July 30, 2012

Enjoy, understand, create

July 29-30, 2012
You'd think after all the time I've spent staring at these two that it would be easier to produce them on paper. But no. "Learning to draw is about learning to see," says Kit White in 101 Things to Learn in Art School. But isn't it about unlearning to see? About setting feelings aside, carving people up into shapes and lines? A fear that drawing takes me away from what is in front of me.

No, now that I think again, he's right. Drawing is about coming through to the other side. First, breaking things into pieces, practicing them over and over, and then, having mastered the parts, returning to seeing and depicting the whole.

July 27, 2012

Does this art scene have legs?

July 22, 2012
You might have seen the black and white posters around town promoting John Patrick Mills' gallery, one of only two realities inspiring some verve into Ottawa's art scene of which I am aware. (The other was the irreverent, now-defunct dharma arts.) Buried in raising my young children as I am, I'm out of touch and do recognise/hope that there must be more. I never made it to one of Mills' gallery parties. These gorgeous, videotaped affairs attracted everyone from bongo drummers to mothers with babes in arms, and artists set up easels in the sculpture garden to document it all.  Mills was shut down this year amid a typically-Ottawan outpouring of sour grapes (unsurprisingly, unFolding's Mike Levin rallied to Mills' side). The same lack of spirit last year pushed our singing bus driver out of his chair, too. Stuff like this makes me ashamed of Ottawa, which I normally love. I don't mind small, but we should try for feisty. Respect to Mr. Mills, who says he won't let this upset stop him.

* * * 

In honour of the fact that I signed up for that anatomy class, Anatomy of the Figure, I'm trying to focus away from faces in my current drawings.

July 25, 2012

Where's this bus going?

June 6-July 23, 2012

I laid down the final penstrokes on this picture of James' debut bus riding the other night. (Look at the little rug rat sleeping away, just a boy on the bus, playin' cool. <tsk>.) I sidestepped my usual attempts at colour coordination, played with the lines a bit... I've blogged before about feeling I need to take more risks in my drawing. But I also think I need to consolidate my style some more. Don't these two things go in different directions?

I could use an art mentor. I find I'm not so hot at managing my art practice. People like to talk about intuition and following-your-heart. Well, if I had a little voice inside me telling me what to do, I'd have tuned in long ago. Or maybe I am listening, I just have to solve my paradox: exploring my limits and finding my style. Am I the only person out there with this conundrum, I wonder.

July 23, 2012

The brain that changes

I started The Brain That Changes Itself, which is basically a love letter to optimism with an ISBN number. It summarises the findings of case studies and research into how our brains get around brain injuries and other damage by rewiring so that a part of the brain set up for one thing can do doubletime taking over for another broken bit. There's more to it, but the whole point is that things aren't set in stone.

Reading this gives me such huge relief. It's hope-giving. I suffer from (don't you hate sentences starting like that?) some nasty anxiety following a couple of car accidents, a head-on collision and a T-bone. In both cases, someone foolishly turned left without noticing that my car was in the way. It left me terribly nervous around cars. Hey, if two people can engage you in completely unavoidable accidents by their own negligence, why can't a third?

My happy little post-trauma involves dreaming up the worst accidents you can imagine and playing them out every time I'm around cars. Including parked ones. It is frightening, tiring, and boring!

But apparently, despite the fact that I've got these mini-horrorshows nicely down pat, and despite the failure of my personal form of aversion therapy of continuing to drive and walk down busy roads, I actually *can* think my way out of this. By doing something that makes me happy, like listening to music, every time I feel the anxiety. They call it "use it or lose it." If you don't feed the anxiety, it dies. You just have to build new pathways in your mind instead. Let's roll!

July 3, 2012


All pictures drawn between June 12 and July 2, 2012

I've never had such trouble getting to my blog. I have the time, just not the energy. Everyone said most babies would sleep a long stretch at night by the time they were three months old. Mine started to, then switched back to the 3 hour stretch thing when he discovered just! how! exciting! daytime can be. Why eat when you can fidget? Hey, the dairy bar's open all night, right? 

So here are some quick ones grabbed usually when we're out in the yard staring up at the trees or down at the grass, with a bonus Ada.