Sunday, September 25, 2016

Prepping the Studio

The time has come to shift artistic mediums and to focus on painting once again. While I have loved fiber art and it has comprised the majority of my work since the mid-1990's, my physical inability to draw with the sewing machine brings that chapter to a close. At least for now. I am presently contemplating the option of a shoulder replacement, but that shoulder - even if fixed to perfection - won't be available for sewing until next summer, at the earliest.

So my first love, watercolors, is back on my drawing table. You've witness a few of my attempts this year to renew and refresh myself in this medium. I can certainly admit that I was not overly pleased with those first results! I am, however, a realist. I know that after 20+ years away from painting, it will take many hours/months/years to develop my own style with watercolors, especially at this time in my life.

I'm not even sure what I am aiming for - other than to have the pleasure of losing myself in the creative process once again. I dearly miss the suspension of time/space when I am in the midst of creating. Even if the end product is a failure, the process itself if amazing... I do not have a specific style in mind, nor even a favorite painting surface! There are so many surfaces to choose from! I've invested in some small gesso panels made by DaVinci with what they call a "medium texture." And I have lots of various watercolor papers in many sizes that I've kept collecting over the years.

So, after several days of cleaning, sorting, discarding, replacing, and locating what I need in the studio, it is now ready for me to tackle watercolors once again. To say that I'm a bit nervous is to admit the obvious. Any artist who has switched mediums is familiar with the trepidation of starting over again anew. Yet there is an excitement about it, too. And a welcoming home sort of feeling, perhaps.

Watercolor was my first love - Some 60 years ago when I walked into my first HS art class and saw just what one could DO with simple water, paints and paper - I was enthralled. I was in a small Catholic girls school taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. My art teacher for those 4 wonderful years of art classes was Sr. Rose Aurelia, CSJ. She was already elderly but she was a joyful child whenever she painted. And she painted all the time! While we plodded along learning how to cut stencils or do calligraphy or draw the ever-present still life set-ups around the room, Sister was at her desk painting in watercolor.

Every spring, she painted daffodils and lilacs. I've never yet seen lilacs painted with such ease and clarity and liveliness as Sr. Rose Aurelia could paint them. Every year, bouquets of lilacs appeared in our classroom - but only seniors were allowed to paint them. Seniors also spent weeks working on their own perspective of the Cathedral of St. Paul as seen from our 4th floor classroom windows. I could hardly WAIT until I was a senior and could try my hand at painting those two subjects. My older sister had already done a wonderful rendition of the Cathedral - I only hoped I could do as well.

As so many other younger siblings have often felt less talented/able/creative/whatever, than their elder siblings, I was sadly disappointed in my results. I never did like my version of the Cathedral. And, sadly, I don't even recall painting lilacs that year!

Anyway, yesterday, to feed my soul, I went to the Spring Creek Park in Houseerville, PA - a hop, skip and jump from our house. I spent some time just listening to the water flow. Always refreshing for me.

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