Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Deceptive Simplicity

The artistic process seems to be mythologized quite a lot into something far greater than it actually is. It is just hard labor.  - Nick Cave talking to NPR
Last night was the first time in my so far brief career as an art student that I was not at all interested in going to class. Indeed, I was beginning to regret signing up for more classes at all. I couldn't explain why, however now I think it was because it had been so long since I had been in class or drawn anything at all that I had forgotten the enjoyment of it.  These last few months in retrospect have been of tremendous transition but I don't think I noticed it while I was in the eye of the storm. If you read my previous posts, you will know that I am now pregnant. Four months along actually. Of course one starts to re-evaluate life and priorities. I want to be a creative person for my child but I also know that once she's born sketching and painting will probably become a thing of the past (for while at least), so perhaps my reluctance was based on the belief that creating art will have to cease once the baby is born and so it would be pointless to keep going to classes.

I did go though and spent an intensely pleasurable two and a half hours drawing a hosta leaf onto a large piece of newsprint. The first few moments we tough, getting starting is always hard for me but once I had plunged in I was completely absorbed. It is fascinating to draw something like a hosta leaf that on first glance seems rather simple. I chose a leaf with some damage so that I had more to draw. Soon I was trying to create a kind of order of chaos. The damage caused by insects was apparently random, but the more I examined and sketched the rust-colored holes, the more I developed links between them in attempt to position them correctly. Soon they resembled to me an archipelago of islands. My teacher commented that I was creating a kind aerial map, funny how the concept of maps came up again.  I am learning slowly about light and shade, the harsh light in the classroom created some sheen on the leaves that I tried to capture.

Chatting to my teacher, he mentioned the beautiful garden books that in the past came from the UK. He told me that they were so popular because the light in Britain is often subdued and cloudy. Because of this, colors appear more intense as opposed to a sunny landscape which tends to bleach out colors. I thought about the balance of light and dark which is fitting for this time of year, as the Autumn Equinox is fast approaching. We need the dark and the light.

I was surprised when working how easy it was to get back into the swing of things, even after a period of doing little to no drawing.  Creativity I believe, is not a miracle, it is a muscle. Perhaps one day I can teach all of this to my child.