Sunday, February 03, 2008

Private Art Retreat

Sure enough, I brought my at-the-desk inspiration journal home for the weekend. Friday, sitting in a day dreaming stooper, I picked up a pencil with my left hand and watched myself draw a face. Oh dear, "I've scribbled on the bottom of a business check stub. "
No matter, I just cut off the business part and glued the ART part in my journal. Inspiration!
So, Saturday morning I woke in a party mood. I always wiggle in bed for a little bit getting my ART plan for the day all worked out.
First thing I did was gesso the top page of a 9 X 12 block of watercolor paper. Then I sat down with a pencil in my left hand and mindfully tried to sketch a face.
This is fun!

But it would be so much more fun if somebody were playing with me.
I shot off a Come As You Are ART Retreat Party invitation via e-mail to my bbff, Zorana.
The invite was not only to sketch with our non-dominant hand but to paint with it as well.
And, at various stages during the process to send each other an e-mail with a progress shot.
For me it was to try to loosen up and not do so much blending and blending. I reasoned if I was concentrating on using my left hand that maybe I would see the piece in a different way and leave it alone.
In the second photo, I have traced over some of the pencil sketch with a permanent black pen because the pencil was so faint and I didn't want to lose the sketch. I am also auditioning a napkin for the background.
Napkins are added like any collage element. For me that is with Golden Matte Medium. I brush a layer on the canvas or in this case the watercolor paper and then lay the napkin in it. I use the brush to smooth the napkin and add a layer of matte medium on top. The napkin is so bio-degradeable that you do have to do this step quickly and then stop. It almost melts away. Just to confess, I always go too far and mess up a little spot before I quit. It's another one of those lessons that I keep learning over and over.
I never just leave the napkin untouched after adding it to my composition. With this one, I traced a little haphazzerly around the white blossoms and then began to paint out the napkin background. The idea was to push the napkin background further into the background of my painting and not totally get rid of it. The haphazzered part was because my left hand knows no other way.

This is my first "finished" shot. Notice I have signed it. That means I'm finished. But......

here is my second "finished" shot. I just had to blend and blend a little more in the face. The change is very subtle but I came very close to messing it up.
This was a fun challenge and I recommend it. It felt very weird to use my non-dominant hand. Oh, I forgot to tell you that I also used different brushes. I used larger burshes and did not let myself pickup that little tiny favorite brush.
Zorana took the challenge and she is going to show you hers as well. But I'm in Texas and she is in California so she may not have it up just yet. Her painting is a wonderful piece of art and I hope she tells you how she actually writes with her right hand but paints with her left hand. Have you ever heard of such? She's my bbff.
More later,


  1. This is amazing...and your outcome is so very beautiful.
    I am so enamored with napkins now as I have told you before...when I was a little girl growing up in Iceland I collected was what little girl did, in my country, at the time.

  2. Geez, is there no end? Even LEFT HANDED you manage to do BEAUTIFUL work! Thanks for sharing. (especially the napkin thingie (:)Very insprational!

  3. This just blows me away!! I cannot even imagine drawing with my left hand!! It was so fun seeing your process........and those napkins are stunning!!! Great job, Pet.

    xo Rella

  4. Shut up! Sharon you are amazing! And once again you challenge me to try yet another new thing. This will be fun but I don't know if I will show it on the blog? Am going to Border's today and get the new zine.
    Your work is truly amazing.

  5. Sharon,

    This is so beautiful and left handed no less, very impressive. I really liked that you showed the steps you took. That was great.


  6. What a great your friends site and picture as well! Where do you get such napkins?

  7. You and Zorana are both just amazing. All this wonderful art with your don-dominant hand! Just beautiful!!

  8. I love what you have done here.
    How big is this piece? It is so lovely.

  9. My, my, what a fab result. Very soft. I would never have thought to use my non-dominant hand for drawing altough I can write resaonably well with it. Must give it a try. It's drawing with your left side of the brain ( there was a book art course by that name once) - frees up your preconceptions or something.

    Had a look at Zorana's too - marvellous adn inspiring stuff. Know what I'm doing during my tea break......

  10. I love coming to your blog, Sharon, and seeing your works in progress and finished. You are such an inspiration and I thank you very much for that!

  11. Sharon, "sketch with our non-dominant hand"... are you telling me you did this with the wrong hand??? I won't even think about trying!!!
    I really love the paper flowers, you are so good at sourcing and using them I never stop wondering at the effect.

  12. Now, I am upset! Why does the non dominant hand stuff look better than anything I could do if you loaned me YOUR right hand??? sigh...back off to find someone to send me another artful blogger! Congrats on making the Cover!

  13. I got so, so happy yesterday at B&N while browsing the Artful blogger and finding your art inside, it made my day! And today I've been sitting here for about an hour or so catching up on your posts, and as always, so inspired and getting this big smile in my face looking at your art. Am in awe!

  14. Truely amazing, I can't draw with either did an awesome sketch and the finished painting is just amazing....checked out your friends too and she also did a great job...

  15. Oh My Goooooooodness! She is really really wonderful and beautiful!!! I love getting creative while still in my cozy bed dreaming while awake!!!

  16. Sharon you are SOOOOOO GOOD! unselfish with your instruction:D Thank you so much!!!

  17. wow ... i haven't done left handed art in eons and eons ...i forgot about it all together ... i'm going to need to try that! ... thanks for sharing such lovely inspiration ... great post ....

  18. This is a stunning piece and the fact that it was done with your non-dominant hand is incredible!!!! You never cease to amaze me Sharon! Love, Jamie

  19. wish i could have played along...been awol the idea and your results...both of you...hugs, rebecca

  20. Beautiful! I struggle with my dominant hand, maybe I should give the left a try...
    Glad to have found you.

  21. What a wonderful idea with the napkin, how cool is that? I could not imagine using my non-drawing hand nor my using my fav brush, LOL. Thanks too Sharon for coming by my blog and leaving such kind words for my Mom. Greatly appreciated. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

  22. Gorgeous! Just Gorgeous!
    Sandra Evertson

  23. I think you are ambidexerous.....just a fantastice with the non dominant hand...

  24. Hi Sharon,
    Popped over from Zorana's so, first time here & such a treat! What an amazing accomplishment!

    Your detailed step-by-step process is very generous and I thank you for the time that it took.

    I am especially excited to share the idea of your long-distance "art session" with some of my very special friends! Wonderful idea! - vicki xo