Yesterday was a big day for me.
I haven’t really been painting all that much lately.
I have been doing the 2 minute self-portraits, with and without the kids. I have a ton of backgrounds prepped and ready to go from 2 weeks ago…and then…nothing…just sort of empty space.
Sometimes when nothing is going on and when I am not painting, I get frustrated–I get worried–what if I never pick up a brush again? What if I get so overwhelmed, what if I get stuck in the chair with the toddler, what if I am never able to get back to my work…and so on and so on and so on…
Other times, like this past week, nothing happens really and no art is made and I am perfectly ok with that–because I know…there is plenty going on beneath the surface.
I know I have been gestating, incubating, centering in and rooting down…and I know that I am moving forward, on the same journey, but with a renewed faith and a renewed vigor…
But still…when it hit me to start painting yesterday…I didn’t think anything was amiss.
I started my day by a quick (under 5 minutes, yes, timed) coloring in of yesterday’s two-minute sketch. I use soft pastels for this process. I used a cotton swab to blend, rather than my finger.
She was done with an extremely limited palette. I let myself use, four, maybe five shades of green to finish her. Nothing else.
That is fine. That’s my usual. It doesn’t count as “real art”–it counts as practice. And freedom.
Then, I stepped up to my art journal where I have been working on this spread for … more than a week…I knew I was going to make this my Solstice/Full Moon spread when I started it. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to start it when I did, so I could work on it a bit every day up until the 20th. It sort of worked that way. I had planned to finish the whole spread over the weekend…and never touched it all weekend because things were too discombobulated.
So, I stepped up to it Monday afternoon…and I stopped thinking and I just did what felt good.
(My apologies for the string from a previous spread falling over the top of this picture…I didn’t notice it until well after I had uploaded the piece.)
When I went through all my stuff recently, I saw all this imagery of these imaginary flowers and it struck me how I have drawn and scribbled these things for decades…DECADES…and I had to wonder why I had stopped…so I decided to stop making myself make pretty art spreads, or to do art spreads that I had learned to do via classes (really GOOD classes, mind you)…and I just let myself play…and I love it…I love the result.
I kept trying to work the balance of masculine and feminine energies–I kept that in mind while I worked.
Once that spread was dry and sealed…I sort of flipped through that particular journal. There are only six remaining open spreads left in that journal, which kinda tickled me, since i am in the process of hand-binding yet another journal using coptic binding and an old book cover.
I left the book open, to allow it to dry even more…and went about my business (reading email that I had ignored over the weekend, listening to videos playing in the background, chasing ornery children)…when it hit me…
I pulled up that journal, took my trusty Bic pen, and started to write on an open spread…and this is what came of that allowance:
Layers and layers and layers of water soluble oil pastels.
Layers of paint, followed by layers of water soluble oil pastel.
Repeated…repeated…repeated…until I was happy.
Then the scribbling…and the final message…and — it felt amazingly good to just allow the intuitive process to unfold and flow as it did with this piece.
And yet…there was another journal open.
After that first spread, I had left-over paint, so I grabbed another journal, opened it up and threw down the paint…thinking it would dry, I would shut the book and set it back on the shelf until another day called me to play on that substrate. I even did a bit of scribbling with a charcoal pencil.
Then, after a quick call from someone I love…
I pulled that journal back out and I pulled out the paints and the water soluble oil pastels…and I really stopped trying to remember everything I had been taught in all my classes and I just let things happen…
and this is the result…
I love her face, because all I did was throw color at it. I scribbled with the pastels. I didn’t push. I didn’t force. I let it happen–and then I let it be.
That flower shape, that pod shape, leaf shape, petal shape, maybe even feather shape–I draw it all the time…in various ways, all over the place…and this is where and how it felt right…
And so it is.
Here is to a new era in my work.
Thanks for following along.