When you are grieving, others gather to assure you it will be OK. The world will go on. What others fail to understand, is that is an insult; one of the most gripping, terrible, unpalatable parts of grief. The world can go on without the person you find indispensable. Irreplaceable. Everything will be okay, but not for you. Everything just is. You perform normalcy for others, but it is not okay.

A dedication to Mom, who unconditionally shared her beautiful mind and kind heart with all whom she loved.

Illustration by Victoria Churchill Masters

When you spot a bluebird, you may look forward to a future filled with joy, hope, and good health. Bluebirds were held dear by many cultures for thousands of years as a symbol of renewal and prosperity.

As our family sorted through boxes of vintage photos to build Mom’s memory…

What comes next?

Brina critiquing my work in 2014

If you asked me what my highest priorities were on Tuesday, April 13th, I would have told you that I wanted to lean into artistic self-expression while paying down my college debt at a good clip. My dream was to write middle-grade fiction in fantasy, sci-fi, and horror genres, then…

It got better. As planned, I woke at 6:00 AM, enjoyed a calming bowl of oatmeal with fresh peaches, then broke out the iPad to do some early morning streaming. I am finally avoiding the zoom-in doohickey effectively. The limitations are challenges that I am adapting to me meet. The…

To learn to love the iPad, I am creating a series of live sketch streams. I want to like it, I do. It seemed like the perfect tool to have for outdoor painting and eventually in-person figure drawing sessions post quarantine. But so far, it irritates the living crap out of me. Compared to a Wacom tablet, the iPad is imprecise, slick as ice, and it zooms in seemingly at random if you breathe. I am constantly battling against its idiosyncrasies instead of just drawing. Tonight it blinked out partway through (and I lost some of the work). Far from a professional tool, it strikes me as an overpriced toy—a bloated iPhone. I‘ll finish the fantasy axe concept that I started tonight in a follow-up video in the morning. I will try again to love the iPad tomorrow. Wish me luck.

© Elizabeth Churchill Masters 2021

I was late. Fifteen or twenty minutes had passed before I was able to set up a canvas and lay down the first strokes. And yet, out of the series of figure paintings I have completed over the last few weeks, this piece is my favorite by a long shot. No, I didn’t get around to finishing the hands and feet. I’m not saying this portrait is perfect or even a likeness of Titania. Adding to it now without the model present would likely ruin the energy, so this is how it will stay. I was initially going for a “fadeaway girl,” but the painting wanted to do what it wanted to do. I am happy with the path it took. My goal is to get further with each new pose (within the three-hour block) while developing my personal style. Each week I get a little closer.

© Elizabeth Churchill Masters 2021

Finishing what you start is important. Or maybe, I just wanted to paint a mermaid? Last week I discussed the unfortunate interruption of a figure drawing session. Real-life has a penchant for pulverizing passion projects. This time, I didn’t let it win. At least not permanently! A few days after the incident, I completed a recording of the painting referenced with a screenshot (working on top of the original study). For the first segment, I was not recording and was painting from a live model. Obviously, she was not a mermaid. The creature artist in me wanted to go off-script. The video features the 2.5-hour long figure painting reduced to a 2-minute timelapse. I made sure to stick with the predetermined time frame (subtracting the first segment). Once the time limit was reached, I dropped the brush. Onto the next project!

Artists are devoted, hard-working people. Stop saying we starve.

Photo by MUILLU on Unsplash

Whenever another writer dismisses visual artists as “bad with money” or “not career-focused,” I lose interest and stop reading. It frequently happens, unfortunately. Declaring artists to be financially unreliable is one of the oldest stereotypes there is, and it is false.

So, you had a bad experience with your ex…

A note on the creative process and the reality of everyday life.

The artwork in question (updated 03/29/2021) © Elizabeth Churchill Masters 2021

Before I can wind down, start dinner, walk away, or otherwise change my mind, I login into the figure drawing event and set up a new canvas. Three-hour long painting sessions take place every Wednesday night. It is scheduled at an ideal time, 6:30 PM (the end of my workday)…

Liz Masters

Creature Designer, Director of Illustration at Home Brew, cyclist, hiker, roller skating novice www.lizmasters.com

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