For the last five weeks I've been taking an art class: Experimental Drawing. And what an experiment it's been! The best way I can describe what we're doing is by calling it "free painting," the visual equivalent of "freewriting."
Personally I've found the approach both difficult and oddly liberating--a constant struggle between wanting to create the "picture in my mind" and then having to give in to what the images dictate. It's a lot like wanting to write a contemporary romance only to have it turn into a Norse saga in iambic pentameter with science fiction elements. All you can do is stand back and say: "Oooh-kaaay..."
On a more technical note, the materials we are using for this grand experiment include:
- Stonehenge and watercolor papers, as well as Bristol board.
- Acrylic paints.
- Watercolor paints.
- Pastels in both stick and loose, powdered forms.
- Acrylic mediums/grounds/gels.
- Fixative. (Lots of fixative between each layer of pastel or paint.)
- Collage papers.
- Graphite pencils.
- And just about anything else that makes, or takes, a mark.
Perhaps the hardest thing for me right now is to stop assigning meaning to the work, in other words, to simply let the pieces be. They are what they are: surprising, foreign, challenging, and miles--light years--away from the Polyvore creations that usually illustrate my blog posts.
I still have four classes left to attend, including one tonight, and I must say I'm filled with curiosity to know what's coming next. It's kind of like waiting for the next chapter of a very strange book--one that I'm writing in my sleep! Stay tuned.
Tip of the Day: S-t-r-e-t-c-h. Take a class, join a group, buy a how-to book in a new-to-you subject. It may not be in your comfort zone, but there's nothing like a little creative risk-taking to liven up the "tried and true" and get your mind going in a brand new--and exciting--direction.