13 February 2018

I did a little “process” post a few days ago, and felt like I didn’t really say much of what I wanted to get across. (see  11 February 2018)

So I took photos again during this drawing, whenever I paused between spates of scribble and brush, and I’ll try writing about it again.

I started this blog, not as a showcase for my fabulous talent (lol) but because I had determined that if I really wanted to feel like I was taking time in my life to make art, then I had to take time to make art. Every day. The blog was a way of holding myself accountable. I hoped it might also provide encouragement for other people who were feeling creatively stuck. So it felt important to show all the work, even the stuff I personally thought was weak or lame.

My big block was that I love art-making and have some skills, but I had no idea what I wanted to do with it. I was stymied by choosing subject matter, and was super judgmental about whatever I made. I dismissed drawings that were playful, whimsical or sweet as being trivial, but had no idea how I’d make ‘serious’ art. I’d get a bit bored  focusing on observational work, even though I think it’s really good to do occasionally for skill-building. And I do really love a good still life, landscape, portrait, or nature study. I long ago dismissed the idea of trying to make a living in the arts, because I was not able to stand up even to my internal critics. Some of the actual critiques I faced in my few years of formal study stopped me from exploring large format painting, which I still haven’t picked up again, 30 odd years later.

I determined to choose parameters for my daily drawings that would give me enough distance from my internal critics to get around them. I try to get into each drawing session with a clear mind, no preconceptions about what I will produce. I keep a range of materials handy, and try to settle down until I feel an intuitive push toward some material or idea. I try to stay as open as I can during the whole process, working with whatever happens rather than criticizing it when it’s not what I intended or expected.

So with that background, here’s what happened during my drawing time on 2/13/18:

2018-02-13 19.43.36
I love this color green. I have some caran d’ache water soluble crayon stubs dissolving in little pans, this is one I’ve used mostly for accents of blue-green but today I just wanted to wash it over the whole page. And then worked some swishy lines in. I like the opposing curves.
2018-02-13 20.01.11
I got a new crayon, the dark red makes nice veiny lines. I don’t think that’s going to be a tree any more . The swishes now seem more like feathers or twine. I like the mycelial network feel of the red.
2018-02-13 20.22.11
3. Now the network seems to be enclosing a stone. Maybe it’s a seed of some sort. The yellow will hopefully warm up the whole picture, and set off the feathery lines better. I still have no idea where this is going or what it’s about.
2018-02-13 22.01.38
4. Now the green wash seemed oppressively cool, I really wanted the blue stone to glow more. I tried warming and brightening some of the green just so make some contrast. Also darkened the original opposing curves, which from this distance now remind me of a tree trunk (right) and tornado (left) but I didn’t push either of those images. I was getting tired! The feathery things are turning into something like stiff brushes. I’m really trying to keep the stone-enclosing network central and important!
2018-02-13 22.27.12
5. OK I’m pretty much done. I’m a little frustrated; I don’t know where to push this to make it feel more satisfying to me, and I’m really pretty tired. This is an OK place to call it finished, I guess. And I still have no idea what it’s about. But I like the blue stone-seed thing. I like that green with purple accents – peacock colors! And I like how a few lines of india ink can make me feel better about something that felt lacking in definition and contrast.

So I’ll call this the drawing for today, put the date on it, and turn it loose on my blog. Sometimes the drawing snaps into focus sooner or later, and I can tell a more coherent story about it, but this is not one of those days. Still, I really believe that nothing is wasted, if you’re paying attention.

Thanks for looking and reading!

 

 

5 thoughts on “13 February 2018”

  1. I really appreciate how you showed your process and what you thinking and feeling as the drawing progressed. I totally understand that inner critic, I struggle with it every single day. I didn’t realize how much you rely on intuition to draw or paint. Your inner critic came out to wreak and destroy, I hate it when that happens to me. When it starts to ‘whisper’, I stop immediately and only continue when my inner artist is in control. I really like your drawing, to me that seed looks like a placenta firmly attached to the tree but reaching out in positive growth. There is a book by Jeanne Carbonetti that I think that you would like, it is called “Making Pearls, Living the Creative Life” very valuable and enlightening book.

  2. Thanks for going into more detail about this drawing. I’ve had similar judgements about various things I’ve done but when I look at them later, I’m less judgmental (maybe because it seems more like someone else’s, LOL). No matter what, your output is prodigious, you can always be proud of that. ~Rowan M.

    1. yeh it’s funny how things from the past can almost seem like they were done by somebody else (“how the heck did I come up with that?” is a feeling I’ve had looking at old work!)

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