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.

Frog It!

I’m getting into my crocheting crafts as a way to relax, learn, and make things which have practical value for me and to have some fun. start stitch blanket

edges dont align

 

When doing craft it’s not all fun though. I’ve learnt that a new stitch, star stitch, wasn’t turning out like I’d hoped. Rows were decreasing, and I unravelled hours of work but still couldn’t manage to get the rows to line up.

I realised my skill set needed a project that was simpler. I had to do more practise and get experience before going back to the star stitch. Having to unravelled the stitches left me feeling heavy and disillusioned.

frog it

I did some searches online, watched a few YouTube videos and found what I thought was an easier project. A new project naturally called for different yarn and so a trip to the shops was in order.

With new yarn in hand and the recommended crochet hook I settled down to begin learning how to do the stitch, waffle weave. It was fine, I could do it. The problem was the yarn I’d chosen wasn’t right for the stitch and I needed a bigger hook.

waffle weave

 

This time, I wasn’t as disillusioned because I’d come across a new term.

I frogged it!

Rip it, rip it, rip it up!

frog it for waffle weave

Frog it sounds much better than undoing, or unravelling. It even makes me laugh when I’m undoing all my hours of hard work, which helps ease the frustration of having to start a project again or redo a section.

 

The language used makes a big difference. If I’m saying I’m unravelling or undoing, or deleting or unpicking depending on the creative project, then these terms have a heaviness to them, they weigh down my already deflated mood. Whereas frog it, because I’m saying ‘rip it’ over and over quickly sounds like a frog. This makes light of the situation and I don’t feel so frustrated at having to go back a few steps or start again from scratch. I can even have a giggle at the use of the term which lightens my mood and helps me to be motivated to get back into the project.

It didn’t stop there. With new yarn, I started again. But the hook wasn’t big enough, so once more I frogged it.

By going back with a bigger sized hook, and starting again I felt much happier with the forming blanket because I was creating a project to the best of my ability which helped to generate the feeling of satisfaction, progress, and achievement.

Creative projects, like any project can go off track, but with the use of some fun words it can be turned around. And creative projects largely have the purpose of not just of creative expression but also of undergoing a journey, giving a feeling of satisfaction, a chance to learn, exploration and provide a sense of achievement.

And are fun.

When the project doesn’t go to plan why not think of a frog, laugh and get back to it? It’s a more positive mindset that leads to more creativity and fun.

Was there a time when you’ve used positive, or fun words to help you go back and fix up a creative project? Please share below in the comments.

Lilliana