Does a blank canvas motivate or paralyze you? I used to be paralyzed until I began painting and repainting and another coat of gesso and more paint…and now, I love them. I keep small, cheap canvases on hand for practice and inspiration. I’ve painted over this one at least 3 times in the past month–it’s a 5×7 canvas and I have 3 of them that I’m using for practice. My plan is to paint a large triptych when I finally figure out what I want to look at for a while (because once I ask the hub to frame them and hang them–they will be on the wall at least a year). I tried a few Rothko style paintings and they felt heavy and clunky. Then I tried Bob Ross style fan brush tree and it was too light and practically flew off the canvas. My next attempt will be a variety of brush strokes and sponge work with a little horizontal line to center the eyes…we’ll see what happens! I was inspired by my photo of the ocean yesterday and want to capture it in paint.
Grab a canvas or a piece of paper and some colored pencils and join me, or, like my daughter, grab your tablet and stylus. It’s blank canvas week!
We spent the weekend at the coast and this truly is my happy place. It is the place that holds my heart, sweeps me into bliss and makes me feel safe. It’s my church. I always feel creative at the beach. I want to build sandcastles, write poetry, read classic novels, and paint. I did some of that–wrote poetry yesterday but today was “clean the house and drive 4.5 hours home” day…so I thought, “what am I going to blog today?” Hmmm…my fallback is my photography. I’m a photographer because I earned my MFA in Photography therefore, I should be a photographer, right? But, what if painting is calling me? Well, I didn’t have time to paint today so I leaned back on what I know and didn’t “create” something new. It feels like a cop-out because I didn’t exercise my creative mind. But, I still captured something I love, something that soothes my soul and something I’m proud of…even if it was captured with my iPhone (not my DSLR).
Just like a hungry belly, my creative self needs to be fed to function properly. Poetry is one of my favorite dishes. This book, Milk and Honey, was love at first sight. My senses were stimulated instantly–the bees on the cover with the simple title lured my eyes, the soft, velvety texture of the cover was like touching skin for the first time in the most sensual way…it felt indulgent to hold. Her poems are intimate and truly a window to her soul. She fearlessly reveals herself and like the poem on the back of the book says, “this is my heart in your hands.” I love her. I feel her and I connected. My gift back to her is a complete deep dive into every single page, every word, every sketch and doodle…I opened my own heart on the pages and let my creative self out today.
I am the queen of excuses and the master of procrastination. I watched a TED talk about procrastination once (see below) and the whole time I was shouting to my hub, “Check this out, I’m not the only one!” Procrastination has rarely failed me…ok, it has recently when I missed a deadline for a grant application (insert lots of anguish here) but honestly, I usually ROCK under pressure. Timelines are my friend. I have learned one very valuable lesson though (which was reinforced when I read the book Outliers) you have to have your spaghetti ready when the time comes, you can’t just wing it and succeed. LOTS of practice prepares you for success when you’re under the gun. Case in point, my latest piece, “Life Force.”
Over a month ago I picked up my 12×12 wood block from the art gallery knowing it was due on August 4th for the upcoming fund raiser show. I honestly had no idea what I was going to do with this piece–I wanted to do something new, something different and creatively satisfying. So, I took some of my hub’s scrap wood and played around with different techniques. In the meantime, I’d been playing with a new technique where you add silicone to acrylic paint, thin it out and use a palate knife to paint designs on canvas. I created at least 25 pieces until I felt like I was mastering this particular technique and then I walked away for a while. Until last night…2 nights before my piece is due to the gallery. Paralyzed with indecision, I leaned on what I’d been practicing and felt confident I could execute and went for it. The result is this piece and I’m thrilled with it because it shows the movement of the waves I love so much. Water symbolizes life and to watch it move with such force makes me feel so small and my problems insignificant. I love the ocean and I’m happy to offer this piece to my local gallery–I hope it sells!
The secret to becoming is to first be…it’s time to nurture my creative self and see what can happen. I’m starting this 365-day project on my birthday in an effort to see how much I can creatively grow in a year. I want to learn what I’m capable of by doing instead of thinking about doing. My day began with the hub giving me a gift card to my favorite, local art shop. This is the start of something exciting–I can feel it! Join me if you’ve been wanting to create more too.
My first project is to paint a 12×12 wood block for a non-profit, artist run, art gallery fund raiser. Let’s see how it goes!