For well over a year I spent my studio time experimenting with a vast array of art mediums/styles. I have played around with watercolour, paper cutting/sculpture, cardboard sculpture, paper mache, and embroidery. I have experimented with watercolour on wood, and watercolour on canvas. Now, after all that varied creative output, I find myself in a very strange place as an artist. I have never felt this before! I suppose it's a form of creative block. It has left me feeling rather frustrated, as I have a well of creative energy, thoughts and concepts, but feel I currently lack the ability or 'know-how' to get it out in a visual way.
Having discussed this with a couple of fellow artists, and having read some on-line material addressing this common situation that other artists find themselves in, I finally have a plan. First of all, I'm going to lay-low online for a while. I'm also going to spend more time in my studio. Even if its just for 30 minutes a day. I'm realizing that until now, I haven't worked hard at the 'process' of art. I want to spend much more time sketching out ideas, and researching methods. I need to be more mindful of the process, rather than being focused on the end-result. I plan on using a lot of paper, and going through many canvases as I work through this creative block. I recently discussed this with one of my art students. She said that when she faces this dilemma, she just keeps making "crappy art" until eventually something turns out right. This made me laugh! Its so true. I have a specific concept of what I want to create visually, but it may take lots of trying, and trying again, to get to where I want to go.
Well I'm off to spend my last hour of the day (before I have to pick up the kids at school) in my studio now with a cup of tea and some chocolate.
Last week I spent some time with the students in the Grade One class in the local public school. The art lesson was based on the art of the Russian 19th century abstract artist Wassily Kadinsky. From past experience with the grade one class, children of that age love experimenting with paint mixing. Some children at that age haven't had too much experience yet with mixing paint. The teacher had also been recently teaching the students about 'lines', and primary and secondary colours. So considering all of these things, I was lead to have the children 'copy' one of Kadinsky's familiar abstract paintings.
The children began by dividing their paper into 8 squares (which was a true feat for many of them!). Then they each had the primary colours to start with. As I saw the children progressing with their paintings, I added white, and then eventually black, to their palette. I didn't want to add white and black too soon for fear that their paintings would be dominated by those colours.
The instructions were for them to simply have fun mixing colours - but to do so 'strategically'. They weren't to just mix all 3 colours together right away to make a 'sludge' colour, but to consider how the different colours mix individually with each other. They were to paint the rings of the circles each separately.
I live in Southern Ontario on a farm with my husband, Dennis, and our two daughters. Painting out of my studio on our farm allows me to stay close to my family and to be surrounded by the natural landscape that continues to influence my work.