This week’s Life Book lesson was way out of my comfort zone. The tutor was Wendy Brightbill and she demonstrated her process of creating an abstract work of art through layering of different media and finding the tipping point between working intuitively and pulling it all together with intention. Intuitive and abstract are both things I really struggle with. I am, after all, a control freak and more of an illustrator than anything else. But that is the point in following an art course that has such diverse teachers – it forces me to try new things and experiment a bit. My piece did not evolve well. I loved the first layer and then it just got uglier and messier and more incoherent rather than cohesive. The thing that finally killed it once and for all was that I was way too “blocky” when applying some acrylic paint. I tried some dribble to make it more organic again and then, rather inevitably for me, some spatter. All was in vain. Those chunks of colour were neither geometrically precise enough to be part of the intent of the piece nor random enough to work with the previous layers. My choices were to either scrap the whole thing and forget about it (since I had no time in which to start over) or to just keep trucking and at least produce a finished outcome. I decided on the latter so I grabbed my paint pens and started doodling. It was still an ugly mess of a piece but I did at least really enjoy the doodles. I was adding the doodles while making dinner which meant I didn’t have the time to overthink what I was doing which was actually quite liberating (if one ignores the stress of multi-tasking). That doodle layer was, therefore, enjoyable. I do like the colour palette and think that works and I may repurpose this painting as the cover of a completed art journal.
Glad you kept on trucking! I love your art (and I absolutely DESPISE most people’s art. Especially abstract. And poetry.). But yours makes me happy.
Well that is praise indeed. Thank you!
Me too, me too, and me TOO!!
Not knowing what the first layer looked like that made you happy, the result of keeping on trucking makes for a lovely finished piece. It would indeed be grand as a cover!
Thanks. The initial layer was all lovely bleeds and blossoms of watercolour. I wish I had taken a progress shot.
I constantly wish I’d remember to step back for a moment and take a photo …. we get so involved don’t we!
Yes, that’s it. I just snatch the moment to create and don’t take the time.
Another thing that happens with art. We often look at others work and marvel at how they so easily made something so professional and pulled together. But then we think of our own art as not nearly of the high caliber as what we are admiring…now I looked at yours after reading your post and I just sat there feeling bewildered – “what is she talking about? This is really polished! Where is the lack of cohesion? Where is the imbalance? I could never make this.” And that is where I figured out that it is a matter of being our own toughest critic, and how important it is to separate the voice inside that tells us to work harder, from the voice that simply despairs and discourages. It is with honesty that I say, I hope you learn to be less hard on yourself, and be your own greatest advocate instead. Because everything I have seen here, all lurking in the background reading your posts, has been, to my eye, way above the ability of most of the blogs I follow. 🙂
Wow. I am very touched and humbled by your lovely comment. I absolutely think I am my own toughest, harshest critic. I think it is part and parcel of me being very driven and wanting to push and challenge myself in everything I do. I do need to concentrate my focus on the positives and let the flaws and failings become background noise. I was getting better at that but I seem to have taken a backwards step (or a few). Thanks for the pep talk and reminder.
I love this piece! I find, in creating, there’s often a push pull between my constructive and destructive energies. I try, not always successfully, to see them as 2 sides of a coin–and to not give up. All the best to you.
That’s a great way to look at it. Thanks!