Sunday, August 25, 2013

pure joy

Finally, and happily, the stall is over. I am in my art room again joyfully putting together bad art. I like it. That is all that matters. No good art is created without doing some really bad art first.

Frustrated by my lack of inspiration these past weeks, I turned to a children’s art book purchased many years ago: The Usborne Book of Art Skills by Fiona Watt. 
Inside is a simple project using torn tissue paper for collage and it motivated me. For the first time in weeks I felt the heart-pull to create, experiment and try. So I did. I’m pleased with the results.

The first work I made followed the example pretty close to instruction.

 Afterwards I took off on my own. My inspiration was a series of portraits on newsprint I did in the past, plus an exercise to learn contour and shadow.

Recently my son took some photos of my Mother that I really like because they capture her marvelous eyes.So I used her as my model. I was ripping up newspaper and found some crossword puzzles she completed (I do not buy the paper. I take my parents' old copies.). She daily does the crosswords in the paper. Mom is losing her eyesight and so to draw just her eyes using the finished crosswords as background contains potent meaning for me.

I also like that I’m using a model in her eighties. This is so cool! I prefer to use older models. Who says a muse need be young? The elderly have a lifetime of stories in their eyes, bodies and hearts.(Oddly enough the short stories I'm currently working on are about four people close to or past retirement age.The stories are not devoid of young people. They just are not the stars.)

So I’ll play with torn paper a bit more, see what results and move on. I’m experimenting with some of my doodles as well. Play is the key word. It must feel like play to be worthwhile,and this does in the most wonderful and satisfying way. It may be unpolished art but the results are satisfying. Polish will come with enough spit sometime later.Too busy with the pure joy of creating to worry about spit.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


"In a world where you are constantly asked to be 'committed,' it is liberating to give yourself the license to be a dilettante. Commit to nothing. Try everything.”
Tom Hodgkinson, The Freedom Manifesto

I came across this quote the other day and the irony amused me. I call this Blog the Wet Coast Dilettante, which I started as a way to be committed to write once a week. So far I have kept the commitment. I never intended to be a dilettante in my writing only in my interests.

I haven’t read the Freedom manifesto but if I find a copy I’ll give it a go.  The writer advocates for nonmaterialistic and anticonsumerist living. This has been my own philosophy currently. Oh yes, I still buy more than I should and still use too many convenience products, but it has definitely lessened. This is both by choice and by necessity. I would say necessity made it a choice. Yet that is why I’ve embraced the necessity whole heartedly. I believe I’ve become better for it.

As an artist it often bothers me how much paper and canvas can get used and I am trying to think of ways to be less wasteful. I reuse my canvases and seldom throw them out. The paper I use is still stuff I found from umpteen years ago and never used. This is for my quick sketches. Yet I have also accumulated a lot of material in my quest for artistic expression.

I have been a dilettante with technique. I try a variety of mediums and styles to find my voice. I am committed to try everything. Same as with my writing. I’ve written poems, essays and short stories. I am committed to variation. I don’t know if there is a word to describe that, but it is certainly part of my freedom manifesto.

I thank my son for the above photo. I like looking at it. It gives me a sense of calm and freedom. He took it on one of our many walks. Perhaps he said it best: "You are quite determined to be determined but you are lousy at being determined." He said this after I stated I needed to do housework for the fiftieth time.I gave myself license to be a dilettante.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

idle nights

It has been slug weather, snail weather, sloth weather. Hot sticky weather capable of leaving trails: the sort of weather for spreading out limbs and not moving—not touching anything. Cold drinks are a necessity for sanity and hydration. There is no desire to do much of anything including reading. It takes way too much effort.

The beauty of this kind of weather is that it seldom lasts too long. A few days for the most and then the weather starts to change. Cool breezes beckon and sleep is no longer elusive. It is hard to sleep currently. The other restless night I overheard:

“I want to go somewhere, but I’m here. I’m nowhere. I could go anywhere. But I’m nowhere. I could go anywhere, but I’m nowhere. I’m here. I’m nowhere. But I could be somewhere.”

On and on he talked out on the balcony during the hot, humid night. I could hear him speak through my open window, speak to his buddy.

If you choose this to be nowhere then it is. If you choose this to be somewhere then it is. Dorothy, stop looking for rainbows in the sky. Sometimes they can be found in puddles. Another day, not now, when the air is less humid.

He spoke again the following night but was far less interesting and not nearly as poetic. While warm and slightly uncomfortable I could go to sleep. I drifted away quietly after another neighbour told him to shut up. Tonight should be cooler and the sloth days over.

I am here going nowhere but I am here and it is somewhere.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

stale mates

I’ve come to a bit of a stall. Not such a bad thing, I like to think, just a bit of a stay on a small sloop with no wind to fill the sails. In the meantime do a bit of reading, some repair work onboard, drift and wait for the creative winds to change.

My writing has been a bit stagnant lately which is frustrating, but it is a painting that is leaving me perplexed. The painting is to be a cruise ship. For some reason I don’t want to paint that stupid ship. I’ve laid out the sea and the sky but don’t want to touch the ship. I don’t know why.

Now I’ve shown you before this cruise ship. I was eager to try and paint it. 

Now I can’t, and I do not want to mark another canvas until this one is done in some way. I can be as obstinate as the wind which will not fill the sails.

I don’t mind this stall except when you’re writing a blog and there is nothing to write about it can be really discouraging. Interesting word discourage. It has courage in it. Ever notice that?

So perhaps the best way not to be discouraged is to show a little courage and paint the damn boat.

Stalls are for horse’s behinds. I’m going sailing.