Friday, May 16, 2014

Thought for The Day - Originality

Gift to all
The collective exercise of our gifts and purpose can improve our world!

When I was in grade school, around the age of 11, my father had jury duty. He came home with a drawing a court artist made of him. It was a profile and just his head, but that inspired me to try to do the same. Any drawings of people to that point were basic faces and rubbery arms, but that image inspired me to examine the bone structure underneath the skin and take note of the muscle and mass.

In high school, art class, we learned how to use ball point pens to create incredible abstract images. We learned how to create still life images, taking ordinary household items and arranging them in front of us. We learned about capturing details of fruit and odd shape vegetables called "gourds." And we learned how to render portraits. It was my introduction to formalized art classes and I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life! One drawing done where I took a photograph of a old house creased it in places and blown up to show the details, still hangs in a relative's home. That was done over 35 years ago!

In college, composition and subject matter didn't change much. What we learned was better technique and execution. I had figure drawing and figure sculpting classes where the model was nude, so we got to see true muscular and skeletal detail. In the figure drawing class, we "warmed up" with 10 second, 30 second, 1 minute and 5 minute drawings, where the goal was to improve our hand-eye coordination. Very challenging, but by the end of the semester, my renderings and skill had improved greatly.

I graduated from college with no prospects and vision of how to 'be' an artist. It was so hard, the next couple years, trying to render anything. I would put images on paper, rendered from my head in beautiful detail, but usually they didn't fill the page so I simply made collage images. But it was the sense of not knowing what to do that left me discouraged; there was no one guiding me, no live model posing before me...

Flash forward to now; children are grown and time permits a few minutes or an hour or two, to render as I wish. No one stands before me, no models and no teacher to assist. But there is an "unseen" guide that directs my creativity. The drive to render, to provide subjects and themes comes from within. No longer do I need to see objects arranged in front of me or have colors suggested. Often themes and subject are developed "in the moment," as pencil or oil paint hits the surface. Most of my images aren't planned, unless I'm working on a series. And then, an image can take an unexpected direction. I don't have classroom critiques, though sometimes I miss the comparison. No, these days, my critic comes from my own critical eyes, examining details others may be oblivious to see.

As an older adult, I create original images and concepts. And my soul is my teacher!