Time was short, I was tired, and wondering once again, what was the point of even trying to make art when I felt so uninspired. I replied, the point is holding the form, keeping the channel open however feebly, against the time when the juices will want to come pouring through.
Honestly, since the break I took from the dailies I have not moved back into spending long or thoughtful time in studio. I’ve been tempted to just extend the break or give myself a pass on several days. But. One thing I’ve learned over the years of this exercise is that if I keep the channels open, sometimes good and unexpected things happen. And eventually the urge and the joy will return.
While on vacation I didn’t try to do much observational painting. Instead, I worked on figuring out how to draw Celtic-style interlace. I’m sure there are books and tutorials, but I needed to occupy my mind and hands, and treating these as a puzzle was soothing and calming. Here are my workpages, and you can see I even got a couple finished that I feel pretty happy with.
I pretty much just tidied up the line-work, so it doesn’t look very different today. But a couple people have asked, so here’s the photo that inspired the painting. It’s from an old National Geographic magazine. I’m not so happy with my rendering of the face, but really I was just looking for a framework for meditative pattern work. The pattern I used is based on Celtic manuscript decoration although I love the ones on the robe and background in the photo.
The caption: “The patterns on the robe of Peruvian healer Enrique Flores Agustin represent songs he sings during curing ceremonies. … Ancient or modern, the theater of healing works by creating strong expectations in the brain.”
Below is the painting as I originally posted it. I always have the urge to tidy up “looseness”; I’m not sure that’s always best. In this case though, I like the colors in the finished image better, and it more nearly matches my intent.
season of roses is underway
I spent a long time looking at the blank paper this evening. That’s been happening a lot lately, which sometimes indicates that I need to shift directions. I was too tired to stay up and finish this one to any degree, but it is what I made this day, so it is what I am posting.
The point of this practice was to make sure that I spent time every day doing a thing I love. The daily posts were a way of building in a kind of accountability. They also have served occasionally as a way for me to reflect on what I’m doing. To remind myself of why, and to think about how I might want to continue. I am so pleased and grateful when people let me know that they look at my posts, whether or not they respond in writing. I always hope that what I’m doing here might encourage you to play in whatever way inspires you, whenever you are able.
5/18/22 – the finished picture
If you’ve been following Ayespider for a while, you know that sometime in February I make collages. Well, that time has arrived, even though once again this year (covid caution!) I’m not able to have my in-studio all day collage-making gathering with friends. Here’s the first one, make of it what you will.
Below, my worktable, during the evening. Probably a preview of the next two collage posts.
Some of my Inner Critics are right over there, where I can ignore their commentary.
I’ve had a run of studio sessions where I felt no inspiration and no confidence as I worked on my drawings. There is a very big, very quiet inner critic who sits like a cold lump and merely says, “what’s the point?” I try to ignore them, but it does get in the way of the pleasure of drawing. This critic is not chatty, as many of the other are. They are sullen, morose, doughy, chilly, immovable. I carry on, because I have said I will, and have made the time to do it. But it may take something more proactive on my part to get this one to move along and get out of my way.
memory of beach soundscapes
Pencil work can be slow and painstaking, but so very satisfying. I don’t do this much for the dailies, just because of the time requirement. But I used to do long process pencil and colored pencil work. There’s a quiet that settles in with the delicate and deliberate touches. And the picture emerges in an almost sculptural way, as if carving shapes out of shadows.
When I was a child, I was pretty proud of my prowess in art. I drew a picture of a cat, perhaps I was 7 years old, and showed it to my grandmother, no doubt expecting praise. Dottie was an accomplished portrait artist, though she dismissed her skill as being “a knack”, and I believe harbored lifelong regrets about not devoting her life to painting. She looked at my ballpoint pen drawing and said “that’s fine, but cats are soft and furry. Can you make your drawing show that?” I remember feeling piqued and frustrated. I came up with another drawing that outlined the cat in zigzag wiggly lines instead of plain straight ones, and figured I had met the challenge adequately. How else do you show fur with a ballpoint pen? (Of course now I have many more answers to that question, but at that time I was ready to be done.)
So this evening, I was coming off a day of work and meetings, and no ideas or ambitions for my daily arting. So I amused myself making a thing of cuteness, and making it look soft and furry, and thinking about painting for my own joy and not to fulfill some ambition. Or perhaps my ambition has always been to experience joy in art and music. So I share these musings with you, and hope that you are finding joy or good satisfaction in at least some of the work and play that occupies your time.