I’ve been away much, this summer. A house full of family leaves little space for anyting else, really. But now the hubs is back in the office, the kids are back in their classrooms and I’m FINALLY alone in my studio! Yesterday was my first empty-house day, but it was fully consumed with laundry, hoovering, organising, shopping and mopping. Uninspring though it may seem, I managed to find some time in between to finish a Tulip painting in gouache and do a journal page.
This is the Tulip. It’s painted after an instruction sketch in a how-to-do-flowers-in-watercolor book. I’m not really into flowers and those that know me well, know that drawing classes stop working for me the moment a teacher puts a vase with flowers in front of me. I hate drawing vases of flowers. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know and it’s not of much importance. The thing is…in training myself I thought I needed to give flowers a try…vibrant in colour, varied in texture…they really offer a whole lot of opportunities for training skills. So…here’s the so manieth in line…the tulip. I painted it with gouache, which proved to be challenging, until I decided to work with it as I do with watercolour. And I like the end result. It’s got a beautiful velvety look…
And when the flower was finished, I had to decide what to do next. And after a huge period of neglect, I felt that to get going again, I’d better pick up my journal. I have an oil painting planned and a gouache painting is already in the making, but I need my hand to be steadier again. It’s unbelievable what a year of low activity does to your skills. Like playing an instrument, drawing and painting really do need to be practised daily in order to keep “your hand”. So…action! Or at least, I thought.
But then I was behind that empty page. And only question marks appeared in my head. Panic. Okay, cooked soup first. And ehrm…oh well, I could mend that hole in my daugther’s jeans first too. But then I realised I was just having cold feet after so long a period of relative inactivity. So, I took black pastel powder and simply blackened the page. Then I decided I’d take the first pieces of paper I saw and do something with it…a collage, a sketch after a photo…whatever. Well, I found a piece of leftover junk mail that I’d used and prepared for Carla Sonheim’s class last week and used it to make a “Zeeuws Meisje” (girl in local costume) with it…very coarsely and painted the face. And then I looked at this pretty abstract girl and suddenly ideas flowed into my head for a poem about my inspired existence as an “artist”…I mean, doing the laundry, cooking, mopping, hoovering, mending, driving back and forths with kids…wow, SO exciting! And then the words just flowed out and produced what I think is a really good poem. Such a good example of how a journal works as a source of inspiration and a training for “flow”. Once you’re in the creative flow, it keeps coming. I never meant to write that poem, but as I was sort of foolishly and kindergarten-like cutting and pasting old-style, it simply happened. And that’s what I like so much about journalling. It gets you to do things you wouldn’t have done if you hadn’t journalled. And the page with the coarse girl? With the poem written around it, the page has turned out great!