My background is in visual art. I never wanted to do anything else. With two degrees behind me, learned skills, experiences, favorite and not so favorite artists learned and nearly memorized by site, travel, and now a family of my own, I still always long to just study light. And movement. Water. And trees. Flowers. The human figure. Color and how light changes everything all of the time.
But I got into this habit of or rather this way of thinking that I think always existed; that painting and drawing and creating art was just frivolous. Like… what did it contribute, really? I even felt this way in high school when really it was all I wanted to do. But I could never fully relax into it. It has felt like a such a guilty pleasure my whole life. Over the years I developed this mind set that I needed certain materials and that I needed to create a certain amount of work and I had to feel amazing about each piece every time AND that I should be showing it. Like in a professional setting. And all that pressure just got the better of me and kept me from even stepping into my studio. I hated it. Then I became afraid to even try, thinking my time spent would result in nothing.
Then I moved to Peaks Island and I couldn’t help but want to move my pencil across a page of anything while staring at the waves while also traveling back and forth on the ferry. Studying the light on my neighbor’s house and my other neighbors boat and our yard all at once as the sun set in September, that too got my whole body set in motion and I found myself sitting for three evenings straight in the same chair just drawing what I saw and felt.
I’d look down at my work later and not really believe it was me that made those marks. They weren’t perfect but I could really feel what I was looking at. It felt glorious and made me come alive. But I’d put my sketch books away and forget, getting lost in daily routines and schedules.
Then something finally clicked. I realized I was just drawing on regular paper. With regular things and I didn’t care. I had no plans except to just emerge myself in the experience of observing and making marks to try and capture something I found perfectly beautiful.
Since that time, I’ve filled up a few sketch books of child faces, weathered boats, light houses, flowers, trees, leaves, mushrooms, lichens, and pine cones. Snails are on my list next.
I now often carry a small watercolor kit and small sketch book in my purse in case I’m stuck in town. And sometimes that’s all I do in town.
This has all led me to want to crack open my oils again as I’m itching to find my children’s faces in layers of lighted colors. But first, my painting studio needs a major reorganization.
Until then, I’m content to study tiny things in nature.