Friday, September 21, 2007

Derwent Watercolor Pencils & Deep thoughts



Something that is Architectural


This is for Scavenger Hunt #56. I had to go to my father in laws house to show it to potential renters. Lucky for me, I took my sketchbook because the second appointment was a no show. The house is out in the country and sits on a lot surrounded by a small forest style barrier. It has a very serene "all alone in nature" feel in the back yard. There is a small creek that runs behind it with that bubbling brook sound. If you are going to be stuck waiting for an hour somewhere, this is a very nice place to be stuck in. I didn't sketch the entire time I was there. This is the only one. I spent a lot of time just breathing in the quiet.

I have had these watercolor pencils for approximately 4 or 5 years now. This is the first time I have used them. Isn't that horrible? I think it is because I could not imagine what I should do with them after I got them. If I remember right, I got them on a special deal where you buy something and you get these for $5 or something like that. After seeing all the wonderful color sketches in the Artwork from Life forum on Wetcanvas, I dug through all my "retired" art supplies box to find something colorful to sketch with. I honestly forgot that I had these.

This is a bad example of what can be done with these. I was out there with no water and no brush. I really need to play with them a bit more. They are a bit strange to get used to, but I think I could really like them. Because they can be sharpened to a point, you can get some nice crisp edges with these. One of my "issues" with watercolor is that it gets away from me on edges. They layer very well. I was having fun just mixing colors by layering.

When I first started to sketch this shed, I was going to avoid an angle with the tree. I am horrible at trees. I was thinking about something Jo said on her blog about the structure of trees. I decided I was going to stop avoiding this and get over this weakness. This is not a great tree, but thinking of the leaves in masses and looking at the structure of the tree to define the shapes helped a lot. It is the best tree I have ever sketched.

Art, like anything else in life is more about determination, than anything. I compare it to a lot of other life skills I have gained by practice to stay motivated.

I was not very good at changing diapers when I had Alexis, my oldest. By the time I got to Tristin, child 6, I could change a diaper with one hand and hold another child in my lap.. and read to them.

When I first got out on my own, I got paid once a month. By the end of two weeks, I was down to my last $5 like clockwork. I hated money. Eventually, I decided that money is one of those things you either control or get controlled by. There isn't much room for a middle ground. I am no financial wizard, but our family doesn't go hungry on one income.

There are few more examples, but I won't bore you with them. The point I am trying to make is that once I turned a weakness into a strength in any aspect of my life, I built a foundation for a way of thinking that changes the way I approach challenges. It seems almost ridiculous to correlate sketching trees with life skills, but it isn't the tree that is important, or even the art. It is that ongoing determination to refuse to accept a weakness as permanent. Jessica Torrant did an excellent job of discussing this idea of turning weaknesses into strengths on her blog.

This could turn into one of those deep "art imitates life" and "life imitates art" themes, but I would rather think of it as "You are who you choose to be". Art is just one way to practice being you.

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