Seascape

The fine line between not liking your work to being constructive about what you’ve created is important. Actually, it’s important in life as well.

I was reminded of this boundary between my perspective of negativity versus constructive thoughts in regard to a recent workshop on painting seascapes. Not only did I learn how to paint waves I also learnt the value of looking at my work, seeing how I feel about it, by asking myself some questions.

Do I like what I see? Is the painting working? No. What can I do about it? What can I change?

It’s the last two questions which I found particularly helpful. Because the answers gave me positive action to take. By asking these questions, it also prevented me from spiralling down into a puddle of negativity that what I’m doing isn’t good enough.

Why were these questions so valuable?

Not only did the answers help keep my mindset positive but also allowed me to pause and consider how I could improve the painting. The answers gave me a positive focus. And a chance to try something with the intention of progressing the painting.

Whatever I do may not improve the painting (to my liking) but I can keep repeating these questions until I do. Or worse case, if I’ve tinkered too much or overworked the painting, then this becomes a valuable lesson for me to have learnt, which I can apply to the next painting I do.

How did I apply this process to my seascape? The big wave in the centre wasn’t turning crashing over like it is now. It was rolling in a white top across the canvas. This looked a little boring. I wasn’t happy with it.

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With the help of the teacher the wave was changed part way across so that it was partly rolling over. It worked. It could’ve easily not have. And if that was the case, then I would’ve tried something else. Or learnt what not to do for the next seascape I painted.

 

Seascape Finished

It’s too easy to get down on your creative project, so it’s a good safety net as such to have process like asking yourself a few questions. “Am I happy with this? No. Then what can I do about it?” Because this can help generate inspiration and ensure the creativity keeps flowing.

Lady at Café

As part of a three week project in art class, I had to measure a figure from an image, transposing it firstly on paper, the on canvas, and finally painting it with oils. Figures aren’t my strength. Neither is measuring. I’m much better at making things up…sort of.

Once again I found myself at the bottom of a steep learning curve. I learnt the importance of planning, measuring and taking the time to draw out the main outline of the image I was copying – a lady sitting at the table at a café. I was inspired by the image, hey it was a lady sitting at a table at a café! This is what I love to do, except I’m usually writing, or catching up with friends.

I managed to draw the figure on the canvas, I got the idea of using tones to build up the colours, yet it just didn’t feel like it came together for me. Why not? Just a week or so before I learnt a new technique, produced a Bunny and was inspired to go and try this at home. But with the Lady at the Café, it felt flat.

lady in cafe 2The photo here shows where I’m up to, and I’m not quite finished, but I’m so uninspired to try and do any work on the canvas at home. How can the Bunny work but not the Lady? Well, different teachers? I do understand the different techniques used, but I am struggling to apply tones with the oils. With these canvases there are two very different techniques. That could be an influence. For whatever reason even though I wanted to push through and try and point a figure using oils it just didn’t work. To me it feels flat.

Then I realised that in the last lesson of working on this painting I did feel flat. Maybe my frame of mind came through into my painting. After all, a week before when drawing the lady on the canvas, even though I had done her wrong (the measurements were way out), I felt inspired to go home and try and fix her up (I didn’t which perhaps was a shame, but life does get in the way sometimes and it’s just what it is).

But the final lesson of working on this project because of a variety of factors unrelated to the art (hot weather, looking after bubs, and writing) meant I was feeling a little flat.

While doing art or craft or other creative projects can help lift your mood, be good for wellbeing, and help process life, the reverse can also happen.

I think this is what could have happened in this painting. And it’s helpful for me to be aware of this. To be mindful, so that if it happens again (which is a reality, because it is part of the creative process), I can recognise it for what it is, not be judgemental on myself, and choose to work to fix the art, or move on to another project.

All is not lost with Lady at Café, I can still continue with this painting. I won’t as right now I’m not inspired too. But I might be in the future. Now at least the process of creating this canvas has given me insight on how my mood can influence my art, and that by being mindful I can gain valuable insights to how the creative process works for me.

Have you noticed a time or stage when going through the creative process where you have gained insight to your approach? Please share below in the comments.

Surrounded by Creativity

I started the Georgia O’Keefe full-day workshop apprehensive, but I left inspired. Partly because I had a great art teacher, as well as keeping my mind open to learning. I also think a big part was due to being surrounded by like-minded people. This can be seen in the beautiful finished products by every single person in the class.

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To me, this reinforces the importance of surrounding myself with fellow artists, and being in an environment where we are all sharing (albeit quietly) the creative journey. This in itself helps to inspire, to fill the subconscious with creativity without even trying. All that needs to be done is to be present, and get creating.

I was nervous and tired at the start of the class. By the end I was energised and wanting to try another canvas using this technique. And when I look at the classes completed canvases I think it’s more to do with being in a shared space of creativity which has helped me feel uplifted and inspired.

As a writer, it’s important for me to remember this as I spend a lot of time creating alone as is the nature of being an author. It was insightful to be in an environment with other artists, sharing the same journey for a moment in time, and how this can positively, subtly influence my art as well as my well-being.

Have you ever experience starting a workshop apprehensive, but then finding quiet inspiration within the class by the end? Please share in the comments below.

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Bunny Art

As part of my general art class this term we had a lesson dedicated to a guest artist Cat Leonard who taught her unique approach. Once again, I felt like a fish out of water, plunged into the unknown and having to adapt and learn.

This is all part of being a student so it wasn’t like I was opposed to this lesson or process. I just have to ensure I keep an open mind, pay attention, and be ready to give it a go, and to adapt if it doesn’t go to plan, which of course is part of the artistic process.

At least now when I comes to drawing and painting I know how to mentally prepare for trying something new and going with the flow. But how else can I be self-aware or mindful of this unique process for myself?

I gave this new technique a go, while being able to accept my feelings of hesitation, and amazingly I produced a rabbit using a mix of mediums and techniques. Not what I was expecting.

Maybe my attitude of being open minded helped?

By not having any pre-conceived expectations, as well as an open mind and a willingness to ‘give it a go’ and being mindful, I’ve come away from the class with a painting of a bunny which I’m happy with.

In addition, I’ve not only learnt a new technique, but I’m inspired to try this again at home – by myself (I’m going to try a dragon!). This is a sign of how much I’ve grown with my artistic skill. It’s not so much going up a level, but how I feel.

Can I do this at home? Alone? Before I was too scared to try, but now I’m willing to. This is the real next step in my unique journey as an artist – stepping out and going it alone, prepared for any sort of outcome. And also by being mindful, I can continue to learn along the way, gaining insights to myself, my approach and how I relate to the art I produce.

Stay tuned for how I go!

Have you noticed this stage when you’re creating? Please share in the comments below.

Lilliana

Art Classes with Bubs

As a new mum, there’s a lot to juggled. Maybe I don’t need to be going along to art class, I’m not sure I’ve got the time or if I can really afford it. But then my soul needs nourishment, and for me it’s natural to go along to art class with bubs. Can’t start them too young! So far bubs has been exposed to university, art classes, Pilates, and a creativity writing workshop I presented. His education is about to continue with an upcoming conference I’m presenting at. There’s lots of variety for him to experience, even now, just by me simply living my life.

During art class, Bub is in the sling, resting on my chest as I paint. He’s content. The other ladies in the class are amused, nothing like a little baby energy in the room to help with the creativity! Instead of a tea break half-way through the class, for me there’s a bottle break. I can use the time to chill, and also reflect what direction I want to take my painting (which I’m having to go to plan B because I’ve stuffed up! And Bubs has been such an angel I can’t even blame him. Completely my lesson to learn here!). I’m very grateful for Splashout to help accommodate by letting me come along with bubs.

my art in need of fixing

By going along to art class, I’m reminded that my mum did something similar. She had her baby daughters in the wicker bassinets, under the table, while she did her china painting. It’s what the women in our family do. It’s a tradition. And I’m glad to be continuing it. The quiet things you’ve learnt from mum, which you then pass down to your child; an unexpected bonus, which also helps keep my memory of mum alive.

Lilliana

Joy After Art Class

Before art class I was feeling tired, low energy and not at all in the mood to leave my home and paint for a few hours. Creating was the last thing on my mind. All I wanted to do was curl up on my lounge under a blanket and watch mind numbing TV. I’d also like to note that I’d had a busy week so it wasn’t surprising I was tired.

Despite my tired mood, I picked myself off the lounge and went off to art class. I started a new painting, I learnt a new technique and I stepped into the unknown that’s always there when creating.

It was much better than spending the evening at home. And I was much happier. It certainly worked for me to create and lift my mood, and help me to reconnect with my joy.

Lilliana Rose

www.lillianarose.com