When car commercials ask good questions
Believe it or not (but you probably will) painting can be uneventful, such as day eight. I showed up, I painted, it rained, I left.
Sometimes painting can bring you a few peaceful hours to relax and create. Day nine wasn't quite that nice. Before painting on day nine I found I had one of those adult coloring books of mandala designs, how perfect! After a few days of painting loop after loop I was starting to get a little discouraged with my creativity. This being a different style than what I normally create, I didn't have a lot of unique patterns off the top of my head. Happily, I took time to absorb different patterns by coloring in this mandala book that claims to help anxiety and create mindfulness.
Has anyone else colored a page in a tranquil adult coloring book?
Well, they SUCK.
The five minutes I tried to fill in microscopic spaces with colored pencils that would never be thin enough no matter how much I sharpened them CREATED anxiety. There was no calming in barely moving the tip of your pencil and unavoidably going outside the lines of these ridiculously small spaces. I decided the best way to learn new designs was to work on recreating them on the page instead of coloring in pre-made patterns that were obviously created to induce stress so you would buy more of their books thinking they helped!
Anyway, I digress; back to actually painting.
Day nine, after getting over the coloring book trauma, had good vibes. It was chillier than what I would have liked but I was prepared this time bundled up with some mittens that made the switch from cute accessories to paint covered necessities. I ingeniously brought a small heater that worked wonders in the small damp alley. With my playlist going, I was ready.
As I was dragging my white paint into circles, ovals, flower shapes, and all sorts of new ideas making up the design as I went, my playlist broke into another annoying commercial for something no Pandora listener really wants to use. Except this time one of the voice's lines caught my attention:
"Why are we so obsessed with perfecting design by hand?"
I immediately stopped and scribbled that down. The commercial went on to say something about computers or cars, Hyundai? I didn't care.
As I'm free handing very intricate patterns that are traditionally done symmetrically using tools, tracing, and measuring I can't help but be stopped by this commercial's question. I thought about using stencils, a compass, I even started with a measuring tape on this mural but quickly gave that up. Why am I so obsessed with doing this by hand? Why not make use tools to make perfect circles and a uniform pattern?
I've never been an artist to sketch my paintings out, never used rulers despite my teachers' insistent instructions to, I've never used the annoying graph system to get perfect proportions, and especially not tracing paper. Using these things undoubtedly create beautiful work. I just can't make myself paint like that.
I associate more with artists who like to show their hand in making the work, when you can see exactly where the brush moved, where the artist created the shape themselves, where there's energy, movement, and spontaneity. (Check out my favorite isms: Expressionism and Abstract Expressionism)
So why did I commit myself to paint seven versions of a mandala on seven different windows? Honestly, at first I thought my hand was going to create beautiful uniform and clean patterns if I concentrated hard enough. If you look up close at my work on these windows you will see that I was wrong. Though I may be wrong about that, what is coming out on the windows feels right. From first sight they look clean and intricate, neatly done. When you take a minute to stop and observe (something we all forget to do) taking in what they really are: messy, obviously created by someone's own hand and not a stencil. But who is to say that's wrong? I put all of myself into whatever I am painting, why not let that be seen?
Day Eight and Nine wrap up:
3 windows almost finished with white design
2 windows next up for white design
2 windows still needing a base coat (I'll get to it when I get to it)
1 gross Starbucks coffee (I tried something new & regret it)
1 smart artist with her heater and mittens