Friday, September 01, 2006


I completed Day 1:

I felt like an old rusty gate. I felt like I had lost my touch. I cannot believe how little I had done since July.

This was not the first tile I did today. I had to do several. At first, I could not decide what my medium should be. I did several in watercolor pencil and a couple in pencil before I settled on the pen. Oh- and my pen would not work, so this was actually done in fine sharpie. Thank jebus for sharpies- they are ALWAYS your friend.

It took me a while to settle on something to draw, also. I tried a couple of sketches from life, but the tile was too small for what I was seeing. I went next to a series of ideas I've been developing in little thumbnail drawings in my sketchbook and tried to follow the theme in watercolor pencil. But I needed more planning and sketching, because I knew what I wanted to see, and that was definitely not what was showing up. I think I want this exercise to be a little more spontaneous and less carefully executed than most of what I do. I was listening to the latest episode of CraftSanity earlier today (and if you don't listen to CraftSanity, why not? It's fantastic. I think I need to send Jennifer flowers on a weekly basis.), because the interviewee was talking about how one her projects in art school was to make 80 pieces of art in 3 weeks. You had to just do and not overplan or fall into perfectionism. That's more the kind of thing I wanted to do here. I tried something completely from my imagination that fit the style of work I wanted to try with this exercise, but it was too incomplete yet and didn't feel like it was coming from that place. That place where the work I love comes from. That place, I guess, is inspiration.

Finally, I took a sharpie and wrote a little mini-journal entry on a card, lodging all my complaints with myself. "I've lost my touch" and "I haven't drawn for so long, I've forgotten how" and "I need a paintbrush, not a pencil." I may have had a false start or two, but then I hit on what I did above. One take. In sharpie. It just flowed. When in doubt, head for the trees. The sketch above, as minimal as it is, is completely genuine. I'm never happy if it doesn't feel genuine. And I think you can tell the difference in the final product.

That little drawing above does not merit this much commentary, but the experience and the process does. It made me think of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. It made me realize the beauty of morning pages, in which you get rid of all your psychic shit on 3 pages in a notebook as you start the day so that creativity can flow unhindered. I was not pleased with the morning pages when I did the Artist's Way a year ago. I'd spew all my crap into the pages and then it would all be fresh in my mind, so I could continue to ruminate on it all day at work, leaving me in a foul temper for the evening. But now I see that "morning" could be treated as being in quotes, and that perhaps I personally would be better served writing my morning pages during the "morning" of my art time. I could do them right before I started working to shrug off the day, rather than having them be like picking a scab everyday. She also talks about artists being a part of the larger creative force, and how creativity flows through you. When I let go and went with my gut- it just happened. Each mark worked.

I think this little drawing looks like how I'm feeling right now. My limbs feel a little rough and a little bare. I feel like that first time you go back to yoga, or that first run you take in months... out of shape, clumsy, rusty, but oh so GOOD! I've so needed this next step!

In fact, I felt so damn good I went ahead and finished all the pre-assembly knitting on Baby Yoda. This weekend, I will finish my very first sweater- albeit a small one.

1 comment:

Aprilynne said...

That's what is so cool about art. It can be about capturing something or it can be about releasing something. Emotioanl art is a very interesting experience. There's such freedom and relief in putting paint, pencil or pen down with no idea what's going to happen and watching things flow out of you and onto the 'canvas'. Some of my most interesting stuff has come from that place.