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.

Lemons

Drawing and painting isn’t my art form, writing is. For some reason this is how my mind is wired, to see the world in stories and words. While, I’ve always struggled to learn how to draw and paint, (it doesn’t come easy for me) I’m drawn to trying to learn and develop this artistic skill.

The other month, I enrolled in a 10-week course. Each time I thought about going to the first class I’d preferred to go and stand in the corner of a room and cry. I didn’t, and I managed to make it to the first class, then the second, third and in fact I completed all ten classes with perfect attendance. But did I learn to draw and paint?

I did. I think. But the feeling of wanting to go stand in the corner and cry never managed to go away. I pushed through these emotions, I wanted to grow and face my fear, and my internal dialogue that was full of negativity. I was challenged every step and spent a lot of time not looking at other’s work so as not to compare myself. I needed to focus solely on trying my best, with the emphasis of not expecting to produce a masterpiece the first time, which wasn’t the purpose of me doing these classes, yet the internal expectation was innately there, even though I know I never write a story perfectly the first time. I’m comfortable with that. I know the process with writing. I don’t know this process with painting. And there are some differences with these artistic processes.

I write in solitude. Art class was with other people, and each stroke I made on the paper was in full sight. I wasn’t used to feeling so exposed or vulnerable when creating art. The last three weeks were about painting a still life of lemons on a canvas. I’m putting these stages out here publically not to get praise or feedback, but as a way to be vulnerable in my creation in all its imperfections, because the what I may perceive is wrong with it doesn’t really matter. I tried. It’s my first step on a much bigger journey. So here’s my first step of painting on canvas for the first time.

outline of lemonsFirst draw the still life on paper. Then transfer on canvas by scribbling charcoal on the back and transferring the image to the canvas – not to dissimilar to what I’d used to do in my early years of schooling. Then I covered the canvas in the first layer of acrylic paint. I wasn’t inspired to paint lemons. I’m used to choosing my creative topic. I questioned how hard was it to draw lemons? Hard. For me at least. I went home about to throw the canvas in the bin. All artists get to this point. Thanks to computers my novels don’t get ditched, but I have thrown out my stories I wrote when growing up.drawing-lemons.jpg

I went back for the next lesson. I added another layer of paint, shaping the lemons and more importantly showing myself a glimpse of the style of painting I was allowing to form. Bold. Modern. Colourful.

first coat of paint on lemons

The third lesson of painting lessons, I learnt about glazing. I touched up the colours to add depth. I finished. And if I had thrown my canvas in the bin after the first lesson, I would never have realised there is some skill there for me to develop.

lemons last coat of paint

And I’ve booked in for another 10 weeks with Splashout Studios.

I’d love people to share below the creative process when trying a new forms.

Thanks for reading my post,

Lilliana Rose

www.lillianarose.com

 

 

The Perspective of Art

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

We’ve all heard this saying and something similar can be said about art and the creation of art. During the first lesson of my intermediate art class, the teacher took us through mixing colours to create tones, tints, and shades. The mixed colours were used to create a colour palette on canvas and then to paint a small image, the purpose to attempt to create the colours seen.

I’m very nervous in art classes. For me, I’m not so good, I’m learning and trying to develop my own skill in its intuitive uniqueness. I’m more of a free-from artist, even when I write, so it was natural for me to add my own approach to what I was painting. When the teacher came by and asked me what I was doing, I answered I was making it up. She re-illiterate the task, and left me to it. Re-create the colours you see in the still life. At one point I had to add more blue to the purple and something about high or low tones. But why, if what I was doing was painting what I was seeing?

I was painting the colours in my own perspective, which was unique to me – just as I do when writing. If describing a scene or an object, I use my perspective and so my words would be different to someone else who saw the same scene or object. The point here for me, is that I gained an insight to my creative expression which is similar in both writing and painting. I create what I see, but I don’t always see what everyone else sees.

This makes it tricky to teach art. How can art be taught when it’s down to the personal perspective and expression of the creator? There needs to be a basic understanding, which of course that’s what the teacher was trying to teach me. I don’t want to mix colours and always get brown, but it’s in the creativity where the perspective changes right from the first brush stroke. Once the basics are learnt, then it’s about bringing alive my own perspective, whether hidden or intuitive. It’s about valuing the perspective of art, the creating, applying intuition, adding a little logical thought, and then simply letting it be to shine out in the world.

The Benefits of Art

I’ve been doing art classes as a way to help me develop my drawing and painting skills. Going through this process has been beneficial for me on many levels. I’m getting out of the house, doing something for me, meeting new people, learning new skills, and expressing myself.

blank canvasI’ve been reflecting on how I feel during this process and trying to capture the new thoughts that come to me as a means of becoming more self-aware.

I noticed recently how I felt at the start of the art class, after a full days work, tired and not wanting to do much except lay on the couch all night. I became aware of the resistance and negative thoughts going through my entire body at the thought of having to stand at the easel for two and half hours, trying something new which would require me to concentrate, think, and feel. Not as appealing as I’d hoped for. It was a little more than just me having trouble getting started. I was like a car that wouldn’t start because it had been flooded with too much fuel. I already had an active mind from work and I was resisting taking on anything that would add to my brain activity. It was a resistance of sorts, which I worked through, and in doing so I gained insights to the process of creative expression.

I was resisting because I have to give up a part of myself, and to let go of control in order to create. I didn’t want to do that when I was tired, as I was already feeling vulnerable. While it’s not a big part of myself to give up, it felt like it, and of course my ego was in on it.

To create you’ve got to surrender part of yourself, give up control and just write uninhibited, or paint without a care. Giving up this control is only temporary at the time. Thanks to my ego, it feels like it will be forever, and a tug of war can begin. When I let go of the rope and wanting to be in control, I draw, paint, feel inspired and become energised. My tiredness is reduced and I find a little confidence within myself at being vulnerable while not being in control. I also have a sense of accomplishment at creating something uniquely mine.

During the class, I’ve connected with people on the same path as me and I’ve spent time in a new environment. It’s not just the benefits of creating art, there’s an entirely bigger package that is part of this process, either way there are many benefits of art and creative expression.

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.