~ art is always a process

When I was a child, I drew and I painted (here's one of my early 'works'). I had a wonderful art teacher in high school. He taught me line drawing, taught me to appreciate poetry, and introduced me to "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings". I was in hospital for several weeks when I was 17, I remember having a sketch book with me and drawing all the time. Where did that go? It seemed to disappear once I left school. I was told that art and music were hobbies, agreeable pastimes on days off, but that one needed to do something 'serious' to make a living.

Then, in 2002, I was working through 'The Artist's Way' with a girlfriend. I was out on an 'artist date' with myself, window shopping and poking in antique stores along Fort Street. I walked by this art supply store named 'Island Blue'. In the window was a set of watercolour paints like the ones we used to have in school. It was on sale.

I said to myself, "I've always wanted to do that!"

So I went in and bought the set, an extra brush, and some watercolour paper. I came home and set myself up in the kitchen, and just started to paint. I had no idea what I was doing, really, but I found myself drawn to it. Painting seemed to take me to a place I hadn't been before. It calmed me, helped me to focus my scattered mind, and expressed something within me, all at the same time.

I asked my sister (who had already been painting, had taken classes & workshops, won ribbons at shows & often sold her work) if she was interested in going to life drawing with me.

We went to our first drop-in session. I was scared and excited. As the class progressed and the poses changed, became longer, I found myself frustrated with the little sketch pad I'd brought with me. When I went back the next time, I brought a huge pad of construction-style paper (like you use for finger painting), and then I was happy as a clam. I liked "big". I liked letting my hand move with less constriction. Then I began to paint my life drawings, using those same watercolours.

I joined an group of female painters, again with my sister. Someone made the comment that the watercolours I was using were not permanent. That comment, unfortunately, made me stop painting. The group disbanded after a few months, but funnily enough, the watercolours I painted in 2002 and 2003 still are bright and unfaded with the passage of time.

Finally, I asked my sister about changing to acrylics. I managed to save up and bought a couple of canvases, a box of acrylic paints, a few brushes. I began to try out this new medium. I found I liked it. The colours were brighter, you could create texture, the canvas didn't fray if you painted over something - and you could paint over something. I continued to explore acrylics but went back to watercolours occasionally to paint birds. I sold all my original watercolours of birds, and sometimes the odd small acrylic. I didn't paint steadily though. I would have a flash of activity in the summer, and paint every day... and then it would die away in the fall.

Recently I joined another local painting group. I'm hoping that having the opportunity to meet other artists, to see their work, to workshop mediums, set goals, and have the opportunity to have my work in shows... will help me to stay motivated to paint.

At my first evening meeting with the group, we all said we'd begin working on an abstract to bring to the next monthly meeting, in April. I remembered that I have an abstract watercolour sketch. I'm thinking of basing an acrylic on it. I like how it flows. I bought a couple of 'portable easels' last summer so it's easy enough for me to set one of those up, pull out an empty canvas, dig out the paints, and start to work. At least it seems easy to think about, but there is always reluctance. I think that's a natural part of the creative process. The trick is, not to give into that resistance. The trick is, to remind myself it doesn't have to be 'good'. Experiment, follow the brush, see where it takes me.

1 comment:

Bettina Makley, aka Fairywebmother. said...

Great blog! I'm so glad to find you, here on blogger. Myspace has broken your link, btw, as they have broken any of mine that link to blogger. Heaven forbid one should blog anywhere else.

"Follow the brush"...interesting I was just talking about this in another group. My art is always in charge and seems to know where it wants to go. I just surrender to it, for the best results.

Check out my blog, here, if you haven't already. I'm a lot more active, here, than in Myspace.


PS: Shakti Gawain rules.