My drawing and painting life
*I’m sharing a blogpost that I started to write a few weeks ago, but didn’t get to finish, let alone to posting it – it’s on the two weeks following the day I got ill mid March* This is the third and last blogpost looking back (and catching up) on daily creating in March*
After getting ill mid March (March 17), I missed one day of creating, as I was in hospital all day. In the days after that I decided to keep up the daily practice and just do anything I could, art wise, anything that would make me feel better. (And boy did I need it.) Anything, even though it would be tiny, or messy or unfinished. My motto was: Just do anything that you feel like. Anything. Even though I wouldn’t be able to do much at first, I’d stick to a routine. If I could only sit down and draw for ten minutes each day, than that would be it. So I decided to stray from my plan for the month (making big paintings as the main purpose that month) – just to be able to keep up the daily practice.
At first I could hardly see properly. One eye wasn’t closing properly and I was tired soon. (I slept several hours every afternoon.) The first days I was constantly putting on one pair of glasses, then the next (reading glasses), but nothing really worked, so I soon left them off completely for much of the day. I looked for ways to have fun anyway, if only by making making random marks on a page – to be drawn on later – or abstract backgrounds.
Here’s one drawing – one a watercolor page I made before I got ill – but I didn’t really finish it. I just went by what I felt like in those days of being ill.
The next day I remembered a lesson by Effy Wild, making a small booklet from Zentangle tiles, by gluing them together using washi tape. I made one of those books. I had pieces of watercolor paper lying around that I could use – not exactly the right size for tangling – but right for me (8 x 8 cm). I took a small square piece of watercolor paper, adding a drawing and adding zentangle-like patterns – following Effy’s lead. That was about all I could do that day.
On another day I just made marks – and the next day I found a bird shape in it. To keep it simple I just picked a few colored pencils to make the drawing. I soon came to another new motto to keep making art work: Done is better than perfect! (And I had to be done really quickly. After about 10-15 minutes my eyes started to feel really tired and dry. I needed to add fake tears and then rest.)
After a few days, I remembered a fun watercolor lesson from Life Book 2015, by Joanne Sharpe. I watched the video but never got to do the project at the time. So I watched it again in more than one sitting (I just couldn’t watch videos for very long either). Then I made this, also in more than one sitting:
This was done over several sittings on one or two days. I was feeling a lot better, after several days of sleeping a lot. I cut some corners in this painting (haha, pun intended): to be able to add some writing, I just wrote whatever came to mind to get it over with, even though it was a lot of rubbish (look at the lower left corner).:-)
I didn’t know yet, that some bad days were still to come. I was taking medication that started to make me feel bad – and worse by the day – I couldn’t sit still and couldn’t sleep well for days after this. So as it turns out, this piece (above) is the result of some fine days and I’m happy that I had these. On the days after this piece was made, I just did what I could but it wasn’t very happy or coordinated anymore.
Early on after getting ill, I decided to join the watercolor lessons offered by Marieke Blokland, her “Happy Watercolor Course”. She is very good at making videos that are fun to watch, short and fun. I don’t really need an introductory class – but I could do with splashing watercolor in simple ways. It really helped me feel better. That was a kind of feel-good-move. I also allowed myself new watercolor paints – to me it’s like a box of chocolate, but with a lot less calories. 🙂
I tried out some of my stash of watercolor paints on a newly bought hot press paper. That was fun. It was not about making a masterpiece, just plain fun. No, I didn’t have the time to wait for the paint to dry and I just let it run, let happen what would happen. And no, I didn’t see properly, so no ‘drawing within the lines’. But I was really happy that I could allow myself this kind of splattering and splashing. Hence the blooming and bleeding of colors into the next. And quite some visible results of splattering. 🙂
On another day I was thinking about new things to try – and decided to make a plan and the planning itself a little art project. So I made a kind of word spider (mindmap) and make fancy lettering for it. This made me happy, to be able to make a fun page out of it – and to look forward to add paint later. (Come to think of it, it had a nice added bonus: it would be easier to read than my handwriting too.)
Simple fun. I could have written ‘tiny art pieces’ in the center instead (because it was about working small and quick), but felt it needed to be more brief.
As it happened, it was even more fun to be able to just add color.
I couldn’t show you all I did in those days -at the time. For one, because I didn’t make scans or photos at the time (too much time and energy consuming). I also held back this post, because for some reason looking at these pictures didn’t make me feel good when I wrote this post (a few weeks ago). I could (then and can still) feel that I was trying hard not to feel bad. I was rushing all the time, to make something before my eyes ‘gave up’. It seemed to work at the time, but after a while it still got to me that I couldn’t see properly.
After a while I felt like making larger things and started to make sketchbooks. I looked up ways to fold large sheets of watercolor paper into a folded sketchbook. I made five different sketchbooks that month (including the small one out of 8x8cm tiles). I figured if I couldn’t draw properly, at least I could prepare for another day or another month – so I can do some sketching and painting in my handmade journals and sketchbooks.
Here’s a scan I made at the time of two of the sketchbooks. One bigger one, just some folded pages put together ( still needing stitching) and one leporello booklet (pages of 8 x 8 cm).
By the Easter weekend (March 26 through 28), especially Sunday and Monday, I felt really bad. I took a walk on Saturday, made one or two sketches in one of the handmade sketchbooks. But I didn’t feel good and went straight to bed when I got home. I was ill for two days and slept a lot. I had aching muscles all over. I still couldn’t lie still very well (side-effect of the medication), but just had to lie there anyway. A very weird experience. It turned out that was the worst of it – after that it got better by the day. My eye-sight improved, my face got back to normal more and more. I was still very tired by mid afternoon that week, but happy to be improving. 🙂
I painted folk art dolls – an assignment from Marieke Bloklands happy Watercolor Course – on March 24. Love the hair.
I drew a fantasy landscape to try out new Inktense pencils on March 25.
For some more pieces of that month, see below. On a particularly restless evening I painted a full sheet of watercolor paper – using mixed media (also March 25; picture of a detail). After that I was ill for two days. This painted sheet of watercolor paper is still waiting whether I will add more material or cut it into another sketchbook. I didn’t feel well enough (or didn’t I want to be reminded of feeling so weird?)
I looked for other things instead. I tried Mariekes flowers but felt too shaky to do it well (28/3), painted color swatches for my new paint set, which went rather well (29/3). Then I tried something new, with a feather (30/3) – which gave me an idea for a series ;-). And I also made gesture drawings on March 30th (part of the G lesson of Y is for Yellow course). All of that you can see in this set of images:
These two weeks were rather unsettling. I had a scary night in hospital, got worried about my health afterwards. What was most unsettling was the side-effects of the medication I received. Only now do I see how shaky I was at the time.
I am sharing the feather painting of March 29 separately. This was one of the first pieces that was a lot of fun to paint. I was starting to feel better again. And I still think it looks nice. I started similar pieces the next day (in what I hope will be a series on birds and feathers some day).
This piece was inspired by the book “No excuses watercolors” by Gina Rossi Armfield.
Sheep Art by Catherine
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