During my recent sickness, I watched a lot of mysteries, documentaries and videos. I kind of got addicted to watching art videos both on technique and what it means to be an artist. When I was in the worst pain and feverish, I didn’t draw or write much at all. And when I emerged on the other side of it, I felt like I might have forgotten how to do either.
Fortunately, I have been doing a daily practice for years, so that habit came forward. In the first hours of the day, I couldn’t think of anything else to do, so I got back to journaling. I’d watched a lot Gwenn Seemel’s videos — her vlog was great when my brain was too mushy to read much. As I started to get well, I watched her free drawing workshop for artists. I made some rather horrendous drawings, over-working and blurring colors. I have a problem with not knowing when to quit.
One of the things I love about Seemel’s work is her use of line and color. To me it emphasizes the aura that surrounds people, invisible bits of their souls seem to dance to the surface.
I have struggled with ways of portraying that myself, but I tend to uses swaths of color and halo type coloring with heavy ink lines. I’m still learning how to balance color and line. Unfortunately, one artist’s magic doesn’t necessarily work for another artist. I did learn a lot about anchoring features and how to blend color. Gwenn was generous enough to show drawings she thought weren’t right and that’s always helpful.
During these weeks of illness, the plants on my porch have been neglected. It’s time for them to go dormant anyway, so I didn’t feel too bad about it. A few days ago, I was surprised to find, on a very cold day that my gerber daisy — that hadn’t bloomed since early September — had produced one big bright flower. It was a little lopsided with more of an oval shape, struggling with the cold, I guess, and the lack of rain. But it had come to life, deep yellow/orange rays among the green and brown leaves. So I took some of what I learned from the drawing workshop — working with markers and making strong lines — and drew my exuberant December daisy. I used just a few Tombow markers and colored pens. I didn’t try to match the colors exactly, just the shapes and delight I felt at seeing this daisy.
Not perfect, but happy. I think I’m back to myself now. Friends, teachers, nature, art — these are the things that keep me blooming, even in the cold of winter.
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