Saturday, January 19, 2013

Inside the Creation of One of My Drawings - Far From This Land

Thanks for stopping by.  
Far From This Land -  Made using up-cycled fiberboard, gouache paint, latex paint as the primer, prismacolor colored pencil, and graphite pencil.  

I began using up-cycled fiberboard a few years ago after my kids opened their Christmas presents.  There were many clothing gift-boxes laying around and as I was cleaning up I looked and saw a wonderful surface for drawing and painting.  It's thicker than paper, so it won't warp as much when I paint on it.  Another part I like is the raw and unfinished edge created when I cut off the pieces I don't want to use.  
My routine starts by collecting several boxes I want to use.  Once I have enough, I'll cut the excess off and begin priming, usually taking up a day of my creative time (I work full-time and have to schedule my creative time when I can.)  After that, I'll take a stack of primed boards and start drawing with pencil, usually just an outline, or sketch.  From there it's what the piece feels like it should be, or look like.  

Far From This Land started with a gouache paint wash over the pencil drawing.  From there I began to add the detail with prismacolor colored pencil.  I LOVE these pencils!!!  They do everything I want from a pencil.

Decisions, decisions...  What to do next...
What should I leave, and what should I change...?

This part of the process is one of my favorites.  I often find this time to be very meditative for me.  These decisions I make on the drawing I equate to the decisions I make in my life.  I choose the colors I want my life to be and the mood or feeling I want to express and feel.
I like the expression "Live Life on Art's Terms."
This is where I am conscious of the decisions I'm making and that they are "painting" my life's picture.

Thanks for Visiting!

Please leave your comments and share your thoughts and ideas, I'd love to hear from you.
Visit to see more.

 This last shot is just before it's done, the final product is at the top of the post.

© scott garrette 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

Reis Park - Exploring and Hiking in Putnam County, NY 2012

There is a short hiking trail that goes behind the soccer fields of Reis Park in upper Westchester County.  There are a few activity areas, monkey bars, parallel bars, balance beam, etc.
I'm always fascinated by the trees.  There are so many, all around the county.  I'm originally from KC, MO, and there are trees, woods and trails there, but the height and abundance of the trees here in New York...  inspiring and beautiful.

Little spots of beauty all around.

Luckily my kids allow me to explore on my own time.  I do stop frequently to capture a beautiful sight.

New Work for the New Year - Drawings and Paintings

These new pieces have been so much fun to work on.  There's a story in all of them.  Come by my shop to check them out.

 Exploring Gouache paint with colored pencil and pencil on primed fiberboard.  I like the raw edges of the fiberboard.  The fiberboard is from gift boxes, cereal boxes and any other box that has a nice paintable surface will do.  I like the thickness of the fiberboard and  the imperfections.

A Straw Bale Adventure

My Straw Bale Adventure....

This project was a labor of love.  A fully permitted structure built as post and beam with straw bale in-fill for the walls.  

One of the interior photos shows the 'cob' (clay, sand and straw mixture) shelves.  These were fun and very strong.  When they were dry, I could stand on them.  They were created by piercing bamboo into the seams of the stacked bales and 'cobbling' around the bamboo.

I learned a lot along the way and it took a couple of years to complete.  With the support of friends and family the project was well worth the wait.  The earthen plaster and earthen floor were probably the most difficult areas.  The recipes were not an exact science and the long term effects were unknown.
This is my largest creation to-date and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to create another within my lifetime.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Clear Mind Leads To A More Pleasant Experience

You won't ever find me sitting with my legs crossed and arms out in the generalized view of how one meditates.  Instead, you'll find me drawing, painting, playing music, swimming, exercising...  All of these activities allow me to clear my mind.  My meditation is about clearing my mind of the distractions that cause me to stumble through my daily activities.  My art is a product of my meditation.

One of my favorite places to clear my mind is under water.  When I can hear my own heart beating and the blood flowing through my body, it's easier for me to focus and forget the outside world.

I'd like to share a method of "mind clearing" I enjoy and find very effective for quick results when the day requires nearly all of my available time.  My work can be very intense at times and the intensity can be sustained for many, many hours and last well beyond an 8 hour work day.  (I'm not sure what an 8 hour workday feels like anymore...)

OK...  HERE IT IS:   Mind Clearing Method - The Sponge
     How do you do it?

First -  Find a place where you can be alone (at least mentally, if not physically.)
     This can be anywhere, your car, cubicle, bathroom, shower, outside, bedroom...  As long as you can eliminate distractions fully.

Second -  Control your breathing.
    This helps eliminate distractions and brings your thoughts to you and your body.  Breath deep, deliberate and slow.  Concentrate on breathing in, full breaths into your belly if necessary.  Then, out... let it all out, but there is no need to strain to push all the air out.

Third -  Imagine a sponge, the kind that is used to absorb liquid, not the sea creature.
   Now, when you breath in imagine the sponge filling.  Breath out and imagine the sponge being squeezed out/empty.  Do this until all of your attention is on the filling and emptying of the sponge.

Fourth -  Visualize clean water coming into the sponge and dirty water coming out as you breath in and out.
     This is when you start to really feel the affects of the meditation technique.  At this point you are able to control how fully you will clear your mind.  It is where you can adjust the level of focus depending upon the struggles that are causing your mind to be muddy.  
     As I breath in, I visualize the sponge filling with clean thoughts as it expands.  When I exhale, I let all of the "dirty" thoughts flow out of the sponge, down the drain.  Breath in, and more "clean" thoughts fill the sponge.  Out, and the "dirty" thoughts come out a little more diluted.  It's important to visualize the "dirty" thoughts (I visualize water) coming out more and more "clean."  The goal is to clean the sponge (your mind) of the distractions (dirt.)

When the sponge is clean, you are done.  Well, unless the dirty water (thoughts) didn't really go down the drain.  This is what determines how long you must "meditate."

Hope this helps.

Please, share your meditation tips.  I'm sure there are many ways that work.

©scott garrette  2013