Download "75 ways to draw more" from Michael Nobb's site. He has very generously given instructions to put together a little gift of a booklet with a final instruction to read it over a pot of tea. Very enjoyable it was too.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Time and time again, I've settled myself down with notebook and pen, ready to get down a line or two. I get out one of the few books of poetry I own, usually 'Ariel' by Sylvia Plath, less often- ' 101 poems by 101 women.' I read a few pages then connect to the net. There are pages bookmarked for William Carlos William's poems and a Google search- "How to begin writing poetry". The list includes- "10 tips to help you improve your poetry.", "How to write poetry: some exercises to start you off", "A comprehensive resource for writing poetry."
I pick at my clothing, meticulously lifting each pill off the fabric,then pull up my sleeve to study the watch that is there. Carefully, I replace the cap of my pen and snap the elastic around the covers of the Moleskine. The laptop is closed, 'click.' It's time to return to the vacuum, the sink. To return to being a listening ear, the holder of the ladder as the light bulb is changed. It's ok, it's all safely locked there inside me still. One day, something will break the pattern, shock me out of it, let me get on with it.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I've been working in my art journal in a new way lately. It's purely for me, I have to keep reminding myself that no one else will look at it, and even if they do, it doesn't matter. This doesn't sound much of a revelation, I know, but for some reason I've never done this. Not through years of a fine art degree, not for all the ensuing years after that. I suppose I'm of a very self conscious nature and deep down, would never put something on paper I wasn't comfortable with sharing. After many years of dissatisfaction with my art it all ground to a halt. I told myself things like "Art is not very useful anyway.' and ' Being an artist was only a childhood dream.' No wonder making things became so hard.
Not too long ago, I felt like I was having some kind of crisis. There began a gnawing unsettledness, a dissatisfaction that grew more and more everyday. It was very weird because I could feel it inside me but I had no clue why I had this physical sensation. One morning I woke up very early, my head was swirling with ideas about painting and colour and pen and ink. It suddenly all came to a head and the message was there- 'I feel like I'm not expressing myself, my real self.' and I realised then that my years of being a wife and a mum were contributing to this sense that I was holding myself back. I don't want to share my journals in their entirety online, but I'll quote this that I wrote in my diary that day- ".....my drawings lately have been fun and pretty, just like pen drawings I post to my own blog are 'fun and pretty' but strangely unsatisfying. I would like lots of people to read and comment on my blog, but this means making things that please people and....it is feeling empty to me.
I realise I don't write like I used to or make drawings like I used to (in my journal) because I'm self censoring. I expect the kids will read my diaries and look at my drawings one day, and I'm afraid they'll be shocked."
It was a shock to me that I had been living like that for the past 10 years or so, I guess the idea of being the perfect mother and wife had taken root inside me that long ago and over the years established itself to the complete detriment to my artistic ambitions or even worse- to the detriment to my own integrity. That day, I had an idea, I simply decided that the journals could all be all locked in a safety deposit box and my children could access it only after they had become adults themselves. I felt comfortable with the idea of them reading my intimate writing because I thought once they had their own adult experiences, I could at least discuss why I had written or drawn certain things- I could explain myself and appeal to their understanding.
Since that day, I have been writing and drawing completely uncensored and am so surprised at the lightness I have gained. It's like discovering the meaning of life, except perhaps I've discovered the meaning of being an artist.
I certainly don't believe I'll never show any work again, but I feel like I've finally found a way to inject the public work with my own essence, which I suppose is why some art is so authentic. I believe art is never wrong, whatever reason a person chooses to draw what they do, I believe, is the right reason. It is just such a surprise that for me, I seem to have been missing the most important part of my own reason for making things.
On a lighter note, I found this link on the 'Creativity web' site about recording ideas. It's very extensive. I particularly liked the suggestions to use-
- perspex sheet and wax crayon, useful for the shower and swimming pool.
- stick sheets of butcher's paper behind the toilet door and hang a pencil on string. Encourage visitors to your home to add graffiti.
Thanks for listening.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
- it may not always appear useful, but it is essential.
- it's hard to maintain when it is done solely for the purpose of pleasing others.
- it is impossible if you listen to everyone else's criticism.
- it may appear ugly or offensive to some, but that doesn't mean you should stop doing it.
- it can bring you joy, confidence, satisfaction, self knowledge, pleasure amongst other things.
- we are human, we need to create.
Friday, April 10, 2009
It's Good Friday, a beautiful Autumn day. I put a rug out under a scarlet and golden leafed tree and drew in my journal with Boxhead snoring softly beside me. My husband came out with a hot cross bun and a cup of coffee and I told him of my idea to put a tipi up on our property. I'm dreaming of sitting under a tall cone of canvas, listening to the wind rushing past, and the flapping of fabric.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I'm such a bad vegetarian. I have a reputation amongst those who know me as a bit of a health freak. In the past, I've been a raging vegan, an organic food zealot and a staunch advocate for locally owned business. The thing is, it's all a projection of 'How I Would Really Like To be' rather than my less than ideal, nasty self. It's like I have an Evil Twin, always lurking behind the furniture, sidling along next to me, ready to leap out and stuff rags in my mouth and bind my hands with gaffa tape then push me into the cellar.
Last Sunday, I left the kids and husband at home and took the train into the city with the intention of secretly buying Easter eggs. It makes me despair to see those huge displays in the Department stores of Celebrity endorsed, hugely overpriced Easter egg packages. Oh! How it prostitutes the whole spirit of Easter! But there I go again, up on my high horse on one side and down grovelling for some slick product in the mud on the other.....sigh*
The moment I got off the train, with my head feeling light, dizzy with anticipation, I hoofed it down to Starbucks. The Evil Twin had a craving for second rate coffee from a big name American franchise and a hankering for Food Court anonymous meats. There was no thought of buying chocolate to brighten my darlings' faces on Easter morn, instead frantic from too much choice I heaped a plate with unidentifiable flesh cubes slicked in unnaturally bright coloured sauces at the All You Can Eat Chinese buffet. The spirit of my ideal self hovered above moaning and renting her hair in anguish.
Eventually I got around to purchasing the necessary props but I was panicked that I had not left enough time for a last ditch gorge at the Ramen bar. On the train, speeding over the flat, grey landscape, the memory of my weakness began to fade and was all but gone by the time I stepped into the cool, wet air of my little country town. As I walked along the silent roads, back to my organic garden, I heard a voice, whispering but forceful- you haven't heard the last about that Ramen Bar......Mwah! Ha! Ha!