Creative play

I had a great time today “playing” in the Wreck This Journal that I gave myself for Christmas. The journal has blank pages with lots of wacky prompts like “scribble wildly”  and “tie a string to this journal and go for a walk dragging it.”

I haven’t been zany enough yet to actually go for a walk dragging the journal, but I enjoyed scribbling wildly, spilling coffee, poking holes and writing backwards. The idea is to loosen up the creative spirit and make creating art less precious.

Already the notion of “letting go,” which I’m trying to hold onto, is cropping up in my thinking as I go through the pages. Art requires us to constantly let go, trust and recover. In doing so we gain confidence and faith in our ability to bring forth something new and authentic.

Happy (artsy) Holidays!

I haven’t spent much time creating these last few days, with Christmas preparations to take care of. But I’m getting ready to get busy again. I unwrapped my artsy gifts from me to me: Journal Spilling and Wreck This Journal.

I’ve been intrigued by the idea of art journaling since reading about this creative process on other artists blogs. So I’m planning to give it a try. I’m looking forward to creative play.

My husband also gave me a fat gift certificate to my favorite art store. So I’ll have a wonderful field trip buying supplies. YAY Christmas! What artsy goodies did you get for Christmas? Please share.

Overcoming “mistakes”

Moonlight Sonata (detail)
Moonlight Sonata (detail)

I spent Saturday working on a painting that I thought I had completely ruined by “mistake.” I felt that I had overworked the background because I didn’t know where to stop. Instead of packing the canvas up and putting it out of sight, as I’ve done in the past, I kept going. I sat for awhile looking at the painting each morning as I went about my daily chores, watched the morning news and got my son ready for school. I do this often now when I feel that I need to wait and let the painting tell me where it needs me to go. I could see that there was a conflict between the color that I had overworked in the background and the vibrant primary color figures I had in the foreground. So I decided to change the background to a navy blue versus the turquoise blue that I originally had.

Original turquoise background at start
Orginal turquoise background
Moonlight Sonata
Moonlight Sonata

In making that choice, I began thinking that the piece should be called “Moonlight Sonata” because it seemed as though the blue would bathe the ladies in moonlight and they seemed to be dancing in the light. I’m happy with the piece again. The lesson learned is to keep going when you think you have “ruined” a painting. It may not look the way you originally envisioned it, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. (See the post before this one to see the canvas that I painted over and changed from a horizontal to a vertical.)

Mistakes

One of my good artists buddies, who shall remain nameless, has just made me feel guilty for not posting on the blog more than I have this week. So here goes Nameless Buddy (Thanks for reading my blog). I’ve been busy this week working on painting over a canvas from a previous art exhibit. Those of you have have read my posts before may remember the painting of boxes that I entered in a show–totally out of character with my usual work. So it is no surprise that I hated that canvas. So as part of the recycle theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge this month, I’ve been reusing items that I already have instead of buying new ones. I was happy to redo this canvas. It started out well enough–some squares and circles as backgrounds, my lovely ladies in flowing gowns in the foreground. Then I went too far with the background and totally hated the piece. My husband even gave me one of his “what have you done?” comments. I tried to convince him not to worry, that I’m an artist who has to take risks, make mistakes and recover in order to grow. I went to bed that night totally bummed out and totally unconvinced of what I had told him. Why, oh why, didn’t I stop sooner? Here is the wood panel canvas before I began. I’ve thought about posting the big mistake, but that would be too painful right now. I’m still working on the painting. I’m not ready to reveal it yet. When I am you will be the first to see it. Hopefully you won’t have to avert your eyes. What do you do as an artist when you feel that you have made a “mistake,” or “misnakes,” as my son used to say? How do you know when to stop? Most times I stop too soon. And, yes, I try to keep telling myself that there are no mistakes in art. But it is hard to remember when you are staring at something hideous.

New necklace

Ruby red wire wrap necklaceI worked on another necklace using the wire wrapping and coiling technique. I’m getting much better at it. But this necklace still has some issues with how the inner piece hangs. I’ll work on that. I made this mainly using the time waiting for my son to finish basketball practice. That is turning out to be quite the valuable hour and a half. Nice and quiet in the hallway.

Strange inspiration

Inspiration is a strange thing. You never know from where it will come. Sometimes as I’m drawing I consciously try to listen to my thoughts to see what is leading me to draw the images that I draw, but I haven’t figured it out. This drawing, for example, was inspired by a report on the evening news. A strange spiral appeared in the sky over a Norwegian missile base. It turned out to be a failed missile test (not a UFO). I just caught a glimpse of the spiral on the news as I was working on a jewelry project. For some reason that inspired me to create this mixed media painting while waiting for my son at basketball practice. Circles and spirals appear in my work. So I guess it is not too off base that I would be inspired by the news report. However, I have no idea what this painting is about. My ladies in long gowns appear, as usual. Tell me what you see. Enlighten me about my work. Tell me where your inspirations come from.

Ta-da!

I have spent the past two days working on my wire wrap necklace using the techniques I learned in the class I took this weekend. I wanted to practice the wrapping over and over again so I wouldn’t forget it. I can see that each time I do it my work improves. That is such a good feeling! And I have found ways to straighten out my mistakes. I’m very pleased with the result. I must make more.

Practice, practice

I practiced more of the wire wrapping and coiling technique that I learned in my jewelry class over the weekend. My loops are still very warped and the coils aren’t so tight and neat—yet. I’m going to get it. I refuse to give up. I’ll do it over and over so I don’t forget how. And then I’ll just keep trying to adjust my technique to make the loops better. Already I can see that the necklace I’m making looks better than previous versions. So that, as Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing.

Learning something new

In the spirit of the recycle theme for Creative Every Day, I’m focusing on using the beads that I already have for making jewelry and resisting the urge to buy more. So to aid that effort I took a wire work and coil class today. Learning this technique will give me more design options. In the past, I have done wire wrapping using my own improvised technique. But I wanted to learn the right way to do it. Let me tell you, wire wrapping is no walk in the park. There are only four steps really, but the precision required is challenging. I had not mastered the technique by the time I left the two-hour class, so I plan to spend this week wire wrapping and connecting beads over and over again until I get it perfect. The only way to really get a new technique is to practice, practice, practice.

Art retreat

Tonight I used art as a retreat from a stressful day, as I sat in the hallway of the school where my son was having basketball practice. Practice is an hour and half long, and for the first time in a long time I spent the entire period drawing in my sketchbook (an old one in the spirit the recycle theme for Creative Every Day Challenge). As I stared at the blank pages wondering whether any ideas would come to me at all, I began to just make marks on the paper. No particular intention, just mark making until images began to appear in my head. With each stroke of the pencil I felt pulled deeper and deeper into a calmer place, where I get to make things happen. It was very relaxing to have to sit there and wait and focus only on drawing. When I was in college I took an art course in which the teacher required that we draw in a sketchbook each day, fill it and turn it in as part of our grade. I was always such a procrastinator that even at that time I would put it off and would have to “cram” all night drawing to fill up the book. (What was more important than art back then? I have no idea) Cramming it all in at the last minute defeated the whole purpose—to maintain a constant state of creativity. So now I’m discovering the joy of being in that state with the help of a simple blank page and a pencil. (Above is a drawing I did years ago based on our family trip to Senegal, West Africa.)

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