Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pure Love

Feeling reflective on Valentine's Day. I love my family, love my friends, love my country, and I love my work! I don' t think I could do this work if I didn't love it. I love the way the ink feels as it leaves the pen and hits the paper. I love the sound of the nib tines on the paper. I love the feel of art paper and knowing that it can take just about anything I can throw at it. I love every Victorian Curve that works out on paper. I love learning. I love process. I love fighting to learn something different and all the struggles it brings and I love practice. Sometimes there is more freedom in practicing something just for yourself than any other type of work. In practice you can explore what you love the most about the art. You can play and experiment. It all doesn't have to be pristine work. It can just be something to occupy your mind for a little while before you are called off to another task. Your workspace and desk is your sanctuary to explore in your practice time. All you have to do is show up. This post is dedicated to all of my friends who contact me with so little time to dedicate to this artform that they love so much. The time demands of life and obligations prevent them from being able to practice the way would like to. They look at instagram and facebook and get discouraged because they see so many people being able to create huge amounts of work. I would encourage you to take the pressure off yourselves and just do this as you are able. Savour the few minutes you have with pen in hand. Put it aside when you are too busy for it and return to it as often as you can. Nurture the love and passion you have for the art form. Don't apologize if you only have a few minutes to put ink on paper. Hopefully you will enjoy the experience all the more when you are able to sit down and devote some time to it. Be encouraged to explore whatever art form you enjoy at your own pace without any judgements on yourself if you don't see the progress you want to see. We all approach this art work differently. Our results differ widely. But the common denomiator is love. Do what you love, love what you do. Happy Valentine's Day my dear friends.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Revisiting Work

The studio needs a good clean up at the end of every day. But days get rushed and I often "misfile" a lot of my work in the interest of saving time. Not a great strategy for the long run. So often, I will have to devote weekends to doing a deeper cleaning of the studio. This weekend, I sat with several cups of coffee and went through stacks of files that had accumulated on my shelf. I always have good intentions for keeping files, but I definitely needed to turn my attention to this task. Over the course of the weekend, I found a lot of buried work in the files. Pages I had started to work on, even gilded, but then gave up part way through. Often I start projects for fun, but work demands take over so pieces are left unfinished. The view of these unfinished pieces takes place with fresh eyes. I feel differently than whan I started the piece so I am able to reflect from a new perspective. It's like looking at someone else's work. I can either see where I was going or not and from that perspective, I choose whether or not to keep the work. Lots went into the recyle bin but some were filed again to be completed as the mood takes me. I found a lot of drawing and older illuminations in the files. All of it was work that was just practicing a technique but it was wonderful to visit it again. It helps to see the work again with new eyes. What looked like failure pieces are really just part of the process of learning. The florals I worked on while trying to figure out strategies for using Duralar.
The paper holds wonderful tight lines from the coloured pencil but clogs easily and needs to be worked on from both the front and back of the paper. I can remember the struggle to learn how to use a new medium. I remember the struggle of trying to make the work look correct and remember the hours invested. They look completely different to me now and reflect the process of learning rather than the finished product. The vellum pieces have good points and bad points. What a learning curve with how to use washes of watercolour on a surface that can buckle with too much water.
These pieces teach me so much. They are illuminating in a completely different sense right now. I still regularly and faithfully purge my portfolio. I get rid of older work that I no longer want to fill my eyes or my mind. But I let it teach me before it is discarded. I started a new file to reflect the lessons I have learned. I wonder what that file will teach me the next time I visit.