Explorations in reflections continues... Notes to self for next time: Need stiffer Jell-O... need different lighting. If my hazy memory recalls, stiffer jello can be made by adding some Knox to the Jell-O mix.
Or killing two birds with one stone, or slaying two dragons with one bird... whatever. All I know is, this past weekend, I surmounted two mental/physical challenges all at the same time.
The first one?? I started over on a painting I had wanted to do nearly 2 years ago, but SUCKED at... You can revisit the suckage here, however there will be no photographic proof of the suckage as I'd be ashamed to show it, even if the level of suckage is funny. I'm happy to say, this one is going much better and is almost finished. I need to do a few things including tweak the fork. I wonder if Urban Dictionary has a definition for tweaking the fork, and if so... what would it be?
The second one?? I ventured into the world of water miscible oil paints. I have resisted... they weren't "real", they weren't legit. Also, I was worried they'd handle like shit. I'd seen a couple of people use them and struggle with them, but then realized the people were new to painting and probably would have struggled with regular oils. Also, since I had someone in class who was using them, I figured it would be good for me to know how they handled so I could better help her. Anyhow, I received some during the holidays and finally broke them out to give them a try.
The verdict?? They're funky in ways, but otherwise, not bad... The big bonus is my sinuses and lungs don't hate me for trying to poison them. I'll use them... especially when the house is closed up and I can't vent as well as I should.
... but I'm always tweaking, always rehabbing. I realized, my dream studio would need this app:
I would like to be able to push a button and all of the things I'll never need again, will never use, will never think of, will just be GONE! No sorting, no wondering, no pulling out some ancient box of whatevers and thinking, "WILL I EVER NEED THESE WHATEVERS EVER AGAIN!?!?"
If I ask my mind that, my mind will suddenly go to the millions of ways I might need these things, all of the ways I could use them. Best to keep it JUST IN CASE!
However, I'm finding that I have shelves full of "Just in Case"... when I really need to use those shelves for "What I'm Doing Now!" I would allow myself a shelf for the near future and a shelf for just in case, but my shelf is turning into a closet of "Just in Case".
I want to not have to even look at things I'll never use again because if I look, I might wonder... And it would also have to be things the lamblets would never use, because they're creative sorts and love to have access to a random smattering of things. Even if I don't want something, I might keep it for them.
Of course, my dream studio would also have that, "Exactly What You Need Right Now" closet... which would hold what I needed, whether I knew it or not. It would hold whatever anyone needed. Whoever opened the door would see only what they needed.
I would also like my dream studio to have the "This is exactly what you need to eat right now" fridge... which when I opened it, would have the perfect meal, ready to go... full of whatever nutrients my bod was lacking at that time... and not full of things that would give me hives, go directly to my butt, phlegm-up my sinuses, etc, etc. (My stomach just typed this one. It's lunchtime, and I'm hungry).
I am once again trying to clear out my office/studio space so it's not full of ghosts of abandoned projects from the past or monsters from the imagined future. I need it to be a place of focus, of clarity, of ease. I think I'm going to invent a drawing table/easel/line of sketchbooks that have blinders on them so you can't see anything but what you're working on... No, even better, you can't think of anything, but what you're working on.
I have three areas I need to be able to devote my space and thoughts to (not necessarily in order of importance):
2) Finishing work I've promised
3) Getting 3 specific projects to their next level of development.
I need to get distractions out of my way. I need to make space for what's going on now. That eject button for things I never need to think about again would sure come in handy.
Yes, I'm breaking my own rule about not talking about my classes, but I felt this one needed to be shared... especially since some of you have been privy to other experiences. Aside from the fact that I only found out this class was going to run yesterday morning, and class was to start last night, that would be the least of my problems.
I arrived about 20 minutes early, figuring that since this was the first class, no one would be waiting outside, 45-60 minutes early, like other classes I've (cough) heard about... I had brought in some of my own work, brought in my supplies, dug through old class exercise canvases that have long since been abandoned, trying to figure out my best plan of attack for a 3 hour class.
Mr. Enthusiasm (age 72) showed up first... but I noticed he had no supplies. He said he thought the first class would just be an orientation lecture. I said with only 6 weeks in this session, we're going to start painting tonight!! If he lived close enough, he should really go home and get his stuff.
During our brief bit of smalltalk, I found out that Mr. Enthusiasm was more or less self-taught, having had an insatiable hunger for art history books. He had worked in the steel mills which is where he learned welding, and after that, he ventured into sculpture. He no longer has a torch, so he said he uses whatever other materials he finds that he can repurpose. I get that.
I also heard, "WELDING!!" I have wanted to learn to weld for the past 20 years, but never seem to have gotten the chance. I asked if he would please bring back some of his work, when he went home to get his supplies... and off he went.
Student #2 shows up!! Ms. Youth!! Also supply-less... Really?? No supplies?? She said she gathered that supplies would be included. HA! HAHA!! No, I told her, they're not... you should have been given a list. I said she could use some of mine for this evening... We talked a bit about her experience and what brought her here. She's a graphic designer and spends most of her day doing banners and envelope design. She really wanted something more creative again. She said she also was known for asking questions and hoped that was alright! HA! QUESTIONS?!!! Someone who wanted to ask questions and not know everything right from the start!!! I said I LOVED questions and would do my best to answer all... Yes! Let loose with the questions... ask them in 20 different ways. Pry what you need from my atrophying brain!!!
Enter student #3... Mrs. I'm Retired, (age, early 60's). Guess what?? She had no supplies... I called the main facility, hoping they could fax a list, but apparently none was on file, and I could not access mine at home. I started reeling them off, and was 6 items into a list before they asked if I could email them in the morning. :)
Mr. Enthusiasm returned with some awesome sculptures, we talked about them and his inspiration. We talked about methods, we talked about where this class would be going, and since it was only 3, hopefully everyone would get plenty of time and would be allowed to follow the path they needed.
I couldn't help but notice that Mrs. I'm Retired seemed a bit sheepish when we were discussing some of the aspects we'd be delving into. I asked her what she was thinking, what was up?? She said she had ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE... and that that was why she was here, because the course book said, "No experience necessary, just a desire to learn." I said she was right! We'd jump in wherever she was! She still looked really nervous. I prodded some more. And then she teared up a little bit and said, "I haven't done anything since high school." I told her I'd had a lot of people like that. High school desires got shelved for real life and decades later, they finally took those desires off the shelf! No problem! She then said, "No, you don't understand... my high school teacher said I had absolutely no talent and should never do art again... but I can't stop thinking about it and when I saw this course offered, I thought, this is my last chance... but I'm worried, what if I really can't do it??"
I was flabbergasted and said the first exercise would be hunting down the old art teacher so we could smack him/her upside the head. I said the mere fact that this has been calling her for DECADES was all I needed to hear, and that she did not need experience, but just had to be open. I told her she would start seeing things in new ways, and she'd never stop. Her response? I'm always trying to look at things with an open mind... always trying to find new ways of thinking. I guess I'm in the right place.
Yes, yes she is.
I just wish I could bottle some of her openness, some of the entire groups' enthusiasm, and share it with another group I know.
So, I have a new class with 3 people... who have no supplies. :) But they're 3 people who have the supplies I didn't really think of... they are OPEN!! They're not defensive! They're excited. They just want to explore. I can work with that.
I think it just changed to, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
My painting class starts back up today... Good times are sure to be had. I was also supposed to be starting a true beginners class tonight so people who need (and want) a lot more assistance and direction could get the time and attention they deserve. I always feel bad (for any number of reasons) for the true beginners who end up in the regular class. Most end up not coming back. My boss and I felt offering an evening class for true beginners might bring in a different crowd. As of last week, enrollment was ZERO!! I wasn't surprised. Sometimes a class needs to be in the books for a session or three before enough people happen upon it, or before schedules mesh.
As of this morning, I had still not heard whether it was officially canceled, or if through some painting magic, we had the needed minimum of 8. They were supposed to call and let me know. I finally called them, pretty sure the answer must be no... or they would have called!! Right??
I have class tonight. They did not get the minimum, but because they love me, they're going to let it run with 3, and hopefully we can build from there. I have nothing planned... and am I planning? No, it appears I'm writing a blog post.
This beauty showed up on my doorstep this afternoon... a much better behaved Mr. Handsome, as the real Mr. Handsome would have hightailed it after the rabbit that's been lurking in our yard, and surrounding areas...
Many, many thanks to ZRM. I lahve dahg surprises!! Well, not the ones Skirmy Little Dog occasionally leaves at 3am...
EL and I were at the bookstore this past weekend... She's been channeling one her great grandmothers and has been crocheting with impossibly small hooks and spiderweb-thin thread. She was looking for books on the topic. I was perusing the other "how-to" books in the area, although most of them usually irk me because they start at step 1. No, they usually start before step 1... they start somewhere along the lines of, "Here's an idea for you because you'll never come up with your own, and then we'll tell you exactly how to do it so it will look exactly like this..." I know there's a need for those books, but they rankle me. They need a section of books that says, "Use anything for anything, even if you're not supposed to... Go nuts!" :)
Anyhow, while skimming their other offerings, I came upon this book. I was intrigued. Yes, it had too many instructions, but what I liked were the images. The images reminded me of long ago. My sister and I used to make endless troll houses by stacking shoe boxes and Kleenex boxes... we'd wallpaper them, build furniture, used found items and repurposed them. I think we usually only played with them for a few days, the real joy was in the making of them.This was preceded by the joy that came from realizing it was again, troll house time!
This also reminded me of one of my favorite grammar school assignments. When in the 5th grade, we were to read a book and then do a report... but the fun part was we also had a to do a diorama of sorts. We were each given a cigar box which we were to make look like the book, when you held the box as you would a book, you opened it to find a small report glued to the inside flap, and then a 3-D scene in the main compartment of the box. I LOVED THAT ASSIGNMENT! I wish I still had the box. I still have the book I used though...
Seeing the mixed media dollhouse book, and thinking back to the joy of troll house construction made me think once again of my dream studio... In my ideal world of creation, my studio would be a huge room with lots of table space, easel space, drawing table space, lots of shelf/cabinet space... sinks, wonderful lighting, perfectly comfy and supportive chairs...Yeah, I know, all of you are thinking, yeah, so... all of this is totally possible! So what? Well here's where it takes a turn, in my ideal studio space, there would also be large "closets" that held smaller versions of Home Despot, Dick Blick's, Michael's, and an awesome second hand store with a multitude of "found items". They would be solely for my use, or whomever was in the space... no bothers with driving to the store, cashiers, other customers, needing to make a list... no, you could just go in and grab what you needed and pop back out.
Also included in this dream studio space? The ability to stop time. Once you stepped in... you could stay for as long as you liked and no time would pass! Once you stepped back out into the "real world", it would be 2 seconds later!!! Phone calls would wait, interruptions would wait!
Other things I'd have in my ideal studio space?? A branch. Many years ago, my mother informed me that one of my favorite childhood trees was hit by lightning and the bottom branch was going to have to be removed. I remembered that branch, I knew that branch... it was the first one you grabbed as you swung your legs up to hoist yourself around in order to climb. It was also the last branch you touched when coming down. It was sturdy and reliable. That branch was a step to another world, to freedom, to invisibility! I asked if I could have it so I could mount it in my apartment. I was bummed to find out it had grown significantly since I had last embraced it... still, I still have the desire for a large branch in my studio... or better yet, maybe a tree! One you could climb or hang a swing from! Yes, I'd like that... a tree and a swing.
I would also like music, and music that was exactly what I needed at the time, even if I didn't even know the song or the artist yet. I'd like that...
And the last thing, but certainly not the least important... I'd like to be able to take my imagination out where I can see it and talk to it. I'd like to meet it again, on its own terms, not mine. I'd like to let it out to run around. At some point, I think I turned my wild mustang of an imagination into a trick pony. Sure, it can still do impressive things, but it needs freedom. It needs to be in charge, not me. It should dictate, while I take notes, not the other way around. Yes, in this room, there'd be pure freedom with no preconceived ideas of what a creation should be or of its reception. Before entering this room, my imagination would dislodge the creative hairball that years of behavioral training had made... it, and I, would be free...
Grizzled took one lamblet up to the lake this morning in order to retrieve another who was bonding with relatives... they will probably be back sometime tomorrow. I could have gone, but a painting was calling me, and the thought of a day to myself sounded good.
The painting that's been tugging at my mind? This one... Apparently it wanted to be bigger. We'll see. It gets one more try... and if it's still being recalcitrant?? ONWARD!
This semi-post was put up to soothe thundra... Happy now??