War Helicopter, oil pastel by my son, 4 years old...I love my kids. They crack my husband and I up with their schemes, and they love to copy us. One day it might be our little boy walking in with his chin tucked back, his chest puffed out, holding a pretend cup of coffee, saying in a deep voice "Hmph, I'm Dad. I'm going to work now." Or our daughter popping out of her room ("Ta da!") dressed exactly like me in jeans, blue T-shirt, bandana head band and flip flops, proclaiming herself "Mini Mom." Its funny and scary at the same time, watching these little copycats. Some of the things we do, I hope they don't copy: like when I have a meltdown after a long day, or when we get too busy to enjoy what is happening around us. Good and bad, children will absorb the way their parents live, interact and behave. They watch us, even when we don't know it. By watching me create art, my kids have learned to draw from life and from pictures. My son likes to use our iPhones and google "helicopters" and "garbage trucks" and draw the pictures he likes (I always have to "preview" the pictures first...it is sadly amazing what images will pop up for something so simple!). Above is his "war helicopter," drawn from an image he found on Google. Below is our daughter's rendition of our back porch, with our bird feeders and sleeping dogs.
Back Porch, pencil sketch by my daughter, 6 years old
A Wash, watercolor...Today I had many goals. From the beginning, things didn't start out well. At some point, between a dead car battery and three puny kids, I gave up. As I stood in the kitchen, staring out the window in realistic defeat, I thought "Today is a wash." Better to just say it, than let frustration build...nothing productive would easily be done. I thought of the storm earlier today, and felt like painting. Very rarely do I draw or paint something that doesn't look like something. But today was a day to watch the paint drip, to think of rain and just let the color run down the paper. As Dr. Seuss so aptly said in My Many Colored Days, "Gray Day...Everything is gray. I watch, but nothing moves today." Just a slow trickle of blue gray water. I found peace in recognizing the state of my day, and had no trouble pepping things up with some ice cream cones, because the threat of stress had been erased by being honest. Today was a wash, but it ended sweetly.
Shoes, Graphite Sketch...
Sunday, a day of rest and renewal; a time to reset. Sundays have become a mental health day for me...I tidy up, listen to music, drink slow cups of coffee, think about life. I shake off the stress and rediscover the joy. I clean up the grime, and unearth the shine of love and life; breathe in fresh air, notice my surroundings, find peace in my place. It keeps me going, week after week. Today I drew my little boy's line of shoes: the epitome of tidiness in our house, since his room is always the messiest.
"We are not afraid to look under the bed, or to wash the sheets; we know that life is messy. We know that somebody has to clean it up, and that only if it is cleaned up can we hope to start over, and get better." -Marsha Norman, quoted in Real Simple, May 2012
Sky, Hipstamatic photo...
Its frustrating, being human. I hate messing up, missing an important detail, dropping one of the many balls I am juggling, not being able to "do it all." I want to do everything perfectly. This is obviously unrealistic and impossible, yet I continue trying: Semper Reformata, the cry of the Protestant Reformation, "always reforming." I've been watching the Olympics everyday, marveling at the abilities of my fellow human beings. These people are intense. They aim for perfection. They break world records over and over, always improving, always running faster, jumping higher, lasting longer. Today was a day of defeat; instead of seeing my imperfections as opportunities to try harder, I saw them as failure. I'm only human. But as humans, we can be better. We can keep improving, rejoicing in our progress and the lessons learned along the way, rather than sitting unmoving in defeat. We will not be perfect, but we can be always reforming.
Shepherd, Soft Pastel...
On my twelfth birthday, my grandfather gave me a collection of my first "real" art supplies. Never doing anything halfway, he went to a local art store to have a professional choose the best materials: a selection of nice brushes, a set of watercolors in tubes and in a pan, acrylic paint, oil paint, canvases, papers, a set of drawing pencils, erasers, and a large box of pastels. With that gift, I moved from the childhood world of drawing cartoon characters with a #2 pencil to exploring the world of fine art. Years later, after I had painted and sketched the days away, I finally picked up the untouched box of pastels. But what to draw? It was my sophomore year of college, and I had recently returned from a Jan-term trip to Jordan and Syria (where, incidentally, I met my husband, a fellow student). There were so many new memories forever burned into my mind, but one stood out, and still does to this day: standing atop a golden ridge, looking out as the amber sun set over the Dead Sea, viewing the Bedouin caves from above, and spotting a flock of goats and sheep with their robed shepherd in the valley below. It was a beautiful moment, rich in color, that became the subject of my first pastel drawing with my first set of pastels. I have drawn it several times since, and it has become a repeated special request from my grandmother. The image has been altered as my hand has gathered new techniques and greater knowledge over the years, but here is a version from today, commissioned as a gift, sitting atop the greatest treasures of my much-expanded collection of art supplies: my Sennelier Soft Pastels.
(Click on picture to link to website) Welcome to my Art blog! My name is Mary Liz Ingram and I am a Birmingham, Alabama native who found a passion for pastels in the summer of 2008. While working with other mediums such as watercolor, graphite and acrylic, my work focuses on pastel landscapes and whatever else strikes a chord. I also paint pastel portraits of people and pets on commission. I am a self-taught artist who grew up with a love for art and have been creating art for the public for over 10 years. I hope you enjoy this site, where I post my art and my thoughts to share a little bit about why I do what I do.