Sunday, October 19, 2014

Showing up, doing the work

I've taken a few classes and workshops from a local artist, Maureen Faulkner, and enjoyed every one. She usually starts her classes with a quote she keeps from Barbara Coloroso, I believe. While there are four points to her quote for being successful at what you choose to do, the first two quotes are the ones that resonate with me most (perhaps because that's the stage I'm at, usually): 1. Show up (on time) and 2. Do your work.

I find that,for me, artistically, it is the first step that offers up the greatest challenge. Once I've shown up, I usually have a good time working. However, lifeus interruptus is all too often the reason for not showing up. It takes a bit of effort to carve out time/make time/take time for artistic endeavours and it hit home last week, when I was teaching my adult drawing class, that I have not been able to do that for a while.

The question was "And what have you been drawing lately, Anna-Maria?". I hemmed and hawed, and referred people to the fact that painting kitchens and hallways takes time, not to mention all the other everyday things that pop up on a regular basis. I HAVE been making an effort to work on the "no fuss journal", and, while it does not happen every day, the gaps between sit-down times for it are small enough that I have been able to back-fill the entries and I am currenlty up-to-date.

Today, though, I managed a few hours in the studio, and, while I did not draw, I did artify and worked on some of my sewing projects. After binding 4 small quilts and mitering all the corners I think I'm getting more proficient at those skills. And it only took a few hours out of my day. That, however, is the key -- finding the hours, or the half hours, or the minutes, and deciding what can be done in the time available. Now that the garden is winterized, perhaps I will be able to find more Sunday afternoons to sit downstairs, turn on the tunes and create... once the house is cleaned, the laundry is done, the banking taken care of, etc. etc. etc.

Show up -- now that's a good goal!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The advantage of drawing multiples

I am currently teaching drawing classes for adults on Wednesday evenings. Last week, I asked my students (encouraged my students?) to make 8-10 contour drawings of an object on the same page, each one overlapping the next and rotating the object slightly for a different viewpoint each time. As I wandered around, I noticed that one person was drawing a beautifully fluted teacup. Her first rendition had straight sides, a hefty handle and looked more like a mug. I didn't say anything to her and continued to wander around, viewing the other students' progress. By the time the teacup student was on her 8th rendition, the teacup in her drawing had curved sides and a delicate looking appearance, just like the porcelain cup on the table. I pointed this out to her and she was quite surprised to see the progression from what she "knew" a teacup looked like to what she actually saw. If I'd been on the ball I would have snapped a picture of the paper she was drawing on, but it was not to be. She's taken it home and will keep it as a record of her progress.

That transition, of "knowing" to "seeing" was remarkable and the first time I have truly seen it occur in such a short span of time. Quite a special moment and reminder that drawing or creating multiples of an object/project is not necessarily a wasted effort. Working in a series provides opportunity for learning, tweaking and refining, until a person comes closer to producing what is envisioned.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

In Situ workshop

Today I attended an en plein air workshop facilitated by Maureen Faulkner, entitled In Situ. We were out at the Prince George Railway and Forestry Museum, and were extremely lucky with the weather. Despite waking up to pouring rain and (in my case), packing rainpants and raincoat, and carting along a fleece vest, we had glorious sunshine and mild temperatures.

It was a good afternoon to simply stretch my drawing muscles again, keeping an open mind and not worrying about results. I brought home one drawing I am relatively pleased with, as it incorporated some of the ideas I had as I walked around the site. Adding the required text response back in the room made the image look similar to a journal entry, albeit on paper that is quite a bit larger than a journal. The theme for the drawing was to find something to draw in detail, in a box, and then expand upon the picture outside of the box. Both the mushrooms and the train snow plow exuded strength and power, even if the former are really quite fragile, in the grand scheme of things. The hardpacked dirt did not stand a chance, when those fungi wanted to come up (probably as a result of the rain).

We had 20 minutes to do the drawing, and I must admit being surprised at what I produced in those 20 minutes. Exact, it is not, but I am usually so slow with my drawings that I would get less than half that much done in that amount of time. It was good to work with no expectations for a change -- made things possible that might not otherwise have happened.

Now, to reproduce those mental conditions on my own time, without needing a workshop to spur me on!!!