Simple Drawings – Kathy From KeppenArt

During the Black and White Seven Day Challenge I tried something different. I had been creating and posting photographic images and then half way through the challenge I decided to try creating a few ink drawings.

Simple, minimalistic drawings. I wanted to use as few lines or strokes as possible and still have the image recognizable. My subject was trees. I had several varieties in mind and ended up with a Weeping White Spruce, a Weeping Willow, a Coconut Palm and a Southern Live Oak. Because these trees had unique shapes I knew that they would be perfect for this project.

Simple, minimalistic drawings would be easy, right?

Wrong! I cannot tell you how much paper I used and how many times I drew each tree. I drew. And then I redrew. I redrew again. And again.

Remember, I was using ink. There would be no erasing any “mistakes”. I would make six of seven strokes and BAM. The pen would get away from me on the seventh stroke. That last branch would look like a snake dancing on hot pavement. Of course, in my eyes, one wild stroke would ruin the entire drawing.

I realized that I would never get any of the drawings “perfect”. At some point I had to say, “This is the best I can do today.”

Nature is not “perfect” as we define perfection. Branches cross each other. Diseases deform trunks. Storms break and tear off or split open whole trees. And trees live on. They survive and sometimes even thrive after the storm.

I need to remember that. I need to remember that my goal is to do my best while giving up the goal of perfection. The perfection that is defined as no mistakes. Nothing out of place. No wild pen strokes. That perfection is not possible and not even close to a realistic interpretation of real life.

Therefore, today, as I am working on yet another challenge image, I will try hard to remember that my definition of perfection does not exist and simply do the best I can.


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Knowing What Type Of Artist You Are

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The Encourager – Kathy From KeppenArt

I was told one time in a Bible study that I was a prophet.  Not someone who predicted the future and not someone who preached.  But the people who labeled me a prophet did so because I gave them another way of looking at a situation or issue.  I spoke or wrote something that caused their brain to see an issue from another viewpoint.  I showed them another perspective for example.

That was supposed to be my “gift”.  Something that I could share with others that would make a positive impact on their lives.  Have you ever heard the scripture that says that a prophet is not accepted in his hometown?  Ha!  I do not want to be a prophet.  I want to be an encourager.

Do you know anyone that is an encourager?  I am blessed to know a few.  Those people always seem to have something positive to say to encourage me and others.  They can look at my worse image and say something encouraging.  Not a gushy lie about how much they love it but something that’s generic but nice.  Their words are said, not so much with loving words but in a loving way.

They talk to me (and others) as though they were cheering us on as we were bringing up the last place in a race.  “Hey!  You did it!  You finished.”  They say it as though it was the very best thing ever.  Smiling, clapping, giving you a standing ovation when you cross that finish line hours after the other runners have gone home!

That’s the person I want to be. The one cheering you on. The encourager.

The challenges that I have been working on have given me a chance to practice being an encourager as well as receiving encouragement.  A camaraderie grows among those of us who are participating.  There is a discussion in our forum just for these challenges and as we share our struggles we realize that there are several issues that are “challenging” us.

We need to be disciplined and motivated to create daily but time management is also an issue for some, especially for those who work full time or have small children.  However, at the end of the day we can find replies to our issues in that forum or comments under our images that are both supportive and encouraging.

I am given the chance every day to comment under many participants’ images that they created specifically for that day.  Sometimes I know that it was a struggle for that artist (an illness, pressures at work, etc.) to create or finish their work because I’ve read about it in our discussions.   Sometimes I don’t really care for their image.  But every day I have been given many chances to encourage those artists to keep creating.  To be present and in the race.  To be proud of their accomplishment of finishing the task at hand.

I would like to think that I’m getting better at being an encourager.  But I believe that the important thing is that I’m trying.  I’m aware that my words can encourage and support and I’m looking for words that do just that.  I am learning that we can be encouragers even if that’s not “our gift”.

After all, can’t we have more than one gift?

I sure think so!


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Perspective – Kathy From KeppenArt

The last challenge that I completed on Fine Art America/Pixels was a Three Day Perspective Challenge.  Since one of my lessons after a tragedy was the depth of the saying Life Is A Matter Of Perspective, I was excited about the challenge.

However, this challenge was about the technical aspect of perspective in art, not how each of us view life differently.

In researching Perspective In Art I learned the nomenclature of techniques that I already knew but didn’t know those techniques had specific names.

For example there are One, Two and Three Vanishing Points when talking about perspective.  When you look at a painting or photograph of a long straight road the pavement appears to get narrower as you look down the road.  You know in reality that the lanes are the same width in front of you as they are 300 feet further away but your “perspective” is that of narrower lanes.  That illustrates a One Vanishing Point.  Looking at the corner of a building illustrates Two Vanishing points as you can look to the right or the left off of that corner. Three Vanishing Points could be illustrated by looking at a cube.  There are vanishing points going off to the left, right and towards you.

Those are the perspectives that I used for my images.  Day One used the One Vanishing Point, Day Two the Two Vanishing Points and Day Three used the Three Vanishing Points.

There are other perspectives such as a Line Perspective illustrated by a Horizon and an Aerial Perspective where the scenery in the background appears more muted and smaller as the distance increases.  I would have used other perspective techniques if the challenge had continued past three days.

The other artists that completed this challenge used different types of perspective in creating their images.  In the end our images, just like life, presented the truth that “Life Is A Matter Of Perspective”!


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Challenge Themes – Kathy From KeppenArt

The first challenge I completed was the Seven Day Challenge with Liquid as the theme.

The Three Day Challenge stated it was for any theme but I used lamp shades for all three images which produced a theme for my entries.

The Five Day Challenge had a green theme and I created my images with a “theme within a theme” meaning that all images also contained a food or beverage as well as being green.

This latest challenge which is ending today was a Six Day Blue Challenge.  That’s right.  Blue was the theme.

Blue, my favorite color. Primary blue, sapphire blue, turquoise, aqua, teal…..I love them all.  Regardless of the style or combination of colors that I have used to decorate our homes over the years,  blue was always, always one of the colors that I used.

When I first started the challenge I knew that I wanted to make it a true challenge for me, by once again using a theme within a theme.

My first image was Turquoise Chair On The Porch.  What was it about that image that I could use repeatedly all six days?  I knew that weather permitting I would be taking all of the photographs outside in order to get good lighting.

At first I thought that I would use that chair in different locations outside.  But that would only give me three days of images if I used it on the front porch, the back patio and in the yard against the fence. I needed six images not three.

My second idea was to make sure that the brick wall on the porch was the background for all six images.  But once I planned several close up still life images that idea was tossed out.

What could I do?  What could I use throughout all six images that would tie them together besides “just blue”?

By the morning of the second day, after tossing and turning most of the previous night I knew what my theme within a theme was going to be!  I knew what I was going to use in each and every image along with the general usage of blue.

Do you know what is included in each image besides “just blue”?

Can you guess?

Well, actually I have given you “just” a couple of hints!

When you have discovered what I used as a theme within a theme please comment below with your guess.  Hopefully it won’t take you as long to discover this as it did for me to decide on it!

Blue Theme images can be viewed HERE.


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