Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Creative Process and Commitment.

Big Girl Pants

Big Girl Pants
Acrylic on Paper

I've been doing a lot of drawing with acrylic paint. I guess it's technically painting, but it feels like drawing to me. 
A few days ago, I took out a couple of tubes of paint and brought them to my Sittin' Chair, where I have my mom office, where I sit and go on the computer or watch the kids or drink my coffee or write in my journal or whatever. My command station, if you will. I was inspired by this from Louise Bourgeois, because it reminded me of the doodles I used to do compulsively when I did more sitting around listening to lectures and meetings and such. I figured, if Louise Bourgeois could do it, so could I. I only picked a blue, like Louise, and a random, pull of the draw, Quinacridone Azo Gold. I figured I could do something with those two colors. Now every time I sit in my Sittin' Chair and have the urge to do something artsy, I pick up my journal and my paintbrush, and squeeze out some Azo Gold and/or Prussian Blue.   Following this, things happen. Things I do not plan. Things that have me wandering down paths I did not predict. I am okay with that.

Be Your Best Self (gold)
05/100 in 100 Creative Challenge

This was the first thing I did. 

A kind of reminder to myself. I enjoy lettering, even though I don't think it always looks perfect. I guess I don't want it to look perfect. I like the rough, human element. I like that it is not mathematically correct or symmetrical, even. 

Plus, I think this is a good reminder. It's not about being perfect. It's not about living up to who people think you should be. It's not about sacrificing yourself. It's not about blaming other people or doing things out of spite or out of obligation.

It's simply about being the best you that you can be. It's between you and you, and nobody else. And being the best you makes you happier. And it makes those around you happier.

Be Your Best Self (gold and blue)
06/100 in 100 Creative Challenge

Okay, I fibbed. First this is the one that came out. But I tried a design in gold and I just didn't like it. At all. So I scrapped it and did the plain gold one from above. So the plain was the second started, but the first finished. There's something to be said for plain and simple. But I also like embellishment and pattern and doodling! So I went back and said, hey, I already ruined it, why don't I experiment a little.

So I added the organic doodle pattern. Is it perfect? No. I still think the composition is off and it's crowded and not quite what I was thinking, but I do think it's interesting. This is perhaps a step in the direction to where I am going with all this. Not that I know where I am going with all this.  But the best me trusts my own instincts and trusts the process and is not a nitpicky perfectionist. The less than best me has problems with those things. So I decided to go with the best me and show it anyway. Plus, you notice, I'm counting it in my 100/100 Creative Challenge, even if it's an imperfect draft. This is a positive attitude, I think. 

Untitled (Blue and Green Organic)
07/100 in 100 days creative challenge

 The next thing I drew, was more doodles. Again, didn't know where I was going, just let it grow organically.  It was all blue, and I wanted more color, but I didn't have more color at my Sittin' Chair, so I went for the Azo Gold and added a dollop to my palette of prussian blue. Voila, a kind of khaki piney green. Good enough. I added more doodles and embellished the original kind of plantish kind of shape.

I still might go back into this one and add more gold. Or not. I am letting it develop.

Big Girl Pants.

This one is my favorite, though.

Same two paints. Same journal. Adding one more external inspiration to the mix though. (the link leads to this article which is incredibly fascinating, but it was the illustration that inspired the drawing, which is really just using the media to draw a person, but inspiration is funny that way.)

I did it this morning. (I should be writing again, but I have not settled down from the excitement of back to school. I will be writing again. I promise. I'm going to. Shh. I know I'm making excuses.)

I drew her out in the same prussian blue, in a loose style, because sometimes I get frustrated with my own fussier styles of painting, with my favorite stripes. I spent a lot of time drawing little fashion drawings a few years ago. A kind of  "what I wore today" thing that also illustrated my life as a stay at home mom with artistic urges. When I was young, I wanted to be a fashion designer, took some classes, but didn't go in that direction. I still find that my drawing is influenced by fashion drawing. At this point, I think I might be interested in moving away from that idealized and glossy slim caricature of women. I might be interested in drawing pictures of women who are more squat. Much like myself. 

Anyway, you are learning a little bit about my creative process. I'm letting you behind the curtain here. I often don't know what I'm doing but am running on vague feelings that something is cool or something bothers me.

The background here was supposed to be flowers. But they did not turn out to be flowers. I don't know what happened. I just know that right when I started, I said, "these don't look like flowers," and rather than forcing them to look like flowers, I committed to whatever they were and I took them all the way. 

I kind of like how they turned out. They are slightly ugly, slightly menacing... to me anyway. They look a little bit like microscopic things. Or stones. I kind of think of them as stones. Troubles, maybe.  This was not a problem for me, because like I said, I get frustrated with my fussier styles, and I also get frustrated with my urge to make everything pretty. If the background went from flowers to microscopic, stone-like troubles...I like that tension. I don't know. I think that's what takes art into the next level. Tension, contrast, questions, mystery. Maybe I need to have more of that and fewer answers. Hmm.

That is something to consider.

Anyway, it's been a while since I've talked about my creative process like this. It feels good and I think it did me some good. It means I am getting to be more conscious about my artistic choices. Part of committing to being creative means thinking about being creative and the process and methods. 

This is how we go deep. 


Lori Reynolds-Johnston said...

Thanks for posting your thoughts, I'm somewhat of a frustrated artist and new art journalist and I like your just do it style. I tend to let my thinking get in the way and then don't end up doing anything. I doodle a lot and should just start there, anyway I enjoy your work and thoughts, thanks for the motivation!

Rowena said...

This challenge is a really good one for you if you think too much and doubt your ability and second guess yourself. Because you HAVE to do something, anything, you get practice getting over yourself. You get to practice working. You learn that the creative process is actually a PROCESS. It's not something that you have the answer to before you start.

Ok, I'm going to stop now before I start doing a lesson on getting over your own self. :)

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