I recently began painting again for pleasure after a long absence. Sure, I created things for other people - little watercolor studies as gifts for friends, wildflowers on a wooden desk for my Aunt Sally, nursery rhyme and sailboat themes on wooden stools for gifts to friends' children. But have I created anything for myself in, oh, the past ten years?
I think college critiques had burned me out, and the innocent things you draw out of your own spirit were suppressed somewhere between the still lifes and the comparisons to amazing artists in my peer group. Did my little "lady" drawings fit in anywhere? Why don't I have a grasp of composition like the other people in my class? Ugh - the execution of my painting looks rough compared to theirs! All of these thoughts kind of hid the expression in me. The one who drew out of pure joy and need to getting the pictures in my head out on paper. Where did the little girl go who knew she wanted to be an illustrator in the third grade? The one who was going to live in a cottage, have a bun in her hair, and a dog by her side as she drew?
I think the little girl who loved drawing and painting has come out from hiding a little bit lately. I've been recently starting to have regular "art nights" with Juliette Crane and she's been encouraging me to get back into my painting, helping me along with little suggestions to just get working and not worrying so much about the subject matter or making a masterpiece. Sometimes, just getting a paintbrush to paper is just the start you need. That's how I did it when I was kid - just draw, and draw, and draw, and oh! I like how I did that hand! and draw, and eventually you get something you like. I've just been out of practice awhile, that's all. :)
This was the first painting that came out of my first art night with Juliette. She worked with me on layering and a horizon line just to give me a starting point to hopefully evolve an idea from there. I also used some doilies and paper stencils and what's amazing is this STORY emerged!
I began to see an owl flying on the right side of the painting - the doily had created an owl - it was sort of like finding things in the clouds.
Then I saw what looked like a little girl with a wide-eyed expression - as though she was frightened - and she had another owl companion next to her.
The little v-shapes that came out of the paper stencils looked like things flying at the girl and the owls, and at the top of the painting, I realized there was a fire-breathing monster blowing these firy v-shapes at the fleeing girl and owls!
I loved the story the picture took on, and I would love to evolve it. But I'm learning that sometimes you just have to leave it as is and maybe the painting isn't meant to evolve more. I love the story and sort of refined the outlines with a black pen, but I don't want to ruin what I already see. I may return to it someday, but I really look at it as a first step in getting my feet planted again with art. Just starting out with small blooms and seeing where they grow :)