Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ninety eight percent Perspiration....

Drawing; Pot of Tulips, Saturday morning Feb 13, '10

Desaturated version

Saturday morning, Feb. 13, ‘10

I did this drawing as an exercise.  

I decided to use the Prussian Blue watercolor pencil and push it as far as I could in the space of an hour.  The tulips are in front of me; I’ve been enjoying watching them grow through different stages all week, so selection of subject matter wasn’t a problem....

My mind, before I made the time to do this drawing, was racing and unsettled.  I felt as if I were in a state of what I call ‘Ennui’ – listless distraction bordering on boredom.    I felt as if I were stuck in my chair, drinking too much coffee, watching one cooking show on tv after another.  When I made up my mind to rise from my chair, do something –  Julia Child and Martha Stewart were making & decorating a wedding cake.  I felt I could’ve remained glued to my chair watching them all day.

I got up early this morning to go to work on a painting only to discover an hour or so later, that work on distracting my mind from lingering in a state of boredom tinged with self-pity and self-denigration was the first order of business for today.  I’ve discovered through the years that a good way to distract my mind from this state is to offer it a challenge  – a quick fix – which is why I designated the boundary of an hour to do a drawing of a pot full of Tulips on inexpensive notebook drawing paper using a Prussian Blue watercolor pencil.  Set the timer (cell phone) for an hour, Let’s see where this goes....

Using a watercolor pencil for drawing is relatively new to me, so an instant challenge to my unfocused, negative-thinking brain.  Watercolor pencil is relatively unfamiliar, therefore highly interesting.  Focusing on the leaves, bud, blossoms and the spatial relationship between each, the negative space between/ surrounding each,  the entire pot of tulips, the beautiful lines of the leaves, joining lines and shapes to other lines and shapes, designating spatial differences with different cross-hatching and scribbling techniques –  all helped take my mind off the other stuff, the ‘shoulds,’  the ‘but firsts.’ the ‘why bother?’ stuff that added up into the negative thinking that opens up into a place of restless dissatisfaction bordering on boredom –  ennui.  

Not great art, but art that in the doing made me feel a lot better than the not doing.  Art that in the making added to my visual and visceral knowledge of watercolor pencil and how it can be incorporated into future paintings.  Exercise for my disinterested mind.  A sense within, as if having completed a meditation, for a little while, my mind and heart were part of the Process and are feeling more settled and balanced from having gone there and been there....

After I worked on this drawing for awhile, I felt an inclination to paint, to smooth out the surface that was looking ‘too close’, too textured.  (So that’s where this was going....)  I used a 3.0 Sennelier Quill, a  brush that I love for drawing and just doodling.  I filled it with water and used it to  smooth-out all the pencil marks that were in the background.  I also filled in some parts of the background with more pencil while the paper was wet and then worked in the new marks.  

‘Creativity is 2% Inspiration, 98% Perspiration.’  I think that in the ‘perspiration’ part – the conscious mental work, the action taken to realize a creation – I  learn new skills & strengthen technique and mental focus which knowledge and experience adds up to feeling that it’s coming naturally, that only enhances the 2% Inspiration part of my creative endeavor.   

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