A little arting, a lot of learning — a very good week

I probably would have chalked up this last week as unproductive, art-making wise.  I was deeply lost in a great book (more to come on that) and when I pushed myself away from reading, I was playing catch-up on everything else.  I hardly opened my art journal. Except that this year I've begun to catalogue what I make (and read and watch and do), and now I have evidence to weigh against my clearly unreliable mind.

Not only did I create more than I thought, but I feel like I learned a lot and that is most satisfying of all.

First, I'm kind of excited about this:

apple practice

Not that this is a great "painting"—or even that it is a painting at all. It's really an exercise. I'm taking a class, "Painting Explorations Workshop", on Monday nights and the instructor, Josie Grant, is teaching us how to create form and add dimension with shadows and highlights. Wow. Who knew?

Okay, probably painters everywhere. But not me—until now.

The week before that, I painted a shell on a white background (which we then filled in afterwards, as opposed to painting on top of color in the exercise above). I can see that what I've learned about drawing really helped me with the painting. Learning builds on learning. It's nice to see the progression.

shell exercise

Also, one of the mistakes people make who think they can't draw or paint is that they believe they have to create the exact image of a thing. I was one of those people.  But now I know that that's not true.  Here's a picture of the actual shell, which I found over 30 years ago on the beach in Isla Vista (Santa Barbara) after a storm:

actual shell

At an earlier time I might have rejected my shell painting because it's a bit different in shape than the actual shell. But now I see the painting is it's own thing—not a replica, but my version of the thing. And that's kind of nice.

I also made some fun hearts that get me thinking in new directions. On Valentines Day, Patricia inspired me to make a few valentines for a few special people (who live at home with me, thus who I could deliver them to). I used her template but with my own twist. I added some of my found metal pieces for embellishments:

3 valentinesPaper heart 2

paper heart 3

Paper Heart

I haven't talked much here about my obsession with found objects, particularly rusty metal ones. But I am obsessed. I love to pick up "treasures" on the ground for someday art projects.

The problem is, "someday" doesn't actually come around much because, well, I'm kind of a hoarder. I have so many bowls, bags and two flats filling up with my rocks, shells, sea glass—and found metal pieces. But I just can't seem to use them!

Every time I think about pulling from my collection, it feels like a parting I don't want to make. (I kind of love them all!)

But you know what? That's crazy, and these little hearts made me realize that. The reason I collect found objects is because I like the lines and colors and textures. But they are more beautiful when shared and integrated with other objects and mediums.

So there's more learning, still. I need to use my found objects—give them away to art-making because there's treasure there, too.

Yep, a little arting last week, a lot of learning.

Unproductive, indeed.


How about you? Did you find joy and surprise? What did you learn this week?