Monday, September 22, 2014

Blank Canvas Blog Hop or How I Took a Dream and Turned It into a Painting so It Could Speak to Me & $100 Dick Blick Gift Card GIVEAWAY

Fairytale Anime Illustration Owl forest magical Nicole Piar
Have you ever woken up from a dream so vivid that it colors the rest of your day? A memory flashes and it takes a second before you realize that it wasn't from your waking life. It was from somewhere else. 

Or maybe it is a feeling that drifts around you like a vapor and slips away whenever you try to look directly at it or confine it in words. Yet, it feels significant. This is your inner world calling to you with a message, with a revelation about what is going on inside, deep beneath the surface. 

Sometimes, this same feeling can arise when we are alone and there are less distractions – less external voices to overpower the soft mysterious callings of the inner voice. 

On a late summer afternoon many years ago, there was a storm brewing. No one else was home but me. I was inside doing something ordinary that I have long forgotten when I heard the wind whipping up and all the trees beginning to shimmer and shake. Curious, I jumped up and ran outside.  As my bare feet hit the grass, my breath drew in, and time ceased to be. The sun was low in the sky, poised for sunset and hidden. Dark thunder clouds blotted out the light from above but the forest... the forest was glowing gold as if lit from within. Each tree was like a lamp, a candle, a flame under a sea of inky, tumultuous  sky. 

I stood suspended and unthinking. Then, lightening struck and the cold raindrops set the earth spinning again and I laughed. 

In moments like this, the veil between our inner world and our outer world dissolves. My imagination flooded outward and the forest and the storm flooded inward like a tide. The trees called out and I answered. Whether it is a sleeping dream or a waking dream, this is a form of visioning. Visioning is simply opening up the pathways between the world around us and the world within us.

So what does this have to do with the Blank Canvas and how we begin to make something out of seemingly nothing? 

Well, I have many different ways that I start to paint or draw but for now, I will just focus on this one: Visioning.

I begin with meditation as it helps me let go of all of the minutiae, the anxiety, and the random inner chatter that are like brambles blocking the gateway. I travel deeper and deeper into the center of myself and ask for a vision. I do not question its content. I simply observe every detail. I look around. I notice the places that are opaque like maybe I can't see the color of the light or the expression on the owl's face. I wait for those details to emerge. I am curious and I ask questions. How does this make me feel? What is over there hiding behind that tree? 

Since this is a very internal process, I have recorded a guided meditation that is similar to what I do before I start a painting. Try it out and see how it works for you. 

The meditation bolsters my intuition which will be my trusty guide as I coax this vision from the inside out. 

Nicole Piar
First, I sketch a messy, silly thumbnail drawing without judgment. This is a half-scribbled note to myself. For this piece, I saw an owl flying into the forest and a girl peeking out behind a tree with a white-light lantern. Everything was cool, damp, and blue like the earliest twilight. There was a feeling of anticipation, magic, a hint of fear, and wave of curiosity.

Next, I find inspiration to create a mood board. This helps to fill in the details and gives me a wider visual vocabulary from which to draw. It also gives me something to weigh my vision against. For instance, this owl looks very realistic but my owl is strange and other-worldly. The differences help me clarify my vision just as much as the similarities.
Owl Forest Inspiration Board Nicole Piar

Then, I draw a pencil sketch on watercolor paper to figure out the scale, proportion, and composition.

Last, I dive into my paints. This is the scary part because every painting looks a bit crazy in the beginning and middle. It takes so much faith and courage to keep going. There is a point in the process where I can get discouraged and critical. Sometimes, I step away, return to my vision, take solace in it, and trust that the essence will shine through despite my perceived mistakes. 

Pencil Sketch to Finished Painting by nicole Piar
In case you wondering, the color difference between the last 2 images is
the difference between taking a cell phone pic and scanning the painting. 

The magic at the end...
I made this painting specifically for this Blank Canvas Blog Hop and knew I wanted to talk about visioning. When it was finished, I could finally see the synchronistic and clever message it held for me. The owl is the voice beckoning; it is our spirit. The forest is our inner world and the girl is all of us shining a light and getting ready to follow the magic into the deep. I called it "I'm going in."


I am so excited to have the opportunity to giveaway a $100 Gift card to Dick Blick for Art Supplies. This is so exciting because it represents so much potential. Whoever wins will have to create some marvelous visions and share them with us all. I can't wait!!!! 

There is also a 2nd prize!
An Archival Art Print of "I'm Going In" 8.5x11" printed with pigment inks on fine art paper. That is the painting I made for this Blog Hop. I hope it will inspire the lucky winner to spend some time exploring their inner world.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want more tips for how to overcome the Blank Canvas?

Wow! This blog hop has been such a wealth of inspiration. I have so many new creative tools to try. Plus, everyone is giving away some amazing stuff. So, have a meander and be dazzled with all the creativity, uniqueness and honesty. 
15 artists explore the creative process and how they overcome the blank canvas
Sept 8 Karen Friedland  Giveaway: 16" Fine Art Print of any piece from her shop
Sept 9  Lezette Markham Giveaway: Simply Inspired Gift Bundle incld. Creative Workbook
Sept 10 Cynthia Patton Giveaway: Anthology of Short Stories / Essays
Sept 11 Jennyann Carthern Giveaway: 1 year membership to Society of Children's Books Writers & Illustrators
Sept 12 FRIDAY FRENZY featuring:
Kiala Givehand Giveaway: $25 Visa Gift Card Tori DeauxKaren Friedland
Sept 13 Jan Blount Giveaway: Hand-Painted Tote with a Hand-Bound Art Journal + Goodies
Sept 14 Effy Wild Giveaway: Book of Days Bootcamp E-Course
Sept 15 Virginia Simpson-Magruder Giveaway Wild Spirit Jaguar Pendant
Sept 16 Dariana Cruz Giveaway: 4 Dari Design Notebooks and aThrow Pillow
Sept 17 Susan Miller Giveaway: Customized Intuitive Soul Intention Painting | Freebie: Soul Intention Flag Workshop
Sept 18 Grace Howes Giveaway: Hand-made Photo Journal and Notebooks
Sept 19 Tori Deaux Giveaway: Find your Quick Factor Session + 2 art prints
Sept 20 Kiala Givehand Giveaway: Conquering the Blank Page E-Course
Sept 21 Martin Arkenstone Giveaway: Small Hand-painted Sandstone Sculpture
Sept 22 Nicole Piar Giveaway: $100 Gift Card to Dick Blick Art Supplies & 1 Fine Art Print


Nela said...

I love seeing your process! And thank you for sharing the guided meditation, I'll definitely try it out :)
I painted my dreams in sketchbooks a few times, but only quickly and they never looked like "finished works".

manmaze said...

Thanks for sharing your process creating your art and sharing the meditation. I went on the journey down the well. Wen I came back out I ask myself what is the real Reality? Maybe it I the place where we sit still and just listen?
Love your art! It warms my heart.

Tori Deaux said...

Thank you for including not just your tie to visioning, but a meditation for it! I can't wait to try it out :)

OracleGaia said...

I really enjoyed reading about your process. Thanks for putting that SoundCloud meditation track in, I started trying out meditation 2 days ago and enoyes it, so I am looking forward to trying yours.
I did everything I could in the list, but I can't get on Instagram as I have no smartphone. Thanks for the chance to win art supplies, something I desperately need.

Lucy Schmidt said...

Looking into artists' processes is always of interest to me. Thanks for the guided meditation. It was very soothing and I'll be using it again.

Lezette said...

I love all of the rituals you have to creating. Your color pallets are fantastic. Thank you for sharing your process with us.

Anonymous said...

Nicole, I just loved this! The painting is beautiful but enhanced by the beauty of the story you shared. Your approach is so profound & so different from mine. I'm looking forward to using the meditation and the idea of an image board, at that point in the process, never occurred to me. Thank you for the inspiration!

Kiala Givehand said...

Thank you for the meditation -- what a treat and what a beautiful peek into your process. Thank you for bringing us along on your creative adventure.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing! I'm following you in all kinds of different places now! :)

Dariana said...

Great post Nicole!! I definitely feel inspired to explore my inner world. And thanks so much for the amazing giveaways!! those inspire me too. Sending love! Cheers for endless creativity and inspiration

Unknown said...

Nice art.

Ursula said...

Love what you shared. Have to try that. I am rarely scared of the blank canvas - but still, I find it nice to try different approaches. :-)
Thanks so much for sharing!

Virginia said...

I loved your process. This was a nice refresher course for me. I used to practice TM but have not been able to transcend lately. I need to get back to releasing all the troubles and letting the flow just happen. Then maybe my muse and I will be on speaking terms again.

Grace said...

Nicole this post was mesmerizing in the way you wrote and in the piece you created for it. I usually practice meditating first thing in the morning but will definitely be trying yours before I begin creating next time.

Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself with us.

ghostkitten said...

Thanks so much everyone for your comments and feedback. I am so happy that so many of you enjoyed the guided meditation. Our minds hold so much magic and mystery when we take the quiet time to peer inward.


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