Sometimes in my mind I play around with the idea of one day becoming a professional artist: how it would feel to have a dedicated well set-up studio space; how much I could achieve if I had long uninterrupted stretches of time dedicated to painting; what joy it would be to see something beautiful and know that I can choose to paint it ahead of other tasks just because it is my job. When I mention my timid dream out-loud to my husband, he looks somewhat puzzled “Art isn’t about making money, is it?” No, it isn’t, in the same way as any other profession is also not about making money (or at least shouldn’t be).
During our holiday we stayed in the lovely apartment located in a house with stunning grounds. I had plans to do some sketching of trees, flowers and maybe the house, but only got around to doing this quick sketch of the view from the window.
I attempted to sketch on the moving steam train only to find out that it is more wobbly than the modern ones and I couldn’t get any of my lines to be straight
I was planning to have a quick sketch of my son on the right to fill in the space, but he was too excited to stay still.
I managed to get my son to nap in the apartment twice. On the second occasion I walked to the beach and tried to capture some of the majesty and beauty of the sea and the sky.
The sketch was a total failure, but I learned few lessons:
- I don’t have enough watercolour skills to produce the work I want, but at least now I have some understanding about what type of techniques I can use to create the desired effects
- I need to use better paper for the watercolour sketches as I couldn’t paint wet-on-wet or do more than one-two layers
- I dislike the selection of the Daler-Rowney student grade watercolours in my outdoor set and need to find the time to figure out what colours work for me
- If I had to choose one subject for the paintings to concentrate on, it would be the Sky (closely followed by flowers and people)
During the first nap in the apartment I spent over an hour doing a slow watercolour sketch of the shells we found on one of our walks.
It was done in the Moleskine watercolour sketchbook and the results are much better. I have no idea why I didn’t think to use it for my outdoor sketch, specially because the landscape format would’ve been perfect for a change. Maybe having too many choices isn’t always the best thing and carrying two sketchbooks is definitely not much fun. I like Daler-Rowney A5 portrait sketchbook format, so I’m thinking of trying one of the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks – I just need to figure out which series is the best one for the type of watercolour sketches that I want to do.
- Stately homes and one of the young ones fiddling with the camera controls without us, adults, noticing for at least a day, which resulted in the lots of photos being overexposed.
- Learning a bit more about Dinosaurs
- Gazing at the grazing cows and reminiscing about the smell and the taste of the fresh cow’s milk.
- Many slow walks on the beach and finding treasures
- Falling in love with the gorgeous skies and cloud formations
If I was on my own I would be quite happy to sit somewhere on the beach attempting to capture some of the beauty of the sky and the sea. I wasn’t and I totally underestimated how much time will be taken up by the usual food preparation, getting the kids to sleep in a new place, playing, touring, etc. I’ve done very little sketching and yet I feel positive that I’ve done some. I’ll share the sketches with you in the next post.
I’m off to the Isle of Wight for one-week holiday with my family. From the travel brochure it looks to be a gorgeous place with something interesting for each one of us. I’m mostly looking forward to doing some painting. Recently huge chunks of my time were being used up for the house renovations in the preparation for the sale before the move to Australia. This meant that I wasn’t able to get out on my own to sketch the London’s sights. I often struggle with being flexible and accepting changes to the routine and this time I was finding it specially frustrating, as I want to create a memento for myself of my time in London and also to practice outdoor sketching for the future travels. Where there’s a will there’s a way. A kind (and observant) friend offered to babysit the youngest allowing me to do few drawings at the Charlton House.
The simple act of sketching for an hour lifted my mood and made me more determine to figure out a way to sketch while travelling with my family. Hopefully I’ll have some drawings to share with you on my return.
On one of our daily walks I pointed out some beautiful delicate tulips to my two year old son. He looked at them, nodded his head and said: “Nice. This nice. Mama paint these flowers” It felt good to know that there is another person in the world, who thinks it is a natural state of things that I want to paint whatever I find beautiful.
For a long time I searched for the community to belong to and struggled with the desire to feel loved. Then one day I was chatting to a friend and I had an overwhelming sense of being accepted and loved. The world was still the same, however something in me changed allowing myself to experience the love without looking for the but part. I realised that once I noticed this feeling of peace, acceptance and well-being I was able to recall and experience it again.
Maybe being an artist is the same: the hardest part isn’t finding own style, learning the necessary skills, figuring out ways to make money; the hardest part is learning to accept and to perceive oneself as an artist. What do you think?
At the beginning of the last week I was feeling down, despondent, wanting to draw and paint in theory, but unable to find the motivation to do it in practice. I kept on wondering what is the point; wouldn’t it be easier just to spend my days paying more attention to the household chores and my children and the evenings relaxing with a nice book; is this the right time to want to learn more, to strive to produce something greater? I did curl up on the couch and read gorgeously illustrated, somewhat melancholy and beautifully magical “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” by Jackie Morris when I came across this line:
“You have traveled far, but the hardest part of a journey is always the next step.”
Jackie Morris, East of the Sun, West of the Moon
It felt like it was said directly to me and somehow this acknowledgement by someone else that taking the next step isn’t necessary going to become any easier with time was the right push for me to start painting again. The first painting wasn’t all that successful, but there was one part of it, which I liked, and I attempted another one, which worked better.
Often when faced with the question of what to draw I resort to sketching my children or flowers. However recently I wasn’t buying the flowers at the local farmer’s market and when the children were asleep I went back to drawing items from the Everyday Matters challenge list.
Looking at this long list I was wondering what would happen if someone drew every item on it. Would their skills improve? How fast would they progress? Would they learn about what type of media, format, subjects appeals to them? Am I spending too much time reading various instruction books and watching online tutorials instead of drawing and painting?