Wednesday, June 1, 2022

How does your Garden Grow?

 It's June!!! How did that happen? It feels like a blink since March! But June is a welcome sight. There are signs of life in the garden and moments of quiet appreciation as I take more time to pause and observe. I am more aware of the songs of the birds and the quiet in the neighbourhood before cars and lawn mowers break the silence. Each morning I walk around the property to see how things are growing. I don't stop to pull the weeds, I just observe. 

My inbox gets questions on a daily basis and I do my best to keep up with all of them. I have been noticing a common theme of questions about growing as an artist. Students want to develop their own style and expand their skills. There is an absolute flood of classes online and such a huge temptation to take as many classes as possible. I have so many of my own classes to offer and love to share my techniques. But how do we grow? Is it through classes? Is it through intense study. constant practice and keen observation? Is it through passion or inborn talent? Is through all of these things, some of these things or none of these things? The question is so broad that I can never give a precise answer. In my own practice, just like my garden, growth comes slowly. I have learned to be patient. I have learned to wait. Although I want to walk around the garden and see all of the blooms in their full array at once, that isn't possible. Each flower will bloom in its own time. 

I don't want to over simplify things but we are all such unique people. We grow at different speeds and have interests that take us to very different places. Classes, studies and practice work wonders but realize that your rate of growth may be very different from those around you. I try to relay a sense of peace in my classes and an understanding that skills take time to build. But those skills will come in time. There is no precise path or timeline.  I have been playing with Enchanted Letters for 11 years now, and they still evolve. They still grow. They still teach me lessons that I have not learned before. They still hold a place of wonder for me.  This G was created for my upcoming Enchanted Letter class at Ardington. I was drawing flourished letters in a Flourishing class with Thomas Hoyer last weekend. This G took shape in pencil but it needed to blossom gold leaf and watercolour. 

This past week, I finished up teaching The Alphabet Garden for Ardington School. This was an encore presentation of a sold out course and although I had taught the same course a few weeks earlier, we took a different path in this class. 

As an instructor, I have to repeat courses for different groups of students, yet I still need to grow as an artist and expand my own ideas. I try to find different ways to work through the classes with each group of students. Sometimes there is a completely different style of letter waiting to emerge from the paper. 
Let your Garden Grow! Use the classes you are taking as spring boards for your own ideas. What is that idea that you have had in the back of your mind that you want to bring forward? What colours in your palette make you happy? What would you like to draw if you had more time? Don't let your current skill level hold you back from trying those ideas that you would like to explore. Instructors offer ideas and techniques. But your vision is so unique and creative and you can explore avenues that I would never be able to take. I hope you find your path! I hope you bring your creative ideas to the paper and explore the possibilities. Don' t worry about comparing yourselves to others. Follow your creative instincts and see where they can take you. I will be cheering you on from my garden and studio here in Canada. July will be here before you know it. I am preparing for Captivating Curves with The Gentle Penman in July and I finally found an acanthus plant at the garden centre! 
I hope I can keep it growing and watch it bloom. I am still working on the  new notes for the Captivating Curves class. Registration is open here with The Gentle Penman. This gorgeous plant is the inspiration for our stylized acanthus leaf studies and it is so welcome in my garden.

I am also working on a deep dive into William Morris for a November Ardington class and will update you later with this info. My garden keeps growing and there is so much work to do. I hope the words of this post will encourage you to grow at your own pace and explore the things you love. Happy June dear friends.