i am having a good time with the find your joy course. we are only in week 2 but i have managed to keep up with assignments and weekly calls and journal entries so far. (we are encouraged to keep a studio journal about what we are learning in this class and are given weekly journal prompts about our coursework.) i am trying very hard to not get ahead of myself, not overthink where this class is leading me, and just trying to be open-hearted and -minded about everything louise is teaching.
(even though we’re only in week 2 i feel it’s a major accomplishment to be keeping up, as last week i was overnight dogsitting and my cat got diagnosed with throat cancer and i’m volunteering for a political campaign delivering yard signs which has gotten quite busy as the election is very soon, in addition to just my normal daily work schedule, so i’ve had a lot going on. so yes, i am patting myself on the back a bit for keeping up and showing up and doing the work.)
last week – the first week – our assignment was to paint to music. pick a song or piece of music and just paint to it, only in the time it takes to play it once. and then to go back and do a second piece where you spend more time with the same song, as much time as you want/need. and to notice the difference between the two pieces you made and how you felt making them. i chose lucinda williams’ “joy,” and an earthy color palette that felt like it fit her and the song. below are my two pieces – the 4 minute version on the left, the longer one on the right.
i learned that i was more pleased with my output with the first piece that i only spent 4 minutes on. it was more spontaneous, more free, had more energy, felt more real. the second piece ended up with more structure, as i couldn’t ignore those impulses when given more time. i didn’t hate the second piece but it didn’t feel as alive as the first to me. (we aren’t supposed to be attached to outcomes or trying to create specific compositions or results, but it’s hard not to have a feeling about it after it’s done.)
this week, our assignment is similar to one we did in the free taster course which preceded the paid course. it’s all about mark-making, experimenting with various media and tools to make as many different kinds of marks on a page as we can. aside from various sizes of paint brushes, scrapers, palette knives and color shapers, i also played with a silicone basting brush from the kitchen, a glass window squeegee, a square notch tool (usually used with grout), a plastic comb, and a cardboard toilet paper roll to make interesting marks (among other things), as well as added regular pencil, colored pencil, oil pastels, and various sized acrylic markers to the acrylic paint as media. there was no time limit on this, just an open-ended exploratory playtime to learn what kinds of marks we enjoy making.
it’s amazing how much better it looks when you take the tape off! if you zoom in on each one separately as it’s own piece, some of them are kinda cool. i like seeing all the layers and marks but it all feels way too busy to me. but again, trying not to be attached to outcomes. i think i did the assignment as it was meant to be done and i learned i like to make marks with all kinds of things!
the second part of the assignment was to choose the marks and methods we liked the most and use those to do a second piece. (and by “piece,” we are using 30×22” sheets of heavy duty watercolor paper with gesso on them, taped off into 6 squares.) i considered just continuing on top of the first assignment sheet but then decided to start fresh on a new one.
i retained mostly the same color palette – we were to use black, white, and one red (i chose alizarin crimson), one blue (cobalt blue) and one yellow (i switched from lemon yellow that i used on the first one to naples yellow this time, which altered all the colors i mixed and i think made for a more subdued look). i feel like the 2nd piece looks a lot like the first even though i used far fewer tools to make marks. but still i used a lot. and i treated each of the squares as their own piece, instead of thinking of the whole piece of paper as one piece, as some folks did.
regardless i think i learned that i enjoy using weird tools to make marks and i should be incorporating them more into what i do. i particularly enjoy using small swaths of pattern stencils as well as well as the small square notch tool, for scraping lines into wet paint.
you can follow along with what i’m doing each week on my instagram, as i’m more likely to keep updating regularly there than i am here. but i like writing here about it too as you never know what could happen with instagram.
i’m looking forward to having a weekend with no work on my schedule, which doesn’t happen very often. i had some sits scheduled but they all ended up canceling. i scheduled my covid/flu vaxes for late this afternoon though so i might be spending the day tomorrow in bed, as the covid boosters usually wipe me out the next day. but i guess we’ll see. i’m happy to not have any responsibilities other than taking care of myself and my poor sick cat.