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.
It started with a tree. Something about the texture of the bark appealed to me, so I took a picture.
Then I examined the image on my computer, and pondered what the image was saying to me. Did it need altering? Was it worth keeping?
Every time I looked at it, I was drawn to a small, cartoonish face just off center. I decided to sketch that face, and work outwards from there.
The image moved left and right of the face, but I felt compelled to set the two halves of the photo on top of one another, so the sketch no longer resembled the original.
Then, using a fine brush, I traced all of my pencil marks with dark paint. Noting that the bark was not one colour, I then added a second shade. When all of that dried, I wet the paper and blotted in two more colours, let the water work its will.
I repeated the steps again for more vibrancy.
What emerged was this old tree, with the profile of an ancient, and so I’ve titled the piece “Storyteller”.
This is a new approach to art for me, but I am so excited about the process that I’m working on a similar one based on a rock formation.
Oceans hold particular allure for those of us who live mid-country and have certainly been the subject of many of my recent paintings.
The beach scene featured, I painted for our middle daughter, who loves all things coastal. I tried to feature colours that would match with her current art pieces.
Painting for another is tricky. Tastes differ. Perfection rears its ugly head. Not wanting to disappoint her, I painted several beach scenes and let her select the one she preferred.
I did the same for my oldest daughter, who wanted a west coast scene. She selected both pieces I offered. The one above is the first of two.
Challenging myself to paint for others has encouraged me to take greater risks. I pay more attention to details. I am learning to be patient and take my time. Hopefully, I am progressing with each new project.
When I get discouraged, I remind myself that it has been less than a year since I first picked up a paintbrush. Still looking forward to what some actual training will do to advance my craft.