It’s been a while since my last post. I took a summer art history course that ate up all my free time, and I let my blogging slip so I could concentrate on getting a good grade. I don’t regret it (I haven’t taken a serious college course since 2005), but I miss the process of picking a topic and art to talk about.
But then when I got back to my art journal, nothing seemed to go right. The words wouldn’t come, the art felt stiff…like I’d forgotten how to access that part of me.
I started with a shouting bird (redundant, I realize). Sometimes words have to be forced out, and the art reflects the strain.
Then I tried some Egyptian motifs, but my mongoose went poorly and I put the page in time out.
Finally, I just put random paint down on a new page and let whatever was lurking there decide what it wanted to be. As usual, I found weird creatures:
My next class starts in a few days, and I’ll be learning to write specifically about art. I’m excited! Maybe it’ll help me find my voice in this area…I feel like I’m still too stiff from all of my years as a tech writer. I wanted to take a drawing class so that I could have some formal training and learn some discipline, but the only classes I feel comfortable with are remote only, and I’d have had to attend an in-person lab session. Oh well. Maybe I’ll take some online workshops instead! If you have any suggestions on good resources on YouTube or CreativeBug, I’d appreciate it!
When I had a little downtime last week I was looking for inspiration in the coloring book pages that’re being released by art collections and museums. The hashtag I saw is #colorourcollections… it’s random and weird and there’s so many styles and subject matters! I love it.
In the collection of The University of Sussex, I found a wonderfully weird person-pig mashup from a book called “The Works of that Famous Chirurgeon Ambrose Parey, 1678.”
There’s something about the colors the sun paints across the sky at sunset. Giant watercolor masterpieces, painted with light and air movement. It’s so stereotypical, right, for an artist to find inspiration in the event that defines the day?
I’ve been struggling with my art during this pandemic. When I’m scared, my ability to access my intentional creativity diminishes, and drawing specific things gets a lot harder. In times like this, when I’m so overwhelmed, just playing with color on the page is sometimes all I can manage.
I visited my friend Susan a few weeks ago, and as we were talking about what was happening in our lives and the world, she let me play with her new watercolor palette. I felt a lot of different emotions swirling around us…it was pleasant to sit with her and just let my unconscious take control of my brushes.
I worry too much, all the time, about all sorts of things. Whether they matter or not, are likely or not, regardless of the actual danger involved.
I did not think to worry about a pandemic, and now I find myself unprepared! What do I draw or paint when I don’t know how to begin to think about what’s going on? How do I visualize this virus that’s raging across the planet, on every continent but Antarctica? That we know so little about, and yet are becoming so intimate with?
Sometimes I can draw the thing that’s scaring me. I kept looking at the virus picture the CDC put out, the one with a gray body and red triangular spores haloing it. But I couldn’t get anywhere with that reference. It felt too real, too scary to caricature. So I went in a different direction and thought about the growth aspect of the virus, how it spreads so fast. Like a molecular pinball machine that sprouts with every bounce.
I love to doodle when I write. I like how the words and the visuals interact, and it thrills me when I subconsciously end up creating something that reflects what I’m writing about. I’m not entirely sure how to make it happen. Maybe it’s a kind of meditation… It works best when I don’t try to force anything in particular. Sometimes I draw towards a feeling, if that makes sense?
I like to look for creatures in random shapes and patterns. I imagine that when I see them, I’m catching a glimpse of another world, one where the rules aren’t quite the same as here. Where a tree can have a mouth and eyes and something to say, if only I knew how to listen. Where there are improbable beings going about their daily lives, just as I am. A Through the Looking Glass sort of existence, where the normal and the strange are intertwined…a place where my oddness is unremarkable.