Ursula With Dots
Sitting here with my ginger tea. It is still not coffee. My big success yesterday was getting the dots on the panel, and I think this tiny panel of Ursula in Ustrasana might be done. I didn’t measure, instead preferring to place them by eye into their geographical locations. It’s a different look, the imprecision of something done by hand. I’d like to see the same panel with perfectly cut circles placed in precise coordinates, just to compare. But then I’d have to find a hole punch or something to get the little circles more accurate than I can cut them by hand.
Anyway, a layer of matte medium and I think it’s done. The funny thing about this one is that one night I was listening to an NPR Fresh Air interview with Johnathan Lehrer about his new book “Imagine: How Creativity Works.” He talked about moments of insight, their defining features and how they come about when you least expect it, perhaps during the shower or after a nap but not at the moment in which you are fighting your way through a problem. So the next morning I practice yoga in the morning per usual, lay in Shavasana for 5-8 minutes or whatever it was. And there it was, the image of the panel with the dots superimposed over it.
So all this really tells me is that I’m heading in the right direction even if I can’t clearly see where it’s all going and scarcely have any time to shepherd it there anywhere. My goal this week is just to get back to the 15 minutes of day art habit I was cultivating but have slipped on the last week or two. I did draw at the Sarah Jarosz concert on friday night at Club Passim. But this thing happened. I did one drawing that was good enough that I wasn’t embarrassed about it, didn’t feel like I had to explain that the light was bad or the musician kept moving. It looked like Sarah playing her instrument. But as we were leaving the bass player – Nathaniel Smith I believe, who had seen me drawing asked me about it so I showed him and then in one of those moments of spontaneous generosity that overcomes me sometimes, I asked him to give it to her. Which I could have done myself but she had a line of people and I knew I’d change my mind if I had to wait.
Didn’t think to sign it. So I wish I could post it here but that one has flown away. I’ll just have to bug my buddy Steve to get us a good seat the next time a show comes around that we want to see. And of course, keep drawing.
I have ordered 3 16X20 cradled gessobord panels. Very excited. These are small studies for the larger pieces. I need to play around a bit more with this new (to me) surface and see how it handles collage and so forth. If you’ve been following these, this one is Christine in Kapotasana. I also have Ursula for Ustrasana, and Peg for Laguvajrasana. These three yoga poses are backbends from the 2nd (intermediate) series of Ashtanga yoga. And besides all that, they are simply beautiful poses.
I’ve been slipping a bit on the daily drawing practice, so my goal this week is to catch myself and get back to it. Which I couldn’t do yesterday because I helped my sister move. Today, my oldest daughter’s birthday, isn’t looking so great either. Did I mention we had a birthday party this weekend? I am so wrung out right now. But here’s an idea- it could become a tradition to sketch my children on their birthdays.
And I do want to draw every day this week, for on friday I’m planning to take those nifty grey pitt pens to see Sarah Jarosz in Cambridge. We’ve got a great seat and I should be able to sketch to my heart’s content. I’ve learned that if I draw daily, then I don’t have to start from scratch. Proportions and textures come more easily and I am more confident. So today, draw, even if only for 5 minutes!!!
I saw glorious hands done in pencil on paper at a local high school. Looking at this, I realize I could use a hand workshop, or a week of drawing nothing but hands in different positions. The rear hand looks a bit claw-ish.
On the other hand (no pun intended), I could work on studies forever and never get to an actual painting/ collage or whatever I’m doing with these.
This is a 6X6 inch panel, pencil sketch. It’s one of those gessobord panels and the pencil smudges ever so wonderfully on the just right surface.
darkest. might have gone a bit overboard here, but I’m okay with it. One of my long term goals is to have a framing station somewhere in the house, or have a studio large enough to have a separate area for that. Then I could just head over to the spot and mat something without clearing off a space and getting out the equipment.
But honestly, that’s not a reasonable goal considering my current space limitations. I share a medium size room with my husband. I have a reasonable amount of space in which to create small to medium sized pieces. Large pieces not so much. A more realistic goal would be to organize my half of the large closet in which I keep my art supplies. I saw a blog in which an artist went to IKEA and completely revamped her space. It was Tracey Fletcher King, check it out.
But even that is not a goal for just yet, next month or this Summer, but not right now. An even smaller goal that feels manageable would be to add some links to this blog, artists I love, useful things for artists. Spiffy up the blog a bit.
I’m reading the book called “This year I will…” by M. J. Ryan and it’s all about motivation and how people work. There’s a Japanese concept called “kaisen” in which you make tiny incremental changes. The example the author uses is that of an industrial line. You might move one trash can one foot to the left, making a small repetitive movement faster. It’s sort of like how I keep a small pencil box and a sketchbook in my purse now, so that I have basic supplies at hand. How can you make a series of tiny changes that add up to something bigger? Well, that’s why I’m drawing 15 minutes a day, isn’t it? And I wish someone had told me 5 years ago what a powerful practice that could be, because I truly didn’t believe that I could squeeze my art into 15 minute increments. So I gave it up for a while. And psychologically, at that time, it was true. But now I see that if 15 minutes is all you have, then 15 minutes added up over the days of a year becomes something indeed, a practice worth having.
I thought the tile pattern was too light and too warm, so I tried this instead:
I might even go darker, or make the background dark gray/black. I don’t have so much of the paper the stencil is made of. How did I make that paper? I think it was some kind of gouache and India ink technique. Perhaps I can find the instructions somewhere.
The model here is Ursula, an avid practitioner of Ashtanga yoga and photography.
I think that soon I’m going to have to break down and paint. It has been a while, and I rarely have time. But I can’t solve everything with pencil, marker and collage. Or can I?
It is torture, these tiny increments of time. I am yearning for uninterrupted hours….
It was bath night, and I hadn’t drawn yet so I took my markers and sketchbook into the bathroom and sat on a blue plastic toddler chair.
Hmm, wet curly hair is tricky- especially when the boy won’t sit still for more than a second! The good thing? It forces me to draw from memory a little. Which I don’t like, but it’s an excellent skill nevertheless.
Last fall I took a transfer workshop with artist Anne Krinsky. This inkjet transfer into wet gesso has a few problems.
Here’s a stencil of Ursula in Ustrasana (camel pose). I’ve made a few of these in different patterns to play around with.
This is me thinking outside the box for a moment. I love the tile pattern here. From time to time I wonder why I’m posting all of this information. Some people worry about their ideas being stolen. That’s not a huge worry of mine, especially at this point. So much of an artist’s worth is based on their identity anyway, which can only be built up over time and in relationship to other artists, dealers and curators anyway. Mostly I’m here for the accountability. It’s about showing up and doing what you said you’d do. I like comments too, it’s hard to keep creating in a vacuum. Artists do like attention after all!