Do with this prompt what you will.
Do with this prompt what you will.
I haven’t been painting or sketching or doing much of anything due to illness lately…I mean, weeks of nothing…heck, I was having issues this past week even locating where my working art journal had been stashed, because I had put them away when we got the cats to keep them out of the way and safe from little kitties.
The way she came into being was me standing, staring out at the Moon as She was nearly full, asking…a lot of questions…and the response I received was…make a wish…write down and art about your heart’s most fondest desires. Those wishes, for me, I have distilled down to three key points, which I have no desire to share publicly at the moment…but this is what came up.
She is a peahen. The original idea I had was to decorate her with swirls and designs and all sorts of things, but as I came to sit with her to do these things, the whole, I am a peahen, still beautiful, yes, but I don’t have to show off the way the peacock does…so just let me be…and for the most part, that is what I did.
My daughter found this big pre-painted canvas at the thrift store last week.
It is obviously a hand-made canvas. The cloth overlaps too much for it to be professional. The wood framing … well, it’s a nice job, but you can see it’s not professional. There is a message written in what looks to be black Sharpie on the inside of the frame.
This is a beautiful canvas, all hand-made. The painting itself is lovely. There is a lot of scratching and textured, intentionally done, all over the painting.
To be honest, much like all the hand-knits and hand-crocheted items we find at thrift stores, it made me sad to see this canvas thrown away, thrown out, and unloved.
At first glance, I thought it might be nice enough to hang–except–that we all hang our art here at home–and this is a large canvas (I haven’t measured it–maybe 2 1/2 feet by 2 feet? something in that range…) … to hang it would take up quite a bit of real estate.
But then, I had to look at the canvas itself. The canvas itself had been pressed into who knows what and was loose in many places. Spraying the back of the painting with water, three times I think now, and letting it dry has snapped that canvas back as well as it can–although it still needs some work (the next step is a layer of house paint acrylic on the back).
The canvas material is folded over and overlapping heavily in the back, so I need to trim that down and back, just for my own edification. The sides of this canvas, which look to be about 2 inches give or take wide, are bare of paint. They were gessoed, definitely, but they stick out in sharp contrast to the painted front. Plus, during the canvas’s voyage to and through the thrift store system, the sides are actually pretty dirty. In case you are wondering, yes, when we pick up canvases, blank or otherwise, from thrift stores, we do wipe them down with a soapy rag (sometimes with a touch of bleach in the water we use) before using them.
At first my daughter was going to take the canvas–she’s the one who found it. Then, she decided she has enough large canvases that she is working on and she gave it to me.
I too have several larger canvases in process–not to mention I am actually working in my art journals at the moment. As I write this–I have focal images in two spreads waiting to be painted out…I have four journal spread backgrounds drying…and one waiting for a focal image to be added…on top of all the other stuff I have going on.
So, other than trying to tighten the drum of the canvas again, I don’t have a lot planned for it right now. Plus, I love the colors of this piece. It may take me a while to figure out what it wants to be.
I try listening to it, here and there, and I think it is too sad at having been cast aside to want to be anything else. Maybe I too am sad for it. When it is ready to transform into something else…it will let me know.
Once upon a time, I bought Connie Solera‘s Big/Deep self-paced workshops. It was 2012, at least, when I bought the program. I remember this because Big was very cathartic for me after Dylan’s passing. At one point, I had been “stuck” for weeks, months maybe, and I emailed Connie for help, because I didn’t know what to do. It is now 2016 and what she told me then still resonates with me…
In fact, I had a dream where Connie and I had a conversation around this very topic recently. Again, it is a weird thing for me to remember my dreams, so when I do–and I am a lot lately–I try to take particular care and note of what goes on and what I recall.
Let me just say, I love Connie Solera. I have learned so much from her over the years, from her, from her programs. I dearly love this woman. So much of her work has been an incredible blessing in and to my life — and thereby to those around me as well. I am grateful that I found her and that I have been able to work with her.
Now, her original email touched me — but the expanded conversation we had in my dreams recently took me to an entirely different level (so, in case you read this, Connie–you rock in real life and in the dream world–and I thank you whole-heartedly for this).
We went back to those ‘backgrounds’ I had told her I was created. I had been frustrated by the lack of focus, the lack of focal points. I had never been told, in my online art class journey nor anywhere else, that what I was doing was an art form in and of itself–yes, abstract art is actually one of my favorite art forms and always has been…so go figure I didn’t recognize my own abstract art in the making.
Dream Connie took my hand and we walked through some of the art I made during that period…stuff that I basically either painted over at some point or tore up to use as collage in other work. We talked about the pieces, about why I didn’t see them as valid pieces of art, about why I didn’t see them as valid pieces of my heart, about how I used the constructs and constraints of society to bind myself–and what I can do to release that, to break the bonds I use to tether myself, and to go deeper, ever deeper into the work that I am doing.
Does this mean you will be seeing more abstract work from me?
For me, it means allowing myself and my art to go wherever we need to go in whatever way we need to get there…and to be fine with that.
Thanks for listening.
Today…I wish I was able to say more…
Let me suffice to say that I am simply grateful for pain medication in the face of a migraine.
I am grateful, so grateful, for all the changes our home is undergoing.
From redoing the boys room, to reorganizing the kitchen and basement, to cleaning up the living room (which doubles as the toy room)…it has been a journey — and one not yet complete…
But I am so happy that there is a new energy within this house and that things continue to evolve and shift in such wonderful ways.
I have spoken many times about how finding Effy Wild online changed my life…how without her I would never have found Tamara Laporte…or Shiloh Sophia..or any other of the countless (now) amazing teachers with whom I have worked…or started down this arty path upon which I tread…
I am absolutely amazingly grateful to each and every teacher…even if I haven’t finished every single class I have bought…even if I have lessons I have no intention of ever completing (I have only 1 or 2 that come to mind, both part of larger projects encompassing many teachers).
I often say that this year in particular is my year to unlearn all the things that I learned in the past two to three years that I have been taking online classes–but I never ever say this to denigrate any of my teachers in any way. I have learned so much…and art journalling and painting have given me a focus in my life, given me a life preserver in my life, when I thought things would never improve…
Why I say this…other than I have spent the past few years doing other people’s work instead of learning to do my own…is, well, there it is…I have spent so much time learning tools and techniques, and doing things other people’s ways…that I need time to step back and learn how I do things again.
The other thing is … when I started to take online classes, I had no real idea what art journalling was and I wasn’t all that into it actually. I started to take classes to learn how to paint and how to draw…and I got caught up in the drawing faces aspect of things, even though I wanted to learn how to draw…everything…
I am grateful for every moment, of every class, of every interaction with fellow students and everyone associated with all the classes I have taken…and all the classes that I continue to take. I take different types of classes now, now that I know more of what I am looking for. I don’t take technique based classes. I take “for your inspiration” style classes, or classes that focus less on the product and more on rounding out and improving base skills than anything else…and I love that…and I am so grateful.
I am thankful that I can learn and grow as an artist, that I have this wonderful foundation from Effy, and Tam, and Shiloh and so so many others. I am grateful that I am free to explore and that I am exploring my own work in my own way. I am thankful to continue learning, to continue to experiment and to find my own ground, my own footing and my own path.
Thank you for sharing that journey with me.