This is a page from my journal, edited and formatted for The Studio Chronicles.
I've been searching nonstop for something.
I thought I had it, but it didn't last.
Distraction is an everyday challenge, being curious and interested in dozens of things simultaneously isn't helpful either.
Last week I threw out a huge pile of drawings. I was sick of looking at them. At one point I’d been proud, but lately they felt disjointed and alien to me, like I hadn’t made them.
There were no apparent reasons of why I felt this way. Why did I feel so lost in my work?
I had to go back to the ebook I wrote a few years back: Guide to creative independence. I was amazed at how close I was to the answer back then. But, surprise, I got distracted with new materials, new techniques and my favourite activity of all time: learning.
I made a hundreds of drawings, one after another just to learn the how, but I didn't feel great about most. When I tried to review them I got overwhelmed and just drew some more. The pile became unmanageable.
Most of those drawings were soulless renderings of things, not even interpretations. Fortunately, in the iPad, I had something brewing until…
I got diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery in early April. Everything happened too fast.
I was thrown into a spiral.
My art practice had to help me go through it but I couldn’t consider it art therapy. I didn’t want to scribble on paper and moan about my situation.
I pulled out my watercolours. Since my arm has limited mobility, these were perfect. Moving my arm from the palette to the jar of water didn't require too much effort.
I found that most of my drawings have silhouettes, these come naturally to me.I didn’t attribute them any meaning in the beginning but I realize now that it’s they’re a beautiful symbol for non-identity. It’s the individual at is purest when you don’t know them through the labels and flags but as humans with our own tribulations.
In my ebook I talk about outsider art, it's spontaneity, its naivete, its rawness. I love the stories behind the artists, their lack of self-censorship. Never preoccupied with technique or colour theory but truly tapping into their inner worlds, their imagination, their points of view. It's a good time to embrace all these aspects of an art style.
I often think about putting all other materials into a storage box and just keeping my pad of watercolour paper and my palette and forget about all the rest.
But it's silly. Any day now oil pastels will beckon me.
Of course, a diagnosis like this, and the subsequent events are full of shock, sadness, fear and learning to accept a new body. It’s not easy but my art practice is there for me, for the moments in which I think I want to cry or just sleep for days, the feelings come out through the brush and the paint.
Just before March turned my life upside down, I made a little list:
What interests me, truly?
- Living a simpler life which I manage to do
-Keeping a drawing and writing practice
- Focusing on the aesthetics of every day
- Napping (new to me)
- Revisiting my female punk rock heroines.
Turns out I am surrounded by these things, I don’t need anything more at the moment. Actually, I need my mobility back so I can do some of these weird Butoh movements. But I must be patient.
- The Guide for Creative Independence where I talk about, 30 pages for you to go deeper into your work.
- The video library on Patreon where you can use my practice to nourish yours: more than 80 videos where I show you how I approach figures, portraits, landscapes and imaginary drawings: I also show you how I use gouache, oil pastels, and so much more. You can pay for one month, come and go as you wish and if you send me a message I will reply directly. At the moment for reasons mentioned above, I’m not uploading new videos, but the library truly is a treasure trove!
Here are some lovely comments from my patrons:
- My resource page where I list the classes that have helped me the most to improve various mediums and techniques.
- Oil Pastel Freedom, my oil pastel class where you will learn to draw beautiful painterly pieces.
Thank you for reading, I hope you're doing well and that spring is in full swing where you are.