|Flute making--transitioning to sketching more again. I hope.|
|My first flute, of deer bone I found in the woods...|
But honestly, in thinking about it--and coming across old journal entries--I see it's an ongoing challenge to keep sketching, keep making art, keep simply being who I always thought I was, despite the changes life throws at all of us. I've sketched when traveling, at family gatherings, in meetings, in big cities, deserts, and deep forest. I've sketched broad vistas and tiny microcosms at my feet. I've sketched to celebrate and to calm myself in a hospital setting, to cope and to delight.
|Waiting through Joseph's long surgery a few years ago...|
Probably many factors, and perhaps as individual as we are.
I just came across a note in an old journal--years old, actually: "feeling frustrated with my sketching time, lately--always hurried and shallow and meaningless." Uh oh. That wasn't good. I need meaning...and I suspect most of us do.
Part of the problem, at that time, was adjusting to my recent remarriage...supportive though Joseph is, and he is, I realized I didn't want to bore him, keep him waiting, inconvenience him. We often feel that way when traveling with non-sketchers, I've heard it over and over from fellow artists, and I was no exception. (And yes, J. used to sketch some with me, and that was lovely! But his interests have taken him in a different direction...)
|I did a LOT of sketching in parking lots...J. shops and I don't like to. And in fact that became the inspiration for my quick sketching mini-classes on my website! Lemons to lemonade...|
I have several friends who have quit or madly scaled back sharing online...again, it began to feel like an obligation. It's not.
That's one reason I don't do challenges. I want meaning, not an assignment, and I don't enjoy the pressure. No "30 sketches in 30 days" or "100 People" (or noses, or eyes, or whatever) for me, thank you. I know many people who thrive on it, and produce wonderful, imaginative work...but I feel trapped. It's a personal quirk. (I discussed that in some length in this post.)
Part of the problem sometimes, is frustration with materials. I know--"it's a poor workman who blames his tools," blah blah quack quack. But dammit, it IS frustrating! I moved from technical pens to fountain pens, and years later I am STILL searching for the line variation I like, with a smooth nib, in a super dependable pen--the right size for my small hands. Oh yes, and ideally that will work with water-resistant ink so I can watercolor over it. Like my technical pens used to do.
And yet, I keep experimenting, so there you are. I must like frustration!
|I have page after page of pen tests...|
|...and brush tests, and color tests...|
Drives me nuts when I don't like my drawing instrument, brush, or paper surface. And so a LOT of my journal pages are just testing, like the two above. Looking for what works best for the effect I want or the way it feels in my hand.
Now our lives have changed again, with the elderly dog we've rescued. I have indeed sketched her some, but I also find she's not exactly conducive to sketching on the spot...Joseph's fishing has changed more into walking the pooch, as well. She's a love, but she's made a big change...
"I think I have lost confidence in my sketching--as if it matters if it's not a perfect likeness. Guess what? It never was. Perfect is not possible. I don't want to lose my plesure in the moment, in the act of sketching itself, in capturing the moment, however fleeting, not worrying about making a false step.
Well. not worrying, exactly. I know I will, and do, and always have.
So what is going on with this? Yes, criticism bugs me, I'll admit it. It sucks the fun out of it for me--the life out of it, really. But that's after the fact, after the actual act of sketching. What, I'm pre-emptively defensive now?" It was good to get it down on paper.
(That issue is addressed beautifully in the brilliant Terri Windling's blog post, here, by the way.)
And then there's the issue of just not feeling like taking on some complex subject. It's too much. I adore Stephanie Law's work, and my botanical artist friends, and so many others who incororate texture and color and pattern and detail. But...it just feels overwhelming to begin.
And yet...what I find truly fulfilling is to sit and draw contemplatively...a tree, an interesting stone, a tangle of brush...
I suppose the upshot of all of this musing is that we all have been there, and will be there again. I am beginning to enjoy sketching again. I'm not doing all that much with flute making. I'm exploring materials, yes, but actually feeling the glimmers of "yes, I'd like to sketch that!"
And so, last night, I did.
|Frustrations and all--whiney pooch, too-smooth paper, ink I'd forgotten was water soluble, I enjoyed this!|