Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Trying Something New

A Painting the Peanut & I did together
can be daunting. Especially when you go from working in a medium that you have become so comfortable working in, that the process is mostly a focus on bringing about your vision instead of learning the aspects of that medium and how to work within the medium to get the finished product that is in your minds eye.

For example changing your drawing medium from pen and ink to brush and ink. With pen and ink you draw using lines, crosshatching or scribbles for building up your shadows. After a certain amount of time you don't really think about where your pen tip is going how your marks are being made you just look at your subject and draw, or int he case of drawing from your head you just draw. If one day you decide to try something different and pull out a bamboo brush and a jar of india ink the process of drawing becomes a little more about using that medium instead of the medium as a means to an end. With ink and brush you start with light washes, working from light to dark, it's a slower process, the ink dries in a specific way and the look of the sketch is softer. if you are working wet into wet you get unexpected blends and unexpected hard lines where the wet areas have dried. The process becomes focused on the medium and you start to look at your subject differently. When that happens there's growth in your art.

Snapshot from my phone
Of course one of the daunting aspects is that what you're making isn't going to be perfect, that there are going to be less than ideal and unpredictable outcomes. The trick is to use the newness of the medium to let go of the finished project. Make the process the goal instead of the final piece; at least until you've gotten to really really know the medium. Of course that's not as easy as it sounds when you put it down in words. Creating something be it a drawing, a photograph, painting or sculpting is a personal thing. Becoming invested in what you are creating is inevitable. there's the time invested, the money that goes into buying the materials, the imagination and the effort. All those things put together make it almost impossible to give up control, to relinquish the desire to put what is being worked on up on a pedestal. A good friend just posted about this very thing on her blog. She put is so perfectly that I felt I had to address the same subject here.

Why? well because I made a decision at the end of last year that I was going to reintroduce myself to the basics of creating. You know, in between dealing with a busy Bean and a precocious Peanut. It's not always easy but to motivate me I've started following the Sketchbook Challenge and I've started photographing on a daily basis with an iphone. (getting past the camera has to be a camera mindset helps a little. My camera snobbery was holding me back, especially when I was worried about braining the Bean with my heavy SLR when she'd need to be picked up.) I'm more prolific with the camera right now but that's not what's important. What is important is that I'm making time to create and the process is more important than the final outcome.
Doodles from my sketchbook a la
The Sketchbook Challenge

Giving myself permission to make mistakes, push past them and go too far, to reign it back in and push too far again to go so far that there's no turning back, no fixing it. To let go. It seems like taking advantage of that permission is the greatest challenge. So what about you? do you sometimes find that you are holding on too tightly to what you're creating that you aren't letting it grow? I remember a drawing class where after a set amount of time we stood up moved to the next space and continued on the drawing that our neighbor had just left... I still cringe at the thought of letting go of my ownership of that piece of paper...

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