Set the timer for 10 minutes. Grab a sharpie and a piece of computer paper and sit down in front of the mirror. the clock is ticking – go for it !
Then, no need to set the timer, draw the cat. She is going to move, so you will need to draw quickly.
Creative block can come in many forms. Often we don’t know that we are blocked. Often our blocks are self imposed. Pressure to perform blocks me like nothing else but only when the person I am performing for is myself. Weird. When I have a deadline I have to meet for other people, I always come through. I might procrastinate and I may be less than one hundred percent happy with my end “product” whatever that may be but only because I am a perfectionist. I still perform well under pressure of a deadline for other people.
I have never been a faithful keeper of a journal or diary – an example of a daily deadline set for myself at different times in my life. I think this quote from the book I am reading might go some way to explaining why: “When she read the letter, Juliet winced, as anybody does on discovering the preserved and disconcerting voice of some past fabricated self. She wondered at the sprightly cover-up, contrasting with the pain of her memories.” ‘Runaway’. Alice Munro
Diary writing has always felt a little inauthentic, edited, contrived and never truly private. All of my re-reading has made me feel embarrassed by my “old self”. My dream recordings, on the other hand, I have to exclude from this. At several different times in my life, I have also tried to keep a dream diary. It always starts out well. I remember my dreams and record them for several days in a row. Then, I get blocked. I cannot remember my dreams and it is as if, by the mere act of trying to remember them, I am causing them to slip away. Then I stop trying to write them down. For years. This is sad because all of the dreams I have recorded are precious. I remember them and they help me to understand my life and myself. But why does it have to be all or nothing ? Maybe that’s where the problem lies. Nowadays, if the dream is really significant or particularly beautiful, I have a notebook that I keep close to the bed and I write down as much as I can. No pressure. I think what I am looking for in my dreams, is inspiration. I have been re-learning to draw and paint and once I get past the basics of how to do it, I will need subject matter. I think the answer might be in my dreams
It was one of those rare, magical days, where the sky was full of amazing clouds and yet I was unable to take a picture. I saw another local photographer out shooting early in the day and I was a tad jealous. When I got home from work, glowing, puffy,wonderclouds were still all around the harbor but I still couldn’t shoot ! I had a few things to to first. I kept glancing out of the window, gasping at the beauty. Finally, when I was done, I asked my little lad if he fancied a stroll. He almost always does, we are big walkers in our family. Grabbing the camera with hope, we bounced out of the boat ( did I mention I live on a houseboat ?) and rushed to the closest vantage point for a big sky. All the way I was muttering to myself that I had missed the best of it. And maybe I did but it’s not the end of the world. I have taken some really memorable photographs on walks with my little boy. Preserving memory does seem to be one of the most important aspects of photography. Anyway, here is my most valiant effort from ‘Magical Cloud Day’ – Friday the 6th of May.
Here are a few more recent sketches from my wee Fabriano journal.
This is from a photograph. I used red and black watercolor pencils and a finetip sharpie marker. Her hair was actually pink in the photograph. I wasn’t very happy with the drawing at first. It looks like the subject but her face just isn’t quite right, so I flipped to another page and tried again.
This time the sketch was a lot quicker. I used white watercolor pencil on the red background initially but it was too soft so I switched to black sharpie again and I really think the drawing is better – more accurate :
I drew this lady from I tiny magazine image I have had for years.
Mini face studies
The next image looks very soft but it’s not an unfocused photograph. I actually made it on computer paper, using the edge of a sponge dipped in some kid ink (Melissa and Doug jumbo stamp pad). I didn’t even know it was going to be a man, it just kind of turned out that way. So…
I added some details with a sharpie marker :
I really enjoyed this exercise. I have always loved mark making in unconventional ways. When I was in art school, I remember we made “brushes” from sticks and attached different materials to the tips. Before that, when I applied to art school, I had a stone, inherited from my dad’s rock collection, that I used to make marks. I drew my cassette playing stereo, using the stone dipped in blue ink. It was part of my high school portfolio. I haven’t thought about that in such a long time ! Another good thing about using computer paper is that you can dispose of the image easily if you don’t like it.
TTFN ! Ta Ta for now.
I have been a photographer for eighteen years but I have always been an artist. I set out to be a painter but self doubt and curiosity led me to an Olympus camera and I stopped drawing and painting. I earned my degree in photography.
Over the years, I have felt like something was missing and I have dabbled with various crafts. I have always had a need to use my hands to physically “make”. I have always felt a failure for not continuing to draw and paint.
Now, however, through the joy of teaching my young son about art, I have rediscovered the missing ingredient. At some point, I stopped drawing because it was fun. I drew only to try and make a masterpiece and I constantly fell short. If there is no fun, there is no point. My child has helped me to rediscover the fun and I am now drawing regularly again. It’s ok to fail. You cannot get better without making mistakes, or as Jake the dog (from ‘Adventure Time’) states : “Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something”.
Here is one of my most recent photographs –
My beautiful friend, Brooke German. This and my body of work for the last ten years can be found here – flickr and I am also on Facebook .
Here is a recent excerpt from my sketchbook –