The Toddler Art Critic

Yesterday, on the bus, while I was taking my daughter home from daycare, I had need of my sketchbook. My daughter was fretting and starting a major fuss because our trip was taking a long time due to rain and traffic. I had already read the books that we keep in the stroller for her. I had already given her snacks and water. We had even sang a couple of songs together (to the chagrin of the other passengers, I’m sure). With a few blocks further to go, I was running out of options for entertaining a 1-1/2 year old. I looked into my handbag to see what I could come up with and decided to show her my sketchbook.

 

My current sketchbook is a light grey Baron Fig notebook, given to me by my BFF Stacy. I think it’s about 3/4 full of sketches, lists and recipes. My daughter was fascinated. She flipped through the pages and her eyes lit up in absolute joy when she found a sketch of her dad. She pointed at it and began an enthusiastic chorus of ‘Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!’. This lasted until she came to a sketch of our dog, Kai. She then started a chorus of ‘Kai! Kai! Kai! Dog! Dog! Dog!’. Then she went back to Daddy. All in all the sketches were a hit and they got us to our destination without the infant rage.

 

Funnily, the sketches she loves so much, were sketches that I thought were abject failures. I thought they were wonky and weird and not worth mention, but the Little One saw something in them – picked up on the resemblance that I thought I had totally missed. It felt pretty great. And it made me think more on what art is especially when it comes to portraiture. There’s something to be said about the vibe you can capture, even when you fail at resemblance.

 

In other news, I’m working on some clay things. I’m experimenting with polymer clay since I have not found any options near me for firing raw clay. I’ve looked up some videos on making a wire armature for figures and I hope to get some more clay to try out some of those. Also I’m working on some painted clay jewelry. I’ve been experimenting with techniques and will post when I have something I’m happy with.

 

As always, thanks for tuning in.
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Tangled in my hair

I did this piece tonight over the past 3 hours or so. I haven’t done any art work in weeks because I’ve been pretty busy. Feels so good to draw with my hands after spending hours and hours at work 3D modelling.

Image

Unveiled

Here is my latest, titled Unveiled. It’s been sitting in my sketch pad for a week or two. It was NOT an easy free flowing composition that came out of some blast of inspiration. Instead this piece came out of scattered energies and unfocused thoughts. I was pushing myself to work, because the act of working brings me peace. Despite feeling creatively blocked and this piece being relatively painful to complete, I’m glad I stuck with it and didn’t just tear it up or colour it black, as I was tempted to do. In a sense its a reminder to me that the work serves me when I need it, just as much as I serve the work.

For a while I’ve noticed that the piece that comes after a piece that I really like, feels like this one did. I begin with a lot of expectation and then somewhere along the line I feel like it’s totally contrived and then rounding up to the end I push through to come out with something I have mixed feelings about.

However one thing I’ve learned when it comes to the creative process is how important it is to keep working on one’s practice, regardless of how interesting or futile it seems. Movement is important with creativity and like Liz Gilbert said in her TED talk, some days your muse shows up for work and some days they don’t. If you don’t keep working though, you might miss a good day.

Corvus

In this post you will see 3 pictures of the stages of this piece. I’ve been working on it since my last post.

This piece was a step in a new direction for me. I would like to try some more like this, which bring together portrait and abstract. I spent a lot of time staring at this piece at its different stages. In fact for days, I would stare at this piece from different angles in my room and squint at it until I began developing a kind of fear of working on it. I was intimidated by the permanence of ink on paper and also unsure of where I was going with it. On Thursday or Friday I had had enough of this starting match and decided what I needed was some more pen weights and shades. So, on Friday I went to the Waterloo Art Store and got a few Tria Pantone markers and various pen weights including a 005 Micron which I love and remember from my hand drafting days in school.

If you have read my other entry on this blog called Crow you will know that my neighborhood is currently home to a very large flock of crows. Yup they’re still here. It’s probably because of our lack of actual winter. I guess they’ve kind of stuck in my head and I see them wherever I go. The other night I was walking back from the grocery and I looked up at the tree tops and there were so many of them nestled on the bare branches, a slightly darker shade of black against the sky. So I guess the piece comes out of that experience and my general fascination with them. They’re very intelligent birds and I playfully think of them as a bit more sentient than the average bird. Check out this link if you want to hear more about The Intelligence of Crows by Joshua Klein.

As always, thanks for your interest in my work.

Final Piece

Step 2

Portraits

This is something I drew tonight from a picture I took of myself. Notice that it looks nothing like me. I like drawing portraits but i hate doing them in front of people because I feel like I’m inconveniencing the model and I get a mad dash of performance anxiety. At the moment though I’m enjoying the experimentation. I admire artists who do really evocative portraits. So here I am trying my hand, first with some studies, and later with the full piece i have in mind.

Tomorrow I’m going to my first live figure drawing class. I haven’t drawn from live models since I forced my friends in high school to pose for me. This will be very different and though challenging – very good for me. I’ve always enjoyed figure drawing. My A-Level art portfolio focussed primarily on figures. People can be very stupid about nudes however. In high school there were many inane little girls who thought my nudes were naughty or perverse. It’s the most riduculous thing to me when people can’t look at the bare skin of a human being without garbing them in shame.