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  • Writer's pictureravenrohrig

Making Good Work

Recently I finished creating eight portraits for my new series "W · O · M · A · N." It was a trip folks.

In the past, my workdays were spent scattered with a myriad of administrative work and distractions while scrapping together enough time to create. For "W · O · M · A · N" I tried something new: dedicate my workdays to just making art! Not just any art though, only work that would complete my new collection in a new style: mixed media.

I realized I needed some rules to complete this series: focus on one portrait at a time and work through the fear. This was a challenge for me because I like to make all kinds of things at once as a way to avoid the fear of failure. I get hung up freshening my website, writing and drawing out new creative ventures, having coffee dates, taking long pauses to listen to favorite songs, and the list goes on. Sometimes these are good departures, and sometimes they are self-sabotage. What came from focusing with my head in the zone is amazing.

The experience allowed me to make a cohesive collection of unique works while exploring the new style. I love every portrait I made. To my surprise, only one didn’t make the final cut and I even love that portrait for what it taught me. (I actually tore it in half because it was bogging me down! If I destroyed it I had to let go and move on. Thank goodness.)

My initial takeaways from creating "W · O · M · A · N" are: I love the process of making art, mixed media is wildly exciting, and getting lost in my craft is deeply gratifying. The spark of new ideas, the hunt for supplies, curating a visual experience, and the pure satisfaction of making something out of nothing. This is why I make art.

Here are some of my favorite moments. These photos were taken when I felt high and alive, in the flow :) Goodness, I love that flow...

Raven Rohrig's art table with work in progress.

My artist's desk mirrored my works of art. Different supplies and colors layered on top of one another. Having this layered effect with my work is new for me. When I make my acrylic paintings my supplies are fewer and I tend to move from drawing to painting leaving my space sparse. Working with mixed media allowed me to feel surrounded by art and process.

Raven Rohrig in her studio making portraits.

Raven Rohrig holding a small portrait.

Usually, when I step back from creating, I feel detached and wonder: what just happened? Did I make that? This time felt different. I appreciate the photos I took of myself during my creative process. I feel connected with my art and can see how beautiful it is to be in my studio doing what I love.

A page from Raven Rohrig's sketchbook.

Many of the portraits started out with a sketch and initial ideas. Again this is different from when I paint a portrait, both women and birds, I usually draw a simple drawing and jump right into painting. With these mixed media portraits, I dove deep into my creative process by writing down plans, thoughts, and doodling. I love these sketches and they feel precious to me.


Taking my sketching further, many of the portraits were made using "storyboards." Storyboards are typically used when creating videos, but I used them as a way to capture my process. I work through ideas, try new techniques, and take notes. While creating the storyboards I learned a valuable lesson: inspiration is at its highest when my hands are actively creating. The ideas would flood in and this technique helped me capture them all. The act of being in close contact with flowing ideas was magical.


What's next now that I made all the portraits? I get to step back and look through all the photos I took and reflect on the process of making good work. Now I share my story, how these portraits came together, and what they represent. Time to put my writing hat on and tell the story of "W · O · M · A · N."

Thank you for reading. It is a delight to share.

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