Here at The Sweet Spot, my desire is to share with you how I keep it sweet with various activities in my life and why they work for me. For today’s post, I’d like to talk about experimenting and why that has been an important aspect to my life as an artist and creative (and any other area of life, really!)
In the video above, I started with the mockingbird song but my main topic upon reflecting on my weekend activities, I shared about several experiments I undertook or am undertaking at the moment with my watercolor practice.
My first foray into watercolor began with a new art journal practice I initiated back is 2011, almost a decade ago! It was the perfect place to try my hand at, what was for me, a new medium, one that fascinated me and that I had great attraction to for many years.
One of my experiments after playing with it for a while was to determine if I could create an image with dots of color. I really enjoying using the stippling method with watercolor and thought how interesting it would be to try my hand as an actual painting on watercolor paper. I chose one of my favorite nature based subjects: the Mockingbird (which you can hear in the background on the above video as mentioned!).
So I found a good reference photo and tried my hand at it. I was quite surprised that despite the transparency, with many layers of colored dots, starting with the lightest hues and working my way to darker ones, that I was able to produce my desired result, which you can see below.
I was quite surprised and delighted with this experiment and wondered what else I should try rendering in the same fashion. When I chose to experiment with this approach, it broadened my knowledge and gave me opportunity to try something new and stretch myself as an artist. It also helped build my confidence with this new medium of watercolor, which I loved from the moment I played with it.
Another experiment which I indulged in earlier this year was to try my hand at doing a floral in watercolor. Now, I will admit, that I’m not much into florals, especially of the Still Life variety, with the vase approach, etc. I find those types of florals too static to be of interest to me (though there are many artists out there who do lovely work with that type of subject matter!)
No, I decided to go through my stash of saved images and found one from a calendar of a larger than life Rose, very close up shot in a garden. Now, that’s more to my liking. So off I went to discover the process of painting from light to dark, working my way around the rose each time I had a session. Most of those sessions were about an hour long.
It is such a satisfying process to see the progress of an image coming into form, one layer of watercolor at a time. Once the main layers were down, it got even more intense as I added textures and depth with the colors I mixed and applied with my paintbrush.
This was my first floral and I was very glad for the size of the image I chose that made it more focused on larger form and detail rather than a bunch of flowers together. It just worked for me.
Once that watercolor was finished (see below), I was pleased with the outcome of my experiment. It was so worth trying something new!
(Part of the reason I chose a floral was a suggestion from hubby; and I’m glad I went with it.)
My most recent experiment was a return to something I painted when I first started playing with watercolor. I found an image of slices of orange in a magazine and decided to try my hand as painting one slice from that image. I enjoyed the process immensely. And so this year, I decided to return to food as a subject and found an image from another magazine more recent of grapefruit halves, a very dynamic composition positing the virtues of grapefruit in all their juicy glory.
So I adapted the composition and decided on three grapefruits, one white grapefruit half and two red grapefruits halves.
My goal with this experiment was to capture the “Juiciness” of the flesh and the dimpled surface of the rind, hoping to create an image that looked good enough to eat!
So far I’ve completed one and will be starting another shortly. (Unless I decide to add more layers later; you never know!)
I am so enjoying this process of experimentation with watercolor, from different approaches to applying the color to different subject matter that I’ve never tried before or want to return to.
It really is about listening to my Curiosity and giving space to my creative indulgences, really having Permission to make that time to do something that is truly Satisfying, which is one of my prerequisites for what I consider to be a Sweet Spot in my life. The more I engage is those Sweet Spots, the Sweeter my life becomes.
My questions for you: do you ever get a hankering to experiment with something? Have you chosen to indulge your curiosity and try something new? Do you do something just because you want to experience something you’ve never tried before? Do you remember doing something that you want to try again?
Leave a comment below with your Experimental story. I’d love to hear how it went or how it’s going now. How has it been Sweet for you?
Here’s to Experimenting and listening to what our hearts are telling us so we can Keep It Sweet every day!
(Images are copyrighted to Dawn Herring, 2020)
Welcome back to The Sweet Spot, where we talk about all things essential, simple and satisfying.
I'm excited to share with you about my journaling practice with an invite from Jamie Ridler of Jamie Ridler Studios to share in a journal showdown about our practice either in a blog post, video or on social media. I decided to take part in this Journal Showdown event and take a video showing you my different journals and how and why I use them.
I thought I would include a summary of sorts here in addition to my video.
Here are my journals I use on a daily basis:
Flame Tree sketchbook where I write and reflect, using dominant/non dominant writing. I also draw a word based doodle and include my cartoon character representing me inside one of the letters in the word. I show an example in the video.
Picadilly bullet journal for daily rapid logging and Collections that are meaningful and relevant to me. I show the index and why I decided to start one since December of 2019.
Composition notebook for my morning dream journaling.
Composition notebook for my spiritual note taking from my studies.
Composition notebook for my spiritual poetry and song writing based on Psalms.
1 sketchbook for list making and mind mapping
1 sketchbook for sketching and cartooning practice
1 small journal for notes and ideas and poetry I write for family
1 small journal for quick notes and music notation for my songs.
I go into a bit more detail in the video about what each journal is for and why I love it so much. I enjoyed sharing the basics of my journaling practice for The Journal Showdown hosted by Jamie Ridler. Also below I've shared Jamie's journal showdown so you can learn about her practice and get details on sharing your own.
So, my journaling practice is one way I keep it sweet. To learn about my other favorite sweet spots, click here.
I enjoyed a walk on the Greenbelt in my neighborhood and wanted to share the Sweetness with you! Join me as we chat about nature, clean air, consciousness and Keepin it sweet!
My 7 Favorite Sweet Spots is here.
Watch Keepin It Sweet Episode 1 with Dawn and Carrie!
Hello and WELCOME to The Sweet Spot blog! I'm Dawn Herring, and I thought I’d write a bit of an introduction so you know what to expect in this space and give you some context as to why I’m using this new term, The Sweet Spot.
Of course, the sweet spot is a common term used to describe when you’re hitting something right where you want it. It’s like a perfect alignment.
In the past year, as I’ve been spending more time offline in my office, with my family, and with my creative pursuits, I have found myself thinking about the importance of recognizing when something is really working for me and align with it fully.
In conversations I’ve had with friends and family, I found myself desiring to see them do the same thing; and I began to reference it as Finding Your Sweet Spot of Self Care. Meaning, knowing what keeps you in a good place and making space for those things every day.
And that can look different for each person, since no one is exactly alike—which makes everything more interesting, doesn’t it?
So, what works for me, may not work for another. Respecting where each person comes from and what works for them is part of the essence of finding that Sweet Spot, for myself and for others.
I don’t know why, but when I see another in that Sweet Spot and they tell me about it, it just thrills me and I am delighted. Especially since inevitably, we are sharing in that sweetness together. Which is what a really delightful community looks like!
So I kept repeating this 'finding your sweet spot of self care' pretty regularly. It just sort of rolled off my tongue effortlessly and it sounded smooth with all that alliteration thrown in. Ha! (I love how that works with words; don’t you?)
Back in the spring of 2020, when Covid-19 hit, I was finding myself needing that Sweet Spot more than ever; and I noticed this comprised several elements for me:
They were ESSENTIAL. They were SIMPLE. And they were SATISFYING. (You can read more about that on the Home Page.)
Another observation was how they felt: calming, comforting, aligning.
Don’t we all need that right now!?
So, over time, I began to consider sharing about what is Sweet for me. (You can get my 7 Favorite Sweet Spots here.)
Thus, the idea for this new blog, The Sweet Spot!
Prior to this blog, I had been sharing some of what I mention here, but more with a focus toward Art and Journaling with JOY as a focus. (You can still access al that goodness at Refresh Daily here.)
But here, at The Sweet Spot, I want to emphasize the gentle, calming aspect of what a Sweet Spot can be for me, what it feels like and why it matters. I so look forward to chatting about how I’m Keepin’ It Sweet, and I do hope you’ll share how you are too!
Another note: When I first decided to add The Sweet Spot to my way of Communicating with my friends, I considered hosting a newsletter by the same name. But when I encountered the same structure and necessities that go into a newsletter, I decided it was no longer Sweet for me to do so. I love the writing, but not the rest. So, instead, I will simply be sharing here on The Sweet Spot blog.
Also, I wanted to emphasize my focus of living off line; thus my time spent on social media will be limited. I’ll be posting there so I can share the word with you, my friends, but the best way to communicate is either by leaving a comment below which I will reply to or by emailing me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will reply when I am able; I appreciate your patience! I do look forward to hearing from you and how You’re Keepin’ It Sweet!
And one more thing: Previously, I had offered two resources for journaling enthusiasts who opted to subscribe to my newsletters. One was The Art of Journaing Toolbox and the other was The Art of Journaling Prompt Play Book. I appreciated those who signed up to receive these resources when I was offering a newsletter. Now that I am no longer hosting one, I am providing those resources right here on my website! Yay! Just go to my Resources page, and you can choose which one you’d like, and you will be taken to the appropriate page. Just be sure to read the Disclaimer before using each one if you haven’t already received it in the past.
Well, I’ve enjoyed telling My Sweet Spot Story! And this is just the beginning. So be sure to check back regularly for future posts where I share how I’m Keepin’ It Sweet! Of course it’s every sweeter when we share it together in community!
Hi. I'm Dawn Herring. Here at The Sweet Spot I love writing about how I'm keeping it sweet with music, song writing, cartooning, doodling, watercolor painting, movie watching and book reading. My goal is to share what feels really sweet to me and why. Perhaps it will inspire you to do the same.