We are back to a human-scale town.
Waking up and looking out the window to see greenery instead of walls of windows was an immediate sensory relief.
We spent three months in NYC, and it was rewarding and challenging. On the one hand, we had our fill of art and culture, but on the other, I lost all the will to draw or create. I hauled a massive case of oil pastels. I replenished my favourite Caran d'Ache colours, and yet, I only made two drawings. I couldn't fix my drawings indoors and would have had to take the elevator six floors down to go outside and then be reprimanded for using aerosols in public. So my oil pastel box stayed closed.
However, with the Derwent Drawing Pencils, I was able to create a series of drawings I liked a lot.
I reflected so much about the work I left behind in Montreal, the interrupted Gartenata series, the Oil Pastel Class I couldn't finish filming, and so many other "plans."
I may have mentioned this somewhere, but I'm a black or white type of person. If I can't go all-in to something, I just don't do it. So as I hovered around, feeling completely detached and trying to make the most of it, a window opened.
The afternoons I spent alone (while my husband went on Street Photography expeditions - I love his point of view!) I began to untangle all the different avenues I've taken since I started my path to art.
I thought about how I embraced the obvious instead of staying true to what I love. I recognized that sometimes, I've chased other people's paths in desperation only to discover they were so far from who I am. And I didn't do this once; I did it several times. First, I wanted to be an illustrator, then a fine artist, then an illustrator again.
And the silence was deafening.
I started to simplify my drawings. Since I didn't have my physical inspiration wall, I began to use Miro. I made a Visual Vocabulary board and a medium board (as in supplies, not clairvoyants!), and I started to really hammer down to three things:
- The mediums I genuinely love
- The subject matters
- What comes easy to me
I have the obsession of wanting to tackle things I can't do just to prove to myself I can. But not because they really interest me. This has been true of many of the mediums I've attempted to "master."
We need the basics of how the different supplies work and then go and experiment.
By being so concerned about using the "right materials" and nailing down the "technique," we don't uncover what we want to say, express, or feel.
This is a drawing (illustration?) I made while chasing technique and medium:
This is a drawing I made while oil pastels on printer paper. I definitely prefer the liveliness of this one and it feels more me.
It was clear that every time I looked at artists who work with particular supplies, I would try to master the technique.
But it's the same thing: If we see a great photo and ask what camera do you use? You are focusing on the outside and not the photographer's point of view. I know people with all the photographer gear in the world, yet they can't produce a single exciting photo.
I don't want that for myself.
During the second half of our stay, I thought I'd wipe out my IG, archive everything, and start posting only drawings I like. The question then was: which are those?
Ah.. a little suspense por favor..
In the following newsletter, I will show you how I finally started to understand the point of my work and how I'll be shifting it. So I hope you stick around!
The summer is the perfect time to sit down and do a little reflection.
The Guide to Creative Independence ebook is available again. Same content, just updated look and corrections.
Suppose you want to do some in-depth exploration of your art. In that case, this will guide you through questions and prompts and introduce you to some of the concepts I return to again and again when I feel I veered off path.
|Learn More here|
I'm taking the month off the Internet. I blocked all the news sites and uninstalled apps. I also decided to stop publishing on Patreon for a while. Although the posts with all the videos and demos will remain there. You can dip in for $5 if you'd like. Your support would be so appreciated.
What I'm reading now: The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. Loving the voice of the young girl and the atmosphere of 1970s England.
I hope you're doing well, keeping cool if you're at the mercy of heatwave after heatwave. I will be sitting in my untamed garden with iced tea all month