GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


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Artist Date

I have Friday Nights blocked out on my calendar for my Artist Date night and tonight’s creative project was making bath bombs.  I’ve made them a few times before, buying the little metal molds on Amazon so they would look like “real” bath bombs purchased at one of my favorite smelly stores in the mall. 

Since I was on an Oil of the Month subscription, I began to amass plenty of essential oils and was wondering what use them for.  Making my own bath items sounded like fun. I could be thrifty by saving money on bath and beauty products. I wouldn’t need to buy them since I could make my own.  After I purchased the molds, the ingredients, factoring in the price of the oils … was it really saving me money? Time was another factor and the biggest drawback of all…

I don’t enjoy making them. 

Tonight’s Artist Date helped me realize that.  There was more time in the prep and clean up than making anything.  I didn’t experience enjoyment during the creative process.  For all the time and effort, I got 3 large bath bombs, 3 small ones (one didn’t stick right so it’s 2 small ones and 2 halves of a small one), and a jar full of powder that wasn’t enough to fill the smallest mold.  They’ll need to dry for 2-3 days now. It just isn’t worth the hassle. I’d rather go to that smelly store in the mall, or buy some made locally from someone who absolutely loves making them, and/or it’s one of their main sources of income. 

I’ll plan a future Artist Date to browse local art hubs looking for locally made bath products, splurge a little on myself then enjoy a hot bath with a glass of wine & a book.  I posted that tonight’s Artist Date was a bust, but I did learn something about myself so it was worthwhile.


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Sketch In the New Year

Last night my husband and I went to our favorite Indian restaurant for their special New Year’s buffet.   I mentioned I wanted to sketch my dinner to get used to sketching in public without the local chapter of Urban Sketchers to act as a buffer.  Oh, you can read about our new chapter in Jan 2019 issue of Drawing Attention  

I was too hungry to sketch before eating, but after I was finished, I decided I’d sketch the plate of naan we had on the table, along with my empty chai cup.   I’ve sketched in public before, and have had people come up to me, but never when I’m on my own.  A few of the workers stopped as they passed by to see what I was doing.   No one screamed “OMG THIS WOMAN IS DRAWING THIS HORRIBLE PICTURE”, no one made me stand up to share my work with the whole restaurant, no one really even spoke more than a few phrases in passing as I drew.

Drawing in public is scary to a lot of people, but based on my experience, we create that fear. There’s no phsyical danger in it.  No one really cares what you’re doing, they’re too concerned with themselves. You could be on your phone, or in your sketchbook.  Which is more rewarding?

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Showing Up

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Since I have a quiet day at home,  I decided I’d work on a canvas that has been hanging on my painting wall for months now.  I believe it’s my last unfinished larger canvas.  I spent 2018 concentrating on urban sketching so my canvases were neglected in favor of sketchbooks.

It was a frustrating painting session. My acrylic paints are an amalgamation of tubes collected through the years.  Some may easily be 30 years old or close to it.  I went through them, maybe this time last year, and got rid of ones that were impossible to squeeze out.   I need to repeat that process.

The bottles of craft paint, most inherited from my mom when she passed, have separated and are so runny they make for a nice wash, but nothing more.  I’ll go through those paints as well.

I intuitively selected a palate, and began working the canvas.  I tried to let go and just fall into the colors but I noticed little bits of brush hairs dried into the previous layers of the paint.  Cheap chip brushes.  Why don’t I use better quality items?  All these cheap brushes are crap and I should get rid of them with the crappy dried up paints.

Uh oh…. I’m starting to slip.  I like some of the colors I mixed.  A nice brick-red that reminds me of dried blood.   I color up the happier brighter colors painted months ago with the bricky blood-red.  That should have been another sign.

I sorted out some more paint and this looked like shit.  Really, brown shit of overmixed paint.  Ugh.  Do I actually enjoy this?   If I did, why do I only paint every few months.  Is it something I want to enjoy?  Why do I paint?  What’s the point of any of it?

I put the mucky brown paint brushes into my water bucket, and grab the spray bottle to try to wipe down some of the uglier colors.   I’m not sure how but as I turned to put the spray bottle back on The Caaarrt (aka the Ikea Raskog) I knocked over the bucket of water.

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I’m done.  I’m so done.

I have the towels washing now.  I’ll take a break for a bit, and maybe grab a glass of cream sherry and I’ll spend New Years Eve cleaning out dried up paints, supplies that I have collected over the years but never used.

I showed up today, even if the end results were a minor catastrophe. I’ve learned what I want to concentrate on and what I’m ready to leave behind.  So it was worthwhile.

 


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React or Respond

A few days ago, I posted on IG a sketch of one of my favorite personalities.  I was anxious as I hit the “share” button, but what the hell!?

I noticed a day later that the personality reposted my sketch! The first comment on her repost was “This disturbs me”.   Granted, I’m not an Artist… I’m an artist.  I sketch for myself, and I enjoyed doing this.   I was thrilled that it was reposted.

My reaction was “Fuck you” and after looking at this person’s profile (who is a photographer, hence also an artist) I blocked them.  Then I thought about my reaction.  Why would I block them?  To keep them from seeing my other sketches?  I post it for people to see.

So I unblocked him, and thought about why he would comment at all, if it truly disturbed him.  To get a reaction out of me?   What would that prove?   Why put the energy into the comment?

Then I thought about something I have seen before “Love it or Hate it, the purpose of art is to elicit a response”  I elicited a response (more likely a reaction) from this stranger.    I didn’t react back.   I didn’t respond, apart from this post.

Since I’ve started studying A Course in Miracles, I’ve been watching how I react or respond to situations.   This whole situation could have caused a huge grievance which I would dwell on over and over periodically for months, or even years.  “Remember when you posted that sketch and that one guy commented…”

But I don’t want to have that darkness lurking around.  I’m letting go of his comments, and of the other comments saying they liked my sketch.  Detachment.

 

 

 


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One Week 100 People 2018

I did a thing!  I saw on Instagram there was a OneWeek100People sketch challenge March 5th – March 9th.  Which is really only 5 days, and not proper week, but time is relative.  My goal was to sketch 20 people a day.  It sounded like a lot at first, but as I got into it, it was fun! I began looking forward to sketching each day. I sketched from TV paused screen, photos in my phone of family, Instagram friends, google search for mug shots, magazines I have around the house. I did some faces, some urban sketching style crowds.  I finished a day early to boot!

My sketches aren’t great, but they are fairly recognizable.  My oldest son mentioned wearing his ‘waffle shirt’ in the sketch I did of him from a photo of his 21st birthday.  I learned what watercolors make a variety of skin tones, and which ones don’t work out so well.  I learned shading more is sometimes better than less, and that noses are weird.

I’m not freaked out about adding people to a sketch now.

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The Muse is Back

Today I’ve been caught up in a whirlwind.  I woke up later than normal since I have the day off work.  If you can call 7am late.  I fed the puppies, made coffee and my breakfast, and began my day like normal, checking social media and getting my 3 Duolingo lessons in.  [I’m working on learning Dutch currently. A lot of my artist friends are Dutch.  I want to be Dutch in my next life.]

I shared a post on my FB artist page that Chris Zydel had posted about not feeling guilty for not making art.  After I stopped bawling [sseriously ugly cry bawling] went to my studio to do half-ass something with paint.   My puppy Vision was under my feet the whole time, so I slowed down instead of the frantic paint flinging I so often get into.  That slowing down made me really look and think about my process.

I’ve taken so many workshops. Painting Big with Connie at Dirty Footprint Studios, Visual Quest with Pixie Lighthorse, Bloom True with Flora Bowley.  I’d love to take (and a bit scared to) an in person class with Chris.  I have a feeling I’d do a lot of [good healing \crying there. Plus a lot of little 2-6 week sketchbook workshops.  Art on a smaller scale than the big canvases favored by Connie and Flora. But with all these workshops with various artists, I feel like I’ve never found my own style.   I was constantly stuck on the Image portion of Flora’s technique.  I’m not overly fond of painting faces or figures.

But oh, mixing colors. Seeing how they blend, and contact, and complement.  For me it’s the most incredible experience. I’ve loved painting backgrounds, mixing and smearing, blending and scrubbing.  Then I tried to add some images and boom – STUCK.  I hate this, this painting sucks, why am I bothering, I suck.

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I become mesmerized by the blending of these colors

I get the ‘ugly teenage phase’ of a painting, but it seemed I lived there.  I would become discouraged, seeing the finish products of friends and think if I just show up, that’s an important thing is seems no matter show shitty my art was, I’d get through it.

So today I showed up.  I don’t HAVE to paint images.  I can paint the cool or warm backgrounds, and leave it at that.  I can paint my feelings with colors and blending, not faces, or pods, or leaves, or feathers.   Looking around at other paintings I have, which I’m not fond of, I’m getting ideas of how to rework them, and I’m excited about painting for the first time in months, if not years!

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This ugly painting is getting a do-over

I want to finish one canvas today before I start reworking one with an idea I have.  I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.

Namaste.

 

 

 


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Art Journaling with Kindred Spirits

As an introvert, it’s hard for me to socialize.  It’s gets overwhelming and I have to retreat.

Yesterday I had two very different social situations.

The first was a quick geocaching get-together for celebrate Canada Day and earn the Where’s Signal Canada badge.  It was a fairly large turnout. Not what I could consider a crowd though.  I haven’t kept up with the geocaching community, but there were a few people I recognized.  They either didn’t recognize me, didn’t notice me, or didn’t bother me with.  I spoke to a couple of unfamilar people and it was all very friendly.  However, I felt like an outsider, watching this group of people with an common interest interact.

I do that a lot.  Just watch other people’s interactions.

The second get together was a time to art journal with a group of lades, two I know from previous art journaling and online groups, while the other two I had just met.  It was a much smaller group.  At first, again I felt a bit like an outsider, as the other 4 knew each other and had broken off into their own conversations, but soon we were all chatting, laughing, sharing stories and responding “OMG I feel that same way!”  The 2 1/2 hours we ‘hung out’ went by so quickly.    I think this is going to become a monthly thing, at least I hope it is!

I haven’t worked in an art journal in so long.  I’ve concentrated on painting and sketching (when I do get around to my little art nook) but there’s something free about journaling.  Much like a visual sketchbook, I don’t have to share  what I do.  I can have a public and private journal.   I can collage, sketch, paint, scribble, write words, glue found text.   It’s a way to dump everything out of my head, and I’ve been away from it far too long.

I have online art friends who I adore, but nothing takes the place of real people in your life.  I forgotten how special that feels.

Namaste.

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