“Out the Window.” Acrylics on 4×4″ canvas. 28 February 2013.
Stymied by my latest self-portrait attempt at getting reacquainted with acrylics, I grabbed a tiny, 4×4″ stretched canvas, put on soothing Yoga Tribe music and slapped some paint on it while gazing out the window at the poplars in the woods.
This mini painting makes me feel tons better.
WIP 25 Feb., 2013: Acrylics on 9×12″ canvas board.
Working out my winter-blues demons with my tiny watercolor portrait last week was incredibly productive for me. It shook me out of my doldrums, spawned several productive studio days — now I find myself itching to branch out further and signed up for a Strathmore multi-media instructional art workshop. After I signed up, I thought I’d better reacquaint myself with my rather neglected collection of acrylic paints. Initially, I’d set up a rather ho-hum still life. Bleh, no fruit or household objects, please! Since I’d learned so much from my little watercolor self portrait revelation, I again turned to my mirror for a handy subject.
This work-in-progress shows about three hours of fiddling. I’d dreamed of big swaths of brushstrokes and thick, buttery paint … the opposite of my effort. Yes, there are primitive stabs at technique, nearly fatal proportion problems here and, ugh, I have portrayed my eyes as flat and too small. Something I didn’t omit, however, was my brilliant fledgling set of Gramma jowls; looks like I exaggerated them, instead.
Ach, unless I spontaneously burst into an interesting new rhythm with my approach, this strange “selfie” will likely be covered in gesso after a few more hours of fiddling.
Angst, pencil and Daniel Smith watercolors in 3.5×5.5″ Moleskine watercolor
notebook. Mirror self-portrait, Windham, Maine. 19 Feb. 2013.
Feeling restless this winter. Don’t want to go to bed at a reasonable hour and don’t want to get out of bed in the morning because I stayed up too late. Activities that usually got me to spring out of bed weren’t motivation enough anymore. I was feeling mopey and sluggish and looking grey faced and haggard. I’ve gotten winter depression before, but it snuck up on me this year and hit me like a ton of bricks.
Tuesday morning the angel on my shoulder must have whispered into my ear, because all at once I thought, “Ah-hah! It’s Seasonal Affective Disorder!” This explained my arty dry spell; I needed to use my neglected stash of pencils, pens, ink and beautiful watercolors to find my way back. Before I had even brushed my teeth, I was looking in the mirror and scratching out a self portrait. I saw evidence of my state of mind. When I looked at the finished sketch again Tuesday afternoon, I felt like the spell was broken. I’d nudged my downward spiral upward and outward just by picking up my tiny Moleskine watercolor notebook and a pencil.
Thankfully, I’m much better now. Realizing that I am experiencing symptoms of S.A.D. seems to be half the battle for me. I’m trying every trick in the book to claw my way toward spring with a genuine smile on my face: Yoga, meditation, chocolate, extra Vitamin D3, drinking plenty of water and — most importantly for me — continuing to express my feelings with art supplies.
Noodler’s Lexy Grey ink and Daniel Smith watercolors on a 11×14 Canson Multi-media pad.
20 January, 2013. Windham, Maine.
Fringe is over. American Horror Story Asylum is done. Aside from the Winchester Bros., there’s no tv show I’m watching currently that is snagging my sketching eye. Although I am keeping up with The Walking Dead, I don’t exactly feel like focusing on zombie eyeballs and nasty ooze closely enough to render it on paper. Not so much. Mostly, I’m moping around because it’s the middle of winter, my hands feel like scratchy sandpaper and I’m feeling fussy.
Although the drawings I’ve made over the past couple of weeks have been okay, but I seem to be in an imagination dry spell. Nothing’s really satisfying me. I’ll go so far as to settle on a subject, select a sketchbook to make an entry in, open the book and uncap my lovely Lamy Joy 1.1mm filled with Noodler’s Lexy Grey … and then I hesitate. Nope. My attention span just isn’t strong enough to dedicate sufficient energy to fill a sketchbook page. I made a ho-hum attempt on Super Bowl Sunday, scratching in and dropping color onto a snack table sketch earlier in February. But, blah, maybe it was the sound of football: that sketch will not be given air time. If I didn’t kind of like the sketch on the other side of that page, I’d excise it from the book and recycle it.
Last month, just as my restless feelings were taking root, these pretty tea cups that my mom let me have caught my eye and fairly demanded a sketch. I remember these cups from when I was a child (but not allowed to touch!) and they make me smile just looking at them. I thought sketching them would break the spell, but after I splashed the images onto the page, I slapped the book shut and didn’t do anything else in it until I made myself draw my desk and everything on it just as it was, without arranging things so they’d be more compelling. Sigh. I even Googled “writer’s block” and came up with an EFT video to clear stuck energy. Maybe I should give that a go.
I trust that inspiration is building, just as I am noticing that the winter is waning. I’ll spend my time on the numerous other projects I’ve been neglecting and allow my sketchy muse her space.
Noodler’s Bulletproof Black, Lexy Grey ink and Daniel Smith watercolors on a 11×14 Canson Multi-media pad. 11 February, 2013. Windham, Maine.