Shaking a Creative Block
I can’t believe that it’s eleven months since my last post! It’s not that I haven’t been playing, experimenting, painting, stitching, beading and in general creating! The rambling lifestyle (check out my other blog) has lots of benefits but it does take a toll on serious ‘studio’ time. Not to mention two years of recovering the use of my dominant hand and wrist after a serious break have taken their toll – but I’m back! And I’ve got some things to share.
First of all, I’m really struggling to get my head into gear to make the most of the next month or so while I am stationary and have solitary time enabling me to really get into a creative mode – I hope. I’ve set myself a challenge to produce some watercolor and acrylic/canvas pieces that are worth keeping towards mounting a show down the road. I’ve been taking thousands of pictures on our travels and have lots of subject matter. When I was working at arty things regularly, I would dream a painting into existence. I’ve been away from it for a long
Come to think of it, I did produce one fibre art piece Late Season Harvest that is currently traveling with a group exhibition ‘Canadian Content’ (Fibre Art Network). It first showed in New Zealand and, since the show returned to Canada, it has been exhibited in a number of venues in Western Canada.
I also completed an acrylic painting Navaho Art (24 x 30) that I think is sold, although I haven’t got confirmation of the sale yet. The painting is sitting in a condo in Phoenix and the clients have only seen a photograph. Hope they get a chance to see the painting soon.
Dealing with My Creative Block
So what am I doing to get into ‘creative mode’? I found the first day or two, I became a master of procrastination! So, I dug out the books I recently purchased and started a self-guided refresher course on watercolor technique. I am really enjoying The Complete Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook by Gordon MacKenzie and have been working through some of the more basic exercises in the book.
That led me to the discovery that my favorite watercolor brush has lost it’s tip and needs to be replaced. I also discovered that about a dozen of my tubes of watercolor paint have hardened. Reconstituting the paint from the tubes was another day of ‘not painting’ but worth the effort. I slit the tubes with an exacto knife and, removing the paint, I placed the contents of each tube in a section of a plastic egg carton. By adding a small amount of water to each color and stirring from time to time, I was able to reconstitute the paint. When they form up – most have today – I will have color blocks that can be used in the future. I hope the other tubes are still useable as I estimate that the ones I have rescued represent a replacement value of well over $100 and that’s not in the budget right now!
In the past I have struggled to effectively use ‘value’ in my work and I became really conscious of this while taking a course from Sterling Edwards a few years ago. He had us do quick value sketches in watercolor before starting a painting. Part of my refresher studies will remind me of this and other qualities that can be recognized in a good painting.
A second book, Drawing with Your Artist’s Brain by Carl Purcell emphasis value studies and preliminary sketches to help plan a painting. In the past I’ve been fairly spontaneous in my painting – charging right in – but I don’t think it’s going to hurt for me to spend a few days exploring the elements of good ‘art’. It will apply whether I am working in paint or fabric.
Today’s efforts were based on photos taken at Glacier National Park last weekend and I’m rather pleased with them. Their not perfect but they have gone a long way towards bolstering my sagging confidence.