Beginning with watercolor

I have spent the day working on watercolor sketches, choosing a couple of past prime roses that were given to me on Valentines – yes they sat in the vase as their water slowly evaporated till now. I can be inattentive at times. Using low-grade student quality paints that have sat for far too long, some of the tubes rock solid from age, I thought I would begin. But the paint quality isn’t an issue at this time since my focus at this stage is to get a feel for the medium, and practicing looseness.

Watercolor sketch 2017

Watercolor is a different animal, once the paint touches down on paper it’s there to stay. It is key to be fluid and not overwork a piece, it almost becomes a meditation on the balance of letting go, and knowing when to withhold, and it is so very evident that I need a lot of meditation practice. I have very seldom ever worked in this medium, choosing Acrylics for its speed of drying and forgiving plasticity. Right now I have these poor little paints at my disposal to facilitate my getting back to painting again. And, it’s better for me to work small-scale for the time being as I reawaken those once dormant creative muscles.

Watercolor sketch 2017

Quick Draw

I was flipping through one of my sketch books I haven’t opened in a while looking to  nudge this latent passion of mine, to reawaken and stir up what was once something I took great pleasure in, what came second nature, what I went to school for. Before Busy happened. I never would have thought, because I took it for granted, because I could always do it, how hard it is to begin again. To shake that muscle into fluidity. To obey.

The struggle is evident in the quick sketch I did last night, a self-portrait, using my iPhone as a “mirror”. It’s buried most definitely, showing how tight and self-conscious it comes through. I have a lot of work to do.

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Studio Plans

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I have been mentally planning the placement of a studio space and where to build it.

In the front yard or the back. If I build in the back I will need to move as much soil out of the existing vegetable garden as possible to the front lower yard. In the front, the light and the area is brighter, more open and flat which would be ideal for the garden, but the ground is on the hard side and tends to be rockier and I will have a lot of work to do to prepare another growing area. This area is also ideal building ground and good light for studio work.

The back area on the other hand is becoming more shaded each year due to the surrounding trees, not optimal for growing but still very good, but do I feel the light would be insufficient for the studio? Also would I feel more comfortable with a small building in the back of the house or plunked in the front yard, albeit off to the lower side.

Then there is the consideration of using the basement, a finished off, mostly unused space that has a futon couch, (when the kids come for a visit) heated, clean and possess straight walls, an asset the main upper house doesn’t (yay A-Frames! ), along with a tiled floor so no big worry about mess; whatever I throw at it can be wiped up- not that I’d throw stuff, but you know what I mean. Mess is integral to creation.

The big issue with this space is it is on the dark side, especially in winter months; it is partially below ground after all, but it has beautiful recessed lighting in the ceiling and extra lighting in the way of floor lamps will boost the brightness.  At first look the basement space feels non conducive to creativity, not “Studio” but rather “Grotto”.

Just in writing this out has it become obvious that  judicious practicality has to prevail here.

Since I haven’t done a serious lick of painting or even a drawing in god knows how many years (at least 28, since my last big graphites while living in Victoria) perhaps before investing too much in exterior building costs (on the island no less with it’s inherent added costly logistics, etc.) I am better off to see how I do with what I now have at my disposal.

The indicator to build a separate studio space needs to be when I fill up the basement with work and it begins to overrun into the upper house. Then I can feel ready and confident to warrant my own work space. To build before then could make me feel pressured to “produce” in some stupid arcane way, to “validate” the money and effort in it’s building.

Am I overthinking? Perhaps but I think that this is the approach I need to take. Let it open up organically, and hey I’m a Taurus, I’m supposed to be Practical!

Don’t Explain

My daughter 1984
My daughter 1984

When an individual asks the artist to explain what their intent or meaning was when creating a particular piece it really is none of that individuals business. That would be robbing the individual of their own interpretation, which ultimately is the only one that matters.

Art should never be publicly explained. I don’t want to read about what the artist was thinking when showing their work or who influenced them. The work is what it is regardless. How would knowing change how you perceived the work? Inevitably my viewing is going to be different anyway, and different again from the person standing next to me looking at the work. What I see and how their work affects me are in the realm of my personal experience.

That is the message of ART, we view art work through our own life experiences and no two experiences are the same and so will deliver a different meaning and interpretation to each viewer.

If the artist’s intent is recognized and understood by the public exactly as the artist intended, fine. Still ultimately Art is SUBJECTIVE.

Sketchy Past

 

Self Portrait 1980
Self Portrait 1980

When I was going through the contents of the storage area in my basement I came upon some of my old sketchbooks; needless to say as soon as I found them I became lost in their pages. There was a time when I was always observing, when I would quietly watch and be moved to capture. I had time to engage in this, and as I went through them it was as though I had forgotten I  could ever have done that.

It’s a queer thing to feel so estranged from an element of one’s life that once occupied many years. I had gone to The Banff School of Arts, I had begun a Bachelor of Fine Arts at college until being a  single parent and making a living trumped any solitary artistic studies or pursuits. It just felt selfish somehow if I were to try to continue on with it seriously.1966288_10152257067730733_1897994913_o

I now feel that I might just be at a juncture in my life to pick up where I left off.