Mountain Sketch in Progress

It has been a week since I began this drawing. However, Wednesday is the only day that I really have to sit down and truly give it time to develop.

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Now that I have finished a very hefty amount of editing on my debut novel, Nexus Gate 4037: The Animal, I have a bit more time on my hands and I plan to use it building this piece.

I have taken some liberties in how many peeks and valleys are in my drawing versus the original image. Really, I am more interested in learning how to build color with color pencil than anything. I am still in the layering stages, applying different colors on top of the others in order to achieve the tone that I am looking for. This is a practice in patience as well as growth.

Stay tuned for more as she grows!

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~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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“Anything You Can Do I Can Do”…But Why Should I?: Creating My Way

First, the title of this article is not necessarily true in and of its self, but I am trying to paint a picture with words here, so follow along, will you?

I am not sure if you are familiar with the old musical “Annie Get Your Gun” starring Betty Hutton and Howard Keel. In the movie, there is a song that they sing to each other. It’s more two people shooting arrogant verse at each other as if they are bullets. “Anything you can do I can do better. I can do anything better than you.

As creatives, we are all looking for our own place in the world, our own voice. Even when and while we are inspired by and appreciate the expressions of others, we can sometimes find ourselves looking at fellow creatives with competitive eyes. “I can do that and I can do it better. Maybe I should try.

Being human, no matter what we are aiming to do, we can all go ahead and admit we’ve  done that once or twice. 

In an older post, I quoted Octavia E. Butler on how she became a science fiction writer. (Did I mention she is the winner of the Hugo Award and Nebula Awards?) Anyhow, she said that when she was twelve years old she watched a dreadful science fiction flick. It was so bad that she was determined to write “good” science fiction. And she did, obviously.

…I have to make art that I care about not just art that I can make. ~Candice Coates

But her attitude was “I can do better than that.” And that attitude paid off. (If you have not read any of her work, check out Wild Seed.) The thing is, not only did she set out to write ‘better’ science fiction, but she did it her way, in her own voice, without competing with the voices that were already out there.

Since ICFTS began, I have been on a constant journey to identify my voice as an artist. Truth be told, I have been on this search since I have been an artist. I have always been very eclectic. But one thing that has come to mind with all of this is that I have to make art that I care about not just art that I can make.

As I have said for years, just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should. That is when you get stuck in ruts of hollow, soulless work, be it writing, visual art, whatever it is. Always create what you care about.

I am on a hunt to find what it is that I care about. I love doing oil paintings, I love writing (writing will ALWAYS be my thing. I love to tell a story.) but with visual art, it just all depends.

I find that even with oil painting, though I have a talent for it,  I am exploring more pencil work, with ink and colored pencils. And there is always the option of mixed media illustration.  There are so many options.

…just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.” ~Candice Coates

I remember, years ago, in undergrad during a departmental review, my professors telling me “All your work is amazing, Ms. Coates, but it looks like the work of twenty different artists.”

On one hand, this is not a bad thing at all. It’s like being multilingual. I speak twenty different artistic languages. On the other hand, it begs the question, are you perfectly fluent in any of them? Jack or rather Jacqueline of all trades and master of…only a few.

 

 

 

We need to create on purpose, with purpose.”

CREATING WITH CONSIDERATION

There are 3 verses that come to mind in this regard. I will pluck at each. One is Philippians 4:13,I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

It is comforting to know that if I set myself to do things that He, Christ Jesus, has placed in my heart to do, that no matter what, if I trust Him, He has given me the strength to do them.

I want to make art. He has given me the gift to do so and also the strength for it.

I Corinthians 10:23,You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is helpful. You say, “I am allowed to do anything” but not everything is beneficial.

With the creative strength and gift given unto me, I need to operate in wisdom. So what I can, sculpt. I don’t feel ANYTHING when I am sculpting apart from a loss of time. Dash the great reviews of my audience. (Just using sculpting as an example.)

Where is the benefit of doing something just because you can? You won’t benefit from my efforts and in the long run, no one else will either. The work is void of any life because your heart was not in it. This is arbitrary actions at its best.

Both of these verses bring me to Isaiah 30:21,and your ears hear a word behind you, saying “This is the Way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or whenever you turn to the left.

BE CREATIVE, NOT COMPETITIVE

What is the point? The point is not to be arbitrary, not to be competitive. Art, to me, creation and creativity, is sacred. It needs to be treated with respect and care. We need to create on purpose with purpose. Not in a way to “out do” the person next to us. There has to be meaning involved. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.

In conjunction with this, we should not only create what we care about, but we should create on subjects or themes that we care about.  If you are not interested in what you are doing your work “on” you are still going to get the same empty results, a pretty picture with no life to it, even if you are doing it in a medium that you love.

My creative path is still winding forward. I am discovering more about me and what I want out of my career as a visual artist. I am ever on the hunt to uncover my “niche” and voice.

But even where I stand now,  I can be confident in creating what I am curious about and care about, and leave all the competitive  “I can do better than you” mess behind me. And best of all, so can you!

*This article was originally published on February 12th, 2014 & Updated February 19th, 2018.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

*Do you ever feel like you could be making better use of your creative time, or that you’ve lost yourself in a creative competitive race? Talk about it in the comments below.

Round 2 of Face Drawing

Last week I did a sketch of a woman’s face. And although I was pleased with overcoming the challenge of handling graphite, I was not satisfied with the end result as it compared to the image I was drawing from.

Today, rather than lean on my crutch of colored pencils, I pulled out my Creta color graphite pencils, opened that same photo, and spent nearly an hour working on the image…again.

 

What I ended up with today, to me, is a giant leap of improvement compared to the first attempt. The proportions are in line with the original image, which makes my soul happy.

I am gaining more confidence with drawing with graphite alone, which in my humble opinion, is a good foundation for drawing. I am eager to dive in and try some drawings and illustrations done with Copic markers, of houses as well as people. but all in time.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Graphite Sketch of the Face

Today I decided, again, to continue my practice with the use of graphite on paper, Cretacolor Monolith, graphite pencil to be exact. That familiar but waining hesitation was felt the moment I decided to use graphite instead of something that I am more confident in manipulating such as ballpoint pen or colored pencil.

 

I recognize that my hesitation or fear is born out of a mental lie that I have somehow bought into, and I feel that confronting that lie is the sole reason why the Holy Spirit nudges me to start this journey with graphite…for now.

I spent around forty minutes working on this face. I can already see where I have some discrepancies with proportions, still, I am satisfied with dealing this ‘dragon’ one more deadly blow as I gain back my confidence with using graphite.

Face

It is very likely that I will revisit this image again in the future, but with the medium of colored pencil. Then, we shall do a compare and contrast, maybe even next Wednesday.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

A William Adolphe Bouguereau Study of “The Bather”

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A 40 min sketch of William Adolph Bouguereau’s “The Bather”

The first month of 2018 is nearly done, but blessedly new habits are just beginning. As I sat and listened to a teaching from FreshLife Church, speaking on how the habits we make today create the life we will have tomorrow, I took the time to sketch.

It has been several months and maybe even a year since I have done a sketch. It has been at least five since I have done one in plain, old, graphite. Over the past few years, I have either focused on the colored pencil sketches or those done in vibrant and messy strokes of ballpoint pen.

WilliamBouguereau-TheBather-(1879)
WilliamBouguereau-TheBather-(1879) {PD-1923}

Today, I felt the Lord challenging me to sketch in pencil.

As bizarre as it sounds I felt a bit of trepidation and even found myself erasing and starting again as the work that I had done was sorry to say the least.

Why? I was working from a place of fear, that ugly fear of failure that still tries to make its home where it has been forevermore evicted.

It took several long minutes for me to finally loosen up enough to just…draw. But I am grateful that the Holy Spirit placed Himself at the exit of my creativity and refused to let me leave without facing this challenge head-on.

I wouldn’t call this my best work by any stretch but I give it high marks for effort.

I have a burning thirst to sling some oil paint. I am comfortable there. I can do so without much thought, but I need to gain my confidence back with the pencil.

Here is to a year of growth and conquering!

~Candice

Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

Girl: Digital Gesture Drawing

Jester Drawing by Candice Coates
Gesture Drawing by Candice Coates

Girl: Digital Gesture Drawing

I am not one to do much or any drawing on my tablet for that matter, but today as I sat with my tablet in hand I just couldn’t resist. I am one of those people you tends to see the something in strange objects; be it in the clouds, dust on a table top, or in this case, the shoe treads left in the floor rug. Goodness I’ve even seen images in spilled bottles of bubbles.

This image is, as with all gestrures, extremely rough. For one it was drawn on my tablet with my finger as I have not invested in proper stylus. Truth is I use my tablet to download and read books and little else. Well, there is the Two Dots game I play and the Duolingo app I employ to keep up with my language learning. The point is I don’t draw on it…until today really.

I just couldn’t leave the girl with her back towards me stuck in the floor rug. I intend to take her further, preferably through oil on canvas. But for now, here she is in digital ink, scrolled to life by the tip of my finger.

Dream. Imaging. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Looking Up: A Drawing

Original Drawing by Candice Coates done in Prismacolor Colored Pencil
Original Drawing by Candice Coates done in Prismacolor Colored Pencil

Looking Up: A Drawing

Back at the dawn of this blog in December of 2013 I had made it a point to draw or sketch at least 5 days a week for at least 15 minutes a day. I am beginning that trend again and I feel incredible about it. This drawing “Looking Up” was done just shy of an hour.

Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Taking Hold: A Sketch Part 1

Original art by Candice Coates done in Prisma Color Colored Pencil
Original art by Candice Coates done in Prisma Color Colored Pencil

Taking Hold: A Sketch

It’s been far too long since I allowed myself the time to sketch and breath. I took somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes to hash this out and although I feel like a knot has been worked out of my creative muscles, I still have the itch that says ‘you could have done better.’ For this reason I’ve decided to give this image a few more tries. Stay tuned…

Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Trees: A Sketch & Meditation

Gnarly Trees

It has been a long while since I have sat down and drawn something out of nature. It has been a few weeks since I have drawn something at all, and I found that more than my fingers were itching to create visually, but also my heart.

Change groans for new creation.

I have always had an affinity for trees and their form, especially how they relate to us as humankind. Trees dance like we do. They go through seasons of change, but even in their barren seasons they continue to hold strong their roots because they recognize spring will come again. Their glory will come again.

There is so much we can learn from them, lessons of life, faith, love, new beginnings, growth and fortitude.

Job 14:7-9  For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.”*

At the scent of the Living Waters from Heaven, the Holy Spirit, given through faith in Christ Jesus, we too can live again. There is hope for us as well.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

*Scripture taken fro the KJV bible

Fairest Lily : A Poem and Illustration

Fairest Lily padded away

Original Illustration by Candice Coates. Done in Ink and Watercolor
Original Illustration by Candice Coates. Done in Ink and Watercolor

Her footsteps light as the glow of the day

Breaks and ripples upon the streams

Of wispy wanderings

And hopeful Dream

Sickles and crystals of laughter in flight

The loveliest  music

And sweetest Delight

Through forest of fancy

Of hearts left besotted

Through fields of lemongrass

Rimmed with palms of white Cotton

Candied with springtime

Winds of lightning and Thunder

Rolled in her musings

Of footsteps and wonder.