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.

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

The Art Within

I’m about to discover my artistic style when drawing and painting. blank canvas

Driving home from art class I had an insight to my art journey. I’m learning about drawing and painting, and while I’ve attempted to do this over the years, very much amateur-like, I’ve not established or discovered my style.

I realised it’s a little like unwrapping a gift when you have no idea what’s inside. So far there are hints my art will be bold and colourful (which would match my personality), but maybe other aspects will shine through. A softer side? A darker side? A funny side? It’s certainly an exciting position to be in.

What makes this even more exciting is that I never thought I had any real artistic talent in terms of painting, and definitely not with drawing. This is because of a few reasons. Mainly from the wrong comments, and a little too much criticism, by well meaning people when I was young. I then continued to keep these comments alive in my mind by saying them to myself every time I drew or painted.

Also it’s easy to compare yourself with others starting at a young age. This self-perception is within naturally. There’s always someone better than you, especially if you look negatively at your own work. It can be a block. Once I realised this, I address these feelings so they wouldn’t stop me from expressing myself artistically. A big part of this process is not looking at other people’s work, if I do it is only with admiration.

I’ve gone through this process with writing. I’m more practised at observing how I feel and I notice the resistance coming up. I know I’d rather go stand in the corner and cry than do the art classes. But this is me. No one else is causing this and I can face my fear, which leads me out of my comfort zone so I’m growing and discovering new things about myself. The difference is also now I’m ready to discover my style and I’m willing to explore an undiscovered part of myself. cube sphere painted

To find the new artistic skill within me and coax it out into life is fun. Instead of being fearful, or anxious, I am excited to discover what might develop and allow my style to be released. It’s exhilarating. A mix of excitement, nerves, anticipation, expectation, and wonder. All from simply drawing and painting in class.

The result is I’m on the edge of discovering my style of expression, and to allow the art that has been locked inside of me for so long out.