Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Growing Pains

Hi all, Jane Davies here. I wanted to use the Sketchbook Challenge to explore drawing, improve my skills, and introduce subject matter into my otherwise abstract collage paintings. I've had a lot of fun playing with Carla Sonheim's book, Drawing Lab, and with suggestions and tutorials by many others. Thinking about the many things I highly prize, food comes up very high on the list. Not just any food, but the fact that here in rural Vermont I have easy access to local fresh food most of the year. I LOVE the wild foods I can harvest myself - ramps (wild leeks) wild cress, apples, and berries - as well as the vegetables, meat, fresh raw milk, eggs, and chickens produced by local farmers. I highly highly value the way that food connects me to community and to place in a way that grocery store purchases just can't. OK, off my soap box here.

So, I'm trying to draw some vegetables. And then paint with watercolors. Both big challenges, so I start with the easy stuff: radishes, peppers, soy beans, eggplants. Some of the things I used to paint on pottery over and over and over and over again. But then the watercolors are not doing what I want them to do.... I fill in with Diana Trout's doodle game (love that!) and try to fill in shapes... but then I get those self-doubt demons showing up out of nowhere and I feel an Art Tantrum coming on. Ever have one of those? Just give up and cover everything over and go back to something familiar? Acrylic paint and physical contact - rubbing, scraping, wiping - are my go-to tools when I need a comfort zone.

These pages look much more like ME than they did when I was just trying to draw and do watercolor. I know it's important to get out of the comfort zone and challenge myself, but maybe I need to take two steps forward, one back.

14 comments:

  1. Wow, you really did yourself proud with these!
    love the eggplant color-and your your radishes
    Tnanks.

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  2. Beautiful! I can relate to the Art Tantrum. This is inspiring work...

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  3. Perfect Timing!!!!!! Your post could not come at a better time. Funny how I was thinking the same thing yesterday while I was working on my piece for the challenge. I was going along fine, using watercolors and then I could not get the colors to blend the way I wanted them too. I really thought about scraping it and starting over while having a minor melt down:-/, but I didn't. So we will see how it comes out. Thanks for the encouragement. Cindy

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  4. Jane, these are beautiful and vibrant pages!
    I love painting my food too, and we belong to a CSA so I get that!
    Thanks for sharing here.

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  5. always hard to step outside our comfort zone into a new area, just have to keep on trying...and sometimes when I am trying, I have a moment of serendipity when everything just falls right...
    beautiful pages, I love color!

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  6. This is gorgeous and appetizing! I'm so new at all this and have yet to mix my watercolor with other technique, it is wonderful to see how the doodling below the surface adds depth and fullness to the page. Love the red outline of the soybeans, bold!

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  7. Reading your entry and viewing your beautiful painting of vegetables made me miss my all time favorite delicacies of Vermont, pickled FIDDLEHEADS! I can taste every splash of color you have on your page of the radishes, tomato, eggplant. Love this one Jane.

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  8. I think it's just as important to enjoy the medium you're working with and the end results as it is to push yourself out of your comfort zone - I'm struggling with finding the right medium for myself as I love vibrancy and solid colours of acrylics but also want a portable journal and kit which acrylics don't lend themselves to as well as watercolour pencils or pastels do. I love your rich and vibrant page.

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  9. I agree, too much stepping out of our comfort zone can be harsh and discouraging. Looks like you mixed the experiment with the established skills, seems like a good combination to me.

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  10. Oh, so saturated and yummy. There is much to appreciate in these. Love them!

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  11. Love this !! I got Carlas book yesterday and I loev it !! So inspiring and letting me step out of my comfort zone to find exciting new creating skills.

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  12. yummy indeed. makes me want to go to the farmers market and come home and draw and paint all day!

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  13. That's funny...my usual pages are just watercolor and ink, and I've been struggling to break out and use acrylic and do some rubbing and scraping and such....just the opposite of your situation! I think your page looks beautiful and I especially love the way you've made those radishes look..the colors are beautiful.

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  14. Love the colors...and now I see that "sketching" doesn't have to just be in black and white! Great!

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