It’s late, nine here in California, and I again find myself putting my project off until the end of my day. Today it had nothing to do with avoiding the project at hand, but because it was a hard day for us here. Issues beyond our control came to a head. It was a long emotional day, one that I will be glad to have over.
I grabbed my sketchbook tonight, as always not sure what my subject might be. I started a drawing of some flowers, but I chose the wrong paper for the pencils that I was using and couldn’t achieve the correct amount of blending. Therein lies the biggest issue I have with not having had lessons. Materials are foreign to me. I still have a painting that I completed in my early twenties. It is large and a little abstract. I gave it to a boyfriend. His friend who also painted was curious as to why the background of my painting, which was entirely black, was painted using both matte and glossy paint. Matte? Glossy? I had no idea that paint for art came in different finishes. I was of course familiar with the terms, my dad was a house painter, but for art? I thought black was black. I know of course I could read books, and believe me I have more than a few, or I could take a class. Classes don’t work for me either, too judgmental. I did take a stab at art in college. My first fine art class was a drawing class. Within days I felt out-of-place. Remember I started drawing around the age of five. There I was at eighteen with thirteen years of bad habits that I had obtained, at least as far as the teacher was concerned. But I liked how I did things, and as I pointed out to her after she told me I had to use the oval with the lines to draw portraits, my portraits were better than hers. Mine actually looked like the people they were meant to look like. I dropped the class. (Long story to make a small point. I seem to do that a lot.) By seven-thirty or so I was gaining that familiar feeling of frustration. I decided to look on my computer to see what I had photos of to inspire me. I came across my file of photos of our cats. Spouncer (who sadly passed away, but was named after an art tool), Riley, Mia and Sophie. I decided on a photo of Riley. I used a combination of the photo and real life model, who unfortunately was more interested in swatting my pencil away. So here is Riley. I don’t do much in the way of drawing animals, but I’m happy with these results.
OK, so I know this is getting long-winded, but it reminded me of a painting I did as a teenager. A very nice man I worked with asked me to paint a portrait of his poodle as a gift for his wife. I didn’t really want to do it but it was a job. I had just finished the painting, it was oil, when I knocked it off the easel onto the floor. My bedroom floor that was covered in carpet. There were fibers stuck to the paint everywhere. I could have cried, but just blended it into the paint. He loved the painting. In particular the “texture” I had given to his beloved dog. He paid me more than I asked.
My mother was not so happy, how could she possibly fail to see the value of sacrificing the carpet for my art?