Taking Things One Week At A Time And Playing With Shimmer Sharpies…

Well, I think this week’s blog may take on two different themes because I just don’t think my brain has been thinking in a solid frame of mind all week. I am feeling the pressure of the semester and just trying to keep my head on straight throughout this online semester. Also, I am trying to allocate the time for myself to open up and feel creative without the pressure of needing to post something about it.

Let me start with the not so fun stuff, like laundry that has piled up to the point where you have no more clean pants. Or that therapy appointment you know you should go to, but you are insisting to yourself that it’s going to take up too much time, so you don’t go but instead of being productive you just scroll through social media. Not to mention the hours’ worth of homework you are actively procrastinating while you imagine all of the ways your classmates could be judging you during zoom classes.

Life is moving so fast that in one moment I may feel like I am rocking productivity and the next I am literally laying on the ground crying because I don’t think I’ll have enough time to read everything. I am the type of person who is always looking ahead, trying to plan and strategize for any future inconvenience while still trying to put out all of the current fires in life. In some respects, I think this has helped me throughout life because I am hardly ever surprised, but when I am surprised it sends me off my rocker.

I think as I grow older the number of things that can be planned out and strategized for continues to dwindle because with age comes the wisdom that nothing is predictable. So, my ability to constantly look to the future may help me with school projects but for the majority of life that isn’t schedulable, I think it makes it harder for me.

That is why I have been practicing taking things one week at a time since I have started the fall semester. Breaking my energy up into weeklong segments allows me to focus my time on the tasks at hand while still being able to look to the future but just for a week or so. If I try to think of all the projects, I’ll have to turn in by the end of the semester I just end up stressing myself out. Each week all I need to worry about is doing the reading for each of my five classes, complete two to three quizzes, post to discussion boards, complete two to three weekly projects, and of course attend my classes.

Within that week, each day I just focus on finishing whatever tasks are due first and I cannot explain how much this way of thinking has changed my life. So, maybe a week is too short for you, or too long but either way I truly believe that at least consciously knowing every task you need to complete and when is a game changer to productivity.

With this method of mental organization, I usually end up leaving my painting or creative time for the weekends. More often than not I just find time for my creative endeavors in the evenings or early mornings when I can convince myself I have caught up on homework. There have been a few days that I chose to focus my mental energy on something for my little business rather than homework and I quickly regretted it when I came out of the creative trance.

Needless to say, creativity sometimes takes a backseat when I feel like I have a million other responsibilities and I couldn’t tell you why it makes it harder when I feel the pressure to post on my social media outlets. Considering I don’t want to see myself fall out of practice, or worse just stop altogether, I have been channeling my inner silly and trying to have more fun.

Since I try to finish a painting every week, this week I wanted to add a little something extra to the art. I painted a typical scene I find easy, some clouds and a mountain top, but the dried product was so bland I decided to add some sparkle. Metallic Sharpie’s are always fun to write with, so I picked some up and went to town on my boring painting, trying to create something new and exciting.

The first stroke was the scariest because I knew that I couldn’t really paint over it unless I wanted to completely restart my painting and video. Once I placed that shimmering gold sharpie tip on the canvas I just hoped for the best and glided it across the slightly defined mountain tops. By the time I got to decorating the clouds I was just playing around with different shapes and patterns but eventually decided on a simple dot effect, this meant I had to fill in quite a bit of my mistakes.

In the end, I was left with a simple sparkling design (if you catch it in the right light). It may seem silly and I’m not sure exactly when else I could use this technique, but I did enjoy getting to do something brand new to me. I think it freshens up creativity and hey now I’ve got a new multi-medium art piece. Thank you for reading this week’s blog and make sure to check out the video of my sharpie creation!

Copyright © 2020 Serra Isabella. All rights reserved.

Choosing Colors As A Beginner Artist…

One of the biggest challenges I face in my daily painting is color choice and tone because frankly I just wing it and like painting with monochrome pallets when I’m lazy.
When I took my painting class during the spring, I learned the basics of the color wheel, how to shade, and how to blend different colors, even skin tones briefly. I have always” liked” painting but I never considered myself an artist in any form of the word.

I wasn’t the girl in high school who was obsessed with painting or drawing, I only started painting a lot when I was maybe eighteen. For the first few years of high school, I was really involved with musical theater and choir, but I suppose I would draw little sketches on scraps of paper at my first job. Of course, now I remember the countless doodles all over my notes because I liked to make the holes in the paper little people heads, and boy don’t wish I kept those pages. the last year or more was online high school (not exactly typical).

Serra Isabella

To get through that topic as quickly as possible, I only started considering myself as someone who does art later into highschool. All in all, it has only been about two years of painting somewhat consistently (but I must admit it has been mostly inconsistent up until recently). I think I felt really overwhelmed by other artists on social media because everyone seems to have such beautiful color schemes established.

I felt like a floundering artist who continued to pull out absurd and “slightly off” colors. I spend hours upon hours looking at the colors in the isles of my favorite craft stores, comparing shades, buying a few to compare opacity and texture. It first started with the cheap crafting paint found at grocery stores but since taking a painting class I have realized the importance of the product quality. There is a major difference in the color you get out of paints found in a set or paints you buy individually, and the colors you can create vary greatly.

Serra Isabella

I could go on and on about paint and texture, opacity, vibrance, etc. but what continues to baffle me is mixing colors I like to paint with. I can mix a brilliant orange-red color for sunset but then when I am mixing a forest green to compliment that brilliance, I end up feeling like an amateur. The more I learn about color theory and observe artists I admire; I notice that shading and tone are where this color choice really comes into play.

I could mix reds and greens and yellows or blues all day but there will be no dept if there are no light spots enhanced with white paint or shadows pulled down with black or blue paint. I have noticed that adding white to whatever color I have mixed does give it a new tone that I am drawn to. Something I often forget to take advantage of is shadows and creating depth by deepening colors with black.

Serra Isabella

For someone who never considered herself an artist, all of this color theory made me question how good of an artist I really am. If I can’t even create a beautiful color pallet off the top of my head, then why should I call myself an artist? If I can’t identify a complementary color pattern easily then who even am I as an artist?

It is easy to fall into the pit of despair and self-doubt, but I had to remind myself that no one starts out with all of this information. Frankly, it’s just theories, not something I should feel any less for not having memorized. I have to remind myself of all of the self-taught artists I admire on social media. Do I really think they knew all about color pallets and theory when they first began creating art? No.

Serra Isabella

So, with a more forgiving and understanding heart, I want to explore color pallets I like, understand color theory in my own paintings, and begin establishing a sense of what colors to use before I begin painting. As of now, I just tend to put one color on my pallet at a time, focusing on the blue in the sky first or the green in the mountain tops. I am notorious for repainting over colors that I decide halfway through a painting just aren’t good enough, and you can see that in my video this week.

Click the video below to see how I struggled with the color choice on a limited sized canvas and how I adapted to using different materials this week! I kept it simple with some easy landscape images but I tried to mix and match colors, play around with tone and shading, and hone my technique.

Copyright © 2020 Serra Isabella. All rights reserved.

Ash Falling From The Sky

I have lived in Colorado my entire life, born and raised as they like to say. My dad always used to say he chose Colorado to be our home because he liked that we have all four seasons here. He was right, we have summers that can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit and winters that can get below freezing, fall always has brown and orange leaves and spring often brings rain showers and tornado warnings.

Growing up here, I didn’t realize that not every state experienced clearly different seasons throughout the year. A short visit to Georgia when I was sixteen and a vacation to California when I was seventeen showed me that wasn’t the case and I grew a stronger appreciation for my home state. Though with all of our seasonal changes also comes some natural destruction.

We are home to the Rocky Mountains, one of the most beautiful mountain ranges full of forests, lakes, and The Colorado River. Anywhere that holds so much beauty also endures pains like uncontrollable wildfires, and of course, 2020 would be the year I experienced the worst forest fires in my lifetime.

The past few months the air has been filled with smoke, but you could only see it from a highway or outside of the city. The fires have been lighting up the sun so bright it looks like a highlighter spilled all over the sun. Seriously, it has looked like the sun itself is on fire only made hazy by the clouds of smoke signaling the burning forests.

We have been dealing with this for a month or so now, maybe more, but it wasn’t until two days ago when the sky began to illuminate red as if the fire was just above the clouds that I realized how tremendously destructive mother nature can be. The entire world was tinted orange all day yesterday, and ash was falling from the sky as if we were in Pompeii.

I tried to record videos and take pictures to capture this phenomenon, but I fear they didn’t grab the essence of how strange it was yesterday. Ash falling looked like snow in September and it stayed so dark all day because the sun was illuminated like a highlighter on fire. Everyone’s cars were covered in burnt pine needles and flakes of ash that seemed to cover the world in grey. By the end of the day, my porch too was covered in roasted pine needles and ash that look like coal dust.

In true Colorado fashion, the temperature over the weekend and on Monday was reaching close to 100 degrees. It is currently Tuesday morning and it is 34 degrees with a high of 35 and chances of snow either today or tomorrow. So, with that, I am assuming Colorado has finished with summer and officially entered sweater weather.

It is almost as if mother nature has decided enough has burned and it is time for the calm now, time to let the ash settle and wash away our pain. I really believe in the idea that nature cycles through birth death and rebirth, in every aspect of life. The trees go through that cycle every year with losing their leaves and growing again in the spring only to repeat the cycle again in the fall. If you really scrutinize life, everything can fall into a category of going through birth or death or rebirth.

Humans go through many cycles like this, we are born and raised and then must shed our childhoods and be “reborn” as adults. Even as adults we go through many phases of finding ourselves and letting our old selves die, and I believe this is all a part of nature. When there are wildfires rip across the state and destroy just about anything in the way, I can only hope it is making room for more and better. When the rains come washing in and slowing the fires spread, they are allowing the earth to rest and regain its beauty. Allowing the Earth to flourish and sprout up in ways no one could have imagined.

This pull between birth and death, or destruction and growth show me the duality of our reality. For there can be no destruction if there was nothing beautiful there in the first place, and there can be nothing new and beautiful if there is no destruction of the old. This does not mean that the destruction does not cause pain, it just means that we can know there will always be more after the pain.

With that, I want to wish all the firefighters and other volunteers fighting these fires on the front lines the best of luck. If it weren’t for them, my state would be ravaged. Sorry is not a strong enough word for everyone who has lost something in these fires, but I am sending all the good vibes I have. 

Copyright © 2020 Serra Isabella. All rights reserved.

Haircuts Change A Lot

So, over the past several years I have been growing my hair as long as possible. I was going for a long layered ombre that entailed bleaching my own hair. I know, I know every stylist out there will tell you not to do this, but it also isn’t realistic for me to spend upwards of $300 on a haircut. Therefore I have been cutting and dying my own hair since middle school, and since I usually keep it simple this hasn’t been a problem.

But… all that dying by myself sure did leave my hair feeling dry and broken. I had more dead ends than I could count, and it felt like my hair was always breaking and shedding. I haven’t bleached it in over a year so all of the blonde strands were below my shoulders and if I didn’t do something to hold it during the day it would be a tangled mess when I got home.

I finally had enough and decided I’m chopping it off, but not before telling my boyfriend over and over again for months that I was going to do this. Don’t judge me, I like a good plan, okay! Anyway, I wanted to dye any remaining light streaks and the rest of my head a purple/blue color (tanzanite to be precise), but unfortunately, it wasn’t as opaque as I thought. Instead, we ended up with a little longer than shoulder length chopped hairstyle, and a sliver of remaining blond hair at the ends.

Instantly I felt the tangled weight fall off my shoulders and I knew I made the right decision (I have even been thinking of cutting it a bit shorter). A new haircut may just be exactly what you need to put the pep back in your step, and here is why.

Confidence Boost

Seriously, a new hair cut can give you just the right amount of oomph to have you checking yourself out in the mirror a bit more, or maybe you’ll start dressing to match your new hairstyle. You know that feeling when you just got a fresh cut and you stare at yourself in the mirror for a while… Flipping your hair this way and that, getting accustomed to the new look. Finally concluding that this is cute, and I look good.

Most of us then snap a selfie and tell all our friends, family members, and really anyone who will listen to us: “I got a haircut”. Usually followed by compliments: “oh it looks so good”, “I love it”, which of course boosts our confidence. Whether it is from our own thoughts or the thoughts of those around us, a new haircut provides a needed boost of confidence.

Healthier Hair

From split ends to heat damage to straight-up color damage, sometimes your hair just needs a little trim to help let go of all the dead weight. If you have been growing your hair long for years, it is much easier for your hair to feel less healthy with signs of damage (trust me I speak from experience).

Now, I know we are all imagining those horse haired women with long flowing hair that falls to the floor in shiny strands but keep in mind they probably don’t damage their hair daily. It is easy to forget how harmful it can be to straighten or curl our hair, and for those who love creating a new hairstyle at home with hair dye you got from Walmart, our hair is just screaming to stop.

New Sense of Self of Style

Hair controls a lot about our styles, and for many, it is a major form of self-expression. In today’s culture, you can change the color, length, create layers, and designs, shave part of your head, or all of it. The point is people are doing crazy stuff with their hair and nothing is off-limits at this point. So, go cut off those dead inches, revitalize your look, and have some fun, because at the end of the day it’s just hair that will grow back.

Thank you for reading my blog post this week and making it to the bottom of my page! If you liked any of the art on this blog post make sure to follow my Instagram below to see more of my art! You can also buy some of my art at my Redbubble shop here.

Copyright © 2020 Serra Isabella. All rights reserved.