Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sketch Book Update. Becoming the old woman I have always been.

front stoop
 There was a  time when I was feeling like I had given up on art. When being a dad, or trying to have a teaching career had made the idea of sitting in the garage and painting for hours seem like the most ridiculous waste of time. I left the paint and the garage alone for most of two years I think. But when Audra came back from Bali after helping out with a Flora Bowley art adventure she bought a couple of canvases and made the whole family start painting again. A lot of thinks became clear to me when I began creating art again.

Firstly I recognized an emotional debt to the task of creating art. I saw that it had been there for me when I was a emotionally retarded high-schooler, drawing anorexic long necked nudists, and gangster rabbits and crap like that. It had gotten me to and through college and helped me make almost all of the important and lasting friendships I still count on now. Not to mention I use it to gain street cred with students and barflies alike.  So I felt for the first time that I owed art something.

I realized also that through art I am not only just enhancing my experience of awareness in the moment of drawing or painting observationally, but even just sketching from my imagination, or painting a sunken landscape full of prehistoric monsters, I am constantly seeking to understand the shapes and forms of the world as it is. My mind is always at work to make sense of space, distance, botanical structures, geology, anatomy, architecture, weather and atmosphere, shadow and light. Drawing and painting becomes a scientific task to recall how things fit together and appear to the eye. To use your sense of sight to recreate the images of your experience is a way of practicing your understanding. Each sketch, drawing and painting is a tiny thought experiment, in which you are literally measuring the dimensions of the world around you. There is no end to the insights that loom out of the fog of a blank page.

Sauvie Island
My Dog, french for werewolf.

And out of this rekindled desire to seek out artistic practice and strengthen my network of art friends I called up Greazy DC and we went to what I'm certain is not the most awkward life drawing session in the world, because I'm sure it gets weirder on a daily basis somewhere, but the most awkward pony themed life drawing session I have ever walked out on.

But we didn't give up and the next weekend we hunted down the Urban Sketchers at Palio on Ladd's Circle and I saw what could be possible with just a small watercolor set, a sketchbook and a Saturday morning. It was mostly a crew of lovely ladies and I felt for the first time in a while that I had found people who could teach me something valuable, without the ludicrous tuition costs I had come to expect, because Urban Sketchers is totally free (monetarily and otherwise).

Of course I am failing to express my point here, but what I am really trying to say is Thanks, to everyone who ever hung out and drew. I have a worthwhile task I can grow old with, and friends to join me in the task.
Stretch of river bank across from Oaks Park.

One of the least interesting views of the back fence and the woman who came to do the census at our house for five hours.

Changing my life with plein air painting. Year one.

About this time last year my life got kind of shaken out. Im not here to tell you about my personal drama, but suffice it to say I ended ...