It is Monday, March 4th, 2019. The sun is shining even if it is chilly outside. It has been over six months since I had a studio to enter, or a paintbrush for that matter. Having made the monumental life-changing decision to sell my cottage in North Vancouver and move to the southern Gulf Island of Pender..... everything had to go into storage .
But now , I am ensconced in a new space, a newly created studio in my new home with my art critic, Lucy , by my side [ albeit she is sound asleep on the window sill and not in her own chair]. [ Check out Art Critic page on my website to see more about Lucy and her shenanigans].
Today is the day. Organized or not, ready or not, it is time to begin again- to establish routine, to find inspiration, to paint.
So many artists bemoan the fact that they can't seem to get started ; don't know how to start; seem to falter and lose faith that they can actually paint [ or draw or create] and are always searching for some magic answer that will break open the creativity and get them going ... or in my case ... get me going again after what seems to me like an eternity of disruption.
So, here is my recipe .....
1. I enter the place /my new space.
For you it could be the kitchen table or a spare bedroom or a basement space. Wherever it is - go to it .Put it on your calendar or send off a buzzer on your iPhone .... whatever it takes... just go there.
2. I organize my work table- my thinking place
Move everything away ; clear the table to its basic necessities. I do this quickly- simply move things out of the way .Don't fuddle.
Don't check your phone messages or emails. Put everything else to one side.
3. I put CBC radio jazz music on my iPad [ background music]
I put the music on so my quiet brain doesn't scare me out of the studio .... usually my brain is always thinking about at least 10 different art things on a continual rotating basis ... morning to night . So I notice the current quiet and it is disconcerting . The music helps.
4. I open my sketchbook/notebook to a fresh page after a quick look at my last notes/pages back in August last year.
I have kept a sketchbook/notebook/idea book throughout my art practice. Usually I start a new book with each new year . But I don't have a fresh one for 2019 at this point so a fresh page will do.
I date the page and Title It : Day One New studio : New Beginnings
5. Brain splurge : I ask myself how I should start?
I write the question down . And I hold my pen in hand and simply begin to list possibilities under the question.
- Start small? how small?
-Start with one of my big canvases and just paint?
- Play with lines? On paper? On vellum? with ink? with pens? with crayons? with paint?
- small squares - 6 x 6 - paint - Pendercentric?
- colour studies of Pender views?
-play ? [ I answer this one... yes , definitely play - do not try anything serious ..... it will likely be too frustrating after all this time away]....
And so , my new beginning takes shape - I answer my own questions because I am itching to DO SOMETHING.
I will play with 6 x 6 canvas paper and pen and lines and maybe mix a little colour so I can hold a paintbrush again.
I think sometimes, when we go into the studio or sit somewhere to paint something, one thinks one needs to paint a picture, first time out. But creativity is about play; the freedom to play and have fun and not worry about painting "SOMETHING".....
6. I find my materials and tools and organize them at my worktable- canvas paper, pens, ruler, paintbrushes.
This takes longer than I would like. I can't find my water buckets and have to empty a coffee can ,clean it . Then I seem to have misplaced my medium. Another hunt . I realize the first few times back in the studio , there will be extra dilly-dallying; organizing in the new space will also take some time in order to feel comfortable. But all this will come in time. What is important is to get started. Just to be able to feel success at being back in a creative space.
7. Then I begin : again .
For me, colour play is something I can do all day. So I find myself mixing colours to match the different blues of the sky, the greens in the water, the grey blues of the distant islands, the greens of the trees.
And I scribble lines with ink - smooth flowing lines of distant islands; tree scribbles, wave lines; the close-up grasses outside my window. I just want to feel and connect from pen to paper through nature.
Later in this day I take pictures of the sunset that magically arrives outside my viewing window. It is always difficult to capture the exquisite sunsets here on Pender . I remember them from my first visit here that eventually enticed me back to live here . I have posted the sunset at the beginning of this blog to reflect on the end of one journey and the new beginnings of another .