I Lasted Eight Days Not Painting

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I decided in September that instead of doing an Inktober like everyone else, I would do a Noctober which involved not painting or drawing anything. I needed a break and I knew it. But what did I really need a break from? Was it the pressure to create? Was it lack of ideas?  Well as you can see I failed miserably at trying to stop myself from painting. Turns out taking the pressure off helped me tremendously. I am always thinking too much and trying to come up with the best possible series. There is a lot of pressure to paint everyday because that is what I think is expected of me. I do see people who may or may not have busier lives than me succeed at this “painting or drawing a day” thing. Though I think it is great to be productive, I also think breaks are healthy.

This is what happened when I took a break from art. At first, I did pretty well. By Day 5, looking at a banana on the counter gave me the desire to paint its colour and shape. My day 6, I thought I am going to try drawing in ball point pen. So I made a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich and drew in my sketchbook. My mind was on the sandwich idea that has been successfully done so many times before. I thought this is okay that it has been done before. This is what I like to paint.

I watch kids after-school and my friend Leah who does the same, brought chalk so I drew a dragon for the kids to add too. I thought to myself, “This is cheating but I don’t care!” I was teaching art and painting apples with the kids. That was it! I couldn’t take it anymore! The next day I quit my Noctober! I painted a peanut butter sandwich and the following day a sliced apple. My advice is paint or take a break just be sure to do what you want!20191012_124952

Eight Ice Cream Cones and Counting

eight ice creamsI my teens I mostly painted in watercolour and I dabbled with other mediums. I stopped using it in my early twenties when I was taught to paint in oils in art school. I loved oil paint because it was smooth to work with and I was completely obssessed with self-portraiture from the mirror. The challenge to get my skin tone colours just right is a continuous challenge for me. It is especially difficult to capture the essence of myself and a good enough likeness simultaneously.

Fast forward to early motherhood. I find in myself with a strong desire to draw and to possibly illustrate books; illustrations went well but the story just did not happen alongside. I was using gouache and they were little illustrations of my my best friend and me. Here I was again dabbling with self-portraits!

Time went on as it does and I joined some figure drawing sessions which were really helpful. I eventually received an easel as a Christmas gift from my husband. It did not take long before I started to use acrylic paints. It is an accessible medium for a mom and I guess you could say I have been painting with it for 8 years….until now.

Recently I have been toying around with the idea of switching mediums. I was thinking about egg tempera, oil painting, gouache but it never occurred to me to try using my little watercolour set to paint in the themes I had grown accustomed to exploring.

I had painted one “Mint Chocolate Chip Cone” in acrylics with the intention of producing a series. If I had to go purchase 8 panels and get them ready, it would have been too long to wait. I had the desire to produce the series of cones right away! If I had to wait, I probably would have changed my mind!!! My watercolour set and paper saved the day! It has been the closest I have come to producing a painting a day.

What I hadn’t expected was the sheer joy it was to use watercolour again. The colours are fresh-looking, they pool and accidentally blend. The layers of washes stop me from being too fussy and I find myself embracing the limitations of the medium. Aside from the colour and subject matter they look nothing like my acrylic work. I wonder how this will affect my upcoming acrylic painting? It will be a very large painting of a gown.