Monday, September 10, 2012

Staycation: Day 1 Results

Day 1 was definitely a success; I was relaxed and happy without turning into a slothful heap.  I'm up to item 9 on my list from the prior post. However, since I've checked off the majority of the list I think I'm free to blow off the rest and do whatever I want. Clearly I spent more than ten minutes in a rational manner, and I must give myself props for completing the heinous task of cleaning my desk

What I'm most happy about, though, is that I finally started drawing again! I set myself very low goals: I was just going to do some contour drawings to get back into it. I was not trying to create anything 'good'. So I just took a newsprint pad, a black wax pastel crayon, and wandered around the house drawing any random subject matter.  Since I was just retraining my eye, the actual subject matter was beside the point. I drew a candlestick, then a dish hanging on the wall, and then a bit of drape. I even drew it all on one sheet, creating an interesting - if odd - still life of sorts. I drew my cat (and the less said about that the better). Then I wandered into the entry way and drew a plant in the garden. It was so process-oriented that it hardly felt creative, but it was what I needed to do.

Blue Vase, 2012 Peter Cholewinski
Oil pastel on newsprint, 9 x 12"
Then I started drawing a blue glass vase on a table in the entryway and...for some reason I suddenly got really into what I was doing! The light reflecting on the glass, the different shades of blue, the curves of the all just sparked something in me. I completed the picture and ran to my study to get my oil pastels so I could add color. I did a foreground, the background, and made a full-on picture. The whole thing took maybe twenty minutes and...I'm happy with it! Here it is (click the picture if you want to see it bigger).

Now, I'm not posting this because it's brilliant. The composition is totally off (no space at the top and too much at the bottom). The treatment of the vase is not accurate enough to be representational, yet it's not abstract enough to provide any psychological depth. The line separating the background from the table the vase is sitting on is way too harsh (even after I softened it) and distracts from the vase itself. The foreground is too flat (another color and technique in there would have broken it up nicely). Even so, I'm happy with this picture. I like that it just sorta 'happened'. I like the roughness and looseness of the approach (largely a result of the fact that it was too spontaneous for me to realize I was actually doing something creative). Best of all, I like the colors and the layering of tones.

I have little to no experience using pastel crayons, nor did I 'follow the rules' while doing the contour drawing that started this. However, that's not relevant. What matters is that I'm learning and, if I keep at it, I will only improve from here. The main things I learned are that subject matter with color is what fires me up and that I like pastel crayons as a tool. They allow a degree of immediacy I haven't experienced even in oil painting.

I hope I stick with this; the feeling of release I had when I was done and my hands were smeared with color was almost euphoric.

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