How to Take the Frustration out of Drawing Practice

Here is an excellent link for the group, especially those, like myself, who struggle to get around to their drawing practice.  Sometimes, knowing that it has to be done is not enough.  Minds play all sorts of dirty tricks to find ways to stop us from doing it, even though we can logically understand that we must practise in order to improve.

Paul Foxton has an interesting take on drawing exercises, that we touched on in our drawing group yesterday – slow down.

Editors at Work

Hard at work for this group doesn’t just mean drawing and painting exercises.  It also means developing this blog and composing our proposal to the Council for studio premises.  The three of us work very well together, bouncing ideas and resolving technical issues.  Here we are yesterday, our heads buried in our computers and the debris of abandoned artwork pushed to one side!

Deolinda, Irisha and Jan hard at work on our computers.

Deolinda, Irisha and Jan hard at work on our computers.

Dare to Dream

Our group is feeling excited.  The prospect of us having our own, dedicated studio space in the centre of our village, came a big step closer tonight.

Since the outset, we have discussed the merits of such a space.  Meeting in one another’s home causes practical difficulties.  It also means that we cannot grow in size, as we want to do.  It would be such a thrill if we could encourage the spread of art activities in our locality.  We would love to be joined by new Portuguese developing artists, which would balance the ex-pat contingent that exists at the moment.

Tonight, we finally plucked up courage to ask our Junta (local Council) for what we wanted.  We were met by the most positive response we could have hoped for and guided to the next step we must take to realise our dream.  A potential building was even discussed – one that appears most suitable.

In return for the generous donation of premises that we are asking for, we have now publicly committed to holding exhibitions of our work, which will attract people into our village.  We have also said that we will give something back to the community, if not in monetary terms, then with our labour, for example, creating decorations for festa time.

Our next step is to put our proposal in writing to the President, who will then mediate on our behalf with the District Council, who owns the building.  Taking the big step of publicly declaring our aims is going to force us to get moving in certain areas where we have been slow.  This blog is one of those things, that now has to be brought up to scratch and be representative of who we are and what we are about.  The other big matter is the lack of any substance for public exhibition!  I think the months ahead will be very busy as we put in the necessary work to make this a successful group.

Compare and Contrast

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Art Journal Group

Here is a nice picture of our group working together a couple of weeks ago.  See how tidily five of us manage to work together in a small space.  Compare this image with the photo below:

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Art Journaling

This is how my desk looks this morning.  This is more or less how my desk looked last week when I cancelled the group and more or less the same as it was 24 hours after I had tidied up for our last gathering.  In fact, this is more or less how my desk is all of the time.  You see, I don’t play tidily – I never have done.  I am an only child and never had to share my space, so I became used to spreading out, making a mess and working through my muddle.

In one respect, this muddled workspace fuels my creativity.  I find that that I get buried in the pile that surrounds me and draw on whatever is immediately to hand.  In another way, of course, it can be counter-productive.  Mess, as I know only too well, leads to spilled paint and water, splodges on the page that weren’t intended, pages stuck together etc.  You can imagine.  This is my style though – my method.  I have learned to work with it rather than fight it.  The accidents that happen to a page are momentarily frustrating but I have trained myself to accept them and use them as a creative opportunity.

I know my friends in the group accept me as I am and I am grateful for that.  If we are to grow in our creative processes, we must embrace our style and learn to love it.

Journaling with limited materials

 

the table is ready for us

the table is ready for us

Today we had a surprise…

Usually our journaling days are organized like this: we choose a subject by pulling one or two of the cards we made for this purpose. Then we start working on the subject using any of the materials we have. But this time it was different.

There on the table we found a very limited amount of materials that Jan prepared for us. She also asked us to choose a new place. The day promised to be very unusual!

So each place had a tube of paint and a tool to apply it (a brush, a sponge, a palette knife, a credit card and a roller) and no Gesso! No Gesso?! (Because we use old books for journaling we usually cover the pages with Gesso first)
 

Step 1. Background.

First each of us worked with one color and one tool and then we exchanged them. When all the paints and tools available were used we all had beautiful backgrounds to work on.
For me this limited choice was very good.

And usually after creating a nice background I get stuck because I don’t want to touch it anymore, I like it the way it is and don’t dare to add anything else. So since I was introduced to art journaling I have made several pages that are just backgrounds.

Step 2. Collage.

Jan brought a box full of pieces of different papers. We had to grab a handful of these for making a collage. After playing around for a while I finally got a collage on top of my background.

Then more paint went on top of it and I arrived at the point that once again I liked my page and wouldn’t want to touch it anymore. But that wasn’t the end. Now we had to create a Focal Point.

Step 3. Focal Point

This is something I always miss in my journal pages – a Focal Point. Jan proposed that we drew a face. Oh well here I feel pretty comfortable. I love drawing faces. So I stepped into my comfort zone and drew a face. Now my page started to look more like a journal page.

But we had one more step to go.

Step 4. Writing

Writing is not my thing. Usually I don’t know what to write. And even if I have an idea I think it will look silly. So I don’t write.

But now I had to do it. Jan suggested that we wrote about the process of creating our pages and about our feelings. So I started, and went on and on,.. and when I was finished the page was finished. I did it! I liked my page and I enjoyed the whole process!

Having a little choice of materials at the time and only one task at the time I was able to create my first real journal page!

Thank you Jan so much for organizing this day!