Peter Pan and Me

Birthdays and New Years are always time for reflection.  But a “zero” birthday is particularly thought-provoking.

What a delightful day I had sitting on the back porch with my husband, my sister and brother-in-law and an out-of-town cousin enjoying my favorite crabcakes.  Got some very nice presents and, I’ll admit it.  Yes, I really like presents.  After expressing my glee at something my sister gave me, she commented “You really are Peter Pan, you know. I’ve been thinking about that a lot.  You never did really grow up.”

“I Don’t Want to Grow Up” was my favorite song when I was a kid.   And now that I’ve had time to think about her comment, she’s right.   But I’m not quite sure why.

I’m thinking it’s because I never had children?  I can honestly say I never wanted them and  don’t regret my choice to remain childless.  This was not a popular option amongst friends and family.   But I stood in my truth.  Having a child seemed like such a crap shoot. Never much cared for babies.  I have absolutely no desire to hold them.   I probably would have left a child somewhere, remembering days later that something seemed missing.  Give me a puppy or a kitten and I’m mush.  Never changed a diaper.  Don’t want to.   As an artist you’d think I could see the resemblance in a baby that everyone else can see. Doesn’t happen.  They all look like the last baby I met.

So is it having a child that helps you mature?  Do you become an adult with the largeness of creating another human being?  Such a huge responsibility?  Certainly people who have had children retain their creativity.  You have to be creative to raise children.  To answer the “whys”.

For a time in my life, I didn’t even like kids.  But that has changed.  Now I admire their fresh approach, startlingly honest questions, their unrestricted creativity, and their enormous enthusiasm and unbridled energy.  As I’ve matured, I realize what a miracle they are (for other people).  Now I use my art to connect with them.  When I can draw something they like, they become fascinated, involved.  When I can teach them to follow the line, I can help them to see differently, creatively.  They are in love with my studio.  Nirvana. An adult with a whole room full of crayons, paints and paper.  And I don’t even mind if something gets spilled.

Perhaps I’ve never grown up because I didn’t have children.  Can you be lacking a “mothering” gene or missing the DNA responsible for wanting to have children?   Creating with a paintbrush certainly doesn’t require the maturity of parenthood. But, slinging paint on wet paper with passion and joy certainly keeps me wildly happy.  On somedays my creativity burns so hot I feel I might be consumed; burning bright like Tinkerbell, hovering above the earth in ideas.

No, I’m not the most mature person you’ll ever meet.  My only child is my creativity.  And without creativity Peter Pan would have grown up.  We have a lot in common.

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Look Closely

One of my students gave us a class on pointillism this past Monday. Dots of color, next to dots of color.  Putting yellow next to red should read orange when looked at from a distance.  Not sure I’m seeing that.

You can only imagine I  didn’t care for this type of “painting”.  While the class was fun and interesting,  I  had trouble not mixing my colors and, trying to lay them side by side just wasn’t working for me.

The room was silent while we seriously dotted away.  At one point our instructor commented, ” I “hear” the sound of concentration.”  She, thankfully couldn’t hear the curse words in my head!

So I present to you “Dottie” – an exercise in pointillism.  Look close and look fast.  I can’t imagine you’ll see another one from me!

Jump for Joy

My newest client has graciously allowed me to use some photos she had sent me when we were planning the commission of her Old English Sheep Dog.   While I met their dog, Nellie, in person, these photos of her cavorting in the backyard showed an exuberance I found enchanting.

As I’ve been on an ACEO kick lately, I tackled the three photos in miniature.  Wanted to get the action of this airborne animal. It’s more difficult to do details in such a small painting,  so I wasn’t quite  sure how well the photos would translate.  But I have to admit, I like this series.  They feel what I was hoping to portray.   My favorite part is the little ball which was not even in the reference photos. (Have I told you lately how much I love being an artist?) This tiny object is the reason for the enormous energy and joy exhibited by this furball.  I call the series Jump for Joy.

I just listed them on eBay for a seven day auction.

Another Chincoteague Pony Aceo

Also listed on ebay.

This wasn’t the series I had planned….but, I had so much fun painting the last one, I found some more reference photos and did another this afternoon.   When painting small, the paintings go quickly.

The photos reminded me of how much I enjoy Chincoteague.  Not just because of the ponies, but the town, the refuge, the beach, the birdwatching.  We haven’t been able to get there yet this year.  Hoping we can sneak in a long weekend soon.

Change it up

Chincoteague Mare and Foal

or at least a little change!

It’s been a long time since I’ve listed anything on Ebay.  Listed this ACEO or Artist Trading Card this weekend.  Not my usual watercolor, but gouache.  And I don’t normaly paint this small.  The standard size for an ACEO (Art Cards, Editions and Originals) is  2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″.  Quite the struggle for me to use  small brushes.  Nice change of medium to challenge that right side of my brain.  You’ll notice, though, I wasn’t too daring –  turned to a tried and true subject!

What do you do to change it up in your creativity?

The Awwww Commission

This year, I combined our annual Independence Day Barbeque with an art show.

Showcasing the works of all my students, I used a simple display of their work bordered with black posterboard.  Hanging them on the screened-in porch where the food was served ensured maximum exposure.  All, but one of my students was at the party. Everyone wore nametags and my students were listed as artists, so they could be easily identified with the work.  Even my studio was open for inspection.  As Nellie was the commission I was working on, she held a prominent spot on my art desk.   While she still needed  work, she was certainly recognizable as an English Sheepdog.

The prevailing comment from everyone who visited my studio was “Awwwww, she’s so cute.”

And cute she was. A pleasure to paint with all those curls, fluffs and strands of fur.  Her likeness delighted and amused everyone at my BBQ.  I knew I was on the right track with the painting.  She’s exactly that way in real life.

Thank you to my clients, Cathy and Glenn.  May she continue to delight!

A Spinning Question?

The four paintings I planned for this series are finished. You’ve already seen two – the two landscape pieces. The two portrait pieces are the newbies. But I need your help. Should I do this one also?

The horse’s head is fuzzy, but love the way those back feet are planted, front feet splayed. And I can certainly sharpen the head in my painting.

Does five make too many for a series?    So I’m looking for your help.  Four or five?  I’ll let you know the outcome in a week or so.  Thanks.