Have you been trying to create more time to be artistic?
(Note: an earlier version of this blog appeared in WHT/SWG)
Make sure you have an inexpensive watercolour set and a handful of Sharpies (black ink) with different sized tips.
Without giving it much thought, create the landscape outside your window or an architectural image using only one colour of paint. Or use only green to create your grandson or niece’s face. Sketch the building across the street using only a fine tip Sharpie. Paint over parts of it using only orange. Use a Sharpie to bring out details in a painting you did earlier in the week.
Draw or paint with your non-dominant hand. I like large tip Sharpies for this exercise. It makes me feel like I’m back in primary school with an oversized crayon in my hand. This exercise allows you to create something that isn’t perfect. Draw something like the toaster on your kitchen counter, your other hand, or a bird outside your window. Take about one minute to make the picture. Record only your impression of what you’re seeing. There could be scribbling in this rendition, and that’s perfectly okay.
You don’t have to go to Paris or China to find things to paint. Paint or draw what is around you. Do you love to cook? Create a still life painting of some favourite fruits or other yummy foods. Like to play cards? Paint a stick picture of people playing Bridge. Draw your partner or a child’s portrait while keeping your eyes trained on the face and not the paper. Draw your breakfast before you eat it. Draw it again after you’ve eaten it. Draw the ketchup bottle standing next to your eggs. Draw the coffee maker. Draw it again from a different angle. Do these sketches and paintings in five minutes or less. Again, you are only capturing the essence of what you see and not getting hung up on every detail.
How was it? Did you have fun? Did you find you made mistakes? Mistakes are lessons wearing disguises, what Barney Saltzberg (author of ‘Beautiful Oops!) calls oopses. Maybe you need to slow down your drawing, or speed it up. Maybe you need to paint or draw more often. Drop me a line via my website’s contact page and let me know how you made out.