Trying Something New

This morning, while hubby was making even more vacation plans (yippee), I figured I’d spend a couple minutes in my studio. Intending to straighten up a bit, I came across a still wrapped in plastic 16″ x 20″ canvas.  As a watercolorist, I use paper exclusively.  About to put it in the bin for the thrift store, I just couldn’t.  Those of you who know me, know I have been on a decluttering binge for nearly a year now.  Progress is slow, but steady, and we have made great strides.   Except in my studio.  It’s better, but still chock full of possibilities.

Included in my studio are about 100 books from my mentor’s (Dan Hines) collection.  I have been working on reading them as I am convinced the secret to my perfect painting is hidden somewhere amongst the pages.

The book I am reading now is The Tao of Watercolor by Jeanne Carbonetti.  One of her suggestions is to center yourself before painting and to focus.  While I have a ritual before I start painting, but I had never taken more time than to get my reference material together, perhaps do a thumbnail and then “put on the music, light the candle and ask for guidance for my heart, my head and my hands.”  

We changed that today.

Putting the focus on my canvas, I pulled out the acrylics and watersoluable crayons.  It was feeling rather playful and bright, but I wasn’t getting any visual.  Decided to center myself using my angel cards, I pulled the word “content”.  Closing my eyes this time I vividly pictured the crazy cat I own sleeping in her bed (when she deems it necessary to come in out of the weather.). It is about the only time I see her content.

All the while painting, I kept the word content in mind….no picture, no reference cat (she is out galavanting), just the memory and feeling of the word.  Using my acrylics sort of like watercolor, I painted.

Painting always puts me in the zone (for those analytical types, when I am in the right side of my brain) and it is always joyful. But today, there was a downright reverence.  Perhaps it is the Tao of Acrylics.  Might have to do this again.

Have you tried anything new lately?  “Did You Art Today?”


Every Picture Tells a Story

In class today we painted from a lovely reference photo provided by the amazing Paint My Photo site.  Each of my students had a different reaction to the photo.  

“He looks like he wants to take a walk.”  

“I think he lost his ball.”

“He’s waiting for the kids to catch up.”

Immediately the term “dog brain” popped into my head.  You know the moment.  When your dog forgets every command he’s ever learned due to some instinctual response to a bird, a deer, a squirrel, another dog, or just the scent of something interesting. So, my 8″ x 10″ watercolor painting is titled “Are You Calling Me?”

The discussion and ensuing paintings all took on a different tone.  Reminding me of how art is such a personal experience, both in the creating and on the viewing.   

What story do you see?