spark!

my workspace in my studio

over the past year or so, i’ve been languishing in the land of frustration while trying to learn more about abstract art techniques and just trying out new things. experimentation is great, but sadly i have a hard time getting out of my own way and unhooking my analytical left brain mind so i don’t overthink everything… which is not really that conducive to abstract painting. so there have been a ton of paintings started and nothing finished; many painted over and started again… and yet, again not finished.

so i decided to look for some structure, some instruction, some inspiration. a teacher. something i could do online, asynchronously as my schedule is erratic and my time for art very inconsistent. but something that would get me back in a habit of creating regularly, hopefully daily, even if it was just little exercises to stretch my creative muscles.

many internet art instructors offer free workshops as samples of their style and content in the hopes of convincing you to sign up for their paid course. so i did a few different free workshops, ranging from a few days to a few weeks. all were good and i’m glad i did them, because it got me moving and painting. but i can’t say the outcomes were all that great. i did seriously consider one of the paid courses – it’s a year long class with oodles of modules and content and every two weeks live calls with the instructor, who i really liked. but i was sort on the fence about liking her actual artwork, and her teaching style, while initially drawing me in, didn’t end up producing many a-ha moments or finished products. it mostly left me frustrated again. and the course was more expensive than i was willing to justify.

but then i stumbled onto art2life, which initially seemed a little like a cult in some ways to me. lol. but i started watching some of instructor nicholas wilton‘s free videos and listening to some of his podcasts, and almost immediately i really resonated with his personal california woo woo vibe. my timing was perfect to take his free online course called breadcrumbs. i signed up and watched some of the live calls but life got in the way and i didn’t even complete but one of the exercises – but it was enough to make me realize i felt at home with him, like he was a good fit for me. plus i really dig his personal artwork. (not that i want to emulate his style but i like where he’s coming from and we share a love of color, texture and paint that just makes me feel like i can learn from him.)

so even though i didn’t finish the breadcrumbs, i took a few days to ponder if paying for his 3 week course called spark might be good for me, and if i could afford it. it’s $500 (or they have a 3 month payment plan that makes it slightly more expensive though stretches the payments out over time). but then i remembered i have paypal credit which offers 6 months interest free if you pay it off, for larger purchases. divided up, that’s $85/month which isn’t bad and totally doable for me. so i bit the bullet.

and after a few days of making sure i had all the right supplies – the only thing i had to purchase was an appropriate sketchbook that had paper thick enough to lay acrylic paint on, which i finally found at david art center in metairie for $25 – i am all ready to start this course today with this afternoon’s welcome call. i tidied up the studio and my sparkbook – that’s what they call the sketchbook for this course – is all labeled and ready to have paint lathered on it, marks made, bits of paper collaged onto, etc. i’m actually excited! frankly, that alone is worth the expenditure of the money… to feel excitement again about making art. and the bonus is that there’s a whole community via facebook around it.

though the course is only 3 weeks long, i’ll have access to all the videos and materials and the fb community for a year, in case my schedule prevents me from keeping up with the live classes. which is entirely possible. but i’m going to really try to participate live cuz i think it enhances the experience.

anyways, that’s what i’m up to. hopefully i’ll feel good enough about what i’m doing in the course to post on instagram about it and show y’all what i’m learning. or maybe i’ll wait til the end. who knows. but for the first time in a while, it’s nice to have something to look forward to.

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