I've committed to 2016 as being my year of creative habits. Inspired by a year-long course led by Crystal Moody, I intend to fill a sketchbook page every day and share an image of my process or completed page on Instagram. Each Monday, I'll collect my pages and list observations of the past week and my intentions for the following, here on my blog.
To help me focus during February, I chose to create a daily image inspired by poetry.
If you'd care to see what I've done in Week 8 (February 21 - February 27), the poem titles link to my Instagram stream.
- February 21 - The Moths, Mary Oliver
- February 22 - I Left My Traditions, James Kavanaugh
- February 23 - Elegance, Hafiz
- February 24 - The Journey, Mary Oliver
- February 25 - Village in Late Summer, Carl Sandburg
- February 26 - A Stone's Throw, Elma Mitchell
- February 27 - The Same Stream of Life, Rabindranath Tagore
Last week, I fussed about wanting to do more and I couldn't exactly identify the more until I was working on my piece for Mary Oliver's The Journey. I spread a coat of white gesso onto the page and then placed a piece of plastic wrap on top of it for texture. Once it was dry, I peeled off the wrap and slowly rolled a brush full of watercolor over small sections to see what shapes would appear.
First a woman in flight. Then a bird whispering in her ear. Next came two figures on the ground; one trying to hold the woman while another holds on to his legs.
Although the textured base made it difficult to tease out the lines of human figures, I couldn't give up. I totally overworked the piece with paint, charcoal, and pan pastels. As I muddied the page though, many thoughts began to clearly surface. The poem so aptly describes a time in my life, nearly a decade ago and I found the process calming, instead of frustrating.
I finally called it done, snapped a photo and posted it to Instagram. For the rest of the day, I felt light and almost giddy and I understood the need to illustrate my own story. This was the more.
I expect things to look different in March. I'm not holding myself to any particular sketchbook yet, as I have a sense that I'll need to go to a larger format. I'll be spending time learning how to better draw the human figure and face, doing collages and photo transfers. My Instagram feed may reflect more of my process this month, rather than finished pages, but in time, I hope to have an illustrated story or two to share here on my blog.
"...always starting over."