life is made up of all of these piles. Piles of due dates, piles of laundry, piles of receipts, piles of jewelry (I’m not so good at maintaining organization with these little pieces at all – does not at all mean I don’t want more) piles of unwatched dvr television episodes and not nearly the last of the piles, but most notably — piles of paper.FullSizeRenderIf you know me at all, these piles make me incredibly cranky. For this reason, I am very glad to have recently had the time to organize some of these many piles. (Few things make me happier than organization)

My pile of paper. Recently, I felt I had been drawing much less and stalling out. Then I came across this. This mountain that when everything is put together contains 19 sketchbooks of varying sizes and about 1000 sheets (I didn’t actually count the sheets I’m making an educated guestimate based off of the reams I’ve gone thru) of paper. Admittedly, not all of them contain the greatest of pencil scratches or the most dutifully steady ink lines. But they all have something.

I didn’t spend time scrutinizing every piece, I don’t ever have that much free time, but I did take a moment to breeze through some of them. Doing so allowed me to see that this enemy pile I’ve been glancing at with a scowl for the last few weeks, is my life.  Yep, that’s right. My life laid out in paper: filled with memories, accomplishments, a random bill or receipt here or there, time, beauty, and sometimes terrible moments I would rather crumple up and throw out, but I don’t.  A lot of what I am is in that pile and I’ve been letting it sit there, neglected and mostly hated.

Now, not all the piles in my life are of such importance, but they probably do deserve a bit more positive attention than I have been giving them. This is going to be part of the plan going into 2015 — more attention to and maintenance of me and my piles.

SamSketches: A 2015 Calendar

Now Available

It was last year around this time, that I came up with a Christmas gift idea for my older sister, Sylvia.  After a fun filled evening (as usual) with her in which we joked about how horrible she is with remembering dates, I decided to create for her a personalized calendar to supply her with many of the important dates she would need to remember.  I also filled each month with my art, which she has always been a supporter (and perhaps slightly bias fan) of.

It wasn’t until I started showing a few people the gift, that I realized there were others who would appreciate the opportunity to have a calendar as well.  I had a few more printed and debuted the 2014 calendar at some of the fairs and festivals I was glad to be a part of earlier this year.

I was not prepared for it to be one of the items I sold out of so quickly.

This time I decided I would be better prepared :)

And I am happy to say that 2014 has continued to be a year full of surprises, as the 2015 calendar is not yet off the presses and my preorders have already piled up.

I look forward to the first shipment arriving and sending off these little beauties to their new homes!

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With all that said anyone interested in a calendar it is available in my store, you may click the appropriate above link or visit here — also feel free to email me info@samsketches.com, text me if you have the number, Facebook me, or stop me in person when you see me.