I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.
Good designs sell – mine sell out!

http://www.artbyhensley.com/index.html

Friday, April 30, 2010

"Cocoon"

This image popped into my head, and it just wouldn’t leave my thoughts. Sometimes these kinds of things just have to exist in the world.

I painted the parts separately, then combined them in PhotoShop. The most time-consuming aspect of this piece was finding baby bodies for reference, cutting them apart and repositioning them, then putting it all together again with my own baby face. There was something macabre in cutting up baby pictures, but that kind of seemed appropriate too. I’ve been on a personal journey of taking myself apart and putting myself back together again lately.

It’s spring. It’s time to break out of my cocoon. It’s time to break out and do the things I need to do in the world.

I like my original thumbnail, so I included that too. I think it looks like a papoose hanging from a tree. According to Wikipedia, a papoose is from the Algonquian word for child. I like that. I’ve got a drop of Native American in me, and fell in love with an Algonquian boy when I was about 10. It all seems to fall in place today.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Ahead"

The interesting thing about what’s ahead for each of us is that we just don’t know how life is going to work out. Maybe the world will end in 2012, but more likely we’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other until we end up in a place we never knew we’d go.

Sometimes people like to tell us that life isn’t about the destination, it’s the journey. I created this piece because I was at a place in my life where I needed to reinvent myself because I hadn’t foreseen the future well enough to be prepared for the things I found happening in my career. I wrote the following to go with the picture…

Slaying the dragon isn’t slaying the beast
Because I’m my dragon too
Phoenix to ashes in the flames
To be born anew

I’m feeling that way about Adobe Creative Suite 5. A friend has sent me a number of videos and tutorials, and between grouching about having to learn more software, I am also reminded that I’ve gone through the same process every time I’m told I should spend more money and time on computer stuff. When is enough enough?

Yes, I could’ve done this picture in Illustrator, and it would’ve been more technically perfect, but I didn’t do it for anyone other than myself, and the process of doing it was part of the pleasure. It’s large, 18” x 24” and done in pen and ink on illustration board.

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Detective 2"

While I was rooting around in my box to find the woodpecker for my last post, I found the drawing of the boy doing his detective work on butterflies. This seems like a sweeter association for Illustration Friday’s word of the week, so I decided to include them both. The drawing of the boy is 4 ½” x 5”, Prismacolor pencil on cocquille paper. This is an old technique that was a way of doing a drawing on textured paper that allowed printers to shoot the art as line art instead of having to do a half-tone. In other words, by shooting it as line art, the quality was better than if it had to be broken into dots for printing.

"Detective 1"

Woodpeckers bang on trees to discover the insects inside. My experience with detectives is that they are just as hard-headed – but no long stories this week. I wrote too much last time. The woodpecker is 3” x 5 ½”, scratchboard with pen and ink, printed with brown ink on ivory stock.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Linked"

Patterns are links of images, and people are linked in patterns too. This is in my mind because after much prodding by a friend, I put a profile on LinkedIn.com. This lets us post resumes, link to sites, and contact people from the past.

Contacting old friends was emotional for me. I had let them wander out of my life when they scattered to different parts of the world, or changed priorities, or any of the other reasons we let people fade away from our daily lives. I still missed them from time to time, but I had gotten kind of ashamed of myself for letting so much time go by, or frustrated when Google searches turned up empty. LinkedIn suddenly made people accessible again.

It’s been fun to reminisce with old pals about drinking parties and stupid adolescent behaviors since we survived, but we’ve also grown up somewhere along the line. Some of my college friends have children in college now, and I seldom have two glasses of wine. It’s hard to imagine so much time has passed, and we can commiserate with each other about the struggles we’ve had to endure in order to earn livings with our talents.

Maybe this all sounds dull to someone still in college and looking forward to starting their career? Yawn. Old people talking again. Yeah, yeah, but maybe you can learn something they don’t teach you in school? Contacts matter. Friends matter. They matter in ways you just don’t imagine when you’re scraping yourself off the floor after a keg party or when you wake up next to someone you really didn’t intend to sleep with. The fact that someone might remember your youthful indiscretions after 30 years matters because you never know when or how some of these people will turn up in your life again, and if those people really mattered to you at one time, maybe they will matter to you again.

I’ve needed time to contemplate all of this, and spent some time doing a mental exercise of taking one doodle, and figuring out how many patterns I could make with it. Making patterns was a meditation, though I’ll probably use these patterns as backgrounds in future projects. I also use this kind of thing in packaging.

We are all linked in one way or another. Everyone participating in Illustration Friday is linked, and the links made here are linked to the links we have other places, and sometimes we find out that we are linked to each other in multiple ways. It reminds me of a discussion I had with little kids about infinity. The number of connections is mind boggling.

All of these patterns are made in PhotoShop, all from the same 5 lines. It’s simply a matter of linking the same piece together in different ways. I made 30 patterns before deciding to just stop. It starts getting into the infinite possibilities, and I just can’t deal with infinity any better than 8-year-olds.

In the end, the important thing is to treasure the links we have with people who matter to us.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Dip"

I’ll admit it, I can procrastinate with the best of them sometimes. It was a holiday weekend, and I had other things to do than contributing to my blog. Besides, I’m putting far more energy into procrastinating about filing my taxes and paying bills. On top of that, “Dip” didn’t spark my creative urges to make something. Potato chips and dip, strawberries in chocolate, skinny dipping, Dippety Doo are all possibilities, but it seems that by the time I was tired of procrastinating, other people had already done things along these lines, and my best idea was for skinny dipping, and that just seemed like too much effort.

I might make the skinny dipping picture, just not today. I don’t feel like whipping out that idea just to meet Illustration Friday’s deadline. I want to take my time and savor the experience. To dip my paintbrush into… hey, wait! An easier idea!

This is a little illustration, about 2 ½” x 4”, in acrylic on wood. It’s part of a larger piece with similar little paintings which makes up a game board. Since it’s on a big piece of wood, it’s hard to get a good scan of it because the wood sits above the scanner bed by 1/8” or so. Somebody ought to tell HP to make it easier to scan rigid things. Ummm… maybe I’ll procrastinate about that too? Anyway, some fussing in PhotoShop, and here we are.

I know we can all face ennui and procrastination. The important thing is to figure out good coping techniques when we face it. Often, I’ll call Mary Lou (http://myjournal--thelandofwhimsy.blogspot.com/), and she’ll kick me into action or brainstorm with me a while. She’s sick this week though, and her kids are home on spring break, so I had to think in a vacuum.

That’s okay too. I am capable of scrounging around in my brain for ideas even when I just don’t feel like it. Doodling and word associations often get me going in the right direction. Looking through old files might remind me of something that I always intended to do, or sometimes doing something completely unrelated will free up my mind enough to let an idea pop in.

I’m interested in hearing about other people’s ideas for coping with procrastination too. We all need to let our creativity loose!