I hit a dry spell over the holidays. Felt deflated as far as creativity went. So Ric bought me new materials – ink pens, markers, pastels, and paper, lots of paper. Still, none of my photographs were inspiring me. I really wanted to create something from my own imagination, but have little faith in my ability.
So, I doodled vines. Over and over again, till the idea for the featured image came to my mind. Then, I thought of trees. I once loved sketching trees – why not try again. I got whimsical:
Now, I’m stuck on trees, and enjoying the ink so much:
Looks like trees are fulfilling my creative need for the time being.
Ideas follow me around like little children tugging on my pant leg, begging attention. I’ve been brushing them aside, too unwell to give any them any energy, but with summer’s arrival and pending visits at Grandma’s camp, I push myself to get out the paints.
Untrained myself, I watch videos to gain knowledge and inspiration. I look for ideas the children will want to do, and try them out to make sure they’ll work. The stack of pancakes, I discover, is easy and definitely doable with a 6 and 7-year-old.
The girls are eager to paint with Grandma, and naturally, full of their own creative ideas.
We play with the paints, and working with these uninhibited minds helps expands my own possibilities.
Each girl leaves at the end of the week with a framed masterpiece as a memento of our time together.
Sloane is a week shy of seven, and when I ask her what she would like me to paint for her birthday, she is very specific: two unicorns with the colours blue and purple.
“How on Earth do I paint unicorns?” I mention to Ric.
In his usual smart ass way, he responds: “You draw a horse with a horn on its head.”
Argh! I’ve never drawn horses before is what I meant. So I research again. This is the first attempt.
It feels wonderful to be sketching and painting again. I have one more birthday gift to attend to and then I’ve completed my year and I’ll start listening to those ideas tugging at my pant leg.
Faces and bodies intimidate me, when it comes to art. So I decided to start simply, with this computerized sketch (featured) made from an old photograph of one of my girls.
I have found with my sketching that adhering to the original is not always necessary, as long as I get the general idea. This is art, after all.
I choose the colours that I want to introduce to the image – pink, blue, and burnt sienna. Wetting the paper, I dab in the colour, then decide to add some green.
I take pictures along the way, so that I can objectively consider the painting and what else it needs. At this point, I usually redo some of the sketch lines, but I don’t feel inclined to do that here. Instead, I think about highlighting areas of the piece by intensifying the colour. I paint the trees in the upper right hand corner, and then opt to do her hat.
Still not satisfied, I decide to sleep on it. In the morning, I realize that it is the snowball that is bothering me. I decide to introduce yellow, emphasizing her hair and the ball.
Now the painting has taken on a metaphorical aspect, telling a story.
To me, it is the light the emanates from this special child.
Many moons ago, I won an award for my artistic talents and was immediately counselled to drop the art program. That same year, I wrote my first novel, and after it was graded, I burnt it. I wasn’t meant to be creative, I decided, and obediently signed up for advanced math and other academic subjects.
For decades following, I admired the creativity of others and bemoaned the fact that I didn’t have a creative bone in my body. Now that I have put that nonsense behind me, and reconnected with that younger self, I am revelling in exploration.
And, still rolling in the mire of self-doubt.
I am very conscientious of the fact that I have not been a student of art – that I wouldn’t recognize a Gaugin from a Renoir without some prodding. I don’t know the technical terms and when I read artists’ blogs, I am often lost. Does this make me an imposter? I wonder.
Still, I plod along – my work station a permanent corner of our abode (we dine on our laps) – each day daring myself to try something new. Thus the self-portrait.
Mostly, I am focusing on sketching, and liking where the extensive pencil work is taking me. This mountain scene is inspired by the large rock formations of Joshua Tree National Park. Less focused on realism, I find I am more liberal with the watercolours.
Each new venture is a learning.
Thank you for coming along with me on this journey. Comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated.