Week 2 Recap - Grit and Grace

January 25, 2016

If I could summarize Week 2 of Grit and Grace it would be Floundering Progress.
Probably not what one would think of as a successful description of a painting course.
But you'd be wrong. Because it seems floundering is exactly what I need right now.

As I've mentioned a goodly portion of this class is about exercises. Meditation. Warm up exercises. Hand and arm gestures. Non-dominant hand drawing. A starting point to allow the body and mind freedom to express what needs to come out.

I've always thought of myself as a free-form, interpretive, 'let's see where this takes me', by the seat of my pants kinda artist. Hmmm. Not so much. A more accurate moniker would be fearless. I'm not afraid to take chances, try new mediums or techniques and if I don't quite have all the specified supplies I'll quite happily make do or make something up. As I'm discovering however, the two ... fearless and free...  are not the same.


What I have discovered is this ...  my standard art practice borders on frantic. Ask me to use charcoal and graphite, then gesso and some ink? And within 10 minutes my substrate is completely filled up. Energetic gestures flying off the page ... just look at the photo below!

A spread in my ongoing journal that is supposed to be about allowing light and dark to illuminate the dark places within. To gently entice them onto the page not bash them into submission which is closer to the feeling from this spread. Any messages are desperately whispering, hidden behind all the other stuff that's swirling around.

Another exercise required us to create a grid and draw faces then allow each section to dictate its own direction, how it wanted to be finished. And I couldn't do it. Every time I started to work, I'd end up obliterating the entire grid and end up with a jumbled up, mark-laden, paint saturated, collaged to death mess.

Now don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with that. Because y'know raw mess has its place. Only I'm really trying to get this whole "let's slow down and listen" thing. Rather than let that raw frenetic energy loose, I want to be able let the work dictate the pace ...what it needs and wants... and not my very very VERY busy brain!

I got really close with this spread ... the right hand top is my usual modus operendi... painted and marked to within an inch of its life. But something SOMETHING made me Stop. And I pulled it back from the brink. Just look at the white space (book text in this case) on the section below that one. And look at the left side ... completely different. I can feel the calm. I stopped very early on that one.

Now scroll back up and take a look at the first photo ... my cardboard piece.
Isn't that a thing of beauty? Though it isn't finished yet, I really listened. It told me, "Stop! Hang out with me for awhile. Let's think on it some more." And so it sits propped up on my table while I wait for it to tell me what else it needs. And that is some major progress. Big. Big. Progress. It feels good my friends. Very good.

And it's translating into my Big Piece. As techniques tweak my interest, I turn my head and imagine how they will evolve on this canvas, how I want to express them. My deliberation astounds me! Oh sure, I've had to white out some overwrought parts with a swish of gesso. Rome wasn't built in a day, after all.  But I'm thoroughly enjoying this slow, meditative process that is emanating from all the slogging through mud. And I'm very excited for less flailing ...floundering... and more progress in Week 3!



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2 comments

  1. I love the last one exactly as it is now! And I love hearing the inner workings of your Very Busy Brain. :)

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    1. I love it too Julie and part of this process is not getting attached to any one particular phase. It has since changed. And moving in a very interesting direction! (photos next week)

      Thanks ... it is a very very VERY Noisy Brain too. Alas.

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